3 Best Refrigerant Recovery Machines (2021 Guide)

Our 3 best refrigerant recovery machine selections can help you quickly identify the most suitable devices to use. This is when you’re repairing, maintaining, and trying to recover refrigerants for recycling and re-use from cooling appliances like air conditioners, freezers, refrigerators, and so on. Our list is designed for licensed HVAC/R (heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and refrigeration) technicians.

Also, these top-rated products are likely to be helpful for DIY (do-it-yourself) enthusiasts. But take note that to legally do this, you need to be knowledgeable and certified in the EPA’s current regulations and specifications for properly handling refrigerants. Remember, it can be quite dangerous to recover refrigerants from cooling equipment. That’s because some refrigeration elements are quite toxic and harmful to the environment, as well as to people, animals, plants, and others.

So what we did, of course, is to first request for assistance from licensed HVAC/R experts with certifications from the EPA. We asked them in detail about the ins and outs of choosing the right refrigerant recovery machines. Afterward, we went to Amazon and other specialist shopping networks to learn about the most popular products today. We also handed out surveys at social groups and Web communities that are frequented by technicians and dedicated to discussions about HVAC/R.

But still, we needed to thoroughly test out each of our shortlisted refrigerant recovery machine options. This is for us to prune our list down to the 3 best refrigerant recovery machines out there today. And our weeks of hard work, rigorous tests, and careful evaluations led us to these top 3 refrigerant recovery machines:

Refrigerant Recovery Machine Review Center

ImageRefrigerant Recovery MachineRating
XtremepowerUS 3CFM 1/4HP Air Vacuum Pump HVAC R134a R12 R22 R410a A/C Refrigeration Kit AC Manifold Gauge Carrying Tote#1 - Xtremepower US 3CFM 1/4 HP Air Vacuum Pump HVAC
Oil-Saving Feature Through Spillage Meter
Brass Fitting Tethered Safety Cap to Prevent Oil Leakage
Works Efficiently
Robinair (RG3 Portable Refrigerant Recovery Machine – 115V, 60Hz, for Both Liquid and Vapor Refrigerant#2 - Robinair RG3 Portable Refrigerant Recovery Machine
Portable & Compact Form Factor
Automatic High-Pressure Safety Shut-Off Switch
Leak-Detection Feature
DreamJoy 1/2HP Refrigerant Recovery Machine Portable 115V AC Refrigerant Recycling Machine Automotive HVAC 558psi Refrigerant Recovery Unit Air Conditioning Repair Tool (115V)#3 - DreamJoy 1/2 HP Refrigerant Recovery Machine
Easy to Operate Controls
Lightweight & Portable
Silent Operation

Our veteran HVAC/R technician friends helped us zone in on these 3 best refrigerant recovery machine options. Meanwhile, our comprehensive reviews below will inform you about the stuff that we found out about each of these products. And once you’re ready, hit the yellow button to get the best prices at Amazon today!

#1 – Xtremepower US 3CFM 1/4 HP Air Vacuum Pump HVAC

XtremepowerUS 3CFM 1/4HP Air Vacuum Pump HVAC R134a R12 R22 R410a A/C Refrigeration Kit AC Manifold Gauge Carrying Tote

This product is powerful and simple to use. It’s a rotary air vacuum pump that’s meant to deliver highly efficient results, all without unnecessary noise. Plus, its die-cast aluminum alloy casing allows the vacuum and its accompanying pump to feel durable yet light at the same time. The product is also great if you want to fix an air-conditioning system, without too much complication. And its vacuum pump also has a plain Oil Fill Port, giving it a nice and clean pour, all the while conveniently draining the accompanying drain plug placed beneath the oil’s reservoir when needed.

  • PROS
  • Voltage capacity and frequency are at least 110V and 60HZ;
  • Maximum power can reach up to 1/4HP; and
  • This machine comes with a multicolored set of hoses, each measuring 36 inches.
  • Has a spillage meter that ensures even just a drop of oil won’t be wasted;
  • This product is ideal when your air conditioner is R12, R22, R134a or R410a;
  • Contains a brass fitting tethered safety cap, which prevents oil leakage, especially when you’re carrying the product around; and
  • Very functional and works perfectly.

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#2 – Robinair RG3 Portable Refrigerant Recovery Machine

Robinair (RG3 Portable Refrigerant Recovery Machine – 115V, 60Hz, for Both Liquid and Vapor Refrigerant

Robinair’s RG3 is a product that delivers a new kind of standard when it comes to refrigerant recovery. It’s a product that’s different from other refrigerant recovery brands. It’s also quite easy to use, and the compact size makes it excellent for use in apartment units or small homes. It has the ability to recover both types of refrigerant (vapor form and liquid form). It’s also quite durable. It can withstand even the hottest and coldest weather conditions.

  • PROS
  • Item weight is 22.2 lbs.;
  • Product measures 14.8 x 11.4 x 8.5 inches; and
  • This machine has a 1/3 HP 115V AC system and a 60 Hz single cylinder.
  • Quite compact and small for a refrigerant recovery machine;
  • Contains a high-pressure safety shut-off switch, which immediately switches off the machine when the amount of pressure goes higher than 550 PSI;
  • Works nicely with plenty of common CFCs, HFCs and HCFC refrigerants, including R-410A;
  • Its portable form factor means it has a smaller carbon footprint; and
  • Contains a leak-detection feature that’s designed to find combustible gas, vacuum, refrigerant, and steam.

