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Best Digital Manifold Gauges: 5 Market Leaders Reviewed

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When buying a new digital manifold, you will want to ensure that the system you buy is fast, accurate, and features the necessary profiles in order to get the job done.

As with all trades, a technician’s work is made easier if they have the correct tools. However, there are a number of manifolds on the market, with varying price-points and functionality.

Knowing which model to spend your money on can be a difficult choice.

Factors such as laptop and smartphone connectivity, (for faster reporting and workflow), range of testing features as well as overall build quality should all be considered when looking for a new system.

In this review round-up, you will find a selection of top-rated digital manifolds, backed up with verified customer reviews in tandem with intensive product research and analysis.

These are the results…

Top 5 Picks

EDITOR'S CHOICE
testo 550 I Digital Manifold Kit for air conditioning, refrigeration systems and heat pumps - with Bluetooth support
BEST PREMIUM
Fieldpiece SM480V SMAN Digital Manifold Wireless Data Logging
BELEY Refrigeration Digital Manifold HVAC System Gauge Set, High-Precision Vacuum Pressure Temperature Leakage Tester Dignostic Meter Kit for Testing Maintaining Air-Conditioner, Refrigerator
BEST BUDGET
MASTERCOOL (99872-A Blue R134A Digital Manifold Gauge Set with 72" Hose and Manual Coupler
RITCHIE YELLOW JACKET 40860 P51-860 Titan Digital Manifold
testo 550 I Digital Manifold Kit for air conditioning, refrigeration systems and heat pumps - with Bluetooth support
Fieldpiece SM480V SMAN Digital Manifold Wireless Data Logging
BELEY Refrigeration Digital Manifold HVAC System Gauge Set, High-Precision Vacuum Pressure Temperature Leakage Tester Dignostic Meter Kit for Testing Maintaining Air-Conditioner, Refrigerator
MASTERCOOL (99872-A Blue R134A Digital Manifold Gauge Set with 72" Hose and Manual Coupler
RITCHIE YELLOW JACKET 40860 P51-860 Titan Digital Manifold
EDITOR'S CHOICE
testo 550 I Digital Manifold Kit for air conditioning, refrigeration systems and heat pumps - with Bluetooth support
testo 550 I Digital Manifold Kit for air conditioning, refrigeration systems and heat pumps - with Bluetooth support
BEST PREMIUM
Fieldpiece SM480V SMAN Digital Manifold Wireless Data Logging
Fieldpiece SM480V SMAN Digital Manifold Wireless Data Logging
BELEY Refrigeration Digital Manifold HVAC System Gauge Set, High-Precision Vacuum Pressure Temperature Leakage Tester Dignostic Meter Kit for Testing Maintaining Air-Conditioner, Refrigerator
BELEY Refrigeration Digital Manifold HVAC System Gauge Set, High-Precision Vacuum Pressure Temperature Leakage Tester Dignostic Meter Kit for Testing Maintaining Air-Conditioner, Refrigerator
BEST BUDGET
MASTERCOOL (99872-A Blue R134A Digital Manifold Gauge Set with 72" Hose and Manual Coupler
MASTERCOOL (99872-A Blue R134A Digital Manifold Gauge Set with 72" Hose and Manual Coupler
RITCHIE YELLOW JACKET 40860 P51-860 Titan Digital Manifold
RITCHIE YELLOW JACKET 40860 P51-860 Titan Digital Manifold

Digital Manifold Reviews

1. EDITOR’S CHOICE: Testo 0563 1550 Digital Manifold Kit Review

Our top choice digital manifold is this excellent kit from Testo.

Balancing value for money, with great features and accessories, this digital manifold will suit professionals looking for a convenient tool, to get the job done.

With 60 refrigerant profiles built-in, this unit gives the operator superior reporting control.

And let’s not forget the Bluetooth compatibility. This feature is appearing more and more on today’s market-leading digital manifolds.

It’s easy to see why. The downloadable smartphone app means that the unit can be fully integrated to provide monitoring, reporting, and even invoices via email. The data coming directly from the machine itself.

(That’s a move on from even the most hi-tech units of just a couple of years ago that provided USB support – the entire reporting workflow can now be done wirelessly).

