The best refrigerant recovery machine can reduce work time and requires little supervision when using it.
As technology advances, newer and better recovery units are constantly being introduced into the market.
Therefore, it is possible to get confused when choosing the right refrigerant recovery system.
Nevertheless, with some guidance, it is possible to arrive at the best recovery unit that will suit your specific needs.
Some of the factors to consider when buying AC recovery units include the price, size, recovery speed, and how many refrigerants the unit can handle (Source).
Best Refrigerant Recovery Machines 2018
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Refrigerant Recovery Machines 2018
- 2 1. Robinair RG3
- 3 2. Appion G5 Twin-Cylinder Refrigerant Recovery Unit
- 4 3. Inficon G1 Dual Refrigerant Recovery Unit
- 5 4. Yellow Jacket XLT
- 6 5. Robinair Premium 34988
- 7 What Is a Refrigerant Recovery Machine?
- 8 Why Is It Dangerous for Refrigerant to Escape into The Atmosphere?
- 9 Can You Use Recovered Refrigerant?
- 10 What Does Refrigerant Reclamation Mean?
- 11 What Is Recycled Refrigerant?
- 12 How Does One Facilitate Safety During Refrigerant Recovery?
- 13 What You Should Know Before Buying a Refrigerant Recovery Machine
- 14 Our Final Take
|Robinair RG3 Refrigerant Recovery Machine|
|Appion G5 Twin Cylinder Refrigerant Recovery Machine|
|Inficon G1 Dual|
|Yellow Jacket XLT Refrigerant Recovery Machine|
|Robinair Premium Refrigerant Recovery Machine|
1. Robinair RG3The Robinair RG3 unit is compact, lightweight and easy to carry around. It can handle some industrial tasks that most recovery units in its range cannot. This product measures 14.8 by 11.4 by 8.5 inches and weighs 18 pounds. The outer casing is grey and made of heavy-duty material to ensure durability.
Robinair RG3’s outer casing also features an ergonomic cross-flow design. This design helps optimize the internal performance of the ac recovery unit. In addition, it also promotes harmony between the condenser and fan. This reduces refrigerant cycle time of the unit.
Robinair designed this recovery unit with all the necessary controls conveniently located at the top. The user panel is color-coded to help distinguish all controls from one another. The in-flow valve switch is blue while the out-flow switch is red.
As a safety measure, this recovery machine is fitted with an internal kill-switch to prevent pressure from rising within the cylinder chambers. The maximum pressure limit for this unit is 550 psi. In case of high pressure, the regulation switch shuts down the unit to prevent refrigerants from leaking. For this reason, Robinair RG3 rarely develops leaks when draining refrigerants making it for long-term usage.
Lastly, this refrigerant recovery machine is compatible with all liquid and gaseous refrigerants. It can handle refrigerants like Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) and Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC).
Weighing 26lbs, this refrigerant recovery unit measures 13.75 inches by 9.4 inches by 10.3 inches. It has a multi-colored outer casing that is strong enough to house and protect the twin cylinders inside. Appion ensured the internal layout of this unit is designed to promote harmony in the internal components.
The product’s user panel is located at the top of the unit for easy access. The inflow and outflow valve switches are color coded red and blue for easy identification. Above the two switches are the unit’s pressure gauges for getting quick readings of pressure levels. This helps monitor how much pressure is in the unit at any given time and also to prevent leakage of refrigerants.
The synergy between the twin cylinders and twin compressors in this system helps boost the Appion G5’s overall performance. This harmony yields faster recovery rates for better efficiency.
This product features a solid outer construction to protect against damage of internal components. An ergonomic grip is fitted on the top part for easy carrying of the recovery unit. In addition, this model has a custom shoulder strap that can be used to transport the unit alongside the break-resistant handle.
The inside construction of the Inficon G1 Vortex refrigerant recovery machine has what is called blow-molded casing. This allows the unit to muffle internal noise and perform tasks quietly. It is the best recovery unit to have when working in environments that require less noise.
This device is an easy-to-use piece of equipment. All vital controls are located on the top and they include pressure gauges and inflow-outflow valve controls. Similar to the Robinair G3 and Appion G5, the Inficon G1 has its valve control buttons color coded for easy identification. One additional advantage is that the valve control knobs are reinforced with a molded casing that makes them scratch resistant.
