If you’re an HVAC tech, one crucial thing to always keep in mind is that you won’t just identify and repair problems in systems but rather make sure those fixes last for a reasonable amount of time.
A poorly made vacuum pump that fails to reach a critical draw level can cause contaminants in your refrigeration system, resulting in system failure. That said, investing in the best vacuum pump for a mini-split is seemingly one of the best options you can always count on.
While getting the best of the best options can be a little bit fiddly, we’ve broken down a few top options available on the market to help you make a more rational decision.
Each product has been tested, reviewed, examined, and certified to be of the best quality. They’re not just wallet-friendly but will get the job done.
The Purpose of a Vacuum Pump and How they Work
A vacuum pump is a lightweight unit with hose connections, dials, and outlets to control. It’s a part of the final processes in the repair process.
So, how do they work? Well, after diagnosing and repairing any leaks or other vital issues in the system, you’ll need to recharge.
However, before recharging, it’s crucial to ensure the system is free of any unwanted air, gasses, or water. This is where a vacuum pump fits in.
With the help of a vacuum pump, you can drain such substances since they can potentially turn the oil it runs on into sludge, leaving behind damaging impurities.
The draw of any vacuum pump is often broken down into cubic feet per minute, estimated by looking at the tonnage of the systems you work on. Commercial systems typically need approximately 6-8 CFM, while typical residential systems need 4-5 CFM.
Aside from the pump, you’ll need a recovery tank, high-pressure hose, and an extension cord. First up, connect the hoses to the recovery tank and the high-low lines of the condenser unit.
Then, turn the pump on and open the valves to remove the refrigerant, moisture, water, and oil from the lines. Once done, check if the negative pressure doesn’t hold for at least 10 minutes; this way, you’ll know if there’s still a leak in the system.
Conversely, if it reaches the vacuum pressure required, you can now add new refrigerant much easier.
Vacuum Pump Types
These units come in three different types, including the diaphragm, vacuum generators, and rotary vane types. More exceedingly, they can either be one or two-stage pumps.
- A two-stage pump has a second vacuum stage for a more significant draw and tighter vacuum. However, they both use one stage to establish the vacuum.
- Rotary vane pumps are oil-based, affordable, and create the best vacuum. While they require one to change the oil to work, they’re still the most effective pumps for extended use.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Vacuum Pump For Mini Split
These additional factors impact functionality, quality and will help you make a great purchasing decision. Read on!
Ease of Use
When shopping for a vacuum pump, check for an oil refill port or an oil viewing glass, which are top aspects that enhance ease of use. These features will allow a clean pour and also help you check on oil quality and level.
A vacuum pump’s build quality is yet another critical feature to look for when making a buying decision. This may include a wear-resistant base, aluminum surface, rubber seal rings, and a robust body that’s well-put-together. Such aspects are critical as they determine the durability of your vacuum pump.
The airflow rating is seemingly one of the most crucial aspects to consider when buying a vacuum pump. It shows the amount of air being moved in a minute, where a higher CFM rating results in a much better performance.
The vacuum level, commonly measured in micron rating, is another aspect you ought to consider. A micron rating of at least 500 is good, and anything higher is much perfect. However, anything less than that may make it difficult for you to reach the required vacuum level.
While a unit’s weight is not of much significance, you may still want to consider it, especially in the circumstances you’ll need to carry your unit.
If your project requires you to carry the unit regularly, a lightweight model is much preferable. Overall, though, the weight of the unit shouldn’t be of great concern unless otherwise.
Motor power is also another essential aspect that you should always consider. Single-stage vacuums in most situations work great and should always suffice for most users.
On the other hand, a 2-stage or dual-stage motor uses more power to create a faster and robust vacuum that can remove more impurities from the system. Go for one that best suits your needs.
The Oil Drainage System and Plug
An accessible oil drainage system goes a long way in helping you get your job done within the specified time limit. It’s a good option that you can always rely on.
If you’ve probably noticed, most of our reviews are relatively quiet. While vacuum pumps are not entirely super quiet, there’re still many available options that are relatively quiet.