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#3 – DreamJoy 1/2 HP Refrigerant Recovery Machine

DreamJoy 1/2HP Refrigerant Recovery Machine Portable 115V AC Refrigerant Recycling Machine Automotive HVAC 558psi Refrigerant Recovery Unit Air Conditioning Repair Tool (115V)

This product is equipped with an amazing oil-free lubrication processor, which has the ability to increase speed in both vapor and liquid recovery. It’s also built for speed, as it gives you the quickest kind of refrigerant recovery no matter what the temperature might be, even during hot and humid days. It can also keep itself cool when you place it in a humid or very warm environment. Plus, it’s got a pretty fast recovery rate, unlike the same kinds of international products.

  • PROS
  • Power capacity is at 115V 60Hz;
  • Its compressor is at 1/2 HP;
  • Works at a temperature of 32 to 104°F;
  • Measures 17.6 x 8.9 x 13.6 inches; and
  • This product weighs 32 lbs.
  • The handle of this product is very comfortable, while its controls are easy to use;
  • It’s also quite lightweight and easy to carry around;
  • Comes with its own instruction manual;
  • Very reasonably priced, and isn’t too complex compared to other similar machines. Also included is a wide pressure range, which is meant for common refrigerants; and
  • Runs quietly and doesn’t produce too much noise when working.

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Refrigerant Recovery Machine Buyers’ Guide

We had to carefully consider the factors when it came to using these machines. That’s because operating one without the proper training can be very dangerous. There weren’t too many machines available. So we only had to test around eight. We ranked them according to price, size, weight, features, and of course, how quickly they were able to do their task of recovering refrigerants as safely and as correctly as possible. And at the end, we narrowed the whole list down to our 3 best refrigerant recovery machine selections. So keep these things in mind as you go through our recommendations:

What Makes a Refrigerant Recovery Machine Suitable for Your Exact Needs?

  1. Check the type of refrigerant you’re about to recover — Aside from that, be sure that the machine you’re using has dual port yellow top cylinders. Also check if the machine has enough capacity to be able to recover refrigerant;
  2. Be sure to have a refrigerant scale with you — This allows you to carefully check the safe fill’s weight. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t recommended for you to use a float valve cylinder for this job. To find out exactly how much refrigerant the machine can handle, check out the number stamped on the cylinder shroud. It should never be more than 70% of the filler’s own volume;
  3. Short hoses must be used for bigger diameters — This increases the flow of the refrigerant, and lessens the pressure drop. Once the hose begins to show wearing and tearing, you have to replace it immediately. You must also have a valve core removal tool in case you have to get rid of a bunch of tight valve cores;
  4. Check the temperature of the recovery cylinder if the process is too slow — If this does happen, then use a PT comparator. This allows you to take a look at the temperature and pressure of the refrigerant located inside the cylinder. Sometimes, natural air such as nitrogen and a bit of moisture can further quicken the recovery process. You can avoid this by using purging hoses and implementing correct system evacuation procedures; and
  5. Use the push-pull system if present — If your system contains over 15 pounds of refrigerant, then a push-pull system gets the job done faster. This is because the bigger the amount of refrigerant it holds, the more time you’ll end up saving. Another helpful tip here is to utilize an inline sight glass while performing the push-pull recovery system. This will let you see if the flow of the refrigerant has stopped, or not.

Refrigerant Recovery Machine FAQs

Why should we recover refrigerant in the first place?

Remember, refrigerants themselves play a very important role in transferring heat. So without refrigerants, heating and cooling systems for your home and office won’t be possible. However, these refrigerants are considered to be very toxic and can help thin out the ozone layer, therefore increasing the chance of global warming. The toxic refrigerants in question include CFC (Chlorofluorocarbons), HFC (Hydrofluorocarbons), and HCFC (Hydrochlorofluorocarbons). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has imposed a ban on these chemicals due to their effect on the atmosphere.

What are the consequences for disobeying EPA regulations and standards?

Violation of the Clean Air Act includes criminal prosecutions and paying a huge civil fine. The EPA has stopped several technicians from selling or releasing refrigerants that can cause harm in the environment. There’s a law in the USA, which states that these technicians must recover refrigerants that include the aforementioned CFCs, HFCs, and HCFCs, instead of releasing them to the environment. The civil fine for disobeying this law can go up to $29K.

What is refrigerant recovery?

There are 2 phases when it comes to refrigerant recovery. The first one requires the usage of harmful refrigerants to lessen it up from the cooling equipment in question or to eliminate it. And if you’re an HVAC/R technician, then you must only spot reclaimed or recycled attributes of the refrigerant. Meanwhile, the second phase involves reclamation. This means getting rid of refrigerants that come from HVAC/R equipment.

How can I recover refrigerants?

It’s a complex situation. To do it legally, you have to first obtain a technician certification from the EPA. And there are 4 types of certifications. These are for smaller appliances, air conditioning or heating systems, low-pressure units, and the final one for all 3 categories. Also, technicians should be able to learn how to recycle or recover refrigerants, so they can meet the EPA’s certification requirements and obtain that certificate. They must also be able to remember and strictly follow the rules and regulations that the EPA implements.