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Oxygen Refill Systems

By March 31, 2016 1646 Views No comments

Medically Edited and Reviewed by Dr. Erin Zinkhan MD, BSBE

Updated: 05/09/2019

What is an oxygen refill system?

Oxygen Cylinder Refill Stations are also known as oxygen transfill systems or homefill oxygen devices. Oxygen cylinder refill stations are devices used to refill portable oxygen cylinders and to fill empty oxygen tanks. These oxygen refill machines pressurize oxygen extracted from air using oxygen concentrator technology to fill empty oxygen tanks. This allows you to safely refill oxygen cylinders within your own home. Patients on oxygen therapy no longer need to depend upon a local oxygen vendor to refill their empty oxygen tanks.

DeVilbiss iFill Personal Oxygen Refill Station

Why use an oxygen refill system?

The ability to fill oxygen cylinders at home provides greater independence and freedom for patients on oxygen. Refilling oxygen at home eliminates time-consuming service calls for oxygen tank pickup and delivery. By filling your own oxygen tanks, you gain greater control over your own schedule and are not dependent upon a third party.

When can you use an oxygen refill system?

Empty oxygen cylinders may be refilled while you sleep, while you are away from the home, or anytime that you have an empty cylinder that requires refilling. You can refill empty oxygen tanks day or night. Just place the cylinder in the refill machine and turn it on. When the cylinder is full, you can use it, or place it in reserve for when you need it. With your own oxygen refilling station, you no longer need to have numerous empty oxygen tanks waiting for the local oxygen vendor to fill or exchange them.

Where can you use an oxygen transfill system?

Oxygen refill stations can be used at home, the office, an RV, or even a boat. Wherever you have access to a 110-120 volt AC electrical system, you can refill oxygen tanks. Just plug it in and turn it on!

Who makes oxygen transfill stations?

Currently three manufacturers produce home oxygen refill systems: Invacare, Respironics, and Drive Medical/DeVilbiss.

Invacare HomeFill

The Invacare HomeFill Compressor was the first oxygen transfill device for home use. The HomeFill has been around for nearly a decade and is the most well-known and popular oxygen refill compressor. The HomeFill is a multi-stage pump that compresses oxygen from an oxygen concentrator to refill empty oxygen cylinders. Invacare also manufactures oxygen concentrators and other respiratory devices.

DeVilbiss iFill

A few years ago, DeVilbiss developed the iFill Personal Oxygen Refill Station. The iFill offers the added advantage of having a built-in oxygen concentrator rather than depending upon a separate oxygen concentrator to supply the tank compressor with oxygen. Additionally, the iFill is equipped with a large cylinder release ring designed for individuals with limited dexterity. Combined with a low price, the iFill offers a great solution for home oxygen therapy patients.

Drive Medical PureFill

The Purefill can operate with any oxygen concentrator that has a transfill port and produces an oxygen concentration greater than 90%, making it compatible with the Pure Oxygen Concentrator, Respironics EverFlo, the Invacare Perfecto 2, and the Platinum 10. This transfill device operates at 55 decibels of noise and comes with a 3-year warranty. Weighing 35 pounds, the PureFill can fill an empty M6 oxygen cylinder in 80 minutes.

Respironics UltraFill

The newest available refill station is the Respironics UltraFill. This oxygen refill system features many advantages above the current market offerings. For example, empty oxygen cylinders can be placed on the UltraFill with just one hand. Oxygen cylinders are easy to connect and disconnect for people of all ages. Its intuitive design makes it easy to use and requires less service to maintain. This refill system automatically detects whether the cylinder is a 2,000 or 3,000 psi cylinder and adjusts accordingly. Cylinders that are partially full can be topped off. The UltraFill's advanced performance and operating factors discussed below make the UltraFill an excellent choice.

How do the four home oxygen refill stations compare?

All four transfill systems have similarities. They all come with a 3-year warranty and three of the four have a maximum operating altitude of at least 6,000 feet above sea level. Currently no data from Drive Medical is available for the maximum operating altitude for the PureFill. All the systems can provide oxygen concentration of 90% or higher. Three of the stations can refill an M6 size oxygen cylinder in 80 minutes or less. Three of the four refill machines require proprietary cylinders to refill. The PureFill may be used to refill any M4, M6, M9, or D oxygen cylinders.

The Size Difference

The DeVilBiss iFill is the largest machine, but it also has a built-in oxygen concentrator. With the addition of an oxygen concentrator to the other two refill stations, the iFill is the smallest size. The Invacare HomeFill is the most lightweight at 33 pounds. The Respironics UltraFill has the smallest size without factoring in the size of an oxygen concentrator.

