Manufacturers are constantly releasing new flashlight batteries that are more powerful and efficient than the last versions. Although having different options to choose from is a good thing, it also makes it more difficult to find the perfect batteries to power your flashlight. To help you in your search, I’ve created a list containing some of the most common flashlight batteries and their features.
First Things First
Before you choose a certain type of battery, you first need to know what size you need. The easiest way to find this out is by looking at the battery’s name. AA/AAA/C/D batteries are quite common but there are also some not-so-common models, such as the 18650. If you’ve never heard of this battery before, the numbers refer to the battery’s dimensions: 18mm x 65mm. The ‘0’ at the end denotes a cylindrical diameter. Now that you are a bit familiar with batteries’ nomenclature, let’s go over some of the most popular flashlight battery formats.
One of the most popular flashlight batteries – the 18650 has excellent capacity and can provide a lot of power. If you need a battery that will provide you with the best experience when performing a certain job or for camping, this is the format you should look for. One possible downside of these batteries is their size. Although there are some very compact 18650 flashlight batteries on the market, their size simply does not work with all kinds of flashlights.
This is a common battery format in the custom flashlight world. The latest version of 18350 has a relatively good capacity and allows flashlights to draw high amps for great output. Probably, one of the biggest issues with this battery format is actually finding good 18350 batteries. The market is loaded with inflated capacity ratings, and usually inflated draw ratings; 1200mAh is the largest capacity you can currently expect from a 18350. Purchasing from a reliable shop is vital to get a good 18350 battery.
Generally speaking, this battery has an excellent balance of power and size. Many flashlights that use this battery are easily pocketable and provide ample illuminating power. The biggest disadvantage of these batteries is that they are still predominantly disposable. Most flashlights that use a single CR123a will also allow you to use a rechargeable Li-ion/IMR 16340 battery. However, 16340s lack sufficient capacity, which means CR123a batteries are more reliable.
The 10180 is a battery format that is becoming quite popular on the market. It is an extremely small, rechargeable battery that’s mainly used in neck-lights and keychain lights. This format is great if you don’t need to use a flashlight often of just want a backup to your main flashlight. Obviously, the main drawback of the battery’s small size is its capacity. Most 10180 batteries have no more than between 70-100mAh of capacity.