Lightweight, compact design
Easy to store
Simple and straightforward to use
Doesn’t thoroughly clean tarnished jewelry
Not safe to use on most gemstones and organic materials
Irremovable metal insert makes filling and removing water difficult
We purchased the Famili FM8000WW Ultrasonic Polishing Jewelry Cleaner so our expert reviewer could put it to the test at her home. Keep reading for our full product review.
While you can clean tarnished jewelry by hand, ultrasonic jewelry cleaners are a simple, cost-effective way to shine up your pieces without any manual work. Most cleaners, like the Famili Ultrasonic Polishing Jewelry Cleaner, can also clean other household items like glasses, utensils, and CDs in a matter of minutes. To see if the Famili could handle our most neglected pieces, we picked one up and put it to the test. Read on for our full assessment of the device’s performance, design, competition, and more.
Design: Easy to store, easy to use, but a major design flaw
The Famili Ultrasonic Cleaner is super simple to use, and the design is straightforward. After you fill up the stainless steel tank with water (and—optionally—an additional cleaning detergent), you set the cleaning period by hitting the “Set” button. You can choose to clean your items for either 90, 180, 300, 480, or 600 seconds, depending on how stained or dirty the item is. The manufacturer recommends 300 seconds for any item’s initial cleaning. You can also alter the temperature although 140 degrees is standard. Close the lid, hit “Start” to begin the cleaning process, and the blue LED light will kick in. As it cleans, the machine makes a low hissing sound. You can hit “Stop” if you want to stop the cleaning process before the cleaning period runs through.
We were happy to find that the machine is relatively compact and super lightweight, which makes storage pretty easy. The tank isn’t removable, though, which makes filling up and discarding the water a little difficult (and messy).
In addition to the cleaner itself, the Famili Ultrasonic Cleaner comes with a basket insert to hold small parts, a bracelet holder, and a spindle and spacer ring to clean CDs and DVDs. We didn’t find any use for the latter two extra parts, though.
Performance: Mediocre results at best
Ultrasonic cleaners harness the power of soundwaves to agitate a cleaning liquid (either water or detergent). The resulting force helps the liquid pry loose dirt and contamination on the surface of the object you’re cleaning.
That means ultrasonic cleaners like the Famili Jewelry Cleaner aren’t reserved only for cleaning jewelry—you can also use it to spruce up objects like eyeglasses, watches, CDs and DVDs, coins, utensils, and even dentures, retainers, and mouthguards. Just add whatever cleaning liquid is appropriate for the item you’re cleaning—whether it’s jewelry cleaner for your jewelry or a dentist-approved mouthwash for your retainer—and add it cold, clean tap water. The manufacturer also recommends adding dishwashing detergent to intensify the cleaning process, though this isn’t required.
For our purposes, we stuck with using the Famili Ultrasonic Cleaner to scrub up our tarnished jewelry. But be warned: Ultrasonic cleaners aren’t safe for delicate or brittle gemstones like emerald, aquamarine, opal, or turquoise, nor should they be used to clean treated or coated gemstones. To stay on the safe side, we wouldn’t recommend putting any gemstones in your ultrasonic cleaner, including diamonds and other hard stones, unless you’re certain that they haven’t been treated. Don’t put organic materials like pearls and ivory in your ultrasonic cleaner, either. These materials may warp or damage with the ultrasonic cleaner’s temperature fluctuations.
With that in mind, we first tested the Famili Ultrasonic Cleaner on a silver bracelet. Per the manufacturer’s instructions, we put our bracelet in the basket insert, placed the basket inside the stainless steel tank, and filled it with water until the bracelet was fully submerged. (The tank itself isn’t removable, so you have to hold the entire machine under the tap for this step.) We didn’t add any detergent, as our bracelet was more in need of a buff than a deep clean, and set the timer to 300 seconds. A low hiss, a blue LED light, and a countdown on the display screen cued to us that the machine had started cleaning.
After cleaning, our bracelet looked slightly shinier, but the results weren’t as noticeable as when we’ve used a liquid jewelry cleaner. We needed to use our own buffing cloth to rid the bracelet of scratches, too.
The next time around, we cleaned two silver rings and added a drop of organic, fragrance-free dishwashing detergent to the water. We set the timer to 480 seconds, which is recommended for cleaning several items at once. Adding the detergent and the extra cleaning time didn’t produce better results, though. Once again, our rings looked only slightly shinier, but when we buffed them with a cloth we noticed a good amount of leftover grime.
After cleaning, our bracelet looked slightly shinier, but the results weren’t as noticeable as when we’ve used a liquid jewelry cleaner.
Hoping that the third time would be the charm, we then tested the Famili Ultrasonic Polishing Cleaner on a noticeably tarnished silver necklace. This time, we added a drop of jewelry cleaning solution to the water and set the timer to 600 seconds—the longest available setting. Unfortunately, ramping up our efforts yielded the same mediocre results. Our necklace seemed a little brighter, but one side still clung onto its grime and tarnish.
Price: Not worth the money, despite its affordability
The Famili Ultrasonic Cleaner is relatively inexpensive with a retail price of $30. Given its poor performance, though, we’d say you’re better off opting for a similarly priced but more effective cleaning solution and a buffing cloth. As long as you choose the right cleaning solution, this method is safe to use on a wider range of metals and gemstones than the ultrasonic cleaner, too.
Famili Ultrasonic Polishing Jewelry Cleaner vs. Simple Shine Complete Jewelry Cleaning Kit
If this review has convinced you to go old-school with a liquid cleaning solution, we’d recommend looking into the Simple Shine Complete Jewelry Cleaning Kit. This kit comes with an ammonia-free, biodegradable cleaning solution, a dual-sided cleaning and buffing cloth, and a tiny cleaning brush. As the name suggests, this kit is super simple to use: Just submerge your jewelry in the solution for a couple of minutes, rinse it off, and optionally double down on the cleaning process with the cloth and brush. More importantly, it’ll thoroughly clean even your most tarnished jewelry. Unlike the Famili Ultrasonic Cleaner, too, you can use the Simple Shine kit on virtually any type of metal and gemstone, including delicate antiques and soft and porous stones.
Not recommended if you’re cleaning super tarnished jewelry.
All told, we were underwhelmed by the Famili Ultrasonic Polishing Jewelry Cleaner—it just didn’t clean our jewelry as thoroughly as we’d expect from an ultrasonic cleaner. If your jewelry needs a deep clean, opt for a fuss-free cleaning fluid and buffing cloth. It’s a foolproof way to rid jewelry in any material of grime and tarnish—even if you need to put a little elbow grease into it.
- Product Name Ultrasonic Polishing Jewelry Cleaner
- Product Brand Famili
- MPN FM8000WW
- Price $29.99
- Weight 2.03 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 8.3 x 6.9 x 5.5 in.
- Capacity 20.3 oz.
- Warranty 1 year