Medical portable oxygen machines are life-changing, innovative medical devices that allow people in need of oxygen to access clean supplemental oxygen conveniently. Since oxygen therapy can be administered on the go with these portable devices, they make it possible to travel, spend time with family and friends, and ultimately lead a productive life.
Portable oxygen machines can be useful for conditions requiring supplemental oxygen, including:
- Cystic fibrosis
- Pulmonary hypertension
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), also known as emphysema
- Interstitial lung disease
These devices are essential for relieving shortness of breath, increasing exercise capacity, improving quality of life, and reducing hospitalizations, for people with the conditions above.
There are numerous different medical portable oxygen machines on the market, so how do you know which is the best in 2022?
Why Do You Need a Medical Portable Oxygen Machine?
A medical portable oxygen machine offers tremendous benefits, especially to individuals with chronic lung disease. It generally improves the quality of life and decreases hospitalizations. A portable oxygen machine can help you:
- Improve your sleep: If you have chronic lung disease, your oxygen levels tend to drop during sleep, preventing you from getting a good night’s sleep. Therefore, a portable oxygen machine can help you sleep better.
- Move around easier: Recent developments include the emergence of compact and lightweight, portable oxygen machines that can be carried around just about anywhere, including car rides, baseball games, walks in the park, or picnics. They allow you to work, participate in physical activities, and never miss out on social events.
- Have better activity levels: Oxygen is essential to your body’s ability to generate energy. With these machines, you won’t have to worry about low oxygen levels since you’ll get sufficient oxygen supply for the stamina needed for daily routine and functioning.
- Have an independent lifestyle: Portable oxygen machines can make an independent lifestyle attainable. These easy-to-understand and easy-to-use devices can play a critical role in helping you lead an energetic and active lifestyle. They are essentially designed for mobility purposes, meaning you can carry them in your backpack or other accessories to move around easily.
What Does It Do?
A portable oxygen concentrator provides clean, supplementary oxygen to people in need. This includes people with low oxygen levels or underlying conditions requiring oxygen therapy. It accomplishes this by receiving air, purifying it, and then distributing the enriched air.
Air is primarily composed of nitrogen and oxygen. When air enters the machine, some of the nitrogen is filtered out, and the air is returned with a higher oxygen concentration. The device separates the nitrogen from the air to supply as much oxygen as possible.
Difference Between Oxygen Tank and Concentrator
A portable oxygen concentrator isn’t the same thing as an oxygen tank. An oxygen tank is a container of gas or liquid oxygen that you carry around. It holds a limited supply of oxygen that you use up as you breathe from it. On the other hand, an oxygen concentrator pulls in the air around you and filters out nitrogen to supply you with oxygen. It, therefore, doesn’t contain a supply of oxygen but rather filters the air around you.
Pros and Cons: Oxygen Concentrator
Each option has its pros and cons. A notable advantage of the medical portable oxygen machine is the ability to use and filter the already available air to produce supplemental oxygen. Therefore it does not require refilling. This also makes them comparatively lightweight and easier to carry around. Apart from providing an unlimited oxygen supply, these devices come in various sizes, models, and styles, which makes them travel-friendly. However, they need batteries to run, can be noisy, and are more costly to acquire and maintain.
Pros and Cons: Oxygen Tank
On the other hand, oxygen tanks come with distinct benefits that portable concentrators do not offer. For instance, no power is required to function, there are lower initial costs, and they are pretty quiet while operating. However, they are relatively heavy, have a limited oxygen supply, and incur greater costs in the long run since they need refilling.
The Best Medical Portable Oxygen Machines
We have reviewed several medical portable oxygen machines on the market and assessed their relative merits. Based on these assessments, we have evaluated the best machines in five categories: ease of travel, noise level, ease of use, weight, and battery life. Our selections for the best portable oxygen concentrators are as follows:
- Best for travel: CAIRE Freestyle Comfort
- Quietest: Inogen One G5 System
- Easiest to use: Philips Respironics SimplyGo Mini
- Lightest: Belluscura X-PLOR
- Longest battery life: Invacare Platinum
Inogen One G5 System
The Inogen One G5 offers the most oxygen per pound of any medical portable oxygen concentrator on the market today. It is compact, lightweight, and has a feature allowing users to adjust flow settings easily. It is also a device for 24-hour use, increasing independence for those that use it. Its simple design and easy-to-read display screen make it a highly sought-after portable oxygen concentrator.
- Quiet operation
- Long battery life
- Easy-to-use design
- Most oxygen per pound
- The design isn’t favorable for mobility
- Slow charging
CAIRE Freestyle Comfort
CAIRE Freestyle Comfort is an innovative and powerful device with smart oxygen delivery and unmatched comfort. The device offers a new experience in portable oxygen with its lightweight and curved design that hugs your body, so you hardly know it is there. It has enough battery life so you can go about your daily routine and offers greater flexibility to increase flow rates.
- Compact and lightweight
- Ergonomically designed
- Easy-to-read display
- Enables air travel
- Long battery charge time
Philips Respironics SimplyGo Mini
This simple portable oxygen concentrator is designed to help you become more independent. Because of its lightweight design and attractive features, it is an appealing portable oxygen machine.
- Faster battery charging
- Long battery life
- Above-average maximum output
- Extra costs for extended battery
- Relatively more expensive
Belluscura X-PLOR is the first modular portable oxygen concentrator to weigh less than 3.75 lbs. So, it’s an excellent choice for someone looking for something light to live a mobile and active life.
- Extremely lightweight
- Quiet operation
- Shoulder strap for carrying around
- Short battery life
- Lower oxygen output
This easy-to-use portable oxygen concentrator features five flow settings and a rugged overall design, including a reinforced bumper in a carry bag. It also features a top that can be swapped on the go without oxygen interruption or having to remove the carry bag.
- Long battery life
- Filter positioned outside for easy access
- Faster recharge time
- Increased oxygen purity
- Not suitable for continuous flow
Several reasons may require you to need supplemental oxygen. And supplemental oxygen can help relieve some of your symptoms. Research has shown that portable oxygen concentrators improve the quality and length of life. You should consult your doctor to determine whether home oxygen is right for you.
- “COPD and Portable Oxygen Therapy” via American Lung Association
- “Portable Oxygen Concentrator” via CAIRE
- “Inogen One G5 System” via Inogen
- “SimplyGo Mini” via Philips
- “Pulse Flow Portable Oxygen Concentrator” via X-PLOR
- “Invacare Platinum Mobile Oxygen Concentrator” via INVACARE
- Shebl E, Modi P, Cates TD. Home Oxygen Therapy. [Updated 2022 Jul 4]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK532994/