Home Oxygen Concentrator Buying Guide

Home Oxygen Concentrator Buying Guide

This guide will tell you what to know if you're searching for a home oxygen concentrator (HOC). Here, you'll learn how HOCs work, which features to look for, and get a comparison of some of the most popular HOCs.

How do HOCs work?


HOCs are large, stationary machines that are not meant to use as portable devices but offer supplemental oxygen around the clock. However, some machines can be easily moved around the home from room to room. If you're after portability, consider a portable oxygen concentrator (POC).

HOCs do not require much energy, oxygen tanks, or batteries. These machines generally only increase an electric bill by 5-10 percent.

Home oxygen concentrators work like POCs. They take in air from the room, filter it, and separate oxygen molecules from nitrogen and other trace gases, delivering oxygen to you via nasal cannula or mask. Unlike POCs that generally offer pulse dose oxygen delivery, HOCs provide a continuous flow of oxygen.

Room air consists of about 21 percent oxygen, about 78 percent nitrogen, and trace amounts of other gases. Once HOCs do the job of filtering out other gases, they deliver additional oxygen to patients. The higher your machine's liter flow, the more oxygen you'll receive. For example, if your prescribed flow is 2 liters per minute, you'll breathe 28 percent oxygen instead of the 21 percent you'd get from breathing room air. How many liters per minute you'll set your device to depends on the prescription from your doctor.

HOC Features to Consider


When shopping for a HOC, consider these features while comparing machines.

Liter Flow

When comparing HOCs, you'll need to ensure your unit meets your supplemental oxygen needs, so check your prescription first. The prescription from your doctor tells you how many liters per minute you require. Two liters per minute or less is typical, but some require higher oxygen flows. If you wear 2 liters per minute around the clock but feel short of breath during activities, you might need to increase your flow. Therefore, purchase a device that offers higher flow settings, and always check with your doctor before increasing your oxygen.

Power Consumption

Like other home appliances, HOCs use energy from a wall outlet, and the amount of energy used varies by machine. Usually, units that deliver higher oxygen flows use more power. When shopping for your HOC, ensure it meets your oxygen needs, rather than purchasing a device based only on low power consumption. In addition, some manufacturers offer consumer-grade batteries, which helps during a power outage.

Weight and Transportability

Home concentrators weigh more than portable oxygen devices but typically offer higher oxygen flow. However, some HOCs only weigh about nine pounds but only offer up to two liters per minute. In addition, some HOCs are light enough to move around your home, and some have wheels to help you roll them around. If you're looking for a HOC that is lightweight and portable in your home, consider your oxygen requirements while comparing size, weight, and portability.

Noise Level

HOCs draw in surrounding air, filtering it and removing other gases, which can be noisy. If this noise bothers you during sleep, consider looking for a quieter machine. HOCs usually run between 40 and 60 decibels, so look for a unit as close to 40 decibels as possible. For context, 40 decibels is about as loud as birds chirping or the sound of being in a library, and 60 decibels is about as loud as a running air conditioner or a close conversation.

Humidification

Supplemental oxygen can dry out your nose, especially if worn around the clock. Humidification helps relieve this problem, but not all HOCs offer this feature. If you’re on a higher flow of oxygen, wear oxygen 24/7, or have concerns about a dry nose, consider an HOC with humidification available.

Warranty

HOCs are meant to last long, so consider a warranty before purchasing. Many warranties are three years, but manufacturers offer different warranties. Without one, you'll rely on the manufacturer's trustworthiness to stand behind their claims.

How to Buy a Home Oxygen Concentrator


Top HOC Brands and Models and Features


CAIRE Companion 5

CAIRE's Companion 5 is thinner than most HOCs and lightweight, so you can easily move it around your home.
  • Liter Flow: 0.5-5 liters per minute, in increments of 0.5
  • Size and Weight: Weighs 36 pounds; 21.5 inches tall, 12.5 inches wide, and 13.5 inches deep
  • Noise Level: 50 decibels
  • Warranty: 3-year manufacturer's warranty
  • Power Consumption: 250-350 watts

CAIRE AirSep Newlife Intensity

CAIRE's AirSep Newlife Intensity is perfect for patients needing a higher oxygen flow. This unit delivers up to 10 liters per minute and provides enough outlet pressure for respiratory accessories like venturi masks, nebulizers, and volume jet nebulizers.
  • Liter Flow: 2-10 liters per minute
  • Size and Weight: 58 pounds; 27.5 inches tall and 16.5 inches wide
  • Noise Level: 55 decibels
  • Warranty: 3-year manufacturer's warranty
  • Power Consumption: average of 590 watts

Respironics EverFlo Q

The Respironics EverFlo Q offers a compact design with wheels on the bottom of the unit, allowing you to move it around easily.
  • Liter Flow: 1-5 liters per minute
  • Size and Weight: 31 pounds; 15 inches wide x 9.5 inches long x 23 inches high
  • Noise Level: 40 decibels
  • Warranty: 3-year manufacturer's warranty with a 5-year warranty available
  • Power Consumption: 350 watts

Respironics Millennium M10

The Respironics Millennium M10 offers up to 10 liters per minute while reducing costs associated with units delivering more than 5 liters per minute. It also has fewer parts than other HOCs on the market, reducing the need for additional, unnecessary accessories.
  • Liter Flow: 1-10 liters per minute in increments of 1
  • Size and Weight: 53 pounds; 19 inches wide x 13 inches deep x 27 inches high
  • Noise Level: 50 decibels
  • Warranty: 3-year manufacturer's warranty
  • Power Consumption: 600 watts

Inogen At Home 5L

A leading manufacturer of HOCs, Inogen offers the At Home 5L, the lightest and smallest home concentrator available. This transportable HOC uses less power than other units, allowing you to save up to $300 per year.
  • Liter Flow: Up to 5 liters per minute
  • Size and Weight: 18 pounds; 13 inches wide x 7 inches deep x 16.5 inches high
  • Noise Level: 40 decibels at 2 liters per minute
  • Warranty: 3-year manufacturer's warranty
  • Power Consumption: 100-240VAC, 275 W Max, 50-60H

Invacare Perfecto2

The Invacare Perfecto2 is one of the smallest, lightest, and quietest machines you'll find. It's compatible and slim with an easy-to-grab handle.
  • Liter Flow: 0.5-5 liters per minute
  • Size and Weight: 43 pounds; 13 inches wide x 11.5 inches deep x 23 inches highv
  • Noise Level: about 39-43 decibels
  • Warranty: 3-year manufacturer's warranty
  • Power Consumption: 280 watts at 3 liters per minute

How to Purchase a Home Concentrator

Here is a quick checklist to start the process of choosing a home concentrator:
  • To start, find the liter flow that was prescribed by your doctor and narrow your search to the concentrators that will meet your oxygen needs.
  • Next, sort by size and energy consumption, as well as other specifications in the concentrators that are within your budget and financing abilities.
  • Finally, once you find a concentrator you like, begin the process of verifying your prescription and insurance, and request pricing information for further comparison.
Here at the Oxygen Concentrator Store, you can quickly start the process of purchasing a home concentrator by speaking with an Oxygen Specialist.


Updated: July 8, 2022

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