The Best Portable Oxygen Concentrators In 2022

People who have low blood oxygen levels and want access to oxygen therapy on the go should ask their health care professional about getting a portable oxygen concentrator. These small, handy medical devices allow you to receive oxygen therapy while you’re out and about.

Choosing the right portable oxygen concentrator depends on a few key factors, including your oxygen needs and specific health concerns. Other considerations include the size and weight of the unit, battery life, and whether you need a continuous flow or pulse unit.

Our experts have done the research to narrow down the best of the best in portable oxygen concentrator tech. These reviews will help you choose the best portable oxygen concentrator for your needs.

Written by
Updated onMay. 22, 2022

Top 5 Portable Oxygen Concentrators

Our picks for the best portable oxygen concentrators on the market today are:

Key Takeaways

  • A portable oxygen concentrator can meet the needs of active individuals and travelers who need supplemental oxygen. 
  • The best portable oxygen concentrators marry portability with efficient oxygen output and have Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval. 
  • A quality oxygen concentrate should meet your needs. Talk to your doctor about which output level is right for you.

What Is a Portable Oxygen Concentrator?

A portable oxygen concentrator is a compact, portable version of a regular-sized oxygen concentrator. These devices provide oxygen therapy to people with health conditions that cause low oxygen levels.

Oxygen concentrators contain compressors, filters, and tubing. A nasal cannula or oxygen mask connects to the device and delivers oxygen to the person who needs it. They’re tankless, so there’s no risk of running out of oxygen. However, as with any piece of technology, these machines can potentially malfunction.

Portable units typically have a rechargeable battery, which allows for use on the go, such as while traveling.

To deliver oxygen to you, the devices draw air from the room you’re in and pass it through filters to purify the air. The compressor absorbs nitrogen, leaving behind concentrated oxygen. The nitrogen is then released back into the environment, and the person receives oxygen through a pulse or continuous flow mechanism via a face mask or nasal cannula.

A pulse device delivers oxygen in bursts, typically whenever you inhale.

Most portable units offer pulse doses, but some are also capable of continuous flow oxygen delivery. Continuous flow devices churn out oxygen at a steady rate.

Your doctor can explain your individual oxygen needs, which will help you know which device is appropriate for you.

Keep in mind that supplemental oxygen isn’t a cure for conditions that cause low oxygen levels. However, a portable oxygen concentrator may help you:

  • Breathe more easily. Oxygen therapy can help decrease shortness of breath and improve your ability to perform daily activities.
  • Have more energy. A portable oxygen concentrator can also reduce fatigue and make it easier to complete daily tasks by increasing your oxygen levels.
  • Get better sleep. People with conditions that cause low oxygen levels may struggle to get proper shut-eye. A portable oxygen concentrator can help you sleep better.

The Best Portable Oxygen Concentrators of 2022

Here’s a quick overview of the specs for our top portable oxygen concentrator picks.

COMPANY
Inogen One G5 System
TYPEPulse flow
MAXIMUM OUTPUT1,260 milliliters per minute (ml/min)
BATTERY DURATIONUp to 13 hours
NOISE LEVEL38 decibels
WEIGHT5.7 pounds
FAA APPROVED?Yes
AirSep Focus
TYPEPulse flow
MAXIMUM OUTPUT330 ml/min
BATTERY DURATION1.5 hours per included micro battery
NOISE LEVEL41 decibels
WEIGHTLess than 2 pounds
FAA APPROVED?Yes
CAIRE SeQual Eclipse 5
TYPEContinuous and pulse flow
MAXIMUM OUTPUT330 ml/min
BATTERY DURATION2 to 5.4 hours, depending on setting
NOISE LEVEL40 to 48 decibels depending on setting
WEIGHT18.4 pounds
FAA APPROVED?Yes
Philips Respironics SimplyGo
TYPEContinuous flow and pulse
MAXIMUM OUTPUT2,000 ml/min
BATTERY DURATION0.9 to 2.9 hours, depending on setting
NOISE LEVEL43 decibels at setting 2
WEIGHT10 pounds
FAA APPROVED?Yes
Inova Labs Lifechocie ActivOx Pro
TYPEPulse flow
MAXIMUM OUTPUT4,000 ml/min
BATTERY DURATION2.25 to 10.25 hours, depending on setting
NOISE LEVEL41 to 48 decibels
WEIGHT4.8 pounds
FAA APPROVED?Yes

AIP Portable Oxygen Concentrator Rating Methodology

When selecting the best portable oxygen concentrators for our list, we took into consideration the following criteria:

  • Portability—Is the unit truly portable? We only included actual portable units that feature rechargeable batteries and are easy to carry around. 
  • FAA approval—Because portable oxygen concentrators are ideal for travel, we made sure to select models that have FAA approval. That way, you know you can take them aboard flights.  
  • Customer reviews—We looked at reviews from customers for feedback on those who’ve had first-hand experience with the devices. 

