Any serious vaper knows that buying decent 18650 batteries is essential. However, charging these bad boys in a poorly designed charger (or a Chinese knockoff) will have an adverse effect on their performance.
The price of 18650 batteries isn’t cheap, so skimping on your battery charger is likely to cost you a lot more in the long run.
When you charge your 18650 batteries in a decent 18650 battery charger, you will not only get the most life out of your batteries… You will also be ensuring their safety.
Battery chargers should have a variety of safety features, be able to charge multiple batteries at a time (independently), and provide as much information as possible about the state of the batteries.
In this article, we have compiled a list of the most reliable 18650 battery chargers, broken down by the number of charging ports. We will also answer some commonly asked questions and provide you with some tips and tricks.
10 Best Chargers for 18650 Vape Reviews:
1. Nitecore D2 Intelligent
We have mentioned Nitecore several times throughout this article. That’s for good reason… They’re one of the most trusted (and highly recommended) brands in the battery charger industry.
An LCD display provides information regarding the charging process, voltage, and current on the D2, a 2-bay charger connected via mains plug.
There are a number of features built into the D2, including intelligent circuitry that prevents overcharging your batteries. This is a plug-and-play charger, which also automatically detects the best charging mode according to the battery type.
The D2 is a great charger for getting started with rechargeable batteries (excluding 20700 and 21700).
2. Nitecore I2 New
A Nitecore I2 New is essentially an updated and improved version of the original Nitecore I2. Expect to pay slightly more for the upgraded I2 model, but I believe it is well worth the additional cost.
It is important to note that the main difference between the I2 models and the D2 models above is the amount of information displayed to users. While the I2 will display less information, the silver lining is a lower purchase price.
In comparison to the original I2, the most significant improvement is the ability to charge 20700 or 21700 batteries. With many mods on the market requiring these bigger batteries, the I2 New is a great choice for a two bay charger.
Also, the I2 New has the capability of charging at a maximum of 1 Amp in each slot (0.5 Amp when charging two batteries). As if you needed another reason to love the I2 New, it also allows for the restoration of a depleted IMR battery (a battery that has been drained beyond the minimum voltage level considered safe).
3. Nitecore UM2
The UM2 charger is another great product from Nitecore. It features a color LCD screen that displays real-time charging information, including voltage, time on a charge, and charging current.
As with the above model, the UM2 is capable of charging 20700 and 21700 batteries as well as restoring over-discharged IMR batteries. Additionally, the UM2 has the option of setting the maximum charging current at 1 Amp for both batteries being charged. In other words, you will get much faster charging with this device than with the other devices listed above.
It is the ability to charge via a USB cable that is by far the most significant difference. Although this is obviously more convenient than a mains-powered charger, there is a caveat. Chargers operated via USB are limited in power output by the USB port being used. A set of two charging batteries will only receive 0.5 Amps of power if you are using a USB port with a maximum output of 1 amp.
The UM2 battery charger is a great little device with additional features, such as the ability to use it as a power bank and even charge it via a solar panel.
4. XTAR VC2S
The VC2S is the first XTAR 18650 battery charger on our list, giving the Nitecore LCD models a good run for their money. As well as having an LCD display, the VC2S comes at a very competitive price.
It is capable of charging a wide range of batteries, including 20700 and 21700 cells, with the XTAR VC2S 18650 battery charger. In addition to this, the VC2S features an innovative ‘soft-start function, which means your batteries will be given a gradual increase in current over the long run, resulting in a significantly longer battery life.
In the same manner, as the UM2, the VC2S also charges via USB. However, the maximum charging current is only 1 Amp (2 x 0.5 Amp), which means you are restricted by the USB port you choose to charge from. In general, USB ports charge at 1 Amp or higher, so you should not have to worry about being restricted unless you are charging from a laptop.
Overall, the VC2S is an excellent 18650 battery charger at a reasonable price.
5. XTAR VC2 Plus
Essentially an upgrade of the VC2 18650 battery charger above, the Plus model has a slightly higher price as you would expect. One of the most important improvements of the VC2 Plus is that it is capable of charging both batteries at 1 Amp each. This makes the VC2 Plus the obvious choice and is well worth the premium.
With the power-path USB feature, you can also charge two batteries and an external device at once, which is particularly useful if you are unable to decide whether to charge your phone or the batteries for your vape device.
With a gun to my head, I would choose the VC2 Plus over its predecessor simply for the extra features and the higher power output. This XTAR model is a worthy competitor to Nitecore’s UM2 model.
6. XTAR SV2 Rocket
The XTAR SV2 charger is without a doubt one of my favorite 2-port chargers for vaping batteries. With the option of charging at several currents, you are able to control how long your batteries last. While a slower charge (2 x 0.25 Amps) increases the longevity of the batteries you use, you will not have to wait very long for your batteries to charge with the higher end (2 x 2 Amps).
A great little charger with the highest charging current output of any two-port charger on this list is the SV2! While this fact alone makes the SV2 an excellent choice, the device also comes with all of the great features its Nitecore counterparts offer. In addition to battery restoration mode and reverse polarity protection, the device is capable of charging 20700/21700 batteries.
No matter how experienced or inexperienced you are as a vaper or how many 18650 batteries you have stashed in your closet, the XTAR SV2 would not go unnoticed.
7. XTAR MC2 Plus
If you are on a budget, the XTAR MC2 Plus USB charger is another great option! As with all the other chargers listed, click the image to check out the current price on Amazon.
