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How to Select an Oxygen Concentrator

Suppose you've been prescribed oxygen therapy for low blood oxygen levels or a respiratory condition. In that case, your next step is to select an oxygen concentrator. This may seem overwhelming with the wide selection of oxygen machine types, brands, and models available. But it doesn't have to be.

As experts in the field of oxygen delivery, we have helped countless people like you find the correct oxygen machine for their medical needs and lifestyles. And in this handy oxygen concentrator buyer's guide, you'll learn to select an oxygen concentrator that's just right for you.   

How to Select an Oxygen Concentrator: Buyer's Guide

After years of experience in the oxygen delivery industry, we've determined that these are the top features that help oxygen users select the best oxygen concentrator machine for their needs.

Oxygen Prescription

You will need a prescription for any oxygen delivery device, including an oxygen concentrator. If you get offered a non-prescription oxygen concentrator, don't make the purchase. The seller needs to be a reputable dealer. They may be selling faulty items or counterfeit products and possibly scamming you out of your money.

The United States Food And Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines for purchasing oxygen therapy devices, like oxygen concentrators, are very clear. You will need a medical prescription to buy one. 

If you do not have a prescription for oxygen, no worries. We will set you up with a quick phone from our Tele-Health partner, and then they will send the prescription to us. This is an exclusive service here at Main Clinic Supply, free of charge!

how to choose oxygen concentrator

Liters Per Minute (LPM) - Oxygen Flow Amount 

When you check the features and specifications list for any oxygen concentrator, you'll see the term LPM. This is an abbreviation of liters per minute, referring to the liters of concentrated oxygen per minute that is produced. The doctor usually will indicate your oxygen needs when they do your prescription. 

Large stationary oxygen concentrators are available in 5LPM and 10 LPM, delivering up to 5 or 10 liters of medical-grade oxygen per minute. Portable oxygen concentrators deliver oxygen up to a maximum of 3 LPM of constant flow oxygen and pulse flor settings that correlate to LPM oxygen flow up to a setting of 9.  

Oxygen Flow Delivery

The oxygen flow rate is another critical consideration. There are three types of oxygen delivery: continuous flow, pulse dose, and Inogen's proprietary oxygen delivery, Intelligent Oxygen Delivery. Like LPM, this will be indicated in the list of features of your chosen oxygen concentrator machine.

Continuous flow rate means, what the name implies, a steady flow of oxygen at a specific rate. The oxygen is continuously supplied through the oxygen concentrator's tubing via the nasal cannula or mask. 

Pulse dose oxygen concentrators, on the other hand, are designed to adapt to individual users' needs. They dispense oxygen when sensing that there's a break in breathing patterns. So if you stop inhaling air on your own, it corrects this by administering a dose of oxygen.

Inogen Intelligent Oxygen Delivery, The Inogen One G5, and G4 portable oxygen concentrators deliver 90% (+6%/-3%) oxygen. The Inogen G4 has three flow settings: 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0, while the Inogen G5 has six flow settings: 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, 5.0, and 6.0. The right flow setting for you will depend on your individual needs.

Different oxygen delivery methods are better suited to other respiratory conditions. However, sleep apnea is usually best treated with a CPAP machine (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure). 

oxygen concentrator buying guide

Stationary Oxygen Concentrator vs. Portable Oxygen Concentrator

Your lifestyle and activity levels will influence your stationary or portable oxygen machine choice. Where should I place an oxygen concentrator? If you are confined to bed, or limited mobility, a stationary oxygen concentrator in your bedroom will work well for you.

The main advantage of a portable oxygen concentrator (POC) is, in its name, "Portable" with no attached cords and no tank or bottle storing oxygen. That is made possible by lithium battery technology. Sometimes referred to as a Li-ion battery or (LIB), it is a member of a family of rechargeable battery types in which lithium ions move from the negative electrode to the positive electrode during discharge and back when charging. Li-ion batteries use an intercalated lithium compound as one electrode material, compared to the metallic lithium used in a non-rechargeable lithium battery. The electrolyte, which allows for ionic movement, and the two electrodes are the constituent components of a lithium-ion battery cell.

The rest of the POC works the same as a stationary oxygen concentrator using the same internal working, just much smaller and lighter in weight.

But, if you are still able and willing to lead an active life but need oxygen therapy, a portable oxygen concentrator is the perfect choice. But can portable oxygen concentrators be used 24/7? Yes, as long as they have a power source, either an A/C outlet, an attached lithium-Ion battery, or a D/C power port outlet found in your vehicle. 

You should have one of each - the stationary model for overnight use while sleeping and the portable one for outdoor activities.

how to choose the best portable oxygen concentrator

Value-Added Optional Accessories 

You must transport and carry your oxygen machine easily for true portability and freedom of movement. That's where oxygen machine carts, tote bags, and backpacks come in, each with various innovative features.

Portable oxygen machines are lightweight and compact and often come with optional accessories like a carry bag or backpack for oxygen on the go. The Inogen models we sell have these accessories available for optional purchase. 

You don't have to fear going out in public with your portable oxygen concentrator. These small compact models are far less bulky and more lightweight than older stationary models. Specially designed to fit the dimensions of the Inogen One series, the carry bags and backpacks are also stylish and practical. 

Adjustable straps, useful pockets, and easy-pull zippers make discreet oxygen therapy easier. Some stationary models also feature wheels so that they can be moved from one room to another in your home. It's the perfect meeting point between stationary and portable oxygen concentrator use.

