By Ayla Girouard, LPN
Medically Reviewed by Elizabeth Lyda, RRT
Reviewed by Kathleen Cameron, BSPharm, MPH, Senior Director, NCOA Center for Healthy Aging
- CAIRE manufactures portable and stationary oxygen concentrators to accommodate oxygen users at home and on-the-go.
- CAIRE portable units are lightweight, quiet, and include an extended battery life.
- CAIRE oxygen concentrators are competitively priced with other brands on the market.
CAIRE produces respiratory care and oxygen products for personal and professional use. Our Reviews Team named the CAIRE Freestyle Comfort as the unit with “Longest Battery Life” in our review of the best portable oxygen concentrators. In our review of the best home oxygen concentrators, we featured the CAIRE Companion 5 as the “Best Value” due to its lower price than comparable units and its power-saving technology.
According to our Reviews Team’s January 2023 survey of oxygen concentrator users, more than half of users with a CAIRE device said that the product improved their ability to have social interactions outside the home and allowed them to resume independent living activities like grocery shopping.1
CAIRE manufactured the first portable oxygen concentrator to receive Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval for use on commercial flights in 2005.2 Now, the company provides oxygen devices and services to places like clinics on Mount Everest, for military units around the world, and even in space exploration laboratories.
This comparison review of CAIRE portable and stationary oxygen concentrators will help you understand the models available, how much they cost, the different oxygen delivery methods, the ease of use, available warranties, and more.
Why you can trust our Reviews Team’s 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 and one respiratory therapist
- Mystery shopped four brands and five models of portable oxygen concentrators
- Reviewed academic research into the efficacy of portable oxygen concentrators
- Read real reviews from verified customers on trusted third-party websites, 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 and one respiratory therapist to learn more about portable oxygen concentrators 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 portable oxygen concentrator unit:
- Ease of use
- Oxygen delivery method
- Number of settings
- Battery life
- Time to recharge battery
- 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.
CAIRE: Pros and cons
Table 1 Comparison of CAIRE oxygen concentrators, as of February 2023
|CAIRE model||Freestyle Comfort||Eclipse 5||Companion 5||NewLife Intensity|
|Battery life||8 hours||5 hours||AC power||AC power|
|Type of flow||Pulse||Pulse and continuous||Continuous||Continuous|
|Flow settings||1–5||1–9 pulse, 0.5–3 continuous||0.5–5||2–10|
|Max oxygen output by liters per minute (L/min)||1||3||5||10|
|Noise level in decibels (dB)||39||40||50||55|
|Warranty or protection plan||3 years||3 years||3 years||3 years|
*Oxygen concentrator pricing can be higher if you live in Massachusetts or New Jersey, which require a licensed respiratory therapist to deliver, set up, and adjust the oxygen dose of your concentrator.
CAIRE oxygen concentrator reviews
Weight: 5 pounds
Dimensions: 7.3 inches wide x 10 inches high x 3.1 inches deep
Battery life: 8 hours
Battery charging time: 3.5 hours
Delivery/flow type: Pulse flow
Range of flow settings: 1–5
Noise level: 39 decibels (setting 2), quieter than most refrigerators
Oxygen concentrator accessories: Carrying bag, AC and DC power cables, cannula
At 5 pounds (equal to a 10-inch cast iron skillet), the Freestyle Comfort is CAIRE’s most lightweight portable oxygen concentrator. Its standard 8-cell battery can last up to eight hours and you can purchase a double size 16-cell battery which will power the unit for up to 16 hours of use. With the 16-cell battery, this portable unit is capable of providing you with oxygen away from home for almost an entire day. The ergonomic curved design of the Freestyle Comfort sits close and comfortable against your body, reducing movement of the machine as you walk. The color LED display includes a large, easy-to-read font, and the glow-in-the-dark keypad makes it easy to read and adjust your settings, even in dim lighting.
