If you’ve watched the news in the last couple of years, you’ve probably heard lots of debate over the safety of personal vaporizers. In reality, it is not the vaporizers themselves that have posed a risk, but the misuse of batteries inside of the devices, and this problem is not relegated to vaporizers alone.
In fact, hoverboards, cell phones, laptops and plenty of other electronics have had battery issues in recent history.
Here at VaporFi we want to be sure that all of our customers know the proper way to care for batteries to ensure they are safe for a very long time. The most important thing to know is that nearly all battery accidents have been caused by human error, so educating people is the best way to prevent problems in the future.
Types of Vape Mod Batteries
Vape batteries come in many different forms. For our purposes, we can describe them as internal and external batteries, or built-in and changeable. Many smaller devices use permanently built-in batteries that cannot be changed. In order to recharge these batteries you must plug the whole device in using a cord, usually with a micro USB port.
The more advanced vape mods offer the option of using interchangeable batteries, which allow the user to choose the batteries they prefer and get higher-capacity batteries that offer a longer charge. These batteries are sold separately, so the user needs to be responsible for doing their research and choosing a dependable brand.
The 18650 Battery
While there have been a handful of different external battery sizes in the past, the 18650 battery has become the most popular today. Nearly any vaporizer device you pick up off the shelf will use the 18650 battery, and most vape shops stock a large selection of these batteries and appropriate chargers.
The numbers 18650 are used to describe the size of the battery, which is 18 millimeters in diameter, and 65.0 in length. This is slightly larger than an AA battery, which is essentially a 14500 size.
Even within the 18650 size rating, you can choose different discharge rates and charge capacities. The higher the charging capacity, measured in milli-amp hours (mAh), the longer you can go between recharges. The maximum discharge rate is measured in amps and gets smaller as your mAh increases.
For instance, a battery with 1500 mAh may have a 35-amp max discharge rate, while a 3500 mAh battery has a 20-amp max discharge rate. For the purposes of vaping, most people prefer a higher mAh rating because their devices can’t make good use of a higher max discharge rate.
Safe Daily Battery Use
When it comes to using your vaporizer batteries day to day, there are several steps you can take to stay safe. First and foremost, you should invest in a trusted battery brand and vaporizer. Buying a counterfeit device could mean that you do not have the built in vape battery safety features that the real device has. In addition, cheap batteries may not be well constructed.
Every time you change your batteries you should take a moment to inspect them. If you notice that the case is tearing or the battery is beginning to bulge, dispose of the battery safely. Bulging is the first sign that the battery is overheating.
You should never try to make do with your vaporizer through the day by using mismatched batteries or batteries that are not equally charged. Most devices include circuitry that will try to discharge both batteries equally. If your batteries are charged at very different levels the device may inadvertently draw too heavily on one battery and exceed its max output.
You should always transport and store your batteries in a proper battery case. Loose batteries jangling around in your bag or pocket can come into contact with other objects and cause a short circuit. A case also will protect your batteries from heat, water and other environmental factors.
Do not leave your batteries in your car while you’re at work or in class. The temperature in your car could greatly exceed the safe operating temperature of your batteries and cause internal damage that you can’t see.
Finally, if you are going to attempt to build your own coils, make sure that you have studied Ohm’s Law and have allowed your battery a little bit of extra amperage just in case. If your coil is drawing more power than your battery can handle, disaster could be on the horizon.
Use a multimeter every single time to ensure that your coil is safe for your battery.
You should always invest in a high-quality charger that includes an automatic shutoff when your batteries are fully charged. Even with this feature, we recommend never leaving your batteries to charge unattended in case the charger fails to shut off.
Many new charging systems also have LED indicators that show you how each battery is charging. Smart chargers are becoming a staple in the industry as they can protect you from damage that occurs during the rapid charging and discharging cycles.
Common Misuses and Things to Avoid
The biggest problem faced by vapers is leaving batteries on a charger overnight unattended. Doing so is asking for trouble, especially if you are charging multiple sets of batteries at the same time.
The problem occurs because each battery recharges at a different rate, but the charger keeps working to ensure that all of the batteries reach a full charge. Even with a shutoff feature on your charger, it is possible that a battery could be subject to heat and amperage that push it past its limits.
Another common issue is charging your vape on an unsafe surface. Your charger should be placed somewhere where it is properly ventilated and will not overheat. It should also be far away from liquid and spills that could cause harm.
Finally, you should never, ever charge your batteries on a combustible surface. This includes placing your charger on your bed where it is surrounded by blankets or on top of a stack of papers.
You should take every precaution to ensure that your coil configuration is safe for your battery. There is tons of information available about Ohm’s Law and how it applies to vaping. You should never take a chance on this.
Lastly, make sure that your device is not being dry-fired. Firing your device without e-liquid is dangerous. Some common causes of accidents have been vaporizers in a person’s pocket where they were unaware that the firing button was being pressed.
Carrying cases for devices prevent this from happening. However, there was a rash of accidents caused by vapers who were intentionally holding down the button to see how long of a draw they could take. Be aware of your limitations and the limitations of your device.
Vape Battery Safety Takeaways
In light of the small number of accidents that took place in the vapor industry during the earliest years of vaping, the industry itself became very proactive about preventing battery problems. Most devices include a wide range of short circuit protections, overheat protections and shutoffs. You can read more about regulated devices on our blog.
Nevertheless, it is still up to vapers to be proactive about vape battery safety. Now that you understand the relative risks associated with vape batteries, it is easy to see how you can take little steps to keep yourself safe.
Even a few minutes a day inspecting your batteries before use can go a long way toward ensuring you never experience battery problems in the future.
Gianna Del Monte is the Brand Manager at VaporFi. She has been in the vaping industry since June 2015 and has extensive experience in successfully managing and marketing a variety of new vapor product launches. Originally from New Jersey, Gianna has lived in the Miami area for the last 5 years.