Last updated: August 11, 2021

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Ultrasonic baths allow you to clean your favourite belongings thoroughly and hygienically. What's more, they are easy to use and save you time and tedious cleaning by hand. From glasses, watches, jewellery, dentures, medical utensils, smartphone cases, e-cigarettes to car parts and carburettors, many items can be easily and conveniently cleaned in an ultrasonic bath.

So that you don't lose the overview and buy the right ultrasonic bath for you, we have selected the most popular models for different areas of application for you in the large ultrasonic bath test 2021 and compared the devices.

To make your purchase decision as easy as possible, you can find out the advantages and disadvantages of ultrasonic cleaning devices here.




Summary

  • Ultrasonic baths are used for cleaning, whereby high-frequency waves are generated in a water bath. This creates steam bubbles which, when they burst, blast off the dirt in all the places covered by the water.
  • Ultrasonic baths are used in the home for cleaning glasses, jewellery, dentures, hearing aids and much more. Workshops, industry and medical laboratories and practices also use ultrasound for cleaning and disinfection.
  • Essentially, ultrasonic baths differ in the capacity of the ultrasonic tank, the range of the working frequency and the possibility of heating the ultrasonic tank. The cleaning effect depends on the frequency, the temperature and the cleaning agent used.

Ultrasonic Baths: Our Selection

If you search the internet for an ultrasonic bath, you will be flooded with a variety of different models and manufacturers. So that you don't spend too much money on ultrasonic cleaners with unnecessary features, but instead buy the right device for your purposes, we have listed the best models for you below:

Ultrasonic baths: buying and evaluation criteria

When buying an ultrasonic cleaner, make sure you buy the right ultrasonic bath for you. For home use, inexpensive to medium-priced models are often sufficient instead of expensive professional devices.

Essentially, ultrasonic baths differ according to the following criteria:

In the following, we explain what you should look for in the individual criteria and features so that you buy the right ultrasonic bath for your purposes.

Capacity

When it comes to capacity, there is no rule of thumb like: Bigger is better. The decisive factor is that all objects fit into the cleaning tank.

This means that the volume of the tank in the ultrasonic bath should be large enough to accommodate even large utensils. For an optimal cleaning result, it is essential that the entire cleaning object is covered with liquid.

A volume of up to 1 litre is often sufficient for household utensils such as spectacles, coins, jewellery, watches, e-cigarette vaporisers, dentures and hearing aids.

For cleaning car or motorbike parts, such as a carburettor or other attachments, a capacity of 3 litres and more is recommended.

Ultimately, you can determine the right size yourself by comparing the dimensions of the (largest) object to be cleaned with those of the ultrasonic tank.

Now you know what influence the frequency range has on the cleaning result!

Frequency range

The frequency range has a direct influence on the cleaning performance. The smaller the dirt particles, the higher the frequency must be. Furthermore, cleaning is also gentler at higher frequencies, as the cavitation bubbles that form are smaller.

Does this mean that I have to buy an ultrasonic bath with the highest possible frequency for optimal results? Quite clearly: No!

An ultrasonic bath uses frequencies between 20 and 400 kilohertz (kHz). Frequencies around 35 kilohertz are particularly gentle on most objects and also achieve a great cleaning result.

For cleaning everyday and household objects, frequency ranges up to 50 kilohertz are perfectly sufficient. Even car parts do not require higher-frequency cleaning; here it is more a question of the connection between the cleaning solution and the temperature.

Heat regulation

There are ultrasonic cleaning units with and without heating. A heated ultrasonic bath is particularly advantageous for greasy and oily contaminants, as the contaminants dissolve better at higher temperatures. In combination with a special cleaning agent, even heavy soiling can be removed.

If you want to clean a carburettor or other car parts, for example, make sure you buy a heated ultrasonic bath!

Heatable ultrasonic baths work in a temperature range of 20 to 80 degrees Celsius. If you want to avoid slow and time-consuming preheating, fill the bath directly with preheated water. With sufficient heating power, however, there are no excessively long waiting times.

This is given in watts (W) and should be around 100 watts. The higher the heating cable, i.e. the "wattage", the more powerful the heating.

The heating power is always included in the total power. This explains total power ratings from 40 to over 200 watts. A corresponding ultrasonic cleaner with 40 watts probably does not have a heating function.

Handling

There are also great differences in handling and operation between the various ultrasonic bath models. The range extends from one-button operation to several controls and setting options for the various functions such as heating, frequency and duration of cleaning.

The following settings can be made:

  • Duration: Many units offer a choice of run times. These can be selected in stages or set continuously. A continuous operation function is also integrated in most units.
  • Temperature: On units with built-in heating, the temperature can be set individually or a pre-installed programme can be activated.
  • Sound power: Top units have a setting option for the sound power. For example, sensitive objects can be cleaned at reduced power without damage.
  • Cleaning programme: In addition to fixed cleaning intervals, many ultrasonic baths also have entire programmes installed. These offer appropriate combinations of duration, temperature and power for different materials and instruments.