So, basically, depending on your working area and your chosen unit, you may want to include additional options like headphones or earplugs.
Other Vital Factors
Some other vital options you may look at include various sized intake fittings, types of pressure readings, isolation valve, and anti-suck back feature that helps prevent liquid or air from re-entering the system when you shut the pump off.
Frequently asked questions
Must I pull a vacuum on a mini-split?
Vacuuming down any mini-split system is a crucial aspect when releasing the refrigerant. It’s, in fact, the most important way to test any unit for leaks.
The process is pretty simple for any do-it-yourself users with the right tools. More importantly, ensure you have a vacuum pump and HVAC gauges to set a mini-split into a vacuum.
How do you install a mini-split?
These unique units are mostly installed by professionals mainly because the refrigerant lines must be cut and charged. While it’s still possible for handy people to install the condenser unit and the air handler, it’s highly recommended to involve an expert to complete the refrigerant line setup.
Must mini-splits be installed in every room?
No, you can use a mini-split system to zone your home. Zoning allows you to decide which areas in your home need more cooling or heating.
Best Vacuum Pump for Mini Split
1. Goplus 1/3HP 4CFM Single-Stage Rotary Vane Vacuum Pump
- 【Heavy Duty Vacuum Pump】The single stage rotary vane vacuum pump is made of a die-cast aluminum housing, ensuring the lightweight and durability of the pump. It is designed to have high efficiency and low noise output and thermally protected to make it durable for long term duty. This AC system requires 500 microns ultimate vacuum delivering better than 150 microns to meet your vacuum requirements.
- 【Multifunction Manifold Gauge】The HVAC service gauge set is excellent for diagnosing and repairing AC systems. The manifold comes with oversized sight-glass for easy viewing the refrigerant flow, and the high-quality gauge ensures high accuracy of the reading. It’s ideal for R12, R22, R134, and could be suitable for R410a after configuring the adapters. It does not include the adapter, but you can easily buy it locally or on Amazon.
- 【Three-Color Coded Hoses】There are yellow, blue, and red hoses, each equipped with brass fittings. The fittings are 45 degrees on one hand and straight on the other, providing a leak-proof seal. The three hoses are 36" in length. All hoses comply with the SAE-J2196 standard. The working pressure of the hoses is 800PSI - 4000PSI and its acceptable refrigerant are CFC, HCFC, and HFC.
- 【A Complete Refrigerant Tool Kit】This tool kit is a complete set for Mini-split/ HVAC and AUTO AC refrigerant recharging, including a vacuum pump, a pressure gauge set, 3 multicolored hoses with length of 36", 2 adjustable quick couplers, 2 adapters, a bottle of vacuum pump oil, a manual for pump and gauge and a portable suitcase.
- 【Pump Oil and Portable Case】The vacuum pump features a simple oil fill port for a clean pour and oil drain plug positioned beneath the oil reservoir. The spillage meter will help to ensure the proper level of oil. There is a portable case for gauge, hoses, and other accessories allowing you to put them in order and carry them easily.
The Goplus 1/3HP 4CFM Single-Stage Rotary Vane Vacuum Pump is a high-performing, durable unit designed for refrigeration and air conditioning services.
It’s equipped with all the necessary tools you need to complete your project. Besides, it’s made of a die-cast aluminum housing that ensures the durability of the pump. It’s specifically designed to have low noise output and thermally protected for long-lasting term duty.
Additionally, it only requires 500 microns for the vacuum to deliver better capacity to meet your vacuum requirements.
This exquisite piece is an excellent choice for diagnosing and repairing AC systems. It also comes with an oversized sight-glass for easy viewing and a high-quality gauge that ensures high accuracy reading.
It’s engineered with a simple oil fill port for a clean pour and a spillage meter to ensure proper oil level. It boasts three-color coded hoses and includes a portable case for holding accessories, allowing easy portability and storage. This is definitely a big bang for your buck!
