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The Best Portable Oxygen Concentrators of 2021

Nov 5, 2019 4:48:07 PM / by Daniel Seter

The Best Portable Oxygen Concentrators of 2021

Around this time each year, friends and family all across the country come together to celebrate the Holidays. It’s the perfect time to make plans for the new year and give thanks for everything that’s happened in the past year.


One of the things we’re thankful for this year is the immense progress and innovation in the development of oxygen concentrators and other medical equipment that help respiratory patients live more productive and meaningful lives. With a
portable oxygen concentrator at their side, COPD patients have been able to go places and do things they never thought possible.

 

However, with so many concentrators being released and so many wonderful accessories to boot, we completely understand if you missed out on something this past year. That’s why we’re going to take a look at the best portable oxygen concentrators you can purchase in the coming year.

 

Keep in mind that just because we feel these are the best concentrators for you to purchase in 2021, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the best ones for your needs. There are many portable oxygen concentrators on the market and we’re committed to finding the best one for you. If you have any questions about the following concentrators, get in touch with us today.

 

How We Rate The Top Portable Oxygen Concentrators

As you can imagine, ranking the top portable oxygen concentrators is no easy task. As with any other device, POCs can be ranked on a number of traits, each of which may have varying degrees of importance to a COPD patient. While there will always be some degree of subjectivity to choosing a unit, we’ve compiled a list of the factors that we deem important, including:

 

  • Weight and size
  • Battery life
  • Dependability
  • Reputability of the manufacturer
  • Ease of use
  • Oxygen output
  • Adaptability


Pulse Flow vs. Continuous Flow

Another important distinction to make before we get started is the difference between pulse flow and continuous flow units. A pulse flow portable oxygen concentrator is one that delivers oxygen in puffs of air called “boluses.” A bolus of oxygen is only administered when the patient is inhaling. A continuous flow unit, on the other hand, produces a constant stream of oxygen irrespective of the patient’s breathing rate.

 

Inogen One G4 on a table with an apple next to it.

 

Because these methods of oxygen delivery are so different, it’s difficult to compare pulse flow concentrators and continuous flow concentrators without dividing them into two separate categories. Pulse flow units tended to be much lighter, allowing you to carry them on your shoulder or in a bag while continuous flow units are heavier but offer more options and often much higher oxygen output. 

 

Used Units Starting at $999


The Best Pulse Flow Portable Oxygen Concentrator: The Caire FreeStyle Comfort

 

Caire FreeStyle Comfort

While Caire Inc. isn’t exactly a household name, they’ve been leaders in the medical oxygen industry for over 50 years. The reason you may not recognize their name is that their products are marketed under the brands AirSep, HELiOS, and SeQual. Some of their most notable accomplishments over the years include the SeQual Eclipse 5, the AirSep NewLife Intensity, and now the FreeStyle Comfort — the most advanced portable oxygen concentrator ever produced.

 

The Caire FreeStyle Comfort is so advanced, in fact, that it is widely used in home care, hospice care, long-term care, hospitals, and even in the military. The Caire Comfort is set to last up to 7 years with regular use and it’s one of the most durable and reliable portable oxygen machines you can find.

 

Lightweight and Ergonomic

The primary selling point of the Caire FreeStyle Comfort is its size and weight. While there are many lightweight machines on the market, few are able to pack as much technology into such a small space. In fact, when people first see the device, they often don’t recognize it because the pictures make it look bigger than it really is.

 

The FreeStyle Comfort weighs in at just 5 pounds, about the weight of a milk jug. Additionally, the weight is distributed nicely making it even easier to carry. Whether you’re taking a quick trip to the grocery store or you’re taking an extended trip, you can have the FreeStyle Comfort at your side the whole time while hardly knowing it’s there. It even has an ergonomic curve to it that will keep it from moving around at your side as you walk.

 

Long Battery Life

Symbol indicating a full battery.

There’s nothing worse than having your portable oxygen concentrator run out of juice while you’re on the go. This can throw a wrench in your plans and even put you in a dangerous situation. Fortunately, the Caire Comfort packs enough battery life to keep you going all day. With the single battery that comes with the device, you can expect to see up to 8 hours of battery life and with the double battery, you’ll have up to 16 hours of freedom! Below is a breakdown of battery life depending on your flow setting.

