7 Golden Rules of Vape Battery Safety
When I first started in the vaping industry 15 years ago, issues with vape battery safety were far more common than they are today.
Vape devices weren’t as good as they are now, so many vapers built their own.
These homemade devices, as well as some commercial ones, came without the safety protections that are so common now.
Fortunately, modern devices are a lot safer, and if you follow battery safety practices, and use batteries from reliable suppliers, lithium-ion battery explosions are very rare – about 1 in 10 million.
What’s more, if there is an issue, modern batteries are designed to vent. This means the gases are released before they can cause an explosion.
This can still be alarming, but is much better than an explosion!
If you buy a battery from a known vape brand and reputable seller, avoid mechanical mods and follow the simple steps below, the risk of a battery issue is extremely low.
It’s also encouraging to know that the London Fire Service encouraged smokers to switch to vaping after estimating that smokers are 266 times more likely to have a fire than those who vape.
That said, all lithium-ion batteries can cause issues if treated incorrectly, so it’s important to follow these basic vape battery safety guidelines.
Rule 1: Buy modern reputable brands for vape battery safety
While there are laws in the UK covering battery safety, there are also devices which are sold illegally in the UK in markets and by disreputable shops.
The batteries in these devices have been smuggled into the country, and are far more likely to cause issues than devices covered by UK safety standards.
Indeed, the London Fire Service says:
“The risks around vaping tend to come from counterfeit or faulty products, and poor charging practises…”
What’s more, if you do have an issue you are far less likely to be covered by the manufacturers’ insurance.
So you should always look to buy reputable brands from reputable shops and businesses!
I’d also advise buying modern devices such as Vaporesso Xros 3.
Based on data tracking returns rates of hundreds of different devices, our business has found these tend to be more reliable than devices that were manufactured a few years ago, with Vaporesso Xros devices performing particularly well.
Rule 2: Avoid extreme heat
In summer and during heat waves, it’s worth bearing in mind that vape batteries should be kept away from direct sunlight!
According to FDK.com, extreme heat can lead to the resin in batteries melting and deforming, leading to electrolyte leakage and explosion.
There’s no hard and fast rule, but you want to avoid getting your battery above around 75°C to prevent the risk of a vape battery explosion.
I personally always ensure that I store my own batteries away from radiators and direct sunlight, and avoid leaving them in cars when it is hot and sunny.
Rule 3: Use the correct charger
Different chargers have different voltage outputs, and using the wrong one could damage your battery.
Indeed, during the early days of vaping, using iPhone chargers for vape devices was a common cause of issues.
As vape devices and safety protections have improved, these don’t cause as many problems as previously, but it’s still important to use an appropriate charger for your device.
Rule 4: Never leave your vape batteries charging unattended
It’s tempting to leave your battery charging while you pop out or even while you sleep, but this is strictly against best practice.
It’s true that the overwhelming majority of the time, you won’t run into an issue.
But in the unlikely event that you do have a problem during charging, if you leave your battery unattended, you won’t be there to deal with it.
I tend to charge my own batteries while I am at work (one is charging as I write this!) but any time you are sitting down and keeping half an eye on your device is good!
Rule 5: Charge your batteries safely away from flammable materials
The best place to charge your battery is on a hard surface.
A kitchen worktop is ideal, but a hard wooden table is also fine!
Always avoid charging on or near flammable materials.
This includes carpets – while issues are rare, I have seen several incidents where a carpet has been singed after this advice was ignored.
Rule 6: Keep your batteries dry and dispose of water-damaged ones
Last week, when I was on holiday, I dived into a swimming pool – only to remember that I’d left an Aspire Flexus Q in my pocket!
As I’d only brought one spare device with me, it was extremely tempting to carry on trying to use it.
However, water-damaged batteries have a far greater chance of going wrong and causing a problem.
So if your battery falls into or gets saturated with water, and it’s not designed to be waterproof, don’t use it. Either return it to the supplier or take it to a recycling station.
If you have a damaged battery, dispose of it correctly.
If you’re not sure how, search for a hazardous waste disposal service near you.
If you are around water a lot, it might be worth choosing a waterproof device, such as the Adept Zlide.
Rule 7: Take care with loose (external) batteries:
Don’t use batteries with damaged wraps
Batteries purchased for use in a mod device typically come with an external wrap.
These wraps protect the metal interior from shorting out on the inside of your mod. It’s important to only use batteries with in-tact wraps.
Even a little nick in the body of the battery that exposes the metal could lead to a problem, so look after your batteries and don’t take the risk of using any that could be dangerous.
