Looking to buy a 2-bay or 4-bay 18650 battery chargers? I’ve got you covered
A high-quality 18650 battery charger is a necessity for getting the most out of your battery cells. In this review, I’ll break down the key features of the best 18650 battery chargers (2-bay and 4-bay) and point out which is best for you.
Ready to learn more? Let’s charge on ahead!
Best 18650 Battery Chargers Comparison Chart
Nitecore D4 Smart Charger
NITECORE New i4
|No. of bays||2||4||4|
|Voltage||up to 4.2V in bays||up to 3.7v||up to 4.35V|
|Ni-MH, Ni-Cd, LiFePO4.||Li-ion, Ni-MH, Ni-Cd||Li-ion, IMR, LiFePO4|
|Battery Status |
- 1 Best 18650 Battery Chargers Comparison Chart
- 2 Best 18650 4-Bay Battery Chargers
- 3 Best 18650 2-Bay Battery Chargers
- 4 The Bottom Line
- 5 Buying Guide
Best 18650 4-Bay Battery Chargers
1. Nitecore D4: Best 4-Bay Battery Charger
Most of the time you have to pay a premium for smart charging and battery maintenance functions With the Nitecore D4, you’ll get 4 convertible bays, intelligent circuitry, and an easy to read LCD display. This makes it the best 18650 battery charger if you’re looking for value.
The range of batteries you can charge with the Nitecore D4 is impressive. All 4 bays are convertible and can fit 10 different styles of Lithium-ion battery, as well as Ni-Cd and Ni-MH batteries. While you’re charging, you can check the status and voltage on the LCD display.
Affordable Smart Circuitry
The smart circuitry in the Nitecore D4 can sense what type of battery has been plugged in. In auto charging mode, it will match the needs of the battery and charge accordingly. These slots are independent, so you can charge different styles of battery at the same time.
Admittedly, the Nitecore D4 doesn’t offer the range of monitoring features you’ll find on more expensive chargers. Considering the price, though, smart features of any kind are an unexpected bonus. This makes the Nitecore D4 both a safe and versatile option for buyers on a budget.
- Automatic charging mode guarantees safe, efficient charging
- Convertible bays fit a range of battery sizes
- Compatible with Lithium-ion, Ni-MH, and Ni-Cd batteries
- LCD display shows you charging progress
- Charges 4 batteries simultaneously
- Built-in temperature monitoring and over-charge protection
- Battery status readings are limited
- Doesn’t do well with wider batteries
- Some users report issue with auto-shutoff for some battery types
The Nitecore D4 is designed for anyone who wants to charge a variety of battery styles using one convenient device. While it doesn’t have advanced restoration and monitoring features, it’s a fine charger for a casual rider.Check Price at Amazon
2. NITECORE New i4: Best 4-Bay For Casual
For the last 4-bay option, let’s look at the Nitecore New i4. It can charge batteries twice as fast as the previous version of the device. While you won’t find any bells or whistles on the Nitecore New i4, it’s a durable multi-chemistry charger.
The adjustable bays on the Nitecore New i4 can fit everything from AAA to D batteries with ease. It’s as versatile in terms of chemistry as it is with size. Along with Lithium-ions, the Nitecore New i4 charges Ni-MH, Ni-Cd, and LiFePO4 rechargeable batteries.
You’ll also get variable charging voltage on the Nitecore New i4. The range extends up to 1500 mA for a single battery, or up to 500 mA for all 4 slots at once. While there is an auto-detect function for the current, it’s best to set it manually—the auto selection doesn’t always get it right.
The Nitecore New i4 has two-layer charge protection. In addition, it will alert you if you insert a non-rechargeable battery. Our only quibble on the safety front is with the auto-shutoff. It doesn’t stop when the battery fills, but only after 20 hours of use.
- Compatible with multiple battery chemistries
- Convertible bays fit a variety of battery sizes
- Charges 4 batteries simultaneously
- Independent voltage selection on each charging bay
- Includes reverse polarity and overcharge protection
- The auto current selection isn’t always accurate
- Long auto-shutoff
- Doesn’t charge as fast as other options
Though it’s an improvement over previous models, the charging speed of the Nitecore New i4 still isn’t spectacular. That makes this a better 18650 battery charger for casual riders, as opposed to those who need frequent, fast charges.Check Price at Amazon
3. Efest Lush Q4: Best 4-Bay Budget Charger
Another 4-bay smart charger that’s an excellent value is the Efest Lush Q4 intelligent LED charger. At less than thirty bucks, it’s the most affordable smart 18650 battery charger.
Efficient Li-ion Charging
All 4 bays of the Efest Lush Q4 are independent. This means you’ll see the status of each battery separately using the light-up indicators. Each battery gets exactly the current and voltage it needs, making the Efest Lush Q4 a worry-free choice.
While the Efest Lush Q4 will charge batteries at up to 2A, take that with a grain of salt. You’ll only get this fast charge for a single battery. Multiple batteries will have to share these amps. This means you’ll only charge at .5A if there are 3 or 4 batteries.
