An ultrasound machine is one of the most common diagnostic imaging tools in clinics and hospitals today. Unlike radiology, ultrasound imaging does not produce radiation which is harmful to the human body. Apart from monitoring the fetus inside a mother’s womb, it is also used to peek through other tissues inside the body, such as the kidneys, heart, blood vessels, and more.
Whether you’re looking to replace your outdated machine or buy a new one for the first time, it is important to find the ultrasound machine that suits your budget and work needs.
You will find many makes and models of ultrasound machines but not all live up to the standards. If you’re in search for the best ultrasound machines, read on to find the leading brands this 2018. The buying guide at the end of this article will also help you streamline your search even more until you find the one to purchase.
Top Ultrasound Machines of 2018 Reviewed
1. Voluson E10Ultrasound Machine for OB/Gyn Use
Having four times the processing power of the previous model GE Voluson E8, the Voluson E10 features amazing efficiency and optimal performance.
Ideal for medical practitioners specializing in women’s healthcare, Voluson E10 is one of the leading ultrasound imaging machines in the world today. The equipment features 23″ widescreen LED monitor, 12.1″ navigation touch screen, HD Live to create unique anatomical perspectives and amazing details, semi-automated biometry, ultra-fast volume rates, and many flexible imaging formats. The Voluson E10 is the first commercially available curved matrix 4D Transducer.
This machine is equipped with software programs that maximize customer care, such as the “Scan Assistant” – an exam protocol tool that is customizable and flexible, and the ViewPoint™ and Tricefy™ inside that lets you connect and store encrypted images with colleagues and patients. Furthermore, this ultrasound machine also comes with advanced security features like the Whitelisting and HD encryption that protects sensitive data.
The manufacturer offers flexible financing, equipment maintenance, transducer protection, and responsive customer support.
- 4D probe technology
- Powerful processing capabilities
- HD Live
- Very expensive
2. Samsung UGEO WS80AUltrasound Machine for the Money
The Samsung UGEO WS80A features hybrid performing engine, powerful data processing, fast frame rate, and noise reduction capabilities perfect for both hospital and clinic use.
A top-notch model in the Samsung OB/GYN lineup, the Samsung UGEO WS80A is a premium unit with advanced diagnostic and 4D imaging capabilities. One of its best features is the Advanced Feto Realistic View™ (FVR) which is similar to the GE Voluson E10’s HDLive technology. The equipment features 21.5″ widescreen LED monitor, 10.5″ touch navigation screen, NT Measurement Solutions, auto-detection and measurement of fetal long bones, and a dual-level integrated gel warmer.
It also comes with the EZ Exam™ app which streamlines the step-by-step process of scanning images into one streamlined process in just a touch of a button. Another innovative app is the “Hello Mom” which wirelessly connects to the patient’s smartphone where the mom can access and share ultrasound images to friends and family.
- Advanced 4D technology
- Provides a more realistic views of the fetus
- dedicated automation technologies
- Meant for full-scale ultrasound clinics
3. GE Voluson S6Mid-range Ultrasound Machine
Designed to streamline imaging procedures, the GE Voluson S6 uses premium and high-end systems at a mid-range pricing.
GE Voluson S6 features a 19″ LED monitor, real-time 4D probe, and SonoBiometry. It uses the same platform as S8, without the HD Live, and with a few differences in function and transducer. The great thing about it is that it’s highly portable and can easily be transferred across rooms if needed. It incorporates some premium OB tools, such as the SonoVCAD heart and SonoVCADlabor. It also features SonoRender Start which quickly optimizes volume rendering with a touch of a button. Furthermore, the ViewPoint program enables you to create electronic reports.
All these features are designed to decrease time spent on image acquisition, analysis and reporting. This equates to more time providing quality patient care.
- Sleek design and lightweight
- Semi-automated biometry measurement
- No touch screen navigation
- No HD live
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4. Alpinion Ecube 7Economy Price Ultrasound Machine
The most affordable solution to your 3/4D imaging needs, the Alpinion Ecube 7 features a fast rendering speed and good image quality.
The Alpinion E-CUBE 7 is the only system its class that provides high featured single crystal transducer that results in highly clear images. The crystal transducer allows higher energy conversion efficiency and sensitivity, and a wider band. The imaging platform is designed to provide a stable imaging performance and quality. It is also upgradable to ensure that your ultrasound machine has the latest level of performance.
E-CUBE 7 features 18.5″ Wide LED monitor that tilts and swivels for your convenience, a mechanical 4D convex probe, and 4D modes. Its software programs include the Xpeed™ – a one-button optimization, and Auto IMT for carotid scanning (seen in early stage of arteriosclerosis). Furthermore, it integrates real-time image sharing capabilities where you can send live ultrasound images from E-CUBE to anywhere.
And because of its slim overall design, it makes a great imaging equipment for small clinics.
- Clear images
- Real-time ultrasound image sharing solution
- Basic features
5. GE Voluson-iPortable Ultrasound Machine
Designed for point-of-care and multi-location usage, the GE Voluson-i has gotten the approval of many medical practitioners because it’s easy to move around, keep secure, and send out for service.
The GE Voluson-i is the first portable ultrasound machine from GE. This machine offers features similar to the extremely popular Voluson 730 but with a more updated software and a bigger, clearer monitor. Despite being small and compact, you can rely on its excellent image quality. What’s more, it has the widest 4D probe choices among the ultrasound machines in the portable category.
