Portable Oxygen Concentrators vs. Home Oxygen Concentrator
Oxygen concentrators have become the oxygen source of choice, leaving oxygen tanks to older medical supply companies that still have them in inventory. Oxygen concentrators offer greater convenience and flexibility for oxygen patients. They are reliable, safe and offer greater freedom and independence. Some concentrators are highly mobile, operating from multiple power sources. There are basically two types of concentrators—stationary oxygen concentrators and portable oxygen concentrators. This article will examine and compare these two types of concentrators and present the top 3 ranking concentrators for each type.
What are the big difference between a portable oxygen concentrator and a stationary oxygen concentrator?
There are important differences between portable oxygen concentrators and stationary or home oxygen concentrators. Although they are both designed to provide concentrated oxygen to therapy patients, the differences are significant and affect the purchase decision. The key differences between these two types of concentrators can be compared within four major factors—oxygen output, size and weight, power options and price.
Size and Weight
Size and weight are significant when you are carrying your oxygen with you wherever you go. Portable oxygen concentrators are much smaller is size, nearly half the size of a home oxygen concentrator. The smaller size makes them easy to negotiate narrow doorways, crowded hallways, busy shopping aisles and other tight areas. For portability, smaller is better. Traveling with a stationary concentrator is nearly impossible and definitely not advisable.
Regarding weight, portable concentrators average only 1/3 the weight of a stationary concentrator. Portable oxygen concentrators of less than 10 pounds are often carried in a backpack or shoulder bag. Concentrators weighing between 10 and 20 pounds are often pulled in lightweight carts behind the patient. Concentrators above 20 pounds are usually considered to be stationary concentrators. Although nearly all stationary concentrators have wheels attached to easily move them from room to room, they are not used outside of the home or office. For size and weight, portable oxygen concentrators have the decisive advantage over stationary concentrators.
The largest and the smallest oxygen concentrator are made by the same company, AirSep. The AirSep Intensity 10 has a size of 6488 cubic inches and a weight of 58 pounds while the AirSep Focus has a size of 76.8 cubic inches and a weight of 1.75 pounds including the battery. That constitutes a huge difference between the smallest portable concentrator and the largest stationary concentrator.
There is a trade-off for small size and less weight and that is performance or oxygen output. The smaller portable concentrators produce less oxygen than the larger stationary concentrators. To reduce the weight and size of a portable concentrator, manufacturers design a significantly smaller oxygen generator. This smaller generator currently produces a maximum oxygen output of less than 3 liters per minute. Most home oxygen concentrators provide 5 to 10 liters of oxygen per minute. This equates to two to five times the amount of oxygen per minute more than portable concentrators. Oxygen patients requiring five or more liters per minute require a home oxygen concentrator; a portable oxygen concentrator is insufficient. For oxygen output, the stationary oxygen concentrators have the decisive advantage.
Another consideration for oxygen output is continuous flow oxygen vs. pulse flow oxygen. Portable oxygen concentrators use pulse flow oxygen to reduce the size and weight of the concentrator. Pulse flow oxygen provides a puff of oxygen during the inhale cycle and nothing during exhale to conserve its concentrated oxygen delivery. Continuous oxygen flow runs constantly during both inhaling and exhaling. Most oxygen patients can function fine on pulse flow but there are some who require higher doses of oxygen for survival. Consult you physician to see what would be appropriate for your individual needs.
Oxygen concentrators that can operate on multiple power sources offer greater utility and flexibility. Some concentrators can operate from their own internal power source, requiring recharging after two to nine hours of operation. Some concentrators can also operate from a car, boat or RV battery. Other concentrators can only operate from an AC power source. Nearly all stationary oxygen concentrators operate solely from an AC power source while nearly all portable oxygen concentrators can operate from a DC or AC power source. For power options, portable oxygen concentrators offers the best advantage.