The intelligent Efest Lush Q4 automatically stops charging when the battery is full. Along with this, there are protections built in against short circuits, reverse polarity, and overvoltage. This combination makes the Efest Lush Q4 the safest 18650 battery charger in the price range.
- Excellent value
- Built-in multi-layer protection
- Automatically stops charging when the battery is full
- Independent charge indicators on each slot
- Charges 4 batteries simultaneously
- Easy to set up and use
- Not compatible with other chemistries (lithium-ion only)
- No battery monitoring or status readings
- Charging speed reduced when charging multiple batteries
The Efest Lush Q4 is the ideal charger for 18650 battery users on a budget. The only thing it lacks compared to more expensive models is versatility—not a concern if you don’t use may battery chemistries or sizes.Check Price at Amazon
4. XTAR Dragon VP4 Plus – Best 4-Bay Performance
The XTAR Dragon VP4 18650 Battery Charger goes beyond your expectations for a battery charger. It also has built-in features for testing batteries. Multiple current options and ports make it a versatile battery charger, as well.
You get three charging current options, ranging from .5A to 2A. This means the XTAR Dragon VP4 can charge high-capacity batteries quickly, but won’t overload smaller batteries. You can also see the capacity of the battery while it’s charging, so you’ll always know exactly how much it has left to charge.
Here’s where the XTAR Dragon VP4 18650 Battery Charger stands out from the pack. You can view your battery’s capacity, voltage, and resistance on the LCD display screen. These test results can also be stored and viewed later. In addition, it has a refresh function for Ni-MH batteries, expanding its versatility.
- Variable charging current
- Quickly charges a variety of battery types
- Test mode lets you determine your battery’s true capacity
- Precisely measures internal resistance and voltage of battery
- Ni-MH refresh function
- Includes USB output for device charging
- Most expensive option
- Bulky and not very portable
- The interface isn’t very intuitive to navigate
Admittedly, the cost of the XTAR Dragon VP4 is more than most casual riders want to spend. The XTAR Dragon VP4 18650 Battery Charger is really the best battery charger for those looking for ultimate performance. It gives you insight into your battery’s health you just won’t get from other chargers. The XTAR Dragon is also ideal if you need to charge a variety of different battery styles and chemistries.Check Price at Amazon
Best 18650 2-Bay Battery Chargers
1. Nitecore D2: Best 2-Bay For Charging On The Go
Nitecore also makes 2-bay versions of the chargers listed above. Let’s start by looking at the 2-bay Nitecore D2, which offers the full functionality of the D4 in a more portable package. And a more affordable package, too, since the Nitecore D2 sells for less than twenty bucks.
Like the D4, the Nitecore D2 18650 Battery Charger can charge multiple chemistries, from lithium-ion to Ni-MH, Ni-Cd, and LiFePO4. The versatility expands thanks to the convertible charging bays. Since the two bays are independent, you can charge different sizes or chemistries at the same time.
The Nitecore D2 optimizes your charging. Check the built-in display to see how your charge is progressing, and get a basic idea of your battery’s status. We found the smaller screen on the Nitecore D2 just as legible as that on its bigger brother.
- Automatically detects battery type and status
- LCD screen shows charge and battery status
- Compatible with a variety of chemistries and sizes
- Simultaneous and independent charging
- Option of automatic or manual charge settings
- Stops charging once battery is full
- Temperature and charge monitoring built in
- Can be tricky navigating manual settings
- Wider batteries don’t fit well
You should buy the Nitecore D2 18650 Battery Charger if you want to easily charge a variety of battery styles on the go. The ability to choose your charge settings makes it adaptable enough for all your charging needs.Check Price at Amazon
2. EFest Lush Q2 – Best 2-Bay For Fast Charging
If you want our vote for the best 2-bay 18650 battery charger, it has to go to the EFest Lush Q2. This is the 2-bay equivalent of the Lush Q4 above. The more compact design gives you a faster charge, along with the same great safety features.
Fast Li-ion Charging
Both bays of the Efest Lush Q2 18650 Battery Charger can provide 1A or 2A of current. This will charge a 18650 battery as fast as any charger on the market. We especially appreciate that it still charges fast when you’re using both bays.
The only caveat is that you’ll only be able to charge lithium-ion batteries with the Efest Lush Q2. It won’t work for other chemistries, which does limit its versatility. Having said that, it is compatible with over a dozen designs of li-ion batteries.
The auto-shutoff on the EFest Lush Q2 18650 Battery Charger kicks in as soon as the battery is full. This prevents overcharging and keeps the unit temperature low. Other safety features include reverse polarity, short circuit, and over-discharge protection. All in all, it’s a worry-free way to recharge your 18650 batteries.
