In theory, we all know what a vacuum pump is. It is a device that is primarily used in industrial applications to remove air or gas from a chamber or a container to create a vacuum. It is also used in the manufacturing of electrical components such as light bulbs, CRT tubes, and other similar products. Vacuum pumps are also widely used with HVAC’s – Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioner systems. These systems run on a balance of the correct refrigerant solution in an environment without air, gases, and water.
Although vacuum pumps are useful in a variety of applications, the best vacuum pumps will not only rid your HVAC, vehicle or machinery of unnecessary air, gases or moisture but will also detect the presence of these substances at the same time.
The Best Vacuum Pump
With this XtremepowerUS 3CFM 1/4HP Air Vacuum Pump HVAC, you can diagnose and service the air conditioning system in your car or your home. This is a 1-stage rotary air vacuum pump with a built-in high-volume cooling fan that is easy to use. It features solid brass connections and has high efficiency and low noise output with an easy to see oil level window. You have everything you need with this air vacuum pump and you can keep all the components together in the convenient carry bag that comes with this kit.
1-stage rotary air vacuum pump
Built-in high-volume cooling fan
Non-slip contoured carrying handle
Solid brass connections
Diagnose and service a/c system
Includes convenient carry bag
- Weight17.65 pounds
Easy start & maintenance-free
Easy to see oil level window
High efficiency and low noise output
Hoses may need to frequent replacing
Vacuum pumps for cars are a must if you live in an area where driving without air conditioning is not an option. This is a complete refrigerant changing tool kit compile with a high-quality manifold and 3 colored hoses. Kozyvacu Mini-Split/HVAC/AUTO AC Repair Complete Tool Kit has been specially designed for mini split ACs and HVAC systems but also works well for your vehicle’s AC. It features die-cast aluminum housing and a high torque design that ensures easy start-up. if you want your HVAC or other similar units to work efficiently, this vacuum pump will help you achieve this.
Complete refrigerant changing tool kit
High torque design for easy startup
Die-cast aluminum housing
Easy to start and maintenance-free
Thermally protected motor
High-quality manifold & 3 colored hoses
- Weight19.8 pounds
Built-in central sight-glass
Specially designed for Mini-Split and HVAC system
Lines are a little short
HVAC vacuum pumps don’t get much better than this one from Robinair. The 2-stage rotary vane design has a 1/3 HP, 115V/60 Hz thermally protected motor and finned aluminum surfaces that can dissipate heat faster so you can run your vacuum pump for longer. The inlet fitting has been engineered for maximum airflow with a 5 CFM free air displacement. You’ll love the safety features of Robinair VacuMaster Economy Vacuum Pump and with non-skid feet, you won’t be worrying about a pump shifting around you while you work. For more must-have tools, check out our detailed guide to the best mechanic tool sets.
2-stage rotary vane design
7.5-ounce oil capacity
5 CFM free air displacement
1/3 HP, 115V/60 Hz thermally protected motor
Oil backflow preventative valve
Finned aluminum surfaces dissipate heat faster
- Weight15 pounds
Designed for air conditioning and refrigeration service
Non-skid feet for stability during use
Inlet fitting engineered for maximum airflow
May be slow in some situations
One of the best features of this ZENY Single-Stage 5 Pa Rotary Vane Economy Vacuum Pump is the intelligent radiator that can detect an obstruction and prevent burning out the motor. This is a great economy vacuum pump that is ideal for home maintenance of your HVAC or AC units. It has a heavy-duty aluminum alloy casing that is built to last and an internal high-volume cooling fan that makes it possible for use even for longer periods. It works incredibly well with a minimum of noise and you can monitor the oil levels with ease. It’s easy to use and virtually maintenance-free, which makes it the ideal addition to every handyman’s tool box.
