Electronic Cigarette Batteries: The Ultimate Beginners Guide
13 great comments - add yours!
by: James Dunworth

Grungy shop of Dan from ecigarettedirect showing off bling tank batteries.

From avoiding exploding batteries to maximising the life of your electronic cigarette battery, this guide covers everything most vapers need to know.

We’ve partially based this guide on dozens of customer questions we have received over the years, but if there is anything you want to know which is not covered in this guide just leave a question in the comments!

One area we don’t cover is unregulated mechanical or rebuildable mods. This area is well covered by niche websites, but as many of them warn, if you don’t know what you are doing they can be dangerous. If you are a modder, you will know where to find the information you need!

(I’m sure we’ll face criticism for that last statement ;) Just to be clear, we are not saying don’t use mechanical mods, just don’t use them unless you know what you are doing! Since there are always some people who think they know what they are doing but actually don’t, we don’t sell them!)

You’ll find information here that all but the beginning vaper will know, as well as more advanced tips, so you may find it useful to use the menu below to navigate to the information you need rather than read the whole article.

Contents

Types of Battery
Battery Capacity v. Battery Voltage
What Kind of Battery Life Can You Expect
9 Ways to Maximise the Life Of Your Battery
Why Batteries Explode
5 Ways to Avoid Exploding Batteries
Battery Maintenance
Troubleshooting Battery Issues
Travelling With Batteries

Types of Battery: Automatic v. Manual

Dan inhales on an ecigarette using a regular, automatic HALO ecig battery. Chances are that your first ecigarette will be a automatic battery. Most smokers choose these not because they are better (we find in our shops, when people can try both, most people prefer manual batteries) but because they tend to be used with electronic cigarettes which resemble traditional tobacco cigarettes.

You can see an example of our regular batteries here.

When you inhale on a cigalike with an automatic battery, a sensor detects the rush of air and activates the battery. However, with a manual battery you depress the button to activate the battery. (why do we need manual buttons)

Automatic Ecig Batteries

  • Easy to Use
  • Closely resembles a regular cigarette
  • Usually requires a shorter charging time
  • May experience a delay between puffing and inhaling the vapour

Manual ECig Batteries

  • Usually has more power and offers a more vapour and a better ‘throat hit’
  • Offers more control and usually a longer cut off period
  • Requires more expertise (although it’s not exactly rocket science ;) )
  • Usually have a longer life than automatic batteries due to larger size
  • Can usually be turned on or off by clicking the battery five times
  • Usually carry a longer life than automatic batteries

For more information on the difference between cigalikes and refillable ecigs, see: Electronic Cigarette Face-off: Regular v. Refillable Electronic Cigarettes

Variable Voltage Batteries

Pink fingernails adjust a pink variable voltage spinner battery.

Variable voltage batteries, such as the Smok VV Spinner, are the next step up from a manual battery. These allow you to increase or decrease the voltage provided by the battery, usually by pressing a button or by twisting the end of the battery.

This allows you to find the right voltage for:

  • your ejuice
  • your atomiser/clearomiser
  • your personal preferences with regard to vapour and throat hit

When you use a variable voltage battery with a device like the Aspire Bottom Dual Coil Clearomiser, you can control the experience even further by changing the resistance of the atomiser used in your clearomiser. For more information see our Guide to Clearomisers.

The chart below also shows the best match between voltage and different resistance atomiser heads. (Click on the image for the full size chart.)

Chart showing the best combination of ohms and voltage.

Embed this Image On Your Site

Bling Batteries

A Skull and Crossbones battery juxtaposed with a pink bling battery.

Finally, if you like a bit of style, there’s no need to stick to a boring black or white battery. Batteries come in all sorts of styles and colours, and you can easily choose the bling to match your own personal style or clothing.

Battery Capacity v. Battery Voltage

One of the things that confuses many ecigarette users is the difference between battery capacity and voltage.