More on the Inficon G1
This recovery unit has oversized fans that blow large amounts of cool air into the components inside. This prevents internal components from overheating even while running the machine for hours. Another feature worth mentioning is the self-purge function.
When activated, the unit drains all residual fluids from the internal compartments. This makes maintenance of the unit a breeze as less cleaning or components replacement is needed.
Like most high-end refrigerant recovery units, Inficon G1 also boasts of an oil-free compressor with a high-pressure safety switch. This setup ensures that pressure levels are maintained below 550psi at all times. Should internal pressure exceed the limit, the safety switch automatically shuts down the unit.
The Inficon G1 refrigerant recovery machine is designed to work with both gaseous and liquid refrigerants. It is perfect to use with AC units that run on CFC, HFC or HCFC refrigerants.
This recovery unit appeals more to the eye thanks to the multi-colored glazed outer casing. The molded case is blue in color and is designed to fit seamlessly into the front grey casing. There are yellow highlights as well, especially around the pressure valves and on the sides.
To complement the solid construction is an equally sturdy carrying handle located at the top. All the controls you would want on a refrigerant recovery system are conveniently located on one side. Two pressure gauges sit at the top of the user panel to check psi levels when the unit is in operation. Inflow and outflow valve controls are located right below the pressure to instantly regulate internal pressure.
Yellow Jacket XLT refrigerant recovery machine handles all types of refrigerants; gaseous and liquid. It is equipped to handle refrigerants like R-500, R-502, R-407, R-404, R-410A, and R-134a.
Weighing a mere 7.3 pounds, Robinair Premium 34988 recovery unit measures 35.7 by 24 by 55.3 inches. It reaches the hip level with all necessary controls placed at the very top for easy access and operation of the unit. The user only needs to push a few buttons at the beginning then the unit is left to run spontaneously on its own.
For the first time, one can get real-time results of the recovery process while the machine drains refrigerants. All it takes is injecting special ultraviolet dyes into the unit. Then, wait for the unit to print a full report of the recovery process on the spot.
An inbuilt vacuum leak test allows faster recovery and recycles processes. It also allows for the ability for the unit to recharge itself before getting back into action.
More on Robinair Premium
Robinair 34988’s automatic air-purge mode quickly rids the machine of unwanted air. Such air may otherwise damage internal components. In addition, there is a notification function that alerts the user whenever a process has been completed. This is the only refrigerant recovery machine that runs on an oil-based compressor.
There are tiny translucent tanks on the side where the compressor oil is drained and refilled. This action happens automatically as well to prevent the need of having to switch off the unit to replace compressor oil.
This unit is recommended for heavy industrial use where a technician needs the machine to work spontaneously as they handle other processes.
What Is a Refrigerant Recovery Machine?
A refrigerant recovery machine removes the refrigerant from cooling equipment such as freezers, refrigerators, and air conditioners in accordance with EPA standards. DIY enthusiasts or technicians use the machines during the repair or maintenance of these devices.
Refrigerant recovery machines are essential because they minimize the leaking of refrigerant into the atmosphere. They recover it in a tank for reuse or recycling.
Why Is It Dangerous for Refrigerant to Escape into The Atmosphere?
It causes refrigerant poisoning. Refrigerant contains chemicals known as fluorinated hydrocarbons or Freon. Freon is an odorless and tasteless gas which when deeply inhaled cuts off oxygen to cells and lungs.
Regularly inhaling high concentrations of Freon can cause breathing problems, organ damage, fluid build-up in the lungs or sudden death.
Limited exposure to Freon is not as dangerous. That means if refrigerant spills on your skin or you breathe near an open container, then the symptoms are only mildly harmful. However, the rule of thumb is to avoid any exposure at all.
Also, bear in mind that fluorinated hydrocarbons damage the earth’s atmosphere according to numerous studies.
Can You Use Recovered Refrigerant?
Yes, but under certain conditions. First, it is important to remember the law. EPA demands that contractors, technicians or DIY enthusiasts recover all refrigerant and dispose of it properly. Proper disposal usually involves taking the refrigerant to an approved company for incineration.
It is a violation to release the refrigerant into the atmosphere, and it is also a violation to reuse recovered refrigerant in a different system/equipment. That said, the EPA still allows reuse but only under these three circumstance
i) Reusing the refrigerant in the same equipment once maintenance or repair is complete.
ii) Reusing in a system owned by the same person or business and at the same address.
iii) After taking the refrigerant to an approved reclamation company for reclamation.