The app can also be used to download new refrigerant profiles from the internet should you need. These can be transferred via Bluetooth to the manifold.

So, we’ve established the technical features on the unit a fantastic, (did I mention that it has the added functionality of leak testing too?), but what about build quality? Does the Testo 0563 hold up there too?

I am happy to say a resounding yes. The robust housing of the manifold features a metal frame around the display, that helps to minimize potential damage after any impact.

Let’s face it, we all know how much these tools can get knocked about either onsite or in the back of the van.

The service case is really well built too.

Other accessories include two temperature clamp probes (0563 has two channel NTC temperature inputs), that are likewise built with durability in mind.

Pros of the Testo 0563 1550 Digital Manifold Kit
  • Bluetooth/App integration
  • Monitoring, report and invoice generation data sent directly to the device for emailing
  • Large 2-line backlit display for easy readability
  • Robust construction and case
  • 60 refrigerants included profiles (download more with app)
  • Includes two temperature clamp probes
The Cons
  • The range on the Bluetooth is relatively short
  • Some customers have experienced missing items when receiving the kit

Bottom Line

The Testo 0563 gets our top pick for 2021 because it balances great features with an excellent price-point.

This digital manifold kit really does represent good value for money. It’s durable design also means you’ll be using this out in the field for many years to come. A unit that doesn’t disappoint.

2. BEST PREMIUM: Fieldpiece SM480V SMAN Digital Manifold Review

While our top pick Testo has great features, if you want the real top range functionality you will need to spend more money.

For that, our recommended unit has to be this premium option from Fieldpiece.

The SM480V is packed with enough features to make even the most discerning refrigerant technician happy.

As the manufacturers state themselves:

Years of feedback from A/C and refrigeration specialists is combined with Fieldpiece’s laser focus on continuous improvement to bring you the toughest, most advanced digital refrigerant manifold on the market.”

A bold boast, however, there is evidently a lot of truth in this self-evaluation.

Essentially, the unit is built to make the technician’s job easier.

The wireless range of 350 feet is up there as some of the best currently available from any digital manifold, (even models more expensive than this one).

Then there’s the fact this is a 4 valve port micron gauge.

Data Logging is where the unit comes into its own. The SM480V can store up to 9 jobs internally with all data being readily accessible from the manifold.

This information can then be downloaded to your laptop via the USB port. Although, the unit can sustain logs up to 7 days (168 continuous work hours in fact).

Fieldpiece has also included tightness test check as a function; a very useful feature for after repairs and installations.

You can also view pressure differential over time from within the unit; an inbuilt timer will track the duration of each test too.

To avoid potential false positives during testing the unit will compensate for the temperature with an SL temp function.

The build quality is exactly what you would expect from a premium model of this type. The rugged over-molded casing with a reinforced hook and hermetically sealed sight glass means you could drop this out of a 3 story window and still go about your day, completing the job list.

(Don’t try that at home though. 🙂 )

Having said that, a minority of users have had issues with the underside of the unit (close to where the valves are) cracking after long term use.

For those familiar with Fieldpiece digital manifolds, it is worth noting that the SM480V is the direct replacement for the SMAN400 series (SMAN440 and SMAN460).

A major update is the fact you will not need to use the JL2 transmitter for wireless connections, as this new model has full wireless connectivity built-in.

Pros of the Fieldpiece SM480V Digital Manifold
  • Four-valve manifold with micron gauge
  • Updated design with built-in wireless function (350 feet range)
  • Robust design
  • Advanced features for professional use
  • Inbuilt data logging, tightness check tests, etc
The Cons
  • Warranty only available if purchased via a registered supplier

Bottom Line

If you are looking for an advanced digital manifold, packed with features and built to take a knock (and then some); this is the unit to buy.

Although this is a premium machine designed to make a technician’s life easier, it is still priced competitively. Our top choice premium machine for good reason.

3. BELEY Refrigeration Digital Manifold HVAC System Review

The Beley refrigeration digital manifold is a good option and another worthy entry to our top 5.

An inbuilt database gives you access to 89 kinds of refrigerant pressure-evaporation temperature profiles.

The unit is also designed to calculate the subcooling superheat of the system you are testing. It will also provide you with data on the percentage of vacuum measurement as well as pressure leak information. You can also track leak time speeds should that be present.

