[5] Best Refrigerant Recovery Machine Reviews [2020]

Top 5 Best Refrigerant Recovery Machines 2020:

  1. Robinair RG3 Portable Refrigerant Recovery Machine – Editor’s Choice
  2. Appion G5TWIN Twin Cylinder Recovery Unit – Best Twin Cylinder Recovery Machine
  3. INFICON 714-202-G1 Vortex Dual Refrigerant Recovery Machine – Best Heavy Duty Recovery Machine
  4. Fieldpiece MR45 Recovery Machine – Most User-Friendly Recovery Machine
  5. Yellow Jacket XLT – The Quietest Recovery Machine

No matter if you’re a technician working for a big AC repair company, or if you’re working solo, the refrigerant recovery machine is your most essential piece of equipment.

People say that time is money, and the best refrigerant recovery machine can help you gain more of both! Recovering refrigerant is an essential step in most HVACR repairs.

Your recovery machine is the critical factor in how quickly and efficiently you can accomplish this step.

Buying the best recovery machine for your needs is vital. Unfortunately, with so many choices on the market, it can be challenging to narrow down on which refrigerant recovery machine to buy.

To ease the burden, we researched and reviewed five of the best refrigerant recovery machines you can find on the current market.

Not only that, but we also compiled a short buying guide to help you make the best decision!

See Also: The Best Flux Core Wire


5 Best Refrigerant Recovery Machines In 2020: Detailed Reviews

After two dozen hours of research, these are the five refrigerant recovery machines that made it to our list based on the key factors you can check out in the next section.

We made sure to cover both single cylinder and twin cylinder recovery machines.

1. Robinair RG3 Portable Refrigerant Recovery Machine – Editor’s Choice

Image Credit: Amazon.com

The first place on our list goes to Robingair RG3, a lightweight, portable refrigerant recovery machine that comes jam-packed with useful features.

The first thing we noticed about the Robingair RG3 is how lightweight it is. Weight only 18 pounds, this recovery machine is excellent for jobs in hard-to-reach-places such as attics and ceilings.

Thankfully, the weight isn’t it’s only strength. This single-cylinder refrigerant recovery machine is ideal for most HVACR jobs since it can extract all common refrigerants such as HFC, HCFC, and CFC. Not only that, but thanks to its oil-less compressor, this machine can recover both vapour and liquid, leaving a 40% lower carbon footprint.

The good stuff doesn’t end there. The Robingair RG3 also comes with a high-pressure safety shut-off switch. This feature makes the machine extremely safe to use because it will turn off automatically when the pressure exceeds 550PSI.

Another reason why we decided to place the RG3 at the top of our list is its incredible efficiency. Although this recovery machine has a single-cylinder compressor, it can still pump out 2 pounds of refrigerant in less than half an hour. All thanks to its high-efficiency cross flow design that utilizes a condenser layout and a fan.

The Robingair RG3 Portable Refrigerant Recovery Machine should be on the top of your buying list if you’re looking for a model that’s both versatile and easy to use.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Oil-less compressor
  • Features a high-pressure auto shut-off switch
  • Excellent recovery time despite the single-cylinder compressor

Cons

  • None whatsoever

2. Appion G5TWIN Twin Cylinder Recovery Unit – Best Twin Cylinder Recovery Machine

Image Credit: Amazon.com

The second pick in our list goes to Appion G5TWIN Twin Cylinder Recovery Unit, a compact, lightweight recovery machine with ultra-fast recovery.

Even though the G5TWIN is almost the size of the Robingair RG3, it weighs 10 pounds more than the RG3. Some of this weight goes to the twin-cylinder compressor, but most of it goes to its incredibly sturdy casing. The G5TWIN can take quite a beating and still work without a hitch.

The main reason why the Appion G5TWIN sits on the second place in our list is because of its excellent user-friendliness. This recovery machine is incredibly easy to operate because the pressure gauges sit right above the intake/outtake valves. On top of that, both the valves and the corresponding pressure gauges are color-coded.

The G5TWIN is not just user-friendly; it’s also ultra-fast. This recovery machine features a twin-cylinder oil-less compressor that works in combination with two condensers and a high-rpm fan to cut down the recovery time by as much as half!

Unfortunately, the G5TWIN is purposely designed to work with only two refrigerants; R-410A and R-22. This doesn’t mean you won’t be out of work if you buy this recovery machine since the R-22 refrigerant is slowly being phased out and replaced with the R-410A.

