Best all-round
  • Cleans well
  • Useful accessories
  • Detachable power cord
Best high-end
  • Reliable
  • Long maximum cleaning cycle
  • Detachable power cord
Best on a budget
  • Cheap
  • Doesn't take up much space
  • FCC, ICES, cETL/ETL certified
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When it comes to in-depth cleaning of items, ultrasonic cleaners are the ultimate tool. They can clean jewelry, dentures, glasses, fuel injectors and tools without breaking a sweat. They are also perfect for cleaning larger stuff, like carburators and gun components.

Nowadays, ultrasonic cleaning is not just limited to professionals. Anyone can buy an ultrasonic cleaner for use at home. Why take your stuff to be professionally cleaned, when you can just as easily (and cheaper!) do it yourself?

There are many ultrasonic cleaners available on the market. In this article I will share which ones are best, and the things you need to keep in mind when buying one.

Let’s take a closer look at which ultrasonic cleaner is best for you!

What is an ultrasonic cleaner and how does it work?

Before looking at which ultrasonic cleaner to buy, let’s quickly go over what an ultrasonic cleaner is and how it works.

An ultrasonic cleaner is a tool that uses ultrasound waves to clean objects. It is used for cleaning a wide range of items, from delicate jewelry to dirty carburetors, from eyeglasses to industrial products.

The ultrasonic cleaning process works through acoustic cavitation. This is a process that creates tiny imploding bubbles on a microscopic scale. When these bubbles implode, they generate forces that create a cleaning effect.

Ultrasonic cleaners are always used in combination with a liquid cleaning solution. The liquid transfers the ultrasound waves to the surface of the object being cleaned, and also helps remove contaminants.

This article looks mostly at the best ultrasonic cleaners on the market today. If you interested in reading more about ultrasonic cleaning, I recommend reading The Ultimate Guide to Ultrasonic Cleaning. It gives more information on how to get the best results from your cleaner, explains the do’s and dont’s, and looks at which liquid cleaning solutions are best for the items that you want to clean.

What are the benefits of ultrasonic cleaners?

Let’s go over some of the benefits of ultrasonic cleaning compared to other cleaning methods.

  • It can clean almost any contaminant. With the right cleaning solution, ultrasonic cleaners can remove almost any contaminant. You can use it to remove oil, dirt, fingerprint smudges, old paint, burned carbon and so on. You can do this on objects made from most metals (including jewelry made from silver, gold, platinum and brass casings), plastics, glass, ceramics and more.
    There are a couple of exceptions however, and it is important to use the correct cleaning solution for the object you intent to clean. Aluminium, for example, can corrode when cleaned with the wrong solution.
  • Cleans in the hardest to reach spots. The ultrasound waves in the cleaning solution reach places that you otherwise would not be able to reach by hand.
  • Little time and effort required. Once you have your cleaning process dialed in, there is not much you have to do. Aside from inserting and removing objects from the ultrasonic cleaner basket and pressing a few buttons, you are free to spend your time doing whatever you want while the cleaning is done for you.
  • Safe for you and for the environment. Unlike with other cleaning methods, there is no need to use harsh solvents. Not only are these damaging for the environment, but also for your skin and lungs. In addition, there is no risk of cutting yourself with sharp objects, like when manually cleaning drill bits, scalpels or other sharp instruments.

With all these benefits, a good ultrasonic cleaner easily pays for itself. You free up your time not having to clean things by hand, and you don’t have to spend money on expensive solvents. Plus you also don’t need to go out and have your stuff professionally cleaned anymore, which saves both time and money!

Top ultrasonic cleaners

InvisiClean IC-2755

Best all-round

Your everyday household items and personal accessoires, like eyeglasses, watches and jewelry, do not get extremely filthy. They typically get dirty with skin cells, skin oils and smudges. For that reason, in order to clean these items you don’t need a fancy or large ultrasonic cleaner. You do want something that is reliable and does a proper job however.

The InvisiClean IC-2755 is an ultrasonic cleaner that does just that. It is powerful enough for all your basic cleaning needs, has a built-in fan so that it does not easily overheat, and has a solid 27oz (800ml) stainless steel tank with enough space for your typical jewelry and household objects.

In addition, it comes with a removable basket, as well as with a curved holder that you can use to place your watch or small pieces of jewelry on. With its dual transducers it transmits ultrasonic energy better throughout the tank than other ultrasonic cleaners, which results in better overall cleaning.

