Difference Between 1.5T And 3T MRI Scan, Cost And Safety

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MRI stands for  magnetic resonance imaging, it is a diagnostic imaging technique which is capable of producing images of internals of the body including its organs, bones, muscles and blood vessels. MRI scanners do not use radiation to create scan images but instead they use  large magnets and radio waves to produce scan images.

What does T in 3T, 1.5T, 2T MRI Means?

The letter ‘T’ means ‘Tesla’ which is the unit which measures magnetic strength.  It is a magnetic field intensity unit; one tesla is equal to 10,000 gauss, which is almost 30,000 times  the gravity on the surface of earth. 

What is The Major Difference Between 1.5T and 3T MRI Scan?

The difference between 1.5T and 3T MRI scans lies in the strength of the two. The 3T scanner is twice the strength of a 1.5T scanner.

How To Decide If 1.5T or 3T MRI Is Better?

There are mainly 5 factors that can help decide which scan to take among the two

  • Primary usage
  • Cost
  • Time taken to scan
  • Safety
  • Image artefacts
  • Availability 

You need to consult your doctor before deciding and judging which among 1.5T or 3T MRI scans to go for, the doctor can always tell better which would be better for you considering your condition medically.

  • Difference in usage

1.5T MRI scan is on go to call when it comes to general diagnosing and examination of conditions such as to examine your chest and abdomen, on the other hand a 3T MRI Machine helps you get a detailed images of even  small structures inside of your body such as  of  your brain, wrist, bones, musculoskeletal system, and neurological system.

  • Difference in cost of the  two

The cost of MRI scan depends on which part and what type of MRI scan you are going for. A 3T MRI scan can offer a detailed and clear picture of the internal structure of your body, it is hence on a costlier side as well, as compared to a 1.5T MRI scan. In fact, the cost of a 3T MRI scan can go upto as twice the amount as you are likely to pay for a 1.5T scan!

  • The difference in time taken for the scan by the two

The  difference between the two is in the amount of time they take for the scanning. A 3T MRI machine offers a quick and easier on patient approach while still maintaining the quality and precision of the scan images produced . Therefore , a 3T MRI scanner is as fast as it can scan the body upto and within  60 minutes. The time taken to scan also depends on the time it takes to send signals and the field strength.

  • The Difference in implant safety

Since the MRI uses magnets and radio  waves and not the radiation, there are certain implants with which you cannot take a 3T scan at all. There are certain implants with which you can still undertake a 1.5T MRI scan safely, since already explained that the 1.5 T MRI scanner doesn’t use as strong a magnetic field as that 3T MRI scanner uses. It would be in fact unsafe for you to undergo 3T scanning with these metallic implant devices . If you still do, you may be exposed to higher risk of developing side effects or complications in the functioning of the metal device.

  • Difference in image accuracy and detailing

A 3T scanner is capable of delivering a more clearer and precise image. Even a 1.5T MRI scanner can produce a clear enough image but it is not as detailed as the one that a 3T scanner produces. Because the strength of the magnets in a 3T MRI scan is far more than the 1.5T MRI magnet. On the other hand,if you have certain metal devices inside of your body such as a leg rod which is placed after severe leg fracture, the 3T MRI scanner might not produce as clear an image as the 1.5T MRI scanner may produce . It is because the amount of scattered radiation a foreign object can cause in the imaging is always more when the power of magnets is too high.

  • Difference in availability

While a 1.5T scanner is available at almost every diagnostic centre near you, hospitals, or clinic, a 3T scanner is not available everywhere. They are usually present at prestigious private hospitals. But they are unavailable at certain places, especially at the small centres which are at the outskirts of the city.


The Stronger the magnet is used in MRI imaging, the clearer the image is produced with more precision and clarity. It is however almost every time possible to decide which diagnostic approach  you decide to go for, although it is almost unavoidable to deny and bypass the need of the diagnostic tool to opt for, as  it is usually suggested by your doctor and the doctor only suggests the best and needed diagnostic approach.  You now already know the difference between the 3T and the 1.5T scanners, you should now talk to your doctor to decide which would be best to opt to get a precise and most effective diagnoses hence to deliver a correct and effective treatment plan 

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