An air conditioning system that is blowing hot air will more than likely need an AC recharge. This can be achieved using a DIY AC recharge kit or in a garage where a mechanic will use a professional system, which will be costly.
The best DIY AC recharge kit is the Interdynamic A/C Pro Auto Recharge Bundle, which comes with the recharge gas and oil, stop leak kit and a cleaner. For those looking for a professional unit, the Robinair 34288 CoolTech is the best option.
Most garages will have a professional R134a recharge kit but this will set you back around 100$ or more. Choosing the DIY approach is more cost effective but your car will need to use a R134a refrigerant, which is found in cars post 1994.
Table of Contents
- Best AC Recharge Kit
- AC Recharge Kit Buying Guide
Best AC Recharge Kit
|AC Recharge Kit||Type||Gauge & Hose|
|A/C Pro Recharge Bundle||DIY||Included|
|Robinair 34288 CoolTech||Professional||Included|
|Robinair RG3 Portable||Professional||Included|
|DuPoint Freon R134A||DIY||Not Included|
|Arctic Freeze Ultra Synthetic||DIY||Included|
If the air conditioning system in your car is pre 1994, the DIY approach is not compatible. This is because older cars use a R12 refrigerant, which is no longer manufactured. Therefore, you would need to convert the air conditioning system to work with a R134a refrigerant.
Many people assume that recharging your air conditioning system is a major task but this is simply untrue. Most DIY kits come with all the adapters and detailed instructions that make it as simple as plugging it into your car and refilling the system.
A DIY AC recharge will not be for everyone but its certainly something that you can do to save a bit of money. Below is a list of the best AC recharge kits that are easy to use and ensure cold air comes out of the vents.
A/C Pro Auto AC Recharge Kit
If you have been doing your research prior to reaching this article, you would have more than likely heard of A/C Pro. It is one of the most popular AC recharge kits available and comes as a bundle in order to provide a full service to the system.
Included in the bundle is the ultra synthetic recharge gas and lubricant, the super seal stop leak kit and a vent/duct cleaner to remove any bad smells and bacteria.
Other features of the A/C Pro Recharging Kit include:
- Reusable trigger dispenser
- 24 inch recharge hose
- Safe to use on all R134a systems
- Takes just 10 minutes
- No special tools required
- Available as just the AC refill
The brand claim that their AC recharge kit has been proven to work in more than 2 million vehicles. It is the best AC recharge kit available that gets the cold back in your car and cleans the system too.Check it Out
Robinair 34288 CoolTech AC Recharge Unit
For those with a fleet of cars or run a garage, you may want to choose a professional AC recharge unit such as the Robinair CoolTech. It is a more expensive route to take but in the long run it will pay for itself and be far easier to use.
The CoolTech uses a simple yet intuitive user interface to recover, recycle, evacuate and recharge R124A accurately. Unlike many of the alternatives, it offers much better value for money and is the reason why its so popular.
Features of the Robinair CoolTech R134a include:
- Meets SAE J-2788 standards
- Superior accuracy
- Easy to use with multiple languages
- Automatic oil drain
- Air purge and refrigerant refill
The Robinair CoolTech is a complete refrigerant management system and the best option for garages or shops. Robinair are a recognized brand worldwide that have been producing AC service products since 1956 and this model is their most rated.Check it Out
Robinair RG3 Portable AC Recharge
The RG3 model by Robinair is a portable refrigerant recovery machine ideal for automotive use. Many people use it for residential use but it can easily be used within a busy auto garage or shop for AC servicing on a daily basis.
Weighing at just 18 LBS and having an ergonomic handle for carrying the unit around, it is an excellent option for mechanics on the move.
Other features of the Robinair RG3 AC Recharge include:
- Recovers 2 LBS in just 30 minutes
- High pressure safety shut off switch
- Capable of recovering both water and vapor
- Works with a range of refrigerants
- Oil-less compressor system
- Includes a dryer
The RG3 is primarily designed for automotive use with a R134a system but it can be used for residential use too. Unlike the larger CoolTech alternative above, the RG3 is much cheaper and will provide a quicker return on your investment.Check it Out
DuPont Suva R134a Freon Recharging Kit
DuPoint Suva R134a is suitable for the majority of vehicles from 1994 and newer. It is a pure refrigerant with zero additives, which means there is no glue or other fillers. This ensures that the AC is ice cold and does not clog up the system.