The main features of Voluson-i are speckle reduction, high contrast resolution, and advanced transducers for creating high-quality 2D and 3D/4D images. The specializes transducers include convex, linear, transvaginal, and micro-convex.
GE Voluson incorporates several innovations for speedy imaging, analysis and reporting. These include the Spatio-Temporal Image Correlation (STIC) that captures real-time fetal heart cycle, Tomographic Ultrasound Imaging (TUI) that enables a simultaneous view of multiple parallel slices of a volume data set, and the Virtual Organ Computer-aided AnaLysis (VOCAL) that provide volume calculations.
- Advanced, console-quality performance
- High-end 4D solution
- 6 Mechanical 4D probes
- Not meant for full-scale hospital imaging
6. Samsung UGEO H60Hybrid Performing Ultrasound Machine
With its improved hardware and new software, the Samsung UGEO H60 features detailed scanning and top-quality images. The Samsung UGEO H60 features an 18.5″ LED monitor and 10.1″ touchscreen for navigation, an e-Motion marker which displays the direction of the transducer on the screen, and QuickScan technology.
It’s the main feature – the Hybrid Beamforming (also referred as spatial filtering) provides greater flexibility than standard omnidirectional reception and transmission. It has the ability to adapt to different situations, resulting in optimized processing. Therefore, data is processed more rapidly and accurately.
- Sleek and compact
- Excellent ergonomic
- Digital TGC on the touchscreen
- Lacks image-sharing capabilities
How to Choose an Ultrasound Machine
Here are some of the factors you should consider when buying an ultrasound machine.
The biggest factors to consider are the features which will greatly depend on how the machine will be used. Hospitals and clinics employ ultrasound imaging for different purposes, from determining the gender of the baby to tracking its growth and development, to determining tumors in tissues. If you’re looking for just a basic multipurpose ultrasound machine, your requirements will be different than those looking to use the machine for specialized procedures like a transesophageal echocardiogram.
Regardless of the type of ultrasound machine you are buying, there are a few features that should remain the same:
Frequency – the higher the frequency of the machine, the clearer the image is. Furthermore, the lower the frequency, the deeper the penetration.
Power Output – Many clinicians prefer ultrasound machines with lower power settings as machines with higher power output are at risk of burning tissues.
Other features that are nice to have would be the CW Doppler, 3D/4D option, Speckle Reduction Imaging, and color Doppler. It’s always great to learn about these features and how they will benefit the ultrasound imaging services you provide but you should be careful about investing in these features. Generally, the more features, the pricier the machine is.
If you plan to capitalize on these features though, you should know how much your clients are willing to pay. This is very important because buying a machine with a baby face imaging feature for a clinic or hospital where patients are hardly able to pay for a simple ultrasound, may not be worth it.
Traditional ultrasounds are bulky and heavy. For practitioners who are mobile and even in smaller clinics, portable ultrasound machines are more suitable. Majority of ultrasound-guided interventions are done using portable machines. The color Doppler ultrasound is an example of a portable ultrasound imaging device. Nonetheless, they do have some limitations too. Some portable ultrasound machines tend to have poor image quality, limited number of probes, smaller display size, as well as limited software features and functions.
If you run a standard medical clinic and have many patients coming in and out for ultrasound, you may consider choosing a full-scale ultrasound machine.
Another important factor to consider is the people who will use the machine. Will it be used by different technicians? They may have different experience so you may need one that your technicians will be comfortable with, or get additional training for them especially if you are introducing a modern machine with newer features. This should not be a problem as most manufacturers offer free training on using their machines.
You might be tempted to set a budget first of all before taking a look at the features you want and how you will use the machine. However, it should be the other way around. To achieve a realistic budget, you should be able to identify your requirements. Once you’ve figured out your working budget, the next thing to decide on is your payment plan. Are you able and willing to make a payment in straight cash? Or do you plan to pay in installments?
Although most people consider this to be the first factor that affects their choice when making a purchase, this, in fact, comes after the above-mentioned factors. The first thing to consider is your plan of payment. Are you ready to make full payment for your desired equipment? If not, an alternative is to ‘lease’ the equipment (depending on your local laws & the available banking/fiscal facilities). A comparison of both options should enable you to make a clear decision regarding payment. Generally speaking, those who intend to get better features and up-to-date technology opt for leasing; others prefer to pay in lump sum.
Parts & Services
Most ultrasound machines will perform well in many years and without a hassle. However, if something goes wrong and you will need technical support, you will have to go through your supplier. Check the warranty policy that comes with your ultrasound machine and discuss with your supplier your options in case your machine malfunctions. Do ask for spare-parts availability. If there’s a need to replace parts, ask what they keep in stock and the turnaround, especially for more difficult parts. In case the parts are expensive or scarcely available, it makes no sense to buy from that manufacturer. Make sure that the basic parts, such as the monitor, supplies, casters, keyboards, and panels are widely available.
Take time to study the service contract. If there are areas you don’t understand, consider asking an expert. If you find something not favorable, you can always negotiate. Manufacturers of the best ultrasound machines offer quality customer and technical support.
An ultrasound machine is a key tool that many medical practitioners rely on these days. Thanks to the constant innovation in sonography, this machine has dramatically improved, now with better features like 3D/4D for more detailed and accurate imaging.
Ultrasound machines come in different sizes and features. From high-end machines to compact, portable ones, you are likely to find the best ultrasound machine for your practice. You can start with our list of the best ultrasound machines to get started. Just keep in mind the pointers in our buying guide to be sure that you are getting the right one that fits your needs.