Hello folks! Today on RefrigerantHQ we are going to be taking an in-depth look at Robnair’s 22791 Infrared Refrigerant Leak Detector. Any HVAC technician or auto mechanic knows the importance of a leak detector and most likely has one on them while on the job. The question is what kind of detector do they have? Is this Robinair detector the product that you have been looking for? Or, is there something better out there? Let’s take a look.
Now before I get into the actual product review I always like to take a small look at the manufacturer of the product. Who are they? What is their reputation? Are they known for quality? The 22791 detector is made by Robinair. I’m sure most of you don’t need an introduction to Robinair as they have been a staple in the HVAC and the Automotive industry for over sixty years. They were founded in 1956 as a small company making specialized tools for repairing appliances. Ever since then their name has been synonymous with quality. Robinair is now a global company providing tools across the world. To top it all off they are headquartered out of Warren, Michigan which is my home state. Go Wolverines!
This unit is an Infrared leak detector model. Robinair claims that the sensor on their 22791 product will last a minimum of ten years. That is quite the difference compared to other detectors. Now, this is what they claim but what separates Infrared detectors away from their heated diode or corona-suppression competitors? Infrared detectors draws 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 (Just like Robinair says), they are less prone to false alarms, and they are great at finding those very small leaks that other detectors just won’t sense.
The 22791 detector is able to sense all of the popular refrigerants on the market today. It can detect CFCs, HFCs, HCFCs, blends, and even HFOs. For those of you who aren’t familar with the classes of refrigerants those cover all of the typical refrigerants that you would find in the field such as R-12, R-22, R-502, R-134a, R-410A, R-404A, and even 1234YF. The only thing this won’t detect are your Hydrocarbons such as Ammonia, Propane, or Carbon Dioxide refrigerants.
This product has both visual and audio alerts. If for whatever reason you wanted to you can mute the audio alert. The 22791’s probe extends to fifteen inches. Most detectors on the market today are between fourteen and fifteen inches so this is a pretty standard length. If you find over and over again that fifteen inches just isn’t enough. (No jokes please.) Then there is a nine inch extension probe for the 22791 that can be found on Amazon.com by clicking here.
The last few things I’ll mention on the Robinair 22791 before getting into the Pros and Cons are the magnetic hanger and the carrying case. The magnetic carrier is a convenience feature more than anything but when another hand is needed you will find you love having your detector anchored onto the air conditioner so you can free your hands up. Upon purchasing this detector it will be shipped in it’s durable and tough carrying case. This cases makes it easier to transport and also provides you the assurance that if you throw it in the back of your van after a job that the detector inside will be just fine.
We are dealing with an infrared detection system here and infrared means high sensitivity. This unit can detect a leak as small of 0.15 ounces per year. While this is impressive it falls right in line with INFICON’s Tek-Mate detector as far as detection standards. Both are great detectors but you will find the Tek-Mate for about a third of the price. To each their own though.
This unit comes with one of my favorite features when it comes to any kind of tool that I’m going to be carrying around with me. It has a rechargeable Lithium Ion battery. No carrying around extra D cell batteries in case yours dies. Nope. The battery on this can last up to eight hours of continuous use. It also comes with a wall charger and car charger so when the unit does run out of juice you can just pop it in your charger while you are driving to your next job. It is worth bringing up that the eight hours of continuous use sounds good but it is nothing when comparing it to Fieldpiece’s SRL8 fifteen hour battery life.
The last two Pros I’ll mention here are the auto recalibration and the protective filter. While scanning for leaks the Robinair product will automatically recalibrate itself to ensure accuracy is maintained. This feature will help you substantially in trying to find a leak when working in a refrigerant saturated area. Lastly, there is a protective filter that protects your infrared sensor from moister or particulates that it could come in contact with. These filters are pretty standard in most detectors but it is still worth mentioning.
Well ladies and gentlemen. The big con that I’m sure all of you are aware of is the price. The Robinair 22791 detector is one of the priciest on the market today. Before you shy away from this price you need to understand that there is a reason for it. The price on this is because of the Infrared detection method. Remember that sensor you’ll be using is to last ten years. So, yes you are paying a premium price now but you will not have to deal with sensor replacement down the road and the detector itself may end up lasting longer then a cheaper one as well.
The only really big downside that I could find on this unit was warranty. If you are going to be paying well over three-hundred dollars for a unit then you would think that it would come with an extended warranty agreement. You would think wrong. Robinair only insures this product from detects for one year. So, even though they claim the product will last a minimum of ten years they only back up one year, or ten percent of it’s life. Lastly, when filing a warranty claim you have to realize that approval of your claim is determined by Robinair. So, you are at their mercy. An excerpt from Robinair’s website on their warranty policy can be found below or by clicking here.
All Robinair products are warranted to be free from defects in material and workmanship under normal use and service for a period of one year after the sale of the product. Exception to this policy will be individually identified.”
Unfortunately, the Robinair 22791 is manufactured in China. I hate to say it now guys but it seems like nearly everything is made overseas nowadays. We really have to look hard to find that American made product. Hell, just the other day I was looking to buy a simple framing hammer and I had to go through numerous brands until I finally settled on an American Made Estwing.
This last Con isn’t really a Con at all but people are still complaining about it so I thought I would include it. Upon powering on this unit you will notice that it will take at least thirty seconds for it to warm up and calibrate itself to zero. Thirty seconds isn’t a long time at all but I guess it is to some people.
Overall folks I would say that the Robinair 22791 is a definite buy… as long as you can afford it. The Infrared sensor with it’s promised long life of ten years may have sold most of you right away. Just think no more having to replace your sensors on your other detectors. No need to worry for ten years, or at least according to Robinair. Who knows if they’ll honor that on a warranty claim.
If we look at reviews and feedback on this product almost everything is positive. On Amazon.com there are over two dozen reviews averaging out to four and a half starts out of five. That’s a ninety percent rating. The only negatives ratings that I could find on this product across the web were all resulting from the unit being manufactured in China.
If you are interested in purchasing this product then I would recommend visiting our partner Amazon.com. Also, if you are one of those guys who has the bad luck on working with units with hard to reach leaks then I would recommend purchasing the nine inch probe extension add on as well.