An oxygen concentrator is a device that administers medical-grade oxygen to a patient via a nasal cannula. Oxygen concentrators are used to treat a variety of respiratory ailments including COPD, pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, and pneumonia. There are a wide variety of oxygen concentrators on the market that suit people with different wants and needs, but it can be somewhat daunting choosing a concentrator if you’re not sure what to look for.
Earlier this year, we put out a great comprehensive guide for choosing a portable oxygen concentrator in 2020. If you’ve never used supplemental oxygen before or you’re switching to a concentrator from compressed oxygen or liquid oxygen, this guide will teach you everything you need to know about choosing the perfect oxygen machine for you.
In this post, however, we’re going to be looking at one oxygen concentrator in particular — The Inogen One G3 Portable Oxygen Concentrator. Ever since its release in 2012, this portable oxygen machine has been one of the most popular choices for oxygen patients everywhere. Despite being released 8 years ago, the Inogen One G3 still holds its own against newer concentrators like the Inogen One G5 and the Caire FreeStyle Comfort.
Keep reading if you’d like to learn more about how the G3 works and some of its key benefits. And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to fill out the contact form at the side of the page. One of our respiratory specialists will reach out to you and guide you through the process of choosing an oxygen concentrator.
High Oxygen Output
As an oxygen user, the most important thing you need to do is ensure that your oxygen device meets your needs. For example, someone with stage 1 COPD will not need a high concentration of oxygen while someone with stage 4 COPD will need significantly more oxygen. Every device has a different oxygen output, so you’ll need to do your research before committing to anything.
Fortunately, the Inogen One G3 provides oxygen users with a very high oxygen output. On its maximum setting of 5, the G3 puts out an impressive 1,050 milliliters of oxygen per minute (ml/min). While this may not sound like a lot, you need to consider the fact that the G3 is a pulse dose concentrator, not a continuous flow concentrator. What this means is that oxygen is only administered when the user inhales.
For example, at an average breathing rate of 20 BPMs and a continuous flow oxygen concentrator with a 3 liter per minute (LPM) output, you would only inspire 1 liter of oxygen each minute. This is the equivalent of 1,000 ml/min, slightly less than the output of the Inogen One G3. In other words, the G3 has about the same oxygen output as a 3 LPM continuous flow concentrator. If this is confusing, be sure to check out our pulse flow vs continuous flow comparison guide for more information.
While the Inogen One G3 has a higher oxygen output than most pulse flow units on the market, you’ll need to speak with your doctor first to ensure this is the right machine for you. Most people won’t even need to go beyond a setting of 2, but in rare cases, someone may require very high oxygen flow. In which case, you may need to upgrade to a newer oxygen concentrator.
Up until the early 2000s, oxygen concentrators were stationary units. In other words, they weren’t designed to be moved around, and in order to use them, you had to have them plugged into a wall outlet. While stationary oxygen concentrators still exist today, they’ve largely been replaced with portable versions like the Inogen One G3. What’s more, the G3 weighs in at only 4.8 pounds making it one of the lightest portable oxygen concentrators ever produced.
Since the G3 weighs little more than a small handbag or purse, you’ll feel comfortable slinging it over your shoulder and going wherever you need to go. Whether you simply want to go to the store to grab a few things or you want to go for a long walk in the park, the G3 won’t cause any unnecessary strain in your shoulders or back. This is especially helpful if you already suffer from back problems or similar issues.
Small Form Factor
Another aspect of portability is the size of the device. Chances are if your portable oxygen concentrator was bulky and hard to handle, you wouldn’t be able to get out of the home and travel very easily. Luckily, the Inogen One G3 has a nice compact form factor that’s easy to tuck under your shoulder allowing you to move freely. If you’re traveling in public areas such as a busy city street, it will be easier to navigate without bumping into other people.
Another reason it’s important to have a small portable oxygen concentrator is that they’re easier to store. Many people own both a home oxygen concentrator and a portable oxygen concentrator, so these people need to be able to keep their portable unit out of the way when they’re at home. The G3 is small enough that you can keep it out of the way but big enough that you won’t lose it.
You might be surprised to learn that the Inogen One G3 is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the organization that oversees all commercial flights in the United States. What this means is that you can carry your Inogen One G3 on the plane with you as long as you notify the airline ahead of time and you have one and a half times the duration of your flight in battery life.
Everyone knows that flying these days can be uncomfortable due to a lack of legroom and personal space. However, you’ll be happy to know that the Inogen One G3 won’t take up any extra space. It’s small enough to slide under the seat in front of you or you can even hold it in your lap during the flight. If you don’t need it during the flight, you can even store it in the overhead compartment.
Just like your cell phone or laptop, portable oxygen concentrators are electronic devices. This means they have delicate components like processors that need to be kept in good condition in order to function properly. The good news is that Inogen took the time to create a machine that’s as durable as it is powerful.
All of the electrical components inside the Inogen One G3 are protected by a hard outer shell which is made from high-quality materials. If you happen to bump or scrape your G3, you can rest assured that it won’t hurt crucial parts inside the unit. While the G3 is durable, it’s not indestructible, so don’t intentionally drop it or cause harm to it. Since the G3 has a lot of air intake and output vents, it is not waterproof or water-resistant in any way.
