Fake Samsung INR18650-25R Cells

Picture of Fake Samsung 25R 18650

Fake Samsung 25R 18650


It’s come to our attention through our network that there are a large number of counterfeit Samsung 25R (and potentially 30Q) cells either already on/about to land on the market in the UK.

There’s a possibility that they are re-wrapped Samsung 22P cells with a 25R/30Q wrap on them.


What to look for

Firstly, the wrap – Having another (known genuine) 25R/30Q would be advantageous here. Re-wrapped cells rarely have the same consistency as an OEM product. They are normally slightly off colour, have a different texture and almost always a differing thickness. Samsung wraps are known to be thicker but much softer than most.

Positive end crimp vent disk and insulator

Picture of Samsung 25R positive crimp

Samsung 25R positive crimp

 The Samsung 25R and 30Q vent disk (under the positive 3 point post) has a dimple in the centre, surrounded by a complete circle score mark. Outside of this is a further score line circle with a 2mm break. Directly opposite this break at the other side of score line will be a letter and number stamped into the disc. Counterfeit cells may differ. If they are a 22P, they will be accompanied by 3 radial score lines from the centre outward. The Samsung 25R AND 30Q have NEVER had these radial scores. Insulator should be flat gloss white (no texture), plastic and not adhered to the can.

Cell can markings

Picture of Cell can markings

Cell can markings

Samsung use an often evolving code system but one part remains the same. Near the top of the can will be two lines of code. The top should be 4 characters (Normally starting with a letter than a number). Directly below will be another line, more often with 5 characters.

On the Samsung 25R, the second character of the top line will be a number 5. On the 30Q it will be a 0. (Not  on its own a guarantee of a genuine cell because the 35E for example will also carry the “5” characteristic but we’re adding up the odds here)

Bottom Stamp

Picture of Samsung 18650 30Q Negative Marking

Samsung 18650 30Q Negative Marking

Samsung started stamping their cells with a unique identifier some time ago but this hasn’t extended to all of their range. You will however find a stamp mark under the wrap at the negative/bottom of the can. It can be a single character or a letter followed by two numbers. On this 30Q, its a single character, the greek “Epsilon”.  (Samsung often use Greek characters on the base of cans, the 25R previously having carried the “Theta” character)

Anything else to look out for?

Not unless you have access to or can test cells to the factory specification/standards against the datasheet. This is the only real way, along with the above factors, to ascertain whether or not a cell is what it says it is.

How can you protect yourself? 

Only buy these products from registered, legitimate businesses who can and do properly test the products for authenticity prior to sale. Bare cells sold to end users (vaping/torch industry etc) MUST BE COMPLIANCE MARKED.  Penalties for non-compliance are increasing and Trading Standards in the UK are actively pursuing this in 2019.

18650.UK is a fully compliant wholesale and end user/retail supplier of bare lithium cells. We batch test all cells even when buying direct from the manufacturer, compliance mark them in accordance with EU/UK legislation where required and provide you with a fully backed, genuine product.

Ben – Sales Director – 18650.UK

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