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The 5 Best Portable Oxygen Concentrators of 2022

Jul 07, 2022

By Cara Everett, MS, RDN
Medically Reviewed by Jenny Sanford, PCNP
Reviewed by Kathleen CameronBSPharm, MPH, Senior Director of NCOA’s Center for Healthy Aging
Fact Checked

Affiliate Disclosure
This content and its featured products and services were independently reviewed by a third-party, credentialed Reviews Team. If you make a purchase using the links included, our partners may earn a commission. NCOA, however, does not receive a commission for purchases.

Key Takeaways

  • Portable oxygen concentrators provide extra oxygen for people with certain medical conditions who want to stay active.
  • The price of portable oxygen concentrators starts at $2,500, but Medicare and private insurance cover part of the cost in some cases.
  • Using a portable oxygen concentrator can help you maintain a healthy, active lifestyle even if you need supplemental oxygen.

If you’ve been prescribed supplemental oxygen by your doctor, using a portable oxygen concentrator, also called a portable oxygen machine, can be a convenient way to meet your oxygen needs while still getting out and doing all the things you enjoy. 

It’s important to stay active even if you need extra oxygen. Research published in the Journals of Gerontology shows older adults who are socially active have better physical health and emotional well-being.1  Also, a 2021 study of more than 32,000 adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or certain types of lung diseases found that those who were physically active had longer lifespans and improved heart rates.2 A portable oxygen machine can help you stay active by providing safe, effective delivery of oxygen while you’re out and about. 

But finding the best portable oxygen concentrator for your needs can be confusing—especially if you’re buying one for the first time. Our Reviews Team researched the top portable oxygen concentrators on the market. We dug into information on pricing, features, battery life, and more to help you find the best model for you.

A quick look at the best portable oxygen concentrators

Why you can trust our expert review

Our Reviews Team recommends products and services we believe provide value in the lives of our readers. We’ve spent more than 1,000 hours carrying out in-depth research on portable oxygen concentrators to give you the most accurate review. To make our selections, we:

  • Engaged in independent research
  • Consulted with three geriatric care experts
  • Mystery shopped four brands and five models of portable oxygen concentrators
  • Reviewed academic research into the efficacy of portable oxygen concentrators
  • Read verified customer reviews from trusted third parties such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot

How we chose the best portable oxygen concentrators

Our Reviews Team consulted with three geriatric care experts to learn more about portable oxygen concentrators (POCs) and how they can enhance users’ quality of life. Based on our expert consultations and research, we determined the following factors to be important for our readers when shopping for a POC unit:

  • Cost
  • Ease of use
  • Oxygen delivery method
  • Number of settings
  • Weight
  • Battery life
  • Time to recharge battery
  • Warranty
  • Availability (all devices available online or in brick-and-mortar stores)

We had all of our selections medically reviewed by an expert in the field to ensure that each brand and model is appropriate for our readers’ needs.

Table 1 Comparison of the best portable oxygen concentrators, as of June 2022

Brand

Cost

Weight (with single battery)

Flow type

Battery life
(hours)

Max oxygen output  (liters per minute)

Noise level (decibels)

FAA approval (permitted on airplanes)