It is important to note that to complete the kit, you must purchase a R134a hose. This will be an initial upfront cost but it will be reusable for many years to come.
Features of the DuPont Suva Freon R134a include:
- Meets AHRI-700 and SAE J2776 purity standards
- Designed for automotive use
- Requires a R134a hose
- Flows out easily
- 12 ounce can
Using these R134a cans is the most popular and economical way of recharging your air conditioning system. Unlike many of the alternatives, it has no extra additives, which ensures that the air is as cold as it possibly can be.Check it Out
Arctic Freeze Ultra Synthetic AC Refrigerant
Another “all-in-one” solution for recharging your air conditioning system is the Artic Freeze Ultra Synthetic automotive refrigerant. It is a tool free AC recharge kit that simply replaces lost R134a refrigerant and oil in a matter of minutes.
Features of the Artic Freeze Ultra Synthetic R134a include:
- Includes a system-safe leak sealer
- Eliminates moisture buildup and acid
- Reusable trigger dispenser, gauge and temperature dial
- No tools required
- Easy to use and take minutes
Overall, the Artic Freeze Ultra Synthetic formula is the cheapest AC recharge kit that actually works. It is an all-in-one solution with everything you need to recharge your air conditioning system.Check it Out
AC Recharge Kit Buying Guide
Every two or three years, your air conditioning system will require a recharge in order to blow cold air. The air conditioning recharge process is fairly straight forward and is far easier than you would think.
The recommendations above include DIY AC recharge kits and professional units that are found in most garages. Once you have been able to recharge your air conditioning once, you will never go back to paying a premium at a garage.
To help you make an informed buying decision, we have produced the below guide regarding AC recharge kits.
R134A vs R12 Refrigerant
Cars that were made before 1994 will use the R12 refrigerant in their AC system whereas post 1994 cars use R134A. In terms of the chemical differences, the R12 will boil at -22 degrees as opposed to R134A that boils at -16 degrees. Another difference is the lubrication uses, where R12 uses a mineral oil and R134A uses a PAG oil.
R134A is the standard refrigerant for the majority of vehicles on the road and all the AC recharge kits will use R134A. Therefore, if you own an old car (made before 1994), you will not be able to use a AC recharge kit as listed in this article. You would need to have your system converted, which may be an expensive modification.
How to use an AC Recharge Kit
Everyone loves to save a bit of money here and there and recharging your air conditioning system yourself is one way of doing so. Below is a brief guide of how to add Freon to your car using a DIY AC charge kit as listed in this article:
- Assemble the AC Recharge Kit – Put together the rubber hose, pressure gauge and refrigerant can.
- Find the Low Pressure Port – Consult the owners manual as this is where the recharging happens.
- Clean the Low Pressure Port – Optional but debris does form near this port but is a worthwhile task.
- Test AC System Pressure – Attach the hose to low pressure port and start the car in order to take reading.
- Attach the Recharge Refrigerant – Connect the hose to the can and ensure its fitted correctly.
- Add The Freon – Turn the car on with the AC turned up fully and begin adding the Freon whilst watching the gauge.
It is as simple as that and you can have cold air coming through your vents in as little as 30 minutes. Some DIY recharge kits may require a different setup/installation, so be sure to read the instructions beforehand.
R134A Hose and Gauge
If you already own a R134A hose, you can further save extra money by only buying the Freon cans, which you can then attach to the hose.
The majority of DIY kits come with a cheap hose and gauge, which will do the job just fine but won’t last as long as others.
Buying a high quality R134A hose and using high quality Freon cans such as the DuPont is very popular and a cheap method of recharging your AC.
Recharging your cars air conditioning system can cost more than 100$ at some garages, which is more than enough to put some people off recharging. For half of the cost, you can purchase a DIY AC recharge kit such as the recommendations in this article and have cold air coming through your vents.
We have also included professional AC units for shops/garages and they will be able to provide a more accurate service as well as other functions.