What’s more, all of this data is accurate. The built-in 32-bit digital processor is designed to provide the highest precision when calculating appropriate measurements. This is a unit you can rely on.

The versatility continues with the Beley when you consider that the unit can measure double pressure at the same time.

It will also provide you with automatic multi-unit pressure conversion. In short, your job is made easier when using a tool such as this.

The readability of data is good too. The large-size liquid crystal display has built-in backlight support; very useful when working in low light conditions.

One minor complaint is that the unit does not feel as robust as some of the other manifolds in our top 5.

True, this is closer in price point to the Mastercool unit reviewed below (our top budget pick); however, the manufacturer of the Beley does seem cheaper.

However, to give you that extra peace of mind after purchasing your new digital manifold, Beley provides a generous 24month after-sales warranty.

Specifications
  • Pressure test: gauge pressure
  • Pressure test unit: Kpa; Mpa; bar; inHg; PSI.
  • Pressure test range: 0 Kpa – 6000 Kpa
  • Pressure test resolution: 1 Kpa
  • Pressure test accuracy: +/- 0.5 %(FS)+ 5dgt
  • Pressure overload limit: 10000 Kpa (10 Mpa; 100 bar;)
  • Vacuum test: relative vacuum
  • Vacuum test unit: Kpa; Mpa; bar; inHg; PSI.
  • Vacuum test range: -101 Kpa – 0 Kpa
  • Vacuum test resolution: 1 Kpa
  • Temperature test unit: °C (Celsius), °F (Fahrenheit)
  • Temperature test range: -40°C–150°C (-40°F–302°F)
  • Temperature test resolution: 0.1°C (-40°C–99.9°C), 1°C (100°C–150°C) 0.1°F (-40°F–99.9°F), 1°F (100°F–302°F)
  • Temperature test accuracy: +/- 0.5 °C + 2dgt +/- 0.9 °F + 2dgt
  • Built-in 89 kinds of refrigerant NIST: According to American NIST standard
  • Power Supply: 4 X 1.5V (SIZE.AA / LR6)  Battery not included
  • Dimensions: 170*110*50mm weight: 950g
Compatible with following Refrigerant Systems

R11 R13 R113 R114 R115 R116 R12 R123 R124 R125 R1270 R134A R14 R141B R142B R143A R152A R170 R21 R218 R22 R227EA R23 R236EA R245CA R245FA R290 R32 R401A R401B R401C R402A R402B R403A R403B R404A R404B R405A R406A R407A R407B R407C R407D R407E R408A R409A R41 R410A R410B R411A R411B R412A R413A R414A R414B R415A R415B R416A R417A R418A R419A R420A R421A R421B R422A R422B R422C R422D R423A R424A R425A R426A R427A R428A R50 R500 R501 R502 R503 R504 R507A R508A R508B R509A R600 R600A R717 R744(Co2) R1234

Package Includes
  • 1x HVAC Digital Manifold Gauge
  • 1x User Manual (in English)
  • 2x Temperature Clips
  • 3x Test Pipes
  • (Battery not included)
Pros of the BELEY Refrigeration Digital Manifold
  • 89 inbuilt profiles
  • 32-bit microprocessor for increased accuracy
  • Multiple data functions
  • Easy to use
  • Robust build design
The Cons
  • Build quality not as good as some of the more premium options in our top 5.

Bottom Line

There’s a lot to like with the Beley digital manifold. Easy to use, well built and with a lot of useful features this is a unit that will get the job done.

However, it doesn’t quite excel as our Editor’s Choice from Testo does. And being of a lower price point than the offering from Fieldpiece it cannot compete in terms of premium features.

Connectivity is the biggest let-down here. Overall a good machine nonetheless.

4. BEST BUDGET: MASTERCOOL Blue 99872-A R134a Digital Manifold Review

It’s all very well paying top dollar for an all frills machine that gives you a full range of features; however, what if you are after a more budget-friendly digital manifold that provides the essential functions and that is all.

Well for that scenario we recommend the excellent Mastercool R134a.

The user-friendly design is great for technicians looking to efficiently track refrigerant and oil readings on today’s automobiles, (in fact over 55 car manufacturers are catered for with this machine).