 

FreeStyle Comfort Battery Life

Flow Setting

Single Battery

Double 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


High Oxygen Output

While there are many things that go into making a great oxygen concentrator, the most important by far is the amount of oxygen the machine can put out. 

 

The Caire Comfort offers flow settings 1 through 5 affording you ample options to customize your oxygen therapy according to your doctor’s specifications. If you are exercising or experiencing an exacerbation, the flow setting can be increased using the simple-to-use control panel. What’s more, Caire Inc. products like the FreeStyle Comfort come equipped with smart O2 technology which is a proprietary monitoring and O2 delivery feature that ensures proper oxygen delivery in more situations. Below is a breakdown of how this works.


autoSAT®: This is a technology that ensures consistent bolus size by adjusting the motor speed with the patient’s breathing rate.

 

UltraSense®: The breath detection feature in the Caire FreeStyle Comfort is extremely sensitive and can detect even the most shallow breaths that may go unnoticed by other oxygen concentrators on the market.

 

autoDOSE: Rather than shutting off if no breath is detected like other devices would, the FreeStyle Comfort delivers auto doses in case the situation is critical.

 

Caire

Advanced Connectivity

While many people these days have a love-hate relationship with their smartphones, it’s hard to deny the benefits of staying connected wherever you are. Each FreeStyle Comfort unit is equipped with CaireVIEW™, a Bluetooth-enabled technology that allows you to track information such as your oxygen usage statistics and other information all from your smartphone, tablet, or computer.

 

CaireVIEW also offers telehealth technology that allows you to stay connected with your oxygen providers wherever you are in the world. From the smartphone app, you’ll be able to send data that will help your oxygen providers determine whether you are using your device as prescribed. You’ll also find a list of contacts that you can reach out to if you need assistance or troubleshooting.

 

Caire FreeStyle Comfort Specs

Weight

5 Pounds

Dimensions

10'' H, 7.3'' W, 3.1'' D

Flow Settings

Pulse Settings 1-5

Sound Level

43 dBA @ Setting 2

Expected Battery Life

Up to 16 Hours (double battery)

 

Get a Brand New Inogen Oxygen Concentrator for $1495

 

The Best Continuous Flow Portable Oxygen Concentrator: SeQual Eclipse 5

 

One of the biggest downsides to continuous flow portable oxygen concentrators is that they tend to be much heavier and bulkier than their pulse flow counterparts. However, if your doctor recommends continuous flow or you don’t mind using a carrying cart to transport your concentrator, continuous flow machines are sure to provide you with a number of benefits that you can’t find anywhere else. The SeQual Eclipse 5 is our pick for the best overall continuous flow portable oxygen concentrator.

SeQual Eclipse 5

 

The best way to think of portable oxygen concentrators like the SeQual Eclipse 5 is as a sort of “hybrid” unit. While Inogen continues to break boundaries by making pulse flow units smaller, lighter, and more compact, continuous flow units continue to offer COPD patients the widest range of options without sacrificing portability. That’s not to say, however, that the SeQual Eclipse 5 is heavy. It’s still one of the lightest continuous flow POCs, weighing in at just 18.4 pounds.

 

High Oxygen Output

Let’s face it, not everyone has the same oxygen demands. While the majority of patients need around 1 LPM (liters per minute) or a flow setting of 2, that doesn’t tell the full story. Patients with stage 3 or 4 COPD may require more oxygen than this, and you can rest assured that the SeQual Eclipse 5 will deliver.

 

While set on continuous flow, the SeQual Eclipse 5 delivers between 0.5 liters to 3 liters per minute of oxygen. The SeQual Eclipse 5 also has a pulse flow setting that goes up to a setting of 9. That’s the highest pulse flow setting offered, offering much more freedom than many other portable oxygen concentrators on the market. Below is the expected battery life for each flow setting.

 

Continuous Flow Settings

1 LPM

Up to 3.7 Hours

2 LPM

Up to 1.8 Hours

3 LPM

Up to 1.3 Hours

 

Pulse Flow Settings

1

Up to 5.4 Hours

2

Up to 4.4 Hours

3

Up to 3.4 Hours

4

Up to 2.6 Hours

5

Up to 2.3 Hours

6

Up to 1.8 Hours

 

Size and Weight

As aforementioned, the SeQual Eclipse 5 is one of the lightest continuous flow units, but it also has a very small form factor with a height of 19.3’’ a length of 12.3’’ and a width of 7.1’’. This is significantly less than other continuous flow concentrators like the Oxlife Independence.