CAIRE Freestyle Comfort

$2,749

5 lbs

Pulse

8–16

1.05

39

Yes

Invacare Platinum

$2,495

5 lbs

Pulse

5–10

1

40

Yes

Philips Respironics SimplyGo Mini

$2,995

5 lbs

Pulse

4.5–9

1

43

Yes

Inogen One G4

$2,651–$3,344

2.8 lbs

Pulse

2.25–5

0.63

40

Yes

Inogen One G5

$2,882–$3,586

4.7 lbs

Pulse

4.5–13

1.26

38

Yes

Portable Oxygen Concentrator with Best Battery Life: CAIRE Freestyle Comfort

A white portable oxygen concentrator from CAIRE

Pros Longer battery life than most other portable oxygen concentrators Curved design for ease of carrying
Cons More complicated display compared to other models
  • Cost: $2,749
  • Weight: 5 pounds with 8-cell battery, 6 pounds with 16-cell battery
  • Dimensions: 7.3 inches wide x 3.1 inches deep x 10 inches tall with single battery (11 inches tall with double battery)
  • Delivery/flow type: Pulse
  • Range of flow settings: 1–5
  • Battery life (Setting 1): 8 hours (8-cell battery), 16 hours (16-cell battery)
  • Battery charging time:  3.5 hours (8-cell battery), 6 hours (16-cell battery)
  • Max oxygen output: 1.05 liters per minute
  • Noise level: 39 decibels
  • Warranty: 3 years on the concentrator and sieve beds (which extracts the nitrogen from the air), 1 year on battery and accessories
  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval: Yes

The CAIRE Freestyle Comfort delivers oxygen for up to 16 hours between charges, surpassing most other models on the market. This is why our Reviews Team named it the “Portable Oxygen Concentrator with the Best Battery Life.” If you enjoy long outings, this unit may be a great fit. 

Another feature that makes the CAIRE Freestyle Comfort unique is its leading technology. It has ultra-sensitive breath detection, automatically changing the flow to match your breathing rate, which can be helpful during sleep or for people with shallow breathing.

Keep in mind the Freestyle Comfort, along with all the models reviewed here, provides only pulse oxygen flow delivery. This means the unit provides a puff of oxygen every time you take a breath, as opposed to units that provide a continuous flow of oxygen. Many stationary home units offer continuous flow or a combination of both methods.

The CAIRE Freestyle Comfort comes with the following supplies:

  • Portable oxygen concentrator unit
  • Wall (AC) charger/power cable
  • Car (DC) power cable
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Carrying bag with padded strap
  • Nasal cannula
  • User manual

One thing that makes CAIRE stand out from the rest is its Comfort Zone service program. When a member of our Reviews Team called the Oxygen Concentrator Store for more information, we learned that Comfort Zone is included with the purchase of a CAIRE Freestyle Comfort unit at no extra cost. Comfort Zone includes the following features:

  • Live online orientation with a CAIRE representative to help you set up your machine
  • Customer support seven days a week
  • A replacement portable oxygen concentrator sent to your home within two business days if yours malfunctions

The last point is unique among portable oxygen concentrator companies; no other brand we’ve reviewed provides this type of warranty or service.

The Comfort Zone program speaks to CAIRE’s confidence in the quality of its products, and also gives you peace of mind knowing you won’t have to go without your portable oxygen machine for long if you ever run into problems.  

Customer service

The CAIRE Freestyle Comfort is available for purchase from local medical equipment suppliers such as the Oxygen Concentrator Store. You can either shop online or at their retail location in Denver. 

See below for details on Oxygen Concentrator Store customer service hours, ways to reach them, and our Reviews Team’s experience with the customer service department.

Payment options 

You can pay for your purchase from the Oxygen Concentrator Store in the following ways:

  • Credit card
  • Cash (in store only)
  • CareCredit
  • PayPal

For people who enjoy being out and about and don’t want to worry about changing batteries every few hours, the CAIRE Freestyle Comfort is a good choice. The extra level of customer service available through the Comfort Program also sets this brand apart.

Most Affordable Portable Oxygen Concentrator: Invacare Platinum

Invacare Platinum portable oxygen concentrator in a black carrying case with a strap with the buttons visible on top of the machine

