Batteries with ridiculous ratings
In this article I will look at the best cells and then the "fake" cells for a couple of different sizes. The cells are not really fake, but the specifications are ridiculous and the cells are usual a very low quality.
All the listen cells will include a link to the review of that cell.
I will include 18650, 26650, 16340, 14500, 18350 and AA NiMH cells.
18650 The good cells
This is the battery size where there is most development, i.e. this is the size where the highest current and highest capacity batteries are produced (It may move to 20700/21700 in the near future).
Below I have listen the best cells in 18650 size.
All with a capacity of 3500mAh.
Samsung is rated for a maximum continuous discharge current of 8A and maximum discharge current of 13A and 500 cycles to 60%.
Sanyo/Panasonic is rated for a maximum continuous discharge current of 10A and 500 cycles to 60%.
LG is rated for a maximum discharge current of 10A and rated for 400 cycles to 80%
For high current with good capacity
Samsung is rated for maximum continuous discharge current of 15A* and 300 cycles to 73%.
LG is rated for maximum continuous discharge current of 20A and 300 cycles (200 @ 20A) to 70%
Sony is rated for maximum continuous discharge current 15A* and 300 cycles to 53%
*Cell is rated for higher current if a temperature cutoff is used.
For high current
Sanyo/Panasonic is rated for maximum continuous discharge current 25A and 300 cycles to 60%
Sony is rated for maximum continuous discharge current 35A with temperature cutoff and 300 cycles to 70%
18650 The bad cells
On this cell the capacity specification is above the possible and my tests shows it is around 1000mAh.
Another impossible capacity, the real capacity is about 1200mAh.
This is obvious not possible, some people may hope to get a half decent cell, but no the cell is crap with 500mAh and is produced to be a cheap consumer cell. I did open this cell to look how it was build.
GIF ICR18650 12000mAh (Yellow)
This is the same cell as the 9900mAh cell, just with another label.
26650 The good cells
This cell has a volume that is a bit above twice a 18650 cell, this means the capacity could be a bit more than double a 18650 cell, i.e. in the 7000-8000mAh range, but the factories with the best technology do not produce these cells. For this reason the maximum capacity is considerable lower.
In my test some of the best cells I have found are:
Shockli IMR26650 5500mAh (Black) 2017
This cell is close to 6000mAh at low load and can handle up to 20A continuous.
This is a very typical 26650 cell with about 5200mAh and can deliver 10A to 15A before it start losing capacity and/or getting too hot.
This larger size cell is often not very good at high current, but LiitoKala can deliver 15A to 20A without losing much capacity and it have slightly more capacity than rated at low current: 5200mAh.
26650 The bad cells
GTL 26650 12000mAh (White)
A really ridiculous capacity rating, the real capacity is around 2000mAh
The capacity is nothing extraordinary, but the current rating is very high.
I measured the capacity to 3400mAh and at 30A the capacity has started to drop and the cell got rather hot.
This cells specification is at the limit of possible capacity, but the current drain is very high.
The cell measured about 4500mAh and the best of the cells could deliver about 15A before capacity dropped.
UltraFire BRC26650 7300mAh (Gray)
This capacity may be reached if one of the big manufacturers started producing these cells, but definitely not on a cheap cell. This cell has 2500mAh.
16340 The good cells
These cells are about 41% of the 18650 size, i.e. a theoretical capacity around 1400mAh, but the small size means more space is wasted on the can and connections and the actual capacity is much lower. This size is only manufactured by smaller brands that do not have access to the best processes, i.e. even lower capacity.
I will use some cells from my tests for reference capacity (This is not all the good cells, only a few examples).
This has 700mAh capacity and is one of the highest capacities I have tested in this size. The cell can deliver 1-2A.
This cell has 550mAh at 3A, but the capacity is down to about 350mAh at 5A.
16340 The bad cells
SuperPower SP16340 3000mAh (Orange)
This cell can match a 18650 in capacity, according to the rating, this is, of course, wrong. The real capacity is about 260mAh and the cell has trouble delivering 0.5A
GTF TR16340 2800mAh (White)
With a rating up in the 18650 cell range this is obvious a fake rating, the real capacity is about 240mAh-300mAh (There is a huge variation between cells) and the cell can nearly deliver 1A.
GIF TR16340 2500mAh (Yellow)
This cell is about 300mAh and is also struggling to deliver 1A.
UltraFire 16340 1000mAh (Blue)
This capacity may theoretically be possible, but not from a cheap cell. The real capacity is about 600mAh and it can handle between 0.5A and 1A. For a bad cell it is not really that bad.
14500 The good cells
This size is slighly larger than 16340 and will usual have slightly more capacity, it is 46% of a 18650 cell in size, i.e. a theoretical capacity around 1600mAh (Without subtracting capacity for more wasted space). This time there is cells from the top factories, but they are a bit old and do not use the latest technology.
Sanyo UR14500P 800mAh (Red)
Sanyo/Panasonic designed this cell a couple of years ago, it is still one of the best 14500 on the market with 800mAh, it can deliver about 2A.
