Portable oxygen concentrator buying guide with pictures. Find the best portable concentrators and see the reviews of Invacare, Devilbiss, Inogen, with features, pros and cons.
Portable oxygen concentrators or POC are portable machines designed to provide oxygen therapy to the patients at a much higher concentrations than the levels found in the ambient air.
Known as portable concentrators, they are similar to oxygen concentrators but with the difference of being smaller and mobile (portable). This is what makes POC perfect for patients who want to travel freely by car, train, or even airplane.
Due to its lightweight construction and application where it can be used, you can find POC also called the mobile or travel oxygen concentrator. Portable size makes them fit in your car or convenient to carry on a flight.
Note: Look for the portable oxygen concentrators approved by the FAA.
Renting or buying a portable oxygen concentrator, this is what you should know:
With the more robust design comes more weight, but also a larger O2 capacity. Choose a small portable concentrator that can be plugged into the wall AC outlet, vehicle DC supply and for travel use has a long battery life. Respironics Evergo with 4 hour battery power is a good example. Charge time is another important criterion, lower is better. Take into account the flight length, possible delays... you might want to purchase an extra battery or two.
Small in size, (e.g. 4.5 pound tanks) it can make a difference in mobility, so select a model that allows you to spend longer periods of time away or on the flight, train or cruise.
Which machine is the best for you, depends on the liter flow or your needs for the oxygen. You can find small oxygen concentrators with less than one liter per minute LPM to the large, up to 3 LPM capacity.
More settings are better, but it also depends on your needs.
Oxygen flow and how it is delivered to you is according to some professionals the most important feature when buying a portable concentrator. Pulse flow means that the oxygen is delivered to you in puffs vs. continuous or stream flow. The Eclipse, for example, provides the continuous flow of oxygen when sleeping, while Inogen provides a continuous oxygen flow if it detects the patient is not breathing.
You can also buy a POC with a fixed or variable pulse dosing, or device that has both pulse and continuous modes. Pulse delivery works on demand (when patient inhales) and such a mode maximizes the purity of the oxygen and keeps the wasted oxygen on minimum (when patient exhales).
Check does the airline company you want to use for a flight allows personal oxygen concentrators and for which brand and model. You can easily find is your O2 concentrator FAA approved or not. Check the altitude level spec also as the higher altitudes may affect your machine performance. Maximum operating altitude for Sequal Eclipse 2 is approximately 13 000 ft while for Respironics EverGo 8 000 ft.
Lightweight and compact size is what gives the POC portability. If the unit is heavy for you, buying a system with the additional accessories such as the cart and the bag that can hold extra batteries and chargers will make a difference to you. Invacare XPO2, for example, is seven pounds only while Sequal Eclipse 2 is close to 18 lbs.
Did you consider the available customer support and the warranty on your POC? An average warranty coverage found on portable oxygen concentrators is between 3 and 5 years.
Portable oxygen concentrators are expensive; depending on the features, options and accessories you require or need, the cost can go to over five thousand dollars. This is why renting a portable concentrator might be a solution for you. For budget oriented individualls, refurbished or used oxygen concentrators are also available.
Note: Always consult your doctor when buying a portable O2 concentrator.
Portable oxygen concentrator works in a way where a very small compressor inside the POC will pressurize the air through the system of chemical filters known as a molecular sieve.
The Zeolite is the material used in such chemical filters or sieve beds and is used to extract nitrogen from air that passes through, while concentrating the oxygen. Part of this concentrated oxygen is delivered to the patient, and the other part goes back into the sieves where it clears the system from the accumulated nitrogen for the next cycle. Such a process, allows portable concentrators to produce oxygen of up to 96% consistently.
Typically, oxygen concentrator has two cylinders, filled with Zeolite material. Air flows through one cylinder at the pressure around 138 kPa where the nitrogen is captured by the Zeolite while the other cylinder vents it.
As there are many portable oxygen concentrators available on the market it is hard to decide which one is the right for your needs. This is why we have selected only the best travel portable concentrators so your search is easy and fast. All these models are FAA approved.
Inogen One G2
Inogen One G2 is the pulse-dose portable oxygen system that comes with the five flow settings, and it can operate up to three hours on a single battery charge.
The oxygen concentration is in a range from 87 to 96%.
Philips Respironics EverGo portable oxygen concentrator features a lightweight construction of less than 10 pounds, with a great 4-hour battery life.
It delivers maximum of 93% oxygen purity, using the pulse mode, with six settings and 1050 ml per minute oxygen capacity.
Sequal Eclipse is another travel friendly portable oxygen concentrator that is designed to provide maximum of 93% oxygen concentration and up to 3 LPM continuous flow. Battery life is up to 4.4 hours.
Invacare portable concentrators are available as Solo 2 and XPO2 models. Invacare Solo 2 offers continuous flow up to 3 liters per minute or pulse delivery in settings 1-5.
Invacare XPO2 is advertised as the smallest and lightest portable oxygen concentrator on the market. It has 900 ml per minute oxygen capacity and is capable to provide 95.6% oxygen concentration (as Solo 2 model), in a pulse mode.
DeVilbiss Igo is the small travel oxygen concentrator, designed with two modes; continuous flow 1-3 LPM and pulse dose delivery with 1 to 6 LPM settings.
Oxygen concentration is in the range from 88 to 94%. Battery can last as long as 5.4 hours.
When searching for the portable concentrators keep in mind that these devices are regulated by the FDA and in order to receive oxygen therapy prescription from your physician must be issued. The prescription will indicate how much oxygen you need per minute (liters per minute or LPM) and when you need to use oxygen.