Top Features

  • Dual transducers
  • 5 timer settings
  • Comes with watch/jewelry holder

Technical Details

Power 55W
Tank capacity Max fill: 22oz / 650 ml
Total tank capacity: 27 oz / 800ml
Tank dimensions 7.1 x 3.4 x 2.3 inches
Timer 90-180-300-480-600 seconds
Overall dimensions 8.7 x 5.4 x 5.6 inches

Pros

  • Cleans well
  • Useful accessories
  • Detachable power cord

Cons

  • Won't fit more than a large pair of eyeglasses

iSonic P4821-BSB

Best high-end

Commercial ultrasonic cleaners are often used more intensively, and for that you need a model that is up to the task. Not only does it need to run for longer periods without overheating, but it also needs to be more durable and reliable so that it does not break down.

The iSonic P4821-BSB offers you just that. It is a durable ultrasonic cleaner that is designed with reliability in mind and can run for longer periods without cooling down.

The unit comes with a generous 2.6 Qt / 2.5 L tank that fits up to medium-sized items. Instead of buttons on the control panel, it comes with touch sensitive controls. This allows the control panel to be waterproof and makes the device less likely to break down.

With this unit, you can be assured the unit breaking down and having unnecessary downtime.

Top Features

  • Waterproof control panel
  • Heater
  • Degas function

Technical Details

Total power 160 W
Heater power 100 W
Ultrasonic frequency 35 kHz
Timer 1-30 minutes
Tank capacity 2.6 Qt / 2.5 L
Tank dimensions 9.6" x 5.9" x 3"
24.5 x 15 x 7.6 cm
Overall dimensions 12.4" x 9.6"x 8"
31.4 x 24.3 x 20.4 cm

Pros

  • Reliable
  • Long maximum cleaning cycle
  • Detachable power cord

Cons

  • Unevenly distributed cavitation

Magnasonic MGUC500

Best on a budget

Even on a budget it is possible to obtain a decent ultrasonic cleaner. It won’t have as much power as other, more expensive, ultrasonic cleaners, but to compensate for that you can clean your items for a longer period of time. The tank capacity also won’t be exceptional, but this is not a problem if you only plan on cleaning small items.

The Magnasonic MGUC500 is one of the most popular budget ultrasonic cleaners available, mainly for its low price and excellent value. It is good enough for simple cleaning jobs and won’t break the bank.

You can use it to clean small items, such as jewelry and eyeglasses, without having to spend a lot of money. It is not as powerful as other ultrasonic cleaners, but it still gets the job done (it might take a bit longer!).

Despite its low price, this ultrasonic cleaner still comes with a cleaning basket to clean delicate items in. It also comes with a year of manufacturer’s warranty, so you are covered if anything happens to the machine in its first year of use.

Top Features

  • Easy to use
  • Compact
  • 1 year of warranty

Technical Details

Power 35 W
Ultrasonic frequency 42 kHz
Timer 90/180/280/380/480 seconds
Tank capacity 20 oz / 600 ml
Tank dimensions 5.4 x 3.6 x 2.1 inches
Overall dimensions 5.4 x 8.2 x 5.8 inches
137.2 x 208.3 x 147.3 mm

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Doesn't take up much space
  • FCC, ICES, cETL/ETL certified

Cons

  • Questionable reliability
  • Small tank size

iSonic P4820-WSB

Best with medium capacity

Medium-sized items, like handheld tools and firearm parts, need to be cleaned too. Typically these do not fit in small ultrasonic cleaners. So for these items you want an ultrasonic cleaner with a larger tank capacity. A larger tank is also useful when you want to clean large batches of smaller objects without having to run the ultrasonic cleaner multiple times.

The iSonic P4820-WSB is an ultrasonic cleaner that enables you to do just that. Aside from the usual functions you would expect from a good ultrasonic cleaner, it comes with a 2.6 Qt / 2.5 L stainless steel tank in which you can clean quite a bit at once.

Not only does this ultrasonic cleaner come with a larger tank, it also has a powerful built-in heater. Ultrasonic cleaning solutions work better at higher temperatures, and this lets you raise the solution’s temperature to get even better cleaning results. This way, harder to remove contaminants like grease and baked-on carbon come off more easily.

This model is your best choice when it comes to cleaning medium-sized items like firearm parts, bike parts and handheld tools.

