Greetings folks! Today on RefrigerantHQ we will be doing a product review on Fieldpiece’s SRL2(K7) Infrared Refrigerant Leak Detector. It only seemed fair that after reviewing the INFICON and the Robinair Infrared units that I should take the time to look at what Fieldpiece has to offer. After all, Fieldpiece is one of the biggest names in the HVAC tool industry.
Before we get too far into the details on this product I always like to take a look at the company behind the product. Fieldpiece has been in the business of manufacturing, innovating, and engineering HVAC testing equipment, gauges, detectors, and many other tools for over twenty-five years. Like most great companies Fieldpiece started in their founder’s garage and now has blossomed into a global company. They are headquartered out of Anaheim, California. If there is one take away from this blurb it is that Fieldpiece is a quality company with quality products.
There are a variety of features that come with this unit but I won’t go into each and every one. Instead I’ll provide a brief summary and then we’ll move onto the major Pros and Cons of this unit. If I miss something here I apologize up front but it is difficult to catch them all!
As you know there are many different types of refrigerant leak detectors on the market today. Heated Diode. Corona Suppression. Etc. Etc. Fieldpiece’s SRL2 K7 is an Infrared model. Personally, Infrareds are my favorite mainly because of how long they last. This sensor is rated to last at around ten years of use. If you compare that to some of the other detectors out there that last for barely over twenty hours that ten year time is looking pretty damn nice.
Infrared detectors work by drawing the air sample across an optical sensor that then analyses how much infrared radiation there is in that given area. The benefits of this technology is that the sensors last much longer, they are less prone to false alarms, they cannot be overloaded in an area saturated with refrigerant, and they are great at finding those very small leaks that other detectors just won’t sense.
The SRL2 can detect all of your common refrigerants on the market today including CFCs, HCFCs, HFCs, and even HFOs. These classifications cover all of your popular refrigerants including R-12, R-22, R-502, R-134a, R-404A, R-410A, and even 1234YF. This unit comes with the standard settings of high, medium, and low sensitivity levels. Along with these settings you also get something called ‘Turbo Mode.’ Turbo mode is an enhancement feature that you can turn on when trying to detect a very small leak. Think of it as ‘super low,’ mode. In case your primary wand isn’t long enough the product comes with a nine inch extension wand in either a flexible or rigid.
One of my favorite features about this product and other premium detectors on the market today are the rechargeable Lithium Ion batteries. No more having to deal with D or C cell batteries and having to replace them every other week. This unit comes with a rechargeable battery that when fully charged will last eight hours, or a full work day. (That is if you’re lucky and don’t have any OT.) With the purchase of this product you get a wall charger and a car charger. To charge your unit fully it takes about ten to twelve hours so you can plug it into your garage or at the shop overnight and be ready to go in the morning.
The Fieldpiece SRL2 K7 weighs only fourteen ounces but if your hands are getting tired or you just need to free up a hand you’ll notice a magnetic gripper on the back of the product that will allow you to hang wherever you’d like.
The last thing I’ll mention on this unit before getting into the Pros is that it comes with a durable and tough blow molded case. While a case may not sound like much of a feature it is actually a huge benefit for transporting your tool. This case protects your tool and allows you to toss it in the back of your van without any worries of damaging your expensive detector. Peace of mind so they say.
Infrared units are known for their sensitivity. Most units will detect refrigerant leaks as low as 0.10 ounces per year. The SRL2 is no different as it can easily sense leaks just as small. In fact, it can actually detect even smaller leaks. If you follow this link you’ll find Fieldpiece’s official product video. In this video the Fieldpiece SRL2 detects a leak as small as 0.05 ounces per year. That is amazing and is by far the smallest leak I have seen detected. To top it all off the unit comes with a ‘Turbo Mode,’ that can be used when trying to pinpoint the smallest of leaks.
Unlike other detectors the sensor on the SRL2 is sealed and protected inside the unit. This sensor doesn’t touch refrigerant as it passes through the instrument. Because of how this sensor is designed it means that you can see a life span of up to ten years. Just think, no more having to replace your sensor every few months just to ensure a good reading. No worries for years.
Since this is an infrared model you do not have to worry about overwhelming your sensor with areas of saturated refrigerant. Unlike Heated Diodes or Corona Suppression detectors this unit is always auto-calibrating itself to zero. That way it can look and find the highest point of refrigerant in a given area. Because of this auto-calibration you will find that you have to keep moving your detector back and forth in a sweeping motion in order to pint point your leak.
Well first and foremost folks there really aren’t that many cons on this product. It is a premium product and you are paying for the quality. That being said the first con that I am going to mention is the price. Depending on who you are and what your line of work is you may be one-hundred percent comfortable spending a couple hundred dollars on a high quality leak detector. Or, you may be the other guy who is fine with the soap and bubble technique and just wants a cheapo leak detector as a backup. I just wanted to put it out there that this is an expensive unit. Infrared detectors mean quality.
Warranty is always a big selling point for me, especially if I’m going to be spending a lot on a product. The FieldPiece SRL2 only comes with a one year warranty assuring you that the product is free of defects. Other models that I have reviewed had a two year warranty. Most of the time when your detector stops working it is usually the sensor and these can be replaced. However, if the detector itself is defective then you only have that twelve month window to file and RA using FieldPiece’s site.
I’m going to mention this as a Con, but please note that it is a slight one. Some may not even call it a con but those of us who are impatient and don’t like to wait around may complain. Upon starting the FieldPiece SRL2 you will notice that it needs about thirty seconds to warm up before it can be used. Again, this isn’t a big deal. You just have to wait. Patience is a virtue as they say.
The last con I can find on these units is a small one. It is a complaint about how you have to keep sweeping your sensor back and forth with an Infrared unit. I explained why this is necessary above but some users have complained that it is very difficult to do a sweeping motion in very tight or confined spaces. I could see this being an issue and maybe this is where more traditional detection methods could come into play such as dyes or a soap and water solution.
The Fieldpiece SRL2 K7 refrigerant leak detector is by far one of the most impressive detectors that I have reviewed. As you know, I am a huge fan of the Infrared detectors. At first I was sold by INFICON’s D-Tek but folks I have to say that after doing my research here on Fieldpiece’s unit that the Fieldpiece wins. There are so many more Pros to this product and considering that it is about the same price as the INFICON I would end up going with the SRL2.
Overall, the product has nothing but positive reviews. If we look at Amazon.com we can see that the unit has sixty-one reviews at the time I’m writing this. The rating is set at three and a half stars out of five. This may seem low but keep in mind that with only twenty-one reviews out there it only takes one bad review to lower the rating significantly. The one bad review that lowered everything else looks like the guy got a defective unit in which case Fieldpiece would replace through their warranty program. The only other complaint that I could find was a consumer was sent the wrong charger by mistake. Again, Fieldpiece’s customer service will correct this.
Should you buy it? There is one consideration that should be made before you buy this product. Are you a HVAC tech or a mechanic that are looking for leaks daily or weekly? If so, then I would tell you to go on Amazon.com and buy the SRL2 right now. However, if you are a do-it-yourselfer, a dabbler, or someone looking to start out then maybe you need to purchase something a little less expensive. I would recommend looking at the Signstek Refrigerant Leak Detector as a much cheaper alternative.
I hope that I was able to help you in your buying decision today and I want to thank you for reading. Don’t forget to keep scrolling down to look for our Important Links and What’s In The Box section.
What’s In The Box?
- Nine Inch Flex & Rigid Probe Extension
- Five Replacement O-Rings
- Ten replacement filters
- Blow-Molded Case