Besides essential data logging, this R134a digital manifold will also perform a systems leak check after refrigerant evacuation repair work or installation has been concluded.

As with the other units to make our top 5, the Mastercool is fitted with a clear LCD screen for easy readability. This is also designed in a way that knocks and scrapes will not damage it.

The ABS manifold case is also built with longevity in mind, touches such as the rubber boot underside to the case are good to see too.

This is a professional user’s kit, which means you can expect some accessories in the package.

In this case, a set of 3, 72” R134a hoses are included. There’s also a set of manual couplers to get you up and running as you have purchased the item.

Specifications
  • Refrigerant: R134a
  • Pressure & Vacuum Display: Low Side – PSI, Bar, MPa, Kg/cm2 & IN-Hg High Side – PSI, Bar, MPa, Kg/cm2
  • Temperature Display: -40 to 200˚F (-4 to 93˚C)
  • Response Time: 250 mSec.
  • Operating Temperature: 32 to 122˚F (0 to 45˚C)
  • Power: 9V DC battery
  • Battery Life: 350 hours of continuous use
  • Low Battery Indicator: Special ICON on LCD
Auto Manufacturer Compatibility Includes

Acura, Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Citroen, Daewoo, Daihatsu, Dodge, Fiat, Ford, GMC, Honda, Hummer, Hyundai, Infiniti, Isuzu, Jaguar, Jeep, Kia, Lancia, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercury, Mini, Mitsubishi, Mercedes Benz, Nissan, Oldsmobile, Opel-Vauxhall, Peugeot, Plymouth, Pontiac, Porsche, Renault, Rover, Saab, Saturn, Scion, Seat, Scion, Smart, Subaru, Suzuki, Toyota, Volkswagen, Volvo.

Pros of the MASTERCOOL Blue 99872-A R134a Digital Manifold
  • The very affordable price point
  • Provides essential temperature, pressure and vacuum readings
  • System leak after the evacuation process is complete
  • Robust design, with clear LCD and strong case
  • Comes with kit accessories 
The Cons
  • Lackluster customer support (you need to pay extra to access download updates)
  • Vehicle refrigerant values are inaccurate in some cases (requiring updating)

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a budget digital manifold that will provide you with essential readings with no frills attached, this is the unit to buy.

Strong, accurate, and easy to use the Mastercool Blue will get the job done. What more could you need?

5. Yellow Jacket P51-860 – Titan Digital Manifold Review

The final digital manifold to make our top 5 is this offering from Yellow Jacket. The P51-860 is a mid-priced system that could be seen as a competitor to our top choice from Testo.

The first, most obvious comparison would be that surrounding the Bluetooth connectivity.

Here, essential data can be transmitted to your smartphone for fast and convenient reporting. This is done via the free ManTooth app.

If you prefer to use a laptop, data logging can also be transferred using good old USB ports.

The unit can measure high and low side pressures and temperatures. It will also perform system superheat and subcooling calculations.

Add that to the fact Titan has enabled the manifold to track vapor and liquid saturation temperatures, and you have yourself a machine appropriate for professionals requiring more than just standard operational data.

The P51-860 is a 4-valve manifold unit. It also features an inbuilt processor designed to take accurate measurements for both refrigeration and a/c systems.

All essential data gained can be displayed via the LCD display; however as mentioned above, the Bluetooth connectivity and USB port make transferring this data a breeze.

Pros of the Yellow Jacket P51-860 - Titan Digital Manifold
  • Bluetooth or USB data transfer
  • Wide range of measuring functions; high and low side pressures and temperatures etc
  • Displays vapor and liquid saturation temperatures
  • Is able to perform superheat and subcooling calculations
The Cons
  • Relatively expensive compared to budget-priced models
  • Does not feature a built-in micron gauge

Bottom Line

Overall the P51-860 is a very capable machine packed with a ton or measuring functions.

While some will be overkill for the average user, there is still a lot here designed to make the technician’s life easier.

If these features speak to you, and you have a decent budget for buying your next digital manifold, you should definitely look into purchasing this offering from Titan.

What to look for when buying an HVAC Digital Manifold Gauge

When buying a new HVAC digital manifold gauge, there are a number of factors you should consider. Here’s a selection of them now…

How durable is the manifold gauge?

