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Cheap Ultrasonic Cleaners

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ChrisH18/12/2020 18:53:12
949 forum posts
30 photos

I have a number of small model engine bits and items that need cleaning and thought perhaps an ultrasonic cleaner would be jolly useful. So looked on-line and it appears Amazon do a number of cheap ultrasonic cleaners for under £50 and a few over £50 too.

Does anyone have any experience of buying and using one of these - are they any good?

All feedback welcome!


alan-lloyd18/12/2020 19:12:26
173 forum posts

There was a thread on here about them, if I remember correctly you need one that's over 400 watts to be anygood

fizzy18/12/2020 19:14:43
1766 forum posts
120 photos

Beware the cheap ones arent ultrasonic despite what the advert might say. I did a fair bit of research and didnt buy one in the end as any half decent one was bigger money than I wanted to spend.

Grindstone Cowboy18/12/2020 19:16:24
490 forum posts
44 photos

Quite a few years ago, I got one of the small, plastic-bodied cleaners (around £20), which worked reasonably well, but only for about 12 months. So got one of the rectangular looking, stainless bodied ones, with a heater (around £70) - they seem very generic and a common design no matter where you buy them - and so far it works well and continues to work for about three years so far.

I use it with Seaclean solution, and it cleans nicely - not miraculously, but worthwhile - but is quite noisy. If it breaks, I'd probably get another, probably move up a size to one with a drain tap.

Hope this helps.


ChrisH18/12/2020 20:26:20
949 forum posts
30 photos

Yes I did look at pevious threads but they were a while ago and I just wondered if anyone had some up to date experience of a modern one, seeing as how technology moves faster than one can keep up with! Thought perhaps the cheaper ones might have improved a bit, or the previously more expensive ones maybe come down in price.

Giving a brand and maybe a model number of a good one would be appreciated, but it needs not to be too expensive otherwise it gets hard to justify.


Ramon Wilson18/12/2020 20:36:33
1039 forum posts
199 photos


I bought one of those 'cheap' oval shaped cleaners ( about £25 or so) quite a few years ago for cleaning airbrushes of acrylic paint build up. It is still in use today but to be honest I often ponder if it really is 'ultra sonic' or just some other less esoteric means of vibrating the fluid.

For paints I put the individual parts into a small jar of solvent then place that in the water. What I can say is it definitely works to my satisfaction and you can see the paint disintegrate quite rapidly so I guess it must be kosher to a degree.

Certainly works on your glasses too

Ramon (Tug)

Oily Rag18/12/2020 21:17:13
310 forum posts
126 photos

I had a magnesium bodied dry sump pump that needed cleaning badly (badly because it was crudded up! not badly in not cleaned very well) and I looked on eBay for what was available, I needed one that was about 15 to 20 litres tank capacity; the one I found that appeared to fit the bill was advertised as £110 and better still was available from Leicestershire, East Midlands and they had 2 in stock. So I enquired whether they could give me the internal tank dimensions to check if the pump would fit inside. I got back a very strange pigin English reply, with absolutely no information as to the tank dimensions, from a .HK email that raised my suspicion that this was coming from East Asia not East Midlands i.e China! I asked if I could pick it up but was told delivery would be 2 - 3 weeks.

I know magnesium castings can be quite difficult to clean in anything other than an ultrasonic bath, although methyl dichloride is an excellent degreaser it can dissolve the magnesium pretty rapidly if left too long. I got in touch with a local company that ultrasound cleaned mine for a donation to their tea school. They use heated tanks (80C) and a good fluid which did a brilliant job and the casting came out looking like new - I needed it well cleaning as it was then going off to get 'black chromed' (hexachromium dipped).

Still pondering whether to invest in a small tank though!

Grindstone Cowboy18/12/2020 21:38:35
490 forum posts
44 photos

My second (current) one is a Sonictune unit - strangely, their website now doesn't seem to have any actual cleaners for sale, only a few accessories, so not sure what's going on there. They are UK-based as far as I am aware.


Nigel Graham 218/12/2020 22:31:38
1059 forum posts
16 photos

Try Decon.

That is the make of the ultrasonic cleaners we used at work, perfectly well though we were not trying to flush out filthy engine auxiliaries best given a good wash in paraffin first to remove the worst clag.

Some were simple ultrasonic-only, some also had heaters with temperature control; but all genuinely were ultrasonic cleaners..

The units came with wire work-baskets resembling those used in chip-shops, but we never put the work-pieces in jars or anything. That practice was lauded on a thread on this site a while ago, and appeared an example of On't'Net-So-Must-Be-Right lore, not a cleaner manufacturer's suggestion. I pointed out it could reduce the efficiency by the jar reflecting a lot of the ultrasound waves back off its outer surface unless its own material's acoustic properties match those of the cleaning solution (detergent in water). I should add the items we were cleaning were sonar transducer components, se we did know a bit about sound bouncing around in water!

