Get the best ultrasonic leak detection kit for your next project with our big guide. We review and compare the top models before deciding which is the very best.
If you work as an HVAC technician or simply want your own ultrasonic leak detector for your home or car air conditioning unit, you will know that there are quite a few of them to choose from. However, how exactly do you know which is best or will be the one most suited to you?
The last thing you will want to do is just buy the first one that you see as you might end up getting a bad deal, or a detector that does not work as well as others that are available for a similar price. You should always make sure that you have done a bit of homework to establish which are the best choices, but as you will know this is not always easy.
Well, that is where we step in, as we have done all of the hard work for you and come up with five ultrasonic detectors that we think are better than most others on the market right now. We can understand that some of you may disagree with our recommendations and have your own favorites, but we fully stand by our own opinion.
Others were close to making the list and there are plenty of others out there that are decent enough, but none were quite good enough to seal a place among our five favourites.
When making this list we took a lot of factors into consideration including the cost of the products, their performance levels, durability, ease of use and how they performed compared to other detectors in their price range.
So, take a look at our top picks when it comes to ultrasonic air leak detectors.
The Top Models Compared
Take a look at how the top ultrasonic leak detectors compare in the table below.
OUR TOP PICK
- Excellent build quality
- Adjustable sensitivity
- Choice of HVAC engineers
- Noise control
- Made in USA
- Amazing value
- 2 year warranty
Bacharach Tru Pointe
- Quick leak detection
- Relatively accurate
- Extension tube
- 1 year warranty
- Good value
Ultrasonic Leak Detector Reviews
Read about them in more detail and find out which we’d choose over all others.
Inficon Whisper *Great Value for Money*
The Inficon Whisper is an incredibly popular ultrasonic air leak detector primarily because it is a more affordable price bracket compared to some of the others on this list. It is half the price, sometimes a third of the price, of the more expensive models but in terms of accuracy, this detector is actually very good value for money.
Made in the USA, this detector might not be as durable as some of the other models but we wouldn’t say it was too cheaply made. It is lightweight and made mainly from plastic but we found it to be fairly sturdy and durable. Obviously, we would not recommend dropping it but it looks like it can survive a few falls. It even comes with a two-year warranty which suggests that the manufacturers are confident enough with the ability of this unit to last.
In terms of detecting refrigerants, we found it to be very effective as it normally takes just a matter of minutes to identify where any leaks are coming from. We also like some of the features it comes with, such as internal noise control which helps you to be able to hear any leaks even in a noisy room.
On the downside, this is not a rechargeable unit and will require you to use D-size batteries for it to run. This will only be an issue if you plan on using the Inficon regularly which if you are, it might be worth looking at a rechargeable detector instead.
As well as the detector itself, you will be given a carry case, rubber extension probe and some headphones that can be used alongside it when detecting leaks. Furthermore, while we do not normally like detectors that are not rechargeable, at least you get a couple of batteries with your purchase, unlike some others.
Bottom Line: We really like this model especially due to its price and how it performs compared to its competitors. Sure, not being rechargeable and a little on the breakable side are a couple of things that go against it, but for pure value for money you are not going to get much better than the Inficon Whisper.
Robinair TruTrack *OUR TOP PICK*
Last but certainly not least is the Robinair 16455 TruTrack air detector, one of the more expensive on our list but a product that many HVAC technicians swear by. It is known to be extremely durable, well designed and is very accurate with regards to finding any vacuum or highly pressurized leaks.
This detector has obviously been designed for use by HVAC technicians that will be using the device frequently. You can tell this as soon as you receive the product because it has clearly been designed to last due to the materials used.
How it works is that it will be able to pick up high-frequency noises that our ears are not able to hear before turning them into noises that our ears can hear. Most leaks will let off these high-frequency sounds and that is why these devices are so effective. The LED screen on your device will depict just how strong these leaks are with the larger the sound and image usually meaning the larger the leak.
