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Buyer’s Guide for Portable Ultrasound Machines

Whether you’ve never purchased a portable ultrasound or it’s been a while and you need a refresher, this article is for you. Because we specialize in portable ultrasound sales, we have an in-depth understanding of the different brands and models available and the applications they are suited for. Read on for our buyer’s guide for portable ultrasound machines.


EDAN AX3 Ultrasound Machine 500

Edan AX3 Ultrasound Machine


Understanding Portable Ultrasound Machine Types

Portable ultrasounds encompass different capabilities in terms of application. This should be the starting point when considering a purchase as it is important to find the ultrasound machine that is capable and designed to perform the types of specific imaging that you need. Another important factor to consider is the image quality that each ultrasound system can offer.


Philips cx50 ultrasound machine exam scanner medical diagnostic system

Philips CX50 Ultrasound Machine


Below are some examples of the types of portable ultrasound machines:

Economical Ultrasound Machines

These can come in a variety of form factors from handheld units to clamshell design and even laptop styles. Most of the economical options are capable of quick screening, basic Ob/Gyn imaging, vascular access, some MSK (although many prefer better image quality for these studies), small companion animal breeding, large animal breeding, and more.

Some of the most popular within the economical ultrasound category based on our clientele purchases in recent years are:

Mindray DP-50 Expert
Edan U50 Prime
Sonostar Wireless Transducers

Mid-Tier Ultrasound Machines

These systems typically come in a variety of form factors such as clamshell, laptop-style, and even tablet-style. There are a variety of specialty units designed well for specific applications that fall within this category such as vascular access, venous insufficiency, MSK, Ob/Gyn, IMT, Abdominal, and Urology. There are also some within this category that are capable of being shared service systems to fit a variety of needs.

Some of the most popular within the mid-tier ultrasound category based on our clientele purchases in recent years are:

Mindray MX7
GE Logiq e NextGen
Sonosite M-Turbo
Edan Acclarix AX3

Top-End Ultrasound Machines

These systems are typically a laptop-style form factor with a couple of tablet-style systems as well. Some applications such as comprehensive cardiac imaging require more of a scanning engine than the less expensive options can provide. When considering a portable system versus a cart-based or console system it is important to understand that due to the reduced physical size of these portable ultrasound systems they require higher-end materials in order to offer faster frame rates for cardiac imaging as well as others. Oftentimes these systems are also the best options to consider when shared service is needed.

Some of the most popular within the top-end ultrasound category based on our clientele purchases in recent years are:

Philips CX50
GE Vivid IQ
Mindray M8 Elite

Portable Ultrasound Applications

Portable ultrasounds are used extensively throughout medicine but are most heavily relied upon for OB/GYN, MSK, cardiology, pain management, venous insufficiency, and veterinary care.

Understanding how your medical practice or hospital will be using the portable ultrasound you’re buying is perhaps the most important factor in your purchasing decision. Different machines have different strengths and weaknesses. For example, not many systems are capable of performing echo or comprehensive cardiac imaging at an acceptable level, while MSK and pain management require excellent image quality and cutting-edge features like voice commands and needle visualization software.

If you’re purchasing a unit that will be used for a number of different medical specialties, there are also some general, all-purpose models that perform well across a variety of applications. If you’re not sure what you need, our sales team can help you find a match for your application.

Finally, think about the portability factor—just how portable do you need your ultrasound to be for your application? A veterinarian who travels to farms to provide care will need a more portable unit than an OB/GYN practice that is simply wheeling the ultrasound from one examination room to the next.


mindray m9 ultrasound machine for veterinary animal medical exams

Mindray M8 Elite Ultrasound Machine


Portable Ultrasound Pricing

Your budget certainly plays an important role in the portable ultrasound you choose. If your facility has a limited budget, you will have to choose a unit very carefully to ensure that it does what it needs to do at a price point that is practical for you. Decide which features are essential and which you can do without.

You may want to consider purchasing a used portable ultrasound or refurbished portable ultrasound, which can allow you to afford more advanced features that you wouldn’t be able to budget for in a new machine. Refurbished units have been repaired and upgraded, so you can be assured that they perform well. The potential downside of a refurbished or used portable ultrasound is that you will not get a manufacturer’s warranty with your purchase.

Many also choose to exchange existing equipment as their needs outgrow the capabilities of the ultrasound machines in order to help offset the cost of the new equipment.


Find the Right Portable Ultrasound for Your Needs

If you’re not sure which are the best portable ultrasounds for your applications, our team of ultrasound experts can help. Contact Universal Diagnostic Solutions today to learn more or request a free quote. UDS relies on you being happy with your purchase for years to come so it is paramount that we focus on your specific needs and not on what is the most expensive option.

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