Battery Safety - Do's and Don'ts
The newbies guide to vaping batteries and battery safety
This is a brief overview of vape batteries, as we don’t want you to be reading 15 pages of info, we’ve tried to consolidate all of the important and need-to-know information onto this page, split up into easy to read, bite-sized chunks.
To start off:
What Does mAh mean?
mAh (milliamp hours) is the longevity/capacity of your batteries. The higher the mAh number, the longer the charge in your battery will last.
Vape battery types
Many devices, especially beginner devices and kits, come with internal batteries inside. These types of devices are meant to be plugged into a all or computer to be recharged instead of needing an external charger. The batteries themselves will all differ regarding how fast they charge and how long they actually will last. Once they no longer can accept a charge, usually due to damage the device or age, it is usually time to get a new vape.
An example of this type of device would be the Innokin Endura T20S Starter Kit.
External batteries are meant to be taken out of your device and charged separately on an external charger. External batteries allow you to keep your vape without having to throw it away when the batteries die, as they can easily be replaced with a new set. While a charger is an extra cost, they are relatively inexpensive depending on the quality of the charger and will save you money over time.
Vape battery sizes
18650 batteries are the universal favorite. Most modern vapes will use anywhere from one three size batteries. They have become the industry standard as they are cheap to buy, are easy to recharge and can be easily replaced.
20650, 20700, 21700
These batteries, while less common than the 18650, may be required in specific vapes. There aren’t too many differences other than size. Some have less mAh, while some have more with higher amperage ratings.
Rarely, you will come across devices that utilize 26650 batteries. These batteries will last longer, but their sizes will not be compatible with most popular vapes. A quality external charger will usually have a way to charge this size of battery, just as the 18650. If you have a device that uses this type of battery, they are not usually interchangeable with the 18650 sizes and the major battery companies aren’t currently producing them.
Vape battery brands
Fake vape batteries exist. Make sure you buy your batteries from a reputable source with a good track record. VapeCloudUK has a wide range of batteries to suit everyone’s needs, and our supplier has provided us with certificates with authenticity to ensure that our customers are getting the safest batteries at the best prices.
There are three major companies that we carry that make safe, genuine batteries for your devices.
You will see other brands of batteries, but they can be dangerous to use. There will also be some companies that will rewrap the batteries they receive to have their name and logo on them, along with false amperage ratings. The false ratings can be dangerous, especially in mechanical mods.
Here are the major battery makers and their batteries that are the best and safest for vapers:
Marrying your batteries – not just a vow!
If you have a vape that uses two or more batteries, it is important that you marry the batteries together. Marrying the batteries just means that they are always being charged and discharged at the same rate, at the same time, for the duration of the batteries lifespans. Mixing and matching batteries on your charger and devices will lead to misfires and other various battery cell problems. For example, if your vape requires two batteries, those two batteries should always be charged or used in the mod together at the same time.
You may ‘divorce’ your batteries, to use them in single battery mods, but they cannot be remarried again.
Charging your batteries
Important info about charging
Vape batteries are made of Lithium Ion. Lithium Ion doesn’t charge below 0°C. While they will appear to charge normally, irreversible damage can occur to the cell and make them potentially dangerous to use.
High-quality Lithium Ion batteries will charge and discharge reasonably well up to temperature of 60°C, but their lifespan could be shortened.
Best vape battery chargers
Note: Like batteries, battery chargers are faked too, especially the more popular models. Most manufacturers now include a scratch-off authenticity code that you can check online to make sure you have received an authentic charger. If you do not have an authentic charger, it can be very dangerous to use and should be returned and or reported immediately.
The most popular and reliable chargers would be Nitecore and Xtar chargers, as we’ve consistently found that these chargers have performed fantastically and to our highest standards. Both can be found here:
Vape battery safety
The majority of news you may have heard about exploding vapes are severely exaggerated or missing vital information. While some batteries or devices can be fault, generally the explosions you hear about are primarily due to misuse of the products, or bad safety practices. For example, not taking care of your battery wraps/insulators so the batteries end up shorting. Another reason for battery failures/explosions would be putting too much strain on your batteries, such as pushing too much current through it, usually through firing a coil that is too low of a resistance for the battery to be able safely. This is especially dangerous in unregulated devices.
Vape batteries can vent and spew out fire and smoke if they short out. Sometimes they don’t even vent and just explode. Explosions can come from a variety of reasons, but we’ll talk about some of the most common ones below:
Battery wraps – check every time you use them!
