7 Reasons You Shouldn't Wait to Buy a Portable Oxygen Concentrator
If you’re a fiscally responsible person, you’ve probably trained yourself over the course of your life to avoid unnecessary financial spending. Maybe you limit the number of times you eat out per week, take public transportation, or avoid buying that expensive latte before work. This is a great quality to have because it means you’ll be able to save up more money for things that matter like paying off the mortgage or saving for your children’s or grandchildren’s education.
However, being frugal also implies that you understand the importance of a good investment. A wise financial investment will provide you with long-term benefits to your health and happiness, and at times, they can even provide you with financial benefits as well. For example, making conservative and carefully placed investments in the stock market can help you grow your wealth and improve your financial well-being over time.
One thing you’ll hear financial experts talk about a lot is seeing yourself as an “asset.” In other words, when you invest in yourself — whether it be through education, health, or some other method — you’re likely to reap the benefits in the future. Here at LPT Medical, we see a lot of COPD patients who are wary about investing in a portable oxygen concentrator because they’re unsure whether it’s a wise investment or not. If this sounds like you, read on because we’re going to show you why POCs are always a great financial investment and that there are no benefits to waiting.
They Offer Many Long-Term Benefits
Sometimes, the biggest roadblock for someone who’s interested in the prospect of buying a portable oxygen concentrator is their perspective. They may look at oxygen tanks and POCs side-by-side and choose tanks simply because they have a lower-upfront cost. While this may be a great way to look at other products, it’s the wrong way to go about choosing an oxygen therapy device.
First and foremost, this perspective does not take into account the way oxygen tanks are refilled. Sure, you can purchase an oxygen tank for a couple of hundred bucks or even rent one, but the cost to maintain and refill them is vastly more than what portable oxygen concentrators cost. If you want to refill your oxygen tanks at home, you’re going to need to own a home fill oxygen station. These machines take up a lot of space and they cost anywhere between $2,000 and $3,000. That’s already a steeper price point than most portable oxygen concentrators.
If you decide to go an alternative route and pay someone else to refill your oxygen tanks, you’re going to be spending upwards of $8 per fill. This may not sound like a lot, but when you’re paying it daily, it racks up pretty quickly. Since this is an incredibly inefficient way of paying for oxygen therapy, you’d likely want to invest in more oxygen tanks as backup units. That way you wouldn’t have to go out of your way constantly to get them refilled. On top of all of this, you may find it difficult to even find a place to refill your tanks in the first place.
Alternatively, purchasing a portable oxygen concentrator means never having to pay to refill your oxygen ever again. POCs run entirely off electricity so all you need is a functioning battery and you will have an infinite supply of oxygen wherever you go. What’s more, the need for repairs and maintenance on portable oxygen machines is minimal, so you can rest assured that your investment will be good for years to come.
Your Freedom Can’t Wait
America is all about freedom, but there’s a reason for this — it’s one of the most fundamental human rights. Think about it, if you had someone else controlling you your whole life, chances are, this would not be a life worth living. The same concept applies when you’re talking about chronic debilitating diseases like COPD or cystic fibrosis. Why would you choose to be restricted by your condition when you could be enjoying the freedom and independence that comes with having a portable oxygen concentrator?
It may be tempting to delay getting a portable oxygen concentrator just for the chance of finding a great deal or maybe you’re even looking for a used or refurbished portable oxygen concentrator. Although we do offer refurbished and used portable oxygen concentrators, we highly recommend purchasing a new one. We are always offering great deals on our latest and greatest oxygen machines including the Inogen One G5, Caire FreeStyle Comfort, and much more. We are even offering a free THRIVE eLearning course with the purchase of a new oxygen machine.
The bottom line is that freedom is always worth fighting for. Pulse flow portable oxygen concentrators are the lightest and smallest oxygen delivery devices on the planet meaning you will be able to go more places and do more things than you ever thought possible. With the long-lasting batteries, you’ll be able to stay out and about for longer without having to worry about running home to recharge or finding an oxygen supply store. Lastly, they’re extremely easy to use, so adjusting your oxygen output settings or swapping out batteries can be done in a matter of seconds on the fly.
Your Health is Paramount
In the grand scheme of things, your health is equally as important or even more important than your freedom and independence. In fact, without first ensuring your basic health needs are met, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get outside and explore the world on your own terms. As a COPD patient, oxygen therapy is crucial for your overall health. It helps to reduce common symptoms such as breathlessness, chest pain, coughing, and wheezing. And despite what many people will have you believe, oxygen concentrators are just as effective at delivering high-grade medical oxygen as oxygen tanks are.