The battery capacity on electronic cigarette batteries is normally measured in milli amp hours (mAh). The higher the mAh rating, the higher the capacity of the battery and the longer it will last. Most non-adjustable electronic cigarette batteries output 3.7 volts. A battery with a capacity of 1100mAh will be able to output 3.7 volts for longer than a battery that has a capacity of 180mAh, but both can put out the same voltage.

What kind of battery life can you expect?

It is almost impossible to give accurate battery life because battery life depends on:

  • how you use your device
  • how you charge and maintain your device
  • on individual battery sizes and makes
  • the voltage you use (variable voltage batteries only)
  • the atomiser you are using in your clearomiser

For example, a battery will last a lot longer for someone who takes short drags than for someone who takes very long drags.

That said, several readers been asked for information on battery life, so here are some very rough guidelines to some of the ecig batteries we sell:

Smoker’s Halo Automatic Battery (Regular): 120-150 drags
Smoker’s Halo Automatic Battery (King Size): 180 – 225 drags
Ultra Tank Battery 300 mAh: 300 puffs
Ultra Tank Battery 650 mAh: 500 puffs
Ultra Tank Battery 1100 mAh: 900 puffs
Smok VV Battery 1300 mAh: 800-1000 puffs depending on the voltage used

Please bear in mind these are very rough estimates only!

Nine Ways To Maximise the Life Of Your Battery

Blue variable voltage battery on a stone surface.

1. Initial Charge: Give a good first charge when you receive your battery. Most ecig batteries are lithium ion batteries and can not be overcharged. However, a good initial charge conditions the battery and will help ensure a longer life.

2. Storage: Store in a cool, dark place, especially if storing for a long period of time. If you do plan to store the battery for a lengthy period, try to make sure it has at least a 40% charge. This allows for some discharge while ensuring enough power is retained to keep the protection circuit alive. Some sites recommend fully charging batteries before storing.

3. Use Regularly: Most ecigarette batteries are designed to be used daily.

4. Charge Before Fully Drained: Battery University argues that a partial discharge stresses the battery less than a full discharge.

6. Take Care of your Battery: See maintenance tips below

7. Turn off when not using: Especially important if you are carrying the battery in a bag or in your pocket, as sitting on it can cause the ecigarette to fizzle away.

8. Keep out of high temperatures and direct sunlight.

9. Use a case to protect your battery: Batteries can get banged around and pick up fluff in pockets. For the best possible care, carry your battery in an electronic cigarette case. You can see examples of carry cases here (for automatic batteries) and here (for manual batteries).

If you’re like me, you might also want to avoid placing your ecigarette battery on the sofa next to you – I have broken several batteries this way!

Why Batteries Explode

Lithium ion batteries are highly effective at producing power despite their small size. Unfortunately, the properties and chemicals used in a Lithium ion battery also mean that any lithium ion battery has the potential to explode.

Contained within a lithium batteries are lithium, sodium, potassium and other highly flamable and voluble elements. If you tossed these into water on their own you would get an explosion. When a cell does heat, it can lead to a chain reaction which can cause either battery swelling or explosions.

Fortunately, modern design means that explosions are very rare (an estimated one in ten million according to Battery University). However, explosions can be caused when a battery overheats. This can be caused by a defect, such as a short circuit or improper insulation between the cells of the battery or by mishandling.

Most standard lithium ion electronic cigarette batteries have been designed with overcharge protection. This senses when too much voltage is being pushed into the battery and then stops the battery from accepting any more charge. To test whether a battery has overcharge protection, we charge them using a voltage exceeding what the battery is designed to take. (For safety reasons, we do this in a fire-safe environment.) All HALO chargers come with overcharge protection.

As additional protection, there is a fusing system built into the battery which is designed to blow should a battery overdischarge, and a circuit behind buttons limiting the amount of time the battery can be activated at any one time.

Even with testing, fuse protection and overcharge protection, there can always be a defect with an individual battery. To minimise the risk, take the following precautions:

5 Ways To Avoid Exploding ECigarette Batteries

A HALO tank battery lies on a wooden surface.

i. Don’t mix and match

Only charge a battery with the charger that was provided with the battery, or which has been specifically supplied for that battery. While chargers may look similar, the voltage output can be different.

