Top 10 High Drain Batteries for Sub-Ohm Vaping

By Lindsay Fox Posted April 20, 2016

Best 18650 Batteries for Vaping

 

In this age of sub-ohm tanks, 150 W vape mods and cloud competitions, vape batteries need to be capable of putting out some serious power. We’ve addressed battery safety elsewhere, but the short version is that any given battery can only put out so much current, and if you ask for too much from it, you can have a very bad time (i.e. your battery venting and possibly exploding). That’s why getting the right vaping battery matters.

 

But finding the best battery for vaping isn’t easy. Our list of the best high drain batteries for sub-ohm vaping aimed to make that a little easier, but sadly it wasn’t entirely accurate. We made the mistake of actually trusting what the manufacturers said: with re-wraps (cells from other manufacturers clothed in another brand’s wrapper) and pulse amp limits masquerading as continuous amp limits, you have to be a lot more careful about which batteries you put in your mod. Thanks to several very helpful comments and a lot of research, we’ve put together a new 2016 list of the best 18650 batteries for sub-ohm vaping. There isn’t a purple Efest in sight.

 

Best 18650 Batteries for Vaping

 

We’ve primarily focused on amp limits, but to order the list we also paid attention to capacity, and as well as the best 18650 batteries, we’ve added a couple of 26650 batteries to the list too (placed at the bottom because most vapers still use 18650s, despite the high amp limits and capacities of 26650s). So, without further ado, here’s our list of the top 10 high-drain 18650 batteries for vaping:

 

10 – MNKE IMR 26650: 20 A – 4,000 mAh

 

MNKE 26650 battery

 

This vape battery has a pretty high max continuous discharge rating of 20 A, and combined with the substantial capacity of 4,000 mAh and the IMR safer chemistry, it makes it an excellent option for vapers with a 26650 mod. You might have trouble finding these in stock, but there is a 3,500 mAh version available that also offers a max discharge current of 20 A and is easier to find. There are fakes around, though, of the 4,000 mAh in particular, so be sure to buy from a reputable vendor. Tests of these generally turn out fairly positively, although the capacity drops fairly substantially during high current draw (at least on the 3,500 mAh version).

 

Buy MNKE IMR 26650 High Drain battery

 

9 – KeepPower IMR 26650: 20 A – 4,200 mAh

 

KeepPower 26650 Vape Battery

 

This battery is making the rounds as the Vappower 26650, and claims to be rated for 40 A, but it’s been suggested that these are just re-wrapped KeepPowers. For the KeepPower IMR 26650, testing from Illumn led them to recommend a maximum continuous discharge rating of 20 A. There is a 5,200 mAh version available too, but the maximum discharge rating drops to 15 A on these. Again, these are safer chemistry IMR cells, and they stand up pretty well to testing, apart from when tested at 30 A.

 

Buy Vappower 4200mah 26650 vape battery

 

8 – Samsung INR 18650-30Q: 15 A – 3,000 mAh

 

Samsung INR 18650 30Q Vaping Battery

 

Onto the best 18650 batteries, the Samsung INR 18650-30Q has a slightly better than average amp limit – offering up to 15 A continuous discharge – and an excellent capacity of 3,000 mAh. This uses nickel chemistry (indicated by the “N” in the name), and testing suggests it actually performs reasonably well at 20 A, although it’s better to stick to the 15 A max recommendation for safety purposes.

 

18650 battery Samsung

 

7 – AW IMR 18650: 20 A – 2,200 mAh

 

AW IMR 18650 2200 mAh Vape Battery

 

AW IMR 18650 batteries are lithium-manganese, safer chemistry options that have been widely-used by vapers or many years. The new 2,200 mAh version not only increases the capacity, it also offers an amp limit of 20 A, making it a great vaping battery for sub-ohming. The older, 1,600 mAh versions are rated for 24 A, and despite suggestions they’re only good for 16 A continuous discharge, testing indicates that they can stand up to at least 20 A. The choice between the two is ultimately up to you, but with a comparable amp limit and better capacity, the newer 2,200 mAh options seems like the better choice overall.

 

AW 18650 vape battery

 

6 – LG INR 18650HG2: 20 A – 3,000 mAh

 

LG 18650HG2 Vape Battery

 

 

Also offering a 20 A maximum continuous discharge but providing 3,000 mAh capacity, the LG INR 18650 HG2 is up there with the best vaping batteries for sub-ohming. The only reason this isn’t placed above the HE2 and HE4 is that initial testing from Kidney Puncher suggests a fairly poor performance, dropping to around 2,100 mAh when tested under vaping-like conditions on a 0.2 ohm coil (meaning 21 A at the full 4.2 V). Still a great option for the amp limit alone, though.

