Julia Talks Nitecore Chargers

Nitecore Chargers – A 2015 Look At The Best Chargers For Vapers

A good battery charger has never been more important to vapers than they are this year. Vaporizers with removable batteries are becoming more common in regulated devices, box mods, tube-shaped, and so on, not just mechanicals. The idea of a quick change out of an 18650 battery rather than plugging the vaporizer into your computer’s USB port means never having to forestall your vaping while the device is recharging. Who doesn’t want that?

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The idea of keeping a few batteries fully charged and at the ready is one thing, how those batteries are charged and maintained is another. When it comes to trustworthy chargers for my 18650’s I turn to Nitecore and only Nitecore.

Before Nitecore became an advertiser here (full disclosure and all that) I only knew them as a flashlight company, never realizing that they made chargers. For months I would see the ad, and then one day I clicked on the Ad and looked over their various models of chargers and compared them to other chargers with less well-known names. Were they really better?D2 Smart Charger

For the first 18 months or so as a vaper I bought lots of batteries and probably a dozen or so chargers. Sadly, battery chargers never seemed to last long. Then again, the batteries I was using also didn’t last that long, yet I never made the connection that maybe, just maybe, the inexpensive no-name chargers might be killing my batteries long before their usefulness should have run out. So about 2 years ago, maybe a little less,  I began buying Nitecore chargers and, I swear, I’ve never had a single problem with a battery again.

Spreading The Nitecore Love

Friends and fellow vapers would, once and a while, ask me to recommend a charger for their 18650’s and 18350’s, and in the old days I would say “buy anything, they all work”, and after I bought my first Nitecore charger I would always insist that my friends and fellow vapers buy Nitecore, and only Nitecore.

But, here’s the weird part; no one here at Spinfuel has ever bothered to write about Nitecore chargers. It never even crossed our mind really. I mean, what do you say about a battery charger other than “Yea, I like my Nitecore’s, they always do the job.”

So a few months ago, after picking up the 2014 version of the i4 Intellicharger (my first Intellicharger) I was interested in knowing why it was apparently important to plaster the year 2014 on it. When I found out I finally had a reason to write a review. One thing led to another and all 4 of my Nitecore chargers have some unique features I never truly thought about. I collected some research about them and in a matter of a couple of days I had plenty of information to formulate an article in Nitecore chargers. It feels a bit foolish now that we never wrote about them before now.

For the record, I own the D2 and D4 Smart Chargers and the i4 and i2 Intellichargers. The 4-bay chargers are what Keira and I use at home and the 2-bays are what we take with us when we travel.

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The i4 and i2 Intellichargers

i4 Intellicharger - Spinfuel ReviewI’m nowhere near an expert on batteries or battery chargers, so please forgive me while I focus in on the issues that affect vapers, and that pretty much centers on 18650’s, 18350’s, and 18490-18500 batteries used in mechanicals, tube APV’s and a few new box mods like the Kanger Subox Mini and the new Johnson Creek Vea™ Elite. If you’ve performed a search for Nitecore charges and wound up here by mistake, my apologies, this article is pretty much for vapers looking for a dependable and accurate battery charger.

The first release of the i4 Intellicharger had some engineering problems that had to be resolved quickly, so, in early 2014 the Version 2 was released and buyers were advised to look for the “2014” version right on the packaging because some greedy vendors were continuing to ship out Version 1 while they had them. That is no longer an issue, as all the old version i4’s and i2’s are long gone. But, on the slim chance that you see an i4 Intellicharger at a yard sale or on eBay, if it doesn’t have the 2014 date on it, don’t buy it.

The i4 and i2 Intellichargers are 4-bay and 2-bay chargers than can handle just about any rechargeable battery you throw at it.

The i4 and i2 Intellicharger is a truly a universal, automatic smart-charger that’s compatible with almost all types of rechargeable batteries so you won’t need to buy several chargers for various batteries you might need to keep charged. The i4/i2 can automatically identify Li-ion, Ni-MH and Ni-Cd rechargeable batteries and automatically apply the appropriate charging mode, including Constant Charge Current (CC), Constant Charge Voltage (CV) and Trickle Charge. A yellow and blue power/charging status indicator lights visibly indicate battery status and charging process. That’s the most ‘technical’ I’ll get about this charger, as well as the D4 and D2 Smart Chargers in this review.

Why I like them – With the i4/i2 Intellicharger I don’t have to do anything other than slip up to 2, 3, or 4 18650’s in and let them charge. When they are fully charged the LED displays reads “All” indicating that they are all fully charged. The charger is smart enough to know when to stop charging, so even if your batteries have different amounts of power left in them you can safely charge them all at the same time.

The charge time is supposedly a bit slower than the first version, but since I never owned the first version it doesn’t matter to me. The batteries charge fast enough for me and that’s all that counts.

