A third important consideration is battery power.
One of the greatest benefits of portable oxygen concentrators is they are truly portable. With the ability to unplug from an electrical outlet, a portable oxygen concentrator can go anywhere you do. The question is: How long do you want to be fully portable?
All portable oxygen concentrators use lithium ion batteries, but they cannot be purchased anywhere. Each portable oxygen concentrator has a battery specifically designed for use with that concentrator only. The batteries range in size and weight from one model to another. And they provide different amounts of power (length of time) from one model to another. In addition, the flow setting (1, 2, 3, etc.) and whether pulse flow or continuous flow is chosen have a great impact on how long the battery will last.
Examples of batteries in several models
I think giving a few examples will be the easiest way to explain what I mean:
The Inogen One G3 has a standard battery that can be changed as needed. In fact, the G3 has two different sized batteries (singe-cell and double-cell) to allow you to option that best suits your needs: smaller weight or longer battery time.
The Inogen One G3 single-cell battery provides 3.5 to 4 hours on Setting 2, a little less time on Setting 3, a little more time on Setting 1.
The Inogen One G3 double-cell battery provides double the time: 7 to 8 hours on Setting 2.
If I get double the time with the double-cell battery, why wouldn’t I chose that one? Good question! The drawback with the double-cell battery is the weight. It adds about another pound to the weight of the unit, so instead of 4.9 pounds, the Inogen G3 would be about 6 pounds. For some people, the added weight is hardly worth a second thought, for others, it is a great consideration.
Another portable oxygen concentrator model that offers two different sized batteries is the Inogen One G2.
If you’re still on-the-go when the battery drains, you will need to use the supplemental battery, which is contained in a battery belt. You wear the battery belt around your waist and plug it into the side of the concentrator. This battery belt will provide an additional 3 hours at all flow settings.
The idea behind a battery belt is to keep the added battery weight off the unit itself, where it can be heavy when worn over the shoulder, and place the weight around your waist, where you would be less likely to notice it. Many people love it. Others find it cumbersome while sitting because they cannot be even a few feet from their concentrator because the cord to plug the belt into the unit is very short; and they find it a hassle when it’s time to use the facilities. Others simply don’t like wearing a belt because it conflicts with their fashion preferences.
Another portable oxygen concentrator model that offers an internal battery and a supplemental battery belt is the AirSep FreeStyle. Similarly, the Invacare XPO2 has an internal battery and a supplemental battery that attaches to the side of the unit with a velcro.
The Respironics SimplyGo has a standard battery that can be changed as needed. Since the SimplyGo offers both pulse and continuous flow options, the battery times are a little be trickier.
On pulse flow, the SimplyGo will last 3.5 hours on Setting 2, and gradually less as the flow setting is increased (about 1/2 hour per setting).
On continuous flow, the SimplyGo will last 0.7 hours. Not much, huh? Well, the continuous flow setting means the motor has to run much harder and the SimplyGo’s small size and weight, just don’t allow for a larger battery. If you can use the pulse flow setting while you out-and-about, and then switch to continuous flow when you can plug into an electrical outlet, then the SimplyGo is a great unit.
Other portable oxygen concentrator models that have standard batteries that can be changed as needed are the Respironics SimplyGo (pulse flow only); and the SeQual Eclipse 3, DeVilbiss iGo, Oxlife Independence, Invacare Solo2 (pulse and continuous flow).
The style, weight, and power time vary greatly from one model portable oxygen concentrator to another. Which is best? Only you can decide based on your oxygen needs, but I hope to have given you the information you need to make that decision.
Have questions? Feel free to ask.