In this day and age, everything seems to be getting smaller. Our phones are getting smaller, laptops are getting smaller, and even our cars are getting smaller. It feels great to invest in a product that’s both small and powerful because it allows us to have more freedom and control in the palm of our hands.
When it comes to investing in smaller and smaller products, however, it’s more important than ever that we’re aware of the potential problems of downsizing. For example, a small car may be able to zip around corners and save you a lot of money on gas, but is it able to provide you with the safety that you want and need?
This is no different when it comes to portable oxygen concentrators. Introduced in the early 2000s, these new medical oxygen devices offered an alternative to the clunky and dangerous oxygen tanks that came before them. Manufacturers wanted to push the limits of what was possible, so they’ve been making portable oxygen concentrators smaller and smaller ever since then — but this has often been at the expense of the consumer.
There’s a lot more that goes into a great portable oxygen concentrator than size; oxygen output, weight, reliability, battery life, and ease-of-use are also very important factors to consider. As such, if you want to find the best POC for you, it’s important to take all of these into consideration. Having a small portable oxygen unit is great, but only if it excels in other ways as well.
In this blog, we’ll take a look at two of the smallest portable oxygen concentrators on the market: the Inogen One G5 and the Respironics SimplyGo Mini to help you determine which one is right for you. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comment section below or address them with a respiratory specialist.
Respironics SimplyGo Mini Overview
Respironics is a world leader in respiratory and sleep products. Founded in 1976 by Gerald E. McGinnis, the company mainly focused on sleep apnea products like CPAP machines but later branched out to include bi-level technology in 1992 and eventually portable oxygen concentrators in the 2000s.
Respironics boasts two portable oxygen concentrators: the Respironics SimplyGo (continuous flow) and the Respironics SimplyGo Mini (pulse flow). Each unit has its pros and cons, but each one claims to be one of the lightest and most efficient POCs in its class while still offering the quality and reliability you’d expect from a Respironics product.
One unique aspect of this Philips oxygen concentrator is the touch screen display. Where most concentrators have physical buttons you can press, the SimplyGo Mini only has a “power” button and a “home” button. The rest of the unit’s functions are controlled by the touch screen. If you’ve never used a touch screen, however, don’t be intimidated. The SimplyGo mini has on-screen cues that will help you navigate its features quickly and effectively.
Inogen One G5 Overview
Inogen is widely considered to be the best portable oxygen concentrator manufacturer in the world. It was founded in the early 2000s with the conviction that technology in the medical oxygen field was not keeping up with the desires of COPD patients and that medical professions needed to try something new.
Inogen began work on their Inogen One G series of portable oxygen concentrators which aimed to provide oxygen patients with significantly more freedom than their oxygen tanks. Since then, we have seen five generations of Inogen oxygen machines along with other high quality products such as the Inogen at Home Oxygen Concentrator, as well as a host of accessories like backpacks, carrying cases, external battery chargers and more which help patients get the most out of their machines.
The Inogen One G5 portable oxygen concentrator is the latest POC by Inogen, offering an extended battery life and higher oxygen output than previous iterations. Having been released this past summer, it’s a relatively new unit, but that hasn’t stopped it from quickly becoming one of the most beloved POCs on the market, especially since it has such a reputable brand to back it up.
Oftentimes, one of the best places to start when comparing two oxygen concentrators is their oxygen output. After all, it’s very difficult to start examining other features of a medical oxygen device if it doesn’t provide you with the level of oxygen that you need.
Both the Inogen One G5 and the Respironics SimplyGo Mini are pulse flow units. What this means is that they have built-in technology that only delivers oxygen when you inhale. This enables manufacturers to make much smaller lightweight units, but they may not be ideal for patients with high-flow oxygen therapy needs.
What’s more, the Respironics SimplyGo Mini Offers a flow setting of 5 while the Inogen One G5 offers a flow setting of 6, the highest option available for a pulse flow unit. No other pulse flow oxygen concentrator on the market can go up to a flow setting of 6. If you want to go any higher, you’ll need to switch over to continuous flow machines which are much heavier and bulkier.
