18650 the best?

I recently bought my first 'real' high power torch (a 300 Lumin chinese special). It happened to come with a 18650 battery. I had never actually seen one before - bloody huge things! The torch came with the battery and charger as a set.

I really like lithium batteries (no real shelf life), and I love the fact that the 18650 is so large. It seems to indicate that it should have a very long use life. I have even been looking around for a new torch that holds 2 (or 3) of these things - the life should be even longer, right?

But I was wondering I this is actually the truth? Are other batteries types/sizes any better - should I look around a bit more before getting a whole bunch of torches that use a battery that is not optimal.

Size is not a real factor for me - I only use torches around the house, and out camping. Any thoughts?

Hi there kneighbor,

One thing to keep in mind when selecting a battery type is availability in a pinch. For example, a long blackout or a long vacation away from a power source might render your 18650 lights useless if you don't have power to charge them, and you can't find disposable 18650 batteries at a local store. That's why 1xAA flashlights are my personal preference, since the batteries are sold everywhere.

As far as 18650 runtime, yes, they do have a lot more capacity than an AA battery. However, the circuitry of an 18650 flashlight usually is designed to drive it a lot harder, so many 18650 lights don't have longer runtime. But for many people this is still ideal, because they always run their lights at max output anyway.

Not a problem for me. I have a few spares. And we have not had a blackout here in sunny Queensland for decades. Can barely remember the last time power went off.


And we have not had a blackout here in sunny Queensland for decades. Can barely remember the last time power went off.


Oh poor soul... what must that do to a flashaholic mind? Edge of insanity?....

On a serious note that's pretty good engineering and upkeep!

:) I guess you can understand my point of view-- we have weekly outages here.

I've lived where I do since the 4th of January 1990. In that time I've had two outages, one of about five minutes in 1992, and one of about 25 minutes when someone got careless with a backhoe in 200?

But then we have very long nights in winter. And it hardly gets dark this time of year. Between 10pm and 4am it gets dark and the sun comes up again.

But lights do come in handy for finding stuff, even in brightly lit offices.

Its all relative... a 600 lumen pocketable torch makes well lit offices feel dark, and therefore justifies carrying a torch all the time! (or maybe its a result of using 600 lumens for reading too often, resulting in blindness)

I use 18650s, and im far happier to be drawing a max of 1C discharge rate (1 hour battery life) to achieve my high output capability (600+ lumens). single AA torches are limited to the 200 lumen mark for the same 1 hour run time

Like sb56637, i prefer flashlight with "standard" battery (AA, AAA...) or at least with multiple choice of battery. That's why my L2i was my new favourite "power" flashlight.

You can also look for a light that works with an 18650 or two Cr123's, you just have to make sure it will handle 6.0v.

Then you need to spend $20 for a dozen decent Cr123's that you can then use in an emergency. Shelf life of cr123's is about 10 years.

One thing to note with multi-cell lights is that lithiums are a lot more dangeous in that config, esp with crappy chargers and crappy batteries. So probably ok for your own hobby use, but not great for careless people.

Otherwise, personally I'd get decent cells like the ones from the group buy, a decent charger, and you're set!