A Beginner’s Guide: Battery Charging, Replacement, and Storage
There’s almost nothing worse than setting out for a long day and realizing that you haven’t charged your vape, or that your battery isn’t keeping the charge as well as it used to. Time and again, I’ve experienced battery issues when I was still a newbie to the world of vaping.
My first vape mod was a starter kit with an internal battery. There are a few pros to internal batteries, such as never having to buy replacements and lower upfront costs. However, I soon learned that those pros were coupled with some huge cons. Once your internal battery is on the way out, you can’t replace it and you’re looking at one of two options: vaping with your device’s dreadfully short battery life and waiting until it completely dies, or biting the bullet and purchasing a whole new setup.
Either way, internal batteries can be a drudge. Not to say that these devices are the wrong way to go - I was perfectly content with my mod for about a year, and then I decided it was time to upgrade. What a difference external batteries have made!
Whether you’re in a similar situation— looking to upgrade to a mod with external batteries—or you’ve just opted to start with a box mod that has this wonderful feature to skip over the whole process of leveling up, you’re probably wondering a few things about these replaceable batteries.
How Long Do Your Batteries Last?
This is a hard thing to put a timeline on, considering everybody’s charging habits and vaping usage will vary, not to mention the different types of batteries out there. Under typical use, a good-quality 18650 lithium cell should be expected to last through about 300 charge cycles, though it’ll discharge more quickly as it approaches the end of its life. This charge life, however, assumes that you’ll recharge your batteries when they drop below their nominal voltage of 3.7, or about halfway to dead. If you vape until you can’t vape any more, expect something closer to 150 charge cycles before you notice serious sag (lack of responsiveness) and reduced charge life.
How Do I Know When it’s Time to Replace My Battery?
You should notice a drop off in battery life. If your vape begins to lose its charge faster than it did when your battery was new, this is generally an indicator that it’s on its way out. At this point, it’s a good idea to replace your cell with a new one.
How Can I Get the Most Life Out of My Battery?
Getting the most mileage out of your rechargeable batteries requires a little knowledge of battery care.
Buy the right cells - right now the only trusted battery manufacturers for vape use are LG, Samsung, and Sony. That’s it - and not even all of their models are the right chemistry to offer a safe vape experience. Take a look through our blogs for more on battery safety and selection (try here, here, and here for starters).
Try to keep your batteries out of excessive heat or cold. Extreme or excessive temperature changes can cause damage to your batteries, and extreme heat can cause premature damage, especially since cells naturally generate heat when they discharge energy (read: get used).
Don’t overcharge - a with any battery, it’s not usually a good thing to leave it on the charger for an excess amount of time. Once it reaches 100%, take it off of the charger. This will prevent it from getting overheated and keep the life of your battery at its prime. Granted, most safe technology chargers (we recommend Nitecore, Xtar, or Efest) *should* shut off when a cell is charged, but better safe than sorry in the case of a potentially faulty circuit.
Store properly - storage of your batteries is important for battery life as well as safety. If you carry a spare battery or two, get a battery case. You don’t want batteries floating around in your pocket, purse, or your car. Obviously, proper storage protects the batteries from elements such as heat, but it also keeps them safe and sound, away from things that can cause them to fail or leak. Nearly every case of an “exploding e-cigarette” you hear about on the news isn’t about a safety-protected, computer-chipped mod, it’s either an unregulated mechanical mod or (even more likely) a loose battery being carried in a pocket or purse that makes contact with loose change or a set of keys - metal-to-metal contact completes the circuit and causes the battery to discharge rapidly until it enters a state of thermal runaway, or overheating - this leads to an explosion of fiery battery acid in very short order. Don’t carry loose batteries, ever.
With just a little bit of effort, you can make sure you’re vaping safely and efficiently, getting the most out of your batteries in the process.