Choosing the Right Oxygen Concentrator: Who Should Buy Which Grade?
In our previous discussion, we talked about the different types of oxygen concentrators available in the market. We covered consumer grade and medical grade concentrators, each with varying levels of oxygen concentration output. However, we didn't address which type is suitable for who. In this post, we will delve into that topic to help you make an informed decision on choosing the right oxygen concentrator based on your needs.
Consumer Grade Oxygen Concentrators
A consumer grade oxygen concentrator provides up to 90% oxygen concentration at one liter per minute (LPM). As you increase the flow rate, however, it dilutes down to lesser concentrations. You can purchase these devices from various online platforms like Amazon without requiring a prescription.
So who should be using a consumer grade device? These machines are generally meant for people seeking wellness benefits or those wanting to maintain their general health through supplemental oxygen therapy. Some recent research shows that supplemental oxygen may help alleviate several sleep-related issues such as insomnia or poor quality sleep patterns.
If you have experienced a concussion or other head injury or simply want to enhance your overall wellness by maintaining optimal blood-oxygen levels, then a consumer-grade device might be just what you need.
Medical Grade Oxygen Concentrators
A medical grade machine delivers between one and five LPM of consistent high-quality oxygen at around a 90% concentration level regardless of flow rate adjustments—significantly better than its consumer counterpart. To acquire this kind of machinery requires both possession of a prescription from your doctor and a higher budget, as these machines are more expensive.
Who should buy this type of device? Medical grade concentrators cater to individuals with specific health conditions that require consistent oxygen intake at high concentrations. Your doctor may prescribe an oxygen concentrator if you have severe sleep apnea or another respiratory illness like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, or cystic fibrosis.
If your doctor recommends an oxygen concentrator, they will typically provide you with a prescription which can then be coordinated through insurance providers to help cover the cost of the machine.
How to Choose The Right Concentrator for You
In summary, when deciding between consumer and medical grade oxygen concentrators, consider the following:
- Your Needs: Determine whether you're seeking supplemental oxygen for general wellness purposes or if it's medically necessary due to a specific health condition. Consult your healthcare provider for guidance on which type is most appropriate for your situation.
- Budget: Consumer-grade devices are generally more affordable than their medical counterparts; however, remember that some insurance companies may cover part or all of the expenses associated with purchasing a medical-grade machine—depending on your policy and diagnosis from your doctor.
- Purchasing Process: Remember that buying an over-the-counter consumer grade device is relatively easy but it is a gray area. FDA requires a prescription for oxygen concentrators and this version of the concentrators has not been addressed. However, acquiring a medical-grade concentrator involves having both a valid prescription from your physician and coordinating coverage through insurance providers—if applicable—to ensure proper reimbursement policies apply before making any purchases.
If you want to watch me talk about the topic it is found here: