Good ultrasonic for home

I am looking for a high grade, well built sonic cleaner for home
use…I have been unable to find much on what to get along the way of
brands. GemOro, Crest, Sonic…what would you recommend? What size
and does a heater help? The cheaper $69 department store models just
do not seem to work as well as the jewelers so thus the reason we are
looking for a better unit. Any thoughts appreciated.


Hi Matt, A good ultrasonic would not include L&R, Gem Oro or Sonix
IV. Sonix IV and Gem Oro are the same unit just sold under different
names. Sonix IV makes both and the company is horrible to deal with.
The units don’t last and you would waste your money. They have
serious transducer issues. I can’t even begin to count how many
sonics from this company I see that are new (less than 1 yr.) and
have to be fixed over and over again. Once the warranty on the
circuit is expired, everytime your transducers go out your board
will have to be repaired or replaced and usually the cost is about
$100 or more. What good is a 10 year warranty if your unit spends
more time at the factory than in your possesion?

L&R has a bad reputation for producing mediocre units that don’t
last and like the Sonix IV units once you have to start the repair
cycle (which usually starts within about 6 months to 1 yr.) it will
continue forever.

Service from both companies is extremely slow to non-existent. They
don’t care if your unit is under warranty or needs repair. They only
want to sell new units so getting your repair done by these companies
can take months. Sonix IV will not allow anyone to replace their
transducers. So you have to send them in to Sonix IV for repair. L&R
always has a flimsy excuse why they can’t send a part out right away.
Usually they take a month or more to send it.

An example from L&R:

Last year I needed an inductor for a unit and tried to order one.
After talking to the parts person I was told I needed to talk to the
’engineer’ . This guy who knew nothing about sonics told me I did not
need the inductor that in all his year(s) (probably more like days)
he had never seen an inductor go bad. He then wanted me to do certain
specific tests to determine if the inductor was indeed bad. Over the
course of several days argueing with this non-engineer I finally got
pissed and said send me the inductor and if it doesn’t fix the unit
I’ll eat it. He finnaly agreed to send it. After another week goes by
I still have no inductor. I call them again and am told they don’t
have parts like that on the shelf and only have one person that can
make the part! (They better have her insured for millions!) Then they
tell me she is on vacation and won’t be back for another week. They
assure me when the only person in the whole company that can make
parts for their machines gets back they will have it made. 2 more
weeks go by and of course my customer is getting upset because of the
delays, and rightfully so. I still don’t have the inductor. I call
again and again and finally after a total of 2 months I get the
inductor. And guess what? It fixed the machine just like I knew it
would and unlike the ‘engineer’ at L&R said.

I can tell you many horror stories like this one from both L&R and
Sonix IV. Of the two companies Sonix IV is the worst one.

How do these companies stay in business? Because people are to
interested in saving a dime here NOW than saving hundreds over the
course of years. If you spend $50 more now on a good quality unit
that won’t need to be repaired rather than saving that money right
now but having to spend several hundred dollars on shipping fees and
repair costs when the unit is no longer under warranty.

Don’t get me wrong both companies get lucky sometimes and make a
unit that actually doesn’t break down. Your chances of getting one of
these are like playing the lottery.

IMO the best brand for anyone is Healthsonics, Sonicor, Crest. I
favor them in that order. Healthsonics are sold under many names and
in my opinion are the best for your money. Give me a call and I can
get you pricing and answer any questions you have.

I sell and repair equipment for the jewelry industry. Email or call
me if you have any questions.

Ken Kotoski
MPG Repair

Set up a search for ultrasonics on ebay that will email you daily
when new ultrasonics are added. You need to search all categories as
ultrasonics are sold as used dental equipment, lab equipment, and
jewelry tools. If you keep the price you want to pay in mind and not
get caught up in the bidding you may find a good deal. I have found
some good deals on used tools on ebay. Last night I won a Vigor hand
press for $11.00 but lost out on some used gravers because someone
just had to have them at any price. The caution is to know when you
have to let go when outbid. Let some (usually testosterone fueled)
power bidder have it if the price gets to high. Stick to your budget
and don’t bid until the last minute of the auction for a chance at
snipeing a bargain.

Also, before bidding check out the seller’s feedback rating and
shipping rates. Some sellers like to pad their profit with high
shipping rates. Also, the great bargains on new tools are usually
cheap imports. You’ll do better buying new tools from reputable

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Hi Matt, I purchased a fantastic ultrasonic from Fischer (a German
Tool company). They have range of models to suit, with or without
heaters and the quality of the Elma machines is impecable. I also
beleive (through my research) that their units have the strongest
transducer at 35khz which powers through the grubbiest work and grud
impregnated jewellery. Take great care with those fragile gem stones
though. I had used one for three years with my previous employer and
when I opened my own business and my L&R gave up I did alot of
research till I finally decided on one of these units. I considered
alot of factors such as price, value for money, quality, reliability
and seller service. In my country (Australia) ultrasonics are very
expensive, even poor quality models, as the tool suppliers must buy
at only slightly discounted rates and still want to add 150% markup.
Anyway Fischer are easy to deal with, they have a web site in
english ( and contact can me made with
email where you can request an english catalog. Freight options are
varied from express (2-3 days) to normal air mail 7-14 days). You
can also pay with credit card. So if you can’t find an Elma in the
USA use these guys they very professional and I throughly recommeend
them. Best Regards Terence M Dillon Chivali Artisan Goldsmiths