Pros One of the best-priced portable oxygen concentrators on the market Easy-to-read display screen and large buttons Water-resistant
Cons Bulkier than some other models
(1.6 inches wider and 2.2 inches taller than the smallest model on this list)
  • Cost: $2,495
  • Weight: 5 pounds with single battery, 5.73 pounds with double batteries
  • Dimensions: 7.5 inches wide x 3.88 inches deep x 9.45 inches tall with single battery (9.03 inches tall with two batteries)
  • Delivery/flow type: Pulse
  • Range of flow settings: 1–5
  • Battery life (Setting 1): 5 hours with single battery, 10 hours with two batteries
  • Battery charging time: 2 hours, 20 minutes for single battery 4 hours, 36 minutes for two batteries
  • Max oxygen output: 1 liter per minute
  • Noise level: 40 decibels
  • Warranty: 3 years on concentrator, 1 year on sieve beds, 90 days on accessories
  • FAA approval: Yes

The Invacare Platinum provides on-the-go oxygen therapy at the lowest cost of all the brands reviewed here, which is why our Reviews Team named it the “Most Affordable Portable Oxygen Concentrator.” This unit is designed with both budget and active lifestyles in mind. 

Many portable oxygen machines have the battery compartment on the bottom, requiring you to take the machine out of its carrying case to remove the battery. Invacare has placed its battery compartment at the top, so you can change the battery out easily while continuing to use the concentrator in its carrying case—as long as it’s plugged into an external power source.

The Invacare Platinum comes with the following supplies:

  • Portable oxygen concentrator unit
  • Wall (AC) charger/power cord
  • Car (DC) power cord
  • One rechargeable battery (additional batteries sold separately)
  • Carrying bag
  • Nasal cannula
  • User manual

Customer service

Invacare Platinum is available for purchase from local medical equipment suppliers such as the OxygenConcentratorStore. You can either shop online or at their retail location in Denver. 

See below for details on Oxygen Concentrator Store customer service hours, ways to reach them, and our Reviews Team’s experience with the customer service department.

Payment options 

You can pay for your purchase in the following ways:

  • Credit card
  • Cash (in store only)
  • CareCredit
  • PayPal

If you’re on a limited budget but want the freedom and independence a portable oxygen concentrator can provide, the Invacare Platinum may be a good choice.

Easiest-to-Use Portable Oxygen Concentrator: Philips Respironics SimplyGo Mini

The Philips Respironics SimplyGo Mini portable oxygen concentrator with the display screen visible on top of the machine

Pros One of the most user-friendly portable oxygen concentrators Simple screen with large numbers and pictures for oxygen flow, battery status, and settings Battery is easy to remove for charging
Cons Louder than some other portable oxygen concentrators
  • Cost: $2,995
  • Weight: 5 pounds with standard battery, 6 pounds with extended battery
  • Dimensions: 8.3 inches wide x 3.6 inches deep x 9.4 inches tall with standard battery (10.2 inches tall with extended battery)
  • Delivery/flow type: Pulse
  • Range of flow settings: 1–5
  • Battery life (Setting 2): 4.5 hours (standard battery), 9 hours (extended battery)
  • Battery charging time: 4 hours (standard battery), 8 hours (extended battery)
  • Max oxygen output: 1 liter per minute
  • Noise level: 43 decibels
  • Warranty: 3 years on the concentrator, 1 year on the sieve beds, and 90 days on accessories (extended warranties also available)
  • FAA approval: Yes

Philips Respironics has designed a portable oxygen concentrator that is clear and simple in design, making it an excellent choice for anyone looking for a simplified unit with just a few buttons. For its user-friendly design, the Philips Respironics SimplyGo Mini earned the title “Easiest-to-Use Portable Oxygen Concentrator” from our Reviews Team. Its screen relies on images and easy-to-follow instructions rather than more complicated buttons, making this unit especially attractive to people using a portable oxygen concentrator for the first time.

While it’s slightly louder than some other models—43 decibels compared to the Invacare Platinum’s 40 decibels—this concentrator may be a great fit if you have trouble reading small numbers or dealing with a device that has a lot of buttons.

