Medical oxygen is a necessity for patients with COPD, cystic fibrosis, and other chronic respiratory diseases. Its purpose is to maintain pulmonary stability, reduce symptoms of breathlessness and chest pain, and to ensure blood oxygen levels remain normal. There are many different types of oxygen therapy including compressed oxygen tanks, liquid oxygen tanks, home oxygen concentrators, and portable oxygen concentrators.
Because oxygen therapy is such an important treatment method for so many people, you would think it would be easy to find the right oxygen machine. However, once you start looking into it, you’ll realize that there are a lot of variables to take into consideration. First and foremost, you need to ensure your new device meets your oxygen demands. This way, you’ll avoid many of the common respiratory symptoms associated with your disease.
Secondly, you need to look for an oxygen device that matches your lifestyle. While you can opt for something like an oxygen tank or home oxygen concentrator, these devices will keep you homebound and you likely have things that you need to get out of the house and do. Ultimately, the best option for most oxygen patients are pulse flow portable oxygen concentrators. In this post, we’re going to take a look at two of the most popular pulse flow machines on the market: the Inogen One G5 and the AirSep Focus.
AirSep Company Overview
AirSep was founded in 1987 in Buffalo, New York. In 2012, it was acquired by Chart Industries, a manufacturer of equipment used to store industrial and hydrocarbon gases. Since its inception, AirSep has been a global leader in oxygen concentrator manufacturing. They produce a wide array of oxygen concentrators and they distribute their products in more than 100 countries around the world.
AirSep is one of the most recognizable brands when it comes to oxygen concentrators. Units like the AirSep Freestyle 3, AirSep Freestyle 5, and AirSep Focus as well as a host of home oxygen concentrators have taken the industry by storm, offering oxygen patients a reliable high-quality oxygen machine that they can use for years to come. They’re also one of the most innovative companies in their field, always looking for ways to make their oxygen concentrators more mobile, dependable, and efficient.
Inogen Company Overview
Although Inogen is a rather new company compared to most medical oxygen companies out there, that hasn’t stopped them from becoming one of the most recognizable brands to produce oxygen machines. Inogen was founded in the early 2000s with the mission of improving the freedom and independence of oxygen patients by offering high-quality and innovative products. Most people would say they’ve accomplished this with flying colors.
This company has made great strides with its Inogen One G series of products. Their latest portable oxygen concentrator, the Inogen One G5, has broken records with its superb battery life and high oxygen output. In fact, Inogen’s products have been so successful that their older generations of POCs like the Inogen One G3 and Inogen One G4 are still very popular to this day.
Maximum Oxygen Output
The most important thing to note when choosing between the AirSep Focus and the Inogen One G5 is the total oxygen output of each unit. Portable oxygen concentrators differ from oxygen tanks in that they have a limited amount of oxygen that they can put out in a given amount of time. Before you purchase one, you’ll want to ensure that it achieves the recommended dosage of oxygen prescribed by your doctor or pulmonologist if you want to experience its full benefits.
The AirSep Focus and the Inogen One G5 portable oxygen concentrator are on the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to oxygen output. The Focus goes up to a setting of 2 which is the equivalent of about 330 ml/min of oxygen. The Inogen One G5, on the other hand, has the highest oxygen output of any pulse flow oxygen concentrator on the market with 6 pulse flow settings; the equivalent of 1,260 ml/min of oxygen.
There’s a reason we mentioned oxygen output before anything else. If the AirSep’s 330 ml/min of oxygen does not meet your needs, you should no longer consider it as an option despite its other qualifications. Like we mentioned earlier, it’s important to find an oxygen concentrator that meets your needs because if it doesn’t, you’re more likely to experience symptoms such as breathlessness, chest pain, and lightheadedness.
Another important factor when choosing a portable oxygen concentrator is its weight. Having a light unit means having the freedom to go where you want without the fear of becoming exhausted, out of breath, or experiencing back or shoulder pain. Fortunately, there are a lot of great lightweight oxygen concentrators out there and the Inogen One G5 and AirSep Focus are two of the best.
