A Guide to Vaping: Integrated and Removable Batteries
As with all things vaping, there are multiple types of batteries, and each style fits a different need.
Vape pens often use integrated batteries, so do some compact mods. Older devices will usually come with a charger that screws onto the eGo threads (the larger male ones on the outside, not the smaller female ones - those are 510 threads), though some eGo-style devices and most fixed-battery mods now have a micro-usb charging port that allows you to charge the device while you are vaping.
Vape pens are great for first time users or occasional vapers. However, they are limited in power output - none will fire a modern generation sub-ohm clearomizer, and most fixed-cell mods still don’t get much past 75 watts. The upshot of eGo pens, though, is that they’re cheap enough to have a couple charged as backups.
Vape pens are not the only type of vaping device with integrated batteries, the Ijoy RDTA Mini Box Kit features a li-po battery that is built right into the core of the box mod. This simplifies the process of advanced vapers down to maintenance and upkeep. The thing that separates this type of system from open systems with removable battery usage is the fact that integrated batteries cannot be removed while open systems can have their batteries change as the life cycle of the battery nears its end or as when the cells become so worn down that a change is required.
A note of caution when charging - always keep an eye on your vape while it’s charging, checking it regularly to make sure it doesn’t overheat. If you battery or mod gets warm to the touch, stop charging immediately and let it cool down before attempting to charge again, keeping an even closer eye on it this time. If anything ever gets hot (too warm to be comfortable touching with the back of your palm), unplug your device immediately and get it outside or cover it with a heavy pot or pan until it cools, then dispose of it.
Also, just because your device has a micro-usb port doesn’t mean that any micro-usb cord will charge it. Modern smartphones, for example, will often include rapid chargers that can deliver 2 amps or more of power to a battery - look for cables that deliver no more than 1 amp, or even 500 mAh, when powering a vapor device. Also, if a device has removable batteries, they should be removed to charge.
If you are looking for more power or better battery life, mods with replaceable batteries may be a better choice. If you’re worried about running low on power, you can always carry a spare set and swap them out. It’s important, though, to use good batteries and use them properly.
If you have a mod that uses two or more batteries to power it, you should take extra care to keep the batteries in sets - charge them at the same time, use them at the same time, this way they’ll wear out at the same time. If you end up with a two-or-three-cell mod with one new, fresh battery and other weaker ones that have been through a hundred or more charge cycles, when the other batteries sag extra weight will be put on the stronger one, potentially causing it to overheat and/or explode.
When building or selecting a sub-ohm coil or setup that’s going to regularly be fired at 50 watts or more for a single cell (100 watts or more for multiple cells), battery selection becomes especially important. Let’s explore this a bit more.
First, the vast majority of mods on the market today were designed for flat-topped 18650 lithium ion batteries (18 mm wide and 650 mm long). Some older mods were compatible with 18350 or 18500 cells, but these are increasingly rare and can only be used at very low power, so we’re going to focus on 18650s - again, flat top cells - button top (sometimes called nipple top) are going to be too tall for vaping purposes, and attempting to force them into a mod could cause serious damage to the mod, the battery, or both.
Next, what kind of 18650 cell you buy matters - a lot. There are only three manufacturers that make batteries suitable for vaping. Three. These are LG, Samsung, and Sony. A couple other major electronics companies like Sanyo and Panasonic also make batteries, but they’re no good for our purposes.
Any battery company that you haven’t heard outside of vaping, like Efest, Vapower, Imren, MXJO, whatever - these aren’t battery manufacturers, they’re battery re-wrappers. What they’ll often do is buy “seconds,” or cells that didn’t pass quality control at a major factory, and then wrap the batteries with their own logo, often charging more than what you’d pay for a first-rate cell from a legitimate brand.
Worse, these re-wrappers are notorious for exaggerating their batteries’ capabilities. Despite frequent claims to the contrary, there is no such thing as an 18650 cell that can safely deliver more than 30 amps of power. None. But there are plenty of cells falsely advertised as delivering 35, 40, or even 60 amps - this can be extremely dangerous. One Efest cell “rated” for 35 amps was actually found to be a cell rated by the manufacturer at 9 amps - a mechanical mod user relying on those 35 amps of safety could have caused an explosion (and several probably have).
Also, in order to avoid setting yourself on fire, avoid any battery with -fire (Trustfire, Truefire, Pulsefire) in the name like the plague.
Speaking of mechanical mods, they’re probably best left to those who have a strong understanding of ohm’s law and battery safety. Without proper knowledge, mechanical mods in general are just a bad accident waiting to happen, and unless you’re an electrical hobbyist you’ll likely be just as satisfied with the vape output of any dual-cell regulated mod.
One last thing - chargers. Having a good charger is just as important as having a good battery. Again, there are three brands of lithium ion chargers generally recognized as acceptable, while others are generally to be avoided. Trusted chargers include Nitecore, Xtar, and Efest (remember, they don’t make anything - but they do outsource their charger production to Xtar, which is actually a great brand).
Even though batteries are not as shiny and fancy as mods or atomizers, they are the most important part of keeping your vaping experience safe.. Having a good, proper battery is imperative, and you should never try to save money by skimping on a quality battery. Stick to brands you know, sold by a company you trust.