The starter package for the SimplyGo Mini comes with the following:

  • Portable oxygen concentrator unit
  • Wall (AC) charger/power cord
  • Car (DC) power cord
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Carrying bag with padded strap
  • Accessory bag
  • Mobile cart
  • Nasal cannula
  • User manual

Customer service

The Philips Respironics SimplyGo Mini is available for purchase from local medical equipment suppliers such as the OxygenConcentratorStore. You can either shop online or at their retail location in Denver.

See below for details on Oxygen Concentrator Store customer service hours, ways to reach them, and our Reviews Team’s experience with the customer service department.

Payment options 

You can pay for your purchase from the Oxygen Concentrator Store in the following ways:

  • Credit card
  • Cash (in store only)
  • CareCredit
  • PayPal

Philips Respironics provides a portable oxygen concentrator that’s a smart choice if you are new to these devices and would like an oxygen machine that’s simple to set up and use. 

If you’re interested in this brand but need continuous flow oxygen, you might want to check into the Philips Respironics SimplyGo. At 10 pounds, it’s heavier than the SimplyGo Mini, but it offers both continuous and pulse flow settings and comes with a rolling cart.

Smallest Portable Oxygen Concentrator: Inogen One G4

Inogen One G4 portable oxygen concentrator with display screen and buttons visible on top of the machine

Pros At 2.8 pounds, this device weighs about 2 pounds less than most other portable units Great for active lifestyles due to its small size and minimal weight
Cons Short battery life Lower oxygen output than many other models
  • Cost: $2,651–$3,344
  • Weight: 2.8 pounds with standard battery, 3.3 pounds with extended battery
  • Dimensions: 5.91 inches wide x 2.68 inches deep x 7.2 inches tall with single battery (7.79 inches tall with double battery)
  • Delivery/flow type: Pulse
  • Range of flow settings: 1–3
  • Battery life (Setting 2): 2.25 hours (single battery), 5 hours (double battery)
  • Battery charging time:  3.25 hours (single battery), 6 hours (double battery)
  • Max oxygen output: 0.63 liters per minute
  • Noise level: 40 decibels
  • Warranty: 3 years on the concentrator, 1 year on the sieve beds, battery, and accessories (lifetime warranty also available)
  • FAA approval: Yes

The Inogen One G4 is smaller and lighter than almost every other portable oxygen concentrator on the market, making it our Reviews Team’s pick for “Smallest Portable Oxygen Concentrator.” If you need supplemental oxygen but enjoy getting out of the house, this model may be just what you’re looking for. 

Because it’s so small, the G4 is less powerful than other models, with a maximum oxygen output of only 0.63 liters per minute (LPM), compared to the Respironics SimplyGo Mini with 1 LPM and the Inogen One G5 with 1.26 LPM.

Another consideration is the G4 single battery only lasts about 2 hours and 15 minutes (depending on the setting). So if you’re heading out to run more than one quick errand, you’ll want to either have the double battery or bring an extra single battery for backup.

You can also connect the G4 with your smartphone using the free Inogen Connect app. This allows you to check the battery status and change the settings using your phone instead of the concentrator itself.

The Inogen One G4 comes with the following supplies:

  • Portable oxygen concentrator unit
  • Wall (AC) charger/power cord
  • Car (DC) power cord
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Carrying bag with padded strap
  • Nasal cannula
  • User manual

Customer service

The Inogen One G4 is available for purchase from local medical equipment suppliers such as the OxygenConcentratorStore. You can either shop online or at their retail location in Denver.

See below for details on Oxygen Concentrator Store customer service hours, ways to reach them, and our Reviews Team’s experience with the customer service department.

Payment options 

You can pay for your purchase from the Oxygen Concentrator Store in the following ways:

  • Credit card
  • Cash (in store only)
  • CareCredit
  • PayPal

For active people who like to go out with friends and family, the Inogen One G4 could be an excellent option.