FAA-Approval, Guidelines, and Rules for a Portable Oxygen Concentrator

One of the best advances in oxygen concentrator technology was the move to portability. This opened up a whole new world to oxygen users who were housebound and reliant on stationary oxygen machines or heavy oxygen tanks in the past. 

Because of their design, dimensions, and weight, some oxygen concentrators are more travel-friendly than others. But now you can continue your oxygen therapy on vacation with your portable oxygen concentrator that the FAA approves to fly with you on an airplane; check to see if the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) approves the model you're considering purchasing.

The Inogen portable oxygen concentrator models we sell are FAA-approved. This means you can take them on board a flight, and is excluded from your carry-on luggage count as part of your carry-on luggage without weight restrictions. 

What do the airlines and the FAA require for battery life? The (FAA) Federal Aviation Administration requires oxygen users on board aircraft to carry 150% battery life to meet their oxygen needs while flying on all airlines. The flight hours must include time in the air and layovers between the legs of flights to your final destination airport.  


  • 6 hr non-stop flight will require 9 hrs of battery life......... (6 hrs X 150% = 9 hrs)
  • 8 hr one-stop-flight with a 2 hr layover requires 15 hrs of battery life......... (8 hrs + 2 hrs = 10 hrs X 150% = 15 hrs)

Battery Life, Charging and USA Voltage vs Overseas Voltage

Portable oxygen concentrators for travel can be charged with an A/C outlet, a DC port, or an external battery charger; a battery can be charged without being attached to the concentrator.

A/C outlets are the standard outlets found in homes and buildings. D/C ports are found in vehicles, commonly called cigarette lighter outlets. 

what size oxygen concentrator do i need

Inogen One G5 Battery Options:

*Based on the oxygen flow setting of 2, a higher setting will use more battery power.

  • Small Battery - Lightweight 8-Cell Lithium Ion Battery (Up to 5 Hour Run-time)*
  • Large Battery - Double-Hour 16-Cell Lithium Ion Battery (Up to 9-Hour Run-Time)*
  • An External Battery Charger is available. 

Inogen One G4 Battery Options:

*A higher setting will use more battery power based on the oxygen flow setting of 2.

  • Small Battery - Lightweight 4-Cell Lithium Ion Battery (Up to 2 Hour Run-time)*
  • Large Battery - Double-Hour 8-Cell Lithium Ion Battery (Up to 4-Hour Run-Time)*
  • An External Battery Charger is available. 

The main difference between US and European power outlets is the voltage. Here in the US, we use 110-120 volts, while Europe, Asia, and most other countries use 220-240 volts. But no worries, your Inogen One portable oxygen concentrator will automatically switch voltages.

Easy Maintenance 

How does an oxygen concentrator work? An oxygen concentrator is a medical device that takes in the ambient air, filters it, and concentrates the oxygen levels. Oxygen concentrators are the top method of correcting low oxygen levels in people with respiratory issues. 

But every oxygen concentrator has its unique features. Some are stationary but have wheels. Others are lightweight and portable. And some have fewer maintenance requirements than others. For example, React Health's (formerly Invacare) Oxygen Concentrator Maintenance is simple enough for new users.

Caring for your oxygen concentrator properly and performing maintenance when due will serve you well for years. Maintenance is usually confined to replacing the filters. Does your oxygen concentrator supplier offer easy access to these replacement parts? We do! And at affordable prices, too.   

what oxygen concentrator should i buy

Extra Features 

Even the method of oxygen supply is subject to innovation. An example is the Intelligent Oxygen Delivery feature on the Inogen models. By detecting when breathing slows or stops, adapting to your breathing patterns for day or night use.


A warranty is an essential item to consider when choosing an oxygen concentrator. Our brands and models of oxygen concentrators are supplied with a standard 3-year factory warranty. You have the option to extend this to a lifetime warranty.

And we go the extra mile to give you peace of mind. We also offer a lifetime warranty, service, and maintenance option, including our exclusive "drop protection". 

Factory Authorized Dealers and Reputation 

Only buy from dealers who are authrized by the manufacturer of the portable oxygen concentrator. With the necessary expertise, plenty of experience, and a solid reputation. Otherwise you 

Buying your Inogen oxygen concentrator, parts, and accessories from an authorized dealer is the best way to ensure you get a quality product and excellent service.

Here are some of the benefits of buying from an authorized dealer:

  • New items: Authorized dealers only sell new, genuine Inogen products. This means you can be sure that your product is up to date and has been properly tested.
  • 24-hour technical support: Authorized dealers offer 24-hour technical support, so you can always get help.
  • Excellent after-sales service: Authorized dealers offer excellent after-sales service, including repairs, replacements, and upgrades.
  • Medical-grade products: Authorized dealers only sell medical-grade products that are safe to use.

Tech Support

Not only is every machine supplied with detailed but simple instructions, we're here to help! Every purchase of an oxygen concentrator gives you access to a 24/7 tech support helpline. You'll get all the guidance and advice you need for hooking up and using your oxygen concentrator. 

Isn't it good to know that experts can help you? Advice about everything from initial set-up to routine service and maintenance is only a call away here at Main Clinic Supply. 


Once you know the basics of selecting an oxygen concentrator, what seems daunting becomes easy and encouraging. Main Clinic Supply strives to offer top medical-grade oxygen delivery systems, parts, and accessories with the least fuss and hassle.

Should you need further assistance with selecting your oxygen concentrator, don't hesitate to contact us. Our knowledgeable agents are standing by to assist you. Moreover, our oxygen concentrators are shipped overnight for our US and Canadian customers. 

So choose today, and you'll enjoy an active life again tomorrow. 

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