Size Comparison Invacare
Drive Medical
Width (inches) 20.25 12.25 23 20
Length (inches) 15 28.5 22 9
Height (inches) 16 22.5 8 25.5
Total Cubic Inches 4,860 7,855 4,048 4,590
Weight (pounds) 33 66 35 45

The Performance Difference

Both the iFill and the UltraFill provide oxygen concentration levels between 90 to 96%. Invacare and Drive Medical only specify that the HomeFill and PureFill systems offer an oxygen concentration level of 90% and above. The UltraFill provides the highest operating altitude at 7,500 feet above sea level, while the iFill comes in second at 6,562 feet.

Performance Comparison Invacare
Drive Medical
Oxygen Concentration 90% or higher 90 to 96% 90% or higher 90 to 96%
Operating Altitude 6,000 feet 6,562 feet N/A 7,500 feet

DeVilbiss iFill Oxygen Refill System

The Operating Factors Difference

The Respironics Ultrafill emits the lowest noise level of 44 decibels and consumes the least amount of power at 110 watts, while producing the highest maximum pressure of 3,000 psi. The Ultrafill refills the M6 oxygen cylinder in 65 minutes, which is 10 minutes faster than the iFill or the HomeFill.

Operating Factors Comparison Invacare
Drive Medical
Noise NA 50 55 44
Power Consumption 200 400 110 110
Refill Time minutes to fill M6 cylinder) 75 75 80 65
Maximum Pressure (psi) 2,000 ± 100 2,250 2,000 3,000

The Compatibility Difference

All three manufacturers recommend using only their own proprietary oxygen cylinders with their oxygen refill systems. Invacare and Respironics also recommend only using their own 5 liter and above oxygen concentrators with their refill systems. The DeVilbiss iFill does not need an additional oxygen concentrator.

The Dependability Difference

The Respironics UltraFill comes with a 3-year warranty. The DeVilbiss iFill also comes with a 3-year warranty but the warranty is limited to 3,000 hours of operation. The Invacare HomeFill comes with the shortest warranty of 1 year on the compressor and 3 years or 5,000 hours on parts and labor on both internal wear components and control panel components.

Special Features Difference

The UltraFill has the capability of refilling both 2,000 psi oxygen cylinders as well as 3,000 psi cylinders. The iFill and HomeFill can only refill 2,000 psi cylinders. The iFill has its own internal oxygen concentrator while the HomeFill and the UltraFill require a separate purchase of a home oxygen concentrator of 5 liters or more to supplement the oxygen refill device. The iFill comes with a user-friendly, large cylinder release ring designed for individuals with limited dexterity. The release ring requires very little pressure to depress, making it easy to install and remove oxygen cylinders.

Ranking the Home Oxygen Refill Machines

Invacare HomeFill Oxygen Compressor System

Invacare HomeFill
#1 Lowest Weight

DeVilbiss iFill
#1 Stand alone unit, requires no oxygen concentrator
#1 Tied for highest oxygen concentration levels

Drive Medical PureFill
#1 Smallest Size
#1 Tied for lowest power consumption
#2 Low weight
Compatible with any M4, M6, M9, or D cylinder

Respironics UltraFill
#1 Tied for highest oxygen concentration levels
#1 Highest operating altitude capability
#1 Lowest noise
#1 Lowest power consumption
#1 Fastest refill time
#1 Highest pressure capability, can refill 3,000 psi tanks
#1 Best warranty, 3 years with no maximum hours
#2 Small Size
#2 Low Weight

Ranking Summary

The Respironics UltraFill has many advantages. The features of the UltraFill and its performance are remarkable. However, the UltraFill is also the highest priced transfill system and requires a separate oxygen concentrator, making it even more expensive. On the other hand, the DeVilbiss iFill is priced significantly lower than the UltraFill. When adding the price of an oxygen concentrator to the high price of the UltraFill, the iFill may offer a better value.

Below is a chart that shows the specifications for each transfill station and provides a side-by-side comparison. Highlighted cells depict category leaders.

Transfill Comparison Chart

Transfill Oxygen Refill Comparison

Photo of Burt Cancaster
Burt Cancaster, Author

Vitality Medical
7910 South 3500 East, Suite C
Salt Lake City, UT 84121
(801) 733-4449
[email protected]

Burt Cancaster Profile

Posted in: Respiratory Therapy