Product Review: HDE AC Refrigerant Leak Detector

HDE AC Refrigerant Leak Detector












Hello ladies and gentlemen! Today on RefrierantHQ we will be doing another review on a refrigerant leak detector. Today’s product is the HDE Refrigerant Leak Detector. This detector is in our ‘budget’ category as it is a very low price based product. Remember folks you get what you pay for!HDE Portable Halogen Gas AC Freon Refrigerant Leak Detector w/ Storage Case

Now before I get into the details of a product review 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? It’s good practice to do this and it helps me and feel more comfortable.

Frankly folks, I am confused as to who exactly the manufacturer here is. In the product description and when looking online I can find no information about who makes this product. However, if I look at the pictures on I can plainly see the words ‘Elitech,’ stamped on the product. Now, the company Elitech I am familiar with. So, I went over to their website and went to their gas detector product pages. Guess what? There is no record to be found on the HDE refrigerant leak detector.

I find this very odd and this finding leads me to one of two conclusions: 1) Either this product was discontinued by Elitech and they are still cleaning out their old inventory. 2) Or, this is an imported Chinese product and they are stamping the Elitech name on it to obtain more sales. Either way folks I can tell you that I am not very comfortable recommending this detector.


The HDE detector 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 HDE will detect all of your common classifications of refrigerants such as CFCs, HCFCs, and HFCs. These classifications include some of your most common refrigerants such as R-12, R-22, R-134a, R-404A, and R-410A. Along with these refrigerants listed the HDE will also detect any other refrigerant that either contains Chlorine or Fluorine.

The sensitivity levels on this unit are to be desired. The best leak this detector can find is at 0.210 ounces per year. If we compare that to other budget detectors on the market then that is about average. However, if we compare this level to a medium grade leak detector than we will see the huge difference. A medium priced detector will have a setting as low as 0.10 ounces per year where as a premium detector could even go as low as 0.0060 ounces per year.

Upon starting this detector up it will need about five to ten seconds for it to warm-up and self calibrate to zero. The probe on this HDE halogen detector extends to seventeen inches. This is one of the bright spots on this detector as most other probes, especially budget ones, only go to fourteen inches. There are a few models out there that go to fifteen inches but finding one that extends to seventeen inches is rare.

The last thing I’ll mention here before moving onto the Pros section is the batteries. The HDE halogen detector takes four AAA batteries. Normally when doing a review I can find the length of the battery life as well for my readers but I was unable to find this information on this detector. There are two points worth mentioning on the batteries though: 1) Many people are confused when installing the AAA batteries. There is a hidden compartment to put the other two batteries in. This compartment may take some time to find.  2) For some reason the instruction manual that comes with this detector mentions a completely different battery type and setup. I am not sure why this is but you should know that AAA batteries are what you will need to operate this detector.


Alright folks well I’m going to be straight forward with you here. There aren’t that many Pros on a cheap leak detector. The biggest Pro you can probably guess. Price. The price on this unit is dirt cheap when comparing to other detectors on the market today. If you were to type in some of the more prominent tool brand names you would see prices ranging one-hundred dollars all the way up to five-hundred dollars for refrigerant leak detectors. Getting this detector at this price is a steal, but just remember that you get what you pay for.

The other Pro I’ll mention here is that this detector does work well on identifying and finding larger leaks. If you know you have a leak, and a large one at that, then this detector may just be the thing for you. However, if you are losing charge slowly and over time then I would advise against this detector and would point you in the direction of a much better, more expensive, INFICON Tek-Mate.


There are a whole host of Cons on this detector that I can go into. Instead of going over every little thing I will instead give you the biggest points and then let you make your decision from there:

  • This detector will struggle trying to find those smaller leaks that a more expensive detector would sniff out in no time.
  • There are numerous cases of this detector working on the first day or two and then when the user comes back a few weeks later the detector will not stop buzzing and will no longer zero itself. At this point the detector is useless.
  • The warranty on this product is unknown. I read rumors about a one year warranty but couldn’t find any proof of it. Some of the reviews I read stated that they tried filing warranty but couldn’t get anywhere.
  • The last one I am going to mention here is that there was no information online about this detector. I couldn’t find an official product page. I couldn’t find warranty documentation. There was just nothing. This leads me to believe that this is a Chinese import that someone is bringing in in-mass and trying to push it out the door.
  • Referencing the above point we know that the quality and durability of this product will not last.


Overall folks the HDE Refrigerant Leak Detector is a good ‘quick fix’ tool. I picture this as the kind of tool a do-it-yourselfer would purchase when working on his car on a Saturday morning. This is not a tool for professionals. I repeat, this is not a tool for professionals. I mentioned it earlier but I will say it again. There are numerous instances of this detector working the first couple times and then never working again after that. If you’re in a pinch and need to get a detector then this may be your guy. Otherwise, I would recommend checking out some of the more middle of the road detectors like the INFICON Tek-Mate.

If you are interested in purchasing the HDE refrigerant leak detector then I would suggest you visit our Amazon partner and order it.

What’s In The Box?

  • The detector, obviously.
  • Instruction Manual
  • Carrying Case