Don’t carry vape batteries loose in your pocket
If you use a device with replaceable batteries, you may keep spares.
However, you should never walk around with loose batteries in your pocket.
These can short out when they come in to contact with keys, coins or other metal objects.
Ideally, they should be carried in a dedicated battery case.
Tip 1: Inspect and clean your batteries regularly
The fire service recommends inspecting your e-cigarette battery regularly.
If you can’t manage that, do check your battery every now and again to see if any dirt or gunk has accumulated on your battery connection point.
Use an alcohol wipe, cotton bud or tissue to gently clean any gunk off.
Tip 2: Be aware of over-charging and over-discharging
Over-charging or over-discharging your battery will reduce its lifespan and could lead to more serious issues.
Thankfully, good battery chargers have protections against over-charging, and most mods will prevent you from draining the battery too much, so you don’t usually have to do much.
However, you should unplug your charger when you notice your battery is charged (so you should avoid charging overnight) and avoid running your batteries right down until you can’t vape anymore.
Tip 3: Travelling safely with your vape batteries
Most airlines require you to place your battery in your cabin luggage.
Before putting your device away, make sure you turn it off first. This is usually done by pressing the button five times.
For more information, see our Guide to Travelling with E-Cigs.
If you have a device with a removable battery, most airlines recommend this should be installed in your device before being checked into hold luggage.
It’s also a good idea to tape over contact points with insulation tape.
Charging your vape device abroad can prove tricky, as the voltage supplied by power networks varies from country to country.
The best option for charging your battery is to use the charger and plug recommended by your supplier, but with a plug adaptor bought in the country you are visiting.
You can also check the power supply before visiting a country on this Wikipedia page.
Ideally, you would also use a surge protector, although in practice it’s not always practical to carry around a surge protection device.
For more information on batteries, including the ways to maximise the life of your device, check out The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Vape Batteries.
What makes a vape battery safe?
There are a number of features that can improve vape battery safety. These include (but are not limited to):
1. Locking mechanism: There should be an easy way to lock or turn off your vape device so it can’t accidentally fire in your pocket.
2. Button resistance: The button on your device should have some resistance when pressed, which reduces the likelihood of accidentally pressing it.
3. Automatic cut off: Modern devices usually come with a cut off feature, which stops the device from running after 10 seconds.
This helps prevent over heating and limits issues if the device auto-fires or is accidentally pressed when in the pocket.
4. Overcharge protection: Vape batteries should also come with overcharge protection, which stops them from charging when they reach full capacity (or, often, when they get to around 90% capacity).
This both helps extend the life of the battery and reduces the risk of a malfunction.
5. Venting holes: Vape batteries and devices should also be designed to vent. This means if there is an issue, the gases in the vape battery are released in a controlled manner before an explosion happens.
Are there steps I can take to maximize battery life?
Yes, and many of these are the same you would take for proper vape battery safety. They include:
1. Avoid overcharging: Use the charger specifically designed for your battery, and unplug it once it’s fully charged. Overcharging can damage the battery and decrease its lifespan. Many modern vape devices have built-in overcharge protection, but it’s still good practice not to leave your battery charging overnight or for prolonged periods unattended.
2. Proper storage: Store your vape batteries in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Exposure to extreme temperatures, whether hot or cold, can damage your battery over time.
3. Use the right charger: As explored in the article, always use the charger that came with your device or one recommended by the manufacturer.
4. Avoid draining the battery completely: Try not to let your battery discharge completely before charging it again. It’s best to start charging when the power level drops to around 20-30%. Most modern devices have a low voltage cut-off that prevents over-discharge, but regular deep discharging can still reduce the lifespan of your battery.
5. Regular cleaning: Over time, dust and e-liquid can build up on the battery contacts. This can reduce the efficiency of power transfer, forcing your battery to work harder and thus reducing its lifespan. Regularly clean the contacts with a dry cloth to keep them free from buildup.
6. Turn off when not in use: It’s good practice to turn off your vape device when you’re not using it. This can prevent accidental activation which could lead to overheating and unnecessary battery drain.
7. Handle with care: Be careful not to drop your battery or subject it to physical stress. The shock from a fall or rough handling can damage the internal structure of the battery.
8. Regular inspection: Regularly inspect your battery for any signs of damage like bulging, leaks or rust. If you notice anything unusual, stop using the battery immediately and replace it.
9. Proper disposal: Once a battery has reached the end of its life, it’s crucial to dispose of it properly to avoid environmental harm and potential safety risks. Many local waste disposal facilities offer a battery recycling service.
If this sounds a lot, remember the key is to buy a reliable brand from a reliable supplier.