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 power for its 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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  • Last Updated
  • David Huckabay
Comments 2
  • Dave

    Hi Bart,
    You don’t really need degas or pulse functions. You will need ultrasonic power control. By far our most popular option for your application is the Branson CPX1800H unit. It’s full-featured but small enough to do batches for personal use.

  • Bart Bell
    Bart Bell

    Totally confused and probably overthinking this thing. Looking for a machine to process larger quantities of Liposomal vitamin C that will not take forever and will not break the bank. Do I need pulse, degasser, sweep?

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