Pros

  • Twin-cylinder compressor
  • User-friendly
  • Ultra-fast recovery speed
  • Compact

Cons

  • Only works with R-410A and R-22 refrigerants

3. INFICON 714-202-G1 Vortex Dual Refrigerant Recovery Machine – Best Heavy Duty Recovery Machine

Image Credit: Amazon.com

The fourth place on our list of best refrigerant recovery machines goes to the Inficon G1. Even though it’s heavier than the previous two models we reviewed, this sleek, black and grey recovery machine comes with a ton of useful features.

The first thing that impressed us about G1 is its casing. This recovery machine is solidly built, allowing for quite a lot of wear and tear, which is always good. On top of that, it also features a no-slip grip handle on the top and a shoulder strap. This means you won’t have any troubles carrying this tool anywhere you need.

You will find all the necessary controls of the G1 on the top of the unit along with the inflow/outflow valve controls and pressure gauges. The color-coded valve control buttons are reinforced with molded casing for extra durability and resistance to scratches and bumps.

Another feature that caught our eye is a massive fan than cools the internals of this recovery machine. Thanks to this fan, you can leave this dual-cylinder recovery machine working for hours at a time without having to worry about overheating.

The coolest feature of the G1 is the self-purging system. When activated, this system drains out all the fluids from the internal compartments. This makes maintaining this recovery machine a piece of cake. 

The coolest feature of the G1 is the self-purging system. When activated, this system drains out all the fluids from the internal compartments. This makes maintaining this recovery machine a piece of cake. 

Pros

  • Sturdy casing
  • Excellent recovery time
  • The self-purging system allows for easy maintenance

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Vapor and liquid can only be recovered separately

4. Fieldpiece MR45 Recovery Machine – Most User-Friendly Recovery Machine

Image Credit: Amazon.com

The Fieldpiece MR45 is the perfect machine for recovering refrigerants from just about any type of HVACR system.

The MR45 features a 1HP compressor that works at 3300RPM. This is almost double the RPMs of other machines we reviewed. And if you think you’ll have troubles powering this machine, you’d be wrong. The MR45 can step up the low voltage at the motor plug, so it can deliver full power to the motor.

The MR45 is super-portable too. It weighs only 22 pounds which makes it easy to carry around wherever you need.

On top of incredible portability, the MR45 is also incredibly user-friendly. This recovery machine features a single dial and a digital display. The display is backlit and serves as a pressure gauge. This means it’s excellent for work in dimly lit attics or when working late at night.

Another thing that really impressed us is the compressor build. Not only does it work at a whopping 3300 RPM, but it also features ceramic cylinders. This means you won’t have to maintain the compressor as you would with other models.

The only issue we have with the MR45 is the display since it can easily scratch.

Pros

  • Features an easy to read digital display
  • Compact
  • Lightweight
  • Double-cylinder compressor

Cons

  • Digital display scratches easily

5. Yellow Jacket XLT – The Quietest Recovery Machine

Image Credit: Amazon.com

The Yellow Jacket XLT refrigerant recovery machine is the most aesthetically pleasing tool we ever came across. There’s something about the late 60s inspired design we find incredibly charming.

Just like the previous recovery machines we reviewed, the XLT is also quite compact. However, despite its compact design, this refrigerant recovery machine weighs 28 pounds. The only way you can carry this machine around is by the carrying handle.

The thing that really impressed us about the XLT is its single valve control for the changeover from liquid to vapor refrigerants. It can also recover most refrigerants like R-500, R-502, R-407, R-404, R-410A, and R-134a. 

The coolest thing about the XLT is that it’s fully automatic. The machine will automatically turn off when it reaches 13″ of vacuum. This means you can start the recovery process without the need for constant monitoring. Additionally, the system will automatically reset if the pressure exceeds 517PSI.

We also love how quiet Yellow Jacket XLT is. It’s so quiet in fact, you will barely notice it’s turned on. 

Pros

  • Turns off automatically once the system reaches 13” of vacuum
  • Compact
  • User-friendly
  • Silent running

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Expensive

How Do Refrigerant Recovery Machines Work And Why Are They Necessary?

best refrigerant recovery machine

If you’re unfamiliar with these machines, you might be wondering how they work.

The answer is quite simple. Refrigerant recovery machines remove the refrigerant from HVACR systems before maintenance or repair. They work by using a simple electric pump to suck out the coolant from the system and store it into an approved storage tank.

