Coolant System Pressure Tester - Air-Powered or Hand Pump

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xXxPARAGONxXx

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Looking to buy a Snap-On coolant system pressure tester for future use. Snap-On offers an air-powered (P/N SVTS263A) and also a hand pump-style (P/N SVTS272A). $14 price difference.

I can't come up with any reasons for buying the air-powered version over the hand pump. I can use the hand pump version anywhere (e.g., going to a relative's home to troubleshoot a vehicle), whereas I'm limited to using the air-powered version at a home with an air compressor (which most of my relatives do not have).

What do others think? Any legitimate reason for buying the air-powered over the hand pump version?
 

454cid

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I'd be scared of accidentally pushing 100PSI into a cooling system with the air pressure one.

Also, how often do you plan on using it? That's an exceptionally expensive option if your not a full-time shop.

Links work for me now.... crap, BOTH those are expensive. I guess I should have known, given they're Snappy.

Just checked Harbor Freight, and even their versions are pricey. This inflation garbage is getting out of hand. I'd check Amazon, I guess. This isn't something I'd put a ton of money in, unless it was going to get used a lot. I certainly don't use mine very often.
 

Nad_Yvalhosert

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I have both, and both have their advantages.
The air powered one:
1: If you're low on coolant, it quickly pumps up the system pressure to find a leak.
2: If you suspect a bad head gasket, and want to perform a chemical test, you wont need to fill the radiator, thus diluting the potential exhaust gasses present in the coolant.
3: There's a dial on the unit to regulate the PSI, so there's no possibility of (@RichLo) "accidentally pushing 100PSI into a cooling system"
4: If you have a slow leak it will keep the pressure on the system, giving you time to find the leak, as opposed to needing to stop looking to pump up the pressure back up. Especially if the vehicle is up on a lift...
5: Impossible to do a leakdown test because it constantly recharges itself

The hand pump one:
1: Its slower and super easy to fine tune the PSI you apply.
2: When it's time to release the pressure, it's easy to meter the pressure drop and not cause a surge of coolant.
3: Transportable and usable anywhere regardless of availability of compressed air.

As I am a mechanic, the cost isn't as much of a deciding reason. Speed and efficiency performing the leak diagnosis is. Let the need for the tool be your main purchasing factor.
 
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xXxPARAGONxXx

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I have both, and both have their advantages.
The air powered one:
1: If you're low on coolant, it quickly pumps up the system pressure to find a leak.
2: If you suspect a bad head gasket, and want to perform a chemical test, you wont need to fill the radiator, thus diluting the potential exhaust gasses present in the coolant.
3: There's a dial on the unit to regulate the PSI, so there's no possibility of (@RichLo) "accidentally pushing 100PSI into a cooling system"
4: If you have a slow leak it will keep the pressure on the system, giving you time to find the leak, as opposed to needing to stop looking to pump up the pressure back up. Especially if the vehicle is up on a lift...
5: Impossible to do a leakdown test because it constantly recharges itself

The hand pump one:
1: Its slower and super easy to fine tune the PSI you apply.
2: When it's time to release the pressure, it's easy to meter the pressure drop and not cause a surge of coolant.
3: Transportable and usable anywhere regardless of availability of compressed air.

As I am a mechanic, the cost isn't as much of a deciding reason. Speed and efficiency performing the leak diagnosis is. Let the need for the tool be your main purchasing factor.
Great comparison. Thank you.
 
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