For the future, button or flat top?

I am likely going to buy a flashlight that uses 18650s and can use button or flat top. I’m interested in knowing which batteries have the greater usability generally. Am I going to get more use out of one kind than the other if I decide to get another light? Thanks.

That depends on which light you are planning to buy.
Some lights are suitable for either protected, unprotected, button tops, flattops while other lights are only suitable for one type of cell.

For example a Convoy S2+ will take any type of 18650,since it uses springs on both sides.
A Q8 or GT will only take button tops, so it’s not easy to say.

If you can give us information in which lights you are interested, we can give you more detailed advice.

I bought only button-tops over the years and, so far, they have worked in all lights.
Convoy, Thorfire, Wuben, my own builds, … it typically fits

The one I’m looking at can use either button or flat. I’m just wondering which kind I might get more use out of (in other lights).


Button tops will usually work in all lights.

If you have the choice get button tops. They are are more widely accepted in general.
Some lights have mechanical reverse polarity protection, and many of these lights do not work with flat top cells.

From what I have seen, the shape of +B button tops are much more standardized. Flat top physical dimensions can vary widely. I have some LG FT cells where the +B is actually recessed a little.

Thanks, all, for the responses. Button tops, it is.

By the way, the flashlight is the Thorfire TK15. I ordered a Wowtac A3S for everyday use when they suddenly became available on Amazon again, and a Sofirn SP10b is on its way for my bag. The Thorfire is because it was a toss-up between that and the Wowtac. So maybe instead of an either/or, this will be a both/and. And whoever said that hanging around here would get me addicted, not a word! :laughing:

I think Zebralight is an exception though right?

I have not bought any recent Zebralights to know if they will work.
I don’t see why they would not work unless if protected button tops are too long.
I try to buy unprotected button tops unless the battery required does not come in button top.

The description of the Thorfire tk15 on Banggood doesn’t say whether the battery can be protected or not. If protected batteries can sometimes be longer than others, how would a user know whether they will fit? Do manufacturers usually say if they won’t fit? Or do you usually have to read reviews to find that out?

This review [REVIEW] Thorfire TK15 & TK15S (XP-L2, 1x18650) (Pictures, Output, Beamshots, etc.) mentions using EVVA protected Panasonic NCR18650B.

Thanks. I picked out the Nitecore i4 charger, and when I looked at batteries, flat top seemed to be the prominent ones. Back to the search.

It looks like the Thorfire can use flat top batteries as it has springs on the head & tailcap. It’s just you asked which batteries are most used for all around.

Right. So now I’ll look at button top.

Right. So now I’ll look at button top.

… the only exception I think would be if you need a specific high drain IMR and its only available in flat top.

You can almost always use a button top in every flashlight, however flat tops only work in some flashlights.
So having button tops is more common.

I had a few button top 18650 batteries that I ended up unwrapping and pulling protection and button out. One of them had a rip in the outer wrapping and the others I just unwrapped to get them in uniform. I have only one flashlight that has trouble with flat tops, but it’s not a high drain one, so a simple spacer works (I bought the one sold at Jaxman’s aliexpress store)

With 14500 batteries it’s a different story, some of my AA/14500 flashlights had too short of a tube to fit protected 14500s without risking damage to the driver or the cell, so I unwrapped the couple of 14500s I had to fit them better.

Going forward I only intend to buy unprotected cells, unless I decide to by a BLF Q8, but them again I might decide to mod it to accept flat tops

I don’t know of any Zebralights where a protected cell will fit because length. Most of the new ZL’s require flat tops because of pogo pin connections. My older H600Fd has springs on both ends but works with a button top. I use flat tops for less stress on the compressed springs. If Zebralight recommends a flat top, it’s probably best to take that advise.

Jak’s picture of pogo pins