Sony US14500V 680mAh (Green)
Sony did also make one, it has lower capacity (680mAH), but can deliver more current (5A)
Enercig EC-14500HC 850mA (Blue)
There exist a few cells that is slightly better than the above, this cell has 850mAh and can handle 2-3A.
Enercig EC-14500HP 650mA (Gray)
There is also some high current cells on the market that can surpass the Sony cell, this cell has 670mAh and can deliver 10A
14500 The bad cells
GTF TR14500 2500mAh (Yellow)
This size cell cannot match a 18650 cell in capacity, the real capacity is around 380mAh and it can just about deliver 1A.
GTL LS14500 2300mAh (Purple)
The real capacity is around 300mAh and it can deliver 1A.
Litelong 14500 LiFePO4 1200mAh (White)
This cell is another chemistry that has less voltage and less capacity than normal LiIon batteries. The cell has 600mAh and can deliver 3A.
18350 The good cells
This cell is about half the size of a 18650 cell, i.e. expected capacity about half of a 18650 cell: 54% or 1938mAh, again the cell is only manufactured on factories that do not have the best process and the capacity will be lower.
I only list a few examples, many more cells with about the same performance can be found in my comparators.
Aspire INR18350 1300mAh (Black-yellow)
This cell looks like a new generation of LiIon Chemistry form the Chinese factories, the performance is way above everything else I have tested, both current and capacity. But it is not 1300mAh, more like 1200mAh. It can deliver 10A to 15A.
Tensai LC18350 950mAh (Gray)
This cell has 900mAh and can deliver 3A before the capacity drops.
Windyfire IMR18350 850mAh (Red)
This cell has 900mAh and can deliver 3A before the capacity drops.
Efan IMR18350 700mAh (Purple)
This cell has slightly less capacity, around 800mAh, but can deliver 7A
18350 The bad cells
I have not found any with complete ridiculous rating, but there is some that do not live up to specifications.
TangsFire TS18350 1200mAh (Gray)
1200mAh is just about possible, but this cell did not deliver it, the real capacity is about 750mAh and up to about 2A
TrustFire TF18350 1200mAh (Black-red-gold)
Again a optimistic specification, the real capacity is about 900mAh and it can deliver a bit above 3A.
TangsFire TS18350 1500mAh (White)
The Tangsfire brand have more than one capacity, but again the marked capacity has nothing to do with the real capacity. I got a 750mAh and a 900mAh cell.
AA NiMH The good cells
Eneloop AA HR-3UTGB 1900mAh (White)
The white eneloops are the standard for very good NiMH cells, they do not have the highest capacity (1900mAh), but have a very long lifetime.
Fujitsu AA HR-3UTHC 2450mAh (Black)
These cells are rated 2450mAh and are made on the same factory that makes eneloops. This is also very good batteries, but the lifetime is not as good as the 1900mAh type.
Powerex AA 2700mAh (Black)
The maximum capacity I have seen is 2700mAh, but the capacity is not much above the 2500mAh cells.
AA NiMH Not bad cells
Eneloop lite AA 950mAh BK-3LCCE (Cyan)
The cell is rated at 950mAh.
Many NIMH manufacturers have some low capacity cell in their range, they may be fine for some application, but mostly it is better to go for the higher capacity cells.
AA NiMH The bad cells
I have not seen many bad NiMH batteries, but here is a few.
BTY AA 2500mAh (Silver-blue)
The rating looks fine, but this cell weights considerable less than standard NiMH cells and do not really have any capacity and cannot deliver any current.
Flash AA 4600mAh (Yellow-blue)
This capacity is definitely way above the possible capacity, the cells are about 1300mAh and would have been acceptable if that had been the specified capacity.
Other fraudulent specifications
Lets look on the back of a UltraFire cell. It says it has discharge protection and a PCB (Printed circuit board). A circuit board looks like this:
and is placed at the bottom or the top of the cell, this means a battery with PCB will be longer than the cell without and the cell type "xx650" says the cell is 65mm long without protection
This cell do not have any circuit board mounted, i.e. it is unprotected.
No memory effect, recharge up to 1000 cycles
This is often seen in adds for LiIon batteries. Batteries may last that long, but there will not be much capacity left. The top brands usual say 300 to 500 cycle, then the cell is down to 60-70% capacity.
The good cells I show are not all the good cells, only a few selected examples, using my comparators it is possible to find many more cells with similar performance. The same goes for the bad cell, I have not shown all the bad cell I have tested.
Bad cells do not always have ridiculous capacity specifications, some has more normal specifications. They may be specially made bad cells (Look for the button top without vent holes) or may be old worn down cells with a new wrapper.
There is some brands that definitely are best to avoid: UltraFire, GTL, GTF, GIF
The bad batteries do, of course, use many other brands, they may even put a wrapper from a good brand on the cell.
One fast way to spot some types of bad cell is a scale, the correct weight of cells can be seen in my reviews.
Some of the data is from curves, this means typical performance, not rated maximum.
Index to comparators:
20700/21700/26500/26650/32500/32650/etc. (These cells are also included in the 18650 comparator)
How is a protected cell constructed
Is my battery protected?
My article index with a lot more about batteries