We love getting new products here at LPT Medical. The more oxygen concentrators we can offer oxygen patients, the more options they have to live life on their own terms without being defined by their disease. We’re happy to say that our latest pulse flow portable oxygen concentrator, the Caire Freestyle Comfort, does just that!
Last January, CAIRE Inc. was acquired by NGK, a comprehensive ceramics processing manufacturer based out of Japan. Using NGK’s well-established infrastructure in medical equipment manufacturing, distribution, and production, they aim to make high-quality portable oxygen concentrators more widely available to people around the world.
Like other popular oxygen machines including the Inogen One G5, Respironics SimplyGo Mini, and the Oxlife Freedom, the Freestyle Comfort is a pulse flow portable oxygen concentrator. Due to the way oxygen is dispensed from these machines, they are much lighter and compact than their continuous flow counterparts. As such, you’ll have more freedom to go where you want and do as you please in your day-to-day life. Read on to learn what new features the Caire Freestyle Comfort brings to the table.
High Oxygen Output
The first step in choosing a portable oxygen concentrator is always to determine if the unit you like meets your oxygen demands. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to know whether an oxygen machine actually meets your oxygen needs due to terms like “continuous flow” or “pulse flow.” What’s more, some oxygen concentrators are measured in liters per minute (LPM) while others are measured in milliliters per minute (ml/min).
To clarify, a continuous flow oxygen concentrator puts out a constant stream of oxygen and they are often measured in liters of oxygen per minute. Pulse flow oxygen concentrators put out “boluses” of oxygen which are typically measured in milliliters per minute. To further complicate things, not all pulse flow settings are equivalent. For example, a pulse flow setting of 2 on one device may not be the same output as a setting of 2 on another device. As a result, you’ll want to look at the maximum oxygen output of each device in order to compare them effectively.
The Caire Freestyle Comfort has pulse flow settings 1 to 5 and has a maximum oxygen output of 1,050 ml/min. To put this into perspective, that’s more than the Respironics SimplyGo Mini which has pulse flow settings 1 to 5 but a maximum oxygen output of 1,000 ml/min. This means that each pulse flow setting on the Freestyle Comfort has a slightly higher oxygen output. Another popular POC, the Inogen One G5, has a maximum oxygen output of 1,260 ml/min but it has one additional pulse flow setting than the Freestyle Comfort.
All things considered, the Freestyle Comfort still has a very high oxygen output for its class. In fact, it provides enough oxygen for the large majority of oxygen patients. If you have any doubts about it, however, be sure to speak with your pulmonologist to learn exactly what your oxygen needs are and whether or not pulse dose will be a good oxygen delivery method for you.
Light and Easy to Carry
One expectation most people have about pulse dose oxygenators is that they’re light enough to carry on their shoulders without being encumbered. While there are some continuous flow oxygenators that can be carried on your back, for the most part, pulse flow is the way to go if your goal is portability.
The Freestyle Comfort weighs in at just 5 pounds with the single-cell battery and 6 pounds with the double-cell battery. Compare that to oxygenators like the SeQual Eclipse 5 which weighs 18.4 pounds! The Freestyle Comfort is less than a third of this POC! Even compared to other pulse flow oxygenators, the Freestyle comfort is very light. The Inogen One G5 which was released last summer was championed for its lightweight design and it’s only 0.3 pounds lighter than the Freestyle Comfort.
Having a lightweight portable oxygen concentrator will enable you to do many things that you couldn’t while you were using an oxygen tank or continuous flow mobile oxygen concentrator. For example, many oxygen patients find that it’s much easier to take public transportation like the bus, a light rail, or subway. The Freestyle Comfort is small enough that you can keep it out of the way of other passengers without them tripping over it and potentially damaging your machine.
New Ergonomic Design
It’s not very often that we use the term “ergonomic” to describe a mobile oxygen concentrator. However, the HME experts at CAIRE Inc. wanted to try something new with the Freestyle Comfort by adding an ergonomic curve to the shape of the unit. Similar to canteens, this added detail will make it a little more comfortable to carry your portable oxygen concentrator at your side all day. If you like to get up and move a lot, the shape will help prevent it from sliding around so much and instead, work better with the natural shape of your body.