Best Portable Oxygen Concentrator for Air Travel: Inogen One G5

Inogen One G5 portable oxygen concentrator with display screen and buttons visible on top of the machine

Pros Quiet for airplane travel Long battery life (using a double battery), making it a good choice for extended outings and flights
Cons Heavier than other units with double battery
  • Cost: $2,882–$3,586
  • Weight: 4.7 pounds with single battery, 5.7 pounds with double battery
  • Dimensions: 7.19 inches wide x 3.26 inches deep x 8.15 inches tall with single battery (9.03 inches tall with double battery)
  • Delivery/flow type: Pulse
  • Range of flow settings: 1–6
  • Battery life (Setting 2): 4.5 hours (single battery), 9 hours (double battery)
  • Battery charging time: 4 hours (single battery), 8 hours (double battery)
  • Max oxygen output: 1.26 liters per minute
  • Noise level: 38 decibels
  • Warranty: 3 years on the concentrator, 1 year on the sieve beds, battery, and accessories (lifetime warranty also available)
  • FAA approval: Yes

The G5 is Inogen’s newest model. It provides more oxygen output and longer battery life than the G4, which is why we named it “Best for Air Travel.” 

In general, the higher the oxygen output and the longer the battery life, the better for air travel. With the double battery, you’ll have up to 13 hours on Setting 1, and nine hours of power on Setting 2.

The Inogen One G5 is also the quietest portable oxygen concentrator on this list, which is helpful for air travel, so you won’t disturb your fellow passengers. And, like all portable oxygen concentrators on this list, the Inogen One G5 is approved for air travel by the FAA.

The Inogen One G5 comes with the following supplies:

  • Portable oxygen concentrator unit
  • Wall (AC) charger/power cord
  • Car (DC) power cord
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Carrying bag with padded strap
  • Nasal cannula
  • User manual

The Inogen website also offers a rolling cart for the G5 for $145 that can be helpful when navigating large airports.

You can also connect the G4 with your smartphone using the free Inogen Connect app. This allows you to check the battery life and change the settings using your phone instead of the concentrator itself.

Customer service

The Inogen One G5 is available for purchase from local medical equipment suppliers such as the Oxygen Concentrator Store. You can either shop online or at their retail location in Denver. 

See below for details on Oxygen Concentrator Store customer service hours, ways to reach them, and our Reviews Team’s experience with the customer service department.

Payment options 

You can pay for your purchase from the Oxygen Concentrator Store in the following ways:

  • Credit card
  • Cash (in store only)
  • CareCredit
  • PayPal

For people who like to travel, especially on long flights, the Inogen One G5 could be a great choice.

Oxygen Concentrator Store customer service

All of the brands and models in this review are available through the online retailer Oxygen Concentrator Store. You can contact its customer service department in the following ways:

  • Phone: 844-885-9530, available 365 days a year on the following schedule:
    • 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. MT Monday through Friday
    • 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. MT Saturday
    • 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. MT Sunday 
  • Email: service@amsrco.com
  • Online chat: On the Oxygen Concentrator Store support page
  • Contact form: Submit an online ticket, and a representative will respond within one business day.

The Oxygen Concentrator Store website also has a detailed product support page with information on cleaning, maintenance, and use of portable oxygen concentrators.

Our Reviews Team’s customer service experience

A member of our Reviews Team called the Oxygen Concentrator Store to learn more information about all of the brands and models in this list. It took less than 30 seconds to get a representative on the line, and he was friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable about every model we asked about.

He shared that all of the portable oxygen machines sold through Oxygen Concentrator Store come with a free seven-day trial period. If you find the unit you’ve purchased has mechanical problems, is hard to use, or just isn’t a good fit for you, simply call the store to receive a shipping label. Then you can send the unit back (at your own cost) and exchange it for a different one. 

Shipping takes about three to five business days, but Oxygen Concentrator Store also offers two-day and overnight shipping.

After sharing details of the various models over the phone, the representative offered to email the information as well and gave us his direct phone number for any future questions. 

