[MY EXPERIENCE] Best Smart Probes HVAC for the Money

Spread the love

Are you ready to invest in a set of refrigeration manifold probes for HVAC and Refrigeration applications? If you are not, you should be.

While these tools are not required for performing quality work in the trade, they do offer a number of advantages.

Best HVAC Smart Probes on the Market

I’ve listed the best HVAC smart probe options below, along with their respective advantages and disadvantages, to assist you in determining which set is right for you.

  • Smart Probes for Testo

Since the Testo Smart probes first became available, I’ve been using them. They have since released the second generation probes, which feature significantly improved wireless Bluetooth capabilities.

CHECK ON AMAZON

Pressure probes (549i), temperature clamps (115i), and capacitive / NTC humidity probes (605i) all advertise a range of 350 feet.

The wireless range of all other optional devices (Hotwire anemometer, vane anemometer, manometer, infrared, and K-type thermometer) is 60 feet.

The Testo probes are compatible with both the native Testo Smart Probe app and the Measure Quick app.

Both apps work well for me, but the measure quick app has a lot more features. With up to six probes connected simultaneously, these tools enable you to quickly calculate several system parameters such as superheat, subcooling, volume flow, and so on. The app allows you to monitor and create trend logs that can be exported as an excel file (.csv) or PDF.

Pros:

Value– extremely affordable; expandability; eight distinct types of probes for a variety of applications; refined second-generation reliability; intuitive native app; and compatibility with Measure quick. Large temperature range of -58 to 302 degrees Fahrenheit, Testo name and support. While the Teflon gasket used in pressure probes appears to be extremely durable, it may be more difficult to replace than a standard 1/4′ hose gasket.

Cons:

Requires three AAA batteries with a life comparable to that of other probes that use only two. Pressure probes are not temperature compensated, and Gen I units have a limited Bluetooth range and connectivity issues. There is no IP resistance rating specified.

  •  iManifold iConnect Probes

By far the most expensive set on this list is the iConnect probes. Is it worthwhile to purchase iConnect probes?

CHECK ON AMAZON

They are not worth it for me at $1600 and with a bulkier setup. iConnect probes can be used in conjunction with their native iManifold app and measure quickly.

Both the iManifold and measure quick apps were designed by Jim Bergman, who has stated publicly that measure quick is more accurate in its built-in diagnosis features.

The Iconnect 900-c base station supports up to 12 wireless probe connections and 52 simultaneous measurements.

Temperature probes are not wireless on their own and must be connected to a wireless pressure probe in order to transmit data via the pressure probe’s radio.

This was done in order to reduce production costs.

One noteworthy feature is the ability to order customized refrigeration multi-compressor circuit modules.

See also  How To Stop Cars From Turning Around In Your Driveway

This is the only set on this list that is capable of monitoring and controlling multiple refrigeration circuits simultaneously.

Although it is rumored that the feature is being developed for use with other MQ app probes.

Pros:

Components of the highest quality, Cooper-Atkins thermistors with an extreme long range, and multiple refrigeration circuits

Cons:

Extremely Expensive and Bulky in comparison to the majority of the other kits listed here. Additionally, they are costly.

ALSO SEE: How To Clean Shavings From Magnetic Nut Drivers

  • Smart Refrigerant Diagnostic Kit UEI Hub

Price Check Amazon Uei released their smart probes a little late, and they probably should have worked out any bugs prior to releasing them.

CHECK ON AMAZON

The majority of users with whom I’ve spoken have had negative experiences with the UEI Smart HUB2, HUB4, or HUB6 kits.

The app does not appear to be user friendly, offering only very basic calculations and data, as well as a limited library of 44 refrigerants.

Additionally, the HUB kits are now compatible with the measure quick app.

Numerous reviews state that the probes leak after only a few uses, while others state that the probes cease to function entirely after a few months.

One peculiar feature of this kit is that the temperature clamp probes are not wireless on their own; instead, they connect to the pressure probes via a wire and transmit via the pressure probe’s wireless portion, which was most likely designed to save money, just like the iconnect probes were.