Heavy-duty aluminum alloy casing
Internal high-volume cooling fan
Exhaust port with exhaust cap
Oil sight glass for monitoring oil levels
Easy on/off switch
Non-slip cushion handle
Bottle of vacuum oil included
- Model[email protected]#JA0681
- Weight11.7 pounds
High efficiency and low noise
Viewable oil window
Easy to use and maintenance-free
Prone to leaking oil
For small projects around the home and for hobby enthusiasts, this BACOENG 3 Gallon Vacuum Chamber Kit is a great tool to have in your worksheet. It features a 3-gallon vacuum chamber with a long-lasting silicone gasket that can be used 10,000 times or more without deteriorating. This unit is ideal for degassing silicones, epoxies, essential oils, and other substances, and with its high efficiency and low noise, you’ll enjoy the work you do more efficiently than with other oil vacuum pumps. For more essential home tools, check out our list of the top heat guns on the market.
3-gallon vacuum chamber kit
Long-lasting silicone gasket
High efficiency and low noise decibels
Heavy-duty aluminum alloy casing
Direct drive maintenance-free motor
Internal high-volume cooling fan
- Weight25.2 pounds
Degas silicones, epoxies, essential oils, urethanes, etc.
Silicone gasket lasts 10,000 times without deterioration
Easy, straightforward starting
May not be suitable for all applications
Keeping your home air conditioning system running smoothly will be easier when you can check it and maintain it with this VIVOHOME 110V 1/3 HP 4CFM Single Stage Rotary Vane Air Vacuum Pump. This is a complete manifold gauge set kit complete with a leak detector and is one of the best vacuum pumps for AC systems. It features color-coded hoses for easy pressure identification and a mesh vent for dispelling heat so you can use it for extended periods. This unit will effectively remove moisture before you refill your unit with refrigerant so you’ll save big bucks on hiring someone else to do this simple task for you. Here are some reliable moisture meters you might also need.
Manifold gauge set kit with leak detector
Ideal for maintaining air conditioning systems
Color-coded hoses for easy pressure identification
Carry bag included for easy storage & transport
Mesh vent for dispelling heat
Large oil reservoir with viewing window
- Weight19.51 pounds
Effectively removes moisture before refilling the refrigerant
Ergonomic grip designed for comfort and portability
Gauges may not be completely accurate
If complicated vacuum pumps have you heading for the hills, you’ll love this simple to use HFS Double-Stage Vacuum Pump. The simplicity of this vacuum pump means you can remove the air or gas from a container or an HVAC unit in preparation for refilling it with refrigerant. This is a two-stage rotary vane vacuum pump that is extremely quiet with low vibration. It starts easily, even in cold temperatures so you can use it all year round. The alloy aluminum casing has been built to last and with oil that isn’t flow-back design, you can work safely and efficiently, just make sure to wear some safety glasses, of course.
Two-stage rotary vane vacuum pump
Alloy aluminum casing
Oil anti flow-back design
Tank with separating devices at the exhaust port
- Weight14.57 pounds
Starts easily even in cold temperatures
Extremely quiet and low vibration
The pump is a little weak
This two-stage vacuum pump from Fieldpiece is one of the easiest and most effective vacuum pumps you can hope to use. Fieldpiece Vp85 Two-Stage 8 Cfm Vacuum Pump features a quick run oil change system that makes it possible for you to change your oil in under a minute. The base is extra wide to remain stable while the vacuum pump is operating and the heavy-duty rubberized construction ensures you have a durable, long-lasting device. It features a huge reservoir window so you can keep track of oil levels and it is compact for easy transport with a convenient handle that you can also store the cord in. This great vacuum pump delivers consistent accuracy and performance so you can get your tasks done quickly and easily. To complete your home tool collection, check out these reliable torque wrenches every handyman needs.
