Which Oxygen Concentrator is right for you?
Pulse dose Portable Oxygen Concentrators deliver oxygen intermittently. These types of machines deliver oxygen in pulses when the patient inhales, rather than continuously. Most pulse dose POCs are able to deliver anywhere from 450 mL per minute to 1250 mL per minute of oxygen in short pulses. Pulse dose portable oxygen concentrators are typically recommended for low oxygen requirement patients who require up to 2 LPM of oxygen. These types of POCs most often run on AC, DC and battery power.
One thing to keep in mind is that battery life is often advertised for use at the lowest setting, so when purchasing a POC, consider how much battery life you'll have when used at the oxygen output setting you require. What the pulse dose portable oxygen concentrator gives up in range of oxygen delivery compared to a continuous flow device, it gains in portability. These units are truly portable, with some of the newest pulse dose POCs weighing as little as four pounds.
Because of their small physical size and low weight, pulse dose POCs are easily wearable and often come with shoulder straps or a backpack for ease of portability.
Continuous flow Portable Oxygen Concentrators are a more suitable option for the majority of oxygen dependent patients than pulse dose, or intermittent flow, POCs which we will discuss below. Because they are able to deliver up to the equivalent of 3,000 mL of oxygen per minute, this type of POC can handle a wider range of oxygen demands than a pulse dose model. As a general rule of thumb, if you require anywhere from 2 to 5 liters per minute of oxygen, a continuous flow portable oxygen concentrator is probably the best choice for you.
In order for the continuous flow POC to meet a wider range of oxygen demands, these machines are generally bigger than other POCs on the market. The typical weight of one of these POCs is up to 18 pounds not including additional accessories.
These are often just heavy enough that they require the use of a cart to transport your oxygen supply. While a continuous flow POC is indeed portable, it is less portable than many of the pulse dose varieties available on the market today.