When you’re just getting started, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the tools you need. Use this complete, easy guide to help you find the best HVAC tools for your business.
In this guide, we’ll reveal:
- Professionally recommended and trusted tools and brands
- Which HVAC tools YOU NEED for your HVAC business
- Extra HVAC tools that can help make your job a little easier
After reading this guide, you’ll have everything you need to know to save money, only buy the essential tools you need from the most trusted brands, and choose the best HVAC tools for your business.
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Essential HVAC Tools
When you’re just getting started, your budget is important, and you don’t have endless wads of cash to throw at HVAC tools. In this section, we’ll highlight the most essential, best HVAC tools that you NEED to successfully run your business.
Use these professionally recommended tools from the most-trusted brands to stretch your dollar farther and ensure your money is going towards the best HVAC tools in the industry.
Arguably the most important HVAC tool you’ll need is the manifold gauge, a pressure-checking system that will help you to complete diagnostics and services.
Take a look at some of the best professional manifold gauge recommendations and their rankings:
- Fieldpiece SM480V SMAN Digital Manifold Kit
- TESTO 557 Digital Manifold Gauges
- Yellow Jacket 42006 Manifold Gauge
- Mastercool 59661 Aluminum Manifold Gauges
- CPS BlackMax MBH4P5EZ 2V Manifold Gauges
Refrigerant Recovery Unit
A refrigerant recovery unit removes refrigerants from cooling equipment and stores it in a tank so the refrigerant can be reused after a job. This is an essential HVAC tool because you’ll need it before you can work on air conditioners, freezers, or refrigerators.
Here’s the top five professional refrigerant recovery units:
- Fieldpiece MR45 Twin Cylinder Refrigerant Recovery Machine
- Appion G5TWIN Twin Cylinder Refrigerant Recovery Machine
- CPS Pro-Set TRS600 Twin Cylinder Refrigerant Recovery Machine
- Yellow Jacket 95730 YJ-LTE Refrigerant Recovery Machine
- Robinair RG3 Portable Refrigerant Recovery Machine
Refrigerant Vacuum Pumps
In contrast to a refrigerant recovery unit, a refrigerant vacuum pump will help you remove refrigerant from inside a machine and cycle it into a recovery tank.
These are some highly rated refrigerant vacuum pumps to consider:
- VIVOHOME HVAC Kit
- This kit includes SEVERAL necessary HVAC tools:
- Vacuum pump
- Manifold gauge
- Leak detector
- Carry bag
- This kit includes SEVERAL necessary HVAC tools:
- Robinair 15500 VacuMaster Vacuum Pump
- Kozyvacu 5CFM Vacuum Pump
Refrigerant Recovery Tanks
Refrigerant recovery tanks are used for safely recovering, storing, and transporting used refrigerant from HVAC and refrigeration systems to EPA-certified reclamation centers. Since you can’t vent these tanks into the atmosphere, reclamation centers will either clean the gas and recycle it, or properly dispose of it.
Have a look at some of the top choices for refrigerant recovery tanks:
- Flame King 30LB Refrigerant Recovery Cylinder Tank
- Mastercool 62010 30LB Refrigerant Recovery Tank
- Robinair 34102 30LB Refrigerant Tank
You’ll need a refrigerant scale to weigh refrigerant cylinders, which precisely tells you how much refrigerant is added to a refrigerant recovery unit.
Here are some of the best refrigerant scales recommended by HVAC technicians and their rankings:
- Robinair TIF9010A Slimline Refrigerant Electronic Charging/Recovery Scale
- VIVOHOME Digital Refrigerant Charging Weight Scale for HVAC 220LB
- Mastercool 98210-A Electronic Refrigerant Scale
- Elitech LMC-200 Electronic Refrigerant Weight Recovery Scale
- ZENY Electronic Digital AC Refrigerant Scale for HVAC 220LB
- Kozyvacu Charging Scales for HVAC/Auto AC Refrigerant Recovery
- Fieldpiece SRS3 Wireless Refrigerant Scale
HVAC technicians need an HVAC thermometer to read air differences at the supply and return as well as read superheat and subcooling.