Many modern portable oxygen concentrators come equipped with pulse dose technology. Rather than putting out a constant stream of oxygen like an oxygen tank or a continuous flow oxygen concentrator, this system closely monitors your breathing and only puts out oxygen when you inhale. It also precisely times the oxygen dosage to ensure that nothing is wasted. What this means is that you’ll be receiving the same amount of oxygen as you would with other oxygen machines but your POC won’t be wasting any oxygen. This allows manufacturers to make their devices smaller and lighter than ever before.
Ultimately, purchasing a portable oxygen concentrator is not something you should wait on when your health is at risk. Studies have shown that long-term oxygen use for patients with low respiratory function experience a higher survival rate than patients who do not. They also experience higher hospitalization rates than oxygen users due to exacerbations and other health issues. So, not only is your health at risk but putting off oxygen therapy could pose serious financial risks as well.
There Are Few Effective Alternatives
If you’re still skeptical about portable oxygen concentrators you should take some time to consider the alternatives. Aside from pulse flow portable oxygen concentrators, there are continuous flow portable oxygen concentrators, stationary oxygen concentrators, oxygen tanks, liquid oxygen tanks, and portable oxygen cylinders. Each of these has its own pros and cons, but at the end of the day, pulse flow portable oxygen concentrators will be the best investment for the largest number of oxygen users.
Oxygen tanks have been in use for quite some time. The 1950s largely paved the way for in-home oxygen use because we saw inventions such as the nasal cannula which were much safer and effective than other delivery methods used in hospitals. By the 1960s, compressed oxygen tanks could be delivered to patient’s homes. At the time, this was a revolutionary practice because it meant keeping bedridden patients out of the hospital.
In the 1970s, compressed oxygen tanks were largely pushed out of homes in favor of home oxygen concentrators (stationary oxygen concentrators). Instead of holding oxygen, the new concentrators would draw in ambient air, remove nitrogen, argon, and other gases, then put out medical-grade oxygen. Not only were concentrators safer than compressed oxygen tanks but they didn’t need to be refilled. Despite concentrators largely replacing oxygen tanks, oxygen manufacturers continued to innovate tanks by offering patients portable oxygen cylinders and liquid oxygen tanks.
Portable oxygen cylinders are essentially smaller versions of home oxygen tanks. However, because oxygen can only be compressed so much before it becomes unsafe, liquid oxygen tanks were introduced. These new units could hold more oxygen because liquid takes up less space than compressed air. The one downside to this is that oxygen needs to be stored at -297 degrees Fahrenheit in order to remain in its liquid form. They were also notably safer than compressed oxygen because they’re stored at low pressure.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, we saw a number of advancements in battery technology, primarily with lithium-ion batteries. There was a huge push to make these batteries lighter and last longer in order to power devices like cell phones and laptops. Oxygen manufacturers like Inogen took note of this and decided to invest in the creation of a new type of concentrator, similar to those used in the 1970s, but it could be transported anywhere.
Today, there are two types of portable oxygen concentrators on the market: continuous flow portable oxygen concentrators and pulse flow portable oxygen concentrators. Continuous flow units offer great oxygen output and most even let you choose between continuous flow and pulse flow oxygen delivery despite what their name would suggest. Unfortunately, these oxygen concentrators tend to be bulky with the lightest one weighing in at 10 pounds. They also have poor battery life, so you should expect to stay close to home.
Finally, we come to pulse flow portable oxygen concentrators. These concentrators offer enough oxygen output for the vast majority of oxygen patients, but they don’t have a lot of the downsides that come with all the aforementioned oxygen devices. They’re extremely lightweight, ranging from 1.75 pounds to just over 6 pounds, they have long-lasting batteries, and they’re light and small enough to be taken just about anywhere. They’re also approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) meaning you’ll be able to travel across the world with ease.
At this point in time, there isn’t much of a debate as to which oxygen delivery device is best. While there are a few situations where the use of continuous flow oxygen concentrators is advised, pulse flow POCs are almost always the best way to go.
You Have a Wide Variety of Options
Just because pulse flow oxygen concentrators are definitively the best oxygen delivery method on the market doesn’t mean you won’t have many options available to you. Within the past decade, we’ve seen the release of a host of advanced POCs produced by a variety of reputable and well-established manufacturing companies. Let’s take a look at just a few of the great options out there you can choose from.
The Inogen One G5
The Inogen One G5 was released in the summer of 2019 and it’s currently considered one of the best POCs out there. One of the standout features of this portable oxygen concentrator is that it offers a flow setting of 6 which is higher than any other pulse flow unit. In terms of total oxygen output, this is the equivalent of 1,260 ml/min of medical-grade oxygen. But the Inogen G5 doesn’t skimp in other areas either. It offers astounding battery life up to 13 hours on one charge, a lightweight design, and additional features like the Inogen Connect which allows you to track your G5 battery life through your phone or tablet.
