The most recent technological advancements have brought the developments of some portable oxygen concentrators that are bringing a whole new concept of freedom to oxygen users. A few revolutionary portable oxygen concentrators have been released over the past few years and some of the older models have been updated with the new expectations that come along with the release of new oxygen technologies. Of course, not every oxygen therapy product will be right for you. You'll need to make sure the portable oxygen concentrator can meet all of your needs.
Here are some questions you need to be asking when shopping for a portable oxygen concentrator.
1. Will the POC in question meet your daily oxygen needs?
Your mobile concentrator needs to be able to provide you with the oxygen dosage you need at all times, no matter where you are or what you're doing. Your oxygen needs will be different when you're being physically active, when you're sleeping and or sitting and watching television. The POC needs to be able to detect the changes in your breath rate, and compensate accordingly.
There are two types of oxygen settings that come with portable models – pulse dose
, and continuous flow oxygen
. All POCs that have continuous flow settings, also have pulse dose settings, as well. As of right now, the highest continuous flow setting in portable oxygen concentrators is 3 LPM (liters per minute).
You will need to make sure that whatever portable oxygen concentrator you get has the dosage setting you need, with a high enough breath rate. The maximum breath rate and dosage volume should actually exceed what you would normally need, just to make sure you'll never run short. It should have a good oxygen reserve, so when your breath rate goes up, the dosage will go up to meet it. Breath rate is measured in breaths per minute (BPM).
If you need a low dose or a low pulse dose of oxygen, you'll be able to take advantage of the smaller portable oxygen concentrators. If you will need 5 LPM of continuous oxygen, you won't be able to use any of the continuous flow portable models that are currently on the market.
2. Is a portable oxygen concentrator truly portable?
By definition, a portable unit needs to be light enough so that you don't feel burdened while carrying it around anywhere you need to go. You have to take into consideration the weight of the unit, including the weight of the battery and accessories you will be carry around along with it. You might also need to bring along extra batteries and power supplies. You should always expect to add a few extra pounds for the addition batteries, if you will be out and about all day.
3. What is the probability that the POC in question will break down?
You'll need to follow manufacturer instructions for cleaning and keeping up with the maintenance for your portable oxygen concentrator to make sure it continues to run smoothly. Usually, any maintenance is minimal. It's hard to say how long your POC will last, since each unit is different. Portable models are made to be taken with you wherever you go, so they have a high degree of sturdiness.
Most manufacturers include a 3-year warranty with their concentrators, and each battery usually has a warranty for 1 year. Since having your source of oxygen therapy is so crucial to your well-being, you should still have a back-up system in place if something ever does happen to your portable oxygen concentrator.