On the outside of your batteries, you will have a durable outer casing, called a battery wrap, that can come in a plethora of different colors and fonts. Under the wrapping is an insulating ring and bare metal. If your wraps are damaged in any way at all, and you can see metal on the sides, they need to be re-wrapped.
Your insulator (usually a thing white or black ring on the positive connection), will be on the top of the battery and is meant to protect your battery from shorting out. If your insulator is torn or messed up, it must be replaced and then the battery must be re-wrapped.
Re-wrapped vape batteries – wolves in sheep’s clothing
There are a few companies, which shall remain nameless, that have decided to start re-wrapping batteries with their own logos, as well as using false amp ratings on their batteries. Some of these batteries that say they are good for 30-40 amps, could end up being good for 20 amps. This is a dangerous practice that can lead an unsuspecting vaper to use these in an unregulated mod, which can lead to explosions if they push the battery too far.
Samsung, Sanyo, LG, and Sony are some of the major companies that consistently make safe and reliable batteries.
If your batteries get wet, they are most likely unsafe to use. You can try to let them dry by popping them in a bag of uncooked rice 24 hours. If for some reason they have been in contact with salt water, they need to be replaced immediately. Salt is a conductor, and if it gets under the battery wrap, you will have a very bad day if you try to use it.
The dangers of overcharging
Even though battery chargers have gotten better these days, there are still cheaper and older models around that do not have overcharge protection. If you happen to have an older charger, DO NOT leave your batteries charging while you’re gone or overnight. Overcharging your cells can make them dangerous or greatly reduce their lifespan.
Storage – Do’s and Don’ts
Batteries should never be stored with metal objects, loosely in pockets with metal objects, such as coins or keys, or in extreme hot/cold temperatures.
As a side note, storing batteries in a hot or cold car is a common mistake people make. This can cause severe battery problems (even explosions if they get too hot), and greatly reduce their lifespan.
When you purchase your batteries, you should notice they have an amperage rating on the side of them. This is also referred to as the ‘continuous discharge rating’. This is the maximum amperage, you should ever draw from your batteries in any device you use. This is where the following information becomes extremely important:
If you are using an unregulated device such as a mechanical mod, it is imperative that you understand what your batteries are capable of, and OHM’s Law. Here is a good calculator to figure out all the variables you need. This is also useful for regulated mods. NEVER exceed the maximum amperage rating that your battery is capable of!
Amperage rating regarding multiple batteries
Say you have a mod that take two or three batteries and your batteries are rated for 20 amps each. This does not mean you double your amperage rating to 40! Even with two batteries, your maximum amperage will remain at 20 because each battery works independently from one another.
This isn’t to say that technology won’t improve, and device will begin to discharge batteries smarter to work around this, but for now, you’re stuck with the same amperage regardless of the battery count. Sometimes parallel battery setups (multiple batteries facing the same direction), seem like they will achieve this but they don’t, unfortunately.
Disposal of your damaged/worn batteries
Like everything, vape batteries only have a certain lifespan, and once they’re done, they’re done. You can’t revive them or keep using them, so disposing of them is the best port of call. But you should never throw your used batteries in the trash. Instead, find a local battery center or depository and dispose of them safely there. Throwing batteries in the trash can lead to injuries and fires. Plus, it’s bad for the environment.
Here’s a little checklist to follow with your batteries to make sure you’re being as safe as possible:
- Use authentic batteries from reputable sources only.
- Keep your batteries in good condition. Torn wrapping and damaged insulators should either be fixed or replaced with fresh batteries.
- Store your batteries in plastic containers or silicone sleeves, away from other metals. Never store them loose in pockets or bags with loose change, keys or other metallic objects to avoid short circuits or damages.
- Never use wet batteries!
- Don’t install your batteries in the wrong order (causing reverse polarity)
- Don’t expose your batteries to extreme weather conditions (hot or cold!)
- Keep multiple batteries together. In other words, if your mod uses two batteries, do not split these up to use in other devices. Keep them discharging and charging together at the same time for their entire life.
- NEVER take your batteries apart or attempt to solder directly onto them.
- If a battery is unusually warm, do not use it!
Some of these points are inherently self-explanatory and weren’t covered in depth above. These tips are extremely useful in order to be as safe as possible when using your batteries.