Since many maintenance and repair jobs of an HVAC unit require evacuation and refrigerant recovery, having a durable and efficient refrigerant recovery machine will make your work easier and more efficient.
If your recovery machine for refrigerant breaks down, your work stops until you can get a replacement. This potential setback makes the choice of a durable and dependable refrigeration recovery machine vital to your HVAC business operations.
After researching the features and recovery rates of all the refrigerant recovery machines available, we narrowed choices to these five, which offer speed, durability, versatility, and performance under pressure in compact sizes for portability and ease of use.
- Equipped with a handy self-purge system to eliminate any air or moisture when reclaiming refrigerant into a clean cylinder.
- Can operate in extreme weather conditions as the MR45 is completely waterproof and is able to withstand direct rain.
- Fitted with a powerful 1HP dual-cylinder compressor and large condenser coil making it ideal for demanding jobs.
- Compressor performance is automatically regulated to effectively throttle illiquid and recover vapor twice as fast.
Fieldpiece MR45 Twin Cylinder Refrigerant Recovery Machine
Appion G5TWIN Twin Cylinder Refrigerant Recovery Machine
CPS Pro-Set TRS600 Twin Cylinder Refrigerant Recovery Machine
Yellow Jacket 95730 YJ-LTE Refrigerant Recovery Machine
Robinair RG3 Portable Refrigerant Recovery Machine
Best Refrigerant Recovery Machine Reviews
1. Fieldpiece MR45 Twin Cylinder Refrigerant Recovery Machine
Weighing in at just 22 pounds, this Fieldpiece twin-cylinder model’s micro-channel condenser compresses more refrigerant at twice the RPMs and twice the horsepower with its twin cylinders.
Its onboard monitoring unit adjusts motor performance for liquid recovery of refrigerants such as R-134A from an HVAC unit and to run twice as fast on vapor.
Its twin-cylinder compressor is water-resistant to withstand rain and splashes. It comes with a one-year warranty and features an automatic cut-off. An easy-to-read display, single dial, and straight hose connection ports make this machine user-friendly.
Started in the company founder’s garage in 1990, Fieldpiece is known for its HVAC excellence. More than half of the Orange, California company’s employees are certified HVAC technicians.
This knowledge and communication with technicians around the country lead to dependable recovery rates and service.
What’s to Like about the Fieldpiece MR 45 Oil-Less Twin Cylinder Refrigerant Recovery Machine
The Fieldpiece MR 45 is among the lightest weight machines we tested. This is an important feature to anyone who’s carried equipment up a ladder to a unit.
The MR 45 is also quiet, but if you think that adds up to less power, you’d be wrong. This machine packs plenty of power and can make quick work of even the heaviest jobs.
The MR 45 model is also highly durable. With a ceramic cylinder for less friction, this machine could last you a decade or more.
What’s Not to Like about the Fieldpiece MR 45 Oil-Less Twin Cylinder Refrigerant Recovery Machine
Fieldpiece’s entry is among the higher-priced models reviewed, so it may not be in every business’s budget.
While Fieldpiece equipment is known for having a long life, it only comes with a one-year warranty.
2. Appion G5TWIN Twin Cylinder Refrigerant Recovery Machine
The G5 Twin twin-cylinder model from Appion is for any common refrigerant, including R-134a, R410A, R-22, and R-407C. It is capable of pumping both vapor and liquid without throttling, which will reduce your recovery rates and time.
Fast and efficient, the Appion G5TWIN can handle the recovery of refrigerants in businesses and homes, and, in a pinch, it can double as a vacuum pump unit.
As the name suggests, the Appion G5TWIN offers twin cylinders and twin condensers for double the speed, excellent recovery rates, and strength. A refrigerant-isolated crankcase adds to its durability.
Its easy-to-read pressure gauges monitor high-pressure conditions up to 550 psi and help prevent leaks, and red and blue outflow and inflow switches are easy to identify. This will make your work easier and nearly mistake-proof.
This robust machine was designed and manufactured in Englewood, Colorado, and comes with a one-year limited warranty.
What’s to Like About the Appion G5TWIN Twin Cylinder Refrigerant Recovery Machine
The Appion G5 TWIN offers versatility in a compact package. It can be used with all common refrigerants and is easy to use. It offers twin cylinders and twin condensers for double the power on the job.
This model has a long life, as Appion G5 TWIN owners have reported getting ten years of steady use from their machines.
What’s Not to Like About the Appion G5TWIN Twin Cylinder Refrigerant Recovery Machine
Appion G5 TWIN owners were not without their complaints, though. Several reported that this model should offer faster speeds since it has twin cylinders.