He also said even if we didn’t buy a unit from Oxygen Concentrator Store, he would be happy to answer questions and provide help in the future. We were very pleased with the customer service experience; it felt like we were learning about portable oxygen concentrators rather than enduring a high-pressure sales call.

How do portable oxygen concentrators work?

Portable oxygen concentrators convert outside air into almost pure oxygen with the following steps:

  1. Draws outside air (about 80% nitrogen and 20% oxygen) into the unit 
  2. Filters the air to remove any contaminants
  3. Compresses the filtered air
  4. Passes the filtered and compressed air through a sieve bed that extracts the nitrogen 

The resulting air is about 95% oxygen, which flows from the machine through tubing connected to the machine on one end and to a nasal cannula or face mask on the other end. 

For more information, the American Lung Association has a webpage with helpful videos showing how to use a portable oxygen concentrator.3

Oxygen delivery/flow types

Portable oxygen concentrators deliver either a continuous flow of oxygen, measured in liters per minute (LPM), or a pulse flow (also called intermittent flow). Pulse flow delivery systems produce a puff of oxygen every time you breathe. 

Some concentrators can deliver oxygen by either pulse or continuous flow, depending on the setting you choose. Other devices only provide one type of flow. For example, most portable concentrators (including all of the models in this review) offer only pulse flow settings.

It’s important to know which type of flow you need and the amount of oxygen (in LPM) your prescription is written for when buying a portable oxygen machine. If you’re unsure of these details, check with your health care provider.

Who should use a portable oxygen concentrator?

If you need supplemental oxygen (also known as oxygen therapy), you’re not alone. The American Thoracic Society estimates 1.5 million adults in the United States use oxygen therapy. 4

People with a variety of conditions may benefit from supplemental oxygen. According to the American Lung Association, these conditions include:5

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Emphysema
  • Pneumonia
  • Severe asthma
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Sleep apnea
  • Anemia

When your body is not getting enough oxygen, you might feel confused, weak, tired, or breathless. Low oxygen levels can also cause other health problems over time, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).6 Supplemental oxygen can help relieve these symptoms and improve your overall health. 

If you have a diagnosed need for extra oxygen but don’t want to be tied to a stationary, in-home oxygen unit, you may enjoy the independence and freedom a portable oxygen concentrator can give you. Being able to go out with friends and family, travel, and/or enjoy activities outside of the house are all possible with portable oxygen concentrators. 

Because portable units are designed to be lightweight, they aren’t as powerful as stationary, in-home oxygen systems. As a result, the portable oxygen concentrators currently on the market can only provide an oxygen output of up to 3 LPMs. If your prescription is written for more than this amount, a portable unit won’t meet your needs, so you’ll need to look for an in-home oxygen system instead.

Many portable oxygen concentrators weigh fewer than five pounds and can be worn as a shoulder bag or backpack, allowing you to do all of your normal activities while getting the oxygen you need. Heavier oxygen machines—like the Inogen One G5 with a double battery—can also be strapped onto a mobile cart and rolled like a suitcase.

What to look for in a portable oxygen concentrator

Portable oxygen concentrators vary in their maximum amount of oxygen output (measured in liters per minute), type of oxygen flow (continuous or pulse), weight, noise level, battery life, and warranty. You’ll need to think about each factor as you’re deciding which model is the best for your needs.

Current oxygen needs

Your oxygen needs are the first place to start when shopping for portable oxygen concentrators. Check your prescription to see what your doctor has written for oxygen amount and type of flow.

Future oxygen needs

It’s also a good idea to think about your future oxygen needs. You may only need one LPM now, but if you have a chronic disease like COPD, you may want to choose an oxygen concentrator that’s best for COPD, with a maximum output that’s above your current needs. This way you won’t need to replace your concentrator with a more powerful one if your oxygen needs increase. 

Battery life

Before narrowing down your choices, consider how long you’ll need to use your portable oxygen concentrator when you leave the house. Do you only go out to run quick errands, or do you enjoy spending full days out of the house? Do you enjoy traveling? These are all factors that will affect which battery-operated concentrator is the best fit for you.