When it comes to HVAC thermometers, there are three different kinds: digital thermocouple thermometers, pocket thermometers, and infrared thermometers.
Depending on the type of job, you may choose one or all of these HVAC thermometers. In general, a pocket thermometer is a great tool for getting general readings (e.g. checking your Delta-T, comfort calls, outside air temperature, etc… ).
Whereas, an infrared thermometer is great for getting general readings from hard-to-reach, high up places. However, keep in mind that infrared thermometers won’t work with copper lines because it scatters the sensor.
While it’s a good idea to keep an infrared thermometer handy for generalized readings, it’s important to have a more accurate pocket thermometer for multi-purpose use.
Overall, a dedicated digital thermocouple thermometer is a great, versatile way to have the best of both worlds where accuracy meets versatility.
These are some of the most recommended pocket thermometers from the pros:
- Klein Tools ET10 Magnetic Digital Pocket Thermometer
- Klein Tools IR07 Dual Infrared and Probe LCD Digital Thermometer
- Fieldpiece SPK2 Folding Pocket In-Duct Thermometer
Next, these are some of the most recommended infrared thermometers:
- Klein Tools IR10 Dual-Laser Infrared Thermometer 20:1
- Klein Tools IR1 Infrared Thermometer
- Fluke 62 Max Infrared Thermometer
- BTMETER BT-1500 Infrared Thermometer 30:1
- Etekcity Lasergrip 774 Infrared Thermometer
Finally, these are some of the most recommended digital thermocouple thermometers:
- Fieldpiece ST4 Dual Temperature Meter
- REED Instruments SD-947 Thermocouple Thermometer
- Proster Digital Thermocouple Thermometer
- Digital 2-Channels Thermocouple Thermometer
- RISEPRO HT-9815 Thermocouple Thermometer
Stock Your Service Trucks With These HVAC Hand Tools and Equipment
Now that you know which essential tools you need to start your business, you’re ready to stock your service trucks with important HVAC hand tools and equipment.
These professionally recommended HVAC hand tools and equipment will help you finish your jobs as quickly and effectively as possible.
Tool Belt and Tool Pouch
As you lug around your HVAC tools to various job sites, you’re going to need a tool belt and a tool pouch to help carry your things from the truck. While a tool belt holds more, you may be able to opt for a smaller tool pouch for certain tasks. For this reason, it’s best to equip yourself with both. Plus, you can also consider tool bags and kits to meet your needs.
These are some tools belts preferred by HVAC technicians:
These are some tool pouches HVAC technicians prefer:
In order to run an HVAC business, you NEED to have nut drivers to remove/replace screws and nuts to get into air conditioner units.
These are a few professionally recommended nut drivers:
- Klein Tools 32561 Nut Driver
- ARES 70655 Nut Driver
- LENOX 23932 Nut Driver
- TACKLIFE HSS6A Nut Driver
- IRWIN 1948774 Nut Driver
- Wiha 26547 Nut Driver
- DEWALT DWA2222IR Nut Driver
- IRWIN 1948777 Nut Driver
- Dynamite DYN2803 Nut Driver
- ABN Impact Nut Driver
Battery-Powered Impact Driver and Drill
Depending on the job, you’ll need a battery-powered impact driver and drill to successfully complete your HVAC services.
Take a look at some of the most-trusted brands by HVAC technicians:
- Milwaukee Cordless Power Tool Combo Kit
- DEWALT Cordless Power Tool Combo Kit
- Makita Cordless Power Tool Combo Kit
- RYOBI Cordless Power Tool Combo Kit
- BLACK+DECKER Cordless Power Tool Combo Kit
As an HVAC technician, you’re going to need wrenches… and lots of them! After all, you’ll use these wrenches to get in and out of units as well assemble/disassemble them.