This may be an acceptable option for someone on a shoestring budget, but you’re probably better off saving up for one of the other kits.

Pros:

Affordable, quick integration with measurement, UEI is expanding and improving, and the HUB8 with outdoor air sensor and micron gauge should be released soon.

Cons:

Issues with quality control, not entirely wireless like others, bulky, limited temperature range of 32-176 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Field Piece JL3KH6 Job Link Charge and Air Kit

Field Piece tools are consistently ranked among the best in the HVAC tool category, and their refrigeration charge and air kit is no exception.

CHECK ON AMAZON

These probes feature a long-range Bluetooth connection that is strong enough to transmit through the majority of walk-in coolers and freezers, as well as extreme temperature and pressure accuracy.

The JL3H6 kit is compatible with both the measure quick and native field piece applications. The majority of users dislike the native app and prefer to use MQ instead.

The probes are compact, store easily in a soft case, and are rated IP55 for use in harsh environments.

Pros:

High accuracy – +/- 1 Degree F and +/- 1 PSIG, long battery life with two AAA batteries Auto-calibrating probes ensure accuracy at any elevation, 45° offset pressure fittings, and psychrometers with flexible narrow probes and an integrated magnet. Field Piece’s brand name and customer service.

Cons:

Pressure probe caps are a little short, which can make connecting to certain service valves difficult; the native app is not intuitive or user-friendly; and the eco system is not as extensive as the Testo options.

  • Parker Sporlan SMART Service Tool Kit

Sporlan SMART Service probes appear to be less well-known than the other probes on this list. This kit is extremely compact in comparison to others, but includes only four probes.

See also  What is the Best Central Heating Cleaner and Inhibitor

Two temperature clamps and two wireless pressure probes will be included in this kit. At the moment, Sporlan does not appear to have any additional optional probes.

Additionally, the Sporlan probes are compatible with measure quick and their native app.

I have seen claims that these are manufactured in the United States of America, but have been unable to locate any manufacturer literature confirming this.

Pros:

Sporlan product, compact size, includes a hard pelican case, excellent temperature range of -40 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit

Cons:

Wireless Range of 60ft is insufficient, the battery size CR2450 is uncommon, and the product is more expensive with fewer features than competing options.

  • Yellow Jacket 67002 ManTooth Dual Pressure Gauge Set

Yellow Jacket has a long history of developing and manufacturing high-quality HVAC/R tools.

CHECK ON AMAZON

The wireless gauge set 67002 includes two pressure probes and two temperature probe clamps.

The built-in refrigerant charging ports are a unique feature of the Yellow Jacket smart probes.

This is an excellent addition that no other brand has yet to implement. This property eliminates the need for an additional charging fitting. Connect the system normally and use the second port to connect a bottle of refrigerant.

The Yellow Jacket ManTooth probes are compatible with the free Mantooth app on iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. As these are the newest set of smart probes on the market,

I have not had the opportunity to test them myself, but there have already been a few reports raising concerns about their durability and build quality.

Negative reviews mention leaking fittings, disassembly of USB charging ports, and a weak Bluetooth signal.

Pros:

With the charging port integrated into the tool, there is no need to carry additional fittings.

The App allows you to track and store service history.

Cons:

Rechargeable battery with a ten-hour run time. I’d rather be able to quickly swap in a new set of batteries when necessary.

Bluetooth range and connectivity are limited in comparison to the other devices on the list.

Incompatible with the measurement quick

Size – Because the probe bodies are larger, they may be unable to fit into certain gauge port areas.

Best Smart Probes HVAC

Benefits of Using Digital Smart Probes for HVACR Work

Price Check The Advantages of Using Digital Smart Probes for HVACR Work on Amazon
When digital manifolds were first introduced, I believed they were a complete waste of money.

I was of the opinion that I did not require a digital readout or fancy gauges that calculated super-heat / sub-cooling for me.

I was already familiar with how to use a thermocouple and how to read a pressure-temperature chart.

