Supplemental oxygen therapy is vital for people with chronic respiratory conditions who experience low blood oxygen levels. When a patient’s blood oxygen level falls below what’s considered normal, this is known as hypoxemia, and it’s a potentially serious condition — especially when it prolongs over long periods of time. The longer you experience hypoxemia, the more likely you are to have heart or brain complications along with many other systemic issues.
Unfortunately, many people who are prescribed supplemental oxygen decide not to use it for one reason or another. Some people believe it’s too expensive to maintain while others are turned off by the idea of carrying an oxygen device around wherever they go. If this sounds like you, it’s important to remember that — while oxygen therapy can often feel like it’s more trouble than it’s worth — your doctor prescribed you oxygen because he/she was looking after your long-term health.
The good news is that you don’t have to simply “settle” for one oxygen device or another. There are hundreds of different oxygen machines on the market and our oxygen specialists at LPT Medical are here to help you find the best one for your needs. In this post, we’re going to take a look at the portable oxygen concentrators with the most intuitive design in 2021. In other words, we’ll help you decide the best POC for ease of use so that you don’t feel the need to fall back on your oxygen treatment plan.
If you have any questions or you would like more information about the concentrators below, please reach out to us by phone or email.
What Does it Mean to Have An “Intuitive Design”?
The term “intuitive design” refers to something that’s easy to pick up and learn how it works without sifting through user manuals or consulting the device manufacturer. A great example of this would be a web page. Rather than presenting you with tons of information that you don’t need, web pages tend to be concise and help you navigate quickly to where you’re trying to get on the website. This is also very similar to the way that portable oxygen concentrators are designed.
As opposed to oxygen tanks which are solely designed to be functional, portable oxygen concentrators are designed with both functionality and usability in mind. What this means is that they not only provide you with the oxygen you need, but they make it easy to use. Portable oxygen concentrators manufactured by reputable companies tend to have easy-to-learn user interfaces with only a few buttons to remember. If you struggled to learn how your smartphone works and you believe POCs will be the same, don’t worry because there are plenty of options out there for you. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the most intuitive concentrators of 2021.
AirSep is one of the most recognized names in the oxygen industry. They were founded in the 1980s in Buffalo, New York, and they’ve since been known for their heavy-duty industrial oxygen machines as well as their personal medical oxygen generators. AirSep was recently acquired by Chart Industries Inc. which has expanded their global reach and put them alongside other oxygen brands such as Caire Inc., Inogen, and Respironics.
The FreeStyle 5 is one of the first AirSep concentrators under 8 pounds with a flow rating of 5. It’s also one of the few portable oxygen concentrators out there that has gotten a full redesign to make it more user-friendly and reliable. AirSep made several internal changes to the unit, but most people are more interested in hearing about the changes to the exterior. The biggest change they made was to the battery system. As opposed to using the internal battery system, the new design has an external battery. The benefit of this is that you don’t need to open a compartment in order to replace the batteries.
One thing that’s unique about the FreeStyle 5 is that it doesn’t have a control panel screen like most other portable oxygen concentrators. It just has one button for each of the 5 flow settings and a light above it so that you know which one is activated. This makes it the perfect concentrator for people who are intimidated by all the symbols and icons on other concentrators. With the FreeStyle 5, you won’t have very much to worry about.
4.) The AirSep Focus
It almost feels like we’re cheating by putting the AirSep Focus on this list, but it’s worth mentioning nonetheless. The AirSep Focus is the lightest portable oxygen concentrator on the planet and it’s also one of the most intuitive. Since the experts at AirSep wanted to make a concentrator under 2 pounds, they had to pick and choose what features were important to keep in the unit. Due to the limitations, they decided to lock the device at a flow setting of 2, but this also means that there is no screen and no flow adjustment buttons, just a single power button. Press the button once and the device will immediately start putting out oxygen. It’s that simple!
One of the major benefits of having such a lightweight device is that you can carry it any way you want. Put it in a backpack, carry it over your shoulder, or you can even attach it to a belt buckle! This is one of the reasons why the AirSep Focus is such a versatile device. In fact, many people forget they’re even wearing it as they go about their day.
Despite how small and lightweight the AirSep Focus is, its battery life is nothing to joke about either. The micro battery that comes with the device can last up to 1.5 hours on one charge and the 8-cell battery sold separately offers up to 3.5 hours on one charge. In other words, you’ll just need to carry one or two extra batteries with you to make it through a full day whether you’re at work, going to visit a friend, or just going out for a walk.
The Respironics SimplyGo is the only continuous flow portable oxygen concentrator on this list. What this means is that it puts out a constant stream of oxygen rather than only putting out oxygen when the user inhales. We tend to not recommend these types of units for most oxygen patients because they’re much heavier and bulkier than their pulse dose counterparts. However, the Respironics SimplyGo is an exception to that. While this oxygen machine is certainly bigger and heavier than the other concentrators on this list, it’s not heavy enough that you’ll need to wheel it around using a rolling cart.
