The 7 Best Refrigerant Recovery Machines in 2018

Refrigerants are responsible for help electrical appliances like HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) equipment- refrigerators, air conditioners, and coolant. Repair and regular maintenance of these types of equipment require you to frequently recover the coolants or refrigerants in them.

A refrigerant recovery machine does this for you- it is an equipment that recovers the refrigerant before cleaning and repairs. The refrigerant may then pass through a filtration system, and stored in a storage tank, without being contaminated, before being reused.

You don’t have to be a technician to own a refrigerant recovery machine. If you own a property or if you don’t want to call A/C servicing all the time, given that the cost of services is soaring, you might be interested in investing a recovery machine.

The regulations regarding the use of recovered and equipment for recovering refrigerants are strict, giving the greatest priority to the environment. You must make sure you comply with the necessary guidelines when recovering, reusing and recycling the refrigerants.

​Best Pick

Appion G5TWIN Twin Cylinder Recovery Unit

The Appion G5TWIN is our best pick because it a great value for money, recommended by most technicians- it is fast, efficient and recovers both vapor and liquid with little wastage in the least time.

​Budget Pick

Robinair RG3 Twin-Cylinder Refrigerant Recovery Machine

The Robinair RG3 is our budget pick because of its affordable and functional recovery unit, widely used and recommended by technicians. It provides great recovery rates for both vapor and liquid without draining the wallet.


1. ​Appion G5TWIN Twin Cylinder Recovery Unit  

Highlighted Features

  • Isolated crankcase to prevent refrigerant from contamination; rugged case with handle for storage is provided with the unit
  • Twin cylinder, twin condenser; recovers both vapor and liquids
  • 10 blade turbine fan for blasting cool air

This fast and efficient machine can be used to recover both commercial and residential refrigerant. It doubles up as a vacuum pump in times of emergency but the pumping might be somewhat slow at that time. Weighing only 24lbs, it is very lightweight, compact and portable.

The recovery rates are very fast because this unit has twin cylinders with twin condensers. The recovery rates are about 0.5lb/minute for vapor and greater than 10lb/min for liquids. Warranty of the product last 12 months and is valid on all parts in contact with the machine. It is an extremely fast machine that empties a variety of refrigerant in almost no time.

May not be suitable for solvent recovery- butane causes deterioration of the unit’s parts and leaves metal flakes on products. The valves are made of plastic and this poses the danger of melting. Some users have reported cases of individual parts malfunctioning.

​Pros

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    Superb accuracy in strain gauge and charging
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    Can be used to recover most common refrigerants including R410A; recovers both vapor and liquid

​Cons

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    The power cord is short- extension cord is required
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    The unit is a little louder than other recovery machines

2. Robinair RG3 Twin-Cylinder Refrigerant Recovery Machine 

Highlighted Features

  • Efficient cross flow design; safety shut off mechanism for excess pressure
  • Two valve operation; Dryer included with the unit

It is mostly a recovery unit not a reclamation unit- recovered refrigerant will have to undergo the removal of contaminated substances and reclaimed using other methods. It can recover about 2-3lbs in 30 minutes when using an empty cylinder for best results.

The cross-flow design of the machine is very efficient and decrease cycle time and recovery time. The safety shut-off mechanism ensures that the machine shuts off when the pressure is in excess of 550psi. The recovery machine is equipped with a dryer. It doesn’t work best under pressure and recovers slowly for large systems. Doesn’t come with the right hoses.

It should last one to two years if used properly. Some users have complained of refrigerants leaking after several uses. The successor to this unit is the RG6 which has faster recovery times. It is easy to operate and has a two-valve mechanism. The unit does not have a purge function but its successor does.

​Pros

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    Lightweight at only about 18lbs, compact, well-designed and portable
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    It recovers most of the common refrigerants like R-22, R-410a, R-12, R-134a (HFC, HCFC & CFC).