The i4 and i2 Intellicharger Features

  • Capable of charging 4 batteries simultaneously, 2 in the i2
  • Each of the battery slots monitors and charges independently
  • Automatically identifies Li-ion, Ni-MH and Ni-Cd rechargeable batteries
  • Features three charging modes (CC, CV and Trickle Charge)
  • Automatically detects battery status and selects the appropriate voltage and charge mode
  • 3 Color LED displays charging progress for each battery
  • Automatically stops charging when complete
  • Features reverse polarity protection
  • Designed for optimal heat dissipation
  • Certified by both RoHS and CE
  • Input voltage: AC 100-240V 50/60HZ or DC 12V
  • Dimensions: 139mm × 96mm × 36mm
  • Weight: 156g (without batteries and power cord)
  • Compatible with: Li-ion: 26650, 22650, 18650, 17670, 18490, 17500, 17335, 16340(RCR123), 14500, 10440 Ni-MH/Ni-Cd: AA, AAA, C.
  • DC Adapter Not Included
  • Batteries Not Included

Nitecore D4 and D2 Smart Chargers 2015 version

My latest Nitecore Charger purchases are the D4 and D2 Smart Chargers, both 2015 versions. The D4 and D2 seem to be every bit as D2 Smart Chargeraccurate as the i4 and i2 Intellicharger. After charging some 18650’s with both I did some accuracy readings and found them to be exactly charged to 4.20 volts every time but one, a single battery charge in the D4 read 4.21 volts, otherwise, they are always spot on. The thing I love most about the D4 and D2 chargers is that they are also completely automatic. Unlike the i4 and i2, they will show you the progress of the charging with a bar graph, they show the voltage being applied, the charge time, and even the type of battery you’re charging.

The D4 and D2 Smart Chargers also charges each slot independently. There is a button on the side that lets you select certain information about slot 1, 2, 3, 4. Another button on the side lets you cycle through the information if the auto cycle is too slow. The display is really nice too.

Features in the D4/D2 Smart Chargers

  • Intelligent circuitry detects the battery type and status before entering automatic charge mode (CC, CV, dV/dt)
    • Automatically detects battery power status and selects the appropriate voltage and charge mode (with the exception of LiFePO4 batteries which require manual selection)
    • Compatible with LiFePO4 batteries
    • Compatible with small capacity batteries
    • Automatically stops charging when complete
    • Features over-charge prevention to protect batteries
    • Features temperature monitoring to prevent overheating
    • Made from durable ABS (fire retardant / flame resistant)
    • Features reverse polarity protection
    • Designed for optimal heat dissipation
    • Certified by RoHS, CE, FCC and CEC
    • Insured worldwide by Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China, Ltd.Specifications 
    Input: AC 100-240V 50/60Hz 0.25A(MAX), DC 12V 1A
    Output voltage: 4.2V ±1% / 3.7V ±1% / 1.48V ±1%
    Output current: 500mA x 2
    Compatible with:
    Li-ion / IMR / LiFePO4: 26650, 22650, 18650, 17670, 18490, 17500, 18350, 16340 (RCR123), 14500, 10440
    Ni-MH / Ni-Cd: AA, AAA, AAAA, C
    Dimensions: 143mm× 74mm×36mm
    Weight: 168g (without batteries and power cord)

Why Buy Both Models?

i4 Intellicharger packageI really don’t have a good answer for that, but I know someone is going to wonder why I didn’t buy the same model every time. The thing is, Nitecore chargers are not expensive, the D4 Smart Charger for instance is just $22, and the D2 is just $16. The i4 Intellicharger is even less, just $18.95 and the i2 is just $11.95. I guess the best answer is that since they didn’t cost a lot I thought it would a good idea to try various models. In the end though, both models are equally terrific, with just a few minor, cosmetic differences. Not to mention that peace of mind is priceless.

My Nitecore chargers were purchased through Amazon and since I’m a prime member I got two-day shipping for free, so you can’t beat the price or the shipping.

Conclusion

Some people take battery charging very seriously, much more serious than I do, and they put them through all kinds of tests and determine a lot of information about them. I am thankful for their hard work because it allows people like me, and maybe you, to buy with confidence because they do the heavy lifting. We just charge our batteries and go on our merry way. I’ve placed a link at the bottom for a very technical review of the i4 Intellicharger as an example of how some people do their homework. For me, and Keira, we look for compatibility for the batteries we charge, the dependability, the accuracy, and the durability of the charger. In these areas Nitecore can’t be beat.

I’ve owned many no-name chargers in the past that simply stopped working and refused to charge any battery I put in it for what looked to be no reason. My Nitecore’s have never refused a battery before, and I have owned them for many months and Keira and I use them every single day.

For home use we like the 4-bay chargers and when we travel we’ll take along a 2-bay to save space. Having both the “D” series and “I” series I really don’t have a preference and when I need to recharge a couple of batteries I’ll go to the closest one and use it. We keep the i4 Intellicharger in the bedroom and the D4 Smart Charger in the living room; the 2-bay’s stay in the drawer until we go somewhere. Again, no real reason why the i4 is in the bedroom and the D4 is in the living room…

Bottom Line

For dependable battery chargers it pays to buy from a name that is well known for chargers, not some inexpensive no-name company that throws one together and puts it out on the market. At least Nitecore invests a ton of money into building chargers that are accurate, fast, and dependable. And they last. And they don’t break you financially. That’s exactly what most of us want, isn’t it?

Where To Buy – Nitecore Chargers are available on Amazon and about a gazillion other vendors that vapers frequent all the time. You won’t have a problem finding them, though I do buy almost everything from Amazon, so….

Julia Hartley-Barnes