With the variety of vape batteries and atomizer options available, it can be a bit intimidating. While batteries available on the market now allow for a wide range of vaping options, not all batteries are best for all vaping designs, and it is important to choose the correct battery for the most enjoyable, safe vaping experience.
The most common batteries available are small, cigarette-like batteries that are similar in size and shape to real cigarettes. They are sold widely at convenience stores and gas stations as well as “smoke shops” or other tobacco stores.
Cig-a-like batteries can be automatic or manual. The automatic ones do not require any button pushing and are activated when you inhale on the e-cig. While these are convenient and most closely simulate a cigarette-smoking experience they are generally disposable and offer the fewest options for personal preference. For those looking for an experience that most closely mirrors smoking, an automatic cig-a-like may be a perfect choice. For those looking to expand their vaping options and potentially try different e-juice flavors, some type of manual battery, that requires pushing a button to activate, will be a better choice.
EGo Batteries: Ideal Beginner’s Choice
Like cig-a-likes, eGo-style batteries, sold by a huge variety of producers, have become very common. They aren’t as easily available in convenience stores, but vaping stores and glass shops usually carry several or their own version.
These batteries are incredibly versatile and most come with standard 510 threading that is used by many different e-juice cartridge and atomizer producers. Most of them are 1300mAh, allowing for portability and convenience on-the-go. They are rechargeable, and most come with a USB-compatible charger that screws into the same port on the battery that your cartridge will. Note that this design does not allow pass-through charging; for that, you must get a battery with the charging port in the base, typically via a micro USB connection.
The popularity of this battery style has led to many variations in size, capacity, and charging style, as noted above. Some even now include variable voltage control, allowing users to experiment with different heat settings with safety features to prevent most accidents.
EGo batteries virtually all have safety cut-off features that prevent the battery from overheating or overcharging. The batteries can also be de-activated when not in use, so they can be safely tossed in a bag or pocket.
The reason these batteries are so popular, especially among beginners, is simple. They are compatible with nearly all e-juice cartridges and most standard atomizers with 510 threading. This makes them a perfect, low-cost option for new – or even more experienced – users to experiment with different juice flavors and atomizer styles. Now they even allow users to experiment safely with different temperatures, allowing new users to determine their own preferences before investing heavily in more expensive battery options.
Advanced Batteries for MODs
For more advanced vapers who are interested in building their own mods, the world of IMR/ICR batteries is one that will quickly become familiar. Note that some of these batteries may have built-in protections, but many will not and it’s important to understand your battery before using it.
First, the naming convention for these batteries can be a bit confusing. The five-digit name, such as 18650, is a simple description of the battery’s dimensions. The first two digits (in this case, “18”) indicate the diameter of the battery. The last three digits (“650”) indicate the length of the battery, all in millimeters.
While IMR and ICR batteries are both used in RBAs and other mods, their features and safety parameters are quite different. They use different internal chemicals, so have different responses to critical failures. IMR batteries are significantly more stable, and typically simply vent heat if they break due to overheating or overcharging. ICR, on the other hand, may explode or catch fire. IMR/ICR batteries can be protected with a small circuit board to prevent accidents or not, but using ICR batteries without protection is not recommended. For those wanting to build a mechanical mod without any circuitry, an unprotected IMR battery is the safest option.
When determining what battery to use you’ll also want to consider Ohm’s Law: I = V / R.
In the formula above, I stands for the current, V stands for voltage, and R stands for resistance. A builder wanting to make a sub-ohm vaporizer, for example, might need to determine the amps needed from their favorite battery choice, a 3.7V 18650. Using Ohm’s Law, you can see replace the letters like so: I = 3.7 / .3. The result is I = 12.3, so you know that the battery also must be rated for 12.3amp for a safe vaping experience that won’t ruin the coils.
Regardless of the battery chosen, you should never use one that is damaged in any way. Punctured, leaking, or overheated batteries can be dangerous and catch fire or even explode.
Here are some general tips for ensuring a safe battery experience with all battery types:
- Never charge your battery overnight or leave it unattended while charging.
- Do not overcharge your batteries; when they are done charging, remove them from the power source immediately.
- Do not attempt to disassemble or repair a non-working battery; the chemicals inside are dangerous and broken batteries should be recycled.
- Recycle batteries, rather than throwing them in the trash. Even broken batteries may explode or catch fire if punctured.
- Don’t let your batteries get too hot; do not leave them in hot vehicles or out in the sun.
The Best Battery: The One that Keeps Working
As vaping has trended upward in popularity, battery retailers have flooded the market. Regardless of the type of battery you choose, do some research on the maker and brand for the most effective, safe results. Knowing which batteries to use with which devices can be daunting for beginners, but sticking to common options before branching into advanced modifications can help. At the end of the day, finding the battery that allows you to safely vape the way you want to should be one of the main goals, and that will be a different choice for every vaper.