​Cons

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    Single cylinder so the unit may have slow recovery rates at times

3. Robinair RG6 Refrigerant Recovery Machine

Highlighted Features

  • Twin cylinders; self-purge mechanism; oil-less compressor; an oversized fan for cooling
  • Large and simple controls; rugged casing; High pressure shut down switch for safety; Large handle for portability

The Robinair RG6 recovery unit is the successor to the RG3 and packs in a few extra features as well as faster recovery rates. The unit is compact and lightweight at about 28lbs. It is very functional and efficient equipment for technicians at a great price.

It runs on ¾ horsepower and works with most common refrigerants. It has simple controls and is encased in a sturdy rugged case. The large handle makes it easy to grip and carry around. The twin cylinders deliver excellent performance and recovery times.

The oversized fan and condensers help to reach superior cooling quickly. The unit also has a self-purge mechanism. The machine automatically shuts up when there is pressure in excess of 550 psi.

​Pros

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    Sturdy; well-constructed; efficient; fast recovery rates
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    Works on both vapor and liquids; recovers most of the common refrigerants

​Cons

  • It cannot be used for automotive applications- even though the refrigerant is R-134a

4. Yellow Jacket 95760 RecoverXLT 

Highlighted Features

  • 3245 rpm oil-less compressor; ½ Horsepower; LED lights to notify when recovery is complete
  • CPR single valve control; oversized fan for cooling; unit shuts down for pressure in excess of 520psi
  • Reusable mesh filter for easy cleaning, and clog prevention; a fan for greater cooling and condensation

This recovery unit from Yellow Jacket comes in two variants- RecoverXLT and Recover XLTO, the only difference between them being the fact that the latter has a full tank level notification mechanism. This oil-less compressor runs on ½ horsepower.

At 28lbs, it is fairly lightweight and portable. This machine has excess pressure detention mechanism and shut down when the pressure exceeds 517psi and also when about 13inches of vacuum is detected. The easy to use gauges and controls are angled for an accurate reading.

The unit has a mesh or filter which can easily be cleaned when clogged. Its single vale control makes it easy to purge without the need to throttle. It has a fan that provides superior cooling even in hot weather.

​Pros

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    Lightweight; portable; sturdy rugged case; easy operation; great safety measures against excess pressure
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    Three-year warranty

​Cons

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    A few rare cases of the unit malfunctioning and poor customer service with regard to replacement and refund

5. INFICON 714-202-G1 Vortex Dual Refrigerant Recovery Machine 

Highlighted Features

  • Three year warranty
  • Dual compression cylinders; two valves; protected gauge for both suction and pressure tank
  • Filter and dryer included; an oversized fan for superior cleaning
  • Sturdy; durable; well-constructed

This recovery unit from Inficon is a versatile, reliable and heavy duty unit. It is heavier (30lbs) and larger than some of the units available but this is just so it could accommodate additional handy features. It has dual piston compressors, each having one horsepower.

It has micro-schannel condenser for fast recovery rates. The two valve operation is easy for the average user. Also, the unit is equipped with a self-purge mechanism that doesn’t require you to change hose. It helps recover most common refrigerants like R-22 and R-410a with recovery rates of about 0.6lb/min for vapor and about 10lb/min for liquids.

​Pros

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    Sturdy; durable; well-constructed
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    Excellent value for money

​Cons

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    Expensive than most of the recovery units in the market
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    It is quite heavy so not as portable as other machines

6. Robinair 34988 Premium Refrigerant Recovery, Recycling and Recharging Machine 

Highlighted Features

  • Automatic oil measure and injection system; a flush mechanism for removing residuals; various charging modes; automatic purge mode

This flagship refrigerant recovery unit from Robinair is fully automated and boasts a wide range of features including excellent recovery times and self-charging feature. The unit is tall and reaches up to the hip with all the control placed at the top. The machine has wheels for ease of movement.

The unit allows users to conveniently recover, vacuum, inject, and leak test and charge. Users can automatically inject UV dye and lubricating oil into the unit’s system. It automatically purges the air to prevent contamination. It not only allows an easy refill of refrigerant but also maintains it a pre-selected level.

It has advanced monitoring and notifications systems: the remaining time for vacuum is displayed, monitors the level and informs about leaks if any. The system’s flush mechanism also flushes out residual oil, liquid, and vapor. Moreover, it stores before and after service data, which can even be printed.

