Medical vs Non-Medical Grade Oxygen Concentrator: How to Choose the Right One?

Let's go back in time, approx two years ago, and answer me- have you heard/seen oxygen concentrators before the start of the coronavirus pandemic? Hmm.. Probably, no. Oxygen Concentrator is the new kid in the block for many of us. Since the beginning of the 2nd wave and surge in covid-19 cases, India has been battling with shortage of oxygen supply. Many patients around the country died due to the lack of a flawed health care system and a short supply of oxygen cylinders. As Oxygen cylinders are in short supply in hospitals, the O2 concentrator has become a more sought after device and Sanjeevni Booti for many patients who are getting treated in home isolation and the hospitals. In the last few weeks, many social media platforms have also burst with posts of people looking for oxygen concentrators and cylinders. This post will explain what an Oxygen concentrator(OC ) is and the difference between medical and non-medical oxygen concentrators, and how to choose the right OC.  

What is an Oxygen concentrator (OC)?

The Oxygen concentrator, resembling residential inverters, looks-wise, is a lightweight and easy to transport medical device that takes in air, separates the oxygen, and delivers it into a person via a nasal cannula. The machine concentrates oxygen from ambient air and is used when a patient's oxygen level is less than 94%. An oxygen concentrator provides high oxygen purity by removing nitrogen from the air while giving a reasonable flow rate.

Medical grade oxygen concentrator

A Medical Grade Oxygen Concentrator is a portable and easy to use medical device that can offer high purity oxygen gas (>95% oxygen) at every flow rate setting. One needs to have a valid prescription to purchase this device. This lightweight, sturdy device comes with a bigger water container and bigger filters for continuous flow.

Non-medical Oxygen concentrator

Oxygen provided through non-medical grade Oxygen concentrators may not be to sustain high oxygen purity at each flow rate. The non-medical OC should never be used in medical use. The increasing cases of black fungus (mucormycosis) in covid -patients shows the inappropriate use of non-medical OCs. The non-medical OC comes with a small water container and gives a variable oxygen flow rate. The device works for 30 minutes in one go.

Here is the table comparing the medical and non- medical grade concentrator

Medical Grade Oxygen Concentrator Non-medical grade Oxygen Concentrator
Continuous Oxygen flow Variable Oxygen flow
Purity rate- 93% Purity rate- Can be 30% to 90%
Works continuously Works for 30 minutes in one go
Bigger water container Small water container
Bigger filters Compact filters, needs replacements regularly
Designed for medical use, relatively safe Can carry infection

How to choose right oxygen concentrator?

Concentrators are also available in multiple styles and price ranges. Before jumping to buy an oxygen concentrator, you must know that too much pure oxygen can do more harm than good. You need to do proper research and consultation with your doctor before purchasing the device. Here are few points that you should consider-

  • Oxygen concentrator devices should be used under the supervision of doctors or healthcare workers. The supplemental oxygen without the guidance of a physician can be unsafe indeed!
  • OC is an expensive medical device. A "poor quality" concentrator can give poor output, and the patient can lose his life. Check the supplier's credentials before making a purchase.
  • If you need oxygen for less than 120 hours, it will be better to go for an oxygen cylinder. However, if you need a large amount of oxygen, a concentrator will most likely save you money in the long run. Check out individual needs for liter flow, battery life, and size.

Final thought

Selecting a suitable oxygen concentrator for you or your loved one may seem like a daunting task. Fortunately, Shakedeal offers a wide selection of these devices from trusted medical equipment manufacturers like Haier, Longfian, Olive, and Jumao.