- Excellent quality
- Works great
- Simple to install
- Excellent customer support
- Practical kit
- Relatively durable
- Includes a complete refrigerant tool kit
- The manifold gauge set quality isn’t up to the mark for some users
2. ZENY 3,5CFM Single-Stage 5 Pa Rotary Vane Economy Vacuum Pump
- Inlet Port: 1/4" Flare, Warm note: 1)Pressure Scale:0~400psi, 0~140psi 2)Length of hose:1.2m Red:1/4''-1/4'' Yellow:1/4''-1/4'' Blue:1/4''-1/4'' Please make sure your manifold gauge is in accordance with this size. Any question in using, please contact seller first. *** A self-paying vacuum pump Adapter needed if inflet not suitable.
- High Efficiency and Low Noise, Heavy-duty Aluminum Alloy Casing, Oil Drain Plug Positioned at Bottom of Oil Reservoir,Internal High Volume Cooling Fan for Extended U
- Exhaust Port with Exhaust Cap, Direct Drive Motor Allowing Easy Starting Which is Maintenance Free
- Oil Sight Glass For Monitoring Oil Levels, ON/OFF Switch
- Non Slip Cushion Handle, Comes With a Bottle of Vacuum Oil
This exquisite piece from ZENY is reasonably affordable, works great, and highly efficient. It’s equipped with built-in thermal protection to avoid burning the machine and for maximum durability.
Its heat dissipation window design ensures adequate protection of machine performance. Besides, its oil sight glass ensures easy monitoring of oil levels.
Its base was made of composite rubber material, shock-proof, and wear-resistance for extended machine life.
It can also be used for a wide range of applications, including automobile maintenance, refrigerator vacuum, air conditioning, and vacuum packaging. It also boasts four rubber bottoms for increased product stability and a high-quality capacitor for added stability of machine output.
- Superior quality
- Fairly quiet
- It uses a fair amount of oil
- Well priced
- Works perfectly
- Not entirely the most durable around
3. Bestauto Vacuum Pump 12CFM 1HP Vane Vacuum Pump
- 【DURABLE MATERIAL】- FAD: 12 CFM, Dual Stage; Power: 1 HP; Ultimate Vacuum: 3x10-1Pa, 25 microns. Our HVAC vacuum pump is made of heavy-duty aluminum alloy with good heat dissipation abilities, durable and sturdy. Strong copper motor with stable operation.
- 【NO FLOW BACK】- The refrigerant vacuum pump is designed to avoid chamber contamination by avoiding oil from flowing back and polluting its container and tubes. Oil fill port makes oil adding simpler since the port is accessible from the front or either side.
- 【VIEWABLE OIL WINDOW】- This AC vacuum pump comes equipped with an oil viewing window so that you can easily monitor oil levels and quality, avoid oil deficiency. The oil drain valve at the bottom of the oil reservoir ensures faster and more complete draining.
- 【INTELLIGENT RADIATOR】 - Our vacuum pump tool can cool itself and avoid it from burning out when something is stuck. Built-in thermal protection can avoid burning machines and extend the machine's life.
- 【WIDE APPLICATION】- Ergonomic grip handle is designed for superior comfort and portability. The automotive vacuum pump is suitable for household air conditioning, automobile maintenance, vacuum packaging, refrigerator vacuum, Industry, etc.
The high power and capacity of this unique unit meet a wide range of applications. Its high torque design ensures easy startup and efficient operation, while the die-cast aluminum housing makes it durable, lightweight, and sturdy.
It’s specifically designed to keep the chamber from contamination by keeping oil from flowing back and polluting its container and tubes.
What’s more, it boasts built-in thermal protection that significantly protects the machine from burning while extending the machine’s life.
It comes loaded with an oil viewing window for easy monitoring of oil levels. Its intelligent radiator can cool itself and keep the pump from burning out when something is stuck.
Besides, it’s an excellent choice for household conditions, vacuum packaging, and automobile maintenance. It’s strongly recommended!
