High speed handpieces should be a long term investment.
New high speed handpieces, as with many high tech tools, are available with multiple, and sometimes confusing options. If considering changing brands, or just a step up, there are a few things you might consider.
Do you currently have fiber optics? If not, be sure to consider cost and availability of replacement bulbs. The initial cost of the light source can also be prohibitive.
Want quick connects on those new high speed handpieces?
Many are leaning toward the swivel type quick connects. Less hand stress, a little better control, once you get use to them. But, remember fiber optic swivel couplers can cost as much as many new 4 hole type high speed handpieces. Many require the use of o-rings, which wear out as well. Also, regulators might have to be adjusted, as efficiency is lost when incorporating couplers in the lineup.
High torque high speed handpieces must have adequate bur cooling
Multi port spray is an excellent option to consider. Circumferential bur cooling on high speed handpieces has many positive effects. Not only will it help to keep bur cooler at point of contact, but prevent heat transfer up the bur shaft which translates to chuck and turbine. Excess heat can cause bur breakage, and consequently turbine damage due to inability to remove broken or stuck burs without damaging chuck.
Read high speed handpieces Warranty fine print
Warranties are a consideration on any major purchase. Many companies boast a 2 year warranty, followed, in fine print, by “1 year on the turbine”. Fair enough, but let’s be frank, short of throwing it out a second story window, the high speed handpiece body will likely last a lot longer than two years. A one year warranty on the turbine is fine, but two years on everything else – not a big gamble on the manufacturers part.
Turbines accompanying new high speed handpieces can cost over $350 – no small expense. Some manufacturers now offer 2 year warranties, knowing that turbines will likely not last that long. We all know that these things are factored into the purchase price, but hey, if its a good product and the company has a good reputation, so be it. Look for at least a 1 year warranty on high speed handpieces, and be sure to keep a record of the purchase.
What about ergonomics? Do you like that sleek, curvy, European styled body? Most high speed handpieces are now manufactured with hand stress considerations, but remember curves require longer and more tortuous air and water lines. Every turn a line makes reduces efficiency ever so slightly, and increases the probability of lines clogging. Not a show stopper, but something to consider.
Kavo and W&H are now considered among the best high speed handpieces available today.