Whether you are full time professional or home user, when it comes to cutting and repairing water pipework, one of the best tools you can have in your arsenal is the pipe freeze kit.
A good freeze machine will allow you to carry out the maintenance with minimum disruption and no need to drain the system.
However, these machines are not cheap. There are a number of competing brands on the market in 2020 and knowing which is the most suitable for your needs can be confusing.
In this guide, we have selected a range of freeze kits for review. Each machine covers different specifications and price points to provide you with a broad overview of what’s available today.
For our findings at a glance, just head to the table below. For an in-depth review of each of our picks, plus a detailed buyer’s guide, keep on reading.
Best Pipe Freezing Kit
10 Freeze Heads
1/8" - 2"
1/4″ - 6″
1⁄2" - 2.5"
10 Freeze Heads
½” to 2-1/8”
Pipe Freezing Kit Reviews
The following pipe freeze kits have been selected based on construction quality, freeze times and power, pipe width capacity and price point.
Our testing method involves a combination of the above criteria, plus recent customer reviews and feedback on performance, as well as analysis of how each product fares against others on the market.
1. TOP PICK: General Wire CST2 Cold-Shot Pipe Freeze Kit
Our top choice pipe freezing kit for 2020 is the General Wire CST2 Cold-Shot.
True it doesn’t have some of the features you will find in the premium-priced RIGID freeze kit (reviewed below), however at a fraction of the price, this does provide professionals and home users alike the tools to successfully cold freeze piping in order to carry out repair work.
Whether you’re dealing with water lines, sprinkler systems or central heating systems, the CST2 Cold Shot will be able to freeze blast the infrastructure to keep pressurized systems operating.
Furthermore, the range of pipe material you can use this freeze kit with is impressive.
Whether the liquid is being housed in steel, copper, cast iron, aluminum, or plastic piping, you will be able to freeze the water inside enabling you to work unheeded.
The important variable, of course, is just how thick material will the pipe freeze kit works through.
Here the specifications really do deliver. Utilizing CO2, (the tanks need to be bought separately) the Cold Shot can successfully freeze through pipes ranging from 1/8″ to 2″ (10 mm – 60 mm).
The system uses dip-tube cylinders which is convenient as these can be picked up at any welding supply house.
Furthermore, loading the CST2 in this manner makes the system faster and less expensive to operate than refrigerator style freeze kits, and as well as the bag type units that use more CO2 to function.
General Wire’s guidelines on the operating speed state that within 5 minutes the system is ready to freeze through copper tubing, and only 3 minutes when working with cast iron piping.
The system also comes with two high-pressure spiral hoses with grips and injectors. While the CO2 tank is not included, components for connection are in the pack in the form of a T-distributor Locking nut (and Rubber gloves for safety).
For the professional user who will be using the kit while out in the field, there are also safety goggles, a large carry case and Hex head screwdriver as part of the essential tool kit.
Overall, the General Wire CST2 Cold-Shot Pipe Freeze Kit is an excellent option for those looking for an affordable solution to pipe freezing.
Whether you’re a professional user working with piping on a daily basis, or a home user that will need such a tool only occasionally, the CST2 is the best pipe freeze machine available at this price point.
Highly recommended and our top pick for 2020 for good reason.
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2. Pipeman Products, Inc. Arctic Freeze CO2 Pipe Freeze System
The Pipeman Products Arctic Freeze is another high quality CO2 pipe freeze machine that helps to streamline the pipe repair process by eliminating the need for you to drain the water system.
Again, designed for the professional user, while being simple enough for the home user to operate, the Arctic Freeze means you no longer have to experience disruption to a water system if repair work needs to be carried out.
As with our top pick from General Wire, this offering from Pipeman Products has the power to work through a broad range of materials.
Whether you’re operating on steel, copper, cast iron, aluminum or plastic pipes, the water inside can be frozen quickly and efficiently.