​Pros

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    Fully automated; superior recovery rates and additional features make it a versatile and functional equipment; less manual input; superior detection systems

​Cons

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    Very expensive; it is a large unit, hence there are storage issues

7. Bacharach Stinger 2006-3801 Refrigerant Recovery Unit

Highlighted Features

  • Rugged case encase steel unit; copper tubing throughout the machine; dual gauges; dual valves; 0.8 horsepower motor
  • LED notification for notifying when the tank is full and low vacuum

This lightweight (24lbs) and portable refrigerant recovery unit from Stinger is one of the fastest and efficient in the market. It has a dual valve compressor for faster recovery of both liquids and vapor. The compressor pistons are also larger.

It can recover most of the common refrigerants in the market including R-22, R-410a, and R-134a. The recovery rates are typically about 0.25lb/min for vapor and about 3lb/min for liquids. This low maintenance also has a greater condenser capacity and longer running time.

It is armed with a one-year warranty. The unit is equipped with a purge system that prevents contamination of refrigerants

​Pros

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    Self-purging, hence no hose change required
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    Increased recovery rates
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    Lightweight, portable, strap for carrying the unit easily; well-designed; sturdy construction

​Cons

  • It is an expensive unit

Things to Consider Before Buying a Refrigerant Machine

Before buying a refrigerant recovery machine, make sure you know how to use one. They are expensive unit: a little caution and using it appropriately will result in longevity of your unit. You must consider the following factors when buying a recovery machine:

Type

Before buying a recovery machine, you must understand what type you want. If you use it occasionally, then a small single-use recovery unit should work fine for you. If you own a restaurant or shop, then you will be needing a larger, commercial recovery unit that recovers greater quantities in a short time. The residential ones are ideal for the central A/C systems of small homes.

Cylinder

The cylinders of recovery units are twin or single. Single cylinders mean a lower capacity and slower recovery rates.

Weight

Recovery units weigh between 20 to 40 pounds. The lighter the machine is, the more portable it is. A portable machine helps you to carry the unit wherever you want. A few larger units may also have wheels at the bottom for transporting it around.

Most units also have sturdy shoulder straps or large handles for ease of carrying.

Method of Recovery

There are three methods of recovery- liquid recovery, vapor recovery, and push-and-pull recovery. The former two is very similar and the only difference is in the state of the recovered material.

The push-and-pull method is suitable for recovery 10 or more pounds of refrigerant. It recovers all the liquid first and then hoses must be changed to recover vapor.

Additional Features

The most common features of a refrigerant recovery machine are a pump, a compressor, a cooling fan, input and output valve, gauges, hose(if required) and safety pressure switch.  Larger units may have an external recovery tank. Some have the purge function as well.

Compressor

The compressor can be oil-based or oil-less. Older hermetic compressors were usually oil-based. These require far more maintenance, monitoring the level of oil, flushing out residual oil, etc.

Most compressors these days are oil-less. They can help recovery both vapor and liquid. They do not need as much maintenance. They also work on a variety of refrigerants.

Warranty

A refrigerant recovery unit has a warranty lasting at least one year to about three or five years. Apart from the warranty, it is helpful to get your product from a company with a great customer service reputation. This will help in cases when your product malfunctions and you need a replacement or refund.

Price

The price of a recovery unit varies between $300 to about $800-$1000. The cheaper ones may be manual and usually have a single cylinder compressor.

 The more expensive ones pack in additional features like a self-purge system, notification mechanism for excess pressure, filters, dryers, etc. The expensive ones also usually have twin cylinders with greater cooling and higher recovery rates.

Conclusion

A refrigerant recovery machine will help to cut down the cost of getting your refrigerators and air conditioners maintained on a regular basis. If you want to opt for this environmentally viable option, our in-depth review will help you pick the most suitable one for your needs.

We have compiled this list of equipment based on factors like portability, construction, design, features, horsepower, speed, efficiency, type, etc. The list consists of the recovery units popularly used and recommended by technicians, home-owners and individuals.
The 7 Best Refrigerant Recovery Machines in 2018
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