A professional will need a robust HVAC manifold gauge that can handle the inevitable knocks and bumps that occur while on the job. Most gauges do take this into account, however, with durable designs made from hard-wearing materials.

If you leave your tools in the truck or garage overnight, the unit should be corrosive resistant too.

Build quality of the various components, should also be of concern. Connector fittings and hoses should be built to last, and easily replaceable when the time comes.

How user-friendly is it?

Whether you want to use the gauge for purposes in the home, or as a professional out in the field, user-friendliness is an important issue.

For a beginner, you may be after a simple manifold gauge that will perform a rudimentary function. A unit that is quick to learn and easy to use will be preferred.

A daily workhorse will understandably need more features, however, a gauge of this type still needs to be intuitive and user-friendly, so that the professional can work efficiently and without hassle.

Factors towards this include a unit that is easy to connect and has quick coupling capabilities. The gauge should be clear and easy to read so that measurements can be taken in all conditions.

What extra features does it have?

A sighting glass is recommended for easier viewing and reading. The aforementioned quick coupling connectors should also be present.

Bluetooth and USB data transfer is a feature that a lot of modern digital manifold gauges now have. Something that has proved very popular with technicians.

You should also look for a device that can perform various different calculations, (superheat and subcooling readings for instance). The ability to take both vapor and liquid saturation temperatures is helpful too.

Inbuilt profiles (and the feature to create your own) is a feature in advanced units. This functionality is only important for working professionals, however, you will enjoy faster, more accurate results when utilizing such data.

Level of compatibility

Another essential feature is for the gauge to have the capability to fit a wide range of AC units. This is in terms of connectivity and the readings it can take.

It is also possible to purchase manifold gauges that have an extra port. This is so that an HVAC vacuum pump can be fitted for easier fault detection and servicing of the AC system.

A good way to ensure superior compatibility is to take note of the device specifications, and also look out for units that come in a set, with all additional fittings, and hoses, supplied.

What is your budget?

If you are a beginner that only needs a digital manifold gauge for home use, it makes no sense to break the bank buying such a device. Simple to use entry-level gauges will suffice.

A professional meanwhile should expect to pay more to purchase a gauge that will be up to the job at hand. You should look to include many of the features above so that you have a device that will provide accurate and speedy readings as you go from job to job.

Analog vs Digital HVAC Gauges

Although digital manifold gauges have been around for a long time now, there are still many technicians that swear by the older, analog models and refrain from upgrading.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of both so that you can make up your own mind on what to go for.

Analog HVAC Gauges

Analog gauges take simple readings, displaying the information via an indicator needle. Once you know how to read one, they are easy to use. The needle will display the level of pressure or vacuum that’s inside the AC unit.

However, the problem lies in calibration. If the analog you are using isn’t regularly maintained the readings can be wrong.

Furthermore, even after learning how to use one, the operator needs to be able to perform pressure conversions. This is another factor that can lead to errors.

The Pros of Analog HVAC Gauges

  • Old but trusted devices that get the job done
  • Remain popular with technicians in the industry
  • Professionals know what readings an AC unit should give, without the need for checking a chart

The Cons of Analog HVAC Gauges

  • Are prone to errors if wrongly calibrated
  • They do not provide the level of detail that a digital device can

Digital HVAC Manifold Gauges

As we have covered in the review section above, digital gauges have many extra features that help make the life of an HVAC technician much easier. The automatic conversion of readings being one such capability.

The problem lies in that established technicians that learned their trade with analog devices are reluctant to change when they see no reason to. Most of them would rather rely on their experience with analog gauges than learn how to use a digital one.

The Pros of Digital HVAC Gauges

  • More accurate than analog gauges
  • Lots of additional features
  • Inbuilt conversion calculations

The Cons of Digital HVAC Gauges

  • More expensive than analog gauges
  • More intricate so by their very nature, more can go wrong
  • The advanced models can be difficult to use, to begin with

Overall, it comes down to personal preference on using an analog or digital gauge. For professionals, there is a very good case for taking the plunge and opting for a digital model because of all the additional features. The fact you have reached this page hints towards your interest all the same.

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