Best Infrared Vein Finder
A vein finder is like a flashlight for veins. It helps medical professionals easily and quickly locate veins. They’re not needed on most patients, but they can be a lifesaver for those difficult patients! After a thorough examination of several vein finders available on the market, I’ve found that the best vein finder is the Veinlite LEDX vein finder.
It has 32 bright LEDs, including 24 orange and 8 red LEDs. It is powered by a rechargeable battery and will run for about 130-160 minutes per charge. And most importantly, it works for virtually all patients, including children, adults, the obese, and those with darker complexions.
For further details on the Veinlite LEDX, see below.
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Vein Identifier Basics
Most people’s veins are not that hard to find. With a few exceptions, most health care providers can quickly and accurately find veins, and puncture them in order to provide medical treatment.
In most cases.
There are several exceptions to this, most notably children, the elderly, the obese, and people of color. It can be quite difficult to identify children’s veins due to higher amounts of fatty tissues surrounding many veins. Similarly, it can be a challenge to locate the veins of elderly patients, those who are obese, and those whose skin color obscures their veins.
In these cases, vein finders can make life much easier for the health care provider performing venipuncture and cannulation, and for the patient as well!
Of course, these devices don’t do anything about collapsing veins during blood draws, but they do help decrease unnecessary sticks.
Benefits of Vein Finders
For those patients with obscured veins, getting intravenous medication or testing can be a traumatic experience. Children are especially hard-hit. They often don’t understand why they are getting treated with needles, and don’t understand their circumstances.
Vein finders make it easier for clinicians, phlebotomists, and users to identify veins. Easy vein identification provides numerous patient and caregiver benefits.
Most importantly, vein finders can significantly reduce the trauma, pain, anxiety, and concern around getting treated with intravenous medications among those populations whose veins are difficult to find. See this study which shows the power and efficacy of vein finders.
The bottom line is that there are far fewer missed veins and lower multiple-punctures when vein finders are used.
Increased Trust by Patients
When a patient sees you pull out a vein finder, they know you’re trying your best to minimize harm and pain during a medical procedure. This reduces patient anxiety, increases patient trust, and potentially improves outcomes.
Vein finders work by making veins pop against the background of the skin, like a flashlight shining on the veins. This procedure is painless and non-invasive, providing great relief to many patients.
A higher rate of vein puncture success means fewer needles being used overall. That means less waste of needles, syringes, etc.
Reduced Time for Treatment
With a vein-finder, a caregiver can spend less time searching around for an appropriate vein and can spend more time listening to and treating the patient.
How Vein Finders Work
Infrared light can make veins pop out against an obscure background, making veins much easier to spot and easier to manipulate. This is because oxygen and hemoglobin carried in the blood absorb infrared illumination. When infrared light is shined on the skin, the veins appear dark, while the surrounding tissue is bright.
When a health care provider uses an infrared vein finder of any sort, the vein structure is much more easily viewed on the skin. The light absorbed by the hemoglobin in the blood makes the blood appear to be dark in tone and contrasts strikingly with the surrounding tissue.
To use a vein finder, typically the room is darkened and unnecessary lights are turned off. In the case of an active vein finder, the practitioner engages the vein finder’s light in order to clearly identify the location of veins. The less light present in the room, the clearer the identification of veins on the patient.
What Kind of Light Do Vein Finders Use?
Most vein finders use Red or Orange LED light. These lights provide illumination on the infrared and near-infrared spectrum. This light makes it easier to spot veins against the surrounding tissue.
Types of Vein Finders
There are a few different types of vein finders on the market, positioned at a wide variety of price points. Many of these devices are active vein finders and shine a red light on the skin in order to make the veins more easily found.
Others are passive devices. These are essentially sunglasses that are coated with a specialized tint that filters the light in order to make the veins easier to spot.
Vein Finder Buyer’s Tips
Here are several factors to keep in mind when shopping for a vein finder.
Adult and Child Models Often Differ
Some vein finders are designed specifically to be used on children, while others are designed for adults, or for dual-use. Vein finders designed for use in children typically have a lower illumination threshold than vein finders designed for adult use, and are smaller. This is because adult skin and veins usually require more light than children’s veins.
