The 9 Best Refrigerant Recovery Machines
This wiki has been updated 16 times since it was first published in July of 2018. Whether you're preparing to flush out the air conditioning system in a vehicle or perform maintenance on an appliance, don't jump into the job without one of these refrigerant recovery machines. Equipped with powerful motors, intuitive controls, and durable casings, they can withstand industrial work environments and are available with various capabilities to suit all needs. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
January 27, 2021:
I was fairly satisfied with the selections from the previous update, and I've left them as they were. Unlike with refrigerant identifiers, recovery machines tend to be less discriminating in terms of which coolants they'll work with, and while some may be designed for R134a-only use in automotive applications, many models, especially the portable ones, will be suitable for all of the most common CFCs, HFCs and HCFCs, like R12, R22, R134, R407C and R410A; though, you’ll need a different kind of unit for flammable HFO and HC refrigerants, like R1234yf.
While the Robinair Premier is in fact an RRR (Recovery, Recycling & Recharging) machine – which is why it’s so large- most of these models are recovery-only machines, though, if you are looking for an RRR machine, both Robinair and Mastercool make some state of the art ones with user-friendly interfaces.
January 08, 2020:
During this round of updates, we determined that our previous selections for this category were all still applicable, and we added the Mastercool 69110 to our rankings – a 1/2-horsepower offering that comes with just about everything you'll need to get started on your refrigerant recovery, including a 30-pound, liquid-propane tank and three hoses. We also added two new special honors pointing toward companies that specialize in top-end equipment – primarily for the benefit of established mechanic-shop owners and extreme gearheads who don’t mind paying significantly more to get the best of the best.
You’ll notice a lot of commonalities between many of our choices for this wiki, but there’s some important differentiators to keep an eye out for as well:
Power: This rating speaks directly to a given model’s extraction speed, which in turn will speak directly to your job efficiency and thereby your bottom line, so pay close attention to this. Basic models like the Yellow Jacket XLT and DreamJoy LRR-1A feature 1/2-horsepower compressors, but others like the Bacharach Stinger and Inficon Vortex boast stronger, single-horsepower equipment. Larger models built for industrial use often include multiple-horsepower compressors in their designs.
Control and Display: While our last point was a utilitarian consideration, this one’s all about user experience (not that it comes without its own intrinsic, practical merits). While none of our selections for this category (perhaps with the exception of the Robinair Premier) should be terribly difficult to figure out control wise, fans of minimalist designs and good-old-fashioned simplicity might have their interests sparked by options like the Bacharach Stinger – which feature single-knob control. Similarly, while most users won’t have trouble keeping up with the oil-filled gauges that seem to be standard issue in this category, digital-readout fans will likely be interested in choices like the Fieldpiece MR45 – which include LCD screens.
Portability: Most of our rankings for this category have sensible carrying handles built into their housings, but some are 50% heavier than others, so be mindful of each model’s product weight prior to purchasing. One exception to this is the Robinair Premier, but it’s lack of handle is easily compensated for by its castors and tires. The Bacharach Stinger, DreamJoy LRR-1A and Inficon Vortex take their portability a step further by coming with a convenient carrying strap.
Robinair Premier AC1234-4 For those with automotive systems that use the R-1234yf coolant, the Robinair Premier AC1234-4 can provide refrigerant recovery, recycling and recharging. It’s fully automatic, highly efficient and also has a built-in identifier. robinair.com
Reftec International Systems With over 30 years in the industry, this Florida-based company's full line features eight recovery machines of various sizes. While a 3/4-horsepower offering represents the bottom end of its options, its heavy-duty model comes equipped with a powerful, three-horsepower compressor. reftec.com