The Caire FreeStyle Comfort
The Caire FreeStyle Comfort is another impeccable portable oxygen concentrator currently on the market. The main selling point for this portable oxygen concentrator is its battery life. On a setting of 1, the FreeStyle Comfort can run up to 16 hours on one charge! This is currently the longest battery life offered by any portable oxygen concentrator. Additionally, the FreeStyle Comfort goes up to a flow setting of 5, weighs in at only 5 pounds, and offers an additional feature called CAIREView Telehealth Technology.
CAIREView is a mobile application that can be installed on either your smartphone or tablet device. It connects to your FreeStyle Comfort and uploads important information about your oxygen use such as usage time, flow setting, and more. It also sends information directly to the oxygen manufacturer so that if your device experiences any issues, the experts at CAIRE can troubleshoot it remotely saving you the time, money, and hassle of having to send it in for repairs. If you’d like to learn more about CAIREView and telehealth technology in general, please read our last blog post titled “7 Ways Telehealth Technology Will Improve the Lives of COPD Patients.”
The AirSep Focus
AirSep has been in the business of air separation products for over 25 years. They manufacture both medical oxygen concentrators and commercial and industrial oxygen equipment. The AirSep Focus is one of the company’s most recognizable and praised portable oxygen concentrators because it is the lightest one ever produced. The Focus weighs in at just 1.75 pounds and it’s one of the only POCs small enough to fit on a belt buckle or in a handbag.
These are just a few of the great portable oxygen concentrators out there. If you want to get started finding the POC that’s right for you, visit our post titled, “The Definitive Guide to Choosing a Portable Oxygen Concentrator in 2020.”
The Technology is There
Another reason people might delay getting a portable oxygenator is that they want to wait for the technology to advance more. While oxygenators are likely to get lighter and more efficient in the future, this typically isn’t a good reason to avoid getting one. First and foremost, oxygen concentrators can be sold or returned after they’re purchased. For example, if you bought an Inogen One G5 right now, but later decide you want to purchase an Inogen One G6 when it comes out, you can easily sell the concentrator back to the retailer as a “lightly used machine.”
Another reason to avoid waiting is that you don’t know whether you will like the newer generations of portable oxygenators. For example, even though the Inogen One G5 is one of the most advanced POCs on the market, many people still use the Inogen One G3 and the Inogen One G4 because they provide them with the benefits they want. The G4 weighs just 2.8 pounds as opposed to the 4.7 pounds that the G5 weighs.
Lastly, there are a number of reasons to purchase a unit when it’s new rather than waiting. The release of a portable oxygen concentrator is usually accompanied by a number of useful accessories and other items that help you make the most of it. These may become difficult to find later on and buying them second hand is never ideal. When you purchase something second hand, especially something as important as a portable oxygen concentrator, you never know what condition it’s going to be in. What’s more, reselling a concentrator typically voids its warranty meaning you won’t be able to contact the manufacturer for repairs or to receive a replacement unit.
Respiratory Specialists Are Here to Help
Lastly, many COPD patients wait on buying a portable oxygenator because they don’t know what they need or they don’t feel confident making a decision. This one is an easy fix because we have plenty of respiratory specialists here at LPT Medical who are ready and willing to help you find the portable oxygen concentrator that you’ve been looking for.
We’ll start by asking you about your oxygen needs. It’s important to make sure this is accounted for before getting into the details so you should speak with your pulmonologist as soon as possible and ask him/her what flow rate you should use. We usually recommend concentrators that offer a slightly higher oxygen output than what you need so that you have room to go up if you ever have the need.
Once we know your oxygen needs we will ask you about your preferences in terms of weight, size, battery life, ease of use, and much more. We’ll use this information to align you with the perfect portable oxygen concentrator. Not only that, but we’ll get you the best deal possible. If you’d like us to reach out to you, fill out the contact form at the side of the page.
It’s a good idea to think through every purchase you make. Learning more about what you’re buying can help you make better financial decisions and save more money. However, when it comes to your health, well-being, and freedom, it’s best to make an investment sooner rather than later.
However, that doesn’t mean you should purchase the first portable oxygen concentrator you come across. There are pros and cons to every machine, so you should first speak with someone who knows the industry inside and out. Simply fill out the contact form at the right of the page and our respiratory specialists will reach out to you to answer any questions you may have about portable oxygen concentrators.