Are there any portable oxygen concentrators that are continuous flow?

Although many portable oxygen concentrators (POCs) provide only pulse dose oxygen delivery, some units also deliver continuous flow.

Pulse Dose vs. Continuous Flow
Pulse dose and continuous flow oxygen concentrators both deliver oxygen via nasal cannula (or a mask). Pulse dose POCs provide a bolus of oxygen every time you inhale. If your breathing rate slows down or speeds up, your concentrator adjusts to how you’re breathing to ensure oxygen with each breath. Pulse dose POCs are ideal for active people or those who travel.

Continuous flow concentrators provide a steady, constant stream of oxygen regardless of your breathing rate. A benefit to continuous flow POCs is that you know precisely how many liters of oxygen per minute you receive. People who require oxygen during sleep and those with specific or higher oxygen demands may require a continuous flow unit.

Are there any portable oxygen concentrators that are continuous flow?

Understanding Your Prescription
Choosing the right POC can feel confusing if you’re new to supplemental oxygen therapy. Talk to your healthcare provider about your oxygen needs before purchasing your concentrator.

Many supplemental oxygen prescriptions are written in liters per minute. For example, your prescription may say “2 liters per minute", which means you require 2 liters of oxygen in one minute. On a continuous flow model, 2 liters per minute is straightforward.

However, pulse dose POCs provide settings that aren’t equivalent to liter flow, and the settings vary between units. For example, a pulse dose flow setting of 2 doesn’t typically mean it delivers 2 liters of oxygen per minute. Each pulse dose flow setting determines how much of a bolus you’ll get with each breath; how much oxygen you receive per minute depends on how many breaths you take and how deep you breathe.

Continuous Flow Portable Oxygen Concentrators
Technology has come a long way, and some portable units now provide continuous-flow oxygen therapy. Before choosing a continuous flow POC, consider the unit’s weight and ensure it provides enough oxygen to meet your demands.

These are some POCs that provide both pulse dose and continuous flow oxygen delivery: View available continuous flow portable concentrators.

Updated: April 10, 2023
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