Many of you may have heard of Sony Energy Devices sending out cease and desist letters to all major wholesalers of their 18650 batteries asking to stop selling to the public. We received such a letter and have decided to comply with Sony's wishes and stop selling the VTC3, VTC4, and VTC5 in loose format.
Any retailer who is still selling Sony batteries outside of packs at this point is one of two things:
- Selling fake batteries
- Selling genuine batteries obtained through shady channels (that are breaking their agreements with Sony) that are impossible to 100% verify, and is defying Sony's direct request. This implies the company probably does not have long term plans to be in the battery industry.
Because of this, we highly recommend going with offerings from Samsung SDI or LG Chem. Actually, this isn't a big deal because Samsung and LG offer batteries that are just as good or better, for a much lower price. But which batteries should you go with?
Replacements for the Sony VTC5
The Sony VTC5 is a 20A 2600mAh cell, that can take some 30A operation for short periods. It is a pretty good battery but not the overdog that many believe them to be. Depending on how much power/current your device uses, see below to see which battery we recommend.
Best VTC5 competitor, Less than 50W per battery
Most customers asking about the Sony VTC5 we actually find would do much better with the LG HG2 3000mAh. If your device uses less than 50W per battery (so 100W if it uses two batteries, etc) then the HG2 will last quite a bit longer between charges than the VTC5 and this is our recommended battery.
Best VTC5 competitor, More than 50W per battery
The most direct competitor to the VTC5 is the Samsung 25R, and this is the safest choice to replace it in any application even a higher power one. The 25R battery is a 20A 2500mAh cell that can peak at high pulse currents, like the VTC5. You may think that the 2500mAh is not as good as 2600mAh but in practice the actual tested mAh is very close. And the 25R is far cheaper than the VTC5.
Replacements for the Sony VTC4
The Sony VTC4 is a 25-30A 2100mAh cell. Again this is a very good power cell but LG has cells that can do as good or better for cheaper. If you're using 20A or less, then go back up to the VTC5 replacements section. If you need a hard hitting battery that can do 25-30A, then try the LG HD2C battery. This has similar specs to the VTC4, but at a lower price, and without the authenticity concerns.
Replacements for the Sony VTC3
The Sony VTC3 is a 30A 1600mAh cell. This is a cell designed for the absolute most hard hitting high power applications out there. Of course it gives up in how long it will go between charges, but sometimes you can just have a few more batteries on hand and this is no big deal.
Once again, we have some cells from LG that are as good or better. The LG HB2 and LG HB6. Note there's also the HB4 as yet another variant of this cell that you might see elsewhere, but in our experience there's no reason to carry all 3 since they're all very similar in testing and the specs are identical so we just carry the HB2 and HB6 These cells are true 30A cells that can put out 30A without breaking a sweat. Being honest, the VTC3 actually does break a sweat some running at 30A.
Some users swear by one or the other, but in our experience the HB2 battery and HB6 battery on average are very similar in performance. Any differences tend to be just batch to batch differences, so feel free to pick whichever is cheaper at the moment.
Edit: Now we carry the HB4 as well due to popular demand! You can choose that one here: LG HB4
If you have any more detailed concerns about what to replace your Sony batteries with, feel free to contact Liion Wholesale!
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