Others complained that this model’s electrical cord is too short. This could be remedied by using an extension cord, but that would be one more thing to carry to your worksite.
Designed to meet ANSI 12:12.01 Ignition Proof standards, the CPS Pro-Set twin-cylinder is a low-maintenance workhorse with twin cylinders, but when it comes to performance, it’s a racehorse, too.
The TRS600 model features a maintenance-free compressor and permanently lubricated and sealed main bearings along with an ignition-proof power switch and sealed start relay. With fewer parts, this model has reliability and durability.
Made by CPS, a company known for building professional-grade equipment for technicians, the TRS600 features the fastest recovery rates in its class.
What’s to Like about the CPS Pro-Set TRS600 Twin Cylinder Refrigerant Recovery Machine
With an ergonomic design and compact size, the CPS Pro Set TRS600 is easy to carry and fits in tight spots. Its integrated component moorings make for quiet operation, and its compressor, condenser, and cooling unit make quick work out of refrigerant evacuation.
It comes with a one-year limited warranty, and buyers report steady service for as much as a decade or more.
What’s Not to Like about the CPS Pro-Set TRS600 Twin Cylinder Refrigerant Recovery Machine
While this CPS machine is the best, it does come at a price. It was among the more expensive options we reviewed, but you get what you pay for. Owners of this model have complained that, for its price, CPS should have made the warranty longer than a year.
4. Yellow Jacket 95730 YJ-LTE Refrigerant Recovery Machine
Started by engineer Jack Ritchey nearly 70 years ago, Yellow Jacket and Ritchey Engineering are known for their commitment to excellence in HVAC equipment.
The 95730 YJ-LTE is a great example of that, offering speed, durability, and ease of use in a small package.
The Yellow Jacket is lightweight but offers fast recovery rates of refrigerants, including R-410A. This unit is designed to be durable under high-load conditions.
Its built-in self purge circuit makes for easy clearing at the end of a job. Its recovery tank stays cooler longer, which allows you to recover more refrigerant without a high-pressure cut-out.
What’s to Like about the Yellow Jacket 95730 YJ-LTE Refrigerant Recovery Machine
This Yellow Jacket model’s durable pressure gauge is easy to read and easy to use, and its cup-style piston seals offer better recovery rates under high pressure up to 550 psi. The 95730 YJ-LTE also is designed to resist damage from pressure pulses. It comes with a one-year warranty.
The Yellow Jacket’s filter is easy to clean and features a clog prevention system for more reliable non-stop performance.
What’s Not to Like about the Yellow Jacket 95730 YJ-LTE Refrigerant Recovery Machine
The minimal weight of this model comes from the plastic and composite materials that make up the casing. These materials could crack and will not be as durable as stainless steel.
The YJ-LTE does not pack the power that other models we reviewed do, and this shows in its slower speeds.
The Robinair RG3 is 40 percent smaller than other Robinair models, and, at 22.2 pounds, it is the lightest weight model we reviewed. The Robinair RG3 can handle all common CFC, HFC, and HCFC refrigerants, including R-410A and R-134A, liquid, and vapor.
Its high-efficiency crossflow design has the fan and condenser placed for shorter cycle times. The Robinair RG3 safety shut-off switch turns off the machine automatically if the pressure exceeds 550 PSI.
We recommend the Robinair RG3 for residential and appliance work and other lighter jobs. It comes with a one-year warranty.
Founded in 1956 by the Kent-Moore Corporation of Warren, Michigan, Robinair is now a Bosch Automotive Service Solutions brand headquartered in Owatonna, Minnesota.
What’s to Like about the Robinair RG3 Compact Refrigerant Recovery Machine
This small machine offers shorter cycle times and a high-pressure safety switch. If your projects tend to be smaller and lighter ones, then this model is a great candidate. It is also versatile, with the ability to recover all common refrigerants.
What’s Not to Like about the Robinair RG3 Compact Refrigerant Recovery Machine
While the Robinair RG3 is great for smaller jobs, owners have complained that it does not have the power to handle heavier industrial work.
It’s small size also adds up to slower speeds, so that should be taken into consideration before purchasing this model.
Best Refrigerant Recovery Machine Buyer's Guide
When shopping for a refrigerant recovery machine for your projects, you may have questions on the best features to search for and how these machines work. The answers to these frequently asked questions may make your purchase easy and one that you’ll be pleased with years from today.
What to Look for When Buying a Recovery Machine
Reliability and speed are two features of the best options, and they’ll be important to your work. Here’s what else to consider when looking for a new recovery machine.
