What Is The Best Refrigerant Leak Detector | Reviews

The Elitech refrigerant leak detector is a high-quality, reliable, and accurate device, thanks to its visual detection status. It's highly sensitive and can be used by both professionals and homeowners.

You know that the HVAC systems are responsible for providing comfort and safety. If they fail, it can cause major problems such as carbon monoxide poisoning, mold growth, and even death, so using the best thermal leak detection kits is essential.

A refrigerant leak is one of the most common reasons for HVAC system failures, so our guide highlights the best detection kits on the market.

9 Best Refrigerant Leak Detectors

1. Elitech Refrigerant Leak Detector – Best Visual Detection Status

Elitech WJL-6000 Freon Leak Detector Halogen Gas Tester HVAC...
  • Freon leak detector triggers on R22, R134A, R404a,...
  • Response within 3 seconds; Warm up in 6 seconds.

Elitech has been in the HVAC/R industry for about 20 years and with time it has become one of the most reliable brands for manufacturing high-quality HVAC devices. 

Its Elitech WJL-6000 Refrigerant Leak Detector model comes with features such as visual detection status for faster and more accurate readings. The detector senses all of the significant halogen refrigerants, including CFCs, HCFCs, HFCs, and blends, following which it emits a rapid beeping sound and flashes its LED to alert you. 

We loved the flexible stainless steel probe as it allows technicians to reach compact nooks and spaces. There are 7 sensitivity dial settings to accurately detect even small refrigerant leaks, complemented by a sensor at the tip to analyze the air and trigger the alarm. 

The sensor makes a continuous high-pitch beeping sound depending on the concentration of the leak. When it arrives, you’ll get a ready-to-use calibrated sensor, an adaptor, LED light, a flexible probe, and a carrying storage case. It is further powered by AAA batteries that can comfortably last many hours. 

This detector has earned a top spot in our list because of its quality, reliability, and accuracy. No wonder the Elitech WJL-6000 is one of the most in-demand and highly reviewed products on the market.

Power Source: 4 AAA alkaline batteries | Fixed Probe Length: 7.9 inches | Maximum Sensitivity: 0.21 oz/yr | Working Mode: Continuous for 50 hours

2. Aprvtio Refrigerant Leak Detector – Best LCD Screen

Sale
Aprvtio Refrigerant Leak Detector with LED Light, Halogen Leak...
  • 【Two-Color LED Light】The Freon tester comes...
  • 【Upgraded Version of WJL-6000】WJL-6000Pro...

Widely used by many HVAC professionals and DIY homeowners, the Aprvtio WJL-6000 PRO Detector is a highly accurate and reliable refrigerant leak detector with 5 adjustable sensitivity levels. It is ideal for detecting refrigerant leaks in HVAC/R units and diagnostic devices but many automotive service technicians also favor using it for refrigerants.

We noticed that it has an upgraded LCD screen to provide accurate results. For maximum precision, the detector allows you to reset, adjust sensitivity, turn the device on/off, and visually monitor the leakage level and its status in just one click.

The kit comes with a UV flashlight, which makes it easy to work in dark spots. It even has a durable probe to detect the source of the leaks and the sensor will make rapid “siren” type beeping sounds when a leak is detected.  

This device can sense the most prevalent halogenated gases such as CFCs, HCFCs, HFCs, and other mixed refrigerants. It has an extended shelf life so that you can use it for many years, while its leak-detecting quality and flexibility, earned this unit the second position in our list.

Power Source: 4 AAA alkaline batteries | Fixed Probe Length: 7.9 inches | Maximum Sensitivity: 0.14 oz/yr | Working Mode: Continuous for 50 hours

3. Inficon Refrigerant Leak Detector – Best Automatic Zeroing Adjustment

Inficon Refrigerant Leak Detector, Model:705-202-G1
  • Sensitivity of 0.25 oz./year (7 g/year)
  • Detects all CFCs, HCFCs, HFCs, and HFOs. A2L...

The Inficon 705-202-G1 Leak Detector is designed with features like a heated diode sensor and automatic calibration. For that reason, it has earned higher ratings and the third spot on our reviews, resulting in top-notch performance and versatility.

