Greetings and salutations folks! Today on RefrigerantHQ we will be reviewing Elitech’s CLD-100 refrigerant leak detector. If you haven’t noticed by now I’ve been going through and reviewing every possible leak detector that I can find. My goal here is to provide a comprehensive listing of every detector on the market. Once the listings are done I will then provide the ultimate buyer’s guide based off of price points of low, medium, and high. That’s enough about me though, let’s get into the product review.
Now before I get into the details I always like to take the time and talk a bit about the company behind the product. If we don’t know anything about the company then how can we trust the product? This detector is made by the Elenco company which was founded more than forty years ago by two engineers. This company is a bit different than others that I have reviewed as they are not solely an HVAC company but instead a company that is dedicated to providing test equipment for all different industries. Depending on how you look at it this could be a benefit or a drawback. They are head quartered out of Illinois and are still a relatively small company of only fifty employees. I’m always a fan of smaller companies going against the bigger guys but that’s just me. Onward to the review.
The Elitech CLD-100 doesn’t exactly come out and say what type of refrigerant leak detector that it is. Typically there are only three to four types out there and after reading up on this detector I have come to the conclusion that this is a heated diode detector. What tipped me off was that it can detect any refrigerants that contain Chlorine or Fluorine.
A heated diode detector heats up the environment around it and then breaks the molecules apart. When the molecules are broken and there is refrigerant in the area either a positively charged Chlorine or Fluorine ion will appear. The heated diode detector then senses these ions and reports back to you that there is a leak. So, in short this is a heated diode refrigerant leak detector like many others that are on the market today.
The ELENCO CLD-100 can detect all of your common refrigerant classes on the market today such as CFCs, HCFCs, and HFCs. These classes include the most popular refrigerants used in the market today such as: R-12, R-22, R-134a, R-404A, and R-410A. Unless you are using an oddball refrigerant out there you’ll be fine.
Upon starting the unit it will need about five to ten seconds to warm up and set itself to zero. The sensitivity settings of this unit are about what you would expect for a budget or bargain refrigerant leak detector. The best leaks this can find are at or greater than 0.210 ounces per year. One feature that I like on this detector is that it has a turn dial to increase or decrease sensitivity settings. This is quite a bit different then the standard high, medium, and low settings of other detectors.
When a leak is found you will be alerted by audio. There is not a visual display on this unit. I tried doing some research on the life of the sensor but couldn’t find anything exact. The instruction manual only said that it was hard to predict and to pay attention to your readings. If readings become erratic then it is time to replace sensors. This may be a cop out for them as the sensor may not last very long at all.
The probe length on the CLD-100 is set at eight inches. Normally probe length is anywhere between fourteen to fifteen inches depending on the unit you look at. I was surprised to see how small the length was here.
Lastly, before we get to the Pros and Cons on this detector I wanted to mention the batteries. This unit takes four standard triple A batteries. The battery life is expected to last around twenty hours.
Obviously, the biggest selling point on this unit is price. This is one of the cheapest refrigerant leak detectors on the market today. As I write this the product is available on Amazon.com for thirty dollars. (Please note that prices can change at any time.) That is one hell of a bargain when you compare that price to some of the more premium detector models on the market today. If you were to buy a Fieldpiece or an INFICON you’d be looking at at least three-hundred dollars or more.
The warranty is worth mentioning on this unit. For such a low cost tool the manufacturer is still offering a one year replacement warranty. So, I will give them credit for this as will insure you that you get a replacement if yours dies on you after a few months of use. Here’s the thing though folks. There aren’t really any other Pros here that I can find to list. It’s just price. That’s about it. If you are looking for something dirt cheap then this is it.
There are a whole slew of Cons that I could go through on the CLD-100 point by point. I will do my best to show you all of the major flaws here but I may miss some:
- The sensitivity levels on this detector only go as low as 0.210 ounces per year. Other, more expensive, detectors on the market to go anywhere between 0.10 to 0.20 ounces per year. Some more premium models go as low as o.050 ounces per year.
- With the low sensitivity comes problems trying to find and identify smaller leaks on a unit. This detector may work great when finding a large leak but if you have a leak you just can’t find or a series of leaks that you need an accurate detector for then this may not be for you.
- The eight inch probe length on this detector bothers me, maybe more then it should. As they say folks, size matters. I can only imagine how difficult it would be to use an eight inch probe especially if you are used to something twice the size. Those hard to reach spaces just got even harder to reach.
- The last Con I’ll mention here is the standard triple A batteries. I didn’t expect this unit to come with rechargeable batteries but I hate the idea of having to replace batteries over and over again. This unit’s expected battery life is about twenty hours. So, you’ll have to change the batteries every few days, at least. Talk about a pain.
I want you to understand that I am not trashing this detector by any means. This detector serves a purpose and it’s purpose is to be a budget and extremely cheap refrigerant leak detector. This unit is for the home-owner or the garage tinkerer who wants to do their own AC repair. This unit is NOT intended for anyone who will be using a detector on a regular basis. If you are a daily user then I would recommend the below:
- If you are a beginner, novice, or middle of the road guy then I would click on this link to view our review on the INFICON Tek-Mate. Yes, this unit is about one-hundred dollars more expensive but I can assure you that you are getting a quality product that will last.
- Now, if you are a premium guy looking to get the best of the best then I would recommend looking at our Prowler VS H-10 Pro comparison chart and see which one you want to purchase. Just keep in mind that these are high dollar items and will cost a pretty penny.
Lastly, folks if you still have your heart set on the Elenco CLD-100 detector then by all means go ahead and purchase it on Amazon. Just be forewarned that I did try to steer you away from this unit.
Thanks for reading and I hope that I was able to help your buying decision today.
- Amazon Buy Page
- EliTech’s Official Product Page
- EliTech’s Official Instruction Manual
- EliTech’s Official Page
What’s In The Box?
- Instruction Manual