Who Can Benefit From Having a Portable Oxygen Concentrator?

You might benefit from oxygen therapy if you have been diagnosed with:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) 
  • Severe asthma
  • Sleep apnea
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Heart failure
  • COVID-19

Remember that oxygen concentrators, portable units included, are prescription-only devices. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns against using this medical device unless your doctor has prescribed doing so. Using one without a prescription can be dangerous.

Pros and Cons

Overall, Inogen is an excellent choice for travelers due to its generous battery life and quiet operation.

Pros
  • Quiet operation

  • Great for travel

  • Lightweight

  • Easy to use

Cons
  • Lacks a continuous flow setting

  • Upgrades can get pricey

  • 5.7 pounds

  • Pulse flow

  • 38 decibels

  • Up to 13 hours with double battery

  • 1,260 ml/min

Overview

Inogen’s G5 system features a long battery life for its size, making it an excellent option for travelers. It’s also relatively quiet at 38 decibels and has a decent maximum oxygen output of 1,260 ml/min. 

Additionally, the G5 also features an easy-to-read LCD screen and Bluetooth connectivity. When connected to the Bluetooth app, you can monitor battery life and current settings. It also comes with a convenient carrying case—another bonus for those who fly regularly. 

Customers who opt for the Inogen model also receive lifetime support for their devices.

See our full Inogen Portable Oxygen Concentrator Review.

 Best Ultra Lightweight Unit

Best Ultra Lightweight Unit

AirSep Focus

Pros and Cons

This is an ultra-portable device for those with an active lifestyle who want maximum transportability.

Pros
  • Compact and lightweight

  • Easier to maintain than larger units

  • Quiet operation 

  • Less than 2 pounds

  • Pulse flow

  • 41 decibels

  • Up to 3 hours with two microbatteries

  • 330 ml/min

Cons
  • Not ideal for long-distance travel

  • Limited output compared to other devices

  • Limited battery life

Overview

This pulse flow portable oxygen concentrator for AirSep is an ultra-portable unit. It’s ideal for active individuals who require supplemental oxygen but may not need a high output. The sacrifice for mega-portability—the unit weighs less than 2 pounds—is a low maximum oxygen output of 330 ml/min.

The Focus likely isn’t the best option for long-distance air travel, considering the maximum battery life is 3 hours. Still, it’s perfect for those who want to live a healthy lifestyle while breathing easier. It’s one of the lightest models available, so if having a lightweight unit is your priority, it’s the way to go.

There’s also an option to use an add-on battery pack with the device, extending its battery life by up to 3.5 hours. However, this costs extra.

Best “for home” Oxygen Concentrator

Best “for home” Oxygen Concentrator

CAIRE SeQual Eclipse 5

Pros and Cons

This is a high-output machine that’s good for both at-home and travel purposes.

Pros
  • Great for bedside use thanks to its compact size and quiet operation

  • Rolling cart design is great for travel

  • Dual flow options

  • 18.4 pounds

  • Pulse and continuous

  • 40 to 48 decibels

  • 2 to 5.4 hours

  • 3,000 ml/min

Cons
  • Heavy

  • Wheels have trouble navigating over bumps and curbs

  • Handle tends to rattle

Overview

CAIRE’s SeQual Eclipse 5 unit has both continuous and pulse flow settings, making it a versatile portable device. Depending on the setting, you can get up to 5.4 hours of battery life out of the unit. A helpful indicator light lets you know when the concentrator is running low on power. 

With up to nine settings, you can easily customize the dose to fit your needs. On its higher settings, it’s a little louder than other models on this list. However, the decibel level is still in the range of comfortable (up to 48 decibels on the highest output). It’s also a bulkier unit that weighs just over 18 pounds. That being said, its heft allows for a generous oxygen output of up to 3,000 ml/min, making it a solid option for at-home use or long-distance travel.

The unit also features a mobile cart design that makes it easy to roll and take with you wherever you go.

Pros and Cons

This is a portable device that offers both continuous and pulse flow oxygen output.

Pros
  • Portable, rolling cart design

  • Offers continuous and pulse flow settings

  • Easy setup

  • 10 pounds

  • Continuous and pulse flow

  • Starts at 43 decibels

  • 0.9 to 2.9 hours

  • 2,000 ml/min

Cons
  • Not as quiet as other units

  • Durability concerns

  • Limited battery life

Overview

Many continuous flow units are bulky and cumbersome—even portable ones. The Philips Respironics SimplyGo is the exception. At a mere 10 pounds, it still delivers a maximum oxygen output of 2,000 ml/min.