For household use, ultrasonic baths with pre-programmed cleaning programmes are usually sufficient. Often, the duration of cleaning can be regulated by a timer, but frequency and temperature are fixed.

The time settings range from 1 to 30 minutes and are usually set at fixed intervals. In addition, you can also select a continuous operation function for many devices.

In the case of ultrasonic baths for professional purposes, all functions can also be infinitely adjusted in order to be able to respond to sensitive material requirements. This is absolutely necessary for such needs, but not absolutely essential for private use.

Instructions & accessories

If you want to clean different objects in the ultrasonic bath, a detailed instruction manual with instructions is extremely helpful. Not every pair of glasses, watch or material is suitable for cleaning in an ultrasonic bath!

In addition to safety instructions, such tips for the correct settings and the use of cleaning additives are a great help for inexperienced users.

Accessories such as basket inserts, watch, CD or glasses holders make it easier to clean and correctly place objects in the ultrasonic bath. If a basket insert is included in the delivery, you should always use it.

This protects the bath, there is less vibration noise and you can remove the basket and its contents from the liquid without coming into contact with it. This should be avoided, especially with aggressive cleaning additives - alternatively, please use gloves or tweezers.

Ultrasonic bath: Frequently asked questions and answers

You want to know more about how ultrasonic baths work or are unsure how to use them correctly? No problem - we have answered the most important questions for you competently and compactly.

What is an ultrasonic bath - and how does it work?

An ultrasonic bath, also known as an ultrasonic cleaner or ultrasonic cleaning device, is used to remove dirt with the help of high-frequency vibrations.

Piezoceramic transducer systems are installed in the ultrasonic bath, which start to vibrate due to the applied voltage. A high-frequency generator converts the low-frequency mains voltage into a high-frequency voltage of at least 20 kilohertz.

Frequencies above 16 kilohertz are called ultrasound because they are above the sound frequency range audible to humans.

Through the connection of the transducer to the tank, the vibrations are transmitted into the liquid medium contained within. Since liquids are better conductors of sound, a liquid such as water must always be filled in for cleaning.

During ultrasonic cleaning, the cavitation bubbles burst and generate up to 100,000 bar of pressure. (Image source: Amadej Tauses / unsplash)

The high-frequency vibrations create waves in the cleaning fluid. The ultra-fast back and forth sloshing of the waves creates small vapour bubbles, the cavitation bubbles.

If the cavitation bubbles hit an obstacle, such as a pair of glasses in the ultrasonic bath, they implode. This creates a negative pressure that sweeps away all superficial foreign material, in our case dirt particles.

Since cleaning is based on the pressure forces that occur, ultrasonic cleaning belongs to the mechanical cleaning processes.

The implosion of the cavitation bubbles can generate pressure peaks of up to 100,000 bar - therefore only use undamaged objects made of closed, solid material for cleaning in the ultrasonic bath. Even small cracks can cause the object to be damaged by the resulting forces!

The higher the frequency in the ultrasonic bath, the smaller the cavitation bubbles. This leads to a gentler, as well as more thorough cleaning.

Small bubbles generate lower pressure forces and can better penetrate and remove dirt particles. From a frequency of 400 kilohertz, even particles smaller than 1 micrometre can be removed, which is why ultrasonic baths are also used for medical disinfection.

What types of ultrasonic baths are there?

As already mentioned, the purchase of an ultrasonic cleaning device depends on what you mainly want to clean with it.

This also determines the type and design of the ultrasonic bath that is right for you. We have compiled a list of the different types here:

Type Advantage Disadvantage
Ultrasonic bath for home use Simple operation,

space- and power-saving,

Extra holders for glasses, watches, CD's etc.,

low cost

low frequency ranges,

mostly without temperature control,

low capacity

Ultrasonic bath for professional cleaning standardised,

very thorough cleaning,

time- and cost-saving for high cleaning volume,

durable and maintenance-free,

specially coordinated cleaning programmes,

Capacity up to 280 litres (but also larger)

not mobile,

high purchase price,

usually require a lot of space

We cannot give a general answer to the question of whether a heated ultrasonic bath is better than one without heating. Everyday objects such as wristwatches, mobile phone cases, silver chains etc. will definitely shine again in an ultrasonic bath without heating. A heater is not a must for household use.

The situation is different when cleaning dirt with a high fat and oil content. If you want to remove lubricants and other dirt from engine parts in your workshop, you should definitely buy a heated ultrasonic bath.

The higher temperatures dissolve grease and oil better and your car and motorbike parts shine like new.

