Part 1 – The 20A Battery of Choice
My Requirements for 18650 Vaping Batteries
It’s no secret that even now, I’m (already) something of a vaping dinosaur, preferring to vape unregulated 18650 boxmods (and occasionally 18650 tube mods) over all of these newer, sexier regulated vaping devices. I work from home, so have pretty open and unfettered access to my chargers and all of my 18650s all day long. I tend to buy two sets of batteries for each of my boxmods as I purchase them, and “marry” them to the box…a lot of this is due to the fact I sell battery rewraps and tend to accessorize my wraps to my devices.
That being said, my three vaping battery requirements are really somewhat simple:
- Unregulated parallel dual 18650 boxmods. I generally build my coils for a parallel battery configuration somewhere in the neighborhood of 0.14-0.20 ohms. These are all for dual battery devices, so the continuous amp headroom is anywhere from 1.5 – 2.0 times the headroom of a single cell (depending on what forum or part of InternetBroScience™ you’re reading). Taking the worst case here, 0.14 ohms on a dual 18650 device with zero voltage drop whatsoever (somewhat impossible) would yield a continuous draw of 30A (126W at 4.2V). Using the conservative 1.5x multiplier, a 20A continuous cell is just fine for subohming in this range.
- Unregulated series dual 18650 boxmods. I generally build my coils for a series battery configuration somewhere in the neighborhood of 0.5-0.7 ohms. Taking the worst case here, 0.5 ohms on a dual 18650 device with zero voltage drop whatsoever (somewhat impossible) would yield a continuous draw of 16.8A (141W at 8.4V). A 20A continuous cell is just fine for subohming in this range, even as low as 0.4 ohms on series (due to voltage drop, we never actually see 8.4V at the RDA – at the theoretical maximum, we would see 21A, but at anything under 8V, it’s 20A or under).
- Mechanical 18650 tube mods. I run pretty much anything on these – the same coils and RDAs I use on parallel dual 18650s for the most part. That means I need a legitimate 30A cell to vape tube mods safely this low. This will be the subject of my next post, today we’ll talk about HG2s.
So, there’s no one cell for me – in theory I certainly could use a 30A cell everywhere (or, equally easily, just quit using tube mods), but my preferred 30A cell doesn’t have an awful lot of lifespan compared to my preferred 20A cell. In the 18650 game, you can either have a high continuous amp draw or you can have a lot of capacity (measured in mAh), it’s just not possible in mid-2015 to have both in the same battery.
My 20A Cell of Choice (3Q 2015) – the LG HG2
I still have a number of LG HE2/HE4 cells (24+) as well as Samsung 25Rs (10+) – they do the majority of my vape heavy lifting today. For my boxmods, I’ve also purchased Samsung 30Qs (15A, 3000 mAh), LG HD2s (25A, 2000 mAh), and my new favorite, the LG HG2. (20A, 3000 mAh). For all of my dual battery boxmod requirements, actually the 30Q and HG2 compete very favorably.
There’s a ton of great current and recent battery testing information out there on the e-cigarette forum – here are, as an example, the “shootout” results between the LG HG2 and Samsung 30Q:
And here are the overall test results for the LG HG2.
As can be seen, the LG HG2 is a very solid, consistent performer at 20A. My main goal was to select a battery that was affordable, available, and still maintained as large of a capacity as possible – that meant a 3000 mAh cell. Personally, I only buy batteries from larger manufacturers – chiefly Samsung, LG and Sony. Everything else in my experience is basically a rewrap of one of those big three.
My main problem (and it’s an incredibly minor one) with the Samsung 30Q is Samsung’s explicitly stated continuous amp rating – 15A. All of the legitimate performance testing I have reviewed describes that as an absurdly conservative rating, in fact some places list it as 20A or even 25A. Yet I’m stuck with a label direct from the manufacturer that pretty clearly states 15A. At the time of this writing, 30Qs are roughly the same cost as LG HG2s – both are in the neighborhood of $6-7 a cell online at retail. If you love and strictly purchase Samsung products, I don’t think you will go wrong by selecting the 30Q to meet your 20A needs…but for me, I’m sold on the LG HG2.
I have several of these wonderful cells. They perform wonderfully, I have yet to have any issues with any of them. I have seen 2850+ mAh go into them a few times, so I know that they are exceeding the capacity of my workhorse HE2s and HE4s by around 15%. They don’t heat up when running them below 20A which is quite comforting.
That being said, I am not in a hurry to rush out and replace all of my old cells with these – going from 2500 mAh to 3000 mAh is somewhat evolutionary, not revolutionary. Any new batteries I buy will certainly be this type (or newer), but I will be content to replace HE2s and HE4s with HG2s as they start to fade later in their life cycle.
LG’s wraps are a little boring, so this is how they look here at my house…:)