In this article, I will specify whether a given model is designed for adults or children.
Keep in Mind Battery Power
While passive-style vein finders don’t need any external power, all active vein finders require some sort of battery power. Rechargeable batteries are much easier to deal with than replaceable batteries and are almost always preferable. No one wants to have to keep popping out the batteries on their tools.
If you choose a device with a rechargeable battery, you may want to consider how frequently you’ll be using the vein finder. If you’ll be using it a lot, you’ll need multiple batteries available. This way, you can charge one battery while using the device with a second battery.
Some Vein Finders Don’t Work Well with Facial Veins
If you need your vein finder specifically for facial veins, you’ll want to be sure to choose a model that works well in these cases. Many typical vein finder models don’t handle the delicate veins in the facial structures.
Of course, regardless of the vein finder, patients will need to close their eyes during use, as these lights can be quite powerful.
In this review, I will identify the models that work well in these cases.
While all vein finders are non-invasive, many of these objects are in contact with the skin. Be sure you consider how easily cleaned each device is, and whether there are Disposable Plastic Covers (DPC) readily available for these tools.
The Light Emitted Can Be Very Strong
Some vein finders can emit an enormously powerful glow, which is amplified by the fact that the rest of the room should generally be darkened. This bright light makes veins easy to identify. But it can also be overwhelming and harmful to the eyes of the practitioner and the patient.
A light shield, or tinted glasses, can eliminate this problem and make the regular use of vein finders less of a chore.
Vein Finder Reviews
In this section, we’ll look at several different vein finder options available on the market, including active and passive vein finders. Many companies make a few different versions, targeted specifically at certain patients.
I’ll conclude with a summary of my favorites.
Best Vein Finder: Veinlite LEDX Adult Transilluminator Vein Finder
Key Points at a Glance
- Ideal for obese patients and for those with darker skin
- Improves detection of veins, spider veins, and reticular veins up to 1cm in depth
- Provides illumination through an array of 32 LEDs (24 orange and 8 red)
- Includes size adaptor for children and adults
- Powered with a rechargeable battery
- Includes 50 disposable covers
- Works pretty well on scalp veins
- Light shield is included
The LEDX Vein Transilluminator from Veinlite is a powerful vein finder that works well on adults, persons of color, and the obese. The powerful illuminator shines with 32 LED lights, including 24 orange-tinted LEDs and 8 red-tinted LEDs. The large number of orange LEDs makes the LEDX a very powerful vein-finding system.
There’s no need for additional batteries on the Veinlite LEDX transilluminator. The system includes a rechargeable battery, which makes working with this vein finder a lot easier than those that use AA batteries. Should you need an extra battery for the Veinlite, you can find one here. The battery typically lasts for 130-160 minutes on a single charge.
To use the Veinlite LEDX you’ll do the following steps:
- Lower the ambient lighting in the room.
- Cover the Veinlite with a Disposable Cover
- Turn it on with the button
- Place it on the skin, and move it around until la vein comes strikingly into view
- Press down on the LEDX to close the vein
- Pull gently on the Veinlite to elongate the vein
- Proceed to insert the needle into the vein
The Veinlite LEDX comes with 50 disposable protective covers. You’ll burn through those pretty quickly if you’re using it on a regular basis. Should you need additional covers, you can find them here:
The Veinlite LEDX is a pretty powerful device, and works reasonably well at face veins, especially scalp veins. The 32 LEDs makes these smaller veins easier to spot with its high contrast view.
For further details, see this presentation on the Veinlite LEDX that covers all the usage details.
The Bottom Line
The Veinlite LEDX is an outstanding all-around infrared vein finder, positioned at a fairly high price point. If you’re often working with the obese, people of color, etc., this may be an excellent option for you. If you can stomach the cost! If not, the Veinlite EMS, discussed below, is a cheaper option, as are the other models on this list.
