Portable Oxygen Concentrators
We evaluated 9 portable oxygen concentrators and after careful consideration, we chose 5 of the best portable oxygen concentrators to review.
Best Portable Oxygen Concentrators
Providers of three different portable oxygen concentrators, each of which can be bought on their own or with one of three Freedom Packages that Inogen offer. The Inogen One uses Intelligent Delivery Technology and the company has been the recipient of multiple awards.
Two portable oxygen concentrators are available of which with each device there are three levels of packages. Both devices are light, travel friendly and FAA compliant.
The largest manufacturer of portable oxygen concentrators to some of the world’s most important clientele. Through providing three forms of innovation, CAIRE offer four different products, which includes the lightest portable oxygen concentrator on the market.
Servicing customers around the world, ResMed has stuck to a simple service, which is providing one portable oxygen concentrator. At ResMed they are dedicated to research and development and the device they offer has one of the longest batteries on the market.
The two devices offered by Invacare come with great features and add ons such as Sensi-Pulse Technology and the use of the Piccolo O2 mobile app. They only supply brand new equipment which is FAA approved.
For our comparison of the best portable oxygen concentrators on the market, we have compared numerous different providers and their products. From this we have ranked what we consider to be the best five options out there. After taking into consideration various criteria for how to evaluate the best portable oxygen concentrators on the market, we have selected those provided by Inogen, CAIRE, Inc, Philips Respironics, ResMed and Invacare as our top five selections.
This article will provide you an essential guidebook for portable oxygen concentrators, explaining what they are, how they work and what makes them different from each other. In addition, we will be going into the background of consumers who require these devices and why they are so important to have. This guide will help streamline and simplify the process of picking a portable oxygen concentrator so that you will be able to understand and select what is the right product for you.
Key tips when purchasing your portable oxygen concentrator
- Figure out whether you want to buy or rent your device.
- To either purchase or rent a portable oxygen concentrator, it is a requirement that you have a prescription first.
- Become aware of the technology behind the device. It may seem unnecessary or a chore for yourself but in the long run, selecting a device most suitable for you will ensure you lead the best standard of life you can.
- Batteries are incredibly important for the device. If you are more active and looking for your portable oxygen concentrator to live up to its name, then you will need to take the strength of the batteries into consideration as well as having spare batteries. The longer lasting batteries you have and the better equipped you are, the longer you can live an active lifestyle.
- Find out whether your insurance may cover a portable oxygen concentrator. There is a strong likelihood that you can receive some level of coverage as they are described as durable medical equipment.
- Pick a device suited to your lifestyle. All portable oxygen concentrators are designed to be mobile to a degree.
- Ensure your portable oxygen concentrator is FAA-approved. This is a requirement since 2009 from the Department of Transportation if you want to take your device on flights.
- Although providers often advertise that little maintenance is required for your portable oxygen concentrator, it is strongly advisable that you do maintain your devices to the best of your ability as it prolongs the life and quality of your device as well as ensuring your health.
The low down on portable oxygen concentrators
Why do people use portable oxygen concentrators?
The key is in the name, the device is portable, meaning they are small, lightweight and can be easily manoeuvred. As wearable devices, they do not restrict your lifestyle and allow you to live your life in the way you choose. The portable oxygen concentrators run on DC or AC power but also have rechargeable batteries to accommodate travel. Providers look to get their products FAA approved so that you can legitimately travel with them.
Portable versus stationary oxygen concentrators
A stationary oxygen concentrator provides continuous flow oxygen with a large tank. They are designed for home use and are noted for working well whilst you sleep. Use of them is restricted to the house as you require an electrical outlet for them to work.
A portable oxygen concentrator on the other hand is based around being light and mobile and as well as being designed to be worn if you wish, it can run on batteries which brings a new dimension with the device as it makes it perfectly suited for both home use and when travelling.
Why may I need a portable oxygen concentrator?
The need for long-term oxygen therapy can occur due to several conditions and often require an evaluation of your lifestyle. There are a lot of options on the market available to help you and a popular choice is the portable oxygen concentrator. In general, the portable oxygen concentrator purifies oxygen levels. Conditions which often require you to need long-term oxygen therapy are:
- Chronic bronchitis
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Cystic fibrosis
- Heart failure
- Sleep apnea
What are continuous flow and intermittent flow portable oxygen concentrators?
