Manifold gauge kits are basically tools that you use to gauge or check the pressure of the gases or liquids in air conditioning systems, heat pump systems, etc. So, in other words, it is a fluid-pressure checking system. These are highly valuable and one of the very basic tools to have for HVAC technicians or those who generally works with such heating or cooling systems.
The tool on average would consist of a high-pressure valve, a low-pressure valve, high pressure, and low-pressure hoses, high and low pressure gauges, a centerpiece (manifold), and a center hose. Now, Manifold systems can come in two types: Analog and digital. Further, it could come with certain additional features, abilities, and valves for more versatility.
What are the uses of a digital manifold gauge kit?
So, you already have an idea that the Digital manifold gauge kits are used for checking the pressure of fluids in Air conditioners, heat pump systems, etc. But why check the fluid pressure? Well, for starters it is useful in determining and detecting the presence of any leaks. Then, it is helpful in evacuating refrigerants or adding small amounts of refrigerants to the system.
Further, it is useful when attempting recharging, repairing, or troubleshooting AC systems to know the pressure at different points. Now, while these are the basic functions of a digital manifold gauge, their operation and specifications can vary a lot depending on the product and model you purchase.
Manifold gauges usually work by working a flow of gas through the unit. To take pressure readings, one would have to connect the red and blue hoses to HVAC high and low-pressure points respectively. It can also be used to vacuum as well as for adding refrigerant to the machine to a certain level.
Last update on 2023-06-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Our favorite Digital Manifold gauge sets
There are a lot of manifold gauges available out there. Here are a few that we have shortlisted as some of the most reliable Digital Manifold sets
1) Testo 550 I Digital Manifold Kit
This is a great tool to have for an HVAC professional who is getting started with the career. It is not too expensive and can still meet all the requirements you could have as an HVAC technician for a manifold kit. A lot of factors and features explain why just about everybody who purchases this product finds it good enough and responds positively about the product.
To begin with, it is very sturdy and can last years with you despite regular and rough use- it is designed to stand harsh conditions. Then, it is compact- you won’t have trouble hanging it or placing it anywhere comfortably as you work. The display is good enough in quality and has a bright white backlit display.
Testo 550 is created with the ability for data storage of up to 60 refrigerants. Moreover, it is greatly accurate, thanks to the two perfect, temperature-compensated pressure sensors. The controls are pretty intuitive and easy to use.
It has several modes including the snowflake mode for cooling and flame mode for heat pumps. There is also an auto mode for convenient usage of beginners. Another small detail I like about the Testo gauges is the sturdy hard case it comes in.
Related Guide: Testo 320 vs 330
2) Testo – 0563 1557 Testo 557 I Digital Manifold Kit
Testo 557 offers significant improvements and functionalities over Testo 550. To start with, the 4-valve manifold offers more convenience as it allows for the connection of the refrigerant tank (1/4″) and the vacuum pump (3/8″) at the same time minimizing the possibility of exposing the system to the atmosphere.
Further, Testo 557 has been helium-tested for leakage. It is efficient and is suitable for checking air conditioning systems, heat pumps, and can be used to replace a whole lot of tools one would otherwise require.
A very useful feature of the Testo 557 would be the integration of an on-board absolute sensor for measuring and compensating the relative pressure sensors for elevation and pressure. This feature is available in Testo 550 too but as a manual adjustment one. Another thing that makes it quite convenient is the automatic heat pump mode. Furthermore, you can keep track of all the measurements and data remotely from your phone or tablet via Bluetooth connectivity and the Refrigeration app.
Suggested Topic: Nest Thermostat vs. Honeywell
3) Fieldpiece SM480V SMAN Digital Manifold Wireless Data Logging
One of the first things you notice about this digital manifold is the sturdy and durable build. Yes, it is a little bulky in comparison to the Testo products, but that won’t matter much. A lot of factors make Fieldpiece SM480V Digital manifold one of the best tools an HVAC technician can have.
Apart from the durability factor, it also offers pretty much impeccable and accurate data for the checking and maintenance of the HVAC systems and offers a lot of advancements against its predecessors as well as other models available in the market. To sum up, it is one of the most advanced and toughest manifolds you can own as an HVAC pro.
4) Fieldpiece- Digital Manifolds -SMAN3
This is yet another top Digital manifold with Microns for a vacuum with unmatched quality and features. What I like the best about this product is its ability to calculate target superheat- so don’t bother about doing any maths during work. It also provides you with a built-in microns gauge combined with a resolution of up to 9999. You can set an alarm for a target micron level.
The product basically combines a very easy to use interface with new and better technology. The functions are pretty much intuitive for an HVAC professional.
Now, talking about its build and body, the 4 valve Fieldpiece SMAN 3 digital manifold is designed to stand the extremes of temperature. Other attractive features include quick responses, auto power-off, vacuum stopwatch, etc.