The first thing that you’ll likely notice about the SimplyGo is that it has a big carrying handle on the top of the unit. This is pretty unusual for an oxygen concentrator but it’s hard to deny the benefits that it offers. If you have to set your concentrator on the ground for one reason or another you can simply use the handle to pick it up again rather than straining your back to pick it up from the bottom.
Another intuitive feature of the Respironics SimplyGo is its battery port. Instead of being located on the bottom of the unit like with most concentrators, the Respironics SimplyGo batteries are located on the top. This makes it incredibly easy to switch out your batteries on the fly because you don’t have to flip the device over in order to do it. Simply pull up on the handle and slide in the other battery.
The Inogen One G5 is the latest device in Inogen’s pulse dose line of concentrators. Within the past several decades, Inogen has become well-established as one of the top innovators in mobile oxygen devices. The Inogen One G3 was championed for its outstanding battery life, the Inogen One G4 was one of the lightest portable oxygen concentrators ever produced and the Inogen One G5 has been an all-around great concentrator since it was released in 2019. Despite the age of the G3 and G4, they’re still in use by thousands of people all around the world. This is a testament to the careful design choices that Inogen makes when putting out a new concentrator.
Inogen oxygen concentrators have never been difficult to use, but the G5 is likely their most streamlined unit thus far. The oxygen outlet port is located on the top of the device meaning it’s easy to access and it won’t get in your way as you’re walking. The user interface is also pretty simple with only five buttons: one to turn the power on and off, two for the flow settings, one to change the alarm settings, and one to adjust the volume. The screen displays your battery life, flow setting, and brightness settings.
One of the best things about buying an Inogen oxygen machine is that you know there will be plenty of accessories to help you customize your experience — the G5 is no exception to that rule. Since the G5 is such a compact portable oxygen concentrator, this has opened the door for many sleek and comfortable carrying cases. The custom carrying case for example fits snugly over your oxygen device and doesn’t provide any unnecessary bells and whistles. Attached to it is a comfortable adjustable carrying strap and it has a mesh exterior that helps the device take in air properly.
Another carrying accessory for the Inogen One G5 is the G5 backpack. This is like any other backpack but it has an extra pouch in the back to store your G5. Similar to the custom carrying case, the backpack was intuitively designed with a mesh material that helps your concentrator function properly. What’s more, it has an opening on the top where the oxygen nozzle is located so that you use your concentrator as you walk. The G5 backpack has plenty of extra space that you can use to store your personal belongings, so this carrying case is perfect for people who are on the move a lot.
The Caire FreeStyle Comfort is one of the newest portable oxygen concentrators on the market, and to many people, it’s the best. No other oxygen company has been able to match the reliability and convenience of the FreeStyle Comfort, and it’s all because the experts at Caire Inc. took the time and resources to ensure that their device is able to accommodate the lifestyles of oxygen patients around the world.
One of the intuitive design features of the Caire FreeStyle Comfort is its ergonomic curve. Unlike most portable oxygen concentrators that move around at a patient’s side due to their box-like shape, the Caire FreeStyle Comfort has a subtle curve built into it that reduces movement at your side as you’re walking. Another benefit of this design is that you’ll always know which way you should be wearing the device. You’ll never have to worry about taking the device off of your shoulder and readjusting it so you can read what’s on the screen.
Another intuitive aspect of the FreeStyle Comfort is its user interface. This device keeps it as simple as possible in this regard with only three buttons: one to turn the device on and off and two to adjust the flow settings. The screen is also extremely streamlined and doesn’t provide you with tons of information that you don’t want or need. When you look at the screen you’ll simply see the battery life, battery life percentage, and flow rate — that’s it!
Replacing the batteries on your Caire FreeStyle Comfort is extremely easy and intuitive. On the front of the device, you’ll see a blue tab. Simply press the tab and pull downwards. What’s more, the particle filters are also on the front of the device and can easily be removed for weekly cleaning or whenever they get dirty. Generally speaking, many people prefer the design of the FreeStyle Comfort over other concentrators on the market because it looks sleek and only takes a few minutes to figure out how it works.
The way an electronic device works is incredibly important. Portable oxygen concentrators like the Caire FreeStyle Comfort and the Inogen One G5 are not only powerful and reliable but they’re designed to be easy to learn and easy to operate without the user having to constantly consult the user manual. While they both have some additional features like CAIREView and Inogen Connect, these applications are separate from the basic functions of the concentrator and you don’t need to use them in order for your device to work properly.
In this post, we highlighted just a few of the intuitive design choices made by some of the most trusted oxygen manufacturers in the industry. There’s a clear trend towards making portable oxygen concentrators more seamless in the day-to-day lives of oxygen patients, and it’s likely that many oxygen patients will begin to feel less stigma towards oxygen devices in the future as a result. If you’d like to learn more about the concentrators listed above, click the links to visit their respective pages. Otherwise, feel free to call us or email us to get connected with an oxygen specialist.