Ken, I have no doubt that you have infinitely greater experience with
ultrasonics than I do. I always like reading your posts, because you
impress me as someone who ‘knows his stuff.’ HOWEVER, I have had and
used in my shop, an “L & R Transistor Ultrasonic T-17” which I bought
in 1983 !! It doesn’t get a lot of use, and I don’t leave it ON
constantly, but it has never needed repair in 20 years.

I hope that I am not tempting the fates by posting this, or the unit
will DIE tomorrow <grin.> David Barzilay, Lord of the Rings

Dear David:

L&R from 1983 is probably an “A” circuit that L&R used into the late
80’s. It is a good solid circuit and b ased on your wise use it should
be with you unitl you retire. Two things kill ultrasonics. Dirty
solutions left to run for weeks and turning the unit on at opening
and not turning it off unitl you close the door. OH!, another thing,
not keeping the water level above the heater which will kill the
heater very quickly.

Like Ken, Dale and I see a lot of abused ultrasonics to repair. I
agree with Ken that the Healthsonics is a good unit as we do warranty
work for HS. I have to add the ELMA machine (we do warranty work for
them also) is a great machine, Ken I know you will probably disagree
but that makes horse races (grin).

Best wishes for a profitable holiday season

Mike & Dale
Lone Star Technical Service

I have been using the same L & R Transistor Ultrasonic T-17 since
Dec. 1, 1987. I just retired it this week for a larger L & R. The
T-17 still works fine. And I used it hard everyday in a repairshop. I
will probably keep it for a spare, just in case, since I cant afford
to be without a single tool, each and every day. Ed in Kokomo

Hi Mike,

It’s been a long time. Didn’t know if you were still around. You
probably wondered the same about me!

You are right I don’t care for the Elmas as much as the Healthsonics
but the Elmas are much better than the Sonix IV/Gem Oro units. We
also do warranty work for Healthsonics so we see these units in and
out of warranty and dealing with the company is the best. Never have
I had a problem in any way with Healthsonics. They always get me what
I need when I need it. Great company, Great people, Great machines.

One problem with the Elmas that I don’t like is the fact that the
parts have to come from Germany. So shipping and duties make a $5
part cost $20. Also the time it takes to get the parts is bad (weeks
rather than days). Then when they use a poor quality part in their
machines they won’t upgrade the problem part for years (decades). And
under warranty parts are replaced with the same crappy part every
month or two. What a waste of money and time for all involved. But
Elma doesn’t seem to care.

For instance the poor quality heater switch. They have been using
the same switch for over 20 years and have the same problem with the
thing disintegrating in a short period of time. When I replace these
switches I let the customer know I can replace them with the same
crappy switch at no charge and they will need to replace it every few
months or I can replace it for a few dollars with a quality switch
made in the US and they won’t have to replace it for years.

This switch is a simple and inexpensive thing they could upgrade but
refuse to. They do know about it and have known about the poor
quality of it for at least 2 decades because I brought it to their
attention that long ago. Don’t get me started on the heaters and

Sure the company has no problem replacing it under warranty but how
much does the shipping cost the customer every couple of months not
to mention the down time? Then when it no longer is under warranty
the switch will cost them $30-$40 every couple of months.

This lack of caring about the customer by providing quality from the
begining is why I don’t care for Elmas. When they work they do clean
well. Just expect to spend hundreds of dollars in upkeep (shipping,
parts, labor, downtime).

My job as a repair tech is to provide high quality service and parts
so the customer doesn’t have to return the unit every few months for
repairs with the same problem. Dealing with companies like Sonix IV
and Elma doesn’t make this possible for their equipment unless I
provide non-original equipment parts. In some cases this is

I know you’ll agree with what I have said, and although you still
think the Elmas are worth owning I can’t recommend them myself.

Anyway Mike have a good one.

Ken, I’ve had the same excellent service that David has, from my L&R
unit, which was used when I bought it 20-ish years ago. Never a
problem. The L&R company was trying to find out, many years ago
now, who had the oldest unit in use and I sent in the serial numbers
of mine. It got me a tee shirt - but no cigar.


Hey KEN Good to hear from you again. ELMA has changed the switch on
the heater to a much more reliable unit. We stock all the repair
parts for the ELMA LC series and will shortly have repair parts in
stock for the “T” series also.

Warranty repairs are a priority with us also. No good comes from
our clients waiting for weeks to get the parts to repair their unit
whether it is in or out of warranty.

You are right about Healthsonics. We also stock the complete
repair parts for their machines. HS is realy good to work with, they
make a good machine, and the warranty terms are solid.

On a personal note if you get the chance to call on Wednesday AM
around 9:30 I have a proposal I would like to talk to you about. Best

Lone Star