Choosing the Best Handheld Ultrasound Device for Your Clinic

In today’s age of technological advancement, almost every job requires the use of advanced tools. One such tool is the handheld ultrasound device, which has become one of the most essential tools in current medical practices.

While ultrasound machines have been around for ages, the handheld portable version is a massive game changer as it can potentially expand its application into different clinical fields.

Hence, in comparison to its chunky ancestor, handheld ultrasound machines get the upper hand in terms of not just movement but its application as well. But this also means tons of different portable or handheld ultrasound devices are out there.

But worry not! Our buying guide on handheld ultrasound devices will answer all your doubts and queries about the device. So, without wasting much time, let’s dig right into it!

Importance of handheld ultrasound devices in modern medical practice

Importance of handheld ultrasound

Over the years, handheld ultrasound devices have garnered great significance in the medical field due to their convenience and versatility. They allow medical professionals to swiftly conduct real-time imaging at the patient’s bedside, thus enabling access to healthcare even in remote areas and emergencies.

Moreover, ultrasound examinations are pretty much noninvasive compared to other examinations, making them highly preferable among people of all age groups, including children and pregnant women. The use of such a device is undoubtedly paramount, especially when factoring in the handheld versions due to their size and functionality.

Handheld ultrasound devices also enhance patient care by facilitating faster diagnosis, reducing the need for costly and more invasive procedures. Additionally, they play a crucial role in areas with limited resources and infrastructure or amidst disaster relief efforts, and this is all thanks to the newer versions of the devices, such as the handheld ones.

During its initial introduction, ultrasound systems were bulky, limiting its transportation. Hence, the device often sat in one specific place and could not be moved around as much. This undoubtedly impacted the efficiency and accessibility of ultrasound examinations.

Therefore, when a handheld ultrasound device entered the scene, its size and portability allowed ultrasound to become a POC (point of care) diagnostic test. This opened up new possibilities in terms of its usage in and out of a hospital, further amplifying its importance as a medical tool.

As such, here are a couple of reasons as to why handheld ultrasound devices are super crucial in modern medicine:

Accurate diagnosis

Studies reveal that adding the use of handheld ultrasound devices to routine clinical examinations has aided in confirming or discovering important diagnoses that may have gone unnoticed in the absence of the test. This has made the tool one of the most indispensable diagnostic tools.

Faster diagnosis & treatment

A handheld ultrasound device can move around much more quickly and comfortably, making the diagnosis faster. This, in turn, leads to faster treatment initiation, improving the overall patient outcome.

Reduces the need for invasive test options

Due to its noninvasive and versatile nature in diagnosing patients, a handheld ultrasound device reduces the need for other extremely invasive diagnostic examinations.

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Why Choose a Handheld Ultrasound Device?


As ultrasound examinations, in general, continue to be the top imaging choice for various clinicians, portable versions, such as the handheld ultrasound device, begin to garner more popularity as well. As mentioned earlier, this is due to its improved speed and ease of use. But this is only the beginning. There are tons of other reasons why one should choose the handheld version.

For one, a handheld ultrasound device is not only compact but is known to improve patient care when applied during physical exams. It also facilitates a much faster decision-making process, which saves lots of time and money. This also allows healthcare professionals to make more informed decisions, while also providing efficient healthcare experiences to patients.

A handheld ultrasound device is also a great choice, if you’re looking for a more cost-effective tool as traditional ultrasound systems cost much more in comparison. The tool is also applicable in pretty much every concerned area such as OBGYN, primary care & family medicine, emergency medicine & critical care, sports medicine, and more.

Many primary care physicians often use these portable devices to detect abnormalities like gallstones, assess abdominal organs, detect liver diseases, and more. It’s also applied aptly in internal medicine, whereby the device helps in evaluating cardiac function, assessing vascular health, and detecting heart murmurs.

Therefore, having a handheld ultrasound device serves be quite helpful as it increases healthcare capacity in almost every situation – be it during emergencies or accidents.

Advantages of using handheld ultrasound in clinical settings 

Advantages of using handheld ultrasound

We’ve pretty much covered the importance and why handheld devices are a great choice. Now, let’s explore some of the key areas that prove just how invaluable the device is within the medical field.

1. Flexibility

Unlike traditional ultrasound equipment, a handheld ultrasound device is much smaller in size. This allows improved flexibility within a clinical setting. Given its flexibility, it allows doctors to move about with more ease when examining a patient’s body, while also reducing discomfort for the patient.

