Air conditioning units of all kinds rely on lots of interchangeable parts to lower the temperature in your home or car. But like any piece of technology, they need constant maintenance to continue functioning. The good thing is that in doing so, an air conditioner’s life expectancy can go into the decades. One of the most common damaged pieces on ACs is the fins that rest on the condenser.
They’re easy to spot, usually colored black or silver and in the shape of a grill. Take a look at your fins. Do you notice any that are bent? If so, an AC fin comb will restore them back to their original state. Below are some of the best ac fin combs found online, chosen for their ability to fix fins without causing damage. Let’s look further.
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List of the Best AC Fin Combs
Why Are Fin Combs Important?
The condenser is a part of an AC that houses fins. Its main purpose is to push warm air out of your AC. If warm air cannot escape, your AC must work harder to keep your indoor space cooler. If it gets too clogged, this can lower the age of your AC and make it harder to maintain stable room temperature in your home.
Even if you avoid accidentally touching the fins or bending them yourself, natural weather events such as hail can flatten them. Over time, too many flat fins will disrupt airflow and need to be fixed. Thankfully, this isn’t a job that you must hire an HVAC technician to do. With a condenser fin comb, you can return your AC to a new-like state, whereby you’ll be able to tell the difference in indoor temps immediately after the job is complete.
Where Fin Combs can be Used
Fin combs are useful on virtually any air conditioner that has a condenser, so long as the comb is adequate for the fins’ size. A radiator fin comb might be better for some car cooling systems, depending on the size of the fins. Fin combs aren’t exclusive to central AC/heating units, either.
You can use fin combs for window ACs, or even wall mounted conditioners. So long as you’re aware of the fin sizes, few units aren’t capable of having their fins restored with a fin comb.
How to Choose the Best Fin Comb for Your AC
First, find out how many fins are housed on your condenser. This is measured on a per-inch gauge. For example, if you count 12 fins every inch that passes on the condenser, it would read as 12 FPI (this acronym is sometimes used in place of “fins per-inch”).
There’s no magic trick required to find this out. Just get a tape measure or ruler and bring it close to the fins that you intend to repair. Write down the number of fins you see before the one-inch mark and that’s it.
If you’re having trouble getting an accurate FPI measurement, try measuring the number of fins for two inches, and divide that number by two.
Many brands that manufacture AC fins produce them in multiple sizes, so you’ll likely end up with one that has more than what’s needed. Still, check that the product features the size you want to avoid time-consuming returns.
Fin Comb Materials
Because metal and still have a higher risk of damaging fins, most fin combs are made of flexible plastic or nylon. There’s less tension between metal fins and plastic comb teeth, allowing them to be moved more gently. However, this could come at the expense of the fin comb itself. Plastic rubbing against any sort of metal could damage the teeth, sometimes during first-time use.
Alternatively, there are fin combs made of steel. These are oftentimes more suitable for small radiators. Some air conditioner condensers might be better off with steel combs as well, particularly if the damages are minimal. But for flat fins, steel combs are not recommended and you could end up with even more damage than you had before.
How to Use a Fin Comb
Using a fin comb is very easy to do. It requires little skill, save for ensuring that you don’t rush things. Again, taking your time is key to getting your fins straightened without making any mistake in the process. Check how flat the fins are before proceeding; you might need to use a knife alongside the comb, getting them positioned at just the right angle to move them through the teeth.
The slower you move, the less likely damage is to occur. Rushing through the straightening is the fastest way to destroy your comb. In short, always take your time!
Above all, always start at a position where they aren’t damaged. Pivot the comb when you must but do so only when there’s enough space to turn them all simultaneously.
Top 5 Best AC Fin Combs Reviewed
Robinair Fin Straightener
The Robinair Fin Straightener has combs that are attached to a small handle. To use it, you’ll have to angle the handle due to the way that it’s shaped. This isn’t a nuisance to do and the additional heads attached are within the grip’s reach if a finer or more spacious comb is preferred. As you move the combs down the fins, you’ll also pull away any debris that’s stuck in between. It’s a great way to clean fins that aren’t damaged, especially if their sensitivity keeps you from using a hose to clean them down.
Two sets are included with the Robinair Fin Straightener. The sizes provided are all within range of the average household AC condenser. That means you use them later on any radiators or other AC units that need straightening.
The thing that we like the most about this set is that the grips are rock solid and easy to hold. Conclusively, there’s little to dislike about the Robinair Fin Straightener. It’s built-in a way that makes fin repair less tedious to carry out.
Supco FCR6 Fin Comb Ring
The Supco FCR6 Fin Comb Ring are six color-coded fin combs built in sizes ranging from 8-20 FPI. Each is linked to a keychain to carry them around and to store without losing. It doesn’t have 19 FPI included so look at the other combs if you can’t go over or under this measurement. There are six pieces with two comb sets on opposite ends.
Because of their length, these are suggested for people with condensers that require you to reach it from an odd angle, such as that on a window AC. The teeth are dense but soft, having no tension when pulling fins up when completely flat. Even if they’re crushed, you’ll get them up without having to resort to a risker knife. If you pace yourself, the Supco Fin Comb Ring is able to restore your fins to near-perfect straightness.
Malco FST2 Fin Straightening Tool
The Malco FST2 Fin Straightening Tool that has great handling. The handle alone makes it recommended. You can switch to different combs by turning the dial that’s fixed to the handle’s top. It’s great on sensitive fins, such as aluminum. The teeth can bring them straight in one slow pass, including those that are flat. It has no additional sets but those featured on the head are 16, 18, 20, and 22 FPI.
Using this on some fins may damage the teeth, especially on condensers that are heavily damaged. As such, the Malco FST2 is best for spot fixes. Don’t expect a section of the head to last for two or more sessions without getting scratched. In any case, it remains a good product and works as advertised.
GooM Fin Comb
The GooM Fin Comb is suitable for both removing dirt from fins that are already straight and preparing those that are slightly bent.
Compared to the other fin combs detailed, this one is shaped a little bit differently. At first glance, you might even mistake it for a paintbrush. It’s not built for heavily bent and/or flat fins. Its teeth are made of steel with adjustable tension. The small white pieces in the center of the teeth have this purpose, which is ideal for restoring fins in small radiators and condensers alike.
Store it in your garage and it’ll never corrode, making it one of the combs that’ll last longer than one session. While it would be better if the GooM has a better handle, the grip provided is enough to keep you from jerking it around when teeth are moving the fins.
Allstar Radiator Fin Comb Kit
Last but not least, the Allstar Radiator Fin Comb Kit is a fin comb kit specially designed for radiators. Six heads are given, able to be switched by hooking them to a plastic handle. Sizes are between 12 and 20, with no heads for 14 and 19. Clamping them to the handle is easy to do and fast with no head movement during straightening.
Tension is kept to a minimum when working at a slow pace. Yet out of the products shown, this one is most susceptible to teeth damage when running them through fins with too much force. But if you move between one section and start in an area where there’s no damage, this shouldn’t happen.
Even though AC fins are not a moving part, they still need to be maintained. A comb’s fins per-inch and teeth durability are indicative of what product is best for a particular condenser or radiator. And because of this, our top choice is the Robinair Fin Straightener, the first comb evaluated.
Sizing is made to the standards of most home ACs, with finer teeth to use on other cooling systems. This isn’t a put down to the rest of the fin combs; they’re also dependable enough to warrant serious consideration. Pick the one that you like the most and let your AC unit work to its maximum capacity!