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What Portable Ultrasound Machine Should You Buy?

02. 18, 22

SonoBook 9

 SonoBook 9

Over the past twenty years of producing diagnostic ultrasound, one of the most common questions we get from customers is what ultrasound machine should I buy, whether this is someone buying for a department, a clinic, sports club or as an individual.


You will see that you have to get good access to a machine to develop your skills! Otherwise it is like learning to play the guitar without access to a guitar! It just won't happen! We would suggest at least two days a week you need access to a machine to make steady progress and acquire the skill… ideally more. If not, maybe you need to buy your own machine! A great investment IMO.


Good ultrasound machines are worth to spend more, so making the right decision is very important. So, take your time, ask the experts (independent ones) and carry out your own research.


Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself before you buy:


How much money do you have to spend?


The first most important one is how much money can you spend. It's quite simple with ultrasound machines. Generally speaking, the more money you spend, the better the machine.


But also, and one aspect many don't think about is…the more you spend initially the less likely you will want to upgrade the machine in 2-3 years. Often people buy a poor quality cheap machine or a handheld machine and want to upgrade their machine after 2-3 years. Buy cheap, buy twice! We always try and recommend people spend as much as they can as essentially you are making a long-term investment in your career.


Good ultrasound machines are not cheap! As you get better at scanning you want to see more structures in greater detail, and you will require a better image. It is harder to scan on poorer quality machines. Firstly you need to set your budget and compare several brands within this price range. Then search for all feedback on the internet. You can also ask people with experience in using a certain product how they feel about it. It would be best to have a hands-on use before you make the order.


Ultrasound is highly operator and machine dependent imaging modality. Some said you will need to spend approximately £10000 if you want a machine that will suffice for all areas of the body and will last for the next 5 – 10 years. Quite simply, as you get better at scanning you want to see more. For example, the deeper structures around the hip, small nerves or proximal hamstring. So many wished they just bought a better machine and spent more money in the first place.


Should you buy a second hand portable ultrasound machine?


On occasion you will find a reasonable machine for a second hand on Ebay or one of the re-sale sites. Be aware; you don't know who you are buying from. We would always recommend you to consult the original manufacturers or direct distributorstry before you buy. Second-hand machines on e-Bay are also very unlikely to have a warranty and if something goes wrong it can be very costly! We are always happy for people to email us at CHISON if you are unsure about what machine to buy, would like our opinion on a machine or just want more advise.


What will you be using it for?

This is a really important question and will affect what machine is appropriate for you. Ultrasound is being used by a variety of clinicians for many different reasons. If you want to use your machine for all musculoskeletal areas, then you need to aim for a high end machine with excellent image quality. However, if you will be using ultrasound to answer a primary clinical question then a moderate-priced machine with a poorer image quality may suffice. A handheld ultrasound machine may be adequate to answer the question. 


SonoBook 8

SonoBook 9

Top Five Tips

1. Buy Cheap, buy twice! You get what you pay for. Bargains do not exist!

2. If you do buy cheap (less than £10,000) be aware that you are likely to want a new machine in 2-3 years.

3. Think very carefully before you buy a handheld machine. Compare it to other machines and ensure it will be adequate for what you want to use it for.

4. Do not buy a machine if you have not tried it. Try before you buy!

5. Beware eBay buys or buying anything without a warranty! Do your research!


There are new machines coming out all the time and , obviously, some of them are typical to choose. Please fee free to email us if you need any professional guidance in the use of ultrasound machine.

If you have no idea what to do, then please email me and ensure you spend wisely !!

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