Although the amount of oxygen you need is dependent on the diagnosis from your doctor, it is useful to understand the difference in flows.
- Continuous flow – This delivers as the name suggests, continuously.
- Intermittent flow – Also known as pulse flow, the delivery of oxygen can change according to your level of breathing.
Portable oxygen concentrators are not cheap, however, for the job they do you can easily weigh up that the devices are in fact cheap, but this depends on how much you value your life. Depending on your provider you may be able to buy or rent a device and use different payment options.
Renting is the cheaper option, and Medicare.gov believe that for the first three years of you using the rented equipment, you will pay just 20% of the cost plus any remaining Part B deductibles.
If you are looking for savings, consider your Medicare or private insurance coverage or as mentioned above, you can rent instead of buying the equipment.
See below a comparison of costs for portable oxygen concentrators according to the five companies we have further evaluated.
|Company||Portable Oxygen Concentrator||Cost|
|Inogen||Inogen One G3 System||$2,295.00 – $3,465.00|
|Inogen One G4 System||$2,295.00 – $3,465.00|
|Inogen One G5 System||£2,395.00 – $3,565.00|
|Philips Respironics||SimplyGo||$2,595.00 – $4,095.00|
|SimplyGo Mini||$2,495.00 – $3,995.00|
|Invacare||Invacare Platinum Mobile Oxygen Concentrator||$2,486.00 – $2,665.00|
|Invacare XPO2 Portable Oxygen Concentrator||$3,148.00|
Portable oxygen concentrator review
When conducting our analysis of the best portable oxygen concentrators on the market, we evaluated numerous criteria, from the company (the history, the reputation and the accessibility of the site), to the product features (design and technology) and the costs.
From there we came up with the definitive list of the best portable oxygen concentrators on the market, of which you can find the list below with a summary on the devices offered from each company.
Below you will see our list of the top 5 portable oxygen concentrator providers based on our selected criteria for evaluation. They are listed in order from 1 – 5 for what we consider are the best options out there.
Since 2004 Inogen have provided portable oxygen concentrators and one of their standout characteristics is their use of Intelligent Delivery Technology which is an innovative form of pulse dose technology that delivers oxygen. It is flexible technology that can change the level of dose according to your breathing rate. When selecting a portable oxygen concentrator with Inogen, you can choose whether you want to buy or rent your device.
Inogen have three different portable oxygen concentrators:
Inogen One G3 System – $2,295.00
Freedom Package 1 – $3,195.00
Freedom Package 2 – $3,195.00
Freedom Package 3 – $3,465.00
Recognized for being one of the smallest and lightest portable oxygen concentrators available on the market, this device gives you the freedom to charge your device either at home or on-the-go. The G3 System has flow settings from 1 – 5.
Inogen One G4 System – $2,295.00
Freedom Package 1 – $3,195.00
Freedom Package 2 – $3,195.00
Freedom Package 3 – $3,465.00
The G4 System can deliver oxygen 24/7 and the device weighs only 2.8 pounds. As well as the device having 1 – 3 flow settings, with this product, you can also use the Inogen Connect app. The app is a great add on that can help you monitor both your Inogen One G4 system and your oxygen.
Inogen One G5 System – $2,395.00
Freedom Package 1 – $3,295.00
Freedom Package 2 – $3,295.00
Freedom Package 3 – $3,565.00
The G5 System is the most recent model that is on the market that is offered by Inogen. With six different flow settings, you are also privileged to infinite oxygen if your portable oxygen concentrator always has power.
|Inogen One System|
|Battery life||Up to 10 hours||Up to 5 hours||Up to 13 hours|
|Pulse or continuous||Pulse||Pulse||Pulse|
The service of Inogen has led to an ‘A+’ accreditation from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and they are also certified by the Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC). They have won numerous awards for their work thus far.
