Product Review: GCE Zen-O

by | Jul 25, 2017 | Featured, GCE Zen-O, Product Reviews | 22 comments

GCE is the newest manufacturer of portable oxygen concentrators. GCE is a British company, though the Zen-O is manufactured in Auburn Hills, Michigan, making it an American-made product. In addition to the Zen-O, GCE has just released a new 5-pound Zen-O lite which provides pulse flow up to setting 5 and is comparable to the Inogen One G3 and SimplyGo Mini.

The Zen-O has been on the market since 2016 and has proven itself to be very dependable and easy to use. Most concentrators seem to require 6 months in the marketplace to allow the manufacturer to get the bugs out; however, it appears GCE took the time to test the Zen-O prior to releasing it to the market as it has had very few issues.

The Zen-O comes standard with the Zen-O concentrator in an attractive carry bag, AC and DC adapters for home and car, one (1) rechargeable battery (with the ability to hold a second battery), and a slim mobile cart.

The Zen-O provides continuous flow up to 2 liters per minute and pulse settings up to 6, making it similar to the Philips SimplyGo, yet it is superior in many features. Most notably is the Zen-O’s dual battery slots, providing double the battery time and less-frequent battery changing. Those using the unit at pulse 2 will enjoy 8 hours of battery time with two Zen-O batteries. Taller and narrower than the SimplyGo, the Zen-O is more comfortable to carry over your shoulder and allows for a slimmer cart, making it easier to put behind your seat in the car or even between your legs. The Zen-O cart is so compact you won’t have to remove and stow it away when traveling by plane. I also like the controls on the Zen-O with its easy on/off button that does not require double inputs like the SimplyGo. And at 38 decibels, the Zen-O is enjoyably quiet. Finally, those with minimal mechanical abilities will find it easy to change the sieve columns on their own, rather than waiting for factory service.

The Zen-O is an excellent option for travelers who need oxygen at 2 LPM only at night and are unable to use pulse flow at night, including those who use oxygen with a CPAP. The Zen-O can easily be packed in your carry-on luggage for a healthy night’s sleep while traveling.

Given the oxygen output, proven reliability, dual battery slots, and ease of use, I would say the GCE Zen-O is the best portable oxygen concentrator in its class (10-pound units). And if higher oxygen levels are not needed, I would also recommend the Zen-O over larger models such as the 14-pound SeQual eQuinox, 18-pound SeQual Eclipse 5 and the 20-pound Oxlife Independence.

You can find more information about the Zen-O at GCE Group.

22 Comments

  1. Bart Rea

    Have you reviewed the GCE Zen-O Lite? If so, where can I find it?

    Our Inogen One G3 has a design flaw in the electrical charging port. It spent 3 months back at factory for repair. and now, 3 months later the same problem has occurred. So we are thinking of changing brands.

    Thanks for the great srvice you provide.

    Reply
    • Allison Waters

      I have not reviewed the Zen-O lite yet; however, I have tested the unit and also heard very positive feedback from others. Of course, it does not have the longevity of testing as the Inogen One G3, but the Zen-O lite appears to have had very few instances of mechanical issues since its release. It’s a few ounces heavier but a bit quieter than the G3. I recommend you make a purchase from a company that offers a trial period and easy returns, but I have no qualms recommending the Zen-O lite.

      Reply
  2. sharon abbott

    I am on 4 liters … I am unable to use the portables which are not a constant flow …will this work for me

    Reply
    • Allison Waters

      The Zen-O provides continuous flow up to 2 liters only. The SeQual Eclipse is the most powerful unit on the market and it provides only 3 LPM continuous. Unfortunately, there are no POCs on the market that provide 4 LPM. However, you may be able to use the Eclipse with an Oxymizer Pendant Cannula.

      Reply
  3. Kathleen M BedeauFrancis

    My husband has severe pulmonary fibrosis is currently on 3 litres continuous flow he has difficulty using the pulse portable due to to his uncontrolled breathing rate when he walks he still desaturated is there any portable continuous flow which can be used at setting 3

    We are also travelling to Grenada a flight of 4 hours would he need to be on a higher setting for the flight and which portable concentrators would you recommend.

    Thanking you in advance for whatever advice you can give

    Reply
    • Allison Waters

      Yes, the SeQual Eclipse 5 can provide up to 3 LPM continuous flow. At that setting, the batteries last 1.3 each. For a 4-hour flight, you would need 6 hours of battery time (150% the duration of the flight), which would be 5 batteries. Since the Eclipse can maintain oxygen purity while in flight, he would not need a higher setting.

      Reply
  4. Teresa Levitch

    Thinking of getting this for 2 litters at night only. I need something I can take on a plane and is easy to pack and carry for traveling south for winter. I see a big difference between companies. Prices seem to vary slightly, so service is more important to me.
    Am I on the right path?

    Reply
    • Allison Waters

      Yes, you are definitely on the right path. The Zen-O meets all your criteria and would be a great choice for your oxygen and travel needs.

      Reply
  5. Pat

    My father is using this Zen-O POC when he needs to separate from his main Oxy machine to go elsewhere in the house. The hose which is attached is so short that, when he just wants to go across a room, it necessitates moving the unit to go with him for that small distance (which is a pain.)

