Portable oxygen concentrators (POC) are expensive. For good reason: these medical equipment devices are designed to help you breathe and keep you alive. Therefore, extensive research must be done to ensure you select a list of POCs that will last you for years to come.
This is an incredibly important choice that must not be taken lightly. Let’s look at a few things worth considering when you’re shopping for portable oxygen concentrators.
How many pounds of weight can you personally carry? Some POCs weigh over 15 lbs., so if you have a problem lifting that – you may want to reconsider buying one. However, there are a lot of mobile concentrators to choose from – and all of them have different size dimensions.
Obviously, the smaller models will weigh less, making them more convenient for you to carry. If you know you can safely carry it onto a bus hassle-free, it might be just right.
It’s worth knowing that, although models on the heavier side come with wheeled carts, you (or someone else) may at one point have to lift the concentrator.
If you are in oxygen therapy, the chances are incredibly likely that Medicare or health insurance covered the cost of the therapy. However, you may need to buy your own portable oxygen.
As there are so many different models and brands to choose from, with different properties and settings, made of different casings and material – it is difficult to find an “average” price.
However, you can expect to see price tags between $2,000-$6,000. For example: Let’s look at two of the aforementioned list of FAA-approved POCs again. The SeQual Eclipse 5 sells for $3,200 and the O2 Concepts OxLife Independence starts at $2,850. These machines are a serious investment, and the utmost cautiousness and research must be performed before buying one to ensure it’s absolutely right for you.
It’s inevitable that—despite our best efforts—some of our items and “things” receive some damage. As portable oxygen concentrators usually range from $2000-$3000+, you want to pick a model you know will last for years or decades. Sadly, most manufacturers warranties don’t cover accidents.
To ensure your POC is durable, please choose from one of the following Federal Aviation Administration-approved POCs:
- SeQual Eclipse 5
- DeVilbiss Healthcare iGo
- O2 Concepts OxLife Independence
- Invacare Solo 2
- SeQual Saros
- (And more!)
POCs’ oxygen delivery has two settings: pulse dose or continuous flow. You probably know (or can guess) that “pulse” refers to a steady pulse-like method of delivering oxygen at intervals (measured in milliliters per breath), and continuous flow means you constantly receive oxygen at all times (measured in liters per minute).
While some POCs have technology that automatically adjusts according to your breathing (useful for exercise), pulse flow units are generally smaller and more portable than continuous flow units.
Continuous flow units usually come equipped with a wheeled cart or retractable handle. Be sure to talk to your doctor to find out which delivery method is right for you.
Sadly, most concentrators’ filters are merely particle filters. These are designed to remove the dust from your oxygen supply. More advanced models also utilize antibacterial filters – specifically designed to filter potentially fatal bacteria.
If you or someone you know has a weak immune system, or is/are prone to respiratory infections, choosing antibacterial filters over standard filters are worth the investment. (Just please remember to clean the filters weekly – otherwise all those collected “nasties” will accumulate, and you’ll just be breathing the bad stuff.)
One of the most important details you need to keep in mind, when browsing for portable oxygen concentrators, is the delivery mode rates.
Different modes use up battery juice differently – which could possibly leave you with less than delivered oxygen than you expected. Perhaps the best of all, you can even rent certain POCs to see which is right for you before you buy!