CAIREView™ Telehealth Technology
The term “telehealth technology” denotes a product that’s able to deliver health-related services through an interconnected network like the internet. Telehealth technology is often used to enable long-distance patient and clinician communication, remote health monitoring, reminders, and advice. CAIREView™ is a system built into every Freestyle Comfort that allows you to track your oxygen usage, send and receive information from your oxygen provider, and remotely troubleshoot your device.
As an oxygen patient, there’s no understating the importance of having a telehealth-enabled device. Instead of just purchasing a POC and assuming that everything is working as it should, CAIREView™ provides you with a simple all-in-one application that monitors your device’s integrity without you having to lift a finger. All you need to do is download the application on your smartphone or tablet device and follow the instructions in your user manual.
Another benefit of this powerful new technology is that it simplifies the way you use your device. The Freestyle Comfort has three buttons: one to turn the device on and off and two to manage your flow settings. There aren’t a ton of features you need to mess with while you’re using your oxygen concentrator because most of it is dealt with through the CAIREView™ application. If you ever want a status update on how your portable oxygen concentrator is running, simply log in using your mobile device.
Long Battery Life
Battery life is another very important aspect of mobile oxygen concentrators. Battery life is what determines how long you’ll be able to stay out without having to run home to charge your POC. Like most POCs, the Freestyle Comfort can use two different batteries: 8-cell batteries and 16-cell batteries. The 8-cell which comes with the purchase offers up to 8 hours of use on one charge. The 16-cell battery which is sold separately offers an astounding 16 hours of use on one charge! While this may seem like overkill, you’re likely going to need to use a higher oxygen flow setting which will reduce your battery life each setting you go up. However, even on the highest setting, you’ll get around 4 hours out of one charge cycle.
With a long-lasting battery, you’ll be able to stay out of the house longer and do more without worrying about losing your oxygen supply. Whether you simply want to take a trip to the story, a friend’s house, or you want to go on a vacation you’ve always dreamed of, you’ll be able to do so without stressing about your medical condition. If you want, you can even carry an extra battery or two with you which can easily be swapped out as needed.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is a government organization that was created to oversee commercial aviation in the United States. They’re responsible for many of the rules that you have to follow when getting on an airplane such as the amount and types of things that you can bring on a plane. In the past, medical oxygen machines of all types were prohibited on airplanes. Oxygen tanks were too bulky and they’re a major fire hazard and portable oxygen concentrators were too bulky at the time to be safe.
However, in the year 2020, the vast majority of portable oxygen concentrators are approved by the FAA for in-flight use including the Caire Freestyle Comfort. Due to its small form factor and lightweight design, the Freestyle Comfort can easily be stored under the seat for takeoff and landing. And during the flight, you’ll be able to keep it on the seat next to you in order to use it. Going to the bathroom on an airplane is never a great experience but with the Freestyle Comfort, you’ll be able to do so without bumping people as you walk down the aisle.
Sieve Bed Warranty
The Caire Freestyle Comfort is one of only a few pulse flow portable oxygen concentrators out there that offers not only a 3-year warranty on the unit itself, but the sieve beds as well. Sieve beds are a filter inside your POC that’s responsible for separating nitrogen from oxygen in the air. This is one of the most important components of your oxygen machine because without it, you would not be inhaling pure oxygen. Sieve beds typically last several years without needing to be replaced, but this 3-year warranty will give you the assurance you need to use your device 24/7 without worry.
Sieve beds are not the only type of filter on your oxygen machine, so it’s important that you don’t get them confused. Sieve beds are large columns that are inside the device. Typically, they should only be replaced by professionals because doing so requires you to open the device. Air filters are the other type of filter on your Caire Freestyle Comfort. These are responsible for removing impurities from the air such as dust, dirt, or other airborne allergens. These are located on the outside of your device and you should plan on taking them off every week or two in order to wash them. Air filters typically don’t need to be replaced unless they’re damaged.
If you’re looking for an oxygen concentrator for sale, the Caire Freestyle Comfort is another great one to consider. It has a high oxygen output meaning it’s accessible for a large portion of oxygen patients, it has a long battery life so you can stay out longer, and it provides patients with additional ergonomic features that you can’t get with any other POC on the market.
While we certainly recommend the Caire Freestyle Comfort to anyone who’s interested in it, it’s important to look at all your options before making a final decision. The Inogen One G5, for example, is similar to the Freestyle Comfort but it has additional features like the Inogen Connect which allows you to view your POC’s battery life, sieve bed status, and troubleshooting information using your smartphone.