Flashlight with in-built charger OR flashlight + battery with in-built charger?

Well, recently a subject came to my mind, and as I don’t want to remain ignorant, I decided to ask.
Sorry if this has been asked and answered before, though :FACEPALM:

In case I wanted to offer a flashlight that used Li-Ion batteries (18650s, 16340s…) what option is / would be safer: to offer a flashlight with in-built charger (micro-USB, USB-C, proprietary charging) or to offer a flashlight + a battery with in-built charger?

Assuming the person is non “flashaholic” and doesn’t work much with these things, what would be the best option in terms of safety?

Thanks in advance! :THUMBS-UP:

(P.S.: if the sub-forum is not the right one, please let me know to change it!)

The cell with built-in charger crokes, and you need to buy a whole ’nother one. Plus, space for the charging circuit takes away some volume that’d otherwise be stuffed with the chemically stuff that makes juice.

The light with built-in charger crokes, and you can always swap in another cell just fine.

I don’t trust micro-usb connections beyond a certain number of cycles before they start making intermittent contact. I’ve had tablets, phones, pretty much everything with a micro-usb connection, start to get flaky and have to rest something on top of it or under it to “bend” it into making contact.


Giving a light with charger means all the person needs is a charging cable. Plug it into a computer, power-bank, whatever, and it’ll be good to go once charged. No disassembly required beyond popping open the charging port.

Giving a light with a cell with built-in charger, and the person still has to open up the light, remove the cell, and use the cable on the cell to charge it.

Cells with chargers are great for specialty use, eg, using the cell in a light that doesn’t have a charger and you want to not have to take a separate charger. Then, it’s priceless.

But if the light itself has a charging port, why not use it?

Plus, I’ve seen reviews where a few people grexed that the cell itself gets rather hot on the end where the charging circuit lives.

So (again)…

Light-with-charger would be my first choice, cell-with-charger second.

Personally, I’d rather have the charger in the flashlight than in the cell.

Cells with built-in charger are specialty cells - hard to find and expensive to replace, and probably can’t hold as much capacity.

Having it in the cell means you have to use cells that have built in charging.
They also are longer than usual and will fit in less lights.

Having it in the flashlight means you can use literally any cell, which allows for higher quality options.
It also means that you don’t need to open the flashlight and remove the cell to charge it.

Yeah, get a light with a built-in charger. Make sure it will charge any 18650’s, not just proprietary formats.

Wellp, while I don’t have many lights with built-in charging, my own 2¢ is to still recommend the UT20 and/or F1. Can’t go wrong with either one. (See the “mom needs a light” thread…)

I think the BD##s have chargers, too, but I don’t have any to speak of.

Thank you all for the input so far!!

Apart from the practical aspects you mentioned - having to take the battery out to be charged - my major concerns are about the aspects of charging: heating, possible issues using the battery after a while, and risk of shorts (would this occur even having PCBs?). These are the main aspects I am worried about, because I never used a battery with built-in charger, only flashlights.

Lightbringer, it is probable that I will chose a smaller light, not 18650. I am not sure if it will be one that uses 16340s or 14500s (eventually rechargeable AAs). Still, I am not sure yet.
(BTW, i’ve been in the thread, and also suggested the Nitefox UT20 :wink: And that was the thread that made put this question here! In a different way, not discussing “how many lumens a mom would need”)

Except an issue with a 14500 battery (no built-in charging) in the Manker E11 (due to lack of reverse polarity protection on the FL) I never had a battery issue. But if I do, I know how to proceed. But the persons I may wanna give these lights may need to be “safe” from the beginning! :wink: Hence my question!

Thanks for the inputs! :+1:

A built in charging circuit won’t be any more dangerous than one built into a battery as long as it’s from a well known brand and not some cheap chinese thing.
Possibly even safer than ones built into the battery, since it has moor room for more advanced circuitry.

Oh right, keep this in mind ^
Some flashlights with built in charging only use special modified cells, try to avoid those.

Got it! The batteries, I don’t go for those cheappos! I got some protected cells (none has charger), some that came with lights (Odepro, Wuben, Nitefox) and 2 that I bought (Panasonic Bs). If I opt for 18650s, I will probably get one of these, as they never gave me problems!
About the flashlight, still have to see the one that suits the most. But it will have to take and charged protected cells :wink:

I hear you on this :wink: I have the Olight S1R Baton and know what you mean. I normally use it the “proprietary” cell but I wish that it charged other batteries (unprotected) to enjoy the “power” a bit more!

Thanks for alerting for those situations it is probable that I’d forget it :person_facepalming:

I have the Lumintop SD75: it comes with outboard power adaptor as charger, a 12vdc car cigarette lighter adaptor, has a 5vdc USB out as power bank function.