The AirSep Focus is currently the lightest portable oxygen concentrator in the world. Not only that, but there aren’t any portable oxygen concentrators that even come close! The Focus weighs in at just 1.75 pounds! The second-lightest portable oxygen concentrator is the Inogen One G4 which weighs in at 2.8 pounds. If you’re someone who suffers from back pain, shoulder pain, or you want to carry a lot of personal belongings for traveling, the AirSep Focus has a lot to offer. When you have the device slung over your shoulder or back, you’ll hardly know it’s there. You’ll be able to go about your day without ever becoming fatigued or out of breath.
The Inogen One G5 isn’t quite as light as the AirSep Focus, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s still one of the lightest oxygen concentrators ever produced. The G5 weighs in at just 4.7 pounds which is still light enough to carry it wherever you please. Whether you want to take a quick trip to the grocery store or you’re planning a trip around the world, the G5 is light enough to accompany you the whole time without causing you to overexert yourself.
Another great thing about having a pulse flow oxygen concentrator like the G5 and Focus is that you will never need to use a carrying cart. Portable oxygen cylinders and continuous flow portable oxygen concentrators are often too heavy to carry on your shoulders, so you need to wheel them around on a cart. Unfortunately, if you want to enjoy full freedom and independence, this is not ideal. When you can carry your POC on your shoulder, you won’t be bumping into things, or more importantly, into other people.
Size is another important factor to consider when you’re buying a portable oxygen concentrator. Pulse flow oxygen concentrators are known for being smaller and more compact than their continuous flow counterparts and the Focus and G5 are no exception. The dimensions of the AirSep Focus are 4.8" W x 2.5" D x 6.4" H meaning it’s also the world’s smallest portable oxygen concentrator! The Focus is small enough to fit in a purse and you can even clip it onto your belt. However, it’s recommended that you only use official AirSep Focus carrying bags to ensure it receives the airflow it needs in order to run properly.
The Inogen One G5 also has a small form factor at just 8.15" H x 7.19" L x 3.26" W. This isn’t quite small enough to fit in a handbag, but it’s small enough for you to feel comfortable carrying it at your side under your arm. If you want, you can even carry it on your back using the Inogen G5 backpack. This accessory will allow you to carry your Inogen One G5 securely while also carrying a host of other personal items. If you’re more of a minimalist, however, you may opt for something like the G5 custom carrying case.
Another reason size is important is for storage purposes. If you’re someone who doesn’t use your oxygen device 24/7, you’re going to need to be able to store it easily either in your home, your car, or anywhere else. If you fly often, the G5 and Focus can easily be stored under the seat in front of you while you’re taking off and landing, and you’ll be able to walk down the aisle without the fear of bumping into people around you. Fortunately, both of these portable oxygen concentrators are also durable so you won’t have to worry about them breaking while you’re out and about.
Each portable oxygen concentrator has two different battery options: a smaller single battery and a larger double battery. The AirSep Focus micro battery will run up to 1.5 hours on one charge and the larger battery will run up to 3.5 hours on one charge. On the other hand, the Inogen One G5’s single battery will provide 6.5 hours on one charge and 13 hours with the double battery.
As you can see, the G5 will offer you significantly more battery life than the AirSep Focus. This will enable you to stay out longer without having to run home to charge your device. What’s more, with the Inogen One G5 DC charging cable, you’ll be able to charge your G5 in the cigarette lighter in your car as well. What this means is that if you’re on a road trip, you can keep your device fully charged and ready for you to go out and sightsee all day and night.
You’ll be able to stay out for a while with the AirSep Focus as well, but you’ll need to carry a couple of extra battery packs with you. Since the batteries are so small and lightweight, this shouldn’t be a problem. Since the AirSep Focus is alright very light, you can carry it on your belt and then use a separate bag to hold your batteries, other accessories, and personal belongings.
In this day and age, anything that can make your life easier is a plus. For better or for worse, technology has made peoples’ lives more complicated than ever, but that doesn’t mean our healthcare should be the same. If your oxygen concentrator is complicated and difficult to use, you’re not going to be a happy camper when you have to make adjustments to it, especially if you’re away from home. The good news is that portable oxygen concentrators like the Focus and G5 are extremely easy to use. Most modern portable oxygen concentrators only have a few buttons: one to turn on the device and two to adjust the flow settings.
Maintenance is another aspect of ease-of-use. In the past, if you used oxygen tanks for oxygen therapy, it was very difficult to do any type of maintenance on the fly. If your oxygen tank started leaking, you needed to refill the oxygen tank, or you wanted to add an oxygen conserver, you would need to speak with an expert. However, pulse dose POCs have made it possible for oxygen patients to perform the majority of maintenance tasks on their own.
