The popularity of portable ultrasound devices is undoubtedly is growing day-by-day. A simple and logical reason behind this is that these mobile systems are becoming indispensable for several healthcare services.
They are proving to be versatile particularly for smaller labs and clinics. With easy movement across the clinic’s premises, these small devices make you serve more efficiently than a big, motionless machine. Thus, they need less space. Most machines are also moveable by hand and driven by a battery.
Just like other ultrasound devices, the portable ones are useful for analysis in several disciplines, including cardiology, abdominal, pediatrics, muscular, and vascular. They also are reliable for scrutinizing the development of the fetus and pediatric assessments of a baby’s spine and head.
The compact ultrasounds also facilitate quicker yet more precise diagnosis due to their ability to offer quality that bigger devices provide. An increasing number of physicians are recognizing the potential of these small devices and are trained to use them for better analysis in their practices.
Thus, it is becoming common for them to look for portable ultrasound devices for sale. This is why this post as a guide is written so that you can choose the most suitable ultrasound smartly by comprehending the different features and benefits.
Choosing the Right Portable Ultrasound Devices for Your Clinic
The advancements in image processing, ultrasound design, and probe technology have resulted in a variety of ultrasound uses across healthcare centers. Due to widespread usage, portable ultrasounds are available in different categories, ranging right from high-end models to handheld devices.
This also brings in different other factors such as size and features. So, let’s check out the buying factors that you should consider for choosing the most suitable portable ultrasound model.
Portable ultrasound devices are useful in almost any medical situation where time or space is less. Their inherent striking mobility makes them ideal for scanning bedside or on-the-go. For these reasons, these devices are highly advantageous for:
- Anesthesia/Pain Management
- Obstetrics (OB)/Gynecology (GYN)
- Musculoskeletal (MSK)
- Critical Care
You cannot buy smartly without knowing the purpose of investing in an ultrasound device. So, start by figuring out the primary purpose. In case of more than one purpose, arrange them in descending order of their usage percentage, such as 50% vascular, 25% abdomen, and 25% cardiac.
Despite the overwhelming variety, it is easy to choose the right system as per your aforementioned identified requirements and budget. By matching how to use one such system with the different categories available, you can successfully narrow down the list of preferences.
Regardless of the application, how to handle a portable ultrasound is the key to the right type you should choose. Similarly, it is important to know which ultrasound device type is likely to match these requirements. Following are the three types or categories of portable models:
- Handheld or tablet
Size and Weight
Both of them are critical factors to examine portable ultrasound devices for sale. The size is usually an indicator of its advanced capabilities and performance.
The laptop models have a monitor of 13 to 15 inches and have a weight ranging from 6 to 15 pounds. On the other hand, fold-down models come with two transducer ports. They weigh more than the laptop ones, within 10-20 pounds.
They are perfect when more than one transducer is in regular use, such as cardio or OB/GYN. Further, the frequency of changing probes is less, which means no potential harm and more efficiency. Handheld models featuring a view monitor truly weigh less, almost within a pound.
There is no need for being too technical here. You only need to know what you must have. For instance, for cardiac, would you require a Doppler and a stress echo? How wide-ranging your analysis will be?
Which technology will be required to fulfilling your requirements? Are your patients overweight or need some exceptional features? Find out the exact answers to these questions to know the wanted features!
You need to recognize the fact that portable ultrasound devices on sale are expensive, with their cost ranging from $1,000 to over $100,000. When you know how much you can spend, your search will be significantly narrowed.
Used or New Model
While a used device is more affordable, a new system is more expensive but comes with a satisfactory warranty. Nevertheless, several makers such as Sonoscape make new models at the cost of a used system.
Many buyers prefer to go with big brands or makers for peace of mind or for not getting the desired technologies from smaller manufacturers. Others prefer getting a new device from a small maker. This offers similar or better output over the used or refurbished models and over a year of warranty.
Probes on portable ultrasound devices are similar to those on the stationary models. The only major difference is the connector size. Well, this is smaller in the case of portable models.
Due to the handiness of higher-end probes, such as 4D cardiac and progressive elastography; the portable ones also tend to inherit them. Remember, the probe’s frequency is indirectly related to its depth.
As a thumb rule, lower frequency probes are for more profound penetration. These are between 2 and 5 MHz. The higher frequency probes are for imaging that is more cursory and clearer, which are between 10 and 16 MHz.
Many clinicians choose a model with low power, as the ones with high power output are likely to harm the tissue. Ensure that you choose a model with sufficient battery backup and several DC ports for charging.
It is wise to look for the safety requirements and certification ensuring that it fulfills the standards of your region. This will ensure that your patients will never be at risk.
Further, do check the warranty time and the service contract along with its renewal conditions. You should also find out the kind of support the maker provides if there is some issue. Lastly, go for a model whose replacement parts are easily accessible as well as affordable.