Two-stage vacuum pump
4 inline ports
Heavy-duty rubberized construction
Huge oil reservoir window
Compact for easy transport
Tangle-free cord storage in handle
Quick clean and easy to maintain
Delivers consistent accuracy & performance
May not be easy to repair
The Yellow Jacket 93600 Vacuum Pump is simple to use and ideal for the home handyman or professional maintenance workers. It is made with heavy-duty rotors and bearings and an intake screen filter that prevents dirt, debris and other particles from getting into the pump’s motor. It also has a large oil sight glass and a wide mouth oil reservoir port that makes refilling this vacuum pump easier and with less mess. It also has an internal intake check valve that prevents oil backup and a nice steady base that is wide for increased stability during use. For some more handy tools, make sure to check out our list of the top adjustable pipe wrenches, too.
Wide-mouth oil reservoir port
Large oil sight glass
Heavy-duty rotors and bearings
Heavy-duty steel handle for easy transport
Intake screen filter
- BrandYellow Jacket
- Weight30.8 pounds
The internal intake check valve prevents oil backup
Steady, wide base for increased stability
Tethered port caps stay attached to pump
May leak oil
Mechanics and HVAC maintenance workers can work more efficiently at removing air and gases from HVAC and AC systems with this FJC (6909) 3.0 CFM Vacuum Pump. This is a single-stage pump that uses twin port technology that is lighting fast and easy to use. It is made with a lightweight, durable construction so it is easy to transport and it has been quality tested to ensure easy handling and long-life use. This vacuum pump will effectively remove moisture and non-condensable gases to prolong the life of your HVAC unit. Don’t forget to put on some work gloves before you start the job.
Lightweight, durable construction
Quality tested for peace of mind
Ideal for use on HVAC & vehicles
- Weight17 pounds
Removes moisture and non-condensable gases
Easy handling and long-life use
Can be tricky to use
Vacuum Pump Buying Guide & FAQ
Features To Look For In Vacuum Pumps
Quality - Whether you are removing the air and gases from your car’s AC unit or your home’s HVAC, you want a vacuum pump that can perform quickly and effectively. The main use of a vacuum pump and the fact that you need to use oil to run the pump means you simply can’t compromise on the quality of this device. A poor-quality device will inevitably leak and will not be as effective at creating the vacuum needed in the chamber of your HVAC before you can refill it with refrigerant. Make sure you get a high-quality vacuum pump for durability and reliability so you can do the job that needs to be done without having to clean up a huge mess when you’re done.
Features - Check the specifications of the vacuum pump you intend on buying to ensure it will serve the purpose you need it for. Also check the specifications for the size of the motor and the attainable pressure. Some vacuum pumps also come with additional accessories so you can check your HVAC or AC unit for leaks and complete the maintenance on it with your vacuum pump.
Ease of Use - Most home handymen are great at doing a variety of maintenance jobs around the home but aren’t actually trained or qualified for most of them. For this reason, the vacuum pump you choose should be easy to use. Look for models that you simply attach to the container you need to remove air from and turn it on. It’s okay if you need to do more, but make sure you find a vacuum pump with easy to follow instructions.
Noise Level - Most of the vacuum pumps in our selection feature powerful motors that are incredibly quiet. You may find yourself needing to use your vacuum pump in your home or for extended periods and if you use a vacuum pump as a professional home maintenance man, you don’t’ want t a noisy pump as this will irritate your ears, particularly when you spend an entire day using it. Check for low noise or low decibel levels. All vacuum pumps will make some noise, but try to find one that isn’t too noisy.
Types Of Vacuum Pumps
Vacuum pumps come in 3 different categories:
- Filtration Vacuum Pumps which are low vacuum pumps that are suitable for filtering, degassing, and evaporating.
- Rough Vacuum Pumps which are suitable for degassing and freeze-drying.
- High Vacuum Pumps for use in evaporation coating, mass spectroscopy, etc.
You can also find vacuum pumps that may be dry, water or oil operated.
- Dry pumps need very little maintenance and don’t generate waste products that are usually expelled via an exhaust system. These pumps are usually among the pricier vacuum pumps but are worth it if you want to vacuum cleanly.