 

Buy LGHG2 18650 battery for vaping

 

5 – LG 18650 HE2/HE4: 20 A – 2,500 mAh

 

LG 18650HE4 Vaping Battery

 

The HE2 and HE4 hybrid IMR 18650 batteries from LG both have the same core specs, offering a 20 A continuous discharge limit and 2,500 mAh capacities. The (yellow) HE4 is the newer model (and is actually called the LG DBHE41865), and shows good performance in tests at 20 A, although the capacity drops considerably when tested under the (not recommended) amp-load of 30 A. If you can’t find the HE4, though, the (red) HE2 is still a very dependable battery and may be easier to find in stock. Kidney Puncher claims that they’ve seen tests where the HE2 handles much higher currents, but available tests show a notable capacity and voltage drop when tested at 30 A. As always, it’s best to stay within the battery’s official limits.

 

LG 18650 HE2/HE4 vape battery

 

4 – Samsung INR18650 20R: 22 A – 2,000 mAh / 25 R: 20 A – 2,500 mAh

 

Samsung INR18650-20R Vape Battery

 

The Samsung INR 18650 (hybrid chemistry) 20R has since been upgraded to the 25R, but that upgrade came with a slight decrease in maximum continuous current. The benefit of the newer version is in capacity, with the 25 R offering 2,500 mAh, which still leaves the 20 R as the best high-drain option for sub-ohming if you only consider the amp limit. The decision is really between an extra 500 mAh capacity or an extra 2 A max discharge. Personally I’d opt for the 25 R for the capacity, but that’s ultimately your decision to make depending on what you need most from a vape battery. Testing shows that both cells do really well, so you’re unlikely to be disappointed whichever you shoot for.

 

buy Samsung INR 18650 battery

 

3 – LG 18650 HD2: 25 A – 2,000 mAh

 

LG 18650 HD2 Vaping Battery

 

The LG ICR 18650 HD2 pushes the amp limit up to 25 A, comfortably earning it a spot as one of the best batteries for vaping. The capacity of 2,000 mAh might not be as high as some of the others placed lower on the list, but it’s a sacrifice for the higher amp-limit. The chemistry is actually lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (Li [NiMnCo]O2 or just NMC), which is a mouthful effectively meaning it’s a hybrid chemistry option and doesn’t carry the same safety risks as actual ICR (lithium-cobalt) options. The battery fares pretty well in testing, keeping its capacity reasonably well up to about 20 A.

 

LG 18650 high drain vaping battery

 

2 – LG HB6 18650: 30 A – 1,500 mAh

 

LG 18650 HB6 Vape Battery

 

LG’s highest entry is for the HB6, a beast of a battery that packs up to 30 A maximum continuous discharge, easily putting it towards the top of the pack for vape batteries. The drop in capacity is the main trade-off, but if you’re looking for something for a relative short period of serious cloud chasing this could well be the battery you’ve been hoping for. The chemistry of this uses the same elements as the NMC HD2, but it’s called an NCM, indicating that the ratio of the metals in the cathode is slightly different. The only downside is that the battery has apparently been discontinued, although it is still available from some vendors, including IMR Batteries.

 

LG HB6 18650 sub ohm vaping battery

 

1 – Sony US18650VTC5: 30 A – 2,600 mAh

 

Sony VTC5 Vaping Battery
Photo: PdxVapes

 

After some problems with finding authentic VTC5s and finding any in stock, there is a new supply of authentic Sony VTC5 batteries available (also at Kidney Puncher), and this is probably the best vape battery on the market. With a 30 A limit and a capacity much larger than pretty much any other high drain battery you can find, Sony’s offerings are still the best available. Kidney Puncher’s testing showed positive results firing in a vaping-like pattern on a 0.2 ohm coil, but you wouldn’t really expect anything less from the genuine article. Although the VTC4 “only” has a 2,100 mAh capacity, it would have otherwise taken the title of best 18650 battery – since it still offers a 30 A maximum continuous discharge – so it’s still well-worth picking up if you can find it.