The machine is compatible with most plumbing style pipework and is capable of freezing water inside tubing ranging from 1/4″ to 6.00″ (10 mm – 152 mm).
Operating speeds are slower here when compared to our top pick, however. Expect a freeze time of five to seven minutes when working on steel pipe or copper tubing.
This being a CO2, tank based pressurized pipe freezing kit makes it faster than traditional refrigerator style machines. As with the Cold Shot reviewed above, this unit is also cheaper to run.
Everything is included in the package for you to get to work straight away, except for the need to purchase and fill up the tank with CO2 before you begin.
Overall, Pipeman Products, Inc. Arctic Freeze CO2 Pipe Freeze System is a quality freeze kit that will get the job done.
However, it does lack the speed and efficiency of the CST2 making that our preferred choice in 2020.
3. BEST PREMIUM: RIDGID 68967 Model SF-2500 SuperFreeze
The RIGID SF-2500 SuperFreeze Pipe freezing kit is one of the most powerful systems on the market right now, and is our premium top pick for good reason.
Designed specifically for the professional that requires the operational ability to work on heavy-duty pipework with speed, this powerhouse has all the specifications you need for demanding on-site jobs.
The increased power comes from the fact this uses a rotary compressor (115V, 60 Hz, 4.5 amp, 627 W) in order to generate the freezing mechanism.
This does mean that the RIGID is one of the ‘refrigerator style’ kits that we have mentioned in the reviews above. This also means that the unit is more expensive to run. The power comes at a price in more ways than one.
The SF-2500 SuperFreeze circulates self-contained refrigerant to its aluminum freeze heads, making it capable of creating an ice plugin just 6 minutes.
This ice plug is then maintained via the refrigerating unit allowing you to carry out all repairs in the knowledge that the pipe is securely sealed off.
The specifications here are impressive, however; the SF-2500 has the capacity of 1⁄2-inch to 2-1⁄2-inch (12 mm to 65 mm for copper tubing, and a 1⁄2-inch to 2-inch (12 mm to 50 mm) capacity for steel pipes.
This covers the majority of water pipework you are likely to encounter in both commercial and residential scenarios
As this is a freeze kit designed for professionals the components supplied with the system are wide-ranging.
The SF-2500 SuperFreeze comes with relevant flexible rubber hoses that connect the freeze heads to the unit for easier handling. These are also designed for fast and simple coiling and storage.
The hose length of 8-1/2 feet (2.6 meters) with a 17-foot (5.2 meters) span, means that no matter your work environment, you will have all the capacity and length you need to reach the areas that require repairs.
RIGID also provide 2 Velcro straps with D-Ring, a quick grip clamp for easier operation, plus bushings and a water spray bottle.
A nice touch is that a bottle of specially formulated freeze gel is supplied. This is designed to help speed up the freezing process.
The operator need only apply a small amount of gel to the freeze heads before placing on the pipe.
And finally, you have the reliable RIGID backing for this product. The company covers the SF-2500 with a lifetime warranty against defects in material or workmanship for the life of the tool.
If you are professional, that’s peace of mind worth paying the premium price for.
The RIGID 68967 Model SF-2500 SuperFreeze Pipe Freezer is a powerhouse in the world of pipe freeze kits and has been an industry leader for a long time now.
Designed for pro use this provides everything you need for pipe repair work in both commercial and residential settings.
Yes it is expensive, however if you need fast speed times no matter the material, this is the kit to buy.
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4. Rothenberger 65030 RoFrost CO2 Manual Freezing Set
The Rothenberger 65030 is another CO2 system freeze kit that is priced to suit both professionals and home user.
Here the freezing heads clamp to the pipe diameter and can create freezing temperatures of up to -79 Degree Celsius/-110 Degree Fahrenheit.
Pipe width capacity is also adequate for general purpose maintenance with the copper capacity being ½” to 2-1/8”, and the steel pipe capacity coming in at 1/8” to 2”
Freezing times are good too, and the design of the system does make working in confined spaces frustration-free.