This is not to say that the SimplyGo Mini is bad in terms of oxygen output. A setting of 5 is good when compared to most pulse flow oxygen concentrators. If you typically stay at a setting of 2 or 3 and your doctor tells you that a setting of 5 is enough, then the SimplyGo Mini may be a great option for you.
Another one of the most sought-after features of a portable oxygen concentrator is its battery life. A long battery life is what enables oxygen users to go where they want, when they want, and stay out for longer without having to get to a wall outlet to charge their device.
When someone brings up battery life in portable oxygen concentrators, they’re often compared to oxygen tanks. The average portable E cylinder will work for about 5 hours before it runs out of oxygen. An even smaller tank, the D cylinder, will go for about 3 hours before running out. Fortunately, both the G5 and the SimplyGo Mini offer much more freedom than that.
On a flow setting of one, the Inogen One G5 can attain an outstanding 13 hours of battery life on one charge using the double battery pack. The SimplyGo Mini is not far behind with a maximum battery life of 9 hours on a setting of two using the extended battery pack. Either way, this leaves you tons of breathing room (no pun intended) while you’re out and about to do as you please without having to go back home to charge your battery.
If 13 hours of battery life isn’t enough or you need to use a higher setting which drains more battery life, you can always carry an extra battery on you. The double battery only weighs a pound more than the single battery, so you won’t have any trouble carrying an extra one in your G5 backpack or carrying bag. Likewise, with the SimplyGo Mini, you’ll also have the option of carrying an extra battery or extended battery.
The Inogen One G5 and SimplyGo Mini both have a lot to offer in terms of ease-of-use. Just so we’re clear on what this means, ease-of-use refers to how easily settings can be changed or adjustments can be made to your concentrator on the fly. It’s important to have an oxygen concentrator that’s easy to use so that you don’t waste time fiddling with it while you’re away from home.
Both these pulse flow portable oxygen concentrators have a simple interface. The screen and the controls are built into the top of the unit so you won’t have to lift the device up or strain yourself to make changes to it. The G5 display shows your remaining battery life, flow setting, audible alerts, and errors. The SimplyGo Mini, on the other hand, is almost entirely touch screen. You’ll be able to make pulse flow setting adjustments without ever using any buttons.
Another factor that contributes to ease-of-use is the battery pack. On both the Inogen One G5 and SimplyGo Mini, you’ll be happy to know that the batter can be slipped on and off easily by simply pulling the tab on the front of the case. The G5 battery will slide off the back of the unit and the SimplyGo Mini battery will slide sideways off the device.
If you decide to purchase a G5, you’ll need to remove your filters and wash them every couple of weeks to a month. Fortunately, this is really easy to do. Simply remove the intake vent filters from the front and back of the unit, clean it using a mild dish soap, and make sure it is thoroughly rinsed and dried before putting it back on the device. It’s imperative that you do not run the concentrator without the filters because it prevents air particles from damaging internal components and ensures that you’re always breathing clean air.
There are plenty of great accessories available for both devices as well that can contribute to how easy they are to use. For example, you can purchase either the G5 custom carrying case or G5 backpack which gives you ample ways to carry your Inogen G5. For the SimplyGo Mini, you may opt for accessories like the external battery charger or the carrying cart.
Size can really be a deal breaker when you’re choosing an oxygen concentrator. If your device is too large, you’re going to have a lot of problems traveling with it especially if you need to get on a plane or a bus. While bulkier oxygen concentrators like the SeQual Equinox are approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and most cruise lines, that doesn’t mean you’ll have a pleasant experience while you’re traveling with them.
On the other hand, pulse flow units like the Inogen One G5 and the SImplyGo Mini are small enough that you won’t have any problems traveling with them or finding a place to store them on a plane or bus. The Inogen One G5 is 8.15" H x 7.19" L x 3.26" W and the SimplyGo Mini is 9.4” H x 8.3” L x 3.6” W so the G5 is slightly smaller but not by a huge margin.