A significant amount of engineering is involved to achieve the smaller size of portable oxygen concentrators. The smaller the size and the lower the weight, the higher the manufacturing costs. For that reason, portable oxygen concentrator prices are 3 to 6 times the price of a stationary oxygen concentrator.
Stationary oxygen concentrators have higher oxygen output and lower prices. Portable oxygen concentrators offer smaller size and less weight as well as greater flexibility with power sources. For oxygen patients requiring 5 or more liters of oxygen per minute, a home oxygen concentrator is the best choice. For patients who live active lives and are often away from an AC power source, a portable oxygen concentrator is the best choice.
Many oxygen patients are likely to choose both a stationary and portable concentrator to economize their investment. Since the lifespan of a portable concentrator ranges between 800 to 1,500 hours, it is a wise decision to use a less expensive concentrator when at home or whenever you are around an AC power source and a portable concentrator when on the go. Most patients tend to log more hours using their concentrators at home than they do away from their home. It is more economical to conserve the hours on your portable concentrator for when you are away from AC power. Generally, you can purchase up to four stationary concentrators for the price of one good portable concentrator.
Best Oxygen Concentrators for Both Continuous/ Pulse Flow Oxygen and 24/7 Operation
Oxygen patients who travel frequently may want to consider one of the 24/7 capable portable concentrators. These types of portable concentrators can function well for several weeks non-stop while away from your home concentrator. Currently there are four 24/7 capable portables that can provide both continuous flow oxygen and pulse flow oxygen which are listed below.
Mild urinary incontinence can happen to anyone -- from new mothers to athletes and active seniors. Thankfully, there are many hassle-free internal catheter alternatives to prevent mild or even temporary incontinence from running your life.
As you may know, surgically inserted catheters may be necessary to treat severe urinary incontinence or bladders that don't completely empty. Unfortunately, catheter insertion can be quite painful. Beyond this, catheters require special care to prevent unpleasant urinary tract infections (UTI). Catheters can also impair your ability to fully engage in the day-to-day activates that you enjoy because they can limit mobility.
These drawbacks mean catheters may not be ideal for treating temporary or mild incontinence.
Fortunately, there are catheter alternatives that are discreet, sanitary, comfortable and economical. Let's review Vitality Medical's most popular incontinence supplies -- penile clamps, compression pouches, pads, protective underwear, muscle training and underpads:
Which Catheter Alternative is Right for Me?
Gender is a logical place to start when determining what incontinence supplies can help manage light or temporary incontinence.
For Him: There are wearable male incontinence products that boost confidence and prevent incontinence-related worries from slowing you down. The following are ideal for men recovering from prostate surgery or experiencing minor urinary control issues due to age or injury:
Penile clamps -- Don't be fooled by the name, penile clamps (also called incontinence clamps) are anatomically designed for all-day comfort and maximum control. These rewashable clamps come in different sizes (or have special features) to accommodate virtually any man. The clamps can be worn during daily activities and easily fit through zippers.
How they work: Some are shaped like clamps that the penis is inserted into. Others essentially wrap around the penis shaft. Regardless of style, every penile clamp maintains blood flow throughout the penis while gently maintaining pressure on the urethra to prevent leakage.
- Tip: Travelers needn't worry; many incontinence clamps do not contain metal. These units slip through metal detectors at airports and other public venues.
Compression pouches -- These disposable pouches cover part of the penis and gently compress the urethra to control urine flow. They also protect clothing from stray urine droplets. Virtually undistinguishable under clothing, the ACTICUF Male Dribbling Incontinence Pad Pouch is a breeze to use in public urinals where privacy is at a premium.
For Her: Women have several cost-effective pads and undergarments with incontinence protection that far exceeds traditional panty guards. However, these incontinence items are every bit as comfortable and economical as everyday garments, giving you the additional confidence to tackle your day with poise.
