What to consider when purchasing a handpiece – Kate Scheer W&H (UK) Ltd

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  Posted by: Dental Design      7th October 2018

A quality dental handpiece is crucial to everyday practice and achieving optimal treatment outcomes. For that reason, it’s important that dentists take their time when choosing a new handpiece, as it might make all the difference to the end result. To facilitate the decision making process, here are some key factors to consider.

Air system versus electric system

One of the first areas that you will need to give thought to is whether to go for an air or electric system handpiece. Both have their advantages and drawbacks, but ultimately it boils down to your clinical needs and preferences. This is worth bearing in mind when weighing up the pros and cons. Indeed, one dentist’s idea of a deal breaker might be inconsequential to another clinician – there really is no right or wrong system, it’s whatever suits your needs best.

One of the biggest advantages of an air-driven handpiece is the weight. Compared to electric systems, they are typically considered to be smaller, lighter and easier to handle, which naturally in turn can help to reduce fatigue and aid with ergonomic practice. On top of that, the initial purchase price and ongoing maintenance costs are generally lower with air systems, though the noise and level of vibration tend to be much greater than electric handpieces.

Despite size and price, electric handpieces have grown in popularity in recent years. One of the main reasons for this is the system’s ability to maintain a fixed and constant speed regardless of the load. Together with less vibration this affords improved stabilisation, which in turn can assist with precision and increase efficiency.


Handpieces with an integrated LED light source that can directly illuminate the treatment site are ideal, as they provide greater vision and accuracy during use. Not all handpieces are designed with this function, so if daylight quality illumination is high up on your wish list you may need to be more specific with your search.


Depending on whether you are starting from scratch or just hoping to add to your collection, you may need to consider the accompanying handpiece connections. The last thing you need is to buy a brand new handpiece only to realise that it doesn’t work with your existing connections. Thus, if you’re hoping to save on cost by using what you’ve already got be sure to check compatibility beforehand.


Even the most high-quality, robust handpieces are liable to breakdown or require replacement parts, so finding a manufacturer that offers a first class repair service and technical support is crucial. Waiting until after you’ve purchased your handpiece to find out what level of assistance is available could result in costly repairs, inconvenience and unwanted downtime. To make sure you’re getting the best deal and won’t be caught out later on down the line ask questions like: what is the turnaround time on repairs? What packages do you offer? What replacement component parts do you use? You’ll thank yourself for it later!

Try before you buy

Online literature, videos and interactive multimedia are all very useful during the decision making process when purchasing a new dental handpiece, but nothing beats a practical demonstration or trying it out. One of the best ways to discover the capabilities and handling of a handpiece is to attend tradeshows, exhibitions and events where you can try and compare a variety of products. Better still is assessing performance of a handpiece in your own practice. To ensure you’re 100% happy with your purchase, some manufacturers will allow you to try before you buy – something to bear in mind.

The manufacturer

Choosing a reliable company with a history of first class customer service and innovation is also integral, and can make all the difference to your purchasing experience. Don’t be tempted by cheap copies, which can be purchased online. Often quality is an issue and it is not worth staking a professional reputation on lesser products. Remember, you get the handpiece you pay for, so investing in poor quality products may prove more serious than first expected. Handpieces are not always what they are promoted to be, and those sold on the internet may well not hold an official CE mark even if they show the marking on the product and therefore have not been tested fit for use. With over 125 years’ experience, W&H is dedicated to designing, manufacturing and distributing state-of-the-art handpieces using the latest technology and techniques. The leading manufacturer offers a range of turbines, and straight and contra-angle handpieces along with a complete selection of compatible accessories to meet all your clinical and personal needs. Together with unrivalled technical support and the flexibility of a product demonstration in your practice, W&H ticks all the boxes.

Altogether, buying a dental handpiece requires a great deal of consideration and careful planning, but with the right support from a knowledgeable manufacturer you can rest assured that you’ll find the perfect handpiece. 


To find out more visit www.wh.com/en_uk, call 01727 874990or email office.uk@wh.com


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