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Understanding MilliAmp Hours

Spinfuel Guide To Vaping – MilliAmp Hours


As a new Vaper, one of the technical specifications you’re bound to run into when dealing with the question of which hardware to buy comes along when you’re choosing your battery. Whether you’re selecting from the options of Halo G6 batteries for your first starter kit, choosing between an eGo Mini, eGo Twist, or eGo pass-through, or choosing the standalone 18350, 18490, 18500 or 18650 batteries to power an Advanced Personal Vaporizer (APV) or mechanical mod, you’re going to see a specification attached to any of those choices. Specifications like 320mAh, 650mAh, 1100mAh, et cetera.

But what do those numbers mean? More to the point, what do they mean when it comes to your choice in battery options? Read on and I’ll tell you.

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Technical Definition

Let’s begin with the technical definition of the term, “mAh.” It’s a contraction for “milliAmp hours,” or, to decompress it entirely, “milliAmpere hours.”

An Ampere hour (Ah) is the amount of electrical current a battery can deliver to a device in one hour. A milliAmpere hour, simply stated, is one one-thousandth of an Ampere hour. Most PV batteries’ capacities are listed in milliAmpere hours, or mAh, despite the fact that some, such as 2000 mAh 18650 batteries, could be listed as 2Ah batteries. It’s my belief that batteries of this type are simply rated in mAh for the sake of consistency in numbering.

With that out of the way, let’s move on to what mAh mean to you, the PV user.

What It Means To You

Below, I’m going to present a brief chart. I want you to understand that the numbers I present should not be taken as gospel; they’re based on my own personal experience and ballpark guidelines. Because your style of vaping will vary from my own, my usage times will not necessarily be identical to the usage times you’ll experience — but they should be very close.

Additionally, not every battery performs the same as every other battery with the same mAh rating. Different manufacturers use different techniques to extend the usable life of their batteries between charges; some, like Halo does with their G6 batteries, even have it as a point of pride that their batteries last longer than the competition’s, despite their batteries having a similar mAh rating.

The following list will present an example battery, the mAh rating, and the approximate endurance between charges, in either hours or days:

Blu standard battery – 85-90mAh – 45 minutes

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Halo G6 78mm automatic KR-808-D1 battery – 320mAh – 2-3 hours

eGo standard battery – 650mAh – 6-8 hours

18350 standalone battery for APVs and mechanicals – 800mAh – 10-12 hours

eGo pass-through battery – 1000mAh – 10-12 hours, indefinitely while in pass-through operation

18650 standalone battery for APVs and mechanicals – 2000mAh – 16-18 hours

I’d like to point out that the preceding timeframes are for solid use and don’t include idle time while sitting unused. I’ve had a single 18650 powering an iTaste VTR remain at over half charged for several days, and have stretched an 800mAh iTaste VV 3 to two days before it needed recharging.

Again, the preceding is merely a very ballpark guideline to what you can expect from batteries of various mAh ratings.

However, you also need to be aware of a couple of factors that can modify those timeframes. Let’s go into a couple of them now.

What can alter battery performance between charges?

One of the most serious factors that can modify how long your battery will perform between charges is whether you’re using a standard resistance or low resistance atomizer on the battery.

I’ll go into resistance more fully in an upcoming article. For now, let me give you the ballpark figures, and then tell you my experience of how low resistance works, and of why — and how — it affects battery endurance.

Standard resistance, in my experience, ranges from 2.2 to 2.6 ohms.

Low resistance, in my experience, ranges from 1.5 to 2.0 ohms in pre-assembled atomizers. Hand-wrapped coils such as those found in rebuildable atomizers can range quite a lot more widely, from 3-plus ohms all the way down into the sub-ohm range. Sub-ohm and ultra-high resistance are outside the scope of this particular article, though, so we’ll stick to the generally accepted ranges for pre-assembled devices.

To keep things very simple with regard to resistance, imagine that the atomizer is a slide on a playground, and electricity is people, sliding down the slide. Standard resistance is the slide as you would normally find it on a nice, sunny day. A few people can slide down it in any given time, because there’s just enough resistance to slow the flow of people moving down the slide.

Now imagine that low resistance is what happens when somebody pours vegetable oil down the slide. People can move down the slide with less friction, which means that the flow of people down the slide is a lot more intense.

Similarly, in a standard resistance atomizer, the electrical current from the battery flows at a steady rate; comparatively, in a low resistance atomizer, current is able to flow more freely into the coil, which means that it’s depleted from the battery at a faster rate.

How markedly this will affect your battery’s time between recharges is dependent on your battery’s mAh rating and on the resistance of each individual AD you use on the battery. That’s something you’ll have to discover, then with each individual combination of battery and atomizer.

I hope that this has given you a basic understanding of mAh ratings, and that it will help you in selecting your battery of choice. Until next time, happy vaping!

John Castle

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About The Author

All original content is written and produced for our readers by the Spinfuel Staff. The writing staff includes Julia Hartley-Barnes, Keira Hartley-Barnes, Tom McBride, Jason Little, Melanie Hendrix, and Dave Foster. Spinfuel also publishes guest contributors on occasion. All original content is protected by US copyright laws.

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3 thoughts on “Understanding MilliAmp Hours”

  1. Nice! One of those “Why wasn’t this posted before?” articles!

    Glad that you emphasized that similar mah ratings are no guarantee of similar vape time, and other factors such as device resistance.

    Good job!

  2. Good article. Explains the subject and does not get too technical. Awesome.
    On the more technical side is something that most RC hobbyists learn about with the batteries that power their cars.
    C ratings or charge/capacity ratings on lipo batteries. Now lets say I have a 3.7v cell rated at 2000mah capacity. 2000mah is equal to 2ah. Most general single cell lipo batteries will have a 1C charge rating. (not all batts are marked with this. If not, consider them 1C batts) This means I can charge them at 1x their capacity or 2amps. If I were to charge this at a higher rating, say 4amps, I would certainly charge the battery faster but I would also create heat and shorten the life of the battery. Some cheaply made batteries could have more severe results. C ratings are also a measure of discharge rate. Example 3.7v 2000mah 1C lipo cell will discharge at 2amps X 1 = 2amps. I can continuously draw 2 amps from this battery without damaging it.
    If I decided to use a really low sub-ohm resistance coil, in my mechanical mod, I would be drawing more than 2 amps and would thus damage my battery.
    Lesson. If you use sub-ohm coils in your mechanical mod, choose a high amp draw battery.
    I will also leave you with this. Don’t believe everything you ready on the battery. Some makers list a higher nominal capacity that it actually has. 2000mah is really more like 1600mah. The only way to know for sure is to test your batteries. Since we would all rather be vaping, buy only quality batteries. They may cost you a couple bucks more but they are worth it.
    Look at the rating label on all the different chargers you have for your gear. You will see that vary to some degree. With these single cell 3.7v lipo batteries, it is always safer to charge them at 1 times their stated capacity or lower. (High drain batteries can be charged a bit higher but I personally would not charge any of the single cell lipos at more than 2 times their capacity.
    Yes, I am a geek and I geek out on details like this. Hope at least 1 person enjoyed this.


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