Top CT Scanners [Manufacturers, Models, and Slice Counts]

Few things are more frustrating than punching in your search terms in Google and not finding what you’re looking for. When it comes to CT scanners, the search results landscape can feel frenetic, with bits and pieces of info from different sites but no cohesive, one-stop-shop for all your CT questions.

There is a buffet of refurbished CT scanner options to choose from. To be an educated buyer, you’re wanting to narrow in on specifics, like manufacturer, model, slice count, and more. The good news is, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will provide you all the necessary information you’re looking for and plenty of ways you can continue your research. If you’re looking for more information on CT pricing, check out our guide for that as well.

Note: Block Imaging provides new and refurbished CT machines and parts in order to solve all the pain points listed above. You can read about it in detail below or reach out to our sales team to learn more about how it can help improve diagnostic imaging.


Who are the top CT manufacturers and models?

The top manufacturers in the CT space are Siemens, GE, Toshiba, and Philips – all of which are manufacturers that Block Imaging carries. You’ll notice that Siemens and GE are tied for the number one spot.

Tie for #1: Siemens

Pros: Siemens has better innovation and a wider array of products.

Cons: Siemens often has higher service costs and has proprietary tubes that keep service costs higher.

Top Model(s): Flash and Force (but also the most expensive to service) especially if your studies are mostly cardiac related.

Definition Edge and Definition AS Series are great 64-slice and 128-slice options for reliability for high volumes. These models can be air or water cooled.

The Perspective 64/128 are air cooled, a practical option for smaller footprint and moderate patient volume.

The cost of tubes are the biggest draw backs for Siemens 16-slice scanners. Perspective 16’s, Emotion 16’s and Scopes are all good systems, but the tube costs may catch some facilities off guard.

Tie for #1: GE

Pros: GE’s typically have the lower service costs, they are less locked down for service, there is a higher supply of used parts, and they are more likely to have secondary tube manufacturers (for additional savings). Also, they’re air cooled, so you never need a chiller and they typically have a smaller footprints than they’re competitors’ comparable models.

Cons: GE has lacked innovation at the high end until recently. For example, each model of the 16-slice is built off the one before (Lightspeed, Brightspeed and Optima 540 often all have the same type of tube). This means the platforms are familiar to techs, and repairs are similar to engineers, but if you’re looking for advanced features you may be disappointed. Their newer version of 16-slices (Brivo/ACT) have lower end features, less power and smaller tube capacity. And they never got FDA approved.

Top model(s): GE Revolution 256 and Maxima are the latest and greatest. On paper they’re robust and impressive, however, early on there were a lot of delivery issues and extended downtimes. Very expensive to purchase (and service), so unless you have an infinite budget, may not be your best bet.

The Optima 660/Revolution EVO are practical solutions for most facilities. They are mostly 64/128 slices; newer versions can come with advanced features like Metal Artifact Reduction. This likely to be the most popular system on the secondhand market over the next 10 years.

The LightSpeed VCT 64 is still a very practical solution for a 64 slice. These are tried and true as they’ve been around for 20 years, nothing fancy with them, but a well-known reliable option and probably the best for a entry level of the 64 slice world.

Optima 540/BrightSpeed Pro: Most popular higher end 16 Slice CT Scanner. Both will have the 6.3 MHU tubes, great for moderate patient loads, that don’t do cardiac studies.

Optima 520/BrightSpeed Select: Most popular 16 for someone looking for low cost of service. Tube is a 3.5 MHU, low cost to replace, it has a lower draw on power if that is a limiting factor.

#2: Toshiba

Pros: Toshiba users report great image quality and user-friendly platform. The systems are air cooled, so no chiller is required.

Cons: These systems have a lot of service calls and downtime and they are difficult to service.

Top model(s): The Aquilion ONE (160/320/640 slices) is popular, as is the Aquilion Prime 80/160.

The Aquilion series all use a version of the Megacool, 750D tube, which has a good track record. There are also aftermarket options for other tube options.

#3: Philips

Pros: Good options for cardiac studies. The MRC tube is the most reliable tube made. While others last 1-3 years, the MRC tube can last 10 years or more.

Cons: These systems have been known for being difficult to service. There are not as many parts available and are often locked down intentionally by the OEM.