It can trigger audible and visual LED signals when a leak is detected, thanks to the heated diode technology. So, you can expect increased accuracy when using this sensor.

One of the best features of this detector is its “automatic zeroing” adjustment. This allows the unit to overcome background contaminations such as oil, dust, or dirt. It even provides adjustable low/high sensitivity selectors, which help to find the exact leak location and ensure you get precise results at all times.  

Professional technicians can use this unit to detect HVAC and automotive system leaks, as it can easily sense all common refrigerants like CFCs, HCFCs, HFCs, and HFOs. Moreover, the Inficon 705-202-G1 product is manufactured in the United States and certified by A2L for its safety standards. 

This leak detector package also includes batteries and a carrying case, which are unavailable with some of the top models.

Power Source: 2 “D” alkaline batteries | Fixed Probe Length: 15 inches | Maximum Sensitivity: 0.25 oz/yr | Working Mode: Continuous for 16 hours

4. Simbow Freon Leak Detector – Best For Small Leaks

Simbow Freon Leak Detector with LED Light, [2021 Upgrade] Refrigerant...
  • The Freon tester comes with UV lamp + flashlight....
  • 7 Adjustable Sensitivity; Maximum sensitivity is...

The Simbow Freon Leak Detector is another powerful sensor in our list that can quickly and easily identify leaks in your HVAC system with its 7 sensitivity levels. Simply turn on the power and press the button to start the leak detection process, after which the LED indicator will light up when a leak is detected.

This detector lets you adjust its sensitivity to detect even small-scale leaks. Some of the most common halogenated refrigerants this device can detect are CFCs, HCFCs, HFCs, and blends. 

Its probe is incorporated with an extra-long flexible cable and you can use it to test even the most narrow spaces. Plus, the detector has a LED flashlight and UV lamp technology to enable quicker and more precise leak detection. When we tested the device, the sensor emitted a loud warning sound, making it easy for us to identify the source of the leak.

Due to its simple design and easy-to-use features, even a DIY homeowner can operate it to find leaks. This refrigerant leak detector is battery-operated and can last for multiple hours so that you can use it even when there’s no power outlet available. 

It is also small and lightweight, making it easy to take the device with you wherever you go. You can use this sensor to locate leaks in pipelines, car or home A/C units, cold storage, and for other DIY repairs. 

Most importantly, the Simbow Freon Leak Detector is quite affordable, making it an excellent option if you are on a budget.

Power Source: 4 AAA batteries | Fixed Probe Length: 7.9 inches | Maximum Sensitivity: 0.21 oz/yr | Working Mode: Continuous for 24 hours

5. Robinair Refrigerant Leak Detector –  Best For Dye-Injected Leaks

Robinair LD7 Premium Refrigerant Leak Detector
  • Patented 3 LED UV lights with 395-415 nm wave...
  • Sweep mode function to pinpoint leak source with...

The Robinair LD7 leak detection model is equipped with the latest technology, like UV light, so that HVAC service technicians can detect leaks faster. 

This LD7 detector built-in UV light technology infused with fluorescent dye helps accurately inspect the HVAC leak point. You can access even the darkest corners with its bright LED inspection light, proving especially effective when testing dye-injected leaks. 

The Robinair LD7 unit can sense all the common refrigerants in the HVAC units and automotive A/C markets. Its colored LCD screen lets you read and interpret the leak results clearly. You can even detect the level of refrigerants in the air and their precise location using its two-graph display modes – the bar graph mode and the line graph mode. 

It further offers an audible alert system and an ambient reset feature, which lets you detect leaks faster in areas with a high concentration of refrigerants. This means you can quickly find and fix any leaks before they cause significant damage.

The Robinair LD7 leak detector, with its one-button operation and clear display, makes it easy to manage and keep track of leaks.

Power Source: 4 AA batteries | Fixed Probe Length: 17 inches | Maximum Sensitivity: 0.14 oz/yr | Working Mode: Continuous for 4 hours

6. Fieldpiece Refrigerant Leak Detector – Best Multiple Sensitivity Settings

Fieldpiece DR58 - Heated Diode Refrigerant Leak Detector
  • Heated Diode Refrigerant Leak Detector
  • Sensitivity better than 0.03 oz/yr (1g/a)

Did you know that heated diode detectors are known for being extremely sensitive? That is why the Fieldpiece DR58 Leak Detector impressed us with its built-in, high-quality heated diode sensor. This makes it easier to find even the smallest of leaks.