Additionally, when medics respond to an emergency accident scene, they’re able to immediately conduct an ultrasound while en route to the hospital. This does more than save valuable time but can also potentially save patients under critical state.

2. Early Diagnosis & Screening

One key advantage of a handheld ultrasound device within internal medicine and primary care is the ability to foster early diagnosis along with screening various medical conditions.

Due to this, clinicians performing such examinations within a clinical setting are able to identify health issues much quicker and during its early stages. This helps enable timely interventions as well.

3. Efficient and Cost-Effective

Portable ultrasound devices are often seen as the ultimate cost effective alternative equipment to its larger counterparts. This drastically reduces the expenses incurred when dealing with traditional ultrasound systems.

The portable state of the device also facilitates a much more streamlined workflow, allowing efficiency, which in turn saves valuable time – for both patients and doctors. Moreover, as the device works faster, it naturally offers immediate and instant imaging services. Now this potentially increases the revenue stream for healthcare centers as well.

4. Expedited Referrals & Care Coordination

A handheld ultrasound device can assist in expediting referrals and enhancing the overall care coordination between specialists and primary care providers. In cases where further imaging or evaluation is required, many primary care clinicians often utilize the handheld devices to quickly perform the preliminary assessments.

Moreover as the diagnostic information and imaging is in real-time, the device enables primary care providers to effectively communicate with specialists, which helps streamline the entire referral process.

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5. Scalable

Given its low price point and size, it’s possible to have multiple handheld ultrasound devices within your medical practice. The low cost and size also means that you can apply and use it in various examination rooms, instead of keeping it in one area of your clinic/hospital.

As handheld ultrasound devices are seen as POC (Point of Care) equipment, this allows one to not just scale via the devices but it also enables doctors to serve more patients that require ultrasound examinations and care. This is extremely important during emergency situations as well as examiners can quickly make critical findings regarding a patient’s health.

6. Patient Engagement & Education

Handheld ultrasound devices offer an advantage over other diagnostic tools as it promotes engagement and education among patients. By performing the ultrasound examinations then and there, clinicians are able to involve their patients during the diagnostic process by explaining the findings and discussing the course of action for the treatment in real time.

This type of direct communication not only fosters improved interaction between patients and healthcare providers but also leads to enhanced patient compliance and understanding of treatment plans.

Additionally, it improves patient satisfaction as they can immediately offer feedback, which reduces one’s need for referrals to specialty clinics or imaging centers. Thus, the personalized care and convenience provided by handheld ultrasound devices are highly appreciated by patients.

Now, it’s important to note that the advantages and benefits offered by a handheld ultrasound machine go beyond the above points and continuously drive innovation and integration into efficient modern medical practice.

Comparison of Handheld Ultrasound Devices by Expert Doctor

Comparison of Handheld Ultrasound DevicesThe landscape of point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) devices has evolved dramatically over recent years. With advancements in technology, handheld ultrasound devices have become increasingly popular among healthcare professionals for their portability, ease of use, and affordability. In this article, we compare four leading handheld POCUS devices: Butterfly iQ3, Philips Lumify, GE Vscan Air CL, and Philips 5500 series. Our comparison is based on the experiences and feedback of expert doctor in various clinical settings.

1. Butterfly iQ3 ($2,899.00)

Butterfly iQ3

Key Features

  • Single Probe, Whole-Body Imaging: The Butterfly iQ3 features a unique single probe that can perform whole-body imaging, making it a versatile tool in any clinical setting.
  • Compatibility: It is compatible with both iOS and Android devices, allowing for broad accessibility.
  • Advanced Imaging Modes: The iQ3 supports B-mode, M-mode, color Doppler, and power Doppler, providing comprehensive diagnostic capabilities.
Expert Feedback

Experts appreciate the Butterfly iQ3 for its versatility and the convenience of having a single probe for multiple applications. The image quality is praised for being on par with larger, more expensive systems. However, some users note that the device’s battery life can be a limiting factor during busy clinical shifts.

2. Philips Lumify ($4,444.00)

Philips Lumify

Key Features

  • App-Based System: The Philips Lumify operates through a mobile app, transforming a compatible smart device into a full-featured ultrasound machine.
  • Multiple Transducers: The Lumify comes with three transducers (L12-4, C5-2, and S4-1) that can be easily interchanged to suit different clinical needs.
  • Cloud-Based Storage: It offers cloud-based storage solutions, allowing for easy access and sharing of images and data.
Expert Feedback

Philips Lumify is praised for its excellent image quality and the reliability of its transducers. Experts find the app interface intuitive and user-friendly. The ability to switch between transducers quickly is highlighted as a significant advantage. However, the need for separate transducers can be seen as a drawback compared to single-probe solutions.