Top model(s): Ingenuity/iCT (64/128/256) is a leading model for cardiac studies. Most common model was their Brilliance 64, but they haven’t been manufactured in 15 years.

The table below shows the models most in demand from Block Imaging the past two years.

GE LightSpeed VCT 64 Slice CT

GE Optima 660 CT

GE BrightSpeed 16 Slice CT

GE Optima 520 CT

GE BrightSpeed Select 16 Slice CT

GE Optima 540 CT

GE Discovery 750HD CT

GE LightSpeed RT Wide Bore 16 Slice CT

GE Revolution EVO CT

Siemens Definition Flash CT

Siemens Sensation 64 Slice CT

Toshiba Activion 16 Slice CT












Slice Count: what is it and what one do I need?

Slice refers to the number of rows of detectors in the z-axis of a CT scanner. As shown in the below infographic, common range counts range from 16, 32, 4, and 128. You will also find counts from 256, 320, and 640 in newer models.

As slice counts increase, so do the price, up-front costs, and service costs. For typical price ranges on CT scanners and slice counts, check out our 2024 CT Scanner Price Guide.

Popular CT Models

So, how many slices does your CT scanner need? The answer heavily depends on your budget and patient scan needs. Below we will give a breakdown of what CT scanner slice counts mean, and which option may be best for your facility.

CT Slice Count Price Tiers

 Entry Level: An entry-level CT scanner will provide basic CT scanning, with the benefit of a lower purchase price, ownership costs, and service costs. Slice counts for entry-level CT will range from 16- to 64-slice and may be the right fit for a local imaging center, or rural hospital who are looking to do basic scanning with a non-cardiac focus. 16-slice CTs are often recommended for critical access hospitals. For low volume hospitals, 16-slice CTs like the GE Lightspeed or Brightspeed 16 might be the perfect fit as well.

Scanner options in this category: GE LightSpeed 16, GE BrightSpeed 16, GE Optima 520 & 540.

Intermediate: Entering into the intermediate level, our slice count goes up to a 64-slice. This is the minimal slice needed for cardiac studies and is most popular for cardiac, and of course, can perform general purposes. Small to large metro hospitals could find what they need from an intermediate-level CT scanner.

Scanner options in this category: GE LightSpeed VCT 64, Philips Brilliance 64, Toshiba Aquilion 64.

Premium: Finally, the premium tier. In this category, we are looking at high-end 64- to 128-slice, that are feature-rich and more late-model CT scanners. In this tier, you will find clearer and more defined images, along with a wider array of imaging. Example: scans of the entire heart or majority of the lungs.

Scanner options in this category: GE Optima 660, GE Discovery 750HD, Toshiba Aquilion One, Toshiba Aquilion Prime.

Top Ten Factors to Consider

These questions dig deeper into the fault lines between certain manufacturers, models, and slice counts. It is incredibly important to run through these factors as they can make a significant difference to the final price point.

  1. What is my budget and timeline for this project?
  2. What are the most cost-effective options? Am I looking to trade in an existing system?
  3. Is buying refurbished CT something I can even consider?
  4. What are my radiologists and techs familiar with?
  5. What studies will I be doing? How many scans will I expect to perform each day?
  6. What else will I need on this CT - cardiac software options? An injector?
  7. Can my facility handle a chiller?
  8. What is my installation procedure?
  9. What are my service options? Do I know which CTs are easiest to service?
  10. How prevalent are spare parts?

Need to talk to a real person?

We can help! Our equipment team is able to walk you through choosing the CT that is right for you.

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Additional Resources for your journey

In trying to decide which CT scanner is best for you, your budget, scan needs, and patient volume will play major factors when it comes to making a decision.

For even more resources to help on your CT buyer's journey, download our FREE CT Scanner Buyer's Guide. If you're ready to move forward with making a CT purchase, contact our team of CT experts today!

Click here to download your guide

Picture of Paul Crawford

Paul Crawford

Paul Crawford is the Vice President of Equipment Solutions at Block Imaging. Paul connects with healthcare facilities across the world to offer CT solutions and manages the wholesale sales team. When Paul is not helping customers with their CT needs, he enjoys spending time with his family, watching MSU sports, and CrossFit.