Household appliances are usually space-saving so that they can be quickly stowed away. Nevertheless, they offer enough space for glasses, jewellery, hearing aids and dentures. Most of them also come with extras such as a watch or glasses holder for optimal positioning.

Ultrasonic baths for the home often have fewer functions than professional devices. Nevertheless, they are perfectly adequate for cleaning glasses, for example.

Above all, a professional ultrasonic bath must achieve reliable and flawless cleaning results. For this purpose, the manufacturers design and offer the devices in accordance with currently applicable standards, such as the EU Medical Devices Regulation and other standards.

Whether for use in workshops, industry, medical practices or medical laboratories - there is a suitable device for every purpose. The equipment such as heating, frequency range and capacity is adapted to various areas of application, so that a suitable solution is available for you in every case.

What does an ultrasonic bath cost?

Ultrasonic baths are available in every price range. But cheap does not immediately mean inferior quality. As often mentioned, it depends on the scope of the equipment.

For a good all-round ultrasonic bath, you do not have to spend more than 40 to 90 euros.

The price of an ultrasonic bath is usually proportional to its capacity. This means that the larger the unit, the more expensive it will be. Ultrasonic cleaners for daily cleaning of glasses are available for as little as 12 euros.

If you want to have a heated device or clean larger objects in it, you will have to pay 100 to 200 euros - but we are talking about high-priced devices.

Type Price range
Ultrasonic bath for the household 12 to 200 euros
Ultrasonic bath
for professionals
120 to 17,000 euros

The units in the commercial segment start at about 120 euros and are still recommended for private use. Since high standards have to be met, especially in medical applications, the units are correspondingly expensive compared to the household versions.

For hobbyists, we recommend ultrasonic baths with a capacity of 3 to 5 litres. These can be purchased for 120 to 300 euros.

There are no upper limits to the price. Whether the device is used in the workshop for cleaning tyres, in parts production or in the laboratory - here it is more a matter of the equipment and suitable size than the price.

What alternatives are there to an ultrasonic bath?

Are you not sure whether your glasses are suitable for an ultrasonic bath or do you not want to buy an ultrasonic cleaner for cleaning your carburettor? Here you will find a list of alternatives to ultrasonic cleaning:

Alternative Description
Manual cleaning You can clean precisely contaminated areas by hand. However, this is often laborious and time-consuming. Furthermore, joints and angles in particular are difficult to reach and cannot be cleaned completely by hand. There is also a risk of scratching and other damage.
Dishwasher The dishwasher is a good alternative for superficial cleaning of coarse dirt. However, by no means all items are dishwasher-safe. Stains and heavily adhering dirt can often still be seen after the dishwasher cycle.

You certainly know how to get objects clean again without an ultrasonic bath. Especially with delicate items such as necklaces, earrings and watches, cleaning by hand is the obvious choice.

However, this is tedious, time-consuming and you can't always get to all the places and corners, so there are still dirty corners left over.

In terms of cleaning performance, there is no real alternative to the ultrasonic cleaner - at least for private use!

The dishwasher saves you time and effort, but firstly, not all objects are dishwasher-safe and secondly, the cleaning is usually insufficient for delicate and angular objects.

How do I use an ultrasonic bath?

Once you have purchased an ultrasonic bath, you don't have to do much - the device does the work for you. With just a few steps, you can clean dentures, carburettors, coins and the like in no time at all:

  1. Preparation: First you should fill the bath with the cleaning solution. Make sure to remove any spatters and drops before connecting the unit to the power supply.
  2. Fill: In most cases, there is a removable basket in the tank of the ultrasonic bath. Remove the basket and place the items to be cleaned in it. Use the enclosed watch, glasses, CD or jewellery holders for perfect placement.
    Caution: The objects should not touch each other, so always make sure there is enough space and do not overfill. Also, you should never use the ultrasonic bath without a basket, otherwise the tub and your belongings may be damaged.
  3. Switch on: Now place the basket back in the bath. Depending on the device, you can now select a cleaning programme or choose the duration, frequency and temperature. Do you hear a humming sound? Great, then you have successfully started the cleaning process!
    If not: don't panic, the appliance may have to preheat first, which can take some time depending on the heating power.
  4. Remove the appliance: Once the programme has run through completely - you no longer hear any humming - you can remove the basket with your precious pieces. If necessary, rinse them again to remove residues of the cleaning solution and dry them afterwards.
  5. Clean: Once you have finished cleaning all the items, the ultrasonic bath needs to be cleaned. First switch off the ultrasonic bath! Then drain off the cleaning solution by tipping the contents of the bath into the sink or, if the cleaning agent is harmful to the environment, dispose of it accordingly. Now also wash the tub in the dishwasher or with clear water so that everything is clean from the ground up for the next cleaning cycle.

However, not all objects are suitable for cleaning in an ultrasonic bath. But what you can and cannot clean with an ultrasonic bath, you can find out here!

