So, you’re in the mood to buy some rechargeable lithium batteries huh? But you want to make sure you don’t get burned after the purchase, is that it?
Well read on…because this post is for YOU!
Also, know right away that I’m not referring to lithium battery packs, that are often found in cell phones, cordless phones or digital camcorders. These are individual batteries that are used to power a variety of items, including (but not limited to) remote controls, electronic cigarettes and LED flashlights.
Know which type (size) is required.
Basically for most devices, including LED flashlights, you’re talking about rechargeable lithium batteries. In this class, the most popular are 18650, 16340 and 14500.
When comparing these three types, a 18650 is the largest in the group.
Next in size is the 14500. It’s identical to a standard AA battery, but size is the only attribute the two have in common.
The 16340 is the smallest. It’s a direct cousin of the disposable CR123 lithium battery.
Obviously the device you’re powering will determine which size is required.
Know Your Voltage Requirements
Some devices might not be clearly marked where type of useable battery is concerned. If there’s a user manual for the product, read it carefully. If the product only accepts AA size batteries, make certain the voltage requirements are sufficient to accept one or more 3.7 volt cells.
NOTE: Most remote controls that use two AA batteries, may only accept up to 3 or 4 volts. This would be a candidate for two NiMH batteries ONLY!! These are NOT lithium batteries, but a completely different chemistry! Read about buying them HERE.
It’s much easier to know if an LED flashlight accepts 14500 batteries than other AA operated products.
The voltage requirement is much simpler when the product runs on either 18650’s or 16340’s. Normally, if it accepts ONE 18650, then it can take TWO 16340’s. A device that accepts only ONE 16340, will NOT be large enough to hold a 18650.
Know Your Battery Brands!
Okay, you’re now thinking, what? What do you mean “brand?”
Believe me, I know what I’m talking about. Buying a reliable brand of lithium battery is just as important as knowing what type to buy!
I wrote about the possible dangers of buying cheap 18650 batteries here.
In general, if you stick to brands that include;
….then you can rest assured you’ve bought a quality battery. Many of those on the internet that are sold in multiple sets… as an example; six for as little as $12, aren’t worth it, and could actually be dangerous to use! In addition, when a charger is included, all at one crazy-low price… it’s often a deal to steer clear from.
If you’re like many (including myself) and price is an issue…do your shopping homework. The point to take away about rechargeable batteries, is that it doesn’t pay to buy merchandise that appears cheaper than average! “Deals” of four or more batteries starting in the $10 range should be avoided!! I don’t say this from an affiliate marketers perspective. I say it from the standpoint of quality and safety.
NOTE: If you buy lithium batteries from any of the makers I noted above, you won’t need to be concerned about getting a battery with an exaggerated capacity branded on the label.
Olight are highly recommended, and can be checked out here.
Alternatively you may click here for a wider choice.
I hope this post has been informative, and I’ll be happy to respond to any questions or comments.
A nice and very informative post, I am from an electronics background (R&D) and was not even aware of this plethora of rechargeable batteries available in the marketplace.
I usually only purchase the regular types – AA / AAA / C / D types(rechargeable of course) for the camera , large magnalite torch, remote controls and other items around the house.
This post was indeed an eye opener.
Kinds Regards and much success,
Thanks for visiting the site Miquel. That’s great that the post has enlightened your previous knowledge of batteries.
Great info, thanks for sharing! I have booked marked for the next time I need a rechargeable lithium battery. I really appreciate the list of good brands, it’s always tempting to try and save money and buy cheap, but you made some really good points about why you need to buy a good brand.
Thanks! I’m glad the information was useful.
Great article with useful and well written information.
I have never come across a site built on the passion of flashlights you’ve done a great job and I am truly ‘enlightened’ 🙂
Thank you Rich, I love your closing thought. It was very ‘illuminating’!
Do they make 9 volt rechargeable lithium batteries? I use a 9 volt in my guitar and I have to replace those suckers every month. I’d love to have rechargeables!
Thanks for asking Steve, but no, sadly they don’t exist. I’m surprised the guitar uses 9v!
Hello and thank you for having this site up.
Could you please share with me, why aren’t there any of the ‘name brands’ that sell these re-chargeable lithium batteries?
Thank you in advance, and again for a great site.
Rechargeable lithium batteries were not originally intended to be consumer items…like alkaline batteries are. This is why (if I understand your question) they aren’t sold under Duracell or Energizer. Among rechargeable battery “geeks” though…the names that have become industry standards, like Nitecore, Olight and Samsung, ARE “name brands”!
Can a olight 14500 lithium re-chargeable battery be charged on either a duracell or energizer plug-in charger that has the safety green/red light ?
Thanks in advance.
IF the charger is designed to charge BOTH NiMH AND Lithium-type batteries, then yes. But you need to be CERTAIN it can. Many chargers made by battery manufacturers are only made to charge the types of batteries that the majority of users would buy. This is often LIMITED to NiMH (nickel-metal-hydride) batteries ONLY. Read the documentation provided, carefully.