- Increased area of illumination and treatment
- Widest opening for sclerotherapy treatment
- Optimal viewing of varicose and spider veins
Best Vein Finder for Children: Veinlite EMS Adult Baby Vein Finder Transilluminator
Key Points at a Glance
- Designed for both adults and children
- Includes extra adapter to use with children
- Does not include a rechargeable battery
- Provides Red and Orange Light through 16 LEDs (12 red and 4 orange)
- Offers “flashlight” mode with 8 standard white LEDs
- Includes Light Shield
- Works acceptably well on facial/scalp veins
- Not the best choice for use on those with dark skin
The Veinlite EMS is very similar to the Veinlite LEDX examined above, though it is a cheaper and less feature-full option. The most significant change from the LEDX is the number of LEDs provided. The EMS uses only 16 LED lights, as opposed to the 32 used in the LEDX model.
The other big feature change is the lack of a rechargeable battery system. Instead, the Veinlite EMS is powered by two AA batteries. Two standard AA batteries provide approximately 360 minutes of usage time under typical circumstances.
In terms of how it works, the EMS and the LEDX are identical. Follow the steps outlined above, and you’ll quickly and efficiently find the vein you need.
The Veinlite EMS excels at illuminating the veins of infants and children. According to a presentation made in at Boston Children’s Hospital in 2005 by Katsogridakis et al., users of the Veinlite EMS had significantly higher first-attempt success rates for IV placement. That’s great! The Veinlite EMS has an extra adapter specifically designed for use with children.
However, it doesn’t work as well on the veins of adults, and especially of persons of color. Though the EMS is marketed toward both children and adults, compared to the Veinlite LEDX above, the EMS model does not work as well on the veins of darker-skinned adults.
It also doesn’t work incredibly well on facial veins, as the lighting provided isn’t quite powerful enough.
Disposable plastic covers are included with this package, though you may end up going through them pretty quickly if you use the Veinlite frequently. Should you need to purchase more, you can find them here:
The Bottom Line: The Best Infrared Vein Finder for Children
The Veinlite EMS strikes a reasonable balance between cost and functionality and really works best in children. Where it falls short is in adult use, especially among those with darker complexions. Overall, this is a good choice if you don’t mind dealing with the lack of a rechargeable battery, and it is reasonably cost-effective.
- The Veinlite EMS: hand-held transilluminator for easy vein access
- Side transillumination for imaging veins anywhere on the body
- Unique C-shaped ring design for uniform illumination of a small region...
Budget Pick: Bestman BVF Vein Finder
Key Points at a Glance
- Ideal for the location of veins in the hands
- Provides 26000-27000 Lux of Illumination
- Powered by a rechargeable battery
- Works in children and baby’s hands
- Works well on dark-skinned patients
As shown in the preceding image, the Bestman BVF Vein Finder is designed to quickly and easily identify veins in the hands. The patient simply grips the BVF tightly in their hand, and the veins pop out immediately against the background.
The ease of use makes the BVF a great choice, and the price point is pretty reasonable relative to some of the other vein finders on this list. Just keep in mind that it really only works for veins in the hands, and would not be appropriate for veins in the legs, the face, or in other parts of the body.
If you need a vein finder for multiple locations, this is not the right choice.
The BVF Vein finder will work on the veins of children and babies, making it nicely suitable to use in all patients. Additionally, this unit is pretty successful at revealing the veins of darker-skinned patients and in the obese.
The Bottom Line
For those looking for a simple, easy-to-use vein finder for veins in the hands, the BVF vein finder is an excellent option. The price point is reasonable, and the BVF is successful at identifying veins of a wide variety of individuals, including children, people of color, and the obese.
All of these features make the BVF a good choice for an all-around vein-finder at a reasonable price! The one drawback is that it can take up to two weeks for delivery of this vein-finder from China.
- BVF-260 auto detecting hand covered or not, integration design, light...
- BVF Series use medical cold light, no radiation, no laser, more safe.