These are a few of the main wrenches you’ll need:
- Adjustable wrenches – 6 inch and 8 inch
- Allen wrench set (i.e. hex keys)
- Since not all manufacturers use the same unit measurements, you need allen wrenches for imperial and metric measurements.
- Crescent wrenches
- Pipe wrenches – 14 inch and 8 inch
- Service wrench and key
- You NEED this to repair air conditioning and refrigeration equipment.
Tube and Pipe Cutters
Since you’ll have to cut copper, PVC pipes, and tubes, you’ll need tube and pipe cutters.
Here a few tube and pipe cutters that are professionally recommended:
- Milwaukee M12 12-Volt Cordless Shear
- Klein Tools 50031 Cutter
- RIDGID 23498 Cutter
- Rothenberger 52000 Cutter
Mastic Aluminum Foil Tape
When it comes to sealing air ducts, it’s important to choose products with mastic in them to make it permanent and waterproof. For this reason, duct tape won’t work on air ducts. Even though budget is important, be careful to choose the best quality that’ll properly seal air ducts long-term.
These are some top picks for professional-grade mastic sealants:
- Red Devil 0841DX F-Seal 181 Fiber Reinforced Water Based Duct Sealant
- No. 7 Mastic Premium Air Duct Sealing Kit
Here are a few professional-grade mastic aluminum foil tape recommendations:
- TapePlus Professional Grade Aluminum Foil Tape
- Impresa Professional Grade Aluminum Foil Tape
- Duck Brand 675590 HVAC UL 181A-P Listed Foil Tape
- 3M Aluminum Foil Tape
- IPG MF2100 ALF Butyl Mastic Foil Tape
Flashlights and Headlamps
As an HVAC professional, there are going to be times when you’ll need to crawl into an attic or tight space and will need a flashlight. Depending on the type of work you’re doing, you might need a variety of flashlights (e.g. headlamps, flashlights, floodlights, etc… ).
Hand Seamer Tongs
In order to create clean and accurate seams in sheet metal, you’ll need some hand seamer tongs. Plus, hand seamer tongs are great for working in tight spaces.
Have a look at some top picks for hand seamer tongs:
Since HVAC technicians need a wide variety of pliers (i.e. channel-lock, linesman, needle-nose, and etc… ), it’s a good idea to get a set.
Depending on your HVAC business’ needs, here are a few plier sets to consider:
Due to the different types of equipment you’ll work with, you’ll need to get a screwdriver set to meet the needs of your various jobs.
These are a few screwdriver kits to think about purchasing:
Step Ladder and Extension Ladder
Depending on whether you’re in residential or commercial HVAC, you’ll need a step ladder (4-plus feet) and extension ladder. However, you may only need an extension ladder if you’re in commercial HVAC and often climb onto roofs.
Here are a few step ladders to consider:
- Werner 6208 Step Ladder
- DEWALT DXL3810-06 Step Ladder
- Professional Little Giant Ladders
- Louisville FS4006 Step Ladder
Here are a few extension ladders to consider:
- Werner D6232-2 Extension Ladder
- DEWALT DXL3020-24PT Extension Ladder
- Louisville FE3228 Extension Ladder
As an HVAC technician, you’ll have to accurately measure a wide variety of things (e.g. furnaces, air conditioner units, etc.). You’ll need a tape measure that’s at least 25 feet long or longer.
Consider any one of these professionally recommended tape measures to meet your needs:
- Stanley FMHT33865S Tape Measure
- Lufkin L1030MAG Tape Measure
- Milwaukee 48-22-7125 Tape Measure
- DEWALT DWHT36225S Tape Measure
- Tajima G-25BW Tape Measure
- Komelon 73425 Tape Measure
- Stanley PowerLock BladeArmor Tape Measure
- Klein Tools 86225 Tape Measure
Whether you need to score sheet metal for straight cutting, or punch holes in wood or metal, an awl is an essential HVAC tool for professionals.
Take a look at some top picks for awls:
You’ll need a caulking gun for sealing air ducts and filling holes.
