Portable oxygen concentrators can be judged on a number of aspects: weight, design, durability, and oxygen output. But the aspect that seems to get the most attention these days is battery life. Battery life is defined as the length of time that a mobile oxygen device can run on a full battery until it’s fully depleted. In general, a portable oxygen concentrator with a long battery life will afford more freedom and independence to the user whereas ones with less battery life are more likely to keep you homebound.
It’s easy to take for granted having a travel oxygen concentrator that can last for many hours without needing to replace or charge the battery, but it wasn’t always like this. In fact, several decades ago, portable oxygen concentrators didn’t exist and the few oxygen devices that were available needed to be plugged into a wall in order to run. If they were ever unplugged, they would turn off.
Due to the rapid advancement of battery technology, however, oxygen patients are able to experience a lot more liberty in the way they live and go about their days. Instead of being restricted by the length of their wall outlet, they can go out of the house and explore for hours, and sometimes even days on end without having to stop to charge or replace their battery.
Since battery life is such an important subject in this day and age, we felt that many oxygen users would benefit from an “oxygen concentrator battery life comparison post.” Today, we’ll take a look at the best POCs for battery life in 2020. While it’s important to take battery life into consideration before purchasing a POC, you also need to consider other aspects like oxygen output and weight. Be sure to fill out the contact form at the side of the page so we can discuss these aspects with you.
Why Do Most Portable Oxygen Concentrators Use Lithium-Ion Batteries?
There are many different types of batteries in use today, including but not limited to lead-acid, nickel-cadmium, lithium, and alkaline. However, chances are, you’ve heard the term “lithium-ion batteries” a lot more frequently. This is because lithium-ion batteries are eco-friendly, compact and lightweight, and they have a high energy density, meaning they put out a lot of energy for their size. This makes lithium-ion batteries the ideal battery for electronic devices such as cellphones, laptops, and yes, even your portable oxygen concentrator. What’s more, lithium-ion batteries have progressed very quickly since their invention in the 1990s, so we’re likely to see oxygen concentrator battery life increase even more in the near future.
Why is Pulse Flow Better for Battery Life?
One obstacle you’ll come across when deciding on a concentrator is understanding the difference between pulse flow and continuous flow. While there are many benefits to continuous flow oxygen concentrators, they will almost always provide you with less battery life than a pulse flow oxygen concentrator — this has to do with the way each one works.
A continuous flow oxygenator works similar to a compressed oxygen tank. When you turn it on, it will put out a constant stream of oxygen through the nasal cannula. The problem with this method of oxygen delivery is that most of the oxygen that’s being put out is not actually being inhaled meaning your battery will run down quickly and you’ll be using more electricity.
On the other hand, pulse dose portable oxygen concentrators have a built-in technology that allows it to closely track your breathing and only put out oxygen when you inhale. Since the device isn’t working as hard to get you oxygen, the battery will last much longer. You’ll also save a lot of money on energy bills if you like to charge your POC at home. This is why we chose to only put pulse flow portable oxygen concentrators on this list.
CAIRE Freestyle Comfort
|Flow Setting||8 Cell Battery||16 Cell Battery|
|1||8 hours||16 hours|
|2||4 hours||8 hours|
|3||3 hours||6 hours|
|4||2.25 hours||4.5 hours|
|5||2 hours||4 hours|
In this day and age, the name “Caire Inc.” is practically synonymous with the word “quality.” While they may not be the most popular or recognizable portable oxygen concentrator company out there, they’ve been operating somewhat behind closed doors to bring oxygen patients new technologies and devices that improve their lives and offer them more freedom than ever before.
Over the years, CAIRE has brought us outstanding oxygen machines including the NewLife Elite, NewLife Intensity, and Companion 5 home oxygen concentrators, the Eclipse 5 continuous flow portable oxygen concentrator, and their most recent, the FreeStyle Comfort pulse flow portable oxygen concentrator. These oxygen concentrators offer oxygen patients the liberty to choose how they want to live their lives while ensuring that their oxygen needs are always met.
The Caire FreeStyle Comfort was released last year and has more than held its own against other portable oxygen concentrators currently on the market. With this portable oxygen concentrator, it was clear that Caire wanted to go all out with their battery. On the lowest flow setting, the FeeStyle Comfort battery lasts up to 16 hours on average! That’s the best battery life of any portable oxygen concentrator on the market.
The greatest thing about the long-lasting battery in the FreeStyle Comfort is that even people with high oxygen needs can experience true freedom. On a setting of 5 (1,050 ml/min of oxygen), you’ll still be able to get up to 4 hours out of one charge. This is in stark contrast to most other pulse flow POCs which will only give you an hour or two of freedom on the max setting. Below is a table showing the battery life of the Caire FreeStyle Comfort.
CAIREview™ Telehealth Technology
Telehealth is a rather new term used to describe the use of a digital medium to administer health-related services. When it comes to oxygen equipment like the Caire Freestyle Comfort, telehealth often comes in the form of mobile applications that connect to portable oxygen concentrators via Bluetooth or some other wireless technology.