Warranty length and type of coverage

Warranties vary among manufacturers of portable oxygen concentrators, both in terms of length and what they cover. One thing to ask about is when the warranty starts. Some companies begin their warranty on the date the unit is put on a store’s shelves (whether brick-and-mortar or online), not when it arrives at your house. 

For example, if a portable oxygen concentrator has been sitting on the shelf for three months before you buy it, you may have lost three months of your warranty. Other companies don’t start the warranty period until you purchase the unit, and this is obviously better for you as the customer.

How much do portable oxygen concentrators cost?

Portable oxygen concentrators cost between $4,000 and $4,500 from the manufacturer, although you can often find them in the range of $2,500 to $4,000 from online retailers such as the Oxygen Concentrator Store and others. Used portable oxygen concentrators are even less expensive, at a cost of $800 to $2,000. 

Does Medicare cover portable oxygen concentrators?

Oxygen concentrators are considered durable medical equipment, and as such they’re covered under Medicare Part B if certain criteria for medical necessity are met. Medicare will cover the cost of renting oxygen equipment and accessories under the following conditions:7

  • You have a prescription from a doctor listing your need for supplemental oxygen (either a specific medical condition or a statement that oxygen therapy may improve your health)
  • You have been diagnosed with low blood oxygen levels (hypoxemia) through a test conducted by your doctor or other health care provider (not an oxygen equipment supplier)
  • Other measures to raise your blood oxygen levels haven’t been successful

Your doctor will be required to complete paperwork and provide documentation on the medical necessity of a portable oxygen concentrator. If you have questions about this requirement, your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (or SHIP), can help. You can find your local SHIP counselor at www.shiphelp.org.

It’s more common for Medicare to cover the rental of in-home oxygen units rather than portable oxygen concentrators. Medicare providers may pay for portable oxygen concentrator rentals on a case-by-case basis, though, if they decide it would be beneficial for you either as a sole source of oxygen or as a supplement to an in-home unit.8

Keep in mind Medicare will not cover the purchase of a portable oxygen concentrator, only the rental. See Medicare.gov for more information.

If you buy a portable oxygen concentrator, Medicare will help pay for oxygen-related supplies and services such as:

  • Tubing, masks, and nasal cannulas (nose tubes)
  • Maintenance and repairs

After you meet your deductible for the year, you will only pay 20% of the Medicare-approved cost of those supplies.9

Oxygen Concentrator Store does not bill Medicare directly, so that’s something you’ll have to handle.

Does insurance cover portable oxygen concentrators?

Some private insurance companies will pay for part or all of the costs of oxygen concentrators, but plans vary quite a bit. Contact your insurance provider to see what your plan covers.

You can also use NCOA’s Benefits CheckUp tool to see what other discounts and savings you qualify for.

How to save money on portable oxygen concentrators

If you are in need of supplemental oxygen, also called oxygen therapy, you may be concerned about the expense of owning and using an oxygen tank or concentrator. Thankfully, you can save money on these units in a variety of ways. 

Buy a used portable oxygen concentrator

If you can’t afford to purchase a new portable oxygen concentrator, consider looking for a used one from your local DME provider. They typically run between $800 and $2,000, which is about a third of the cost of new units. Oxygen Concentrator Store also sells gently used portable oxygen concentrators.

Christopher Norman, a New York-based nurse practitioner who specializes in geriatric care (the care of older adults) and holistic health, gave the following tips for people thinking about buying a used portable oxygen concentrator. “As with anything you might buy, I would always advise asking about the equipment’s history. Was it maintained appropriately [and] cleaned regularly (oil-based cleaners can gum up the works, whereas water-based cleaners are usually safe); what kind of environment was it maintained in (smoking household, lots of pets, etc.); has it ever been serviced and by whom; and what is its purchase history (maybe you’re actually getting it third or fourth hand)? I would advise a person to never buy used tubing (the nasal cannula) or used filters due to risk for infection or other transmissible illness concerns,” said Norman.

