Vein finder lights are an important tool for a wide range of medical professionals. Whether you’re on the front line requiring fast and accurate IV access or working in a hospital with young patients (and various other applications in between) a high-quality vein finder is a must.
I own one myself, (see the top pick below) and know first hand that accuracy, ease of use, and suitable battery life are 3 of the most important factors you need in a reliable portable vein finder light.
Other important issues to think about are versatility; do you need vein depth analysis for instance? Modes of operation and the type of patient you will be working with also play a part.
As you will find in your own research and via the reviews below, today’s vein finders vary in price considerably with different features between models.
This is why I have put together this guide in order to explore the pros and cons of some of the current market leaders.
Below you will find my picks for the best vein finders today. The selection is based on my own personal experiences as well as that of my colleagues. I have also consulted verified customer reviews in tandem with intensive product research and analysis.
These are the results…
Vein Finder Lights: The Reviews
1. TOP PICK: Veinlite EMS PRO – Transilluminator Vein Finder
My top pick vein finder for 2022 is the Veinlite EMS Pro. Sleek, lightweight and easy to use it is suitable for both adult and child patients.
For those that have used the Veinlite EMS, this pro addition is very similar except for the inclusion of a built-in white exam light mode.
This addition makes it fast and simple to perform an initial patient assessment. In fact, the speed at which you can get readings makes it a good choice for first responders.
Although, whether you’re a nurse or a doctor, phlebotomist, or other specialized healthcare worker requiring IV access, you will benefit from this accurate vein finder.
That being said, you may find the vein viewing area a bit small, which is probably my only main complaint about the EMS Pro.
The portability is further increased by the robust design that only takes two AA batteries to power.
That’s the beauty of LED. On full battery charge the vein finder will last you several hundred minutes of continuous use, (550 mins according to the specs) even though Veinlite packs 24 colored LEDs into the tool.
Operation is by a single switch; the patented* color combination creates high contrast imaging that will work accurately on both dark and light skin tones.
The pediatric adaptor makes it simple to find veins on young children. The device also comes with a light shield to help focus the light in the area being examined.
The Veinlite EMS Pro also features an automatic shutoff, so there is no chance of draining your batteries if you accidentally leave it switched on, (which is something I have certainly been prone to do).
Overall Veinlite has knocked it out of the park with the EMS Pro. It is portable, lightweight, and easy on the batteries. If you require IV access either out on the front line or in the ward (or even for home care), this is the vein finder to buy in 2022.
- Related Content: Best Sphygmomanometer For Nurses
2. BEST BUDGET: UMTEC Infrared Vein Finder Viewer
My budget choice vein finder for 2022 is the simple little tool from UMTEC.
Retailing below $100 this is a great choice for those that need IV access but do not require the fast precision of the EMS Pro (at over double the price).
That’s not to say that the performance levels are not good here, however. Far from it. In fact, the vein finder boasts HD imaging and DF2 technology, (I will be honest, this means very little to me but you must agree that it does sound impressive).
UMTEC states that this technology makes the vein finder excellent for alternate care facilities (surgery and blood/plasma centers for example), as well as for home health care services.
It is also fully FDA approved, which clearly means they are doing something right.
The feedback (Amazon customer reviews etc) also helps validate this with a number of 5 star satisfied comments.
As with the EMS Pro, this is a portable and lightweight device. The round design not only looks great, but it is also ergonomic and actually serves to help you find deep veins you might otherwise miss.
The vein finder provides a near-infrared light while in operation, and is 100% radiation-free, making it completely safe to use, (UMTEC recommends that you do not use it up against the face, however, why would you do so?).
On the negative side, there are a few less than satisfied reviews on Amazon.com. This seems to stem from difficulty getting the device to work as advertised.
It is unclear how easily these customers had their issues rectified, (the user comments do not state the outcome).
It should be noted, however, that the manufacturers offer a 90 day, worry-free product guarantee.
If you do not like the performance levels (or anything else about it for that matter), you can send it back, no questions asked.
Overall, this is a great vein finder for the price. If you are on a budget it is definitely well worth considering. Just take note of the range of customer reviews before you buy, however.
- Related Content: Top 7 Best Pulse Oximeters – A Complete Guide
3. BEST FOR SCLEROTHERAPY: Veinlite LEDX Adult Transilluminator Vein Finder
For medical practitioners involved with sclerotherapy there is one clear vein finder option in my opinion; the Veinlite LEDX.