One maintenance task every oxygen user will need to do is replace their batteries. Whether you’re at home or on the go, replacing your portable oxygen concentrator batteries with fully charged ones will give you the freedom to stay out longer and do more. Luckily, with the AirSep Focus and Inogen One G5, you’ll be able to do this in a matter of seconds. Both of these oxygen concentrators have external batteries. Focus batteries are separate from the unit and can be worn on your belt or put in your pocket. Inogen G5 batteries can be attached or removed from the bottom of the unit.
All things considered, the Inogen One G5 takes the cake when it comes to ease-of-use. With a simple-to-use interface on the top of the unit, you’ll be able to adjust your flow setting on the fly and check your battery life. Batteries can be removed with the simple press of a button and replaced with fully charged ones. While the Focus is easy to use, oxygen users may find that having a battery that doesn’t attach to the unit itself will add extra hassle to their day.
Not only do modern portable oxygen concentrators offer lightweight design, small form factor, and plenty of battery life, but oxygen manufacturers are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to make oxygen patients’ lives easier. The Inogen One G5 offers a number of exciting new features that you can’t get with any other portable oxygen machine on the market.
The Inogen Connect is an application that can be downloaded on your smartphone or tablet device. Once you have it, you can connect it via Bluetooth to your Inogen One G5. Once it’s connected, you’ll be able to view important information about your oxygen machine like its battery life, column status, and other maintenance information. You’ll even have full access to your Inogen One G5 user manual. This means you’ll never have to worry about losing your user manual when you need it the most.
Unfortunately, the AirSep Focus doesn’t offer any additional features that are comparable to the Inogen Connect. If this feature doesn’t sound like something you would use then you won’t have anything to worry about. However, if it does interest you, you’ll likely have a lot to look forward to in the future. Oxygen manufacturers are pushing for oxygen concentrators to become more connected to users’ lives and offer additional features like usage statistics and even remote maintenance assistance.
Sound is usually never a concern with portable oxygen concentrators. While they do make more sound than an oxygen tank, most oxygen users are very surprised at how quiet they are. On a setting of 2, the Inogen One G5 is about 37 decibels (dBA) and the AirSep Focus is around 45 dBA. While this may seem like a difference, if you compared them side-by-side, you likely wouldn’t notice much of a difference.
Many people compare oxygen concentrators to the sound of a refrigerator. You’ll notice the sound when you first start using it. But as time goes on, you’ll notice it less and less. 37 dBA is about the sound level of a whisper or quiet conversation so you can expect to carry it into a church service or library without disturbing anyone.
The Ideal Candidate for the AirSep Focus
The AirSep Focus is a record-breaking pulse flow portable oxygen concentrator. It’s both the smallest and the lightest POC ever produced making it perfect for anyone with limited mobility and people who suffer from chronic back or shoulder pain. On the other hand, people with high oxygen needs should avoid this oxygen machine. Since the AirSep Focus only provides 330 ml/min of oxygen, it’s only usable by people with mild stage 1 or stage 2 COPD. Before buying an AirSep Focus, be sure to speak with your doctor or pulmonologist.
The Ideal Candidate for the Inogen One G5
The Inogen One G5 has also broken many different records. It offers a higher flow setting and a higher oxygen output of any pulse flow oxygen concentrator and it also has the highest external battery life of any oxygen concentrator. It’s also unique in the sense that it can connect with your phone via Bluetooth to offer you additional features that you can’t get anywhere else. The ideal candidate for the Inogen One G5 who has high oxygen needs but doesn’t want to transfer over to a heavier and bulkier continuous flow oxygen machine.
Finding the right portable oxygen concentrator isn’t always as easy as it seems on the surface. You need to first take into account your oxygen needs, then narrow down your pick based on your preferences. The AirSep Focus and Inogen One G5 are both record-breaking portable oxygen concentrators but for two very different reasons: The AirSep Focus is the lightest unit you can currently buy and the Inogen One G5 is one of the most powerful and efficient. No matter which unit you’re interested in, get in touch with our respiratory specialists by filling out the contact form to the right. We’ll help you work out the details of your purchase.