Molicel P26A 2600mAh 18650…beats VTC5A, best all-around 18650 (if from authorized vendor)
Bottom Line: This is a retest of this great performing 18650 and this test report is only valid for P26A’s from authorized vendors. While the Sony VTC5A and Samsung 25S hit a little harder at the start the P26A catches up soon and runs for longer than the VTC5A. The P26A is essentially equal to the Samsung 25S at 20A and 30A (30A is above their ratings and this test was only to compare performance).
If you use a mech and you change cells VERY early then the VTC5A might be the better choice because it hits a little harder at the start. But if you run your cells down to 3.5V-3.6V (when put on the charger), and wanted a slightly more consistent vape that could run for longer, then the P26A is worth trying.
The Samsung 20S is still the best choice when above 25A though as it holds its voltage up better at 30A.
The datasheet for the P26A lists 35A as the “maximum discharging current” rating. But running this cell continuously at 35A gets it much too hot, over 95°C, for that to be a true continuous current rating we can use for comparing to other cells. I consider Molicel’s rating to be temperature-limited so you must stop before the cell gets hot. There’s no maximum surface temperature rating in the datasheet so stop before the cell reaches 60°C. This is roughly the temperature where it becomes too hot to hold in a tightly closed fist. For any battery it’s best to never let them get more than warm though because heat accelerates their aging.
The datasheet lists the minimum capacity at 2500mAh and typical capacity at 2600mAh. The six P26A’s I tested delivered 2607-2641mAh at 520mA (0.2C) down to 2.5V. This is great consistency and they all easily met their minimum capacity rating.
I am rating this Molicel at 25A continuous with a temperature-limited rating of 35A as long as you stop before the cell reaches 60°C.
The rated dimensions are 18.6mm max diameter by 65.2mm long. The largest dimensions I measured were 18.5mm diameter and 64.9mm length.
The P26A is my choice for best all-around 18650, for up to 25A or 75W per cell. The combination of its great performance along with its availability from authorized Molicel vendors makes it the best choice in my opinion for moderate to high power use in any device. We don’t have to worry about getting low grade, counterfeit, or old cells and Molicel is willing to sell to the vaping community. No other battery OEM is openly willing to do that.
These tests only note the ESTIMATED ratings for these batteries at the time I tested them. Any battery that is not a genuine Samsung, Sony, LG, Panasonic, Molicel, or Sanyo can change at any time! This is one of the hazards of using “rewrapped” batteries or batteries from other manufacturers so carefully research any battery you are considering using before purchasing.
Misusing or mishandling lithium-ion batteries can pose a SERIOUS RISK of personal injury or property damage. They are not meant to be used outside of a protected battery pack. Never exceed the battery’s continuous current rating and keep the plastic wrap and top insulating ring in perfect condition.
Any rating in my ratings tables can change at any time as different grade cells appear on the market, we get swamped with fakes, or new information becomes available to me. Please, never assume that the ratings in the tables are permanent and will never change! Always download the latest version before considering any cell purchase.