If you are in the market for an 18650 battery charger, you’re bound to be flummoxed by two things:the sheer number of options available and the significant variation in costs. You can get smart and regular versions, chargers with anywhere from one to eightbays and many more options.
As far as the cost goes, the range is huge, starting at a few dollars and going right up to $100 or more. So, here’s a look at a few factors that should be considered when you’re trying to find the best 18650 battery charger:
Safety: All electrical devices generate heat when operated, but the problem with lithium batteries is that the electrolyte used inside of them is highly flammable. This means if your charger does not protect you from inadvertent operating lapses, you’ll be in a lot of trouble.
For instance, everything from overcharging your lithium-ion batteries to accidentally placing them in reverse polarity in the charger carries the very real risk of fire and explosion. A regular charger does little to protect you in these cases.
You need to make sure your charger meets the US safety regulations and standards. The way to know this is by checking that the charger is certified by Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL).Check for the UL marking on the charger (the letters U and L inside of a circle)! One of the chargerand18650 battery set we’ve found to be UL certified is the ZR1 Lithium Battery Charger from Brightex Technologies.
Compatibility : Most currently available 18650 chargers offer little in theway of versatility, meaning 18650 batteries are all you can charge using these products. Manufacturers argue that consumers who switch to lithium-ion batteries seldom go back to the AAA route.
Even if that is true, what about the very powerful 26650 batteries? If you want to get more value for your money, you need to pick a 18650 battery charger that can also be used with 26650 batteries.
Speed: The majority of the chargers includedas part of a flashlight kit, and also many of those sold as a separate product as well, have a very low charging current (around 500mA).You need to use a charger which has at least a 1000mA charging current, since it will enable you to charge your battery at half the time than the regular low quality chargers.
Quality: Sure, there are a lot of 18650 battery chargers that are sold for a few dollars. But quality is something that you should not compromise on when buying aproductlike this. The simple reason is that a poor quality charger will not only have a shorter usable life but can also damage your batteries and, in worst cases, can actually turn into a fire hazard.
Price: Finally, consider the price of the product. You don’t have to always pay a bundle for 18650 batterychargers. The trick is to pick a product that will serve your needs precisely and no more. For example, a four or eight bay charger can cost you around $50 to $120. But, the question is, do you even own eightlithium-ion batteries? If not, a single bay charger will be the most cost effective option.Finally, don’tforget that with a single bay charger you get greater portability. They’re light weight and can be taken along just about anywhere.