Angel Canada Ultrasonic Cleaner (300W, 1.58 gal)

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My first installment of Friday Five Things described my Optima 420 ultrasonic cleaner as a tool, however imperfect, that I’d rather not live without – whether for removing mold release from plastic or resin parts, or scrubbing paint residue off a disassembled airbrush. But its shortcomings nevertheless prompted me to replace it late last year with a promising-looking model from Angel Canada. So far I have not been disappointed.

The cleaner has the base features that you’d expect from any modern shop or lab model: a wipe-off plastic body with rubber feet, a stainless steel tank, pushbutton controls allowing the user to set cycle length, an LED display, and a lift-out basket for parts. A couple of things represent modest but handy improvements over the Optima. First, the tank lid is completely transparent plastic and is integrated into the body of the unit. When you want to access the tank you just fold it back. Compared to the Optima’s partially-opaque lift-off lid, this gives me better visibility into the tank with less potential for condensed cleaning solution dripping everywhere.

Second, the basket that comes with the Angel Canada cleaner has a pair of handles, which enable me to lift it (and the parts it contains) out of the tank without having to dip my hands into the solution to get a decent grip. Again: more convenient, less potential for mess.

And then we get to the top-line features that really won me over.

Heating. The Angel Canada cleaner allows a user to control the temperature of the solution in the tank between 40 degrees C (104 degrees F) and 60 degrees C (140 degrees F). This is useful because ultrasonic cleaning agents tend to work somewhat better at elevated temperatures.

Tank Size. One of my gripes with the Optima 420 was with its relatively modest tank size: 6.75″ x 5.38″ x 2.75″, or about 100 cubic inches. This often forced me to clean in stages, and sometimes necessitated cutting up sprues to fit them into the tank at all. Indeed, for some vehicle kits, it was impossible to clean more than a piece or two at a time. By contrast, the Angel Canada cleaner’s tank is a much-more-generous 12.8″ x 8″ x 3.9″, or just a hair under 400 cubic inches.

Comparative tank sizes: the Angel Canada cleaner on the left, the Optima 420 on a right, and the same pencil in both pictures for scale.

The 4X increase in tank size has a correspondingly large effect on how quickly I can finish large-volume cleaning jobs: being able to put more parts through the cleaner at once means that I spend less time waiting for the machine to finish, and more time actually assembling and painting models.

Drainage. This is the Angel Canada ultrasonic cleaner’s killer feature. To drain the Optima 420, I had to unplug it and actually carry the entire unit to a sink. It had no channels for used solution to assist pouring, so draining the unit was, in addition to inconvenient, frequently messy. The Angel Canada cleaner, on the other hand, drains through a spout on one side of the unit. The spout is ridged to allow the attachment of an (included) hose so as to direct drainage into a nearby basin or sink without ever moving the unit, and a lever-controlled valve allows the user to stop or release the flow of solution through the spout.

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This is, in a word, awesome. Now I can drain the cleaner into a basin, and carry that to the sink, rather than having to unplug and carry around the unit itself.

If there’s one downside to the Angel Canada cleaner over the Optima 420, it’s in the area of noise. During a cleaning cycle, the Optima 420 produced a fairly quiet buzz – enough that you knew the unit was active, but not so loud as to annoy. The Angel Canada cleaner is moderately more noisy, and has a kind of turbine-ish sound underlying the more steady buzz of the ultrasonics. It’s not so loud that it’s going to chase you out of a room, but it’s definitely a bit more annoying.

Still, the upsides of the Angel Canada overwhelm the downsides, and my Optima 420 has now been relegated to the role of revered backup, on a shelf in storage in case the Angel Canada cleaner ever fails.

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  1. amrogers3 says:

    I have been looking for a better ultrasonic for a while. Where did you get this and how much did you pay?

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