It is compatible with a number of different batteries, including the 20700 and the 21700. Features include automatic optimal charging as well as the ability to restore over-discharged batteries, both of which are excellent for extending the life of your batteries.
MC2 Plus is an excellent compact charger with a display that indicates the charging current, battery power, and charging status, as well as all of the standard safety features you’d expect.
8. Efest LUC V2
This is the first 18650 battery charger from Efest on our list. It has a great charging output and is useful as a power bank as well.
However, it is important to note that this charger does not support larger vape batteries. This includes the 20700 and 21700 batteries.
A LUC V2 is a great choice for anyone in need of an LCD display and all the safety features they might require.
9. Nitecore D4 Digicharger
As the first charger on our list with four 18650 battery bays, the Nitecore D4 Digicharger was actually the charger I purchased at the beginning of my vaping journey. As far as I am concerned, one of my favorite aspects of the D4 is its build quality and its robustness. I have had it for years, and I have traveled throughout the world with it and it still works as well as it did the day I purchased it.
With the exception of 20700/21700 cells, the D4 is a universal smart charger that can charge almost all cylindrical batteries. The charger includes all the features you would expect from a Nitecore charger, including intelligent and independent charging of each battery, optimized charging, and multiple safety features.
It is important to note that the D4 comes with an integrated LCD panel that clearly displays the charging parameters and progress. Accordingly, the D4 18650 battery charger really stands out when you consider what it has to offer in terms of reliability, and we highly recommend it.
10. Nitecore I4 New
It has the same charging output as the D4 Digicharger above, but the I4 New adds active current distribution technology to the equation. The Nitecore I4 New is essentially the bigger, badder version of the I2. As far as you and I are concerned, this means that, after one battery has been charged, the charging power will automatically transfer to the other battery slot(s).
With this standard charger, you can expect all of the usual safety features. You will only need to insert the batteries and the charger will take care of the rest.
In comparison to the D4, the I4 New is able to charge 20700/21700 batteries. Although most mods use the standard 18650 cells, it is always nice to have the option. It has one disadvantage, however, compared with the D4, which is the lack of information displayed on the LED screen. However, the I4 is a decent charger at a reasonable price and you cannot really go wrong with it.
How to choose a charger – What are the specifications I should look for?
Standard specifications for any charger should include the following:
- It is capable of charging multiple batteries at the same time.
- Monitoring and charging of separate bays at the same time.
- The charging design for IMR batteries has been optimized.
- The battery type and status are detected by intelligent circuitry prior to entering automatic charge mode (CC, CV, dV/dt).
- The device automatically detects the status of the battery’s power and selects the appropriate voltage and charge mode based on that status.
- Auto-shutdown after charging is complete.
- Battery protection against overcharging.
- A reverse polarity protection feature prevents damage caused by improperly inserted batteries.
- Protection against short circuits.
- An optimal heat dissipation design.
The charger you choose should also be from a reputable brand. I understand that it is easy to obtain a cheap device online, but you should pay attention to the quality when selecting a charger.
Can you tell me which of the three bays is best for me?
Well… obviously, if you have only two batteries, you should not purchase a charger with six bays…
In the end, it is all a matter of personal preference and of course, your budget.
It is also important to consider how long it takes to charge your 18650 batteries. Depending on your charging device, it may take up to four hours to completely charge a cell.
As many of us own more than a few spare batteries, keeping them all charged can feel like an uphill battle. Given that you should avoid leaving your batteries charging unattended, it is important that you charge as many batteries as possible.
How long will my vape batteries last?
A battery’s ‘Cycle Life’ or ‘Charge Cycles’ greatly depends on the quality of the battery you purchase. The longer the battery will last, the better the quality. If you also purchase a 18650 battery charger that is of high quality, you will dramatically increase the battery lifespan.
Most batteries can last between 200 and 500 cycles if you choose the right charger. In terms of cycles, they are defined as full charges up to 4.2 volts followed by full discharges down to 2.5 volts to 2.8 volts. It is also important to consider a charger that allows you to select a current level that will be delivered to your cells. This will allow you to set the charging current at the lowest possible level. In spite of the fact that you will have to wait longer for a fully charged battery, you will drastically increase the battery’s life expectancy.
Can I charge my battery in the mod?
There is no doubt that you can charge your 18650 battery in the mod, but this may not always be the safest or most efficient way to do so. Without all of the safety features we discussed above you may find yourself greatly reducing the lifespan of your batteries.
You will also need at least one spare vape battery, even if you only have one vape mod. If the mod only allows you to charge one battery at a time, you will need to wait around for your battery to recharge, or you may also puff the vape while charging, which further reduces the battery life. It is important to keep your spare batteries charged so you can quickly swap out discharged batteries and continue vaping.
How to safely charge your vape batteries!
- Battery chargers should never be left unattended – While you shouldn’t have any problems with the chargers we reviewed, leaving your batteries unattended is simply not a good idea.
- Charge in a safe area – You should keep your charger away from direct sunlight or other heat sources in order to prevent overheating of the batteries or charger. Keeping the charger out of reach of children and pets goes without saying!
- It is important to buy a charger or battery from a reputable brand. Unfortunately, there are many chargers and batteries on the market without the safety features we’ve mentioned above.
- Check out our handy guide on using 18650 batteries safely if you wish to learn more about how to take care of your 18650 batteries.
The following are our top picks and safety tips for all things 18650 battery chargers. Please leave a comment or share this article.