A portable oxygen generator is a device that can be used to provide oxygen therapy. This can help those that are struggling with their breathing, by offering oxygen in greater concentrations than those available from the ambient air.
This can be useful for those with asthma, chest infections, and a host of other breathing conditions. If you don’t know when you are going to suffer breathing difficulties, then having a portable oxygen generator (also called a portable oxygen concentrator) may be the difference between life and death.
That of course means that you don’t want to cut corners and end up investing in a sub-par product. But seeing as these are expensive and heavy devices, you also need to think carefully about what you can do to get the best deal possible.
Read on and we’ll take a look at some of the best tips for choosing a portable oxygen generator that will do a great job without breaking the bank.
How Do Oxygen Generators Work?
When you inhale oxygen from the air around you, you’re actually inhaling 21% oxygen and 78% nitrogen (the rest is “other gases). This means that the body has to work hard in order to get the oxygen it needs and to extract it from the environment.
Conversely, an oxygen generator provides air that is made of over 95% oxygen for the user to breathe. This is possible because the device is able to absorb oxygen through an inlet filter, in order to compress it and store it in containers. Meanwhile, excess nitrogen is removed and the oxygen is provided to the patient via a tube and a mask.
Choosing the Right Concentrators
There are a few things that you need to consider when choosing an oxygen concentrator. The first is just how portable it really is. The smaller units of course will be able to deliver less oxygen per minute (this is measured in LPM), but will be more portable for carrying around. If you suffer with asthma or another condition that could affect you at any time, then being able to carry the oxygen concentrator with you might be a requirement. Does this fit into a backpack?
Conversely, if you are struggling with sleep apnea, then you may be using the concentrator with a CAPD (Continuous Airway Pressure Device), to prevent your airways from closing over. In this situation, you won’t need the device unless you are sleeping, meaning you are only likely to need to bring it to hotels and camping sites. With that in mind, you can invest in a larger item.
Another consideration is battery life. Again, if the unit is going to be carried around with you, then you need something that has a long battery life so that it won’t run out just when you need it most.
Money Saving Tips
Generally, there is a big difference between a pressurized oxygen cylinder and a portable oxygen concentrator. The former is a much larger device, weighing up to 114 lbs., while the latter is truly portable and often only weighs 20 lbs. None of these devices is “light” as such though, which is important to keep in mind.
Pressurized oxygen cylinders also don’t provide a permanent supply of oxygen, rather they simply contain a certain amount of oxygen that you can use in an emergency. Your job will be to refill these regularly, which usually means visiting a supplier.
That said, an oxygen cylinder also costs much less. Again then, if you’re in a situation where you don’t need the oxygen regularly, you might consider this as an option.
Otherwise, when choosing your portable oxygen generator, you should be sure to look into financing options. You might find that you can get grants, tax breaks, or other financial help from the government or even charities. You should also check to see if an oxygen concentrator is covered by your insurance. After all, this is not a luxury item, but rather something that you need in order to look after your health.
Finally, consider looking at refurbished and second hand generators. While you might not like the thought of using a second hand generator, if this is the best way you can afford one, it is certainly better than going without. Refurbished means that the generator has been thoroughly checked and repaired where necessary, ensuring that it essentially operates “as new.” This can offer a big saving, without impacting performance in any way.