You are able to adjust the sensitivity on the detector so that you are able to find the leaks more easily and by using the provided headset you will be able to hear the leaks as they are happening.
Powered by a 9V battery, you will have to make sure that you always carry around spares for when they run out. You should get a full day or two of usage out of each set depending on just how much you use it throughout the day.
All in all, we can see why this air detector is so popular despite it being one of the most expensive on the market. It offers excellent leak detection, is well-built and has plenty of solid reviews about its performance.
Bottom Line: We are extremely confident that you will be very satisfied with the Robinair TruTrack, an air detector that is both accurate, durable, highly functional and will help you to track down leaks very quickly indeed. It is one of the more expensive on our list but we certainly think that it is priced quite fairly considering how it performs compared to others in its price range.
We do suggest that you should only be paying out the extra that this product will cost if you are planning to use it regularly. If you are only going to use it sparingly you might find that a cheaper model will be the most cost-effective choice. Any HVAC technicians out there would be foolish not to consider this as their first choice when looking for a new air detector.
Bacharach Tru Pointe
Easily the most expensive ultrasonic air leak detector on our list but in our opinion is probably the most effective too, the Bacharach Tru Pointe is a detector that serious technicians should consider buying. This highly durable and portable detector will give you the ability to locate any vacuum or high-pressure leaks that can occur in air conditioning units within just a few minutes.
As with any ultrasonic leak detector, it is able to work by turning the high frequency sounds that leaks make before turning them into audible sounds that you are able to hear through the headphones provided. Known as being one of the very best types of detectors to use when trying to find leaks in air conditioning units, ultrasonic detectors are quickly becoming extremely popular with HVAC technicians all over the world.
What we really like with the Tru Pointe is that you can feel the obvious build quality as soon as the product is delivered. It comes in a heavy-duty carry case and once you open that up you will see the durable design of both the leak detector and the accompanying Soundblaster. Even the headphones are top-notch in both design and build quality. They can be folded away with ease and the quality of sound is very impressive when compared with the cheap headphones that you get with many other products.
There is an LED bar graph that has ten different strength levels that will quickly tell you how serious a leak is, while one of the better features is that wind or other gases will not affect the results that you are getting.
You are able to adjust the sensitivity settings on the fly in order to help in your quest to locate air leaks. You will also find that the detector is quite easy to use as well although it will take a little while to understand exactly how you are meant to use it effectively.
We do not understand why such an expensive unit was not able to incorporate being rechargeable, but that really is the only negative that we can find with this excellent device.
Bottom Line: The Bacharach Tru Pointe 4 Leak Detector is definitely the product you want if you are looking for a detector that is durable, highly accurate and will be able to identify leaks quickly. Designed for heavy-duty use, this detector is one of our favourite detectors on this list of recommendations.
It is definitely on the expensive side but it is certainly one of the very best on the market due to how quickly it can detect leaks and for how durable it is.
Now that we have reviewed the most expensive air leak detector on this list, we now bring you the cheapest in the All-Sun ultrasonic detector. More than ten times cheaper than the Tru Pointe, you would expect that it offers far less functionality but you will actually be pleasantly surprised.
Yes, it is certainly not as durable or accurate as most of the other models on this list but for the money you are paying it will surprise you at just how accurate it can be. We performed an air leak test using this detector and it was able to pick up the leak extremely quickly.
We do have to say that this is not as sensitive as any other detectors on our list but you have to remember the price that you are paying. This is certainly a budget detector and one that you should not really expect to use on a frequent basis but whenever you need to locate a leak, it will certainly not let you down.
The build quality is not up to the high standards of the Tru Pointe so we certainly suggest that you take care when using this detector. It does not look or feel like it would be able to withstand being dropped and we certainly do not suggest that you use it in the rain as it is not waterproof.
As with all other detectors that we have recommended through their respective ultrasonic leak detector reviews, you will need to buy replacement batteries as you are not able to charge this detector. You will still get quite a lot of usage out of this detector before the batteries run out and you will be able to see when your battery is running out as the power LED does not light when switched on.