Rent a portable oxygen concentrator instead of buying one

Some people need supplemental oxygen and already have an in-home unit, but they may want to rent a portable oxygen concentrator for an upcoming trip or other time away from home. Or you may want to rent a unit for a few weeks to see if it’s a good fit for your needs. 

While renting may not be a good choice if you have a long-term requirement for oxygen therapy, it could be a great fit for someone who needs a portable oxygen concentrator temporarily. This may include people who are recovering from COVID-19, pneumonia, or another short-term respiratory illness.

Not all portable oxygen concentrators are available to lease, but certain models are. For example, the Oxygen Concentrator Store offers Inogen and Respironics units for rental starting at $210 per week. 

Renting can save you thousands of dollars up front, especially considering Medicare Part B will pay for the rental of portable oxygen concentrators—as well as some other types of oxygen equipment.

Talking to your doctor about how long you’ll need to use supplemental oxygen can help you decide whether it’s best to rent or buy a portable oxygen machine. 

How long do portable oxygen concentrators last?

Most concentrators last three to five years before needing to be replaced.

Bottom line

Supplemental oxygen is sometimes necessary for relieving symptoms of a respiratory or cardiac disease and improving a person’s quality of life. If you are facing the need for oxygen therapy, know that it doesn’t mean your normal activities have to end! 

If you’re on a budget, our Reviews Team recommends the Invacare Platinum as the “Most Affordable Portable Oxygen Concentrator.” For those who value ease of use, we rated Philips Respironics SimplyGo Mini as “Easiest to Use.” If you’re looking for a POC that’s easy to carry, we selected the Inogen One G4 as “Smallest Portable Oxygen Concentrator.” If you’re a frequent flier, the Inogen One G5, which we ranked as “Best for Air Travel”, may be a good choice. And lastly, for those who want to ensure their POC can function as long as possible between charges, we chose CAIRE Freestyle Comfort as “Best Battery Life.”

You can—and should—continue to enjoy outings with your family and friends, and a portable oxygen concentrator will go a long way in helping you do that. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about this review? Email us at reviewsteam@ncoa.org.

Sources

1 Fingerman KL et al. “ariety is the Spice of Late Life: Social Integration and Daily Activity. Found on the internet at https://academic.oup.com/psychsocgerontology/article/75/2/377/5292329

2 Shu CC, et al. The ability of physical activity in reducing mortality risks and cardiovascular loading and in extending life expectancy in patients with COPD. Found on the internet at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-00728-2

3 American Lung Association. Getting Started with a Portable Oxygen Concentrator. Found on the internet at https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-procedures-and-tests/oxygen-therapy/getting-started-portable-oxygen-concentrator

4 Annals of the American Thoracic Society. Optimizing Home Oxygen Therapy: an Official American Thoracic Society Workshop Report. Found on the internet at https://www.atsjournals.org/doi/10.1513/AnnalsATS.201809-627WS

5 American Lung Association. Oxygen Therapy. Found on the internet at https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-procedures-and-tests/oxygen-therapy

6 National Institutes of Health. Oxygen Therapy. Found on the internet at https://medlineplus.gov/oxygentherapy.html

7 Medicare.gov. Oxygen Equipment and Accessories. Found on the internet at https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/oxygen-equipment-accessories

8 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Home Use of Oxygen. Found on the internet at https://www.cms.gov/medicare-coverage-database/view/ncd.aspx?NCDId=169

9 Medicare.gov. Oxygen Equipment and Accessories. Found on the internet at https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/oxygen-equipment-accessories

10 Federal Aviation Administration. Acceptance Criteria for Portable Oxygen Concentrators. Found on the internet at https://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/cabin_safety/portable_oxygen

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