What Does Refrigerant Reclamation Mean?
According to the EPA, it is the processing of previously used refrigerant gas in a refrigerant loop until the specifications for new refrigerant gas are met.
Reclamation is never done by an individual but rather an EPA-certified reclaimer. The reclaimer must adhere to the rules and regulations set by EPA regarding recovered refrigerant according to the Clean Air Act of 1990.
What Is Recycled Refrigerant?
Refrigerant recycling is the process under which the contaminants contained in the refrigerant are reduced to facilitate reuse in the same equipment or another equipment owned by the same person.
It is different from refrigerant reclamation discussed above because the purity achieved after recycling does not meet the set EPA standards. Oil separation and filtration process is used for recycling.
The most significant benefit of recycling is cost saving. That is because R-22 supply is continuously diminishing and yet the demand remains. As a result, the price rises.
How Does One Facilitate Safety During Refrigerant Recovery?
First, you need a pair of goggles and a set of gloves to prevent frostbite. Second, you must have charging hoses complete with ball valve ends. The shorter the hoses, the better because short hoses reduce the impact on the environment and facilitate efficiency.
Third, ensure you have a quality recovery unit or machine. It must of necessity have CPR (Compression Protection Regulator) valve, a large condenser and a high-pressure cutout rated for at least 510 psi.
What You Should Know Before Buying a Refrigerant Recovery Machine
Buying the best refrigerant recovery machine depends on a number of factors. This includes the weight of the recovery unit, its portability, and its inbuilt recovery speed.
You may also want to check on the cost as well as the ease of operating the unit.
Below are some things you’ll want to consider prior to buying a refrigerant recovery machine:
The lighter the refrigerant recovery unit, the easier it is to transport it around. A lightweight recovery unit is also easy to get to hard-to-reach areas like on ceilings and rooftops.
As technology advances, manufacturers of refrigerant recovery units are continuously finding new ways to fit all necessary features into a compact design.
How light or heavy the refrigerant recovery machine also depends on the area of application. The heavy-duty ac recovery units have more weight since they pack advanced additional features that can reduce operation time by half.
On the other hand, lightweight recovery units have fewer features and are ideal for small-scale jobs.
How heavy a recovery machine in determines how portable it will be. Going with the lightest ac recovery unit means you have to sacrifice on a few features. The best way to choose between lightweight or heavy depends on the area of application.
Consider a lightweight refrigerant retrieval machine if you need one for residential application. Such portable recovery units are also easier to carry up roofs or attics to access the AC system. The heavier recovery units, also with more features, would be ideal for industrial and commercial application.
They can perform several tasks at once allowing the technician to work firster and more efficiently.
Single Cylinder vs Twin Cylinder
AC recovery machines with twin cylinders are more efficient and take less time to perform a task. However, they tend to be expensive and heavy to carry around. On the other hand, single cylinder recovery units are slower in comparison but more affordable. They are also lightweight therefore more portable. Twin cylinders have a better recovery time than single cylinders.
Refrigerant recovery units with faster recovery speeds are handy where time is of the essence. A refrigerant recovery machine that features twin cylinder units will recover faster compared to those with one cylinder installed.
In addition, modern recovery units are switching from oil-based to oil-less compressors to boost efficiency. Oil-less recovery units are also cleaner to run compared to those with hermetic compressors.
Refrigerant recovery units with faster recovery speeds have the ability to handle more than one task.
The more features a refrigerant recovery machine has the more it will cost on the market. Lightweight recovery units cost less because they contain the basics for performing non-demanding tasks. Larger refrigerant recovery units are designed to handle more workload.
Such machines will have plenty of inbuilt features to facilitate their efficiency. Your needs and budget as an ac technician will determine how much you are willing to spend on a refrigerant recovery machine.
Our Final Take
The best refrigerant recovery machine should be compact for easy mobility. Also, it should be highly advanced to handle both light and heavy workloads. In addition, such machine must be able to handle more than one refrigerant whether in the liquid or gaseous state.
We also commend those recovery units that are easy to operate by having all necessary controls centrally located.
Our final choice in this in-depth review is the Robinair RG3 refrigerant recovery machine. It is not only lightweight but it also handles both residential and industrial AC recovery projects quite well.
Finally, we recommend that you consider the refrigerant recovery unit that best suits your needs for its price.