 

Sony US18650VTC5 vape battery for sale

 

Conclusion – Vape Safe

 

Choosing the best 18650 battery for vaping is partially about “chuckin’ clouds” and becoming your own mini steam train, but the reason it’s so important is ultimately safety. If you’re looking to draw some serious current from your battery, you need one that can stand up to it, and outside of in-built batteries in regulated mods, this means you need to understand what you’re doing. If you can’t already recite ohm’s law from memory, brush up on it and why it’s important before you go putting together a super-sub-ohm build and trying to fire it with an inappropriate battery.

 

If you know your stuff, then get yourself a dependable, capable vape battery – ideally one with a bigger amp limit than you really need, since it’s better not to push your battery too close to the limit – and go ahead and wow the crowd at your local cloud contest. Get one of the best vape batteries and you can have fun chuckin’ clouds without worrying about your mod turning into a pipe bomb.

 

 

Recommended Vendors for 26650 and 18650 Vape Batteries:

 

 

Resources – 18650 Batteries for Vaping:

 

 

  • Tron

    Sweet!! Looks like a good list. Do you know if Fast Tech is reliable for getting batteries? Never bought from them before. Not sure if their batteries would even work.

    • lol, I’ve never bought batteries from Fast Tech myself, but it looks like they have some good ones! The only problem is they also have some less reputable brands too, but if you stick to batteries from reliable manufacturers it should be absolutely fine.

      Although I’d personally recommend using someone like Illumn, RTD Vapor, Sun Vapers or KidneyPuncher for your battery purchases – they’re among the most reliable when it comes to ensuring you’re getting authentic batteries.

      • Ben Raaijmakers

        Try NKON Eindhoven Netherlands! Compared to the chinese theire prices are very reasonable and no fakes are ever sold.

    • Cat Tilley

      As long as you don’t mind a wait time of 30-40 days, also there’s an Air Mail option that will reduce this to 15-20 days, FastTech has some good deals. Though I’ve never purchased batteries there & never will, the handling can be poor, especially at the the NY postal center where these packages are often held for a week or more for inspection, leading to a damaged battery or other product.

      I knew of one person who ordered several items that has glass from FastTech & though they carefully packaged it, the inspectors didn’t place these back the way they were & half of the items were broken. That’s why the only items that I order from the site are metal only.

      There are way too many legit US vendors who has competitive pricing with 2-5 day shipping to be worried over US Customs poor opening & handling of items, not to mention the wait time, over half is often at the NY center. I’ve ordered from one of the sites that Lindsay Fox mentioned below (RTD Vapor) & they provide fast service with genuine products. Legit shops will not sell cloned or counterfeit batteries, however many on eBay does.

      Cat

  • Kevin B.

    The constant refrain “be familiar with ohms law,” is annoying. It’s true-ish, but not really sufficient.

    My main problem is it’s a cop out. At the basic “familiarize yourself with ohms law,” bs it doesn’t at all begin to give newbies a bit of direction on safety. A law stating the relation between an electrical input, output and the resistance doesn’t at all encompass battery safety. At a more sophisticated level, a lot of unnecessary information but still not helpful for vape safety.

    It’s telling that both the people who listen to this advice and the people I hear give it, don’t really know the first thing about the most basic and yet dangerous element of vaping, the small metal cylinder filled with pressurized, flammable liquid powering the whole thing.

    This article spews a lot stats about batteries that was nice, but it doesn’t even begin to touch on safety (the smallest, vaguest section). While it repeats the refrain about “why ohms law matters” it curiously doesn’t spend the time to explain how it relates the battery safety either. It’d be FAR more helpful to just SAY how to exercise safety with a battery (spotting fakes, don’t over drain, how to avoid shorts for starters). I’m becoming convinced all the “experts” in the vaping community that pump these BS disclaimers don’t really know themselves.

    It’s just a continuation of the obsession for the best, most powerful components with only false lip service to safety that makes this far more dangerous than it should be.

  • Matt Kelly

    What your thoughts on Surefire and Fenix. I know they both make good stuff.

  • John

    Which 18650 batteries are recommended for the Smok X Cube 2 with a TFV4 tank Quad-coil? I want the most possible power out of the mod and I want the batteries to last long before changing them. Can I use 4200mah batteries and which is the highest Voltage on the batteries that I can use in this mod?

  • TheRealVapeIcon

    Rule of thumb high mah equals lower amp high amp lower mah. You can’t have both. Look for continuous discharge not max continuous discharge. Most 18650s like LG EFEST etc are only 20amps. Most are 20amps or lower. I think the Sonys are the only 30amp batteries available.