CAIREview™ is one of the most advanced telehealth services offered by an oxygen manufacturer and it can be used for free, exclusively with your Caire Freestyle Comfort. Once it’s set up with your device, it will allow for 24/7 monitoring of your device no matter where you are in the world. The data that’s sent includes machine function, oxygen usage, and device integrity. No personal data is sent and you can rest assured that you will be connected to a secure network.
While the mobile application is not required in order to use the telehealth aspect of your Caire FreeStyle Comfort, it is recommended if you want to make the most of it. The app will gather information about your oxygen concentrator usage such as flow rate, oxygen delivery, and battery usage. Then, at any time, you can download the information and make adjustments to your oxygen treatment accordingly.
Another outstanding aspect of this feature is that it will allow the oxygen supplier to troubleshoot your medical oxygen machine remotely. If there is a simple fix to a problem that you’re having with your device, you won’t have to waste valuable time and money shipping it to a professional to have it fixed. You’ll also be notified if components like the columns, filters, or batteries need to be replaced. This way, you’ll always be getting the most out of your portable oxygen concentrator.
Caire FreeStyle Comfort Accessories
One of the greatest things about battery powered oxygen concentrators is that you’re always able to carry a backup battery if you need more time. Since the Caire FreeStyle Comfort comes with two different battery options and two different battery charging options, you’ll be able to customize your oxygen therapy experience to your liking.
The Caire FreeStyle Comfort Comes with the smaller 8-cell lithium-ion battery. This battery offers up to 8 hours of use on a setting of 1. With the battery attached to the device, its dimensions will be 7.3 inches wide x 3.1 inches deep x 10 inches high. And your portable oxygen concentrator will weigh in at only 5 pounds with this battery attached.
The battery that’s sold separately from the Caire FreeStyle Comfort is the 16-cell lithium-ion battery. With this battery, you’ll have up to 16 hours of battery life on a flow setting of 1. The dimensions of your POC will be 7.3 inches wide x 3.1 inches deep x 11 inches high and this extended battery will only add one additional pound to the overall weight of your device.
The Caire FreeStyle Comfort comes with both AC and DC power cables. The AC power cable will allow you to charge your battery operated oxygen concentrator in any wall outlet and the DC power cable will allow you to charge your POC in any car power outlet. So, whether you’re going to be at home for a bit or you’re going on a road trip, you’ll be able to charge your oxygen machine wherever you go. Just remember that if you’re traveling out of the country, you’ll need to bring a charging adapter because the Caire FreeStyle comfort AC charging cable is meant for U.S. wall outlets only.
With the long battery life of the 8-cell and 16-cell batteries, lightweight design of the unit, charging options, and built-in telehealth technology, the Caire FreeStyle Comfort is one of the best portable battery operated oxygen concentrators the market has to offer. What’s more, Caire Inc. has a long history of success when it comes to customer satisfaction, making it possible for more oxygen patients around the world to experience true freedom and independence.
LifeChoice Activox 4L
|Flow Setting||Internal Battery||External Battery|
|1||10.25 hours||4.75 hours|
|2||8.25 hours||3.75 hours|
|3||5 hours||2.75 hours|
|4||4 hours||2.25 hours|
The LifeChoice Activox 4L is an oxygen concentrator produced by Inova Labs. This company was recently acquired back in 2016 by the world’s leading innovator of sleep-disorder breathing care, ResMed. ResMed currently has a large lineup of world-leading patient interface products including the AirCurve 10 and Stellar non-invasive ventilators, and the Astral™, an award-winning life support platform. So, the acquisition of Inova Labs was a natural next step for them when it comes to providing patients with high-quality and innovative new products.
One of the unique things about the LifeChoice Activox 4L is that it operates using an internal battery. This battery can be charged just like the battery on the Caire FreeStyle Comfort, but it can’t be removed without sending it into the manufacturer. What’s more, you’ll also have the ability to attach an external battery to it which can extend the battery life by a couple of hours. The good thing about the internal battery is that it’s very powerful, offering up to 10 hours of battery on a flow setting of 1. However, the downside is that if something malfunctions with it, you’ll need to either send it in for repairs or rely on the external batteries which aren’t as powerful.
Auto Mode and Pulse Wave Delivery
One of the reasons the Activox 4L has such a great battery life is because of the auto mode and the pulse wave technology that are built into it. Auto mode is a system that’s designed to detect changes in your breathing rate. So for example, if you were to start walking up a hill and your breathing rate increased, the oxygen output will adjust to that. Pulse wave will detect how long you’re inhaling each time and deliver oxygen throughout your entire breath. This way, you’re receiving oxygen with each inspiration and no oxygen is ever wasted.
Inogen One G5
|Flow Setting||Single Battery||Double Battery|
|1||6.5 hours||13 hours|
|2||5 hours||10 hours|
|3||3.5 hours||7 hours|
|4||2.5 hours||5 hours|
|5||1 hr 51 mins||3 hr 48 mins|
|6||1 hr 26 mins||2 hr 58 mins|
Inogen is quite possibly the most recognizable brand when it comes to portable battery operated oxygen concentrators. While they don’t have as long of a history as medical oxygen supply companies like Respironics or AirSep, they’ve made a greater impact due to the level of innovation that each of their battery powered portable oxygen concentrators has brought to the table.