These machines became an essential tool of HVACR technicians after the US Environmental Protection Agency enforced the Montreal Protocol.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Montreal Protocol, here’s a quick rundown. The goals of this protocol are to eliminate the use of ozone-depleting substances, like refrigerants, worldwide. 

Before the enforcement of the Montreal Protocol, most technicians vented the refrigerant into the air. Practices like this are now banned and carry with them a threat of massive fines.

Thankfully, the Montreal Protocol doesn’t ban the recycling of the recovered refrigerants. 

However, it comes with a catch. Depending on the type of repair, the refrigerant can be recycled, but “may only be returned to the equipment from which it was removed or used in another device owned by the same person,” according to EPA regulations.

Now that you know how these machines work and why they’re an essential part of every HVACR technician’s toolkit, it’s time to learn how to pick the best refrigerant recovery machine for your needs!


5 Factors You Should Consider Before Buying A Refrigerant Recovery Machine

When buying the best refrigerant recovery machine for your needs, you will have to keep a few key factors in mind. These factors include the weight of the unit, its portability, and its recovery speed.

Not only that, but you also have to factor in the price as well as how easily you can operate the recovery machine in question.

Here are five key factors you have to consider before buying a refrigerant recovery machine.

1. Weight

  • The lighter the refrigerant recovery machine is, the easier it is to transport and carry around. Most importantly, a lightweight recovery machine is easy to get to hard-to-reach areas like attics, ceilings, and rooftops.
  • As technology continues to move forward, refrigerant recovery machine manufacturers are finding new ways to fit all essential features in a compact design.
  • How light or heavy the refrigerant recovery unit also depends on the area of application. A heavy-duty refrigerant recovery machines have more weight because they pack additional features that can cut down the operation time by as much as half.
  • On the other hand, lightweight recovery units come with fewer features, which makes them perfect for small-scale jobs.

2. Portability

  • How heavy a refrigerant recovery machine is determines how portable it will be. Going for the lightweight refrigerant recovery unit means you have to sacrifice on a few features. The best way to choose between a lightweight or heavy unit solely depends on the are of application.
  • Consider buying a lightweight refrigerant recovery machine if you need it for residential application. This type of recovery machine is much easier to carry up roofs or attics to access the AC unit.
  • On the other hand, heavy refrigerant recovery machines come with more features. This means they’re ideal for industrial and commercial applications. Heavy-duty recovery units can perform several tasks at once, allowing you to work faster and more efficiently.

3. Single Cylinder Or Twin Cylinder

Refrigerant recovery machines come with two types of compressors, single-cylinder, and twin-cylinder.

  • Refrigerant recovery units that feature a twin-cylinder compressor are more efficient and take less time to suck out the refrigerant from the system. However, twin-cylinder recovery units are more expensive and heavier to carry around.
  • Single-cylinder refrigerant recovery machines are much slower but are more affordable. Not only that, but they’re also lightweight and easier to carry around.

So, if you want the job done as quickly as possible, go for the twin-cylinder model. And if you often work in hard-to-reach places, you should go for the single-cylinder model.

4. Oil-based Or Oil-Less

When it comes to refrigerant recovery machine compressors, they can either be oil-based or oil-less.

  • Older recovery machines use hermetic compressors that are oil-based. These types of refrigerant recovery machines require far more maintenance, monitoring of the oil level, flushing out residual oil, etc.
  • Most modern refrigerant recovery units use oil-less compressors. This type of unit can recover both vapor and liquid refrigerants. On top of that, they are also much easier to maintain and operate.

We recommend you stay away from oil-based refrigerant recovery units since they’re inefficient, bulky and are difficult to repair.

5. Price

  • The cost of refrigerant recovery machines varies from $300 to $1000. Cheaper models may be manual and commonly feature a single-cylinder compressor.
  • On the other hand, more expensive refrigerant recovery machines come with additional features such as a self-purge system, excess pressure notification system, filters, dryers, and much more. More expensive units usually feature a twin-cylinder compressor with better cooling and faster recovery rates.

Final Words

So, all that’s left now is to crown the winner!

The best overall refrigerant recovery machine is the Robinair RG3. This recovery machine comes with the best mix of features, portability and price.

The runner up is the Appion G5TWIN Twin Cylinder Recovery Unit. You won’t find a faster refrigerant recovery machine on the market, if only it wasn’t limited to only two types of refrigerant.

If you’re looking for something more heavy-duty, look no further than INFICON 714-202-G1 Vortex Dual Refrigerant Recovery Machine. Not only can this machine take quite a beating, but it can also recover refrigerants ultra-fast.

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