Most nicotine vape pens use rechargeable 18650 lithium-ion (li-ion) batteries. These high-energy-density cells are expected to last for 300 to 500 charging cycles before they need replacing.
Towards the beginning of their lifespan, most vape batteries hold sufficient power for around 10 hours if used lightly, or about 3 hours with heavy use. This time frame drops as the vape battery ages.
Unless you only vape when you have easy access to a charger or external charger, understanding battery capacity is important information. There are several factors to consider regarding charge duration.
Let’s jump in.
How long will one charge last?
A common question vape users have is: how long does a vape battery last?
While this depends on two main factors, the general estimate is that vape devices should last between 8-10 hours with light to moderate use when powered by a 2600mAh high voltage battery.
Battery health and usage are the two things that affect charge duration and charging time. Usage can be controlled more easily, but battery health is in the hands of physics.
Charge duration will vary depending on how often you go in for that nicotine vaping experience, and this trade-off makes sense.
The more puffs you take, the more voltage you’ll use for the pen’s heating element. The more power you need, the quicker your vape runs out of charge.
As we’ll see in upcoming sections, vape battery life also depends on the age of the battery. Older batteries just don’t last as long as new ones, even when fully charged.
What is an 18650 battery?
If someone stopped me on the street to ask if I knew what an 18650 was, I wouldn’t have a clue, even though I’ve seen them everywhere. I would probably guess it was some sort of car battery and oddly, I wouldn’t be wrong.
While it seems like a technical name, it’s really not complicated.
This battery’s name is only its dimensions. It’s measured in millimeters, then named by its diameter, length, and shape. So the 18650 battery is 18mm in diameter, 65mm long, and is cylindrical (0).
Of course, there’s more to a vape battery than its name. To fully understand battery life, you also need to know about milliampere hours (mAh), charging cycles, and overall health.
What is a milliampere-hour?
Batteries have a lot of specifications, one of them is the mAh. This number tells us how much energy the battery can store – the higher the number, the more energy it stores.
18650 cells are commonly available between 1800mAh and 3500mAh. With the current level of battery technology, any 18650s listed with a high mAh (over 3500) is a scam.
Your vape will come with a suitable battery for that device, so you won’t have to worry too much about getting scammed.
What is a charging cycle?
Every rechargeable battery has an average lifespan measured in charge cycles. Electronic devices like your phone, wireless headphones, and vape pen all use batteries that eventually wear out and need replacing.
That said, it takes time for vape pen batteries to wear out unless they are constantly being used. Usually, it takes a couple of years to completely kill the battery in your vaping device.
Total lifespan aside, a single charging cycle is over when the device power goes from 100% (full charge) to 0% (dead battery). This doesn’t always happen in one period between charges – it is possible to use up portions of a charge cycle.
Charge cycles are always being consumed as the battery drains. If the battery drops to 50% before being charged, half a charge cycle has occurred. The next time the battery drops to 50%, the full cycle is completed.
Why does it matter?
Batteries aren’t everlasting no matter what the Energizer Bunny says, and a battery functions in a very predictable way – as its charging cycles are used up, they begin to wear down.
With the 18650s, you can use 100% of the battery’s capacity 300 to 500 times before it becomes faulty. It’s a slow process, but likely once those 300 to 500 cycles are consumed, your vape battery won’t work, and it’s time to replace it.
Additionally, as this cycle happens, it decreases your battery health. This is why as your vape pen ages, it doesn’t hold a charge for as long as it did when it was new.
There’s no real way to prevent this from happening, but there are some things you can do to prolong the battery life of your vape device.
What is battery health?
Like living things, batteries have an overall health that can decline for any number of reasons.
New vape batteries should function exactly as designed. They’re at high capacity so their overall power is higher, charge duration is optimized for longer, and they won’t have issues charging.
As battery health declines, the battery runs out quicker, and eventually, it won’t recharge at all. At that point, you should dispose of the batteries properly and replace them.
What affects battery health?
Time is the biggest thing that degrades battery health. That said, keeping your vape pen battery at its peak performance for a greater period of time depends on what you do.
For the longevity of your e-cigs you should avoid:
- Extreme temperatures (both hot and cold)
- Draining the battery to 0%
- Charging with too high voltage
- Charging with too many amps
- Damaging the mod battery casing
Batteries and heat do not mix. Videos of exploding vape pens are common enough so it’s important to keep your vape batteries out of hot places.
Heat also affects how long your battery lasts. This means you shouldn’t overuse your batteries through constant chain vaping or excessive vapor production.
The cold is a little stealthier in how it affects your batteries. Basically, all you need to know is that the process of freezing and thawing can really mess with battery chemistry.
Charging your electronic cigarettes correctly is also very important – it’s always better to use the chargers that come with your device. These chargers power at a lower voltage, which is ideal for helping your battery last.
Other charging methods could use a higher voltage, increasing the chance for the vape pen battery to overheat (yes, this includes a phone charger).
Trying to charge your device at a faster rate with high amps can also damage most batteries and reduce battery health.
Lastly, don’t let your batteries get smashed by anything heavy and they should be fine. Every expert in the vaping industry agrees on this and it may sound obvious, but it needs to be said.
The main takeaway from all this is: as time goes by, you will go through charging cycles, which will inevitably reduce battery health. It won’t be noticeable for a while unless you abuse your battery in the abovementioned ways.
If you treat your battery well, it should be good to go for as long as possible.