I never purchased a digital manifold set, but I did purchase two sets of smart probes, which I am extremely glad I did.

Digital gauges are far more accurate than analog gauges of the past. You can certainly accomplish the task with analog gauges, but why limit yourself to outdated technology?

Additionally, digital probes enable the collection of real-time data from a single location. Having real-time superheat / subcooling data on your smartphone or tablet is significantly more efficient than comparing your analog gauge to your P/T chart and then to your line temp to calculate.

A digital readout is the way to go while the TXV is hunting or the head pressure control is cycling.

The small footprint and absence of hoses enable you to obtain the most precise readings possible.

How many pieces of equipment have service ports that are located in an inconvenient location? Using hoses and a manifold set frequently allows air to bypass the coil, thereby altering the data. Perhaps you will instead opt for stubby analog gauges to avoid airflow issues, but you will then be unable to see your gauges. This issue is resolved by intelligent probes.

See also  5 Best Drain Down Hose Kits to Try

Additional advantages include data logging, report generation, and security. As electrical safety regulations across the country become increasingly stringent, wireless tools that minimize exposure to live high voltage components should be a priority for everyone.

The Most Important Reasons to Use Smart Wireless Probes in HVAC Work

I initially dismissed wireless HVAC probes as a complete waste of time and resources. I was firmly entrenched in the belief that there was no reason to waste your few dollars on some fancy wireless probes.

I ultimately purchased two analog sets, which proved to be a complete waste of money. This inconvenience compelled me to experiment with a smart wireless probe, and I am extremely glad I did.

These devices provide a high level of convenience and accuracy that far exceeds that of analog gauges. They enable real-time data collection from a single location and are therefore more efficient than analog sets. Additionally, they minimize your exposure to live high voltage, increase your safety, and enable you to store logged data.

  • Durability

The lifespan of an item is something that most shoppers consider. The majority of wireless smart probes are made of brass or aluminum.

Although some connectors are more prone to rust than others, the connectors’ fit and build quality is something to consider.

This is because plastic fittings frequently develop leaks or rapidly deteriorate.

  • Features That Are User-Friendly

Any smart device should be simple to use and come with clear instructions. You can easily identify high or low pressures by checking on easy-to-read displays, backlit lights, or color-coded features.

  • Installation

The primary advantage of wireless units is their simplicity of use. They are the only viable option in situations where hard wiring is impractical or difficult, including those involving construction constraints.

Thus, wireless HVAC probes are extremely efficient and incredibly simple to install.

  • Maintenance

Wireless devices are classified as powered or self-powered. Wireless systems that are powered by batteries use batteries, whereas self-powered devices harvest the energy they require to function properly.

However, before choosing a battery-powered device, it is critical to consider the size of your building.

Self-powered devices, on the other hand, are virtually maintenance-free and slightly more expensive than battery-powered devices.

They are still quite cost effective in the long run and significantly more sustainable.

  • Flexibility and Scalability

It’s simple to add or modify wireless HVAC probes. They can easily be repositioned to produce a significantly stronger signal.

Additionally, it lends itself well to expansion, as new receivers and sensors can be easily added to an existing network.

Additionally, wireless devices make it simple and flexible to incorporate upgrades and new technology.

Additional Considerations

Additionally, you should consider test reports, customer reviews, test results, and the product’s price.

Similarly, you may wish to consider consumer advocacy groups and conduct an extensive price comparison in order to obtain the best of the best.

I hope this information assists you in selecting the wireless smart probes that will work best for you.

Let me know which ones you’re currently using or considering purchasing in the comments section below!

Author: Howard S. Baldwin

My name is Howard S. Baldwin. I am a work-at-home dad to three lovely girls, Jane + Hannah + Beauty. I have been blogging for the last 3 years. I worked for other Home and Lifetsyle blogs, did hundreds of product reviews and buyers’ guides. Prior to that, I was a staff accountant at a big accounting firm. Needless to say, researching and numbers are my passion. My goal is to be an informative source for any topic that relates to DIY life and homemaking.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.