- Suitable for Children, Baby
- Rechargeable lithium battery
- Shipping from China, delivery time around 3-15 days
Best Vein Finder Glasses: Oxy-Iso Blood Draw and Color Blindness Glasses
Key Points at a Glance
- Passive illumination of veins through the use of specialized tinted lenses
- Works to correct red-green colorblindness
- Guaranteed to work, or these can be returned
- Popular among nurses, due to the effectiveness in the use cases found in hospitals
- Work best for short procedures like blood draws, where clear vein-visualization is critical
- These work well on all skin colors, though darker colors require more ambient light
Next up on our list is the Oxy-Iso Blood Draw and Color Blindness Glasses developed by VINO/O2Amp. This technology was developed out of Princeton and Cal-Tech in the early 2000s. These glasses provide dual functionality: they increase contrast to enable veins to stand out against surrounding skin, and they work to correct red-green colorblindness.
The designers of these glasses argue that human red-green color perception evolved due to our need to see oxygenation signals (visibility of blood). These glasses amplify those signals, enabling people to more-easily see veins. And as an additional benefit, they can correct color-blindness, which is very cool!
In terms of this review, I’m mainly looking at how these glasses work among those looking for vein illumination. In this use case, they work surprisingly well. The Oxy-Iso glasses are popular among nurses, as they as excel at improving the identification of patient veins for short procedures such as blood draws and IV insertion.
The Oxy-Amp glasses, reviewed below, are popular among EMTs and work better for an EMT’s use case.
Unlike the active vein-finders on our list, the Oxy glasses work best with bright ambient illumination. You want to turn the room lights up with these glasses, rather than down. They will work on the skin of darker-complexioned patients, but you’ll need more ambient light for darker skin. The filtered lenses on the glasses make the veins on the skin appear to fluoresce or glow.
As there’s no light associated with these glasses, there’s no need to worry about batteries, charging times, and vein location, etc.
The Bottom Line
The Oxy-Iso glasses work pretty well, and many people find them to be easy to use, and to work well in a variety of circumstances. They’re not cheap, but on the other hand, they’re just glasses, so there’s no maintenance, upkeep, batteries to worry about, etc. The additional bonus of correcting red-green colorblindness may be significant for some individuals, as well.
VINO’s return policy is generous, and if you find that the glasses don’t work well for your eyes or your environment, you can return them at no cost (assuming they’re not scratched up, etc.)
- The original colorblind glasses technology. Corrects red-green...
- Colorblindness correction based on the science behind color vision --...
- The only colorblindness correction technology that is helpful for...
- Based on fundamental discoveries by Caltech and Princeton scientists...
- Made in USA. Lightweight. Fully adjustable, comfort frames. Sport...
Best Vein Finder Glasses for EMTs: Oxy-Amp Vein Glasses
Key Points at a Glance
- Passive vein finders
- Popular among EMTs and emergency response technicians
- They enhance the visualization of oxygenation by filtering noise that would otherwise cloud the vision in these frequencies
- These do not work to correct color-blindness
- Work well on all skin colors
The Oxy-Amp glasses are more useful for EMT’s use than the Oxy-Iso glasses are. This is because of a design difference in the two types of lenses. The Oxy-Amp enhances the visibility of veins by filtering certain wavelengths of light that would otherwise obscure oxygenation visibility. This results in increased oxygen visibility, and augmented vein visibility.
Translation: The Oxy-Amp glasses are ideal for those who are looking not just for veins, but for other health markers such as bruising, and other variations in blood concentration. See here for more comparison information between the two options.
The Bottom Line
Like the Oxy-Iso glasses above, the Oxy-Amp glasses seem to provide a bit of a superpower: the ability to see details that are otherwise unviewable. They enhance the visibility of bruising, flushing, blushing, and blood flow through the body. Strictly speaking, they’re less effective than the Oxy-Amp at finding veins for routine tasks like blood draws or IV cannulation, but they are useful in many other circumstances.
And like the Oxy-Iso glasses, they are covered under a guarantee and can be returned if you find they do not work as you would like them to.
- Vein augmentation. Protective eyewear enhancing health signs and...
- Dual use: Protective eyewear and vein-augmentation. No battery or...
- "Veins appear to fluoresce." Augments perception of veins,...
- Made in USA. UV protection. Anti-static, anti-fog, and anti-scratch...