Perks of an Isolated Crankcase
An isolated crankcase that can’t be flooded with refrigerant will ensure your machine keeps working on the job, even in conditions of high pressure.
Another benefit of an isolated crankcase is that this gives the capability of being used on several different types of refrigerants. Using a vacuum pump on the machine is all that’s required for the switching of refrigerants.
The ability to work with different types of refrigerants is also a valuable feature.
The adage “time is money” is true, so the faster your refrigerant recovery machine does its work, the more efficiently your repair work is done.
Twin-cylinder models can increase efficiency, speed, and performance. In general, these machines are more powerful than single-cylinder machines, and that power will translate into time savings for your business. They can be more expensive, though.
Make sure that your refrigerant recovery machine can handle R-134A and R-410A, which has increased in use. This means that HVAC technicians will be servicing and repairing HVAC units that use R-410A regularly for years to come.
Weight and Size
Weight and size are also considerations, as you’ll likely carry your refrigerant recovery machine up ladders and into tight spaces for some jobs. A lighter-weight, smaller model that can handle pressure will make your work easier. Especially when you’re balancing on a ladder, you’ll appreciate having a smaller unit.
That said, the best refrigerant recovery machines have large condensers, which will keep tanks cool, which will increase your recovery rate. Likewise, a large fan will keep the compressor cool while increasing airflow. So some give and take between portability and size due to necessary components will factor into your purchasing decision.
An oil-less compressor will keep any compressor maintenance to a minimum and provides greater reliability.
Ensure the refrigerant recovery machine you choose can be easily serviced and repaired and that its parts are easy to find. Otherwise, you’ll be waiting for parts instead of working.
Finally, you should consider the cost when shopping, but don’t always gravitate to the lowest price. Purchasing an economy-priced machine that can’t handle larger jobs, stalls in the middle of a project, or must be replaced in a year or two isn’t economical in the long run.
Best Refrigerant Recovery Machine F.A.Q.
What Do Refrigerant Recovery Machines Do?
As the name implies, refrigerant recovery machines remove and recover refrigerants from an HVAC unit prior to maintenance or repair, filtering them into an approved tank.
These machines are required due to the Montreal Protocol, which is enforced in the U.S. by the Environmental Protection Agency. The protocol banned venting refrigerants since they deplete the ozone layer, making these machines necessary for HVAC maintenance and repair. Violation of U.S. air quality laws carries the threat of large fines.
These recovery machines also allow for refrigerants to be recovered for reuse or for resale, which can be a financial benefit to your HVAC business.
Though there are ways to recover refrigerants without using a refrigerant recovery machine, the precision, safety, ease, and speed of these machines make them a key tool in professional HVAC service and repairs.
How Does a Refrigerant Recovery Machine Work?
Portable Refrigerant recovery machines pull refrigerants from an HVAC unit by the vacuum created by an electric pump. The refrigerant is filtered through the machine and passes into approved storage tanks.
There are three methods of refrigerant recovery – liquid, vapor, and push-pull. In the liquid method, the refrigerant is transferred while in a liquid state.
Similarly, in the vapor method, the refrigerant is removed from the HVAC unit while it is a vapor. It is then condensed into a liquid by the machine and transferred into the recovery cylinder.
The push-pull method is used for transferring large volumes of liquid refrigerant. The machine pulls vapor from the recovery cylinder in this method while producing gas that pushes liquid from the HVAC unit into the recovery cylinder. This should not be used if there are less than 10 pounds of refrigerant to be recovered.
How to Recover Freon Without a Machine?
First, to be in EPA compliance, you must have EPA Section 608 Technician Certification. Section 608 is the part of the Clean Air Act that deals with refrigerants. If you have this certification but don’t have a refrigerant recovery machine, you can still safely recover freon without a machine through the use of tanks.
Using a recovery tank that has been evacuated so air will not mix with the refrigerant and placed in a freezer along with gauges connected to the unit and the tank, you can recover refrigerants without a machine.
How to Use a Recovery Machine?
One of the most important factors in using a machine is not to vent refrigerant into the atmosphere. After all, this is why you’re recovering the refrigerant.
To start the job, you’ll first need to know what refrigerant you are recovering and whether the refrigerant will need to go back into the HVAC unit.
Using the shortest hoses possible will make carrying and connecting hoses less cumbersome. Choosing a 3/8-inch hose will make refrigerant recovery more efficient.
In the vapor method, once the HVAC unit and AC recovery machine are off, a hose with a low-loss fitting on both ends should be connected to the discharge side of the machine and to the tank liquid port on the recovery cylinder. Place the recovery cylinder on a scale.
