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Exploring the Differences Between Wet and Dry Leak Detectors

From government laboratories to covert military activities, the industry today uses innovative methods. Some of them need precise pressurization or depressurization to work, making leak detection systems important.

What is a Leak Detector and How Does it Work?Pfeiffer Helium Leak Detector

Leak detectors assess fluid or gas leakage in pressured or evacuated systems or locate component leaks.

Leak detectors are non-destructive testing (NDT) that monitor air leaking from a machine or industrial process. It detects helium partial pressure in a vacuum pump suction tube. Your leak detector choice—wet or dry—depends on the application.


Leak detectors are utilized in diverse industries since many applications demand a pressured or vacuum system. The following are some of the most typical leak-detection applications:

  • Optics
  • Aerospace
  • Pharmaceutical production and labs
  • Manufacturing medical devices
  • Particle accelerators
  • Manufacturing procedures
  • Food-grade ingredients
  • R&D
  • Defense 
  • Semiconductors

A leak monitor is usually needed in places that need to increase or decrease pressure to keep the system secure.

Wet and dry leak detectors have different setups and testing modes, so knowing the difference helps you pick. We'll evaluate each and assist you in choosing your application.

Choosing Between Wet and Dry Leak Detectors

Leak detection systems should be chosen based on their use, among other things. Oil-powered vacuum pumps in wet systems may produce small oil vapors. Oil-free dry leak detectors pollute nothing. A dry leak detector is preferable if your application demands no oil vapors.

Leak detection systems should be chosen based on more than just their application, but it's frequently the main reason. A few more differences exist. 

  • Maintenance

Once a year is advised for Wet leak detector maintenance unless used seldomly. Most annual maintenance comprises oil and filter changes and cleaning. High background levels, oil color, and smell indicate maintenance requirements. Modern leak detectors include maintenance counters that notify operators of maintenance needs.  

Dry leak detection devices need less maintenance since the vacuum pump uses no oil. Rotary lobe vacuum pumps may last up to four years between maintenance cycles. However, most dry leak detectors only require vacuum pump maintenance every two years.

  • Durability

Wet and dry leak detectors are durable and may last up to 10 years in clean situations. Dry systems need fewer oil changes and disposal, making maintenance simpler. Wet and dry leak detectors use air conditioning filters to preserve the electronics that need maintenance.

  • Design

Wet and dry leak detectors are simple and durable. Their software works similarly. However, the dry vacuum pump types' helium leak rate tightness differs. Both systems can do exterior, internal, over-pressure, and smell tests.

  • Cost

Wet and dry leak detector costs are similar due to their comparable design. Dry systems cost 3–5% more than wet ones, although reduced maintenance may balance the cost.

Trust A-VAC Industries for Helium Leak Detectors

Access to helpful support staff is essential for any device. A-VAC has specialized in the sales and service of world-renowned brands of Helium Leak Detector Mass Spectrometers and accessories since 1969. Our dedication to cutting-edge technology is reflected in our extensive line of helium leak detectors, which includes multipurpose, high-performance mobile, console, compact, workstation, modular, and sniffing solutions. A-VAC Industries genuinely cares about your satisfaction. Contact us today to find a leak detector that meets your needs.