As vaping technology advances vape mods are becoming more powerful, but that great new mod you just bought contains batteries, which if not cared for properly can become explosive and cause serious injury.
With the growth in popularity of high powered sub ohm vaping it is becoming increasingly important to not only know how to use your device safely, but how to care for and maintain your vape batteries.
Regardless of the vape type you are using, they all contain batteries with the potential for danger. Yet, while given the large numbers of people vaping around the world the rate of incidents has been very low, there have been a number of incidents resulting from the misuse of mods and poor quality merchandise.
AT Wotofo we are committed to helping vape users enjoy a safe vaping experience so here's everything you need to know about battery safety to help you minimize risk when using your favorite vape mod.
Vape battery shapes and sizes
Lithium-ion batteries all work on the same basic principles, so with that in mind you could hypothetically use almost any battery in your vaporizer.
Even though hypothetically you could use any battery to power your vape the chances of it being up to scratch to cope with the demands of your vape are negligible.
Today we will concentrate on two types of battery that are commonly used to power vaporizers, one is the internal lithium ion or disposable type and the other is the 18650 rechargeable.
External Round Cells
You’ve probably seen the 18650.. It’s the most common battery used in vaporizers, and can be purchased from any vape store all over the world.
When looking you will also come across 10440s, 18500s, 18350s, 22500s, 22650s… etc. That’s a lot of numbers.
Let me explain.
The explanation is relatively simple. The numbers correspond to the size of a round lithium ion cell.
- Battery diameter (e.g. 18, 22)
- Battery height (e.g. 35, 65)
- Battery shape (e.g. cylinder, non-cylinder)
18650s are the popular choice for vaporizers. They produce the right amount of voltage, and many of them can handle the high-current discharge necessary for vaping.
So let's break down vape safety by device.
These devices are best for new-comers and rookies. They allow the user to make easy adjustments to wattage and voltage for an assortment of vaping experiences. The electronic circuitry embedded in good quality Regulated Mods are capable of accurate safety actions, such as preventing a short circuit that has the potential to damage your battery. However, this does not mean that they are immune to malfunction.
Regulated mods are equipped with either a disposable battery built into the device which is difficult to replace or removable batteries that can removed, recharged and/or replaced.
Each battery type has a set of safety precautions that you should follow.
Regulated Mod Disposable Battery Safety
Many Regulated Mods are equipped with fixed lithium polymer batteries, which are termed ‘disposable’ due to the fact that they are irreplaceable at the end of their lifetime (2-3 years on average).
Below are some safety measures to be kept in mind while using such mods:
- Manage your mod with extreme care:
The protection encasing of these batteries are feeble, with nothing more than a sheet of aluminum between you and a potential explosion. If you drop your mod hard on the ground, immediately seal it within a thick container where the batteries may vent, and then place it into recycling waste.
- Don’t be thrifty:
Be sure to purchase only genuine merchandise. They are made of good quality with solid onboard safety measures; and are hence less prone to explosion or leaks. Better to be safe than sorry!
- Select the right coils:
Different mod/coil compatibility options are available in the market. Always check the manual of your device to inquire about the power range and then install the matching coil. This is extremely important while dealing with sub-ohm setups.
- Store in a safe place:
Don’t leave your vaping gear lying around on the rug or near any flammable material. It is best to detach the tank and mod and keep them in a safety case if you need to store it for a longer period or during traveling. Keep the device away from sunlight and water exposure.
- Use the original charging wire:
Make sure the power outlet matches the requirement of your device, especially when you have traveled to another country, where voltage levels may be different from your home country. Also, make sure the charging cable is power compatible and in a good condition.
- Never overcharge your device:
Some good quality mods have built-in cut-off modules that block the power supply at full charge. But these modules can fail, causing fire accidents. Therefore, never expose your device to overcharging, and never leave it connected to power overnight.