Back in the early 2000s when home oxygen concentrators were the primary medical device of choice for most patients, Inogen set their sights on pulse flow technology. Inogen believed that there was no reason oxygen patients shouldn’t be able to experience the same freedom and independence as everyone else. As a result, they’ve become the primary driving force that drives the oxygen industry forward each year.
Inogen Connect Application
Similar to CAIREview, the Inogen Connect is a mobile phone application that can be connected to your portable oxygen concentrator via Bluetooth. The main difference is that the Inogen Connect does not have the telehealth aspect which allows the oxygen manufacturer to view information about your device from anywhere in the world. Instead, the Inogen Connect will show real-time information about your device such as battery life, column status, and filter status. You’ll also be able to access a digital version of your Inogen One G5 manual so that you don’t have to keep track of your paper one.
While the Inogen Connect is nowhere near as advanced as the CAIREview app, its benefits are undeniable. Since the app allows you to check your battery life, you won’t have to worry about using the light-up interface on your G5 and running down the battery. What’s more, if you like to carry your G5 in the G5 backpack, you’ll never have to stop, take off the backpack, and check your device. Simply pull out your smartphone and you can view all the information you need. You can even adjust your flow setting on your phone if you need to.
Inogen One G5 Accessories
The Inogen One G5 offers, quite possibly, the best array of accessories of any portable oxygen concentrator. Unlike other POCs on the market, Inogen machines are supported for many years to come, mainly due to the fact that they’re so far ahead of their competition in the first place. When you purchase an Inogen portable oxygen concentrator, you can expect to have a lot of great options for customizing your experience.
In terms of carrying bags, you’ll have two options with the Inogen One G5. The G5 Custom Carrying Case is perfect for anyone who’s looking to carry as little weight as possible. Whether you want to take a quick trip to the grocery store or get outside for a walk in the park, this carrying case is slim and fits snugly over your device. While it does have small pouches on the side to carry your G5 manual or a pair of car keys, there is no place to store your G5 backup batteries.
The G5 backpack is the other carrying option available to G5 owners. Like we mentioned earlier, this bag is perfect for anyone who’s traveling a long distance and needs a way to carry all of their accessories like chargers, extra batteries, or replacement filters. If you suffer from back or shoulder pain this accessory will help limit the weight on each shoulder so that you can be out and about for longer.
Last but certainly not least, the Inogen G5 has plenty of different charging options. One of the coolest charging accessories for the G5 is the external battery charger. Normally, portable oxygen concentrator batteries can only be charged when they’re attached to the unit. What this means is that you’ll only be able to charge one battery at a time which can cause problems if you’re in a hurry to get somewhere. With the G5 external battery charger, however, you’ll be able to charge two at a time: one on your concentrator and another on the external battery charger.
|Flow Setting||Internal Battery||External Battery|
|1||8.6 hours||4.5 hours|
|2||6 hours||3 hours|
|3||3.8 hours||1.9 hours|
|4||3.2 hours||1.6 hours|
As aforementioned, ResMed is a company that’s primarily known for producing non-intrusive CPAP and BiPAP machines. However, with the acquisition of Inova Labs in 2016, they’ve had the opportunity to branch out and include portable oxygen concentrators into their already stellar lineup. The ResMed Mobi is another impressive pulse flow portable oxygen concentrator that they’ve released over the years.
Like the Activox 4L, the ResMed Mobi has an internal battery and the option of purchasing an external battery which will extend the battery life from about 8.6 hours to around 13.1 hours depending on the age and condition of your oxygen machine. The ResMed Mobi is a very compact device at just 7.95” height x 9.6” width x 4.49” depth. And it weighs in at just 5.5 pounds without the external battery.
Equipped With 24/7 Intelligent Delivery
In addition to including pulse wave technology like the Activox 4L, the ResMed Mobi has an additional feature called intelligent delivery. As a patient drifts off to sleep their breathing often becomes slower and shallower. The Mobi recognizes this and continues to deliver oxygen at the optimal rate to ensure the oxygen patient is fully saturated. It also accounts for people that alternate between mouth breathing and nose breathing at night. Whereas some oxygen concentrators would start beeping to indicate there is no breath, the Mobi will prevent this so as to not wake the person up or shut off when the patient still needs oxygen.
All things considered, there are many options available to patients who want a long battery life in their portable oxygen concentrator. 2019 was a great year because we saw the release of the Inogen One G5 which offers 13 hours of battery life while still having the highest oxygen output of any pulse flow POC. We also saw the release of the CAIRE FreeStyle Comfort, the best POC yet released by Caire Inc., and stunning many oxygen patients by offering up to 16 hours of battery life.
Needless to say, there’s never been a better time to get rid of that old oxygen tank and pick up one of the revolutionary new pulse flow portable oxygen concentrators listed above. Unlike oxygen tanks, these oxygen machines are safe to use and they offer you many hours of freedom before you need to go home and charge them. All of the concentrators listed in this post are also approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for in-flight use. Fill out the contact form at the side of the page to speak with one of our respiratory specialists.