Bottom Line: The All-Sun Ultrasonic Leak Detector should definitely be considered if you are looking for a budget leak detector that performs far better than the price might suggest. Of course, you should not be expecting it to be as accurate or durable as detectors that cost far more but if you are planning to use it sparingly rather than for any heavy-duty use, we think that this would give you exactly what you are looking for.
We find that this detector makes for a more than adequate backup to have around when your main detector is out of battery. This will save you having to go and find some replacement batteries and will allow you to finish the work at your current job.
Coming in at a little more than the Inficon is the Amprobe ULD-300, a device that provides compressed air leakage detection using a frequency range of between 35KHz and 45KHz.
Ideal for using when looking for refrigerant leaks or other types of pressurized leaks, this detector will detect high frequency sounds that these leaks are giving off before converting them into frequencies that our ears can hear. This makes it extremely efficient at detecting leaks no matter the refrigerant whether CFCs or HFCs.
Having tested many air leak detectors over the years, we were instantly impressed at how quickly this ultrasonic leak detection tool is at finding leaks. We like the parabola horn that they have implemented into this device as it allows the detector to have a greater chance of finding leaks in loud environments due to helping to shield other against other sounds.
This model is also one of the easier ones to use as the learning curve is fairly low. Once you get to grips with the controls for sensitivity and frequencies, it really is a breeze to use compared some of the more complicated models that are on the market.
Like the Inficon, the Amprobe ULD-300 is a not a rechargeable product, which is disappointing especially considering the cost. This and the fact that the detector does not have the most durable feeling when holding it are the only downsides we can find with this product, however. It scores very highly in practically every other area and is a product that you just know will be able to quickly help you find leaks. In fact, we doubt you will get a better product in this price range in terms of accuracy and ease of use that is for sure.
Bottom Line: If you are looking for a good quality pinpoint leak detection tool that is moderately priced compared to others, you are not going to find too many that are better than the Amprobe. This is one of the easiest to use and also one of the more accurate detectors that we have reviewed over the years and we would have no problem recommending it to you.
If it was rechargeable and made to be a bit more durable we would probably have it as one of the very best on this list. However, despite those drawbacks, it is still one of our favourite air leak detectors that are currently on the market. It also has good reviews from many other satisfied customers – so it is definitely worth a look.
Each of the models that we have reviewed above is more than deserving of their place among our recommendations and will all be a great option for you to consider when in the market for a new one. However, it is important to stress that your decision should come down to budget, how often you plan on using them and whether you think your choice will be able to give you the accuracy that you require.
So, which of the above do we think is the best of them all and which one would we class as being the best value for money? Well, the detector that we rate as being the best on that list would definitely be the Robinair 16455 TruTrack though it is pushed very close by the Bacharach 28-8010 Tru Pointe. Both of these are expensive ultrasonic air detectors that are obviously aimed at professional HVAC technicians.
As for the one, we would say offers the best value for money, it would certainly have to be the budget All-Sun Ultrasonic Leak Detector. It might not offer the same accuracy and durability as most others but for that cheap price, you are at least getting an effective detector that is capable of finding vacuum and highly pressurized air leaks.
Don't miss our guide to thermal leak detectors next!
While the models we have listed above will be more than capable of helping you to detect leaks in any home or car air conditioning unit, there are a number of other methods and types of detectors that you can use. Ultrasonic leak detectors are still among the best as these are fairly new, or at least, now cheap enough to be able to be implemented into handsets.
However, in order to be more informed when considering a leak detector, we are going to show you the other types of leak detectors and methods you can use.
Types of Refrigerants
Before we take you through those detection devices and methods, you will first want to understand the different refrigerants that are used in air conditioning units. The following are the refrigerants that you will find in most modern-day air conditioning units and you may also find that they use a blend of them as well.