Connect a hose from the low side service port of the HVAC unit to the center port of the manifold set and a hose from the low side of the manifold set to the suction side of your machine.
Then, connect a hose from the tank vapor port to the high gauge on the manifold set, which will let you monitor tank pressure.
Close the valves on the manifold set, and open the vapor and liquid valves on the cylinder. Start the machine. After the refrigerant has been recovered, close all valves and disconnect from the HVAC unit.
You can do the liquid recovery in the same way as vapor recovery, except that connections are made to the unit’s high side instead of the low.
Turn off power to the HVAC unit and the machine and close all manifold valves. Using a manifold will allow you to pull from the high and low ports simultaneously.
Connect a ¼-inch utility hose from the manifold to the suction port of the machine. Then connect a hose from the liquid side of the recovery cylinder to the discharge port.
Before starting, purge all hoses of non-condensable material. Make sure your recovery tanks are clean and evacuated to 500 microns or less. Fill to 80 percent or less to allow room for the refrigerant to expand.
Open the liquid valve on the tank and turn the machine on. Set the selector valve to “liquid.”
Open the high side valve and the utility port on the manifold. The recovery machine will recover until it indicates that the evacuation is complete.
When using the push-pull method, start with the power to the HVAC unit turned off, and the valves of the recovery chamber, recovery machine, manifolds, and hoses closed.
Connect a hose from the recovery machine’s discharge port to the vapor side of the HVAC unit. Connect the HVAC system’s liquid side to the sight glass and the liquid side of the machine with a hose. Connect a hose from the vapor side of the tank to the recovery machine’s suction port.
Purge the hoses of air and turn on the refrigerant machine. When liquid refrigerants have been recovered, switch to direct vapor recovery. This process can be easier if your machine has a self purge function.
Becoming skilled in refrigerant recovery is part of HVAC maintenance and repair. Learning these techniques and having the right tools, equipment, and protective gear to accomplish them well is part of being a professional HVAC technician.
These three different techniques will accomplish the refrigerant recovery your HVAC projects require, and each of them can be done with any of the recovery machines in this review to find a refrigerant recovery machine for your business.
What to Do with Recovered Refrigerant from an Old System?
Once you have recovered the refrigerants, take great care not to release them into the atmosphere, as they could harm the ozone layer.
After the evacuation, store refrigerants in approved containers. If you used filtration in recovery, you can reuse the refrigerants in the same unit or a different air conditioning unit owned by the same person.
You can also sell the recovery machine refrigerant from HVAC projects. According to EPA regulations, recovered refrigerants that are not returned to the same unit or another with the same owner must be returned to a consolidator for packaging or, in some cases, to the EPA.
After thorough review and testing of the best portable refrigerant recovery machines on the market, our choice was the Fieldpiece MR 45 recovery machine. This model brings all the features expected in the best refrigerant recovery machines. You can find versatility, durability, speed, lightweight, and compact size in the Fieldpiece MR 45.
The weight of the Fieldpiece MR 45 is light enough not to be a burden while you’re climbing ladders or unloading equipment. Though Fieldpiece products can be higher in price than some recovery machines, the longer life, speed, and dependable performance Fieldpiece offers is more economical in the long run.
Its oil-less compressor adds to ease of operation and durability. Reliable service in a unit that requires little to no maintenance will make your workdays easier.
With all the features of the Fieldpiece MR 45, it is the most versatile, dependable choice for a professional service technician who depends on the performance of their equipment every workday. The MR 45 provides rapid recovery of refrigerants, efficient service, and durability, even when used daily.
Refrigerant recovery machines with oil-less compressors offer reliability and recovery rates with less maintenance. Twin-cylinder models can offer greater speed and efficiency.
Hopefully, you got what you were looking for from our review of the best refrigerant recovery machines for your projects. Armed with this research, you can choose from among the best refrigerant recovery machines with an oil-less compressor for your HVAC project needs.
Your work as an HVAC professional technician is only as good as the equipment you use on a daily basis. If a machine stops in the middle of a project, the progress stops as well. To keep your air conditioning business running, your portable refrigerant recovery machines must keep running well, too.
Choosing the best refrigerant recovery machines, then, is vital for your air conditioning business. Professional technicians should study the features of multiple options to determine the best choice of refrigerant recovery machine for their projects.
We’ve done the professional research and presented all the detailed information you need to buy the best refrigerant recovery machine for your business. All that’s left is to buy and start using the equipment that’s best for your needs.