Pads -- Several pads (also called insert pads or large insert pads) are worn with regular underwear and come in varying absorbency levels. Available in regular or long, these pads all carry an adhesive strip to keep them in place during as you run the marathon that we call life.
- Tip: Look for attributes such as pH balance (for odor reduction) and moisture-wicking properties to keep you comfortable if urine leakage occurs. TENA Serenity Heavy Absorbency Pads are a popular example because they feature a Dry-Fast Core that traps moisture away from the skin.
Protective Underwear -- Incontinence undergarments have come a long way in design, comfort and quality. Mimicking traditional underwear in look and feel, these garments provide maximum ventilation to maintain skin health/integrity. They are perfect for use with pads.
- Tip: While disposable adult protective underwear is available, environmentally (and wallet) friendly mesh pants can be an economical option. For example, TENA's Comfort Mesh Pants are economical to purchase and are reusable up to 50 times.
Muscle training -- Pelvic floor strength is often overlooked, but critical to overall health and managing urinary incontinence. Pelvic muscles support the bowel, bladder and uterus. Weak muscles could trigger urinal incontinence while laughing, coughing/sneezing or during exercise.
- For your consideration: The Kegelmaster 2000 is a spring-operated vaginal exerciser that strengthens pelvic floor muscles through variable, progressive resistance. This FDA-approved device is clinically proven to alleviate urine leakage/incontinence. It's also a leading product in Vitality Medical's Just For Women line because it is the only resistance pelvic exerciser on the market.
For everyone: What else should I consider?
Underpads (commonly called Chux) are available to minimize the impact of incontinence on day-to-day living. These cost-effective pads protect mattresses, furniture or wheelchairs from wetness and accompanying odors. If an accident occurs, they are easy to dispose, keeping your home sanitary.
Look for underpads that minimize rustling noises, a non-slip backing to keep them in place while you sleep and have a core that features microbeads or another super-absorbent material.
- Fashionista alert: While many underpads emphasize function over form, Sure Fit's elegant-looking Matelasse Damask Furniture Cover, lets you have your cake and eat it too! Carrying a classic damask-pattern inspired by French matelasse and available in several colors, these reusable covers add flair (and protection) to your favorite furniture.
- Ready to roll: Stylish, yet absorbent, wheelchair pads are also available. These are custom-designed to address the unique needs of wheelchair users including non-slip backing and an anti-fungal finish. The Salk CareFor Deluxe Designer Print Reusable Wheelchair Pad is a popular choice among Vitality Medical customers.
Whether treating temporary incontinence after childbirth, actively managing a long-term illness or recovering from injury, Vitality Medical has catheter alternatives to suit your lifestyle and budget.
Scooters make taking a quick trip to the supermarket, library or friend's house easy and most of all - fun. So, how can you choose the right mobility scooter for you? There are a few things that you will want to consider before you purchase a mobility scooter. Choosing the right mobility scooter will depend heavily upon a number of factors: level of mobility, budget and personal preference. The sooner you determine which scooter is right for you, the sooner you can start enjoying the ride!
Fun vs Serious Scooter Designs
When choosing a scooter, one of the first things you'll probably take into consideration is the overall design of the scooter. Fortunately, there are plenty of different types of scooters in a wide variety of designs - from fresh and funky, to more streamlined and serious. Are you looking for a mobility scooter that will turn heads while you're riding it? You might enjoy the eye-catching Pretty In Pink Scooter from eWheels. Are you looking for something a little more masculine? The aptly-named Dude Scooter by eWheels is right up your alley.
Different Types of Three Wheel Mobility Scooters
- Three Wheel Indoor and Outdoor Scooters: A three wheel scooter is an ideal choice for you if you primarily used your scooter both indoors and outdoors. Three wheels scooters provide users with lots of leg room and have a tight turning radius for sharp corners.
- Three Wheel Travel Scooters: Three wheel travel scooters are compact and designed to negotiate narrow spaces. Typically designed to be lightweight, a three wheel travel scooter might be the ideal choice for you if you're looking for a mobility scooter to use for outings, vacations, shopping or errands.
