Out of all the tattoo supplies for setting up shop, do you really need an ultrasonic cleaner?
It depends on whether you have time to scrub grips, tips, tubes, and other reusable materials by hand. You need a way to remove blood and ink spatters from them.
The best ultrasonic cleaner for tattoo equipment does the hard work for you.
Not only can it scrub off the residue, but it can also sanitize the tools if you add disinfectant to the water.
Then all that remains is drying them, bagging them, and putting them in the autoclave.
Can you use an ultrasonic cleaner for a tattoo machine?
Please don’t put your tattoo machine in the ultrasonic cleaner. But you can clean stainless steel, brass, and aluminum grips and tips with it.
How do you clean tattoo tubes and tips with an ultrasonic cleaner?
We suggest you check the instructions that came with the cleaner. Generally, you’ll fill the machine with water and add a cleaning solution (1).
Place the tools to be cleaned in the basket, close the lid, and let the machine do its job. Meanwhile, you can get back to your work.
At the end of the cycle, inspect the tools and rinse if needed. Dry them, put them in the sterilization pouches, and autoclave them.
What is an ultrasonic cleaner?
An ultrasonic cleaner uses high-frequency sound waves to vibrate contaminants off surfaces. Therefore, it reaches inside narrow tubes and tiny cracks to deep clean tattoo equipment. It’s much easier than trying to scrub with disinfectant and a brush.
Ultrasonic cleaners are also used for cleaning carburetors, jewelry, and all sorts of plastic, metal, glass, rubber, and non-porous materials.
The ultrasonic cleaning doesn’t sanitize equipment, however. This requires industrial detergent to be added to the tank.
It’s never safe to put electronic parts or motors in an ultrasonic cleaner.
How to choose the best ultrasonic cleaner for your tattoo shop
There are different types and sizes of ultrasonic cleaners. A small tattoo shop with two artists will benefit from a five-liter cleaner with a heater.
The heater is helpful as it helps the cleaner work faster and more effectively.
A single artist could get by with a smaller cleaner, like 3 liters, as long as the interior is large enough to clean the tattoo tools.
Best Ultrasonic Cleaner for Tattoo Equipment in 2023
As we go through the reviews below, we’ll begin with small models.
iSonic P4830 Commercial Ultrasonic Cleaner
If you’re not familiar with liters, they are almost the same size as a quart. Therefore, this ultrasonic cleaner holds a little over 3 quarts of water.
It comes with a plastic basket to hold the items to be cleaned. The space inside measures 6.9 inches tall by 3.1 inches wide by 9.8 inches deep.
There’s a timer you can set between one and thirty minutes. Plus, there are five temperature settings. The whole thing is straightforward to control with the three-color LED screen.
What’s interesting is that iSonic includes technology that removes dissolved air and bubbles from the cleaning solution. It’s called the Degas function, and it enables the cleaner to work faster in a shorter cycle.
Something you need to know about ultrasonic cleaners is that they are noisy. You won’t be hearing the ultrasonic frequencies, thankfully, because humans can’t. You’ll probably want to keep it in a back room.
They also get warm, especially the heated models. On the bright side, this cleaner has a fan that keeps the electronics cool. If it gets too hot, it will shut down automatically.
Other details you might want to know:
- iSonic is headquartered in Chicago.
- They offer a 1-year parts and labor warranty.
- Each of their ultrasonic cleaners carries 5 safety certifications.
- This model uses 135 Watts.
- The ultrasonic frequency is 36,000 Hz.
SharperTek XPS120-3L Heated Ultrasonic Cleaner
Here’s an ultrasonic cleaner that’s made in America from stainless steel for maximum durability. It’s industrial-grade.
It has a 3-liter tank that measures 9 x 5.5 by 4 inches (that’s length by width by height). It comes with a free basket and cover.
There’s a digital timer, but the temperature is controlled with the knob.
Moreover, it has the Degas function to remove air bubbles from new solution. This enables quicker cleaning.
- SharperTek manufactures in Pontiac, Michigan.
- They offer a 2-year warranty and a 30-day money-back return policy.
- They also include a sample of industrial-grade ultrasonic detergent with each purchase.
ONEZILI Commercial Ultrasonic Cleaner 3L with Heater
While the two previous models are recommended for professional shops, tattoo artists on a budget should check out this model. It’s the same size as the others and has similar features.
Why is it less expensive? It’s not digital. The controls are knobs, but that makes it more reliable.
Furthermore, the cleaner is made from corrosion-resistant stainless steel and is leak-proof. It operates on two industrial-grade transducers for a total of 120 Watts of power.
The cleaner uses an ultrasonic frequency of 40 kHz, making it tough enough to clean the dirtiest jobs.
You can set the timer between 1 and 30 minutes, and the temperature between 66 to 176°F. Should the cleaner begin to overheat, it will stop automatically.
The tank measures 9.45 by 5.35 by 3.74 inches (length, width, and height). If that’s not large enough for you, the same company also offers 6 L, 10 L, and 30 L versions.
- Includes a wire basket.
- Using the heater adds 100 watts to the power consumption.
Shield Ultrasonic Professional Ultrasonic Cleaner (SC-137)
This brand of ultrasonic cleaner is available in a variety of sizes from 1.8 to 18 liters. The model we reviewed holds 5.2 liters or 1.37 gallons.
It has a digital display and controls, plus a heater with precision settings.
What’s unique is that it operates at a different ultrasonic frequency of 25 kHz. Why does that matter?
It’s the same frequency that big industrial cleaners use, but it’s in a benchtop model. This model is much more powerful than 44 kHz cleaners of the same size.
There’s one more detail you’re going to love. It has a drain duct on the side so that you don’t have to unplug it, flip it, and dump it.
