Is It Time to Replace Your Battery-Operated Portable Suction Machine?

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught many lessons. Perhaps one of the most important is that versatile equipment saves lives. Battery-operated portable emergency suction machines empower you to tend to patients wherever you find them—in their homes, in the emergency department, even in the parking lot. 


When you don’t have to move a patient, you don’t face dangerous treatment delays. Perhaps even more importantly, you don’t have to expose other patients to any pathogens they may be carrying. But as the pandemic moves into its second year, you might find that your old battery-operated portable suction machine just isn’t doing the job as well as it once did. 


Here are three ways to assess how well your battery-operated portable suction machine is working. 


Pump Quality and Airflow

The pump of your battery-operated portable suction machine is analogous to a car’s engine. No matter how well the other parts function, if the pump fails, the device will lose power, leading to preventable morbidity and mortality. The user manual for the device should provide clear guidance as to ideal performance and how to test it. SSCOR also offers a free aspirator test kit that can alert you to power issues. 


It’s often possible to fix problems with the pump, but you’ll need to weigh the costs and benefits of doing so. You may need to send the pump away for a replacement, potentially leaving you without suction. And if the cost of repairs approaches that of replacing the device, an upgrade may be the superior option. 


Electrical Issues

Your battery-operated suction machine is a complex electrical device, which leaves plenty of room for electrical issues with the PC board, on/off switch, wiring, charging panel, or battery. It can be difficult to detect where the problem is coming from, and one electrical issue sometimes signals multiple electrical problems. 


As every car owner eventually learns, electrical problems can be expensive to fix. Depending on the cost of repairs—and whether repairs are even feasible—chronic electrical issues may mean it’s time to upgrade to a new machine. 


Wear and Tear

Eventually, wear and tear can pose a problem to even the highest-quality machines. Cracks in the device provide an entry point for bloodborne pathogens and bodily fluids, endangering your patients. The length of time you can expect a device to last depends on your call volume. When making the decision about replacing a device, consider the realistic length of time you can expect a device to serve your agency. 


Replacing vs. Repairing

If your agency purchased a portable emergency suction machine at the beginning of the pandemic, it might have bought the first machine that came along—not necessarily the best. A year in, you may find that the machine just isn’t working as well as it once did. This is a common problem with cheaper suction machines.


Some factors to consider when weighing whether to replace or repair the machine include: 

  • Has this machine had ongoing problems that make it likely its issues will continue? 
  • Are the costs of repair similar to the costs of replacing the machine? 
  • How long will repairs take? 
  • Are there logistical concerns with the repair, such as the need to send the machine off and use a temporary replacement? 
  • Are you happy with the quality of service you get from your current suction device manufacturer? 
  • Would a backup device increase overall device life? Having multiple devices in rotation can help each last longer. 


Every agency, no matter how small or large, deserves a machine that can last. That’s because when machines begin to give out, the people who suffer most are the patients. Indeed, you might not even know that a machine is not working correctly until you find that you’re getting consistently lackluster results after suctioning. So make your next machine a true investment. Purchase a machine that’s guaranteed to last for years. 


The right battery-operated portable suction machine stands the test of time, delivering consistent and reliable suction for patient after patient, year after year. This investment in equipment can save your organization plenty of money over time, not to mention countless lives. For help selecting the right machine for your agency, download our free guide, The Ultimate Guide to Purchasing a Portable Emergency Suction Device



SSCOR VX-2 Portable and Onboard Suction