by John Salt - Updated February 2021
I know, stating "Best LiPo RC Battery Brand", is on the same level as telling you what beer is best; it's totally personal preference, and everyone has their own opinions based on subjective & anecdotal experiences.
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 & $. Like most average folks in the hobby, I have to budget my pennies and stretch my dollars. In short, my top 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."
One thing I've learned over the past 11 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 so many brands are pushing.
The unfortunate truth is many RC LiPo brands pray on our ignorance of this fairly new 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 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 safety shipping regulations which started in 2014 in many countries (Canada where I live being one of them), it's almost impossible to order LiPo packs from outside your own country; meaning many of us are pretty much stuck to what's available from local and national hobby shops.
These shipping problems are also driving costs of LiPo's back up! Here in Canada for example, it's almost getting too expensive for the average Joe or Jane to fly large electric powered planes and helicopters due to rising LiPo costs. I was hopeful this was a short term hiccup, but it's now 7 years later and as I said, has gotten even worse.
any rate, people often ask me what the best LiPo brand is and what RC LiPo batteries I personally use
& recommend. So without further ado, here are my three brands of choice (of the many I've tried over the years) that I currently fly
with, and are immensely happy with.
My number one LiPo battery pick right now is Buddy RC's Glacier LiPo's.
I have been so impressed with these LiPo's over the past 8 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 discharge rates, stay fairly cool during hard use, and most of mine are still going strong after many years of use with very little increase in internal resistance or capacity drop.
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!
The Gens Ace LiPo packs I have are holding up and performing very well, right up there with Glaciers'.
They are generally 20% to 30% more than an equivalent Glacier, but they are still much less than other "big name" packs and are by far the easiest and most cost effective to get here in Canada.
I have searched high and low, both online and off, for a best LiPo source for Gens here in Canukistan, and RotorQuest always has the best pricing and selection I find.
Another added bonus is shipping is free from RotorQuest as long as your order is over $150 (pretty easy with a couple larger LiPo packs). They also have regular sales on almost every holiday weekend with discounts from 10% to 20%, and there are no import fees attached.
In other words, when you take into account shipping (which always was expensive from Hobby King even before they stopped shipping LiPo packs to Canada), and if you wait for one of RotorQuest's regular holiday sales, especially the 20% off ones. You can pick up a Gens Ace for about the same price as a Glacier, and not too much more than a Turnigy.
3rd on my recommended LiPo list are HobbyKing's line of Turnigy & NanoTech LiPo batteries.
I first stared using Turnigy LiPo's about 11 years ago while getting into larger electric helicopters (600 size and up). Many are still working after all that time, some not to their full potential of course, but little in the way of capacity drop, internal resistance increase or electrolytic decomposition (gassing/puffing).
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.
More and more brands are now getting 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 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, chemistry of the pack, etc.
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. And perhaps the biggest issue - you don't learn a thing and understand how LiPo's work & how to properly care for them.
In short, you are giving up value, flexibility, options, and learning fun 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, plane, or even an easy and boring fully stabilized quad copter 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.
So, to sum this entire page up, here are my best LiPo battery tips.
I still very much maintain supporting your LHS or national RC hobby shop is always the best source for LiPo packs, (sometimes the only economical source due to all the new LiPo shipping restrictions).
However, big name RC LiPo batteries in my opinion were, and many still are, way overpriced & over hyped. Especially now knowing that pretty much every RC LiPo pack under the sun, no matter what name tag is stuck on it, comes out of China from perhaps only a handful of LiPo manufacturing facilities.
I have even read that up to 75% of every RC LiPo battery on the market comes from a single facility.
Many of the cheap and lower quality brands out there (none of which are listed on this page mind you), simply use cells that have failed to meet the higher specifications standards set by higher-end brands. These "hi-end rejects" are then sold for less to the lower quality brands that have more lenient specs.
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.