- Performs well
- Easy startup
- Compact and portable
- Easy monitoring
- Shock-proof and wear-resistant base
- It has a short warranty period
4. Robinair (15500) VacuMaster Economy Vacuum Pump
- Robinair's VacuMaster Economy Vacuum Pump is designed for air conditioning and refrigeration service; featuring a 2-stage rotary vane design, 7.5 ounce oil capacity, and non-skid feet
- 5 CFM free air displacement; factory rated to 35 microns
- 1/3 HP, 115V/60 Hz thermally protected motor
- Features an inlet fitting engineered for maximum airflow, while preventing oil backflow, and finned aluminum surfaces that dissipate heat faster, keeping the pump cooler and extending life
- 1/4 inch MFL & 3/8 inch ACME inlet fittings, 3/8 inch FFL x 1/2 inch Acme adapter, easy to read sight glass, easy access oil fill port, and angled oil drain valve for faster, more complete draining
If you’re looking for a durable, high-performing, heavy-duty 2-Stage rotary pump, the Robinair (15500) VacuMaster Economy Vacuum Pump should be your entry point.
It’s specifically designed for refrigeration and air conditioning services. With a 7.5-ounce oil reservoir, factory rating of 35 microns, and a 5 CFM free air displacement, this unit is an excellent solution for every need.
Besides, its finned aluminum surface dissipates heat faster while keeping the pump cooler and extending its life. It also enlists a 1/3 HP, 115V/60Hz thermally protected motor and an inlet fitting for maximum airflow while preventing oil backflow.
More significantly, this unique piece comes fully loaded with an easy access oil fill port, easy to read sight glass and an angled oil drain valve for faster and more complete draining.
- Excellent features
- Easy to use
- Equipped with a leak detection feature
- Superior quality
- Works great
- Extremely quiet
- Great value
- Powerful and fast
- Quite pricey
5.VIVOHOME Single-Stage Rotary Vane Air Vacuum Pump
- HEAVY-DUTY VACUUM PUMP - Made of die-cast aluminum housing and a composite anti-slip rubber base, which is lightweight and durable; Perfect for those who are looking to self diagnose or recharging AC systems; It maintains air conditioning systems by efficient removing moisture before refilling the refrigerant
- COMFORTABLE & PORTABLE DESIGN - Ergonomic grip handle is designed for superior comfort and portability; Built-in high volume cooling fan for extended use; The low noise design can effectively reduce the motor vibration and making the vacuum pump run quieter
- CONVENIENT TO OPERATE - VIVOHOME air vacuum pump features a simple oil fill port for a clean pour, and the oil window provides you with vital information like oil level and oil quality; The oil drain valve at the bottom ensures faster and more thorough emptying; 1 bottle of 500ml vacuum oil is also included
- WIDELY USED IN VARIOUS SYSTEMS - The intake filter can effectively prevent impurity from entering the pump cavity, and the trap can effectively separate the oil mist from the exhaust gas; Perfect for maintaining R134a, R12, R22 and R502 air conditioning systems. NOT SUITABLE for R410a system
- PERFECT FOR DIFFERENT NEEDS - VIVOHOME vacuum pump is widely used for both commercial and household applications; Ideal for automotive air conditioning, HVAC work, refrigeration and other applications and industrial requirements that need high vacuum pull from a compact pump
If you need to recharge or self-diagnose your AC systems, the VIVOHOME Air Vacuum Pump should be your preferred choice.
It significantly maintains air conditioning systems by efficiently removing moisture before refilling the refrigerant. Its ergonomic grip handle is specially designed for superior portability and comfort.
Additionally, it incorporates a simple oil fill for a clean pour and an oil window that offers vital information like oil quality and level.
It’s widely used in various systems and includes one bottle of 500ml vacuum oil so that you can get started right away. Besides, it’s an ideal choice for HVAC work, automotive air conditioning, and refrigeration.
- Portable and comfortable design
- Excellent for multiple needs
- Works as advertised
- Quiet operation
- Easy to use
- Pretty solid
- Not entirely powerful for some users
Every data shared above has been researched and attested to be relatively true and straightforward. We hope we’ve cleared up some doubting questions you might have and also given you a good jumping-off point to help you make the right purchasing decision. The biggest decision you should now make is picking one of our top choices above.