Top Features

  • Built-in heater
  • Polished tank for easy cleaning
  • Overheat protection

Technical Details

Total power 160 W
Heater power 100 W
Ultrasonic frequency 35 kHz
Timer 90-180-280-380-480 seconds
Tank capacity 2.6 Qt / 2.5 L
Tank dimensions 9.8" x 5.8" x 3.1"
Overall dimensions 11.4" x 8.8" x 7.3"

Pros

  • Well sized tank
  • Easy to clean
  • Powerful cleaning at 35 kHz ultrasound frequency

Cons

  • Noisy when lid is not placed on device

DK SONIC DK-3000S

Best with large capacity

Even large items can be ultrasonically cleaned. Some examples of these are carburetors, car and bike parts, engine parts and large tools. These objects are not only large, but typically get more dirty than other objects. So it is important to have an ultrasonic cleaner with a powerful cleaning functionality in addition to a large tank.

The DK SONIC DK-3000S ultrasonic cleaner is perfect for cleaning large, heavily contaminated objects. It has a large collection of features, making it one of the most versatile ultrasonic cleaners out there. It also allows you to clean with both 28 kHz and 40 kHz frequencies, meaning that you can use it to clean heavily soiled items (with 28 kHz) as well as more delicate parts that need more precise cleaning (40 kHz).

Aside from giving you the option to clean at two frequencies, for either intense or more precise cleaning, this ultrasonic cleaner also gives you full control over the cleaning solution temperature (32-176 ºF / 0-80 ºC) and cleaning time (1-99 min). This lets you get consistent cleaning results each time. And because of its built-in drain valve, emptying the stainless steel tank is a breeze.

If you need to clean big stuff, this cleaner is for you. It is perfect for heavily soiled auto parts, bike parts, large tools and factory equipment. Its large size allows you to clean an entire bank of carburetors without even having to take them apart.

Top Features

  • Dual frequency cleaning
  • Full control over cleaning solution temperature
  • Degas function

Technical Details

Ultrasonic power 600W
Ultrasonic frequency 28 & 40 kHz
Heating power 500W
Temperature range 32-176 ºF / 0-80 ºC
Timer 1-99 min
Tank capacity 8 gal. / 30 L
Tank dimensions 500*300*200mm
Overall dimensions 550*330*380mm

Pros

  • Large capacity
  • Drain valve
  • Multiple cleaning frequencies

Cons

  • Loud

Crest CP500D

Best for cleaning PCBs

Ultrasonically cleaning printed circuit boards can be a bit of a challenge. Dirt and crud comes off relatively easily, but flux and other soldering residues are harder to remove. Not only that, but larger PCBs often don’t fit in regular sized ultrasonic cleaners because of their large surface area and thin profile. Thus, for cleaning PCBs you need an ultrasonic cleaner that is both powerful and has a long, thin tank.

One of the most popular ultrasonic cleaners for cleaning PCBs that offers these features is the Crest CP500D. It is often used for cleaning larger PCBs, such as 13″, 15″ and 17″ MacBook Pro logic boards.

It is able to clean contaminated PCBs in one go, without any pre-cleaning. It also heats the cleaning solution up fast, so there is no need to wait a long time for it to heat up like with some other ultrasonic cleaners. All in all, it will save you a lot of time.

This ultrasonic cleaner comes with a sweep function, which slightly varies the ultrasonic frequency over time to prevent dead zones and hot spots. What this ultimately means is that there is a lot less risk of damage to sensitive electronics components. In addition, you are able to fully adjust the cleaner’s power to match the cleaning task at hand. No need to worry about accidentally damaging sensitive electronic components with too much ultrasonic power.

In combination with an appropriate cleaning solution like Branson EC, you will be able to remove dirt and any trace of flux and soldering residue in one go without having to pre-rinse or brush your boards.

Top Features

  • Sweep function
  • Adjustable power
  • Degas mode

Technical Details

Ultrasonic power 120 W
Ultrasonic frequency 45 & 132 kHz
Heating power 400 W
Temperature range Up to 176 ºF / 80 ºC
Timer 1-99 min or continuous
Tank capacity 1.4 gal / 5.4L
Tank dimensions 11.75 x 9.5 x 8"
297 x 237 x 200 mm

Pros

  • Ideal size for PCBs
  • Powerful
  • 2 year warranty

Cons

  • Basket must be purchased separately.

iSonic P4875II+MVR10

Best for cleaning vinyl records

Vinyl records have a tendency to get dirty. Whether it is dust, fingerprints, smudges or other debris, it finds its way onto the surface and into the grooves of the record. For many vinyl collectors, cleaning all of their dirty records by hand would be an arduous task. Luckily, ultrasonic cleaning is one of the best methods to clean records. But in order to do so, you will need a quality ultrasonic vinyl record cleaner.