Coming from the same company that manufactures the trusty EMS Pro (my overall top pick for 2022), this takes a similar design but with extra power and performance levels.
True, this vein finder is by far the most expensive portable option in my top 5, however, for Sclero applications it really is hard to beat.
This powerful device features a wide opening so that the viewing area is increased substantially.
It also has a whopping 32 LED’s. These are split with 24 orange LEDs and 8 red ones. The unit can also provide a deeper focus. These attributes help make this the go-to choice when working with obese adult patients.
As with the top pick, the patented* color choice of LED light allows for high contrast imaging that works on both light and dark skin tones.
Similarly, the battery life is also impressive, meaning you should never be caught short while using the vein finder in any given circumstance.
All of the above said, it seems that the device has not pleased all customers that have opted to invest in it. As with most of the vein finders reviewed here, a minority of users have found flaws with the performance. As a result, it has garnered a small number of 1-star reviews.
If you work with obese patients and sclerotherapy this vein finder really is the choice for you. Designed specifically for such use, it will provide the easy vein finding ability that you seek.
Just bear in mind the high price and the fact some users have struggled with it.
- Related Content: Best Otoscope for 2022 – Top 5 Reviews
4. BEST FOR PEDIATRICS: Respironics Wee Sight Transilluminator Vein Finder
If you are looking for a vein finder designed specifically for pediatric use, this device from Respironics is my top choice for 2022.
Needless to say, however, when working with babies and small children you have to be very delicate. That goes for the tools you use too.
Here the Wee Sight is built so that your young patient will remain comfortable as you search for an appropriate vein. It will also help you achieve fast and accurate results.
The device is designed to lie flat on a surface so that you can drape the baby’s arm or leg over for evaluation. This, in turn, means one person can operate the vein finder while unassisted.
Furthermore, you can also hold the Wee Sight in the palm of your hand with the baby’s limb against it.
Beyond the ease of use, the device also provides enhanced visualization that should help reduce needlestick attempts.
Thought has also gone into the light levels (output light wavelength is 629 nm); this cool output helps to protect the baby from discomfort as it will not burn.
The smallness of the vein finder also makes it appropriate for use inside an incubator.
For those working specifically in pediatric care and require a vein finder that will keep your young patient comfortable, the Wee Sight is the device to buy.
Well designed and easy to use, this is my top choice vein finder for pediatric nurses in 2022.
- Related Content: Top 5 scrubs tops and pants for men – 2022 reviews
5. BEST FOR CLINIC USE: Vivolight, VIVO500S Vein Scanner with Floor Stand
For anyone looking to invest in a high-grade vein finder suitable for their clinic, this option from Vivolight is worth further research.
This device is in a different league from the portables I have reviewed above. The price tag is several thousand dollars for a start.
However, with this unit, you are getting projection viewfinder technology that will highlight veins and blood capillaries with exceptional detail.
It is actually difficult to find a more accurate vein finder on the market right now.
The system works as a non-invasive electronic visual aid. In practice, this means that it actually projects the image of subcutaneous vascular structures onto the surface of the skin, (unlike many vein finders this can safely be used on the neck and face).
This safe vein visualization method is conducted using innovative NIR technology.
The tool features several different modes of operation: a basic mode for general use, a depth detection mode for a more detailed examination, a green light mode, and a pediatric mode.
The depth detection allows you various grades of examination depth. One green light will provide you with a vein depth of 0 to mm. Two green lights will allow for depths between 2 and 4mm, while 3 green lights will highlight veins 4 to 8mm deep.
This kind of versatility is just impossible on lower grade vein finder devices.
The tool is FDA-approved of course and is extremely elegantly designed throughout.
For ease of use, it comes with a strong floor stand. It also features adjustable brightness so you can alter the light in relation to your current working environment.
The VIVO500S is an excellent option for clinics and hospitals that require sophisticated vein imaging devices.
With the various modes of operation, and vein depth finding capabilities the versatility and accuracy of the unit is second to none. You are paying a price for the technology, however, as it doesn’t come cheap.
- Related Content: Top 10 best watches for nurses – 2022 Edition
Vein Finder Buyer’s Guide
What is a Vein Finder?
The name of the device tells you exactly what it is. A vein finder helps medical professionals locate veins on a patient. In some patients, the process of finding the vein with the naked eye alone can be difficult. This is because veins may not show through fatty tissue or dark complexions.
