Lithium-ion batteries in 18650 format, which can be found in many powerful devices, need a suitable charger to not only be charged safely, but also to be used as often as possible. An 18650 charger offers not only the appropriate amperage, but also the correct monitoring systems so that you can always keep your energy storage devices ready for use.
- A 18650 charger uses much stronger currents than a simple charger for household batteries. An intelligent control, automatic shutdown, and a clear display are therefore mandatory.
- Because of the comprehensive equipment, setting options, and safety systems, it is worthwhile if you choose a model for universal use. This way, all your batteries will benefit from the technology.
- Battery chargers with high amperage can be used for fast charging. However, you can achieve a long service life for the batteries by charging them slowly and gently.
Can the 18650-charger do more than just charge?
If a small charger charges a size AA battery in 5 to 6 hours, it requires about 0.5 watts of power, depending on the capacity. Charging a 18650 Li-Ion battery like this would take at least 20 hours. With the right 18650 charger, on the other hand, you can expect a fully recharged battery in just over an hour using the fast charge method with sufficiently high amperage.
In order to achieve this and still ensure safe handling of the much higher currents, 18650 chargers are considerably more comprehensively equipped than, for example, classic NiMH chargers. Only accurate monitoring of the cell voltage, temperature, and various charging methods via LCD ensure that you can use the lithium-ion batteries long and intensively.
- Thanks to the intelligent circuit and monitoring with a built-in display, almost all 18650 chargers are universal. They charge batteries with lithium-ion, nickel-cadmium, and also nickel-metal hydride. The best 18650 chargers automatically detect the respective type of batteries and can also react with the right program in case of memory effect and deep discharge.
How to charge safely with a 18650-charger?
No 18650 charger test is complete without looking at the safety features that both protect the lithium-ion batteries and noticeably increase their lifespan. They are necessary because the technology allows for a much higher energy density than simple household batteries.
Incorrect handling, overcharging or the wrong method of charging can result in the battery being destroyed as well as generating a lot of heat. For this reason, even the cheap 18650 chargers have a few absolutely necessary safety systems. More expensive models with additional features also offer more monitoring methods.
All 18650 chargers are usually equipped with an LCD display (LC display is the correct term), as this makes the data of each individual battery immediately visible at a glance. Only very simple models with low charging currents do without it for a compact size, which is why you should stop the charging process yourself after a fixed time here, however.
Tip: Even a battery charger with a large number of fuse systems can fail, whether due to a material or operating error. We therefore recommend that you do not charge strong lithium-ion batteries in particular completely unattended or even overnight.
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Buying criteria for 18650 chargers: What are the advantages of 18650-charger?
- The size must fit the use
Less the criterion of a 18650 charger test and more a question of frequency of use is the number of charging slots. Common and widely used is the 4-slot 18650-charger, in which of course fewer batteries can be charged.
If you only have a device with a single battery, such as a compact flashlight, a model with only two or even one charging bay may be perfectly adequate.
If, on the other hand, you use a large number of 18650 batteries that you also need to charge regularly, it is better to go for a larger model. This way, you avoid having to replace the batteries several times, which is also more time-consuming, until all charging processes are complete.
Current strength determines the charging speed
You can recharge a 18650 Li-Ion battery with 3,000 mAh with a current of 3 A in just over an hour. However, such a high charging current puts a lot of stress on the material of the battery, so you should only use such strong currents, for example, if you want it to go especially fast because of a forgotten charge.
Even though the discharge current, which is important for refreshing batteries, for example, is often not specified, it is usually well below half the charge current. Both values and their setting options are of great importance in the most diverse 18650 charger tests on the Internet because you can charge faster at a high maximum current and determine the charging time for the battery yourself by setting it individually.
The charging current should be adjustable especially at a high maximum value because you can charge more gently with lower currents and extend the life of the battery cells in parallel.
Can also be used in the car
A 12 V connection for campers and cars can be found on some models, so you can get power from the car battery in addition to the wall socket.
+ continue to charge batteries on the road
– mostly additional adapters necessary
This means that you are not dependent on a separate power connection even on long vacation trips, but can use the car socket with 12 V, which in turn draws power from the car battery and alternator.