The iSonic P4875II+MVR10 is one of the best ultrasonic record cleaners on the market. The machine holds up to 10 records at once, which makes it ideal for cleaning large collections. Its motorized fixture automatically rotates the records as they are being cleaned. Not only is there minimal labor involved in cleaning, but with 10 records at a time it will be finished in no-time. An ideal solution if you have a lot of records to clean, but don’t want to spend all of your time doing so.

This ultrasonic vinyl cleaner comes with label protectors that seal the label areas on the records off against water. That way, there is no risk of the labels ending up with water damage. Many older labels are prone to bleeding due to water soluble inks and it is important to prevent water coming into contact with them. With the iSonic P4875II this is not something you constantly have to keep an eye on.

If you are tired of cleaning dirty vinyl records by hand, this motorized ultrasonic vinyl record cleaner will not only do most of the work for you, but also gives you better results. That way you can spend more time listening to your records, but from now on with a lot less pops, crackles and background noise.

Top Features

  • Cleans up to 10 records at once
  • Label protectors protect labels against water
  • Drainage valve to easily empty the tank

Technical Details

Total power 165 W
Ultrasonic frequency 35 kHz
Timer 1-30 minutes
Tank capacity Max fill: 1.6 gal. / 6 L
Total tank capacity: 2 gal. / 7.5 L
Tank dimensions 13" x 9.4" x 4.1"
33.1 x 23.8 x 10.5 cm
Overall dimensions 20.3" x 13.8" x 9.6"
51.5 x 35 x 24.3 cm

Pros

  • Drastically better sounding records
  • Cleans a lot of records in a short amount of time
  • Fairly quiet during operation

Cons

  • Included cleaning solution is not that good
  • Heating function is unnecessary for vinyl

iSonic F3900

Best for dental appliances

Dentures, as well as retainers, Invisalign aligners, mouth guards and night guards, can be hard to clean. They build up tartar, calculus and stains from coffee, food, tobacco, and so on. Rinsing and brushing them by hand is possible, but it is a lot of work and does not get them as clean as a professional cleaning would.

With an ultrasonic cleaner however, cleaning dentures and other dental appliances becomes a breeze. With a good cleaning powder, removing stains and disinfection can be done in one go. You don’t need anything fancy, a simple ultrasonic cleaner for dentures will do the job.

The iSonic F3900 is an excellent choice for this. If you want to have a clean retainer, aligner, mouth/night guard or set of dentures, this is the ultrasonic cleaner to get. It is a compact machine that can remove stains and disinfect at the same time, allowing you to spend your time on other things than cleaning your dental appliance by hand every day.

This machine does not come with a lot of bells and whistles but does exactly what it is supposed to do. It has a simple to use interface and turns itself off automatically after 5 minutes. Its small size means that it does not take up a lot of space on your nightstand or bathroom sink, and you can store it almost anywhere when not in use.

Top Features

  • Compact
  • Easy to use interface

Technical Details

Total power 20 W
Ultrasonic frequency 42 kHz
Timer 5 minutes
Overall dimensions 4x4x7 inches

Pros

  • Cleans well
  • Affordable
  • Easy to store

Cons

  • Not very durable

iSonic P4890(II)

Best for long items

Ordinary ultrasonic cleaner tanks fit a lot of different objects, but they don’t fit everything. Long objects, like tubing, pipettes, gun barrels, AR uppers and other oddly sized items, can not be cleaned in regular sized tanks. For this, you must use an ultrasonic cleaner with a long tank.

The iSonic P4890(II) commercial ultrasonic cleaner is a great option for cleaning long objects. It is a versatile cleaner with a lot of features, the most important of which is a 25.5″ / 65 cm long tank.

It comes with a built-in heater that raises the cleaning solution to the optimal temperature. This makes it a lot easier to remove the hardest to clean contaminants. Its 35 kHz transducers are powerful and make easy work of grease, oil and baked on carbon.

If your goal is to clean long objects without putting in a lot of effort, look no further than the P4890(II). With its long tank and powerful transducers it is perfect for ultrasonically cleaning piping, rifle barrels, and AR components.