What goes into the ultrasonic bath and what is definitely not?

Although an ultrasonic bath can be used for a wide range of objects and materials, there are some things that have absolutely no place in an ultrasonic cleaner.

In principle, only undamaged objects and non-explosive or flammable substances are suitable for use in an ultrasonic bath.

The smallest damages and holes can be enlarged by the high pressure during the implosion of the cavitation bubbles and cause greater consequential damage. Explosive or flammable substances can self-ignite due to the high pressures!

To prevent damage, refer to the operating instructions and make sure that objects do not touch each other. You should also place glasses, for example, with the lenses facing upwards in the tub to avoid scratches. If you are unsure, contact the manufacturer!

Which cleaning agent should I use for an ultrasonic bath?

Some manufacturers offer cleaning concentrates directly with the unit. These are tailored and composed for special applications such as rust removal, cleaning of dental accessories or the removal of grease and lubricants.

Do you have a specific goal, like restoring the shine to your jewellery? Then go ahead and use concentrates that are designed for this purpose.

Ultraschallbad

An ultrasonic bath often does not need any cleaning additive. A drop of washing-up liquid or vinegar essence supports the cleaning process by reducing the surface tension of the water. (Image source: Toa Heftiba / Unsplash)

For everyday cleaning, however, it is usually sufficient to add a drop of washing-up liquid or vinegar essence to the water to break the surface tension of the water and facilitate cavitation.

Can I use the ultrasonic bath without the basket?

No! Always use the basket or buy a suitable one for your unit if no basket was included in the delivery. Otherwise you risk damaging the ultrasonic bath itself or your belongings.

How long do I have to run the ultrasonic bath?

Here, too, the short answer is: as long as you are satisfied!

Since ultrasonic cleaning is very efficient, one cleaning cycle is often enough. This does not have to be particularly long - 1 to 15 minutes is quite sufficient.

If you are still not satisfied with the result, simply repeat the process. Depending on the degree of soiling, a bath lasting 3 to 7 minutes may be sufficient.

What is a foil test for an ultrasonic bath?

By means of a foil test, you can find out how efficiently your ultrasonic bath is working or whether it is faulty. To do this, a foil is stretched in a frame and placed in the tub with the liquid.

During the active ultrasonic bath, holes form in the foil due to the cavitation bubbles. If the transducers are correctly adjusted and processed, the holes are evenly distributed over the entire surface of the foil.

If no holes or only very unevenly distributed holes are visible, this indicates a defect. If the transducers are defective, static waves can occur that prevent cavitation.

Ultraschallbad

Hygiene is a top priority, especially in the medical field. To ensure proper cleaning by the ultrasonic bath, a foil test should be carried out every quarter to half a year. (Image source: Rodolfo Clix / Pexels)

Manufacturers offer a testing and maintenance service for the foil test, especially in the commercial sector. Test kits are also available for purchase. For household appliances, however, a piece of aluminium foil held in the ultrasonic bath will do.

How often do I have to do a foil test with an ultrasonic bath?

Again, we distinguish between private and commercial cleaning. Since standards must be ensured for commercial and industrial cleaning, the manufacturers recommend carrying out a foil test approximately every quarter.

For you at home, a foil test is not really necessary. However, if you notice a decrease in the cleaning performance of your ultrasonic bath, you can also perform a foil test. Check the operating instructions or contact the manufacturer directly to find out whether a suitable test device is available for your unit.

Is an ultrasonic bath dangerous?

The handling of ultrasonic baths is usually not dangerous, danger only arises from improper use or the use of unsuitable cleaners.

To use your ultrasonic cleaner safely, follow the safety instructions below:

  • Do not reach into the ultrasonic bath! The cavitation bubbles can attack cell structures and hurt you. Also, some detergents are highly corrosive and can damage your skin.
  • Always switch off the unit when filling and emptying it! This prevents short circuits and possible electric shocks caused by spilling liquids.
  • Wear ear protection when working continuously near the ultrasonic bath! This tip is primarily intended for professional users. If you are permanently in the vicinity of a running ultrasonic cleaner, this can lead to hearing damage. So protect your ears!
  • Do not use explosive or flammable substances!

If you operate the ultrasonic bath properly and according to the instructions, nothing can happen.

Conclusion

With an ultrasonic bath, you save yourself effort and time. Even stubborn dirt and hard-to-clean areas are no longer a problem with an ultrasonic bath. In addition, it is a very gentle way of cleaning, as in most cases clear water is sufficient for cleaning.

You should be aware of what you want to clean with your ultrasonic bath in order not to buy unnecessarily expensive versions. Small devices with a capacity of up to 1 litre are sufficient for household use.

For larger cleaning objects and heavy soiling, units with a tank volume of more than 1 litre and an integrated heater are recommended.

Image source: Jipen / 123rf

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