Those are the refrigerants that you will need to be able to detect with each air conditioning unit using their own chosen refrigerants and sometimes a blend of a few of them as well.
So, ideally you will want a leak detection method or device that is able to detect all of them or at least the majority of them. The options you will have are the following:
Electronic Leak Detectors
Electronic leak detectors are still a fairly commonly used detector but while they will be able to detect the leaks of most of the different refrigerants, they should not be used to detect HCs. This is because many HCs are flammable and thus there is a risk of fire when using electronic detectors. The only type of electronic detector that is suitable for detecting HCs is that of the ultrasonic detectors that we reviewed above. Any electric detector that used corona discharge, heated diodes or most infrared is not suitable for detecting HCs.
Infrared Leak Detectors
In general, infrared detectors can pick up most refrigerants but again, while there are some models that are safe to use with most HCs, not all of them are so it is important to check with the manufacturer.
Ultrasonic Leak Detectors
In terms of leak detectors, ultrasonic detectors are the best all-around simply because they can detect all types of refrigerants. The only other methods that are guaranteed to detect all refrigerants are that of using soapy water or fluorescent additives.
Halide Leak Detectors
Halide leak detectors are very effective at detecting CFC and HCFC refrigerants but should never be used to detect HFCs or HCs. These use a bunsen-burner type method for detecting leaks so use with any flammables is certainly not recommended.
These additives are added to the oil in an air conditioning unit which will allow it to show up under UV light. This is an effective way of detecting all kinds of leaks but probably not as quick and efficient as using ultrasonic leak detectors.
The old and trusted method of using soap and water is another effective way of identifying compressed air leaks. It can take longer than using ultra sonic detectors but is still able to detect all types of refrigerant leaks.
What to Consider When Choosing a Leak Detector
So, while you do not actually need a leak detector, they are much quicker at discovering leaks compared to using additives or soapy water. However, before you go and buy the first leak detector that you see, you will have to consider the following factors.
What Refrigerants Can They Detect?
As we mentioned, ultrasonic air leak detectors are probably the best option as they can detect all types of refrigerants safely. However, when choosing any type of leak detector, always find out what different types of refrigerants that they can detect. If you choose one that is not able to detect all refrigerants, you are going to either have to use an alternative detection method or buy another detector for the refrigerants that your main detector is unable to detect.
Are you going to be using leak detectors sparingly or will you be getting some heavy-duty use out of them? If the latter you will certainly want a detector that is built to be durable, so make sure you find one with reviews of people that have used them to determine if they are long-lasting. Some detectors can be very fragile and will not survive too many drops so you have to figure this into your considerations. Go for as durable as possible if you are going to be using it a lot.
It is important to find a device that is sensitive enough to pick up the leaks that you are looking for but you should also avoid any detectors that are far too sensitive. If they are too sensitive they will pick up other sounds which will make it that much more difficult for you to find what you are actually looking for.
Detectors can greatly range in price with some being more budget types while others being more than ten times the price that is deemed to be the best detectors on the market. How much you spend will depend on your budget and just how often you plan to use them. A cheaper model might do the job if you are not going to use it much.
It is always nice to get a warranty when you buy something and this will certainly add weight to any that give you a year or two warranty over those that offer very little in protection in this regard. Always make sure you find out what warranties you are going to get before choosing a leak detector.
There is no better way to determine how good a product is than to check the reviews and feedback from previous buyers. They have bought and used these detectors and will be able to give you their opinion on how well they work, whether they are worth their price tag or if they feel there are better detectors available. If you find one with plenty of good reviews, it is probably worth taking a closer look at it.
If you can take all of the above factors into consideration, you should be well-equipped to make a more informed decision on which type and model of leak detector to go for. Price alone should not be used to determine which to go for as you will want to ensure that they can detect the refrigerants that you need and are effective at performing their purpose.
We stand by our opinion that the best ultrasonic leak detectors available can be found among our recommendations above but if you do decide to look around further, take all of our tips above into consideration before handing over any money.