Here is what separates AW cells from the imitators:
- Reliability: Less chance the cell stops working for no apparent reason (it happens)
- Consistency: Every battery has similar performance (as opposed to variable)
- Safety: Mechanical and electronic safety features (a "protected" cell)
- Lifetime: Longer total life span because of the characteristics above
AW batteries are, without question, the best lithium flashlight batteries in the world. They assembled in China, but the actual cells are top tier cells from Panasonic in Japan. AW batteries are specifically intended for high performance applications. You can buy Panasonic cells from online retailers for 1/2 the price, but you are getting second tier cells...basically batteries rejected by other companies.
NOTICE: My lights are ONLY intended to work with a single 18650 lithium-ion battery. 2x CR123 lithium primary batteries are not recommended because they cannot sustain the high current draw of "high" mode. Using them may be dangerous.
2x RCR123 (rechargeable) batteries will fit inside the body, but the driver CANNOT accept more than 6V. Using 2x RCR123 batteries will damage the driver.
If you aren't convinced, read on...
High quality batteries are the life-blood of any flashlight. This might sound obvious, but buying cheap batteries is often a "go-to" cost cutting measure. There is a reason you don't put cheap gas in a Ferrari, it won't run right. There are a lot of Li-Ion batteries on the market with a vast range of quality. Cheap lithium batteries are at best unreliable; and at worst dangerous.
Fortunately I've eliminated the guesswork for you. AW lithium-ion flashlight batteries are simply the best you can buy, period. They are the only brand I'll sell along with one of my lights and I don't recommend that you put any other brand in there. If you are a flashlight expert, then do what you want. If not, trust me.
What, don't want to take my word for it? Candle Power Forums is THE place on the internet for discussing everything flashlight related. Turns out that a lot of "flashaholics" are also electrical engineers and rocket scientists that know a lot more about batteries than I do. So don't take my word for it. Go to CPF and see for yourself. You'll find one brand is recommended above all others, far above, and that is AW.
So the funny thing is AW is a small company...as far as I can tell. So why are AW batteries the gold standard? First, it appears to me that AW's goal is simple: be the best. It's not just because they are twice as expensive as other batteries. They have been tested and retested by the CPF community against every "other" brand and they simply perform better, for longer. AW sells (almost) exclusively to the after-market flashlight community and those standards are exceedingly high. Remember the rocket scientists? They have lab equipment.
|The AW 18650 is constructed using top-tier Panasonic cells, made in Japan
AW quality starts with the raw li-ion cells. When batteries are manufactured they undergo a battery of tests (hehehe) to determine their performance characteristics. These batteries are then "binned" according to quality. The high quality ones go to big companies like Toshiba, Dell, HP, etc. Instead of getting tossed, the lower quality cells go...other places...like secondary online battery retailers. AW buys top bin cells from Panasonic, not second rate ones. Then each cell is fitted with a custom circuit board that protects the cell from things like over heating, over voltage, under voltage, shorts, and excessive current drain.
A lot of li-ion batteries are made in China. These of course are the cheapest ones. Now anyone who knows me, knows that I'm not against Chinese products. But in the case of li-ion batteries, word on the street (Science Street) is that they are inferior. Li-ion batteries store an immense amount of energy. You wouldn't want to store an immense amount of energy is a sub-standard container would you?
Stored energy wants to get out there and do something. Don't cheap out or they might do something besides turn on your flashlight.
Add a 4-up battery holder
Check out the Stor-A-Cell 18650 battery holder! Follow the link and scroll down the right side of the page.