    Can we utilize a longer hose so that he can travel around a room without lugging the POC constantly? Or will a longer length of hose negatively affect the output of oxygen?

    Also, how do you determine the length of a hose a given machine can handle?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Allison Waters

      The manufacturer will provide cannula length requirements in the owner’s manual. The Zen-O owner’s manual provide the following information:

      Only use a nasal cannula with the following specifications:
      • 7ft (2.1 m) or 25ft (7.6 m) long
      • High flow
      • Crush resistant
      • Large internal diameter bore
      • Straight non-tapered tips
      • Suitable for up to 15 litres per minute (lpm) at a max. pressure of 3.6 psi
      • Meets substance compatibility of IEC/EN 60601-1

      Reply
      • Filip Dean

        Geez, how big are cannulas that allow 15LPM?! My tiny nose is bothered by anything rated above 2LPM.

        Reply
  6. Husam

    I only heard thar the Zen-O portable oxygen concentrator is not durable in terms of battery issues; I’m on the verge of buying one so I need your opinion please.

    Thank you,

    Reply
    • Allison Waters

      Many models provide minute volume oxygen delivery in pulse flow mode, meaning there is a fixed amount of oxygen delivered over the course of a minute. As breath rate increases, the bolus delivered per breath decreases. This allows the machine to have a more consistent battery duration, although there will be a small decrease in battery time at higher breath rates. The Zen-O, on the other hand, uses a fixed volume delivery in the pulse flow mode, meaning the bolus of oxygen is fixed at each flow setting. Thus, it does not decrease the oxygen per breath when breath rate increases. The benefit is that the Zen-O is more clinically robust and able to provide better oxygen saturation levels than other models. The drawback is that the increased oxygen delivery causes the motor to run harder, which in turn, causes the batteries to drain more quickly. The batteries are not defective, nor less durable; the machine is simply more powerful and requires more battery power when used by patients with rapid breath rates.

      Reply
  7. MCMcConnell

    I am so grateful to have found your column. You and the participants of this blog have answered questions that I been looking for months.
    This oxygen delivery industry difiantily operates on a Buy Beware base. Don’t ask the right question… well they say … you didn’t ask about that!

    Reply
  8. TERI

    Can you use the Zen-O and SeQual Eclipse 5 or SeQual Equinox with out the batteries when sleeping at night, plug in only?

    Reply
    • Allison Waters

      Yes, all POCs can be used plugged in without batteries.

      Reply
  9. Robin Earth

    How easy is it to swap batteries mid air flight? Can it run on one battery while I swap one of the others for a fully charged one? Also, can it operate lying on it’s side under the plane seat?

    Reply
    • Allison Waters

      Since the Zen-O is small enough to sit on your lap and the batteries slide out from the top of the unit, I think it would be fairly easy to change the batteries while in flight. Keep in mind that some airplane seats are quite close (e.g., Spirit Airlines) and it may be difficult to pull the unit from under the seat up onto your lap; so I recommend you take care when booking your flight. The unit can operate while lying on its front under the seat (there would not be enough room for it to fit on its side and the air intake on the back should be face up).

      Reply
  10. Husain

    Sir
    Thank you so much for helping us with your valuable info. My mother is suffering from pulmonary fibrosis. I am thinking to buy Zen O lite for her as it is lighter and more portable. Could she use it plugged in 24/7. Or can sleep while using it. I have omitted details about my mother for the sake of simplicity.
    So Zen O or Zen O lite
    thanks

    Reply
    • Allison Waters

      Yes, the Zen-O lite can be plugged in 24/7; however, I wouldn’t recommend it long-term. Also, the Zen-O lite is a pulse only unit and will not provide continuous flow oxygen which is usually recommended for sleep. If you are looking for an all-in-one unit, the Zen-O would be a better option. Or get the Zen-O lite for daytime use and a home concentrator for home/night use.

      Reply
  11. Morton R. Kaplan

    Plz clarify your comments of Sept.5, 2018. When you mention the model “Zeno-O”, do you mean only the large model which has pulse and constant O2 flow vs. the Zen-O-Lite POC which is only pulse mode? When I tried the Zen-O-Lite, your comments in the article are exactly what happened to me. I walk fast and show BPM upwards of 37-39. The battery goes dead in about 1-1/2hrs @ 4L.

    Knowing the above, would you recommend Zen-O-Lite or Inogen 5? I’m on small tanks and have tried Simply-G and Zen-o-lite. I don’t care for any of them due to the noise. I know: Just walk slower!

    Warm regards,

    Reply
    • Allison Waters

      In my comment, I was referring to the Zen-O, but the same holds true for the Zen-O lite since both models use a fixed bolus delivery. The SimplyGo also uses a fixed bolus delivery up to 40 breaths per minute for setting 1-4 so it should have accommodated your fast breath rate but the batteries probably ran out quickly.

      The Inogen One G5 provides a minute volume delivery so you will receive a steady pre-determined amount of oxygen over the course of a minute regardless of breath rate; however, you receive less oxygen per breath when you breathe faster. Since the G5 has a higher maximum volume (1260 mL vs 1050 mL for the Zen-O lite) it is a bit more powerful and may work better for you. But yes, you may have to slow down. 🙂

      Reply

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