Suctioning 101: Key Components to a Quality Suction Machine

As a healthcare provider, you know the critical role your portable suction unit plays in treating tenuous airways. Whether you’re a flight paramedic, an EMT on an ambulance, or a nurse on a floor, nothing can take the place of an effective suction unit.

So, if you find yourself in need of choosing a new unit for your department or replacing old equipment, here are a few key components you should look for when choosing a quality suction machine.



Your portable suction unit must be powerful enough to clear the most stubborn secretions, from sputum to blood to vomit. The unit should not only be powerful but also long-lasting. If you’re clearing the airway of an entrapped patient, the last thing you want is for your batteries to fail. Whether your unit runs on alkaline or rechargeable batteries, they must be reliable. And if for some reason the batteries fail, it’s a great option to be able to utilize alternate power sources.


In the rough and tumble world of EMS, your equipment must be durable. Temperature extremes, rain and snow, and the day-to-day rigors of emergency response can wreak havoc on delicate instruments. Your portable suction unit must have a tough-enough outer container to protect its fragile inner components. It must also have easy-to-read dials and accessible controls for use under less-than-optimal conditions.



Everything you need to know to help your institution make the right portable  suction purchase >



Your portable suction needs are determined by the system within which you work. Do you need small units that can be tucked within airway bags? What about variable pressure? This may be a concern for those working with pediatrics or geriatrics. What about disaster response? You may need units that run solely on alkaline batteries, to ensure you always have a power source. And what if you’re outfitting tactical medics? Be sure you choose units that meet the criteria of tactical medicine.

Do Your Homework

Choosing a portable suction machine is an important decision, one that should not be made lightly. Consult with your fellow responders or fellow administrators. Read reviews and talk to others in your field to obtain feedback on performance and selection. And check out the credentials of the manufacturer and the level of support it provides. You want a company that will stand behind its products and be there for you, should you need further guidance.


Click here for a free eBook, The Ultimate Guide to Purchasing a Portable Emergency Suction Device.