Regarding warranty, if you purchase just the portable oxygen concentrator then you are eligible for three years warranty, however, if you decide to go with one of their Freedom Packages, then you will receive a lifetime warranty from Inogen. Inogen have an excellent website and one thing you can find on their website is that they declare that the Inogen One Oxygen Concentrator “is covered by Medicare and many private insurance plans”. All three devices are FAA approved and there is a 30-day risk free trial (purchase only) included.
Read our Inogen Review
At Philips Respironics they look to provide you the set standard for portable oxygen concentrators, which is that they are both lightweight and travel friendly.
They offer three different packages a seen below:
- Silver Package – Includes a 60-day trial and three years warranty.
- Gold Package – This builds upon the Silver Package, as you get additional battery power and Lifetime Limited Warranty. You can also use the Philips Oxygen Experts for further care and support.
- Platinum Package – Again, the package builds upon the Gold Package. With this package you receive Lifetime Limited Warranty on your device, battery replacement and accessories.
The device comes with three different oxygen modes, continuous, pulse and sleep and it is both simple to use and is touch compliant.
- Silver Package – $2,595.00
- Gold Package – $3,595.00
- Platinum Package – $4,095.00 Best Value
When selecting the SimplyGo, there are accessories available from $24.99 – $517.41.
The Mini is a tank-free device which is as well as being both lightweight and manoeuvrable, the battery on it can last up to nine hours. You can also have extended battery. The Mini is touch screen, simple to use, and is described as able to be recharged “anywhere”, The device has five pulse dose settings.
- Silver Package – $2,495.00
- Gold Package – $3,495.00
- Platinum Package – $3,995.00 Best Value
The SimplyGo Mini comes with accessories ranging in cost from $5.99 – $854.87.
|Portable Oxygen Concentrator|
|Battery Life||Up to 3 hours||Up to 9 hours|
|Pulse or continuous||Both||Pulse|
Read our Philips Respironics Review
CAIRE, Inc are the largest manufacturer of portable oxygen concentrators and service altitude clinics, space exploration labs and even the U.S. military. Their portable oxygen concentrators are sold through authorized dealers to consumers.
At CAIRE, they have a reputation for innovation and three examples of this are their AutoSAT Technology, UltraSense and Fixed Minute Volume.
CAIRE stand out in more ways than one, but one thing they do, is trying to cater for all customers. The most telling example of this is that they offer PayPal Credit. It is a form of helping to finance the purchase of portable oxygen concentrators for a time period of up to 36 months. If you can clear the full balance within six months, you avoid any interest. However, if you are unable to pay off the full balance within six months, the cost of your purchase could increase, courtesy of interest.
Portable oxygen concentrators on offer include:
Focus – $1,500.00
Their smallest device, it is the lightest portable oxygen concentrator on the market. The device may be worn on the shoulder and batteries have a life span of three hours. The batteries are rechargeable.
FreeStyle Comfort – $1,700.00
With this curved design device, you have battery duration of up to four or eight hours according to your selected battery pack. It comes with autoDOSE and three years manufacturer’s warranty.
FreeStyle 5 – $1,700.00
Built as a slightly larger version of the FreeStyle Comfort, do not be phased as the device is still portable and lightweight whilst having all the same features. Battery duration is up to five hours and the device also encompasses UltraSense Technology.
Eclipse 5 – $3,200.00
When selecting this device, you are met with the choice of either continuous flow or pulse dose. The battery duration is dependent on whether you are using continuous flow (two hours) or pulse dose (five hours). You are entitled to added benefits if you purchase the portable oxygen concentrator from CAIRE, of which benefits included are a risk-free trial, shipping and warranty replacement.
Be sure to check the level of coverage from your private insurance plan as it is likely you may receive some coverage. With Medicare, Part B, you may be covered under certain conditions as well as with the Medicare Supplement Insurance plan. CAIRE has certification from the ACHC and all their devices are FAA approved.
|Features||Focus||FreeStyle Comfort||FreeStyle 5||Eclipse 5|
|Battery life||Up to 3 hours||Up to 8 hours||Up to 4.25 hours||Up to 5 hours|
|Pulse or continuous||Pulse||Both||Pulse||Both|
Read our CAIRE, Inc. Review
ResMed use Pulse-Wave technology to match the correct oxygen dose at the time of inhalation. This technology allows ResMed to produce a more effective form of oxygen therapy.