- Three Wheel Heavy Duty Scooters: If you're looking for a mobility scooter specifically built for a larger body frame, then a three wheel heavy duty scooter might be the ideal choice for you. Heavy duty scooters can usually accommodate weight ranges from 300 lbs. and up. They also feature a tight turning radius for easy cornering.
Different Types of Four Wheel Mobility Scooters
- Four Wheel Indoor and Outdoor Scooters: A four wheel scooter is the ideal choice for you if you're searching for a scooter with extra stability. These types of scooters provide a smoother ride on even surfaces and can be used outside sans issue. If you're searching for a scooter that is equipped with speed, comfort and a long battery range, then consider investing in one of these scooters.
- Four Wheel Travel Scooters: If you're searching for a lightweight and compact scooter, you might be interested in a four wheel travel scooter. Ideal for quick trips or for maneuvering around town, these scooters are easy to assemble and are conveniently portable.
- Four Wheel Heavy Duty Scooters: These types of scooters are the largest of the scooter family, and are designed to be fast, dependable and durable. Many of these scooters can accommodate weight capacities between 350 lbs. to 500 lbs.
Important Things to Consider When Choosing a Scooter
There are several things that can affect which mobility scooter is the right choice for you.
- What Is Your Physical Capability?
- Before you purchase a mobility scooter, reflect upon your current physical capacity. Ask yourself: Are you able to sit upright for long periods of time? If so, then you're a good candidate for a mobility scooter. If you have difficulty sitting upright for long periods of time, then you might want to reconsider purchasing a mobility scooter. A scooter requires you to sit upright while using it, so if that is the case. If you have difficulty sitting upright, then a power chair would be a better option for you.
- How Much Weight Should the Scooter Carry?
- Figuring out what your required weight capacity for a scooter is will help you narrow down your choices substantially. When looking at different scooters, take into consideration not only your own weight but the accessories that you will also be carrying with you. The combined weight of the accessories and your own personal weight will help you significantly narrow down your options in terms of which scooter is the correct choice for you. Don't choose a scooter with a weight capacity close to yours; instead, choose a scooter in the next capacity range.
- What Is Your Current Environment Like?
- If you're searching for a mobility scooter to get around the house, you will need to take into consideration how narrow your hallways or bathrooms are. If you live in a smaller, more compact home, then you might want to consider a three-wheel mobility scooter. If you're going to be taking your scooter outside of the house, then you might want to consider investing in a travel scooter, which usually come apart easily for quick transport.
- Indoor or Outdoor Scooter?
- If you're going to be using your scooter outside primarily, then you should look into purchasing a four wheel scooter or perhaps a four wheel heavy duty scooter. Heavy duty scooters have a high weight capacity and larger drive motors, making it an ideal type of scooter for people who require a higher weight capacity and who are going to be taking their scooter on long excursions. If you're going to be using your scooter primarily inside, then your best choice is going to be a three wheeled scooter that will maneuver around small spaces without difficulty.
- How Will You Store Your Mobility Scooter?
- If you're going to be transporting your scooter quite a bit, then you will definitely want to choose a scooter that can be quickly assembled and disassembled. Additionally, you will need to check the dimensions of the scooter to make sure that it will fit safely into the back of your car. If you can afford it, it might be ideal for you to have multiple scooters for both home and travel.
Talking to Your Doctor About a Mobility Scooter
If you're really unsure about which scooter is ideal for you, talking to your doctor can help. Because there are so many different types of scooters in a variety of different styles, it can be overwhelming to choose one. But with the input from your doctor, you should be able to narrow down which scooter is the correct choice for you.
Vitality Medical carries a wide variety of different scooters, including three wheel scooters, four wheel scooters, heavy weight scooters and lightweight scooters. You can visit our mobility scooter page to learn more about the different options available to you.