If you travel by air a lot, there’s no understating how convenient it is to have a small portable oxygen concentrator. The aisles on most airplanes are really narrow, so if your oxygen concentrator isn’t able to fit between them, you may have to pick it up or have someone else carry it for you. You’re supposed to put your belongings under a seat when you take off but if your concentrator is too bulky, you may have to hold it in your lap, which can be a safety hazard.
Let’s face it, we all have to go to the bathroom at least once when we’re on a flight. Airplane bathrooms are tiny enough as it is, but if you have an oxygen concentrator with you, it can feel nigh impossible. At less than a foot in width and height, however, the G5 and SimplyGo Mini won’t add any unnecessary bulk and you won’t have to worry about bumping other passengers on the way to the bathroom either.
Noise is often a factor that many oxygen users are concerned about when purchasing a portable oxygen concentrator for the first time. They don’t want to disturb people or get kicked out of a library or wherever they’re going. While this is certainly an understandable concern, even the loudest portable oxygen concentrators are pretty quiet.
The Inogen One G5 is only 37 decibels (dBA) on a setting of 2 and the SImplyGo Mini is only 43 decibels on a setting of 2. That’s about the volume of a quiet whisper or gentle hum sound. Most people report getting used to the sound after a few times of using it and that it doesn’t disrupt other people when they’re around it. A difference of 6 decibels may sound like a lot, but when you hear the two devices side-by-side, you probably wouldn’t even know the difference.
The Ideal Candidate for the SimplyGo Mini
The SimplyGo Mini portable Oxygen Concentrator is one of the most popular units on the market and it’s backed by a company that’s been a leader in sleep and respiratory health for decades. Philips Respironics is known for producing medical oxygen equipment that’s durable, reliable, and powerful.
If you’re considering the Respironics SimplyGo Mini, it’s unlikely you’ll be let down. This medical oxygen device excels in nearly every aspect of its design like weight, size, battery life, and ease-of-use. The one thing to note, however, is that it goes up to a maximum flow setting of 5, as opposed to a flow setting of 6 like the Inogen One G5. So, you’ll need to speak with your pulmonologist beforehand to make sure this won’t be a problem.
When compared to the G5, the SimplyGo Mini lacks in most areas. However, the differences are minimal in many cases, and depending on what your needs are, you may find that the SimplyGo fulfills your needs perfectly. Cost is another aspect to consider when purchasing a portable oxygen concentrator and there are so many deals going around that it’s impossible to say which unit will be cheaper at any given time.
The ideal Candidate for the Inogen One G5
Inogen is unlike Respironics in that it was created with the sole purpose of making medical oxygen more accessible and convenient for respiratory patients. Inogen broke barriers with their G1 oxygen concentrator back in the early 2000s and they continue to break barriers with their latest portable oxygen concentrator, the Inogen One G5.
The G5 broke records for the most external battery life of any POC as well as having the highest oxygen output of any pulse flow POC. This is a deal breaker for many oxygen patients because if they need a device with a flow setting of 6, they no longer need to switch over to a heavier, bulkier continuous flow unit. The added battery life affords oxygen patients the freedom to stay out of their house for longer and have more peace of mind while traveling.
All in all, the Inogen One G5 is the best portable oxygen concentrator for the greatest number of people. The G5 was released this past summer so it’s one of the newest POCs available, meaning replacement parts are widely available and technical support is in full force. However, it’s unlikely you’ll need either of these for some time because the G5 has had a very low failure rate right out the gate.
Ultimately, you can’t go wrong with either the Inogen One G5 or the Respironics SimplyGo Mini. Both oxygen machines are backed by reputable medical oxygen companies that have proven their commitment to customers for decades. Both units are fully supported with replacement parts and technical support so you won’t have to worry about your device breaking a year or two down the line.
While it’s great to have a preference in which POC you want, you should first consider your medical needs. Before purchasing a portable oxygen concentrator, speak with your doctor and pulmonologist to learn exactly what your oxygen needs are. This way you can invest in a unit that offers you plenty of breathing room in case your disease progresses or you experience an exacerbation.