Despite its small size, the Freestyle Comfort features lots of useful technology. AutoSAT senses your breathing rate and automatically adjusts your oxygen dose delivery to make sure you receive the correct dose, even if your breathing is faster or slower than usual. While pulse doses are typically triggered by inhaling, the autoDOSE feature delivers doses automatically if your breath is not detected. UltraSense technology ensures even weak, shallow breaths are detected to trigger pulse doses.
The Freestyle Comfort can connect with myCAIRE Telehealth Solution, which is the name of CAIRE’s online user portal and mobile app. This app wirelessly connects your oxygen concentrator to an Apple or Android device. Through myCAIRE, you can review the operating stats from your concentrator like average dose and run time, view device notifications, access the user manual, and request service. The app can also connect wirelessly to your care team (which may be your doctor, respiratory therapist, and/or other health care providers) through Wi-Fi or cellular service to ensure you can easily get in touch with your care providers.
The Freestyle Comfort is a highly capable oxygen concentrator, but it only offers pulse dosing with a maximum available dose of 1,050 milliliters per minute (mL/min). This device is not suitable for anyone who needs continuous flow oxygen, or oxygen doses above roughly 1 liter per minute (L/min).
Weight: 18.4 pounds
Dimensions: 12.3 inches wide x 19.3 inches high x 7.1 inches deep
Battery life: 5 hours
Battery charging time: 1.8–5 hours
Delivery/flow type: Pulse flow and continuous flow
Range of flow settings: Pulse flow 1–9, continuous flow 0.5-3 L/min in 0.5 L increments
Noise level: 40 decibels on pulse setting 3, 48 decibels on continuous setting 3 L/min, about the sound of a refrigerator
Oxygen concentrator accessories: Carrying bag, carrying cart, AC and DC power cords, cannula
The CAIRE Eclipse 5 is a portable oxygen concentrator that can deliver oxygen through pulse or continuous flow. This combination is often ideal if you are active and use oxygen around the clock. Pulse flow delivers an oxygen dose each time you inhale, while continuous flow steadily delivers oxygen regardless of your breathing rate or depth. This is an important feature if you require oxygen at night for things like sleep apnea—shallow or uneven breathing during sleep—as continuous flow oxygen is preferred for sleep over pulse flow.3 This device has an LCD display with a large font that can display dosing in either liters per minute or milliliters per minute, so you can always be sure it’s delivering an accurate dose.
With the Eclipse 5, autoSAT technology automatically adjusts oxygen flow to your breathing rate, autoDOSE makes sure you are still getting oxygen doses if no breathing is detected, and UltraSense allows even weak breaths to trigger pulse flow delivery. This model can connect with myCAIRE Telehealth Solution, CAIRE’s mobile app and online portal that allows users to connect with providers, receive notifications, and monitor device stats.
To offer continuous flow capability, this model has a larger motor and battery than many other portable models. Because of that, the Eclipse 5 weighs 18.4 pounds. By comparison, two gallons of water weighs 16.69 pounds. Most users will need to use the rolling cart, which can be cumbersome compared to a smaller unit like the Freestyle Comfort, especially in tighter spaces.
Weight: 36 pounds
Dimensions: 12.5 inches wide x 21.5 inches high x 13.5 inches deep
Battery life: AC power
Battery charging time: n/a
Delivery/flow type: Continuous flow
Range of flow settings: 0.5–5 L/min
Noise level: 50 decibels at 2 L/min (similar to the sound of a running refrigerator)
Oxygen concentrator accessories: Cannula
The Companion 5 is a stationary oxygen concentrator designed for home use. It is capable of delivering up to 5 liters per minute of oxygen by continuous flow, and oxygen is adjusted by a dial on the front of the unit. At 36 pounds (approximately the weight of a cinder block), this model is relatively lightweight compared to other stationary concentrators, and the included wheels make it easier to move it to the desired location in your home. With an operating volume of around 50 decibels, it has a noise level similar to a refrigerator.4 This can help limit disruptions to your sleep or quiet daily activities.