Portable oxygen concentrators are powered by lithium-ion batteries. These batteries are specifically designed to last and they can hold a charge long enough to keep you out all day long. The Inogen One G3 8-cell battery (which comes with the device) can last up to 4.5 hours on one charge. If you choose to upgrade to the larger 16-cell battery, you’ll get up to 9.5 hours on one charge. Note that using the 16-cell battery will slightly increase the weight of your device.
Oftentimes, battery life is the first thing people look for in a portable oxygen concentrator because without a great battery, you’re not going to be able to get out of your house long enough to live life on your own terms. Unlike with compressed oxygen tanks or liquid oxygen tanks, you’ll never “run out of oxygen.” Simply remove your battery and replace it with a fully charged one and you’ll be good to go.
One of the reasons the G3 has such a great battery life is because it’s a pulse dose oxygen concentrator. Like we mentioned before, this means that oxygen is only delivered when the patient inhales through the nasal cannula. As a result, the device can conserve a lot more energy while still providing you with the high concentration of oxygen that you need to stay saturated wherever you go.
Easy to Use
The last thing anyone wants is to have another convoluted piece of technology to complicate their lives. From dealing with computer issues to having your calls dropped randomly, you may dread adding another electronic device to your life. The good news is that the Inogen One G3 was designed to be as easy as possible to use. There are only a few buttons on the entire device and you won’t have to spend weeks or months learning what they all do.
On the Inogen One G3 control panel (on top of the unit) you’ll find a power button to turn the device on and off, a backlight button, an audible alarm button, and two buttons to control the flow rate — that’s it! While the G3 is pretty straightforward, we recommend consulting the user manual whenever you get a new unit to educate yourself about the various alarms and settings available to you.
Two other things you’ll need to do with your portable oxygen concentrator are replacing the batteries and the air filters. Luckily, both of these processes are very simple with the G3 as well. Both of the air filters are found on the side of the unit and they can be removed without any tools for easy cleaning or replacement. The battery is attached to the bottom of the unit and all you’ll need to do is pull a tab on the side to remove it and replace it with a fully charged battery.
While sound output should not be at the top of your priorities list by any means, it’s always nice to have a portable oxygen concentrator that doesn’t produce any unnecessary sound pollution. The Inogen One G3 comes in at around 39 decibels (dBA) on a setting of 2 making it better than average when it comes to overall sound output.
Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about how loud POCs are. Many people believe that they will no longer be able to go to church, the library, or any public place without disturbing people, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. The Inogen One G3 is very quiet and what noise it does make is just a slight humming sound that likely won’t bother anyone.
Accessories are the icing on the cake when it comes to portable oxygen concentrators. Everyone wants to find the oxygen concentrator that’s right for them, but if there are accessories that allow you to customize your experience, that’s even better! You’ll be happy to know that the Inogen One G3 has plenty of accessories you can use to make your oxygen experience even easier.
First up, we have the Inogen One G3 Rolling Backpack. It’s not very often that a rolling backpack is offered alongside a pulse flow oxygen concentrator because they’re all light enough to carry on your shoulder; however, the G3 is an exception here. This accessory allows you to either roll your G3 around behind you or carry it on your back using the adjustable shoulder straps. It also has ample room to hold your batteries, chargers, and other personal items.
Second is the standard Inogen One G3 Backpack. This is similar to the rolling backpack but it doesn’t have wheels. It has comfortable adjustable padded straps and plenty of room for G3 accessories and personal belongings. When the G3 is in this backpack, the control panel is easily accessible so you can make quick changes to your oxygen settings on the fly.
The third and final carrying option for the Inogen One G3 is the GO2 Carryall. If you’re someone who’s self-conscious about carrying an oxygen concentrator or you just want a carrying bag that’s a little more stylish, these are for you. The GO2 Carryalls look just like a purse or handbag, but the Inogen One G3 is concealed inside of it. They have mesh side panels that ensure your device gets enough air and there are two carrying options to suit your needs. These bags come in two different colors depending on your preference.
With the release of each of their concentrators, Inogen offers an external battery charger. This is a small device, about the size of your battery, that can charge either your 8-cell or 16-cell battery without it being connected to the concentrator. This is a great accessory to have because it allows you to charge two batteries at once: one on your G3 and the other on the external charger. This means you’ll be able to get out and get going faster than ever before.
All around, the Inogen One G3 is one of the best portable oxygen concentrators on the market, despite releasing many years ago. It provides a high oxygen output for people with severe respiratory illness, it’s very easy to carry and store, it offers a long battery life, and it’s supported by many great accessories to help you make the most of it.
If you’ve never used oxygen before, it’s important to first speak with your doctor. He/she will help you determine the ideal flow setting to maximize the health benefits of supplemental oxygen. You’ll also discuss how often you should use oxygen and whether or not you should use it while you sleep.
Once you’ve spoken with your doctor, don’t hesitate to give our respiratory specialists here at LPT Medical a call. We’ll walk you through the process of choosing an oxygen concentrator that takes into account your lifestyle and preferences. Fill out the contact form at the side of the page to get started.