Previously, ResMed provided the LifeChoice Activox as their primary portable oxygen concentrator, however this has changed and now their Mobi is their primary portable oxygen concentrator.
Mobi – $2,295.00
The Mobi is a simple one-touch setup that weighs a little over five pounds and comes with one of the longest-lasting batteries which can be found to be used with a portable oxygen concentrator. In addition, the device can be used from sea level to 10,000 feet (3,048 meters).
If you are looking to purchase a Mobi, this can only be purchased through a medical equipment provider or an online store. However, do note that ResMed does not sell directly to consumers.
When selecting the Mobi, you are open to various accessories including an extra AC Charger or DC Power Supply, a backpack or a carrying bag.
Regarding insurance, private insurance may cover part of the cost, whilst with Medicare Part B it may cover your portable oxygen concentrator, though this will be under strict conditions. Alternatively, the Medicare Supplement Insurance plan may also cover some of the costs.
The Mobi is FAA approved and you can receive varying levels of warranty. The BBB have given ResMed a ‘A‘-rating. On a side note, ResMed dedicate 7% of their annual revenue to research and development.
|Battery life||Up to 13.1 hours|
|Pulse or continuous||Pulse|
Read our ResMed Review
With Invacare you will be exposed to their Sensi-Pulse Technology. This form of technology customizes the size of the puff of oxygen, or each bolus, and this matches your breathing rate. This feature is great for a wide audience of users of portable oxygen concentrators as it means that their device is suitable for various levels of activity.
When choosing Invacare, you may have access to their Piccolo O2 mobile app which can help you if you are having problems with your portable oxygen concentrator. The app can connect to a technician, your local Invacare dealer or Invacare’s Customer Service department. Another feature of the app is that it displays your remaining battery life of the portable oxygen concentrator.
There are two portable oxygen concentrator options:
Invacare Platinum Mobile Oxygen Concentrator – $2,486.00 – $2,665.00
Described as a “rugged” design and weighing five pounds, the Platinum Mobile has five flow settings. The device comes with a reinforced bumper in carry bag, foam encapsulated compressor and as well as this, the product complies with IP22 water resistance standards. It also has top loading batteries with “hot swap” capability. The device has a battery duration of up to five hours and when recharging, it takes two hours and twenty minutes to recharge a single battery.
Invacare XPO2 Portable Oxygen Concentrator – $3,148.00
A slightly heavier device from Invacare weighing 6.4 pounds, it can run on either battery, AC or DC adapters. The battery has a duration of up to three hours and forty minutes and recharging is four hours.
Invacare do not buy the equipment back from you after use as they only distribute new equipment. Instead, you will have to find an alternative method of selling the equipment if that is what you are looking to do after use. Invacare has an ‘A+’ rating from the BBB.
When using an Invacare portable oxygen concentrator, you can be safe in the knowledge that they are FAA compliant. In addition, a great feature of Invacare is that they have a simple to use website. Invacare also sponsor athletes and organizations, once such organization is the Paralyzed Veterans Association.
|Features||Invacare Platinum Mobile Oxygen Concentrator||Invacare XPO2 Portable Oxygen Concentrator|
|Battery life||Up to 5 hours||Up to 3 hours and 40 minutes|
|Pulse or continuous||Pulse||Pulse|
Read our Invacare Review
In conclusion, there is a strong market for portable oxygen concentrators and there is a great selection of providers available. After evaluating numerous providers, we have selected our top five recommendations for you to consider. All the devices offered by these providers are of the highest standard but bear in mind they are all slightly different. You will have to weigh up what you consider are the most important features for yourself, which may be the insurance cover, battery life or whether you want to even buy the item or just rent it. Just remember, for travel purposes, ensure the portable oxygen concentrator is FAA approved and remember to get a prescription first as that is a requirement for if you want to be able to buy a portable oxygen concentrator.
|Portable Oxygen Concentrator Companies||Best For|
|2||Philips Respironics||Comprehensive packages|
|3||CAIRE, Inc||Lightest device|