 

With a small size and lightweight design, you’ll be able to carry your SeQual Eclipse 5 with you wherever you go without worrying about it fitting in storage. You’ll be able to take it on a plane, in the car, and even on a crowded bus.

 

Designed For 24/7 Use

One thing many people are concerned about when purchasing a portable oxygen concentrator is the durability and longevity of the unit. This is a legitimate concern as many people are unaware of how frequently they will be using their device in the future. If you condition progresses, you want to be assured that your machine won’t give out on you when you need it the most.

 

Woman with an Inogen One G4 talking with her friends.

 

Fortunately, with the SeQual Eclipse 5, you’ll have nothing to worry about! The compressor inside the unit is set to last 20,000 hours and better yet, it was designed for people who plan to use it 24/7 meaning you can even use it while it’s plugged into an outlet, charging. The SeQual Eclipse 5 is also CPAP and BiPAP compatible and can be used with a humidifier to make oxygen therapy more comfortable.

 

Hassle-Free Batteries

One important factor to consider when purchasing a portable oxygen concentrator is the convenience that it offers you in your daily life. A device that’s difficult to operate is not going to offer you the kind of convenience you need, and if you’re out and about, you probably don’t have time to fiddle with things, you just need everything to work as it should. Fortunately, the SeQual Eclipse 5 was designed with simplicity in mind. 

 

A great feature of the SeQual Eclipse 5 is its front-loading battery port. Unlike other portable concentrators, especially pulse flow ones that require you to lift the device and remove the battery from the bottom, SeQual Eclipse 5 batteries can be removed from the side. What’s more, the battery can be removed while it’s still on the cart with the simple push of a button. To put in a new battery, simply put it in place and push. The battery will click in and stay securely in place.

 

Woman with portable oxygen concentrator standing with her husband.

 

Another great feature of the SeQual Eclipse 5 that many patients enjoy is the multilingual voice interface. Unlike other devices that solely have visual notifications when your battery is low or the device needs maintenance, the SeQual Eclipse 5 has audible notifications and can be silenced at any time. These are some of the things your device will notify you about:

 

  • Warnings about low battery life
  • Warnings when oxygen purity is low
  • Alerts you to unit malfunctions
  • Tells you your flow rate setting when it's changed
  • Multiple language options, including English, Spanish, French, and more!

 

SeQual Eclipse 5 Specifications

Weight

18.4 Pounds

Dimensions

19.3” H x 12.3” W x 7.1” D

Flow Rates

0.5-3.0 LPM continuous flow, pulse flow settings 1-9

Battery Life

Continuous Flow Up To 2.0 Hours

Pulse Flow Up To 5.1 Hours

Power

100-240 VAC, 50/60 Hz; 12V Nominal

FAA Approved

Yes

Warranty

3 Year warranty

 

Buy One Portable Oxygen Concentrator and Get One for $500


The Lightest Portable Oxygen Concentrator:

Inogen One G4

 

One of the greatest things about being an Inogen One customer is that their products never become irrelevant. You can rest assured that any Inogen product you purchase will be supported for years to come despite the release of new portable oxygen concentrators — this has never been more true than with the Inogen One G4.

Inogen One G4

The G4 takes pride in being the lightest portable oxygen concentrator ever produced. This is no small feat considering the fact that most patients attest to this being the most important factor in finding the right concentrator. What makes the G4 such a great unit is that it doesn’t sacrifice other great benefits you can expect from other Inogen products.

 

The Best Value Portable Oxygen Concentrator: Inogen One G3

 

If money is a concern, there’s no system that will provide you a better value than the Inogen One G3. Despite being released in 2012, it remains one of the greatest portable oxygen concentrators out there. And since it’s a little bit older than other units we have on this list, you can also expect to see a lot of great deals on it.

Inogen One G3 Portable Oxygen Concentrator

The Inogen One G3 Portable Oxygen Concentrator was a big deal when it was released nearly a decade ago. Unlike the G2 that came before it, the G3 didn’t come with a carrying cart. Why? Because it didn’t need it! While the G2 weighed in at only 7 pounds, Inogen managed to shed that down to 4.8 pounds with the G3, making carrying carts a thing of the past for pulse flow portable concentrators.