This concentrator runs on AC power from a standard wall outlet, eliminating the need to worry about battery life and charging. The unit’s front LED display shows hours used and multiple alarm codes. Power failure, general unit malfunction, and flow rate error alarms ensure problems with power or oxygen delivery can be addressed quickly. The Companion 5 has a humidifier bottle stand that supports a humidification bottle when in use, which moisturizes the oxygen going into your airway. This is beneficial as constant oxygen use can dry your airway and cause discomfort.
The Companion 5 isn’t the right choice if you need oxygen doses more than 5 liters per minute. While it’s ideal for use at home, this unit is not meant to be portable and is not made for those who want to be active while using oxygen away from home. The unit also does not include a battery backup in case of power failures.
Weight: 58 pounds
Dimensions: 16.5 inches wide x 27.5 inches high x 14.5 inches deep
Battery life: AC powered
Battery charging time: n/a
Delivery/flow type: Continuous flow
Range of flow settings: 2–10 L/min
Noise level: 55 decibels (about the sound of running refrigerator or a quiet office)
Oxygen concentrator accessories: Cannula
The NewLife Intensity is CAIRE’s highest flow oxygen concentrator. It is a stationary unit capable of oxygen delivery from 2 liters per minute up to 10 liters per minute, which makes it a good option for a range of higher oxygen therapy needs. This unit is best if you live at home or in a long-term care or assisted living setting. It is heavy—58 pounds—but still relatively compact at roughly two feet tall and 16 inches wide. It has essential safety alarms to alert you in the event of power failure, high temperature, high or low pressure, and low oxygen concentration levels.
This device’s lowest dose delivery is 2 liters per minute, so it is not an option if you need a lesser oxygen dose. The NewLife Intensity is made for average-to-high flow oxygen patients and is not a portable unit. With a weight of 58 pounds, it won’t be the best choice if you like to move around while receiving supplemental oxygen. This unit also does not have a battery backup in case of power outages.
How much do CAIRE oxygen concentrators cost?
CAIRE oxygen concentrators range in price between $1,400–$4,100. Its portable oxygen concentrator models are more expensive than the stationary models due to more advanced technology that allows for a compact size, pulse flow capability, and rechargeable batteries.
Why might pricing vary?
If you live in Massachusetts or New Jersey, you may see a higher price for your oxygen concentrator. These states require a licensed respiratory therapist to deliver, set up, and titrate (adjust the oxygen dose of) your concentrator. The cost of this service is reflected in the total price of the unit. This requirement can be beneficial as it offers an opportunity to ask questions and be sure your device is properly set up.
Does insurance or Medicare cover oxygen concentrators?
Insurance coverage will always depend on your individual plan, but in general most insurance providers will require proof that your doctor determined oxygen therapy to be medically necessary before approving any amount of coverage. Oxygen concentrators can’t be purchased without an oxygen prescription, and your prescription will likely serve as proof of necessity, but it’s a good idea to check with your insurance company to find out what you need to qualify for coverage before shopping for a device.
Medicare has specific terms for coverage of oxygen concentrators.5 Once your doctor has determined you need oxygen therapy, Medicare will cover the rental of an oxygen concentrator for 36 months. After that period, your oxygen supplier is required to continue providing your oxygen equipment rental for another 24 months. That is a total of five years of coverage. If your oxygen is still medically necessary after five years, Medicare will start a new 36-month term for your equipment rental.
How to pay for CAIRE oxygen concentrators
Cash is always an option for purchasing an oxygen concentrator, but these devices may be more affordable with other payment options.
Health savings account (HSA): An HSA is an account for saving pre-tax money to use for health expenses.6 The full list of qualifying expenses includes oxygen concentrators and related oxygen therapy equipment.7
Flexible spending account (FSA): An FSA is an account established and maintained by your employer. These accounts use pre-tax funds that are deposited from your paycheck at a rate you determine. This money is used to reimburse certain qualifying purchases like oxygen equipment.
CareCredit: CareCredit is a credit card exclusively for health care expenses.8 Eligibility for CareCredit is always subject to credit approval. If approved, you can use it to purchase oxygen concentrators and oxygen supplies at any retailer that participates in the CareCredit network.