These are some top options for dripless caulking guns:
Valve Core Removal Tool
The valve core removal tool is essential for the evacuation and recovery of refrigerant.
Take a look at some top choices for valve core removal tools:
- Appion MGAVCT Valve Core Removal Tool
- Z&D R12 R134a Valve Core Removal Tool
- MASTERCOOL 81490 R143A Valve Core Removal Tool
Coil Fin Straightener
In order to straighten the bent fins of a condensing unit for an air conditioner or heat pump system, you’ll need a coil fin straightener.
Here are a few options for coil fin straighteners:
As an HVAC technician, you’ll be working a lot with metal. As a result, you’ll need crimping tools to bend sheet metal for ductwork and other HVAC services.
Take a look at a few great choices of crimpers:
- Malco C5R 5-Blade Pipe Crimper
- Crescent Wiss 9-¾” WC5SN 5-Blade Hand Crimper
- Klein Tools 86520 5-Blade Crimper
Wire Stripper and Pliers
In order to service HVAC units, you’ll need to get a pair of wire strippers/needle-nose pliers.
These all-in-one tools are compact way to meet your everyday needs:
A deburring tool is used to remove burrs and flares at the end of a pipe or hole so it will easily fit with other parts.
Here are some deburring tools you should consider:
As an HVAC technician, you’ll need a duct knife, which is a double-edged serrated knife that’s used to cut duct boards.
These are some of the best duct knife options for technicians:
In order to plug in your power tools and such, you’ll need a durable extension cord that works for indoor and outdoor use.
Take a look at some of your best options for extension cords:
- Amazon Basics Heavy-Duty Vinyl Indoor/Outdoor Extension Cord
- US Wire and Cable 74050 Extension Cord
- GoGreen Power GG-14000 Outdoor Extension Cord
Flushing solvent is needed to clean the inside of air conditioner units.
Take a look at some of the best flushing solvent recommendations for HVAC professionals:
- FJC 2710 A/C System Flush Kit
- Goplus A/C Flush Kit
- MASTERCOOL 91046-A A/C System Flush Kit
- XtremepowerUS A/C System Flush Kit
- FOUR UNCLES IRONCUBE A/C System Flush Kit
In order to bend or flatten sheet metal by hand, a pair of hand seamers will help!
These are some top hand seamer picks for HVAC technicians:
If you want to find the source of refrigerant leaks, then you’ll have to get a leak detector.
Take a look at some of the most trusted leak detectors:
- Inficon 705-202-G1 Refrigerant Leak Detector
- Elitech ILD-200 Advanced Refrigerant Leak Detector
- LotFancy Leak Detector
Magnetic Bubble Level
As you install furnaces, air conditioners, and thermostats, you’ll need to ensure everything is level. Since much of what you’ll be leveling is metal, a magnetic bubble level is a great hands-free option.
Here some of the best magnetic bubble levels:
In order to avoid losing various screws, nuts, and bolts, a magnetic tray will come in handy.
These are some great options for magnetic trays:
A megohmmeter is useful for HVAC professionals because it detects weak motor winding insulation, moisture accumulation, and acid formations from motor windings before more damage is caused.
Here are some of the best megohmmeters for HVAC professionals:
- Fluke 1507 Digital Megohmmeter Insulation Resistance Tester
- Supco M500 Megohmmeter Insulation Tester
Cable Tie Gun
Use a cable tie gun for optimal tensioning and cable tie cutting (flush to the cable tie head). It’ll also help with getting rid of the sharp snags left behind by the wire cutters.
These are a few cable tie guns you can choose from:
- Panduit GTS-E Ergonomic Hand Operated Cable Tie Gun
- Knoweasy Cable Tie Gun
- RV Rhodes Premium Cable Tie Gun
Electrical Tester Clamp Meter Kit
In order to diagnose control panels and electrical conditions, a clamp meter electrical test kit will include everything you need.