The handheld device has three sensitive settings which enable you to find the leakage quickly. 

It even has a smart filter attached at the inspection tip. This filter blocks all the contaminants, such as moisture, dust, or oil, from entering the sensor. It also protects the sensor from exposure to outside elements and lengthens its shelf life. So, you are guaranteed to get better results.

Another great feature of this detector is its automatic and manual zeroing ability. This allows you to reset and zero in on the leak area for more accurate leak detection.

The device has a large colored LCD screen. So, you can easily monitor the sensor and its working. It comes with additional accessories, such as flexible cable, a hard carrying case, and a magnet attached to the back of the sensor for ease of use. 

If you want a highly accurate and precise leak detector, then the Fieldpiece DR58 is the best refrigerant leak detector in its price range.

Power Source: 1 Lithium-ion battery | Fixed Probe Length: 15 inches | Maximum Sensitivity: 0.10 oz/yr | Working Mode: Continuous for 18 hours

7. Wale&Morn Freon Leak Detector – Best Alerts

Wale&Morn WJL-6000pro Freon Leak Detector for Halogen Gas Leakage, Air...
  • 【Upgraded Version of WJL-6000】WJL-6000Pro...
  • 【Higher Sensitivity and auto...

The advanced Wale&Morn WJL-6000 pro Leak Detector can sense all the common halogen refrigerants used in industrial cooling devices, including HCFCs, HFCs, CFCs, HFOs, and HCs.

It has seven adjustable sensitivity settings that allow you to detect different types of contamination in the air. The device can even reset itself automatically and adapt to new concentration levels, which makes it easier to detect HVAC leakages.

We found that it provides both audio alerts and single-color visual alarms. Plus, when a leak is detected, its LCD screen shows the amount of leakage in the form of a “numerical value.” This value increases the closer you get to the exact location of the leak.

When you use the Wale&Morn WJL-6000 pro, you will also get a carrying case along with this device. For extra convenience, it is attached with a flexible probe, so you can never miss out on even a minor leak.

This sensor is built for homeowners and technicians looking for an all-inclusive leak detection solution. The Wale Morn Refrigerant Leak Detector is a simple and affordable way to ensure your family is safe.

Power Source: 4 AAA batteries | Fixed Probe Length: 7.8 inches | Maximum Sensitivity: 0.11 oz/yr | Working Mode: Continuous for 50 hours

8. Testo 316-3 Refrigerant Leak Detector – Best Code Sensor

Testo 316-3 I Refrigerant Leak Detector I High Sensitivity Detector...
  • Fast and reliable: Thanks to automatic zeroing,...
  • Versatile: The durable, battery-powered detector...

The Testo 316-3 features an ultra-sensitive heated diode sensor that can detect small leaks. 

Its simple design and user-friendly functions make finding and fixing leaks much more straightforward. The device offers a basic “high/low sensitivity” adjustment that can quickly detect the exact location of the leak. You just need to reduce the device sensitivity to low as you get nearer to the leak point. This way, you can get more precise results.

When the gadget detects a leak, it will produce variable intensity audio and visual alerts. Its “automatic zeroing” feature allows you to calibrate the detector without any external help. This helps you quickly monitor and locate leaks in a previously contaminated area.  

The sensor can detect most halogenated cooling agents like CFCs, HCFCs, HFCs, and FCs. It can even locate A2L semi flammable refrigerants like R22, R410A, R507, R404A, and R134a. And it is built to last, with a rugged design that can withstand daily use.

Power Source: 2 “D” batteries | Fixed Probe Length: 14 inches | Maximum Sensitivity: 0.15 oz/yr | Working Mode: Continuous for 16 hours

9. MASTERCOOL Refrigerant Leak Detector – Best Microprocessor

Mastercool 56100 Blue Raptor Refrigerant Leak Detector
  • DIGITAL SIGNAL MICRO-PROCESSOR provides precise...
  • SENSITIVITY LEVEL ADJUSTMENT with 3 levels of...