Charge a battery from one supplier with a charger from another supplier and you could cause problems. In fact, as the fire service has pointed out, this has caused most of the problems so far.

ii. Buy From A Reputable Source

One battery explosion occurred in the US when a vaper bought cheap batteries online to use with his ecigarette kit. Always buy your batteries from a reputable source. In the UK many companies are certified by ECITA, which require companies to test their products – while these are not the only reputable companies out there, the ECITA logo is a mark of quality.

iii. ROHS Certification (and where it has come from)

All batteries should come with ROHS certification, which proves that it has been tested.

Unfortunately, some certification from China can’t been trusted – we’ve seen examples of certificates which have been photoshopped. At ecigarettedirect, we have our batteries UK ROHS certified.

iv. Safe Charging

Don’t charge your battery over night or when you are out of house. For safety, charge your battery on a non-combustible surface.

If you have a manual battery, switch it off before charging.

v. Overcharge Protection

Check with your supplier to make sure your battery has overcharge protection. Our batteries come with overcharge protection, and we also individually test batteries from each battery to ensure overcharge protection is working.

Battery Maintenance

Cleaning the terminals on a red tank battery.

Clean Battery Terminals – nothing complicated here, simply screw up some tissue paper and give the terminals a rub. A cotton bud can be used if harder cleaning is required. For the most effective cleaning, use cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol to clean the terminal. Allow the battery a few seconds to dry before using.

Keep Batteries Charged – as explained above, keeping some charge in your battery can extend the life of your battery, especially if you go some time without using it.

Battery Storage

  • Switch the battery off when not in use.
  • Disconnect from clearomisers/cartridges.
  • Avoid a full discharge before storage.
  • Store batteries at low temperatures.

Trouble shooting

Battery Doesn’t Produce Vapour

1. Check the cartridge or clearomiser is not empty. If you are using a clearomiser you can easily see the level of eliquid, if not, you may need to try another cartridge to be absolutely sure.
2. Ensure battery terminal is clean.
3. Ensure clearomiser/cartridge thread is clean.
4. Ensure battery terminal is connecting with the clearomiser/cartridge.
5. Test the battery with another clearomiser to make sure that the issue is with the battery, and not with the clearomiser. If the clearomiser has an issue, try cleaning the clearomiser (see the Ultimate Guide to Clearomisers or Are you making these 9 common clearomiser mistakes for more information.)
6. If using a clearomiser such as the Aspire BDC, try changing the head of the clearomiser.

Battery Light Stays On

1. Gently tap the led side of the battery on a wooden surface.
2. Remove battery from the clearomiser/cartridge and inhale and exhale from the battery.
3. Blow gently at the LED light.
4. Allow battery to completely discharge and then recharge. This should be the last step as allowing the battery to discharge completely is not good for the battery life.

If all troubleshooting steps fail, you may need a new battery. If your battery is relatively new, check your warranty, as most batteries come with a guarantee.

Battery is Dead

Assuming the battery has recently been charged, try leaving the battery for 24 hours at room temperature, and then recharging it. You should also make sure the battery terminal is clean and free from fluff – if not, give it a rub with a piece of tissue, a cotton bud or an alcohol wipe.

Travelling with Batteries

Cartoon image of palm trees growing from a suitcase with planes in the background.

As with storing batteries, you should disconnect batteries from the cartridges/clearomisers and turn off manual batteries. Some airlines do not allow you to carry lithium ion batteries in your hold luggage, so you may need to place your batteries in your carry on luggage. If unsure, check with your airline. (Also see Travelling With ECigarettes: Essential Need to Know.)

What have we missed? If you have any suggestions or unanswered questions, please leave a comment below and we’ll update the article with your suggestions!

For more guides, videos and tutorials, check out ECigarette Academy.

If you found this guide useful, and thinks others may too, please share using one of the share buttons below!

