Finding the Best 18650 Li-Ion Battery for FPV Long Range Flying and Equipment

18650 Li-ion cell is a popular battery choice for both long range FPV drones and equipment such as FPV goggles and radios. However, with so many options on the market, selecting the best 18650 cells can be overwhelming. I tested various 18650 batteries, comparing their performance and true capacity to find the ideal batteries that offer long flight times and reliable performance.

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Why 18650 Li-ion Batteries?

Choosing the right battery is crucial for optimizing the performance of FPV equipment. The 18650 Li-ion battery emerges as a top choice due to its balance of wide availability, longevity, and cost-effectiveness. It’s particularly favored by long-range FPV pilots for its superior energy-to-weight ratio compared to traditional LiPo batteries. Although it may not deliver the high current output of LiPo batteries, it is adequate for drones designed for efficiency and endurance.

For a deeper dive into the pros and cons of Li-ion batteries over LiPo, check out this post:

Left: 4S 1500mah LiPo; Right: 4S 3500mAh Li-ion

To sum it up, here’s why 18650 batteries are preferred for FPV drones and accessories:

  • Capacity and Efficiency: They offer substantial energy storage in a compact form factor.
  • Rechargeability: These batteries are capable of hundreds of charge cycles without significant degradation.
  • Availability: They are widely available and used across various electronic devices and tools.

Interested in long-range flying? Check out these tips:

The Contenders

To find the best, I tested a variety of 18650 batteries from reputable brands, considering different specifications for a well-rounded review.

* Price according to my local reseller at the time of publishing.

** Weight is measured by myself

Testing Methodology

To determine the best batteries, I focused on two key performance indicators:

  • Capacity: Measured by discharging batteries at a slow rate (2A) from 4.2V per cell down to 2.9V to accurately gauge their energy storage capabilities.
  • Voltage Sag: Assessed by discharging at a faster rate (12A) from 4.2V per cell to 2.9V to evaluate their performance under load throughout the discharge cycle.

In case you are curious what testing equipment I used, it was the SkyRC BD350 discharger.

Results and Recommendations

When evaluating the discharge rate, the Molicel P30B and P28A stood out for delivering consistent power, especially under heavy load, making them ideal for high-demand long range FPV flying. The Sony VTC5A and VTC6 were close contenders, performing admirably as well.

18650 Li Ion Battery Fpv Long Range Flying Equipment 2024 Testing Result

In terms of true capacity, the Molicel M35A and Sanyo NCR18650GA led the pack, offering the highest mAh at approximately 3260mAh. Here’s a detailed breakdown of advertised versus measured capacities:

Advertised Capacity Measured mAh (Cutoff 2.9V)
Sony VTC5A 2500mAh 2415mAh
Sony VTC6 3000mAh 2939mAh
Molicel P30B 3000mAh 2851mAh
Molicel P28A 2800mah 2627mAh
Molicel M35A 3500mah 3263mAh
Sanyo NCR18650GA 3500mah 3265mAh
Radiomaster 3200mah 3058mAh
Radiomaster 2500mah 2583mAh

Based on our testing, here are our top recommendations for different FPV needs.

18650 Li Ion Battery Fpv Molicel P30b 3000mah

For long range FPV flights, the Molicel P30B emerges as the top choice for its exceptional capacity and discharge performance, minimizing voltage sag. The VTC6 and P28A are excellent alternatives, with the VTC6 slightly edging out in flight time and the P28A providing a bit more punch.

Top choices:

Second choices:

18650 Li Ion Battery Fpv Sanyo Ncr18650ga 3500mah

For low current applications like powering FPV goggles and radios, the Molicel M35A and Sanyo NCR18650GA are my go-to options. The Radiomaster 3200mAh and VTC6 are also worthy considerations.

Top choices:

  • Sanyo NCR18650GA:
  • Molicel M35A:

Second choices:

Building Your Own Pack

You can build your own battery packs using singular 18650 cells following this guide:

While I’ve tested various pre-made 6S Li-ion packs from reputable vendors, none matched the performance of Molicel cells (I guess they are not using the best cells to maximize profit). Therefore assembling your own Li-ion battery pack using top-quality cells, ensures the best possible performance, sometimes even cheaper.


Choosing the right 18650 Li-ion battery requires weighing several performance factors. I hope our comparison and testing helped you decide which 18650 cells to get. Happy flying!

Charging 18650 Batteries

Modern LiPo chargers typically support Li-Ion battery type; simply connect them as you would a LiPo battery. For charger recommendations, check out:

Hglrc Thor Pro 6 Port Parallel Charging Board Xt60 & Xt30 Lipo Charger Batteries Li Ion

Edit History

  • Feb 2018: Article creation.
  • Mar 2024: Update with the latest test results on new market-available 18650 cells.

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