Top Features

  • 25.5″ / 65 cm long tank
  • Overheating protection
  • Solution usage timer that tracks for how long the solution has been used

Technical Details

Total power 500 W
Heater power 320 W
Ultrasonic frequency 35 kHz
Timer 1-30 minutes
Tank capacity 2.3 gal. / 9 L
Tank dimensions 25.5" x 7" x 4.1"
64.7 x 17.7 x 10.5 cm
Overall dimensions 29.6" x 11.2" x 9.8"
75.2 x 28.4 x 24.8 cm

Pros

  • Unique, long tank dimensions
  • Powerful cleaning
  • Drain for easy emptying of the tank

Cons

  • Basket for cleaning small items (IT4890A) must be purchased separately

Buyer’s guide – What to keep in mind when buying an ultrasonic cleaner

When deciding which ultrasonic cleaner to buy, it is important to keep in mind what type of items you plan on cleaning most often. This will dictate the features of the cleaner that is best for you, such as ultrasonic frequency, tank size and cleaning cycle duration.

Let’s review how these factors influence what ultrasonic cleaner you should buy.

Tank size

One of the most important aspects in choosing an ultrasonic cleaner is the tank size, or more specifically the size of the basket in the tank. Since you can’t directly place objects on the surface of the tank, the basket is what limits the maximum size of the objects you can clean.

It is important that you can fit the biggest item you plan on cleaning inside of the basket, and that it is fully submerged when the tank is filled to its maximum fill level. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t fill the tank to the rim. Instead you should add enough cleaning solution to match the maximum fill level indicated on the inside of the tank.

Cleaning frequency

In researching ultrasonic cleaners, you might have noticed that not all of them clean at the same ultrasound frequency. What frequency is best depends on what you plan on cleaning. Lower frequencies like 25 kHz work best for cleaning large flat surfaces, whereas higher ones (80 kHz and up) are more suited for delicate objects.

For most applications, at and around 40 kHz is a great option and a solid middle ground between cleaning power and precision. This is why most commercially available ultrasonic cleaners operate around the 40 kHz frequency. Unless you need to perform very specialized cleaning, this is the frequency to go for.

Heater function

Most liquid ultrasonic cleaning solutions work best at temperatures of 120-150 °F (50-65 °C). So in order to get the best cleaning results, it is important that the cleaner you buy comes with a built-in heater.

The best option would be an ultrasonic cleaner with an adjustable heater that gives you direct control over the temperature of the solution. That way, you can match the temperature to the recommended temperature for the specific solution, or experiment with temperatures to see what works best.

An adjustable heater is not strictly necessary however, and any basic heater functionality is often enough.

Degas function

Degassing, the removal of gases from a liquid (in this case from our cleaning solution), before cleaning is required to get good results. Without gases in the solution, more ultrasonic energy will go towards cleaning the objects in the tank.

Most higher-end ultrasonic cleaners come with a degas function that automatically degasses the solution at the press of a button. You can also do this manually however, by simply running an ultrasonic cleaner for 5 minutes (ideally with the heater on) before placing the items in the basket.

Accessories

Some ultrasonic cleaners come with accessories that are particularly useful for cleaning certain types of objects. For example, the iSonic DS310C-CE comes with an accessory for cleaning makeup brushes, whereas ultrasonic vinyl record cleaners come with motorized fixtures that automatically spin records through the ultrasonic bath.

If you will be using your ultrasonic cleaner for cleaning a lot of a certain item, it can be useful to have a specialized accessory for that type of item included.

Sweep mode

When cleaning fragile objects, it is beneficial to have an ultrasonic cleaner with a sweep mode. The sweep mode varies the ultrasonic frequency and avoids standing waves in the cleaning solution. Standing waves are responsible for dead zones, areas with minimal cavitation activity, and hot spots, areas with a lot of cavitation activity.

Hot spots can cause damage, especially when cleaning delicate items. In dead zones on the other hand, not enough gets cleaned.

If you don’t regularly clean fragile items where precise cleaning is very important, then a sweep mode is not something you will get much benefit from.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many different types of ultrasonic cleaners available. If I would have to recommend one specific cleaner that works best for most things, it would be the InvisiClean IC-2755. You can’t go wrong with it if you want to clean your jewelry, eyeglasses, tools and other basic items.

You have learned:

  • Which ultrasonic cleaners are best for different types of cleaning.
  • What to look for when buying an ultrasonic cleaner.

If you find this article useful, please share it or leave a comment. I love to hear your feedback and questions!

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