- Variable 1A or 2A charging current
- Independent slots can charge at 2A simultaneously
- Multiple layers of safety protection built-in
- Automatically stops charging when battery is full
- Fits a variety of Lithium-ion batteries
- Easy to set up and use
- Portable and durable design
- Not compatible with multiple chemistries
- No battery status functions
The EFest Lush Q2 is ideal if you want fast charging for your lithium-ion batteries. It’s also a handy charger to take with you on the road, both compact and ruggedly built.Check Price at Amazon
3. Nitecore New i2 – Best 2-Bay Value
The last Nitecore 18650 battery charger we’ll look at is the Nitecore New i2. This speedy little charger has an impressive design, both intelligent and compact. Having said that, it’s a runner-up in our minds to the Nitecore D2 18650 Battery Charger above.
The main thing the Nitecore New i2 has going for it, especially compared to the Nitecore D2, is charging speed. It’s very efficient in this regard, matching the speed of the Nitecore New i4 reviewed above.
You’ll also find the Nitecore New i2 18650 Battery Charger works with a wide range of batteries. The bays are adjustable, and it supports the major rechargeable battery chemistries and styles.
Here’s where we prefer the Nitecore D2, for the simple reason that the Nitecore New i2 lacks the handy status display. The intelligent circuitry also don’t stand up as well, in our opinion. The auto-detect function for the current isn’t completely reliable.
- Adjustable bays
- Compatible with multiple chemistries
- Compact and portable
- Built-in safety protections prevent short circuits
- Bays have independent voltage selection
- No battery status display
- Long auto-shutoff time
- Auto-current selection is sometimes unreliable
The Nitecore New i2 is an affordable, compact way to charge batteries quickly. It’s a great option if you want something you can use on the go. However, we’d recommend looking at other models if you’ll be leaving the charger in a garage.Check Price at Amazon
4. XTAR VC2 Plus – Best 2-Bay For Battery Health
If you want a 2-bay charger that can revive damaged batteries, check out the XTAR VC2 Plus 18650 Battery Charger. It gives you two battery bays along with a USB port. Smart charging functions and a detailed LCD display could easily make it your best battery charger.
For such a small charger, the screen on the XTAR VC2 Plus is impressive. It shows you exactly how much longer your batteries need to charge, as well as its current capacity. Smart circuity detects the battery style and optimizes the current, then stops charging once it’s full.
The XTAR VC2 Plus 18650 Battery Charger also excels at balancing the power it outputs. You can charge two batteries at once, plus a device through the USB output.
When a battery is damaged, most chargers simply won’t charge it. The XTAR VC2 Plus has a special Activation Function, however. It can revive low-voltage batteries, helping you get more life out of all your devices.
- Compatible with multiple chemistries and sizes
- The display shows detailed charge information
- Auto-stop makes it safe to use without monitoring
- Activation function can restore damaged batteries
- Also has USB output
- Maximum charge speed of 1A
- Doesn’t come with wall adapter
The XTAR VC2 Plus is a great charger if you’re more concerned with the health of your batteries than how fast they charge. The auto-shutoff and restart charging functions make it an ideal way to keep batteries ready to go for occasional use.Check Price at Amazon
The Bottom Line
In our opinion, the XTAR Dragon VP4 is the best 18650 battery charger. It gives you high charging speeds, in-depth safety features, and smart functions to help maximize your batteries in the long-term.
You may find you don’t need all those high-end functions, though—or don’t want to spend that kind of money. Check out the buying guide below to help you decide on the best 18650 battery charger for you.
Lithium-ion batteries like 18650 motorcycle batteries have different needs than the lead-acid batteries of old. While they’re easier to maintain than traditional batteries, the different chemistry requires different equipment.
One thing to keep in mind is that the cost of lithium-ion battery chargers does vary widely, depending on which features and functions you need. Give a bit of thought to what you need your charger to do. This will make sure you don’t spend more than you have to for features you won’t use.
The most important aspects to consider include:
Lithium-ion batteries in general charge faster than lead-acid. In many cases, a deeply discharged 18650 battery can be back to usable in as little as 3 hours. Compare this to the 12 hours or more you’ll need to charge lead-acid versions.
The fastest 18650 chargers typically use 2A of current. Others will offer a maximum speed of only 1A or lower, especially on the lower end of the price spectrum. A lower charging current will get the job done, but not as quickly.
Many 18650 battery chargers will also charge Ni-MH or Ni-Cd batteries. This is helpful if you want a charger that can work for multiple applications, but not necessary if you’re only charging li-ion batteries.
Multi-chemistry battery chargers do tend to be more expensive. You can get more bang for your buck going with a lithium-ion specific charger if that’s all you need it for.
How many bays the charger has determined how many batteries you can charge at once. The best 18650 battery chargers offer independent controls for the bays, so you can charge multiple types of battery at the same time.
Keep in mind that your charging speed will often drop when you charge multiple batteries at once. This makes the maximum charging speed an especially important factor to consider if you’re shopping 4-bay battery chargers.
Smart functionality on a battery charger goes beyond convenience. Features like auto-shutoff and auto current selection also make the charger safer and prevent damage to your battery. Chargers that can work with multiple chemistries often have circuitry in place to detect the battery type and charging needs.
Some battery chargers also offer advanced features. These will display current facts about your battery and charge, as well as precise information about the length of charge. Chargers that offer monitoring and recording of data will typically cost more than other designs.
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