What Features to Consider Before Buy a portable ultrasound device?
Once you decide the right portable ultrasound type for the targeted hospital clinical purposes, it is now time to balance requirements and budget. Here, you need to assess the main features for balancing cost and performance.
To get started easily, just split the different brands into four categories namely, economy, mid-range, high-end, and handheld. While ultrasound technology has become compact, its high-end features are only applicable to fold-down and laptop systems.
Usually, quicker processing speed and higher frequency are a part of the most expensive ultrasounds. However, in terms of imaging performance, you should consider features such as better and more imaging options, boosted near-field resolution, 3D/4D capabilities, Doppler sensitivity, more transducers, lightweight, auto measurements, optimization, simple workflows, and structured reporting.
Features in High-End Portable Ultrasound Devices
These devices are expensive but have high-class features.
- Superb image quality
- Premium imaging with advanced technology
- 4D imaging for OB/GYN with Virtual HD or HDLive
- Compound imaging
- Incessant auto-image optimization
- Progressive quantification
- Streamlined workflow
- Single-crystal and advanced linear probes
- 4D echo and transesophageal echocardiography (TEE)
- Smart Doppler
- Needle visualization
- No speckle noise
- Solid State Hard Drive (SSHD)
Features in Mid-range Portable Ultrasound Devices
These machines diagnose quickly during most common scans. They are in high demand due to their reliable performance and affordable price. Thus, this category has the widest variety of models.
- Lean design
- Tissue Doppler imaging
- 4D options/modes
- Streamlined processes
- Needle visualization
- Probes for adult and pediatric cardiac scans
Feature in Economy Portable Ultrasound Devices
Although not having advanced technologies, these models facilitate an optimal negotiation of performance and cost. They are perhaps the most popular models due to their low-price range. The buyers of these models are those who are vets, are bringing the ultrasound technology into their practice, and have restricted advanced technology use (only for basic OB).
- General, OB/GYN, and MSK imaging
- Specific measurements for point-of-care needs
- Rugged design
- Image compounding
- Less speckling
- Good image quality
Top 10 Portable Ultrasound Devices: BUYERS GUIDE 2019
1.Chison ECO 5 ($3,555.00)
This is one of the most affordable and new-color Doppler ultrasound devices for beginners. You can expect better output quality than the other devices in this price range, customized option for improved workflows, and advanced imaging options such as compound imaging, and less speckling.
A notable feature is a 12-inch high-resolution LED monitor with a tilting ability up to 30 degrees and a wide viewing angle, a combination that is unusual in this category. Most economical LED screens typically have a limited viewing angle.
The device comes with measurements for urology, vascular, basic cardiac, pediatrics, OB/GYN, small parts, and abdomen. For urology, instead of the typical endocavity transducer, it comes with a rectal linear probe so that you can view the prostate more clearly.
- Superb imaging quality
- Ease of use and customization
- Highly affordable
- Extended warranty
- Slow bootup
2. Chison ECO 1
This is the new portable ultrasound device that is as small as a laptop and the first model in the ECO series. However, it surpasses all the first-generation models in terms of performance and design. It is truly made for easy and fast manageability.
Weighing only 4.5 kgs and featuring a Li-ion battery, it works for two hours anywhere. It is used by several physicians for urology, vascular, OB/GYN, small parts, pediatrics, and abdomen tests with its two transducer ports and software packages.
Some more features include ergonomic interface and 12-inch rotating LCD monitor.
- Premium design
- Quick bootup
- Anti-water coating
- Only basic use
3. GE Vivid iq
This high-end, 10-pound device is the inheritor of the brand’s highly popular and advanced portable cardiovascular models namely, Vivid i and q. The redesigned model is truly made for premium cardiovascular imaging but it is also capable of vascular, abdomen, small parts, and OB/GYN imaging.
This premium touchscreen model comes with advanced quantification options such as RAW data, tissue sync, tissue velocity imaging, auto-IMT, and strain rate. It also comes with 4D TEE and ICE transducers, which is rare in portable models. The closed interface makes it convenient to clean.
- Lighter than its predecessors
- Advanced quantification tools
- Superior image quality
- Ease of use
- No keyboard
4. Vivid E9
This is the redesigned version of the Vivid 7 Dimension and is admired for 4D cardiac imaging and user-friendly ergonomics. It is a highly customizable, powerful model also known for its accelerated volume architecture meaning improved resolution and eight times the processing power meaning a wide field view.
Thus, it is ideal for scanning the whole heart with sufficient frame rates and complete diagnostic details. You can expect the best 4D cardiac output with a never-easier-before working. With a slim design, 17-inch tilting swiveling LCD, and an ergonomic keyboard, this one is perhaps both convenient and comfortable.
