by John Salt - Updated October 2023
I know, stating "Best LiPo RC Battery Brand", is on the same level as telling you what beer you should be getting; it's totally personal preference, and everyone has their own opinions based on subjective & anecdotal experiences with many varied flying/driving/boating styles that all play a roll.
In this hobby, there are lots of opinions & even more anecdotal experiences!
I'm also not a hot shot 3D, F3C, or speed sponsored pilot with unlimited resources & money. Like most average folks in the hobby, I have to budget my pennies and stretch my dollars. In short, my top RC LiPo battery brands are based on best value.
Hopefully that means the same to you as it does for me; "getting the most performance and life out of your packs for every dollar you spend."
Next to our models, LiPo's are the single biggest cost most of us face in this hobby.
One thing I've learned over the past 15 years of electric RC flying is the old adage you get what you pay for doesn't apply in the slightest to LiPo's. Some of the most expensive packs currently on the market are some of the worst, while some of the least expensive can hold their own. Don't buy into the LiPo BS that many brands are pushing.
The unfortunate truth is many RC LiPo brands pray on our ignorance of this power source and there are no rules to stop them from making total BS claims to justify higher pricing. One of the worst ones with an exorbitant advertising budget boasting of lifetime warranty (read the fine print) continually reaches out to me to include their overpriced, over hyped packs on this page. It won't happen!
On top of all that, due to new LiPo shipping regulations which started around 2014 in many countries (Canada where I live being one of them), it's almost impossible or at least prohibitively costly to order and ship LiPo packs from outside your own country.
I like many now, only purchase my LiPo's from local and national hobby shops, at least if I don't want to pay more in shipping and import fees than my entire battery order is worth.
any rate, people often ask me what what RC LiPo batteries I think are best and personally use
& recommend. So without further ado, here are my three favorite brands of choice (of the many I've tried over the years) that I currently fly
with, and remain immensely happy with. Keeping in mind I follow all my LiPo Battery Care & Use Procedures to the letter... at least most of the time ;)
My number one LiPo battery pick is Buddy RC's Glacier LiPo's.
I have been so impressed with these LiPo's over the past 9 years back when I could still get them shipped up to Canada for a reasonable amount.
Glacier's LiPos won't break the bank, have realistic capacity and discharge rates, stay fairly cool during hard use, and most of mine are still going strong after many years of use with little increase in internal resistance or capacity drop. A few have started to show some minor swelling, but are still flyable.
The down side as I said is they are now prohibitively expensive to ship up to Canada since the new LiPo shipping regulations went into effect.
For those of you in the US however or Canadian's close to the Ohio border enabling a fairly short "road trip" to Columbus, don't overlook Glacier LiPo's. You don't know how lucky you are to have Glaciers on your door step; take advantage of that proximity!
Gens Ace are my goto LiPo brand these days. All the Gens Ace LiPo packs I have are holding up and performing like champs. Barley warm after even hard flights with little gain in resistance, no capacity drop, and zero puffing so far.
They generally cost about 20% to 30% more than an equivalent rated Glacier, but they are still less than other "big name" packs and are by far the easiest and most cost effective quality packs to get here in Canada.
I have searched high and low for a best LiPo source for Gens here in Canada, and Rotor Quest always has the best pricing and selection I find.
Another added bonus is shipping is free from Rotor Quest as long as your order is over $250 (pretty easy with a couple larger LiPo packs). They also have regular sales on almost every holiday weekend with discounts from 10% to 15%, and there are no import/brokerage fees attached.
In other words, when you take into account shipping (which always was expensive from places like Hobby King even when they were using EMS post to Canada), and if you wait for one of RotorQuest's regular holiday sales; you can pick up a Gens Ace for about the same price as a Glacier.
3rd on my recommended LiPo list are HobbyKing's line of Turnigy, Turnigy HD & Turnigy NanoTech LiPo batteries.
I first stared using Turnigy LiPo's about 15 years ago while getting into larger electric helicopters (600 size and up). Many are still working after all that time and hundreds of cycles! Not to their full potential of course, but little in the way of capacity drop, internal resistance increase or much electrolytic decomposition (gassing/puffing). One caveat is their Nano-Tech ones don't seem to be holding up as well as their normal or the really good HD ones, but still decent.
Before finding Turnigy, I was dishing out about $250 beans for a single 6S 5000 mAh battery pack (FlightPower & ThunderPower was what I was using way back then).
Turnigy is what (pardon the pun), "turned" things around and finally made large electric flight affordable for me. That same size, capacity, and C rated Turnigy pack was only $60.00 bucks; so less than 1/4 the price of what I was using with as good performance (actually better).
More and more brands are have gotten competitive with Turnigy. As I mentioned several years back, even if you hate dealing with HobbyKing, it was their Turnigy LiPo batteries that drove, and continue to drive LiPo pricing down; at least with the competitive brands that aren't blowing BS to justify their overpriced / over hyped packs.
A smart LiPo battery such as Spektrum's Smart LiPo packs contain a small electronic control board.
These boards communicate with brand specific smart chargers and on board telemetry systems so the charger/model knows exactly what battery is being hooked up to it, capacity, health, individual cell voltages, state of charge, etc. The built in board will even put a small load on the pack when fully charged and not used for a few days to bring them back down to a safe storage state.
The benefit is you don't have to understand the basics of LiPo charging and care because the on board electronics along with the proprietary systems these smart LiPo's are connected to do all that stuff for you.
If you've already read my RC Charger page, you know I'm not a fan of this proprietary Smart Battery technology.
Why... Well, you pay a price premium for it. You are forced to use the brand's propriety chargers and other support equipment (at least if you want the benefits of the smart technology). You greatly limit your LiPo choices (both in terms of brand & sizes/capacities). You can't easily para-charge. You can get better quality LiPo packs for less money.
In short, you are giving up value, flexibility and options for convenience.
If however you don't care about any of that, and just want an easy & safe RC LiPo usage experience, then a Smart LiPo & charging system may be the best LiPo battery pack options for you.
I cover this topic in depth on my RC LiPo Battery Connector page, but thought I should at least make mention of it when discussing best LiPo batteries.
You'll need to make sure the battery you choose also comes with the correct plug on it that your model's ESC uses.
Makes perfect sense right?
Problem is, you really limit yourself and your LiPo battery selection when you are trapped by something as simple as the connector type it comes with.
If you don't know how to solder RC connectors, I really encourage you to learn this most useful skill. You won't regret it - I promise!
My dad taught me to solder when I was eight. If an eight year old can solder, anyone can.
This is a hobby after-all, and part of electric RC'ing is simple soldering. As I said, it's not difficult, soldering equipment (a soldering gun, solder, and flux) is inexpensive, and it's such a useful skill that has far reaching applications over and above that of RC.
Not only that, even if you find the best LiPo battery for your needs and it comes with the correct connector type, you most likely will have to replace it due to wear & tear. Plugs have finite cycle life after-all. Same goes for the plugs on your ESCs, even more so.
Learning to fly an RC heli or plane is much harder than learning to solder. Work on that easy skill so your best LiPo battery choice is not narrowed substantially by something as minor as what connector it comes with.
The video below shows exactly how I change a connector on a brand new LiPo safely so you can understand the process better.
So, to sum this entire page up, here are my best LiPo battery tips.
What about your RC LiPo experiences?
Feel free to contact me with your own good, bad, and ugly LiPo brand successes and failures. It would be nice to reward the good honest LiPo companies on this page.