Ultrasonic jewelry cleaners use sound waves that are beyond a human's ability to hear to create tiny vacuum bubbles in water or a cleanser. The bubbles collapse, creating a great deal of heat and pressure, and 'blast' nearby objects. Millions of the little bubbles reach into even intricate areas of all items in the solution, making the process an effective cleansing tool for jewelry and its components.
Ultrasonic cleansers are designed in somewhat different ways, but they all come with a basket to hold jewelry -- the jewelry and the machine would be damaged if items were allowed to bounce around against the cleaner's working parts. An ultrasonic cleaner should come with complete instructions for its use, and some include a DVD. Many manufacturers recommend you use a cleaning solution in the tank, but others work with plain tap water.
Not all jewelry is suitable for ultrasonic cleansing. Pearls, opals, turquoise, emeralds and other similar, more delicate, gems should not be placed in an ultrasonic cleaner.
Fashion jewelry would possibly be damaged by these cleaners, and it's best to find another method to clean your delicate vintage jewelry.
Optima Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner
The Optima jewelry cleaners in this collection vary in price, starting at about $35 and extending to $115. Tub size and cleaning cycles vary. Be sure to read the feedback -- the lowest priced cleaning unit has not accumulated good reviews.
Sharpertek Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner
You'll find a wide variation in Sharpertek cleaners, in both price and capabilities. Some of the units are heated, although many of those styles are larger cleaners that can also be used to clean auto parts and other items way beyond your needs for jewelry. Most cleaners suitable for keeping your jewelry bright and shiny are priced under $100.
Branson Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner
Like most other ultrasonic cleaners in this collection, some Branson units are large enough to clean eyeglasses and other small items.
Ross-Simons Ultrasonic Cleaners
Ross-Simons offers multi-cycle cleaning units that hold about a pint of solution in their stainless steel tanks, and the compact cleaners don't take up a lot of counter space. The baskets will hold a fair amount of jewelry or other items that need to be cleaned, and a watch holder is also included. Digital timers allow precise control of the cleaning cycles.
This cleaner has a stainless steel tank and automatic shut-off. The manufacturer says it cleans your jewelry, using water, in three minutes. A watch shelf is included with this cleaner (and many of the other units).
This very inexpensive cleaner comes with a concentrated cleaning solution. The literature claims that it is fine to clean pearls and other delicate jewelry when using a low setting, but please don't put those items at risk. Reserve the unit for economically cleaning your more durable jewelry.
Not an ultrasonic cleaner.
The Jewel Jet cleans your jewelry using steam produced by 8 ounces of ordinary tap water. A small strainer-like basket securely holds your jewelry as a burst of steam floods the basket. Pay close attention to the instructions to avoid being burned, and avoid cleaning jewelry that could be damaged by steam.
This cleaner uses tap water and combines ultrasonic capabilities with steam cleaning. The ultrasonic tank holds about a pint of liquid (the tank isn't quite as large as some of the other models, but would be perfect for most jewelry).