Ramon Wilson18/12/2020 22:53:03
1039 forum posts
199 photos

'That practice was lauded on a thread on this site a while ago, and appeared an example of On't'Net-So-Must-Be-Right lore, not a cleaner manufacturer's suggestion.'

Hi NIgel

I mentioned this because that is what I do - whether it's 'urban myth' or not as efficient I don't know but I do know that as soon as the unit is switched on paint begins to disintegrate quite rapidly from the parts within the jar.

I didn't follow anyone's advice on't net, here or elsewhere but tried it because it was fairly obvious I was not going to fill the entire cleaner with a solvent (cellulose thinner in this case) - it just seemed the logical thing to try.

I don't say it's right but I can say it works - well for me at least wink


Grindstone Cowboy18/12/2020 23:36:40
490 forum posts
44 photos

Agree with Tug, it works for me too. And not that long ago I saw an ultrasonic cleaner manufacturer's website listing glass jars and a special holder for the express purpose of using small amounts of solvent immersed in the main water bath. Of course I can't find it now crying


David Davies 819/12/2020 07:20:32
146 forum posts
9 photos

Ultrawave ultrasonic cleaners are made in Wales, at Cardiff. They may have something suitable.

I have no connection with this firm.



James Alford19/12/2020 08:30:58
422 forum posts
74 photos

I was given what is now quite an old Aldi, £20.00 ultrasonic cleaner. It is one of the small, plastic-bodied machines.

With a proper cleaning fluid, or just washing up liquid on lighlty soiled parts, it has proven invaluable for cleaning things like a distributor, carburettor, door locks mechanisms, screws, door hinges and the workings of a windscreen wiper motor, all form an Austin Seven.


Bob Stevenson19/12/2020 09:29:50
473 forum posts
7 photos

I have a small ultrasonic cleaner with a four inch (or so) was twelve quid about ten years back and works surprisingly well on small items and parts including my wifes rings and jewellery, my pocket knife once a year, small screws and fittings for clocks, bits of camera shutters and lumps of brass musical instruments (brilliant for cleaning the valves)

It's definately NOT 'ultrasonic', fact well subsonic! it's really better described as a 'vibration cleaner' but works well enough to be handy as described. It's worth remembering that the vibration of cleaners is aided/hindered by how the machine is mounted or industrial settings ultrasonic cleaners are often mounted in a concrete block to enhance the vibrations. With my little cleaner I often put a heavy book on top to reduce surface movement and this aids cleaning a lot.

Paul L19/12/2020 09:29:56
57 forum posts
24 photos

I bought this one from Amazon. it was £105 but its worked handsomely for the last 2 years. I think its a digital one now.

Ultrasonic Frequency: 40KHz
Ultrasonic Power: 45-150W
Heating Power: 300W
Tank Material: Stainless Steel
Tank Capacity: 6L
Tank Size: 30x15x15cm(LxWxH)


John Hinkley19/12/2020 10:01:46
1028 forum posts
346 photos

It wasn't that long ago - July 2020, issue 295 - that a home-brew one was described in MEW, if that's your bag. I can't vouch for its efficiency, of course, and only skipped through the article. But it is an option to fill the days in the workshop.


Nicholas Wheeler 119/12/2020 10:19:31
502 forum posts
28 photos
Posted by James Alford on 19/12/2020 08:30:58:

I was given what is now quite an old Aldi, £20.00 ultrasonic cleaner. It is one of the small, plastic-bodied machines.

With a proper cleaning fluid, or just washing up liquid on lighlty soiled parts, it has proven invaluable for cleaning things like a distributor, carburettor, door locks mechanisms, screws, door hinges and the workings of a windscreen wiper motor, all form an Austin Seven.

I have a similar, although slightly bigger, machine. It's normally full of a washing-up liquid solution because I use it for cleaning jewellery, watch bracelets, spectacles etc.

But I do use it on car parts, and swap to one of the water soluble degreasers. This did a good job on 3 really grotty E-type carburetors, although it wasn't a quick job. That didn't really matter, as reassembling the whole car wasn't a quick job

Samsaranda19/12/2020 11:15:28
1038 forum posts
5 photos

Tempted to buy an ultrasonic cleaner but would only need a relatively small one for the workshop, would need one with a stainless inner, have reservations about Chinese Stainless Steel after the experience with our outside lamp at the front door, it has rusted terribly. It seems most of the ultrasonic cleaners originate in China are there any UK brands that are available in the same price range?
Dave W

roy entwistle19/12/2020 13:10:02
1321 forum posts

Dave W Try Walkers Electronics. No connection just a satisfied customer


Tony Pratt 119/12/2020 13:55:51
1413 forum posts
6 photos

Allendale electronics are in the UK but not sure where their bits are from?


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