Best batteries for flashlights

Do you also get annoyed by all the crappy batteries you find online?

It’s important to get the info from the right people. We’ve been into flashlights for over 9 years and although we don’t know everything, we still know more than 99% of the rest of the world about batteries….

We will help you decide what batteries are the best for your flashlight. Be it AAA, AA, or lithium-ion batteries. We also help you get to know which batteries to stay away from. 

Rechargeable flashlight batteries:

Best AA & AAA flashlight batteries (rechargeable)

Many keychain lights like the famous Olight i3t and Lumintop EDC02 run off AAA batteries. So knowing which batteries to choose from is not only useful, it can be a gamechanger.

The first thing we would like to point out is that we NEVER recommend using Alkaline AAA batteries! Just don’t! Just google for “batteries stuck in Maglite” and Google shows 141,000 results. Be warned! The list below will be in alphabetical order.

Eneloop Rechargeable batteries

The Eneloop battery has taken over the NiMH battery world since November 2005! Although there are still people who have never heard of the brand, it has always been at the top of best performers! Always. Also check out Eneloop101.com if you want to know more about Eneloop batteries in general.

Look for Panasonic Eneloop batteries at your local store, or online, and get them while you can. Please keep in mind that even though the Eneloop PRO have a higher capacity, the regular white Eneloops are less prone to damage and capacity loss.

Best 18650 batteries for flashlights

We often categorize 18650 batteries into 2 camps: high capacity and high drain.

With High Drain cells we mean to say that the batteries can provide more current than a typical battery. High power flashlights that produce a few thousand lumens need these kinds of batteries. However, most of the time, high drain batteries have lower capacity than normal 18650 batteries.

If you want your flashlights to run as long as possible, at sub-1000 lumens, then high capacity might be the best choice.

Keep in mind that Max Amps don’t always mean the same for all manufacturers. In some specifications that means the highest peak discharge rate, but for other brands they mean: max continuous discharge current.

Also, before going any further, I’d like you to have a look at our list of some of the best 18650 battery chargers as well.

Some of the more popular HIGH DRAIN / HIGH DISCHARGE 18650 batteries are:

Sony Murata VTC6

Molicell P26A

Samsung INR18650 25R

Some of the most popular high CAPACITY 18650 batteries:

If you want to get the longest runtimes possible, you need to look at high capacity batteries. And these have a capacity of 3000mAh or more. They don’t have a high discharge rate, so they don’t fit the brightest flashlights. To make it easy: these will do good for 1000 lumens and less.

Samsung INR18650 35E

Panasonic NCR18650B

Sanyo NCR18650GA

Hybrid: Medium capacity and medium discharge:

If you’re looking for an in between battery, have a look at the following batteries. These are relatively high capacity (around 3000mAh) and a relatively high discharge rate. These types of batteries are great if you want to have a balance between runtime and output.

Bear in mind, that many flashlights don’t need high discharge cells, so a balance between capacity and discharge is great.

Sony Murata VTC6

Samsung INR18650 30Q

  • Max. continuous discharge: 15A
  • Peak discharge: 26A
  • Capacity: 3000mAh
  • Link to review

  • Sony Murata VTC6 (Max continuous discharge current: 30A, capacity: 3000mAh) (Link to review)
  • Samsung INR18650 30Q (Max. continous discharge: 15A, peak discharge: 26A, capacity: 3000mAh)(Link to review)

Best 21700 batteries for flashlights

The same can be said for 21700 batteries, but generally speaking, 21700 batteries have more capacity AND a higher discharge rate than 18650’s. So it’s good to know that even the higher capacity batteries, still produce a lot of amps. This means that you can get a high output and great runtime at the same time.

Oftentimes, popular manufacturers include good and trustable batteries with their lights, and the difference in output is usually negligible. You won’t really notice the difference between 5500 lumens or 6000 lumens.

Also, before going any further, I’d like you to have a look at our list of some of the best 21700 battery chargers as well.

Popular HIGH DRAIN / HIGH DISCHARGE 21700 batteries:

21700 flashlights have become more mainstream in the last couple of years. It took a while, but when you look purely to the number of reviews we do, the 21700 flashlights have surpassed the 18650 ones.

In order to get the highest output, you need to look at the peak discharge as well as the max. continuous discharge rates. For all the batteries I linked to a review done by HKJ or somebody at budgetlightforum.

Keep in mind that these cells are mostly sold as flat top, unprotected cells. If you want button tops, you have to search a bit, since they are rare to come by, and quickly sold out.

Samsung INR21700 40T

  • Max. continuous discharge: 35A
  • Max. peak discharge: 45A
  • Capacity: 4000mAh
  • Link to review

Samsung INR21700 30T

  • Max. continuous discharge: 35A
  • Max. peak discharge: 61A
  • Capacity: 3000mAh
  • Link to review

Molicell INR21700 P42A

  • Max. continuous discharge: 45A
  • Max. peak discharge: N/A
  • Capacity: 4200mAh
  • Link to review

Some popular HIGH CAPACITY 21700 batteries, with good discharge ratings:

At 1lumen.com we use the Samsung INR21700 50G as our default battery for testing. It gives a nice balance between performance and capacity.

Samsung INR21700 50E

  • Max. continuous discharge: 9.8A
  • Rated capacity: 5000mAh
  • Min. capacity: 4900mAh
  • Link to review

Samsung INR21700 50G

  • Max. continuous discharge: 15A
  • Rated capacity: 5000mAh
  • Min. capacity: 4850mAh
  • Link to review

Lishen LR2170SD

  • Max. continuous discharge: 9.6A
  • Rated capacity: 5000mAh
  • Min. capacity: 4800mAh
  • Link to review

Conclusion:

Make sure you know what kind of battery you need. If you don’t know what battery to get for your flashlight, ask the seller. If you order a flashlight and want to know what battery fits best, ask the seller as well. Oftentimes, manufacturers include batteries, so I’d suggest using them.

Several things you need to keep in mind:

  1. Does the flashlight accept button tops or flat tops
  2. Does the flashlight accept protected batteries (these are longer)
  3. What’s the highest output, and what is the highest discharge current the flashlight needs.
  4. Do I care about sacrificing 10% of lumens over 10% of runtime

Batteries to stay away from: Fake specs & dangerous batteries

Be warned for the following batteries. Any 18650 with a higher capacity of 3600mAh is a lie!

Take especially note of the 2 red Ultrafire batteries, that look a like, and there are many variations. Some show 3000mAh, some show 4200mAh, but there are multiples that are just dangerous and fake.

Don’t buy any of the following batteries at any time.. Even if the mAh numbers are slightly different.