#1 Chison Ebit 30 / Sonobook 6
Our top choices for ultrasound are the Chison Sonobook 6 and Ebit 30. Both models are only slightly higher in price than the Sonosite M-Turbo for a brand new system. The imaging quality is very good for the value and the systems are much more reliable in the long term. The Ebit 30 is the cheaper of the two and even comes with the ability to do 4D if needed. We have since switched over to purchasing these ultrasounds for missions as the probes are significantly cheaper to replace than the Sonosite probes and have a more stable architecture.
We are also thankful for direct pricing access from the manufacturer supportive of medical missions. Some drawbacks of the system: Slightly more expensive than used M-Turbo Systems (1000-3000), Ebit 30 takes about 20 seconds to boot, and both systems lack CW for doing in-depth cardiac studies.
#2 Sonosite M-Turbo / Micromaxx
If buying used, the Sonosite Micromaxx/M-Turbo remains the best quality-to-price ultrasound system for international missions. Originally designed for military use, we give each system a 3-5 year lifespan in the most rugged mission fields. Giving Tree has used the Sonosite M-Turbo and Micromaxx primarily for missions until 2020, when newer machines became more cost-effective. Again we state these are great machines, but there are a few issues. Probes for the Micromaxx are difficult to find and expensive as it is the older machine. Probes for the M-Turbo are also still expensive to buy individually, so we advise trying to buy a machine that includes probes.
Sonosites have several hardware and software issues that cause blue screens and irreparable mainboard damage, so it sometimes hard to say how long they will last in the mission field. Although we can repair many issues in-house, it is not cost effective. We recommend purchasing a power conditioner with every ultrasound machine to protect from low voltage / dirty power. We also recommend / avoid using any damaged ultrasound probes (cracks, cut wires) as they can kill the ultrasound itself. Overall, these are great machines, but do have several issues to be aware of when using on missions long-term.
#3 Butterfly Handheld
Our organization has been following handheld ultrasounds for years, and have thoroughly tested several models. The butterfly is by far the most cost effective and best value hand-held ultrasound. If you are traveling short-term and are doing gross ultrasound examinations, we highly recommend the Butterfly. It does work even without a subscription, but you will not have access to cloud storage.
However, there are several things to consider: 1. If you are a heavy ultrasound user and doing detailed examinations (OB/GYN, Gallbladder, Ocular, Nerve Blocks, etc) then be warned that the resolution is moderately poor compared to laptop-style ultrasounds. It is certainly useable for large fluid collections, pregnancy screening, and central line access, but the resolution is very much inferior to standard ultrasound machines. Battery life is also limited to 1-2 hours, and the probe does get quite hot quickly. However, we recommend every missionary team have at least one Butterfly. If you are doing procedures and requiring real diagnostic capability, the Butterfly will not suffice for longer-term missionaries and shared service needs.
We personally use it as a convenient backpack device, but never as our primary ultrasound.