An infrared vein finder will aid the caregiver by highlighting where the veins are.
How Do Vein Finders Work?
A vein detector emits infrared rays which are absorbed by the oxygen and hemoglobin molecules in the blood. The blood vessels become highlighted as a result as absorbed light makes the veins darker than the surrounding tissue.
Other vein finders, such as glasses use lenses that alter the color of the light passing through to the user’s eyes. This results in the veins being more visible.
Principle Functions of the Vein Finder
A vein finder performs 2 main functions related to procedures that involve needle insertion into a subject’s vein.
Whether this is a simple blood collection sample or preparation for intensive surgery, a vein finder could be used to locate a suitable vein for the procedure.
Essentially, with the help of a vein finder, medical practitioners can pass Intra Venous cannula or administer parenteral medication with greater precision.
The two main functions can be categorized as:
- Blood sample collection: The use of the vein finder will enable a phlebotomist to locate a vein for the blood sample in a manner that reduces the risk of pre-analytical error. The end result means greater comfort for the patient.
- Cannulation: Locating a vein for cannulation can be problematic for a number of reasons. Whether it is inexperience on the part of the practitioner, or issues with the subject, (dehydration, obesity, hand hypotension can all make finding a vein more difficult); a vein finder can greatly enhance the chances of successful first-time needle insertion.
Ultimately, vein finders benefit both the medical practitioner and the patient. Let’s take a closer look at that now.
- Related Content: Vein Finder Apps – Worth Using Over Dedicated Devices?
The Benefits of using an Infrared Vein Finder
The Benefits of using an infrared vein finder are immediately apparent to any caregiver that has to administer venipuncture and cannulation. Where veins are hard to detect, you need a device to assist you.
If a medical professional is able to locate the vein correctly the end result is less pain and stress for the patient. It also increases the safety of the procedure.
Vein finders are also useful for particular types of patients, including those with dark skin tones, obese people, burn victims, drug abusers, the elderly, and those that have already undergone many diagnostic or intravenous procedures.
What to consider when buying a Vein Finder
When buying a vein finder there are a number of factors to consider. Let’s take a look at some of them now.
Type of patient
Most vein finders will work with all types of patient however, there are ones specifically for pediatric use or more applicable to elderly patients for example.
Deciding if you need a general device or something more targeted in terms of the patient group is important.
Furthermore, some portable vein finders do not emit powerfully enough to highlight the small blood vessels in the face. If this is the type of procedure you need to do on occasion, ensure the finder you buy is capable.
- Related Content: IV Therapy Tips & Tricks: How to Hit a Vein Every Time
Ease of Use
You will want a vein finder that is simple and easy to operate. The process of puncturing a vein is difficult, especially if the patient is uncomfortable and nervous. The device you use should not cause you any issues, leaving you free to concentrate on the job at hand.
Whether you work in a hospital or a medical professional out in the field, portability is something you will definitely appreciate from your vein finder. Having the ability to simply slip the device into your pocket or medical bag as you go from patient to patient, job to job will make things much easier for you.
Being portable, vein finders are generally battery powered. A device that comes with chargeable batteries and can simply be plugged into the mains to recharge is recommended. That beats having to go out and buy fresh batteries periodically in order to keep the unit running.
Finally, you should consider your budget. This will help narrow down the options to those in your price range.
- F. B. Chiao, F. Resta-Flarer, J. Lesser, J. Ng, A. Ganz, D. Pino-Luey, H. Bennett, C. Perkins, Jr, B. Witek, “Vein visualization: patient characteristic factors and efficacy of a new infrared vein finder technology“, BJA: British Journal of Anaesthesia, Volume 110, Issue 6, June 2013, Pages 966–971, https://doi.org/10.1093/bja/aet003
- “Design of vein finder with multi tuning wavelength using RGB LED“, Franky Chandra et al 2017 J. Phys.: Conf. Ser. 853 012019. [PDF Link]
- Simon Juric, Vojko Flis, Matjaz Debevc, Andreas Holzinger, Borut Zalik, “Towards a Low-Cost Mobile Subcutaneous Vein Detection Solution Using Near-Infrared Spectroscopy“, The Scientific World Journal, vol. 2014, Article ID 365902, 15 pages, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/365902
- “Economically Affordable and Clinically Reliable Vein Finder” Proceedings of 30th Indian Engineering Congress, the 21st Century Engineering: The Make in India Pathway, December 2015, pp. 63-69. [PDF Link]