Essentially, this is a pipe freeze kit that can be easily used while out in the field
The amount of accessories that Rothenberger includes with the kit is also a plus point. As well as a handy carry case, the unit ships with the following:
- 2 handles with feed valves
- 2 high-pressure hoses
- 10 pairs of freezer heads (2 for ea. pipe dimension)
- T-piece for bottle connection
- Stopper for one-sided freezing
- and Internal hex screwdriver
It should also be mentioned that there is a level of brand expertise that comes from buying a freeze kit from Rothenberger.
The company is a market leader in the world of pipe tools and machines and has been manufacturing products in this arena for over 60 years.
With patents coming out of their ears, and a reputation built on renovation in the field, similar to RIGID, this is a trusted company with a lot of experience.
The Rothenberger 65030 RoFrost CO2 Manual Freezing Set is a quality system that will take care of your pipe-freezing needs.
A good amount of freezing power, along with fast freeze times and all the accessories a professional requires, this is an affordable solution that comes highly recommended.
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Which type of pipe freeze kit will best meet my requirements?
This question is clearly dependent on the type of pipe freezing you will be doing, and your available budget.
If you are a professional that will be carrying out pipe repair work on a daily basis, you will need a powerful freeze machine capable of cutting through a wide range of pipe sizes.
However, a home user only requiring a quick fix on a thin water pipe could even use a pipe freezing spray kit and have their needs met.
Clamp Style Freeze Kit
Our top pick CST2 Cold Shot reviewed above falls into the category of clamp style freeze kit. As explained in the review, this works using CO2 tanks and the freezing function is applied to the pipes via freeze heads clamped onto the pipe.
The most common water pipes fall between 1/8” to 2.00” in size and the CO2, clamp style freeze machine will accommodate this perfectly.
Jacket style freeze kit
The jacket style freeze kit does not use clamp heads, but rather jackets that wrap around the pipe in order to freeze the water inside.
These are more cumbersome to use than normal clamp heads as they take up more space, (which can cause problems in cramped plumbing areas).
However, the freezing capacity of the jacket style is higher. This style machine can freeze through much thicker piping, making them a useful tool for those that deal with such jobs.
Compressor (refrigerator style) freeze machines
Compressor style freeze machines such as the RIGID model review above, utilize a rotary compressor in order to create the freezing temperatures.
While these cost more to buy and to run and maintain, the benefit here is the power available, plus the fact you do not need to worry about the pipe thawing as you work. The compressor will maintain the low temperature as long as it is being operated.
Needless to say, this is another form of machine that best suits professional plumbers that deal specifically with water pipe repair and maintenance.
How do I use a pipe freeze kit?
Do pipe freeze kits work on plastic piping?
The answer here is yes, many machines will work well on plastic, (check the specifications of the machine you are interested in to check freeze times, however).
Normally, freezing a plastic pipe can take longer as the material does not retain the cold, as well as metal pipes, do.
How can I tell whether the pipe is fully frozen and ready for repair?
Most machines will provide an indicator to inform you when the pipe is fully frozen. Sensors on the freeze clamps or jackets detect the temperature of the pipe and will signal an alert.
More premium machines will also have an LED screen showing the temperature of the pipe, allowing you to have even greater control of the process.
What is the maximum pipe size I can use a freeze kit on?
As explained above, this is related to the power of the freeze machine as well as the method of application.
Jacket style freeze machines can freeze metal pipes up to 6” thick. Some industrial machines that use liquid nitrogen can go even thicker than this.
However, standard plumbing pipes fall between 1/8” to 2.00” in size and all the machines reviewed above are capable of freezing this size pipe across a range of material types.
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How do I defrost a pipe after the repairs are finished?
Pipe freeze kits will generally have a defrost setting. With the freeze head or jackets remaining in place, you just need to activate the defrost mechanism and the machine will begin to heat up the pipe rather than freeze it.
The digital readout will keep you notified of the temperature of the pipe until a normal level is reached.