The MASTERCOOL 56100 is a good quality refrigerant leak detector for small to medium scale residential jobs. But it is different from other detectors in this list because of its inbuilt digital signal microprocessor. 

This microprocessor can detect even the slightest fluctuations in the signals received from the sensor probe. Therefore, you can securely use this device in any environment.

Additionally, the detector features three sensitivity levels and you can adjust these levels by pressing the up and down buttons on the keypad. The “three sensitivity settings” coupled with “five levels of detection” enables the sensor to detect a wide range of refrigerants. 

You can select either sound or visual alerts to get notified quickly when a leak is detected. Moreover, it has built-in UV light technology that illuminates the area around the leak. This makes it easier to see the exact location of the leak and is powered by “C” type batteries, so it’s always ready to go when needed.

The detector comes with other accessories, such as a sensor tip, UV glasses, a carrying case, and batteries. Overall, it’s a great product in the given price range.

Power Source: 2 “C” batteries | Fixed Probe Length: 16 inches | Maximum Sensitivity: 0.1 oz/yr | Working Mode: Continuous for 20 hours

Buyer’s Guide For Refrigerant Leak Detectors

You need to remember a few things when trying to determine which type of leak detector is best for you. So, we have listed some of the most critical factors you can consider before choosing a detector.

1. Test The Detector

Before using the detector, test it first to ensure that it works properly and gives precise results. But if you are wondering how does a thermal leak detector work, let us help you. 

Light and blow out a candle, before bringing the detector’s nozzle near the stream of white smoke. If the detector works correctly, it should trigger an audible beep alarm.

2. Detecting The Type Of Leak

When finding a suitable refrigerant detector, you must consider what you’ll be using it for. 

If you are a professional technician, you’ll want to choose a model that can detect a wide range of refrigerants. This includes CFCs, HFCs, HCFCs, FCs, blends, and many other industrial types. That’s why most HVAC technicians prefer halogen leak detectors to heated diode sensors.

Moreover, for HVAC systems at your home, you need to choose a model specifically designed for that purpose. 

If you are a technician, stick to the Elitech Leak Detector or Aprvtio WJL-6000 PRO mentioned in our list. DIY homeowners can choose any other corona or heated diode sensors. In addition, consider purchasing a sensor with UV Fluorescent technology and an LED flashlight. This will help you if you want to know how to detect a water leak in completely darkness and hard-to-reach corners of HVAC units.

3. Operational Efficiency

When choosing a refrigerant detector, you should consider its continuous working period of time. Because this factor directly impacts the overall efficiency of your system. 

So, choose a refrigerant detector that has a high continuous working mode. This will ensure that the detector can run for extended periods without needing to be recharged. It will ultimately result in lower energy costs and a more efficient leak detector.

Look for a sensor with at least 20 or higher hours of continuous operating mode.

4. Sensitivity Levels

You need to find a detector that is sensitive to a wide range of refrigerants and other chemicals. High sensitivity is significant if you have a lot of parts in your HVAC system. This will help you identify even the smallest leaks before they cause fire hazards. 

But if you want to detect just one specific type of refrigerant, you can choose a detector with less sensitivity.

Top Refrigerant Leak Detector Verdict

Refrigerant leaks happen because of damaged or faulty parts in HVAC units, and if left untreated, these harmful refrigerants can cause severe damage. That is why it’s crucial to detect HVAC leaks as early as possible. 

The best way to do this is to use HVAC refrigerant leak detectors with decent sensitivity ratings, as these devices are much better at finding the source of the leak. There are many refrigerant detectors online to detect the various types of refrigerants used in any HVAC system. 

Our top pick, the Elitech WJL-6000 Leak Detector, can be used to accurately pinpoint minor leaks with its audio alarm and provides precise readings. Also, the Aprvtio Detector has 5 adjustable sensitivity levels, which makes it highly popular while the Inficon Detector uses visual LED signals and “automatic zeroing” adjustment for enhanced accuracy.

That’s it! We hope this article helped you gain more insights into different refrigerant leak detectors and their uses. And now, it will be easy for you to decide which leak detector best suits your needs.

Lorelai Greene
Lorelai is a London born interior designer by trade, a designer that choose sunny Barcelona against rainy London to pursue writing after graduation, she then joined Architecture Lab in 2017 as a design contributor.

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