Oxygen Concentrators- Top 10 Pros and Cons in 2023

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If you have a breathing problem or are suffering from a condition affecting your lungs, oxygen concentrators can help provide your body with the oxygen it requires to function. Unlike conventional tanks with liquid or compressed oxygen, an oxygen concentrator works on the principle of purifying the air in your surroundings to deliver pure oxygen (90-95%). You can breathe in via a plastic tube having two prongs that go in the nostrils or a mask that can fit over your nose and mouth.

While it is important to use an oxygen concentrator with a doctor’s prescription, it may also be helpful to know the pros and cons of oxygen concentrators to know what to expect. Here are the top ten pros and cons of oxygen concentrators.

Oxygen Concentrators Pros

Get an unlimited oxygen supply

Unlike oxygen cylinders that have limited oxygen capacity, oxygen concentrators can produce an unlimited amount of oxygen with power, ensuring you never run out.

Availability of choices

Oxygen concentrators come in various capacities, five liters and ten liters, so you can select according to your prescription and avoid paying extra money for what you do not require.

Portability

Portable oxygen concentrators are usually lightweight, so you can easily carry them. This is a plus for individuals who like to travel and are otherwise held back due to their dependency on oxygen. With portable oxygen concentrators, they have their oxygen supply readily available and can be on the move when they want.

Cost-effectiveness

Oxygen concentrators do have a high initial cost, but if we consider the long-term perspective, they prove to be more economical. This is because conventional oxygen concentrators require refills regularly, and the costs can be significant. This is not the case with oxygen concentrators, as they extract oxygen from the surrounding air. 

Easy to use

Oxygen concentrators are fairly easy to use. You can follow the simple user instructions provided in the user manual and become used to handling the device in no time.

Handling emergencies

Oxygen concentrators enable you to tackle emergencies and have contentment in the knowledge that your oxygen supply will not deplete. All you need is a charged battery, and you are good to go.

Operate quietly

Most oxygen concentrators have almost or fully silent operations. This ensures that the individual using the device and the people around them are not disturbed due to the noises from the device. This particularly comes in handy at night time when everyone wants quiet, uninterrupted sleep.

Easy to maintain

Oxygen concentrators are usually durable and need minimal maintenance. All you need to do is clean the device or change the filter. There is no need for comprehensive maintenance. This also helps lower the long-term costs and reduces the effort required from the user or their caregiver to upkeep the equipment. 

No need for refills

Not only are oxygen concentrators economical in the long run, but they also prevent the hassle of picking up or getting tanks delivered, saving the cost and effort to navigate logistics for refill pickup or delivery,

Eco-friendly

Compared to conventional oxygen delivery options, oxygen concentrators are eco-friendly. The devices are designed to extract oxygen from the ambient environment and purify it and do not rely on oxygen tanks, thereby reducing the carbon footprint usually associated with the production and transportation of oxygen cylinders.

Oxygen Concentrators Cons

Dependence on electricity

Oxygen concentrators require a power source to function. While the portable oxygen concentrators come with batteries, power is still required to charge the batteries. This can be a hindrance when traveling where there is limited access to power outlets. 

High initial costs

Oxygen concentrators may be economical in the long run, but they do have a high upfront cost, thereby making the purchase process challenging for individuals who do not have or do not want to spend too much for the purchase, particularly when there is no insurance coverage.

Limited suitability

Oxygen concentrators may be effective for numerous people, but everyone requiring supplemental oxygen does not fall in this category. Individuals requiring more concentrated oxygen or flow rate may only find limited options in oxygen concentrators. Therefore, it is important to always consult your doctor before deciding which oxygen supply method is suitable for you.

Heat production

While this does not apply to all, some oxygen concentrator models can become warmer or hot to touch, making the use of the device discomforting if the device is in close range. Always keep the oxygen concentrators away from flammable material and make sure the space is properly ventilated. 

Limited battery life

Portable oxygen concentrators have a limitation in the form of limited battery life. Depending on which brand is used and the oxygen output settings, the battery can last anywhere from four to twelve hours, and you will need to arrange charging.

Bulky devices

Oxygen concentrators are usually lightweight, but some are bulky; specifically, the ones having a higher capacity are large and bulkier. This undermines their portability feature and can make transportation difficult. 

Dependency on proper functioning

In order to deliver a consistent oxygen supply, an oxygen concentrator must be in good working order. Wear and tear or technical issues can hinder its performance. Therefore, it is important to ensure regular maintenance. 

Need backups

Since oxygen concentrators are dependent on power to function, this can be concerning for places where there are prolonged outages. In such a case, users may need to keep backup oxygen cylinders.

Noise production

Not all models are designed to operate quietly. While most function without any noise, others produce a noticeable sound, which can be disturbing for the users and others around them.

Limitation for oxygen concentration

Individuals requiring 100% pure oxygen may find oxygen concentrators to be insufficient, as most models have a concentration level of 90 to 95%. It is hence recommended to understand the features and technical aspects of oxygen concentrators before making a purchase decision. 

Final thoughts

An understanding of the pros and cons of oxygen concentrators can help individuals and medical professionals make an informed decision about their use. 

While these devices present a convenient solution for a consistent supply of oxygen, it is important to know how to cater to the challenges associated with the use of oxygen concentrators. At the same time, it is important to weigh their pros and cons to evaluate if investing in an oxygen concentrator will be worth it.

How Long Do Portable Oxygen Concentrators Last? Tips to prolong longevity

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