I am frequently are asked which portable oxygen concentrator is the best one. The answer depends on your lifestyle and needs.
In my previous post I shared the most important distinction between the portable oxygen concentrators available: pulse only flow vs. pulse and continuous flow. If you determine that you must use a portable oxygen concentrator with a continuous flow option, your work is half complete as this narrows the choices considerably to the Respironics SimplyGo, CAIRE Eclipse 5, or GCE Zen-O.
Many oxygen users want to jump past this consideration to the one that often matters the most to them:
Size and Weight
You want your oxygen concentrator to be portable. In fact the easier it is to pick up and go with your portable concentrator, the greater likelihood you’ll actually use it and enjoy the quality of life you desire.
While all portable oxygen concentrators are portable in the sense that they can be used on DC power in a car and on battery power, some are simply easier to move and carry.
Pulse and Continuous Flow
For the pulse and continuous flow portable oxygen concentrators, you can expect between 17 and 20 pounds, with the Respironics SimplyGo being the exception at 10 pounds. These concentrators range in size from 12 to 18 inches high, 10 to 12 inches wide, and 6 to 8 inches deep (about the size of a child’s backpack or small carry-on luggage).
While the 10-pound Respironics Simply Go comes with a shoulder strap, most of these portable oxygen concentrators are conducive to being carried, and all come with a wheeled cart that has a retractable handle. Oxygen users of slight build may have difficulty taking them up and down stairs and in and out of a car.
Pulse Flow Only
If a continuous flow setting is not needed, pulse only portable oxygen concentrators are usually the best option due to their smaller size and lighter weight. The choices here include the Inogen One G3, Inogen One G2, Respironics EverGo*, Invacare XPO2, Inova LifeChoice, and AirSep FreeStyle. These units weigh between 5 and 10 pounds. The lightest units are only 5 pounds, are about the size of a woman’s purse, and can be easily carried over the shoulder. These include the Inogen One G3, AirSep FreeStyle, and Inova LifeChoice. At 6 pounds, the Invacare XPO2 is also easy to carry over the shoulder, but does have an optional cart.
Similar in size, though a couple pounds heavier, the Inogen One G2 comes with a wheeled cart. The Respironics EverGo is the largest of the three, weighing 10 pounds and about the size of a toaster or small camera bag. This unit may also be carried over the shoulder, but also comes with a wheeled cart.
While there are still a couple more differences to consider, oxygen flow options and size are generally the two most important factors in determining which portable oxygen concentrator is best. My next post will address another important consideration.
* Updated 12/5/13: The Respironics EverGo had been discontinued by the manufacturer and is no longer available. It has been replaced by the Respironics SimplyGo.