How Much Ultrasonic Power Do I Need?


Today's post will take a look at one of the most commonly asked questions in ultrasonic cleaning. We'll talk about what those power specs mean, whether or not to trust them, and more.

Dear Dave,

I an trying to choose an ultrasonic cleaner, and using the power specification to compare brands. But they don’t seem to  be something I can compare apples to apples. Is there a standard I can use?


The ultrasonic power specification can be really difficult to pin down in a meaningful way. Different companies measure their cleaners in different ways, and format the resulting measurements according to their wishes. For example, say the tank you're looking at has a published spec of 240 Watts:

  • 240w measured how? peak to peak? RMS? Average?
  • Includes the heater?
  • What kind of transducer is involved? Peizoelectric? Magapak? Rod?
  • Are we measuring watts per gallon – or watts per square inch of radiating surface? 
  • Is it variable frequency? If so, at what point in the spectrum is power measured?
  • Is this the point that matters for your application?

As you can see, it becomes a jumble pretty quickly. It doesn’t help that manufacturers (understandably) quote the specification in whatever way makes them look best. Major manufacturers will publish specs in an easy to understand format:

Crest specifications

If you choose a major manufacturer with a good warranty, you’ll most likely be OK. Look for power levels of at least 35 watts per gallon excluding heat for piezoelectric transducers.

piezoelectric ultrasonic transducerNote - all the machines we sell use piezoelectric transducers, which radiate in a cone shaped pattern from the bottom of the tank upwards.

If you can pre-test your application with a small inexpensive unit, even better. (Make sure it is a real ultrasonic machine). I am often asked if I know where a unit can be borrowed – not likely. Once people have their machine set up and things running smoothly, the last thing they want is to risk cross contamination.

We do have a small unit that has really good power, and I often recommend it for application testing. The Gemoro 2.6 has a lot of ultrasonic power for the tank size, and it’s out least expensive unit that includes heat.

Best bet – email me with your application info and I’ll tell you what I think. I can pretty much tell you if your application will work – seen them all at this point.

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  • David Huckabay
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