- Dispose of old batteries Safely:
It is wise to dispose of old batteries in safe bins. You will know when the battery has surpassed its useful life after it stops giving a decent battery time or when it starts to swell.
Regulated Mod Removable Battery Safety
The common type of rechargeable cells used in these mods are the cylindrical 18650 batteries. This system has proven to be more budget friendly as compared to the disposable one as you don’t need to spend money on buying another mod device when the battery lifespan is over. All you need to do is pull out the old batteries from your mod and insert fresh ones.
Below are some safety measures to be kept in mind while using such mods:
- Never vape beyond amperage limit:
A vital safety rule - never exceeds the amp ratings of the battery while you vape. Your device may have the option to draw extra power, but it is not advisable to do so. The batteries may overheat and explode right next to your face. This safety precaution is not to be taken lightly, and we will give more explanation about it under the Ohms Law section.
- Know how to charge your mod:
Some devices provide ‘pass through’ charging capability in which you can vape and charge simultaneously. The charging ports of these devices are the USB ports, however, there are some miniature devices which are equipped with a mini USB port, used for software updates and not charging (they are charged by removing the batteries and plugging them into external chargers); be sure to check this fact!
- Buy compatible batteries:
Before buying batteries, make sure to read the instruction manual of your mod and choose the compatible option. There are a variety of battery types available in the market; including IMR, ICR, and LiPo, so make sure all the batteries are of the same type.
- Carry the batteries in a case:
Never carry mod batteries without a pouch or case. If left exposed, they can touch each other or other metallic objects to cause leakage or, possibly, an explosion.
- Be careful while charging:
Use original and compatible power adapters and USB cables. Don’t overcharge your mod or leave it connected to the power source for longer times. Once the battery is full, simply disconnect the device to avoid any sort of failure.
- Choose quality:
Don’t be stingy on buying your vape gear. Getting a good quality product is a one-time investment; and again, better to be safe than sorry! Avoid buying cheap or used items, especially when batteries are concerned. You never know what they may have gone through, and there’s no guarantee of safe operation. There are many good quality batteries available in the market, just go for them.
Mechanical Mods and Battery Safety
Mechanical Mods are better in the hands of experienced vapers. Unlike the Regulated Mod, there is no electronic circuitry involved in this build; therefore wattage and temperature outputs can only be controlled by coil resistance. All the power is directly sent to the coil, without any regulation, and it is for this reason that new-comers are advised to stay away from these devices.
The main advantage of such a setup is that due to raw power, the device produces massive and tasty clouds.
When using these devices the same battery safety precautions listed above apply however it is also important to keep in mind the Ohm’s Law (explained later) and the below mention precautions:
- Check the air holes:
Air holes allow gases to exit the system incase of a battery failure. This mechanism is usually left untouched, but once in a while you should remove the batteries and blow into the compartment to check for any blockage.
- Keep your batteries charged:
It is wise to keep your batteries above 50-60% charge. In this way, you can stretch their lifespan to the maximum. Also, if the voltage level of your batteries drops below 3.7V, plug them into a battery jump starter device.
- Be careful while building coils:
Be sure to check the resistance level of your coil before installing. If it gets too low, your batteries are at a serious risk. It’s time to change the coil!
- Make sure the firing button is lockable:
If you fire your device for too long, it will get overheated and may explode. To prevent this, be sure to use the locking safety mechanism of the firing button present in good quality products.
Mechanical Mod Battery Safety and Ohms Law
Understanding Ohm’s law is a vital necessity for safe vape operation, especially in the case of Mechanical Mods. This formula relates to power, voltage, and current in one equation.
The main aspect is the amperage, or rated current, of the battery which also can be understood as the amount of power it can deliver. If the rated current value is exceeded, and excessive power is drawn, the cell might leak and explode inside the device in mere seconds.