However, you should always consider the 2 cons I have with this light:

— horrendous, just terrible parasitic drain (ruined 2 sets of 4 18650s, one by me, the other with my brother in law)
— very poor battery quality springs in the 4-cell carrier (unprotecteds will just simply fall out)

Edit: Ooops…wrong thread

Gonna take that into account, thanks :wink:
And due to that I just checked my Wuben TO46R. The unprotected cell fits well, but a protected one fits better and doesn’t rattle at all! Same thing with Zanflare F1!

Wellp, just like protected cells, cells-with-chargers need the “sense strip” running down the side, only this time it just doesn’t sense voltage in the cell, but needs to carry enough current to charge it.

If well-designed, that shouldn’t be an issue, but it’s something to keep in mind.

The only one I have is also a Nitefox, and it clocked in at or above the rated capacity (2600mAH?). It already had a pretty good charge in it, so topping it off didn’t take too long, and it didn’t heat up that I could tell.

I can see where it could come in really handy if you have a light that doesn’t include a charger. Eg, on a business trip, on vacation, whatever.

Wellp, that’s a function of the light, not the cell. Even if reversed, a “protected” cell will happily try to fry the driver, as it doesn’t know the difference.

I know the v2 has RVP. I was trying it out, had some NexTorch cells on the table, and grabbed one but the bands were kinda confusing, and I absentmindedly put it in backwards. Light doesn’t work. Bah…

Took out the cell. Whoops! Now I see it…

Back in the right way, light works great.

I use these cheap cells in some flashlights that doesn’t have inbuild charging. They are genuine ncr18650b cells and the charging works fine at 0.75A

2 unidades LiitoKala para Panasonic USB-34B 3,7 V 18650 3400 mAh Li-ion batería recargable USB con indicador LED luz DC -chargin
http://s.aliexpress.com/Q3mmiqUf?fromSns=Copy to Clipboard


Not saying they are bad, bud that “wraping” doesn’t inspire me much trust :zipper_mouth_face: Maybe I am being picky, but the looks also influence when evaluating and buying :confused: Thanks for showing them, though!!

YES flashlight + battery with in-built charger

photo content
Light with NO Built in Overdischarge protection, MecArmy PT-16
Charger built into light, while charging, cannot use light, MecArmy PT-16
Charger built into protected battery, 16340 w protection and USB charging, can still use light with a second battery
Charger, external, Olight universal charger does all types shown, and more, can still use light with a second battery

Battery, protected w built in charger, by Olight and many others, not limited to 16340, can be charged in the PT-16, or by Charger, or by USB,
Battery, protected, not limited to 16340, can be charged in the PT-16, or by Charger, NOT by USB
Battery, UNprotected, 18350 (protected 18350 does not fit, and the light has no built in protection), can be charged in the PT-16, or by Charger, NOT by USB

my opinions:

I like protected batteries with built in USB. They do not have less capacity, and they are not unreliable, the charging disc is the same as the one in the PT-16

I like the External Charger, it keeps the light free to use with a spare cell, and does not require me to use batteries with built in USB charging

The disadvantage of the charger being in the light is that it will charge unprotected cells, and since there is no overdischarge protection in the light… possibility of overdischarge exists (mom fell asleep w light on)

Disadvantage of External charger, is that it will charge unprotected cells, and since there is no overdischarge protection in the light… possibility of overdischarge exists (mom fell asleep w light on)

Disadvantage of protected battery w built in USB charger, none. It is the most versatile, can be charged in all 3 ways, the light can still be used with a spare cell, and there is no overdischarge risk.

Disadvantage of External Charger, must be available for use, can be forgotten, or lost.

Advantage of USB cable, ubiquitous, plentiful, common, typical of Android phones, easiest to borrow or replace if forgotten or lost.

jon, thanks for you explanation and perspective once again :wink: There are some good arguments on those points too!
If I offer a light with built-in charger, it will come with protected cells, whatever the size it takes!

But yeah, the batteries with charger have the “plus” of being able to be recharged in the 3 ways (charger, inside light, through the cable).
Thanks for pointing these out and taking the photo as well :wink: It’s illustrative of this whole situation!

I agree,
And when I gift a LiIon light, I also like to give a spare protected battery,

in a battery case:

And recently I bought one of these cases, but I have not wanted to gift it yet, Im still playing with it:-)

Kit, AAA and 16340 lights w headlamp clips, spare cells in cases, and chargers

Hi Lightbringer The problem with micro-usb connections is usually the quality of the cable. The cheaper ones give problems after a short while. I have 2 android phones & a few rechargeable flashlights & find the better quality cables work better than the cheap ones. I use Blitzwolf products from Banggood.

I do feel this with cables, when charging my phone and/or Powerbanks. Some are quite nice, others, not so much. But it seems to imply differences in time of charging (can’t measure this or current accurately, though :person_facepalming: )