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3. GE Vscan Air CL ($1,855.00)

Vscan Air CL

Key Features

  • Dual-Probe Design: The GE Vscan Air CL features a dual-probe design with linear and convex transducers, offering flexibility for various imaging needs.
  • Wireless Connectivity: It operates wirelessly, providing greater freedom of movement and ease of use in various clinical environments.
  • Robust Battery Life: The device boasts a robust battery life, supporting extended use throughout the day.
Expert Feedback

The GE Vscan Air CL is lauded for its ergonomic design and wireless functionality, which significantly enhance its usability in busy clinical settings. Experts appreciate the dual-probe design, allowing for quick transitions between different types of exams. Some users, however, mention that the initial setup can be a bit cumbersome.

4. Philips 5500 Ultrasound Series ($29,999.00)

Philips 5500 Ultrasound

The Philips 5500 Ultrasound is a sophisticated medical imaging device designed to provide high-quality diagnostic imaging. Medical professionals appreciate the Philips 5500 for its reliability and the quality of imaging it provides. It is considered a valuable tool in various medical fields, contributing significantly to accurate diagnostics and patient care.

Key Features

  • Compact Design: The Philips 5500 series is known for its compact and lightweight design, making it highly portable.
  • High-Resolution Imaging: It delivers high-resolution imaging with advanced Doppler capabilities.
  • User-Friendly Interface: The device features an intuitive interface, reducing the learning curve for new users.
Expert Feedback

Experts commend the Philips 5500 Ultrasound for its superior image quality and the simplicity of its interface. The compact design is particularly appreciated by clinicians who need to move between different locations. However, some users find the need for regular software updates to be a minor inconvenience.

5. GE VERSANA ACTIVE Ultrasound System ($11,999.00)


Healthcare professionals praise the GE Versana Active for its portability, ease of use, and high-quality imaging capabilities. It is particularly valued in settings where space and mobility are critical, such as small clinics and mobile healthcare units. The system’s advanced features and robust performance make it a trusted choice for a variety of medical imaging needs.

Key Features

  • Portability and Compact Design: Lightweight and easy to carry, making it suitable for use in various clinical settings.
  • High-Quality Imaging: Provides high-resolution images with advanced imaging technologies for accurate diagnostics.
  • User-Friendly Interface: Intuitive user interface with easy-to-use controls and customizable settings.
  • Advanced Imaging Modes: Includes modes such as B-Mode, M-Mode, Doppler (Color, Power, and Spectral), and more.
  • Versatile Transducer Options: Compatible with a variety of transducers to support different clinical needs.
Expert Feedback

The GE Versana Active ultrasound system has garnered positive feedback from medical professionals for its versatility, advanced features, and user-friendly design.

Overall, experts praise the GE Versana Active for its blend of advanced technology, ease of use, and portability. It’s considered a robust, cost-effective solution suitable for a wide range of clinical applications, making it a valuable addition to any medical practice.


Thanks to their compact size, handheld ultrasound devices offer an insane amount of benefits such as flexibility, portability, and increased efficiency, making them a great tool to tackle any type of medical situation that comes under one’s medical practice. This overall creates a win-win situation for not just medical professionals but patients as well.

In summary, each of these handheld POCUS devices offers unique strengths tailored to different clinical needs. The Butterfly iQ3 stands out for its single-probe versatility, while the Philips Lumify excels with its app-based system and multiple transducers. The GE Vscan Air CL is favored for its wireless connectivity and dual-probe design, and the Philips 5500 series is praised for its compact design and high-resolution imaging. Expert users emphasize the importance of selecting a device from Marcroft Medical that best matches the specific requirements of their clinical practice, considering factors such as image quality, ease of use, and portability.

Regardless of the benefits the device may offer, it’s equally important to consider and assess the type of features offered by different manufacturers. Hence, the selection of these devices requires an informed and thoughtful approach to maximize its long-term use and benefits.

Dr. Tuan Nguyen, DO is a family medicine specialist in Arlington, TX and has over 24 years of experience in the medical field. He graduated from Nova Southeastern University Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Allopathic Medicine in 1999. He is affiliated with Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital. He is accepting new patients and telehealth appointments.