Firstly, note down the resistance of the coil and the voltage output of the battery pack (you can use a multi-meter for them). Then use the formula Current=Voltage/Resistance, and calculate the amps your coil will draw. This value should never exceed the maximum rating of your batteries; and if it does, replace the coil with a higher resistance value.
If you ignore this precautionary measure and blindly overpower your Mechanical Mod, you’re putting yourself at extreme risk. The device will short circuit and explode. If by mistake you overload the batteries, immediately disconnect them and dispose of in a safe place. Extra care should be taken while using the Sub-ohm system with Mechanical Mods, as this setup takes the power requirements to extreme limits.
The Takeaway on Vape Battery Safety
A little precaution can take your vaping experience a long way. Even the best quality products can never be immune to failure and accidents, therefore taking necessary safety action is a vital pre-requisite to vaping.
For beginners, Regulated Mods are the best choice; while advanced vape users can choose anything from fixed battery mods, removable battery mods, to Mechanical Mods. Regardless of which category you fall into beginner or advanced vape user make sure you always do the following;
Firstly, be sure to buy good quality devices from trusted dealers, and always do a thorough research before making the purchase.
Secondly, religiously follow all the basic rules explained in detail in the earlier sections. Missing out even one can create the weakest link and cause trouble for you.
So now you have a guide to vape battery safety there's one more important component to vaping safety and that's knowing how to identify the health of your battery, how to maintain its health and when to replace it.
Vape Battery Safety and Charging
When it comes to the care and maintenance of lithium ion batteries the way you care for and charge your battery can have a significant impact on its overall health.
The older your battery becomes the more susceptible it becomes to the risk of potential overheating and explosion.
Let me explain.
A battery just like a vape coil has an internal resistance. While this resistance is tiny, usually around 0.02 ohms or less this resistance can heat up your battery when current is being drawn from it.
As the battery ages it experiences changes in its internal resistance and capacity with the internal resistance slowly increasing. This increased resistance causes the battery to get hotter, which in turn causes damage to the battery, which in turn increases the internal resistance making the battery get even hotter. This cycle continues until one of two things happen. Either the battery dies or the temperature gets so hot that the battery vents.
So what happens when your battery gets too hot and vents? It explodes!
The USFA explains;
During the typical failure mode for a lithium-ion battery, the electrolyte is heated to its boiling point, the internal pressure in the battery builds to a point where the seal at the end of the battery ruptures, and the pressure is abruptly released through the sealed end of the battery case.
So whats the best way to maintain your vape battery health and avoid premature battery degradation? Follow the general battery safety guidelines mentioned above and develop good recharging habits to increase your battery's lifespan by following the vape battery charging guidelines below.
Vape Battery Charging Best Practice
When it comes to the question of how often you should charge your vape battery there is a lot of confusion, so what is the ideal approach to maintaining a good battery-life-to-battery-health ratio?
To clear things up, here's a few tips to extend your vape battery's health as much as possible. Here's the best way to maintain good battery health and increase lifespan.
- Don't fully charge your battery.
Lithium-ion batteries don't like to be fully charged to 100%. In fact, they prefer to be charged at between 40%-80%, so following this guideline will help you prolong battery health and life. . However, if you do charge your battery to 100%, don't leave it plugged in.
- Perform shallow discharges.
Lithium-ion battery life performs best when you discharge them for a little bit, then charge them for a little bit. According to Battery University, a partial discharge reduces stress and increases battery life.
To optimize your battery health and life they recommend performing discharges to 50% as opposed to small discharges to 90% or large discharges to 0% (since the 50% discharges provide the best number of cycles-to-usage ratio).
Battery life as a function of depth of discharge
- Fully discharge it once a month.
While lithium ion batteries don't like to be discharged regularly most manufacturers recommend fully discharging your battery once a month to make sure battery life indicators stay accurate.
The Wrap Up
While there are many factors that can effect your vape battery safety, taking good care of your device by following our battery safety and charging guidelines will go a long way to maintaining good battery health and minimizing the potential risks of battery explosion.