The Difference Between 3-Channel and 12-Channel ECG

by Jun 21, 2022MED PROS1 comment


The Electrocardiograph is used to measure and record the electrical signal from the heart to check for different heart conditions by using electrodes placed on the skin of limbs and chest. The resting 12-lead electrocardiogram is commonly used to assess cardiovascular disease. ECG machines in the market may come as single channel, or multi-channel including 3-channel, 6-channel or 12-channel configurations. In brief, You can choose to buy a multi-channel or a single-channel ECG machine.

Our Biocare iE300 is one example of 3-channel ECG machine, and Biocare iE12A is one example of 12-channel ECG machine.


What’s the difference between 3-channel and 12-channel ECG machines?

First, learn something about “channel”. Each lead measurement will be passed through an “amplifier” channel and recorded. In a single-channel system, each lead is recorded and displayed one at a time. In a multi-channel system, the ECG has a microprocessor that manages this processing of signals based on the number of channels. The signals are amplified, filtered, and sent to a multiplexer. The multiplexer receives all the inputs, reconstructs signals, de-multiplexes, and sends the output to the display screen or chart recorder.

If it is a 3-channel ECG, the microprocessor groups the signals received from the 12-leads, in 4 groups of 3 and processes them. Similarly, in 6-channel it is in 2 groups, and in the 12-channel devices, the same 12-leads are processed simultaneously. Hence, the higher the number of channels, the faster the ECG recording would be.

Most of the 12-channel ECG machines are known to print on A4 size paper ECG sheets. And the report is broad and low. It makes it easy for doctors to examine the ECG waveform and compare it.

Given below shows 2 printed reports of 3-channel ECG machine and 12-channel ECG machine.

3 channel ecg report

3-channel ECG report

paper roller

Paper roller, 80mm

12 channel ECG report of Biocare iE12A ECG machine

12-channel ECG report

z-fold paper

Z-fold paper, larger size

See Our 3-channel and 12-channel ECG

For example, let’s compare the Biocare iE12A 12-channel ECG machine with the iE300 3-channel ECG machine. Both of them are portable ECG machines with printers for instant ECG tests. They both can provide 300 seconds of R-R interval analysis, and can detect pacemakers through ECG analysis.

The price of the iE12A is higher than the iE300. The faster ECG recording speed and larger-size printing paper are just one of the reasons that the iE12A is sold at a higher price than the iE300.

In addition, with a high-resolution touchscreen and full keyboard, the iE12A is more convenient for operation.

More lead modes are able in the iE12A, including standard 12 leads, Cabrera lead, and Nehb lead. The iE300 can only support standard 12-lead mode.

The Biocare iE12A also supports VCG (Vectorcardiogram) acquisition and analysis for diagnosis and location for myocardial infarction. The VCG acquisition is disabled in the iE300.

VCG report

VCG report

detailed ECG data

Detailed measurement data

As for the analysis report, besides the simple report, the iE12A can provide detailed measurement data in a chart for clinical reference, but the iE300 has no this chart. 

Before buying an ECG machine, the number of channels is a feature that you have to check. Ideally, the device should be able to print at least 3 leads of the ECG waveform continuously with manual switching between leads. That means the 3-channel ECG machine can cover the basic needs. If you have enough budget and need more functions, the 12-channel ECG is a good choice. 

12-Lead ECG Machine Online Buyer’s Guide for Medical Professionals

Choosing the right 12-lead ECG machine requires careful consideration and research. Identify your practice’s requirements, research reputable online providers, determine the necessary features, compare costs, read reviews and recommendations, check for support and training, and evaluate warranty and after-sales service. Armed with this 12-lead ECG machine buyer’s guide, you can confidently choose the best ECG machine for your clinic or practice, providing accurate diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular conditions.

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1 Comment

  1. Lokesh R

    Great article on the difference between 3-channel and 12-channel ECGs! As someone who is interested in understanding the technology behind ECGs, I found your explanation of the differences between the two types of ECGs to be very informative.

    I think Tricog Health’s InstaECG technology is a game-changer, and I can’t wait to see how it will continue to revolutionize the field of cardiology. Thanks for sharing this insightful article! Know More:


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