The battery life is a little limited (up to 3 hours on the highest settings), but the combination of portability and solid oxygen output still makes it an excellent pick for those seeking a versatile unit. The device’s foldable rolling cart and carrying case also make it a good option for travel.

Additionally, the SimplyGo has a sleep mode that increases oxygen output during the night. Also, the unit can alert you when the battery is running low.

Best High-Output Device

Best High-Output Device

Inova Labs Lifechoice ActivOx Pro

Pros and Cons

This is a lightweight, high-output device designed for ease of use and maximum portability.

Pros
  • Excellent battery life

  • Convenient carrying case

  • Great for an active lifestyle

  • 4.8 pounds

  • Pulse flow

  • 41 to 48 decibels

  • 2.25 to 10.25 hours

  • 4,000 ml/min

Cons
  • No continuous flow setting

  • Louder than other devices

Overview

The Inova Labs ActivOx Pro is our pick for those with high oxygen needs who want the flexibility of a portable device. The pulse flow device delivers up to 4,000 ml/min and up to 10.25 hours of battery life in a single charge. The high output device is also relatively lightweight—weighing only 4.8 pounds.

The simplified control panel allows for easy operation. Additionally, the unit has several built-in alarms, including a low battery alarm that lets you know when it’s time to recharge. A cleverly designed carrying case allows you to wear the device in multiple ways, including as a backpack or waist pack.

Things to Consider When Shopping for a Portable Oxygen Concentrator

Once you receive a prescription from a health care professional, you need to consider oxygen output, weight, flow type, noise levels, battery life and price while shopping for a portable oxygen concentrator.

Oxygen Output

How much oxygen a unit puts out will likely be your primary consideration. Your needs will vary depending on your condition. Your health care provider will give you a more specific idea of what to look for.

Most units have multiple settings that allow you to adjust output depending on your needs. 

To make sure your portable oxygen concentrator meets your needs, your doctor will ask you to check your oxygen saturation levels while using supplemental oxygen with a pulse oximeter. 

Weight

Portable oxygen concentrators are designed to be just that: portable. However, size and weight vary depending on the type of device. Most continuous flow devices, even the portable ones, tend to be heavier, weighing in at around 20 pounds. Pulse flow devices are usually lighter, weighing between 4 and 12 pounds. Some have handy carrying straps.

If you’re in the market for a portable continuous flow unit, it is worth noting that many feature rolling carts designed for easy transport. 

Quick tip: If you plan on traveling with your portable concentrator, make sure that it’s FAA-approved. 

Oxygen Flow Type

There are two options for oxygen flow type: continuous flow and pulse flow. Pulse flow devices deliver intermittent bursts of oxygen, usually with each breath you take. This means they’re often more efficient—which means less oxygen and battery waste. 

Continuous flow devices deliver a steady stream of oxygen. Because they need to pump out oxygen continuously, they tend to have larger compressors, which makes them weigh more. 

Some units can also deliver oxygen via both continuous and pulse flow. 

Noise Levels

A benefit of portable oxygen concentrators is that they are quieter than their full-size counterparts. Most of them register under 50 decibels, and a few are even quieter. If you plan to use your portable concentrator to sleep, opt for the quietest unit that still fits your oxygen needs. 

Battery Life

Portable oxygen compressors feature rechargeable batteries that allow you to use the units when you’re away from a power source. Look for a device that can run for at least 4 hours on a full charge. 

Units capable of meeting high oxygen needs tend to have less battery life than those with lower oxygen output. Battery life varies depending on use and selected settings. 

Price

Because portable oxygen concentrators are prescription medical devices, not all retailers will make pricing information readily available. Additionally, insurance and other factors may impact the overall cost. 

Expect to pay at least $1,500 for a new portable oxygen concentrator. You can also buy or rent these devices used for a fraction of the cost.

Frequently Asked Questions

We recommend the CAIRE SeQual Eclipse 5 for home use because it offers both pulse and continuous flow settings and a maximum oxygen output of 3,000 ml/min. It’s a heavier unit, but you can easily wheel it around the home thanks to its rolling cart design.

Pricing is accurate as of January 25, 2022.

WRITTEN BY

Steph Coelho is a health writer and editor based in Montreal, Canada, who has a passion for health and wellness and an intimate knowledge of living with a chronic illness. She has bylines with Healthline, Everyday Health, and Medical News Today. You can find her on Twitter.