Best Vein Finder for Nurses: Venoscope II Transilluminator Adult / Baby Vein Finder
Key Points at a Glance
- Powered by three AA batteries (not rechargeable)
- Covered under a 1-year warranty
- Works well in both adults and children
- Works successfully in patients with darker skin tones
- Disposable protective covers sold separately
The Venoscope II Transilluminator is a very similar illumination device to the Veinlite devices discussed above. It features the two arms sticking out, with red-tinted LED lights to provide illumination to veins. The Venoscope II works pretty well on a variety of patients, including those with darker skin tones, those who are obese, and in children.
That said, if you’re frequently working specifically with children, you may want to consider the Venoscope Neonatal Transilluminator, discussed below.
Using the Venoscope II is essentially the same as the Veinlite discussed above, and it works in a very similar fashion. It works pretty well on patients with darker skin tones, but keep in mind that the lower the ambient light, the better it will work. The Venoscope II will also work with obese patients, those with tattoos, etc.
It is powered by 3 AA batteries. These will generally last for 3-4 months of regular use, assuming you are diligently shutting the device off as soon as the vein is found.
Disposable protective covers are not included in the package and must be purchased separately.
The Bottom Line
The Veniscope II will improve your ability to choose the appropriate venipuncture site. For certain difficult patients, this device can be a huge boon! It works well in a variety of circumstances, which is nice. If you’re going to be working a lot with children, consider the Neonatal version. And finally, don’t forget to purchase the disposable protective covers!
While not inexpensive, the Veniscope II provides a pretty good balance between price and utility. It is the best vein finder for nurses.
Best Neonatal Vein Finder: Venoscope Neonatal
Key Points at a Glance
- Focused around use with infants/neonatal patients
- Handheld device easily fits in preemie and infant hands
- Produces bright light that is not hot, and will not burn children’s hands
- Battery operated (3 AA batteries)
- Includes detachable cord for easy storage
- Covered under a 1 year warranty
The Venoscope Neonatal vein finder is the best option for those who work in NICU/PICU environments. The illumination area is a small four-LED package, which is designed to illuminate the delicate veins of preemie babies and very young children.
To use the Neonatal model, you do the following:
- Turn down the ambient light in the room
- Place the Venoscope in your hand, and turn on the power
- Place the baby’s arm or foot over the light, holding it in place
- Examine the top of the hand to find veins (dark lines)
- Press down on any possible veins to confirm their presence. Watch it refill after you release pressure
If you’re trying to stick an artery, you take the following steps:
- Place the light at the top of the baby’s wrist
- Turn the wrist over, and examine from below
- Search for pulsation at the bottom of the wrist, now face-up
- Arteries do not illuminate and will be revealed as dark lines
The latest version of the Venoscope Neonatal has a detachable cord, which is a nice additional feature. The detachable cord helps reduce breakage of the unit, as a common failure point of the older units was the point where the cord met the battery housing. There is a separate listing for the detachable unit, but my understanding is that the main listing is now for the detachable unit as well. The older version is no longer sold.
Additionally, if the cord on the detachable unit breaks, you can purchase a replacement cord/light.
There are no disposable covers available for this unit. The easiest solution is to insert it in a white glove before use, and toss the glove when you’re done.
The Bottom Line
Using the Venoscope Neonatal takes practice, but it really can reduce anxiety, stress, and trauma in the most vulnerable patients (and caregivers!). The Neonatal model works well at identifying the small veins of premies and infants, even through fatty tissue, but as the kids get a little older and larger, the Neonatal model becomes less and less effective.
If you’re mostly working with newborns, the Venoscope Neonatal is an excellent choice. If not, pick another model.
- Provides a bright yet cool light that won't burn the baby.
- Compact design.
- Battery operated.
Conclusion: Best Vein Finder Device
Anxious patients who know they have difficult veins will be greatly relieved when you pull out an infrared vein finder to aid in your stick. Even if you are performing these procedures day in, day out, on all types of patients, there are always those tough cases. In these circumstances, a vein finder is priceless!
All of the Vein Finder Devices on this list have their place, but if I had to choose one for general use, the clear winner is the Veinlite LEDX vein finder. It provides the greatest number of use cases, and is extremely convenient to use.