Six things to Consider Before Purchasing a Portable Oxygen Concentrator
Buying a Portable oxygen concentrator can often be a major investment decision for the user, you need to make sure that you are buying the right machine for your needs, and that you consider future proofing your purchase. Before buying any portable oxygen equipment, these are some of the factors that you need to consider.
1 Check that the Concentrator delivers your correct flow?
Your Doctor or GP will prescribe a flow of oxygen, usually stated in liters per minute (LPM), you need to ensure that the concentrator you select is capable of delivering this flow, its always a good idea to purchase a machine that gives you the option to increase the flow should your prescription rate change over time. Most portable oxygen concentrators supply up to 3 liters per minute on continuous flow, and up to a setting on 6 on pulse dose setting.
2 Do you need a constant flow, or is pulse dose OK?
Most users can manage with a pulse dose flow concentrator, pulse dose releases oxygen as you breathe in rather than producing oxygen continually, this saves battery life, and makes the unit smaller and lighter, some concentrators will supply both pulse dose and continuous flow, others supply either pulse dose, or continuous flow. If you use a CPAP or BIPAP machine you will need a continuous flow machine, your Doctor or GP will advise you of what suits you best.
3 Check the Battery duration
Battery life will vary considerably between different models, it can vary between 2 hours and up to 10 hours. Battery life on a portable oxygen concentrator is particularly important if you are planning an air flight and will be operating from battery with no access to mains or DC voltage. You can buy extra capacity or additional batteries, and battery belt packs to increase the duration of the concentrator.
There are numerous accessories that you can purchase to make using a portable oxygen concentrator easier, external chargers can give you the option to charge additional batteries whilst they are off the concentrator, particularly useful if you are purchasing multiple batteries for an air flight, carry cases and pack packs can be convenient to keep all you batteries and tubing, leads and chargers etc. all in one place.
Warranty can vary between Manufacturers, often between 1 and 5 years, and also vary to the extent of parts covered, some Manufacturers offer the option to extend the warranty period. It is important to purchase your portable oxygen concentrator from an authorised dealer. Warranties are either return to seller, or RTB (return to base). This is important if you are taking the machine overseas, if it goes wrong, you may be responsible for the shipping costs to get the machine repaired.