- Water-based pumps give you a rough vacuum that is often used to remove water. These are mainly for use in flooded basements and similar situations.
- Oil-lubricated pumps tend to offer the most power and can be used in a multitude of different applications. They can be found in anything from the very economical to the very expensive price range and are widely used in home maintenance and commercial uses.
Vacuum Pump FAQ
Q: What is a vacuum pump?
A: A vacuum pump is a device that is used to remove air and gases from a contained unit. By removing air and gases, the vacuum pump leaves behind a space or a vacuum that can be replaced with a necessary substance. In the case of HVAC or AC systems, this substance would be the refrigerant solution.
Q: What does 2 stage vacuum pump mean?
A: When we talk about a 2-stage vacuum pump, we are referring to a vacuum pump that has 2 rotors and vanes. In simple terms, this means that the first stage generates a vacuum while the second stage cleans the system. 2 stage vacuum pumps provide a deeper vacuum than single-stage pumps, making them twice as effective when used in the cleaning and maintenance of HVAC and AC units.
Q: What size of vacuum pump do I need?
A: Before you rush out to buy a vacuum pump, you may be wondering what size you need. Quite simply, you need to know the size of the unit or units you will be using the pump to clean. Most vacuum pumps are sized according to their CFM, which is Cubic Feet per Minute. As an example, a typical home AC unit would require a pump with a rating of 4 to 5 CFM, while most commercial units would need a pump with a rating of 6 to 8 CFM.
Q: What is the difference between a single and two-stage vacuum pump?
A: The difference between a single and two-stage vacuum pumps is quite simple. A single stage vacuum pump features one dual suction impeller while a two-stage vacuum pump has 2 rotors and vanes. While they both work quite well, the two-stage vacuum pump works better and you will have a cleaner result for the unit you are pumping and cleaning.
Q: How do I choose an HVAC vacuum pump?
A: When shopping for an HVAC Vacuum Pump there are a few considerations you need to look at before choosing the right one for you. The first is the size of your HVAC containment unit. You can then choose an HVAC with an adequate CFM rating. You will also need to determine whether you will be better served with a single or a two-stage vacuum pump. Many vacuum pumps also come with a variety of additional functions such as the ability to test for leaks, ease of use, and portability. Another important consideration is whether you will need a vacuum pump with its own containment drum to capture the gases and moisture from your HVAC unit, or will you simply have an output hose directing the waste products outside.
Q: How are vacuum pumps rated?
A: There are generally three criteria that are used to determine a vacuum pump’s rating. They include:
Degree of vacuum produced – this determines how much vacuum can be produced and the maximum vacuum rating is shown as the maximum pressure in nm Hg.
Rate of air removal – shows the amount of air that can be “vacuumed”, or the volume of air pressure removed via the exhaust without any pressure differential across the pump.
Required power – The amount of power produced by a vacuum pump is often shown as input power and speed requirements.
You can also check the vacuum pumps CFM removal rate. The CFM refers to Cubic Feet per Minute and this rating will basically tell you how much air and gases can be removed from an HVAC or AC unit depending on its size. CFM ratings are 4 – 5 CFM for vacuum pumps used in residential units while 6-8 CFM vacuum pumps are more suitable for commercial HVAC and AC units.
Q: Is it safe to add oil to the vacuum pump while it’s still running?
A: Much of this will depend on how steady a hand you have, the age of your vacuum pump, and the width of the oil input hole. However, this should only be done if you are in the middle of the vacuum process and don’t want to stop. If in doubt, you should always turn your vacuum pump off to avoid spilling oil which will inevitably end up all over the outer casing of the pump.
Using a vacuum pump for the cleaning and maintenance of your HVAC or AC unit is a great way to ensure clean air is being circulated through your system. With regular cleaning and maintenance, your vacuum pump will pay for itself as you will be reducing your running and maintenance costs.