- The stainless steel cleaner weighs 18 pounds.
- It measures 12.8 by 7.1 by 12.2 inches (length, width, height).
- It comes with a stainless steel basket.
- The digital display is manufactured by Omron of Japan.
Flexzion Commercial Ultrasonic Cleaner 6L
This commercial-grade cleaner is noisy yet powerful. You’ll definitely want to place it away from your workspace.
On the bright side, it’s rugged, with a thick steel body and a stamped metal liner with no welds that could leak. Thankfully, there is a drain spout on the side.
It features a ceramic heater that reaches the chosen temperature rapidly. There’s also a cooling fan to prevent overheating.
The cleaning cycle can finish within 3 to 6 minutes but can go longer than 20 minutes if needed.
- The maximum temperature is 176 Fahrenheit.
- Ultrasonic power usage is 150 Watts, and the heater is 300 Watts.
- The tank size measures 11.8 by 6.1 by 5.9 inches.
Kendal Commercial Grade 9 Liters Heated ULTRASONIC Cleaner HB49
If you like the looks of this ultrasonic cleaner but don’t need one this large, they also make 3 and 6 L versions.
It runs on 4 sets of transducers for a total of 240 Watts cleaning power. There’s also a 300 W heater that reaches 176°F. Therefore, it can clean everything from tattoo tubes to dentures, old coins, and gun parts.
The digital display reveals not just the preset temperature but also the real-time temperature. Also, use it to set the cleaning cycle time from 1 to 99 minutes.
The tank is handy for long tools as it measures 11.8 by 9.5 by 6.0 inches (length, width, height). Everything is made of stainless steel and resistant to both acids and alkaline detergents.
- There’s a drain tube for emptying the tank.
- The cleaner weighs 17.64 pounds and has handles on the sides.
- The package includes a metal wire basket and a stainless steel lid.
CO-Z Professional 10L Ultrasonic Cleaner with Timer
If you have a big tattoo shop with several artists, a 10 L tank fits the bill. This one is surprisingly inexpensive for what it offers.
For one, it’s built to last at least 2 or 3 years without the need for maintenance. Part of its durability is due to reinforced internal walls.
Second, it has 250 Watts of heating power and 240 Watts of ultrasonic power. It uses a 40 kHz ultrasonic frequency.
The digital timer lets you choose up to 30-minute cycles. There are also digital controls for the heater.
- The tank measures 11.8 by 9.5 by 5.9 inches.
- The cleaner weighs 18.7 pounds.
Even more essential than an ultrasonic cleaner is an autoclave. There’s no substitute for this machine when it comes to sterilizing tattoo equipment.
You can scrub tattoo tubes with a brush and disinfectant, but there’s no substitute for an autoclave.
What is an autoclave? Think of it like a surgical-grade pressure cooker.
There are two types: wet or dry. Both kinds reach high temperatures to kill all sorts of germs, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
Once you’ve used an ultrasonic cleaner to scrub contaminants off your tools, dry them and bag them. Place them in the autoclave, and they will emerge sterilized.
The nifty temperature sensors on the bags will change color to prove that your tools are clean and ready to use.
Tuttnauer EZ11 PLUS Fully Automatic Autoclave Sterilizer
This is a premium laboratory-style autoclave, professional-grade, and suitable for tattoo artists, dentists, doctors, and piercers.
It’s straightforward to use with the press of a button. That’s right–it’s a true one-touch design. It fills, sterilizes, exhausts, and dries without user intervention.
What’s more, it has a HEPA filter in the drying system to keep everything perfectly sterile.
- The inner chamber comes with 5 metal trays.
- The interior measures 19.8 inches long by 11 inches wide.
- The manufacturer offers a comprehensive 2-year parts and labor warranty.
All-American 41.5 Quart Electric Sterilizer
It’s an autoclave, but it looks like a pressure cooker. Let’s be honest – it’s a pressure cooker on steroids. It holds 41 quarts.
Place the items to be sterilized in the aluminum rack, then put the rack inside.
It features automatic thermostat control and an automatic release valve. There is a 60-minute mechanical timer, too.
The Calrod 1650 W heating element is immersed inside. It heats quickly and evenly to ensure everything inside is completely sterilized.
For safety, the pressure gauge meets ANSI standards. This American-made autoclave is also UL-listed.
Check out the lid. There are no gaskets as it’s a metal-to-metal seal. This cuts down on maintenance costs.
You won’t need a special power outlet to use it, but it does have a 3-wire grounded plug.
- The manufacturer offers a 1-year limited warranty.
- The sterilizer stands 19 inches tall and has an interior diameter of 15 and a quarter inches.
Cavicide – 01CD078128 Metrex 13-1000 CaviCide Surface Disinfectant/Decontaminant
What is the best cleaner to use in an ultrasonic cleaner? Well, it would have to be a germicide for tattoo equipment. It would also be handy if it were a tattoo machine disinfectant spray.
Cavicide is a popular choice for tattoo artists. It’s non-caustic and non-toxic, yet it kills nasty germs on contact.
It only takes 1 minute to be effective against bacteria like MRSA as well as hepatitis, HIV, and other viruses. It even kills fungi.
Furthermore, you can add it to an ultrasonic cleaner.
- The formula is fragrance-free.
- It’s made in the USA.
We hope you found the best ultrasonic cleaner for your tattoo shop today. There’s one for every budget.
The cleaner will save you a considerable amount of effort and time, allowing you to save money with reusable grips, tips, and tubes.
Depending on the machine’s size, you may be able to clean trays and other tools as well.
1. https://tatring.com/getting-tattooed/Interested-inTattooing-Lesson-5-Sterilization-Methods by Jason Goodrow, published March 19, 2020, accessed February 3, 2021