If you are on a budget, consider getting a used Vivid E9! You will not be disappointed!
- Light design
- Speedy performance
- Wide cardiac output
- Several transducers
- Advanced probe technologies
- Ergonomic imaging
- Only ideal for cardiac and vascular scans
5. GE Voluson E8
Based on the popular Voluson 730 series, this portable 4D ultrasound device is perhaps the new standard for superb OB/GYN, 4D scans, and radiology. A special feature available in a few versions is HDLive, an imaging technique for 4D viewing, depth perception, and anatomical reality.
HDLive features a moveable virtual light source for showing shadows on the face, which shows a real baby view. The 23-inch LED monitor for multi-touch imaging, tailored formats, ergonomic design, and easy setting for optimal visualization are some of its salient features.
The features boost fetal cardiovascular visualization, improve echo exams’ quality, heart function indicators, and arrhythmia assessment. The device has more probes and options than E6.
- Super image management
- Full functionality and performance
- Ease of use
- Some trial and error initially
6. Sonoscape S2 ($5,999.00)
This is a low-mid range color Doppler device. While it is a shared service device, it is ideal for its 2D high-quality imaging capabilities. The device comes with advanced imaging capabilities such as speckle reduction and compound imaging.
This portable device is ideal for OB/GYN, ortho, small parts, vascular, abdominal, urology, MSK, breast, urology, pain management, and superficial imaging. Some of its salient features include post-measurement and software packages, professional reports, 15-inch LCD, two probe sockets, and presets.
- Ergonomic design
- Low price
- Superb image quality
- Optimum workflow
- Several transducers
- Different operating modes
- No tilting or touchscreen monitor
7. Sonoscape E2 ($6,666.00)
This is an economy color Doppler ultrasound device for MSK, gynecology, pediatric, cardiac, vet, urology, abdominal, obstetrical, vascular, cephalic, and small parts exams. It comes with advanced technologies such as multi-beam processing, digital beamformer, and multi-beam processing.
The device encompasses basic to in-depth and full profiles screening with upscale options such as improved needle visualization, auto IMT, auto-image optimization, 15.6-inch LED, panoramic imaging, spatial compounding, and two probe ports.
The E2, unlike E1, fulfills the higher requirements in terms of modes, as it covers a variety of modes including bi-directional Doppler and simultaneous.
- Satisfactory image quality
- Smooth workflow
- Several modes
- No tilting or touchscreen monitor
8. Voluson I
This is perhaps an ideal option for those who want to start with a 4D ultrasound system for women’s health. Many sonographers, physicians, and other experts find this one to be the best portable devices today.
Keeping up with the competition, this device offers the best image quality and frame rates. Although the price is high, Voluson I has retained its value through its quality. The 11-pound system comes with fetal heart and volume imaging as well as many imaging automation options.
With battery-powered options or AC power drive, this system is perfect for emergency situations, point-of-care cases, and fixed exam rooms. Key technologies seem to come from the costlier Voluson E8, including STIC and SonoVCAD heart.
- Advanced performance
- High-end 4D output
- Several 4D probes
- Not for full-scale imaging
- No touchscreen
9. Samsung Medison Sonoace R3
This is an ultra-portable general imaging device that is quick and powerful as a device being three times bigger in size. With a laptop size, this device is highly portable and bootable in a few seconds.
The image quality and functionality are similar to a premium device. It is intuitive, easy to navigate, and has good software packages for satisfactory workflow. The device has multi-purpose applications including pediatrics, small parts, abdominal, and obstetrics. Some more salient features include different modes, 15-inch LCD, one-touch optimization, and superb connectivity.
- Powerful imaging
- Optimized and fast
- User-friendly design
- Many transducers
- No touchscreen or tilting
10. Siemens Acuson P500
This is a robust and compact ultrasound device that supports a myriad of applications by being at the bedside. Considered as an ideal imaging device, Acuson P500 boosts diagnostic accuracy in emergency or Point of Care (POC) situations. You can expect striking image quality, quick scanning, and standardized clinical output for most cases.
There are advanced imaging options taking patient care to a high level. For example, Dynamic TCE tissue allows visualizing the most subtle changes in the tissue, whereas Dynamic Persistence and Auto Flash boost color sensitivity and limit noise as well as motion artifacts.
- High warranty period (5 years)
- Great imaging quality
- Quick boot
- Advanced features
- No tilting
Portable ultrasound devices are popular for their compactness, size, advanced functionality, and affordability. They are the choice of emergency departments, radiologists, and private practitioners.
While shopping for the most suitable portable ultrasound for your requirements, consider having an ideal balance of cost and performance is essential. For this, you need to go through the different models and then shortlist the most reliable and promising ones. For such models, you can consider the official site of cardomedical.