    • Seth Rall

      sony has 30 amp CDR? wrong!

  • Rasean Blyden

    How is it possible Efest 18650 25000mah isn’t on this list?

    • manufacturer2

      Efest makes an 18650 that’s 25000?!?!?!

      • Jordan Lee

        Clearly a typo of 2500 😉

        • manufacturer2

          Don’t play with vapers feelings like that. 😉

    • iHeretic

      Because Efest doesn’t make their own batteries. They’re all rewraps and not consistent among their lines by any means.

  • Adam S

    Kidney puncher sold me beat batteries! I purchased them based off of the link on this article and after one use they are beat. Drained after a couple pulls not even firing evenly…. DO NOT BUY FROM KIDNEY PUNCHER!

  • Tristan

    None of these are made by the above manufacturers , it’s all sub contracted work. It’s just like a PC , just because the hardware design configuration is say Dell for example, doesn’t mean Dell make the components. The more ‘performance’ based stuff will be made by the likes of Intel but the basic bread and butter stuff is generic chip manufacturers who are awarded their contracts based on cost , and if you’re lucky quality. That’s just the way to do things now and it keeps thing affordable for consumers. Sony haven’t been making the VTC for a good long while now, but the designs are to their original specification. To be honest as long as the designs are strictly adhered to with good QC , you’ll get the performance stated. The trouble is, like everyone, the manufacturer will constantly shop around for a better deal on the base components and materials to increase their margin and this is when you notice that maybe you got a ‘Bad batch’. If they notice complaints, then they go back to what they were using before because it’s in their best interest to keep selling them.

    • Billy Rogers

      Sony never quit making the VTC series, they tightened down oem distrobution, they said that to cover their ass because the batteries were not made for ecigs. Simple as that, Sony NEVER quit making the VTC battery.

  • TheMechanic

    They don’t make 30amp continuous discharge batteries. Words like maximum continuous discharge confuses people & pulse ratings also confuse people. It’s BS from sales people to market their product. If Sony stopped making a high in demand battery there must be a reason. They wouldn’t start back up. They sold off the right to someone else. VTC5s were pitched by every reviwer as the best & that it put out 30amps continuously. They don’t. They are 20amps. They stopped making 30amp continuous discharge batteries because of the dangers.LG is a subsidiary of Samsung. They make the best batteries. Not just 18650s but for computers cell phones etc. The vaping community should listen to smart people. You know, the guys with PHDs & stuff. Not some reviewer or vendor wanting your money.

    • TheGCU

      LG is not a subsidiary of Samsung.

    • Russell Rector

      Lg does make a 30 amp cont Hb2 , HB4 , HB6

  • Andrei Antochi

    LG,Sony,Samsung ….the 3 big…they sell the chemistry(recepy)to athers manufacturers like Keeppower,they make the batteries using the original chemistry and sell them using the original names,they are “original”

  • Brian Diffenderfer

    Ive heard the only true continuos 30A battery is the Sony VTC4, the VTC5 is 20A

    • CRAIG HARLAND

      You do not discharge it continuously vaping,you hold button down ,take a hit and let go,even if you hold button down for a few seconds its not reall continuous.

  • athalla

    How about vappower?

  • JLA-Guy-Venger9090

    19000 mah battery i like get 40 of them

  • Craigs Lister

    The Very first battery listed at 1. is a 26650 not an 18650

  • Sean

    It seems like no one recognizes the red AWT 3000mAh 40A 18650 battery. I’ve used them for the last year. Time to get another set. But everything on this list pales in comparison to the amperage and capacity on the AWT batteries. Anyone else using them or have a different opinion?

    • John Blanco

      It is because that is an overrated rewrapped battery. It is not safe sir..reconsider continuing using this battery.

  • Glen McMartin

    There are no 40 amp continuous discharge 18650 batteries! Sony and LG top out at 30 amp but with that comes lower mah rating (there is no free lunch in the universe!)

  • vaporsolo.com

    What about the Efest?

  • Arman

    How about xtar?

  • Exaco

    VTC5 is 20A..

  • Exaco

    First place definetely goes for LG HB4.. It’s true 30A and is able to pulse up to 60A. ( 5sec on/ 30 sec pause ) without damaging the cell. VTC5 would die instantly above 30A