Pulse Flow Portable Oxygen Concentrators Compared

Yellow boxes indicate the best in each category*

 

 

Inogen One G3Inogen One G3 Portable Oxygen Concentrator

Inogen One G4Inogen One G4

Inogen One G5Inogen One G5

Oxlife Freedom

Oxlife Freedom

Respironics SimplyGo MiniRespironics SimplyGo Mini POC

ResMed Mobi

ResMed Mobi POC

Pulse flow settings

1-5 Pulse

1-3 Pulse

1-6 Pulse

1-5 Pulse

1-5 Pulse

1-4 Pulse

Weight

4.8 Pounds

2.8 Pounds

4.5 Pounds

5.88 Pounds

5 Pounds

4.8 Pounds

Height

8.25 inches

7.2 inches

8.15 inches

9.4 inches

9.4 inches

7.875 inches

Length

8.75 inches

5.91 inches

7.19 inches

3.4 inches

3.6 inches

4.38 inches

Width

3 inches

2.68 inches

3.26 inches

9 inches

8.3 inches

9.05 inches

Noise level

39 Decibels

40 Decibels

38 Decibels

40 Decibels

43 decibels

44 Decibels

Battery duration on a setting of 2

8-Cell: Up to 4 Hours; 16-Cell: Up to 8 Hours

Single-cell: up to 2.25 Hours

double-cell: up to 4.5 Hours

Single-cell: 5 hours; double-cell:

10 hours

Up to 4 hours

Single-cell: up to 4.5 hours; Double-cell: up to 9 hours

Internal battery: up to 6 hours; With external: up to 9

Battery recharge time

8-Cell: 5 Hours;

16-Cell: 8 Hours

Single-cell: up to 3 hours; double-cell: up to 5 hours

Single-cell: up to 4 hours; Double-cell:up to 8 hours

2 hours

Single-cell: 4 hours; double-cell: 8 hours

Internal: 3.6 hours; external: 1.8 hours

 


Continuous Flow Portable Oxygen Concentrators Compared

Yellow boxes indicate the best in each category*

 

Respironics SimplyGo

Respironics SimplyGo

Oxlife IndependenceOxlife Independence

 

SeQual eQuinox

SeQual eQuinox

 

SeQual Eclipse 5SeQual Eclipse 5

 

GCE Zen-O

GCE Zen-O

Pulse Flow Settings

1-6 Pulse

1-6 Pulse

1-9 Pulse

1-9 Pulse

1-6 pulse

Continuous Flow Settings

0.5-2.0 LPM

0.5-3.0 LPM

0.5-3.0 LPM

0.5-3.0 LPM

0.5-2.0 LPM

Weight

10 Pounds

19.4 Pounds

14 Pounds

18.4 Pounds

10 Pounds

Height

11.5 inches

20.2 inches

13.6 inches

19.3 inches

12.3 inches

Length

10 inches

10.9 inches

10.6 inches

12.3 inches

8.3 inches

Width

6 inches

8 inches

7.4 inches

7.1 inches

6.6 inches

Sound level

43 dBA

40 dBA

37 dBA

40 dBA

37 dBA

Battery duration on a setting of 2

PF: 3 hours

CF: 0.9 hours

PF: 3 hours

CF: 1.25 hours

PF: 2.78

CF: 1.21

PF: 4.4 hours

CF: 1.8 hours

PF: 4 hours

CF: .75 hours

 

Conclusion

With 2021 just around the corner, it’s time to look into which portable oxygen concentrator you’ll be investing in. The Caire FreeStyle Comfort is our top pick if you’re interested in a pulse flow unit because it’s incredibly light, powerful, and reliable. The SeQual eQuinox is our top pick for continuous flow units because it provides patients with plenty of options while still being light and portable.

 

If you have a unique concern that’s not listed here, we want to make sure you get the exact unit you’re looking for. Give us a call and we’ll help you narrow down your options. 

Topics: Medication and Treatment, Respiratory Resource Center, Portable Oxygen, portable oxygen concentrator, G5 oxygen concentrators, oxygen therapy

Daniel Seter

Written by Daniel Seter

Download Our Official Guide to Portable Oxygen Concentrators