Vapcell 14500 Button Top Li-ion Cell Review

Preface

Second in my list of Vapcell cells directly from Vapcell is another 14500.  This is presumably the same cell as the flat top, but with a button added.  Performance should be very similar, though!  Read on for graphs and more!

As always, click for bigger images!!!


Official Specs

These cells aren’t on the official site yet.  But the flat top can be viewed here.  I’m confident that the specifications are the same. 

Price

I’ve seen these for around $4.20 on various cell retailers.

Short Review

Good cell, performs like it claims it does.  The 3A drain is a little low for some hot rod 14500 lights, but the cell still works past 3A.  

Long Review

Package

I got a couple sets of 14500s and one came in boxes and the other came in the plastic box seen below.  I can’t remember which is which.  Either way, they both have official Vapcell branding, and the plastic has a QR code.  

The button top cells fit, but tightly, in this box.  

Build Quality

It’s probably silly to call these “stunning” cells, but the gold with black accents looks really sharp.  There’s a lot of printing on the wrapper, too.  

The cells are top notch.  


Size

I measure these at 14mm x 50.2mm.


They’re exactly one button longer than the flat top version!

Here are some various 14500 cells (and one NiMH) compared.  Not sure what’s up with the knob on that EVVA – it’s the longest and the positive is shaped funnily enough that it fits poorly in many lights.  It’s also too wide!  But all the others are great.  Note that the Sofirn cell has a cracked wrapper.  

And what might one use a Li-Ion flat top in?  Well how about a custom micro-Mag?  Though the light will demand more than the cell is supposed to deliver (the light wants between 6 and 8A on turbo), the cell does run it, seemingly fine.

Testing

I’ve tried to keep the scales similar, so over time the charts will be generally comparable.

Discharge tests

Capacity

Energy

Bounce

“Bounce back” is what the cell voltage does when the cell rests after a discharge. Interestingly, after heavy discharge rates, the cell bounces back higher.  This corresponds to a discharge amount of less energy, and does mean that there’s energy left in the cell.  So if I selected the cell with the highest bounce back (ie the cell that was discharged at the highest current), then discharged it to 2.8V at 0.2A, I’d still find that there was a lot of energy still in the cell. And I have finally figured out what I think it so interesting about “bounce.”  A poorly performing cell will bounce back higher on high discharges.  That’s because the IR is higher, and because the cell performs much worse under high loads.  So a good performing cell (like this one) will bounce back much less because it’s much more capable of high discharge.  And we can see that here.  This cell is capable well past the tested 20A, and so at 20A much more of the energy is used from the cell.  Hence less bounce.  I don’t really have anyone else telling me that, so I could be grossly wrong.  Or maybe I just proposed a new metric for cell quality.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Charge test

Power, Constant

Internal Resistance

Most often (read: always), internal resistance is mentioned as a spot value.  In truth, the IR changes over time.  Due to cell age and cell heat among other things.  A graph of IR is interesting because it can show, for example, when a cell begins to “die” – at which point the remaining energy will be “harder” to extract.  This is when the IR spikes.  In the graph below, that’s around 750-800mAh.  These graphs are also useful for determining if a cell would be good for a hot-rod flashlight, for example.  

Note that the IR of this button top is higher than the flat top, but not by much (and probably not as much as expected).  And also this cell has a more consistent IR, too.  

Conclusion

This is a great unprotected cell for low to moderate drain applications.  Depending on your needs, the flat top or button top version might work better; the performance is similar enough to make both good choices.  


Up Next

I have a dive light up for tomorrow, and later in the week, more light and who knows what else!

Notes

  • These cells were provided by Vapcell for review. I was not paid to write this review.
  • This content originally appeared at zeroair.org.  Please visit there for the best experience!
  • Whether or not I have a coupon for these cells, I do have a bunch of coupons!!  Have a look at my spreadsheet for those coupons. It’s possible to subscribe and get notifications when the sheet is edited!!

Author: zeroair

3 thoughts on “Vapcell 14500 Button Top Li-ion Cell Review

  1. @zeroair – is the flat top or button top version of this cell compatible with the reylight lan ti? thanks!

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