Affirm: Some online retailers, like the Oxygen Concentrator Store, may offer financing through Affirm for certain devices. Affirm is a loan from a third party financial institution, paid back in monthly installments. The Oxygen Concentrator Store currently offers Affirm financing for all CAIRE concentrator models.
CAIRE warranty, maintenance, and care
CAIRE offers a three-year manufacturer warranty on its oxygen concentrators.9 Unlike most other concentrator brands, CAIRE’s three-year warranty also covers sieve beds, which are the replaceable components that filter oxygen from the air that is drawn into the concentrator.
Maintenance of CAIRE concentrators is designed to be user-friendly. You’ll need to replace the filters (these filter out particles or pollutants from surrounding air) and the internal sieve beds (or columns). The frequency of replacement will depend on your use of the oxygen concentrator. CAIRE filters range in price from $5–$29. Any other mechanical maintenance or attention to alarms or malfunctions should be handled by the retailer you purchased your device from.
CAIRE customer service
CAIRE oxygen concentrators are sold and serviced by durable medical equipment stores and authorized retailers, like the Oxygen Concentrator Store. Our Reviews Team has found the Oxygen Concentrator Store easy to contact and helpful when looking for pricing, product details, or other information. Its customer service is available through:
- Phone (844-885-9530) available 365 days a year with the following hours:
- 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. MT, Monday through Thursday
- 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. MT, Friday
- 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. MT, Saturday
- 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. MT, Sunday
- Email (email@example.com)
- Contact form on website (https://www.oxygenconcentratorstore.com/contact)
- Live chat on website (https://www.oxygenconcentratorstore.com)
It’s typically best to start by contacting the retailer if you have any questions or concerns about your oxygen concentrator, but you can also contact CAIRE by:
- Oxygen user sales (877-704-0878)
- Oxygen user service and support (833-203-2473)
- Contact form on website (https://www.caireinc.com/patients/contact-us/)
Table 2 CAIRE portable oxygen concentrators vs. other brands comparison, as of February 2023
Portable oxygen concentrator models
Stationary oxygen concentrator models
*Oxygen concentrator pricing can vary if you live in Massachusetts or New Jersey.
CAIRE is a leading name in the oxygen therapy industry, making both portable and stationary concentrators. The Freestyle Comfort is notable for its lightweight, quiet design and long-lasting battery. We also like that it includes a large LED display with a glow-in-the-dark keypad that is easy to read. CAIRE is one of the few companies to extend its full warranty term beyond the device to include sieve beds, and its prices are in line with most competitor pricing. With products that can deliver oxygen in pulse and continuous flow, up to an impressive 10 liters per minute, CAIRE has devices that can accommodate a wide range of oxygen needs.
Frequently asked questions
Have questions about this review? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- NCOA Adviser Portable Oxygen Concentrator Survey. 600 respondents. Conducted using Pollfish. Launched January 2023.
- Pioneers of O2 Delivery. CAIRE. Found on the internet at https://www.caireinc.com/providers/one-caire/pioneers-of-o2-delivery/
- Contemporary portable oxygen concentrators and diverse breathing behaviours — a bench comparison. BMC Pulmonary Medicine. November 19, 2019. Found on the internet at https://bmcpulmmed.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12890-019-0980-x
- Decibel Level Comparison Chart. Yale. Found on the internet at https://ehs.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/decibel-level-chart.pdf
- Oxygen Equipment Coverage. Medicare. Found on the internet at https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/oxygen-equipment-accessories
- Health Savings Account (HSA). Healthcare.gov. Found on the internet at https://www.healthcare.gov/glossary/health-savings-account-hsa/
- 2021 Publication 502. IRS. Found on the internet at https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p502.pdf
- Portable Oxygen Concentrator Cost and Financing. Care Credit. Found on the internet at https://www.carecredit.com/well-u/health-wellness/portable-oxygen-concentrator-costs/
- Concentrator Limited Warranty Statement. CAIRE. Found on the internet at https://files.caireinc.com/20787463_D_CONCENTRATOR_B2B_Limited_Warranty_Terms_web.pdf