Take a look at a few great electrical tester clamp meter kits:
- Klein Tools CL120KIT Electrical Tester Clamp Meter Kit
- Fluke 116/323 HVAC Multimeter and Clamp Meter Combo Kit
Since it allows you to go anywhere (e.g. attic, outside unit, crawlspace, etc… ) both quickly and efficiently, a reciprocating saw (i.e. sawzall) is a highly useful tool for any HVAC technician. Plus, to further add to their versatility, you can purchase extra saw attachments for virtually any job you need.
Here’s a look at some of the best reciprocating saws for HVAC technicians:
- Milwaukee 6538-21 15 Amp Super Sawzall Reciprocating Saw
- DEWALT Bare-Tool DC385B 18-Volt Cordless Reciprocating Saw
- Makita JR3070CT AVT 15 Amp Reciprocating Saw
A staple gun will help fasten and add various materials to ducts.
Take a peek at some of the best staple guns for HVAC professionals:
- WORKPRO Heavy-Duty 4-in-1 Staple Gun Kit
- NuMax SFL618 Pneumatic 3-in-1 Staple Gun
- BOSTITCH MCN150 Staple Gun
Thermal Imaging Tool
A thermal imaging tool can be used in addition to a laser thermometer to help HVAC technicians inspect, diagnose, and monitor potential problems with HVAC equipment. It can also identify air leaks in the building envelope, water leaks, electrical problems, and so much more!
Here are a few top choices for thermal imaging tools:
Aviation and Tin Snips
In order to cut sheet metal, you’ll need both aviation and tin snips. Aviation snips will help you create precise turns in thick sheet metal. Tin snips will help you make straight cuts in thin metal.
These are some great options for aviation and tin snips:
- Crescent Wiss M3R MetalMaster Compound Action Snips
- MIDWEST MWT-6510C Tin Shears
- DEWALT DWHT14676 Snip Set
- Milwaukee 48-22-4533 Snip Set
- STANLEY FATMAX 14-563 Tin Snips
HVAC Safety and PPE
As you work, it’s important you protect yourself and your team by using proper HVAC safety and PPE.
In this section, we’ll talk about the essential HVAC tools you’ll need to follow proper HVAC safety and PPE protocols that will make your job not only safer but easier too.
Use these essential HVAC tools to help eliminate liability and ensure that you run a successful HVAC business for many years to come.
When you and your technicians work with loud HVAC tools, it’s important to wear ear plugs or a form of proper hearing protection.
Since you and your technicians will be working in a variety of unsafe, dirty conditions, such as crawl spaces, attics, etc, it’s VITAL everyone wears proper footwear. After all, there could be objects or pests that could be harmful. Plus, mistakes happen, and if any HVAC tools or equipment fall on your feet, you’ll be wearing protective shoes. Steel-toed boots are a great option for HVAC technicians!
In order to protect technicians from sharp metal edges, you’ll need adequate gloves. Plus, when you choose gloves with a non-conductive material, you’ll also be protected against electrical shortages.
Since HVAC technicians use a wide variety of chemicals, it’s important that YOU’RE wearing a mask AT ALL TIMES during this process. In addition, masks also protect against dirt and debris in hazardous places, such as crawl spaces and attics.
In order to protect you and your team from chemicals, sharp objects, dirt, debris, and weather, it’s absolutely essential that HVAC technicians wear protective overalls.
HVAC technicians need safety goggles to protect the eyes against harsh chemicals, contaminants, dirt, and debris.
A hard hat is a great way to protect yourself against any potential danger. Hard hats are especially helpful in protecting your head when you’re in high areas (like a roof), or in tight attics and crawl spaces.
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Grow Your Business Using the Best HVAC Tools
At last, you have everything you need to choose the best HVAC tools for your business.
Take advantage of these professionally recommended HVAC tools, and maybe even add a few extras to your tool bag to make your job easier.
Use this complete easy guide to help you start your HVAC business on the right foot with the most essential, best HVAC tools you need!