Thank you ;)

 

Leave a comment:

Like This Post?

Join 5000 other readers and get the latest tutorials, special offers videos, cartoons and blog posts from the Ashtray Blog delivered to your inbox.

You’ll also get our FREE ebook, A Guide to Refillable Electronic Cigarettes

If you find that it's not for you, it only takes seconds to unsubscribe.

 We respect your email privacy

13 Responses to “Electronic Cigarette Batteries: The Ultimate Beginners Guide”

  1. Wendy M April 24, 2014 at 7:16 pm #

    Missed my calling, I did. Should have been a proof reader.

    James, you may wish to edit the second paragraph in the “Why batteries explode” section. The end of the first sentence reads: ‘highly flamable and voluble elements’ which I suspect was likely intended to say ‘highly flammable and volatile elements’. (An entertaining prospect, though – a ‘voluble’ battery!!)

    Do feel free to delete this comment post-edit; it doesn’t really contribute anything, just a heads-up.

    • James Dunworth April 25, 2014 at 8:09 am #

      Thank you, Wendy! I know we noticed two typos just before hitting the publish button – and I said I’m sure more would be brought up in the comments ;)

  2. Alisha April 29, 2014 at 3:57 pm #

    Great work as usual James, thank you for such a comprehensive guide!

    Funny that you mention the dangers of leaving batteries on the couch. I’ve never broken any by sitting on them but I swear my couch is addicted to swallowing e-cigarettes in the cracks between the cushions. Whenever I can’t find mine it’s nearly 100% sure that the couch has gobbled it haha.

    • James April 30, 2014 at 11:01 am #

      Thanks, Alisha! You’re obviously not as clumsy as me – I have broken at least three in the last two months by sitting on them! I also have the same problem as you with couches ;)

    • JOHN WOOD May 2, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

      Beauty of e-cigs is that if you doze off and drop one you will not end up with burn holes in your sweater!

  3. chris morgan May 1, 2014 at 9:02 am #

    As I’m not on facebook I can’t leave a comment on your excellent battery guide so I will leave it here instead.
    I habe had problems with a dead battery in the padt; the battery is chargef, tetminals squeaky clean and well connected to the clearomiser bit and no joy, the red light even comes on! In this sitiatiom you cpuld solve the problem by disconnecting the battery and with a hairpin or something that wil fit under the battery contact, very gently lift the contact a little on both sides of it. The contact, with use and over time, can become compressed a bit making contact with your clearomiser impossible. This little trick has worked for me many times, just be very gentle and very careful when ‘lifting’ the contact-it only takes 1mm or so. Good luck!

  4. chris morgan May 1, 2014 at 9:06 am #

    Apologies for the typos in my previpus post; I am doing this on my phone and cant see what I’ve typed!

  5. James Dunworth May 1, 2014 at 9:13 am #

    Hi Chris

    Thanks for the comment, and don’t worry about the typos – I make enough of them on a standard computer!

    You sound like you know what you are doing with batteries. The only thing I’d say is if it is in the warranty period you might be better off getting a replacement battery, as if you had made adjustments to the battery the warranty may become invalid.

    James

  6. darren mccabe December 12, 2014 at 1:41 am #

    i got mine charged and works well prob is after a few drags the middle gets a bit worm and not sure what to do im charging it now but dont think it need it just trying alsorts?

    • James Dunworth December 12, 2014 at 9:33 am #

      What device are you using, Darren, and how long have you had it?

  7. Sassy December 17, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

    Thanks for the guide, it has helped a great deal! I’m buying one for a dear friend for Christmas and this has helped. I’m a former smoker, quit cold turkey 22 yor sago and still miss it once in awhile, am even considering getting one for very ocassional use for when I’m craving a puff lol. I’ll be printing it off for her to include with the package along with the web addy so she can easily buy the refills when needed. thanks again!

    • James Dunworth December 17, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

      So glad you found it useful – let me know how your friend gets on with her ecig!

Leave a Reply