Top Portable Oxygen Machines

by Nancy

There are several types of oxygen machines available, with the concentrator models referencing portable devices. In the past, portable oxygen concentrators (POCs) were much more limited. There were only a few expensive models available, and the POCs themselves were bulky and hard to move. Thanks to technological developments in the medical community, there are many brands of POCs available, offering a number of benefits. The devices are much smaller and easier to move around with.

While the addition of new features is good, it can also cause the price of a POC to drastically increase. For many seniors, shopping for a good POC is overwhelming because they are unsure what features they actually need. It becomes even harder for seniors on a budget. With how important a POC is, shoppers do not want to buy a cheap model which quickly breaks down, but not everyone has the luxury of spending thousands of dollars on their purchase. Listed below are some of the most affordable quality POCs available in 2020, as well as some general tips for how to cut down on costs.

Qualifying for Free or Discounted POCs

Oxygen machines, portable or otherwise, are classified as durable medical equipment (DME). Many insurance programs provide benefits to help purchase DME, but these benefits typically come with stipulations. For example, some insurance programs cover the entirety of the costs, but only if the insurance holder purchases a specific type or brand of POC. Other insurance plans cover the costs up to a certain amount, with the insurance holder being responsible for the remainder of the costs.

Another possible option is renting instead of buying. With Medicare, beneficiaries can rent portable oxygen equipment for up to three years, with a possible two-year extension available. As long as the beneficiary goes through an approved Medicare provider, the rental costs are covered by Medicare.

In addition to receiving financial aid through insurance, there are a number of programs and local groups that help low income seniors afford medical equipment. The exact eligibility requirements for these programs vary, typically based on location and income level. Before committing to any purchase, seniors are strongly encouraged to speak with both their medical and insurance providers to get the best idea of what discounts are available.

AirSep Focus

AirSep Focus has several models of POCs available. The AirSep Focus is one of the older models, outdated by AirSep Freestyle 3 and Freestyle 5, but it is still considered one of the better POCs on the market. One of the reasons medical professionals often recommend the AirSep Focus is the size. It is one of the smallest POCs on the market. The small size greatly reduces the weight as well, with the POC itself weighting in at less than two pounds. It is great for seniors who maintain an active lifestyle, especially seniors who are actively exercising.

The base version of the POC comes with two micro batteries, which can be charged alongside the base machine. The batteries have a fairly long life, but customers can get even more use out of their AirSep Focus by purchasing the AirSep Airbelt, which provides a supplemental battery pack.

The downside to the AirSep Focus is it only has a maximum pulse dose setting of 2. The limited pulse setting is one of the reasons the AirSep Focus is marked down compared to other POC prices.

SeQual 5

At a glance, it may appear that the SeQual 5 is nothing special. The most appealing aspect of the SeQual 5 is the low price. It has a few special features, such as a pulse dose and continuous flow settings. There are many other small benefits not openly advertised by the SeQual 5, which has led to it becoming a popular POC. One easy to overlook benefit is being able to charge the SeQual 5 using both AC and DC power, a setting not found on all POCs, especially older models.

The SeQual 5 was also designed with customization in mind. The base model has few extra benefits, but it is compatible with many POC accessories, including desktop chargers, protective covering and humidifier kits. This allows the company to set an affordable price for the basic unit while leaving customers room to get only the extra features relevant to their needs.

Lifechoice Activox

The Lifechoice Activox is one of the larger POC models available, but it is still under five pounds, making it fairly easy to transport. It is capable of delivering up to three LPM of pulse dose oxygen, giving it a little more usage than the AirSep Focus. As of writing, the Lifechoice Activox is one of the more advanced models of POC available. The standout feature is the pulse wave oxygen delivery. The pulse wave feature allows the Lifechoice to make subtle changes to how much oxygen is delivered with each pulse, matching the breathing patterns of whoever is wearing it.

Another benefit of the Lifechoice Activox comes from the manufacturer, American Model. American Model prides itself on not only setting the lowest possible price, but also for partnering with insurance companies and other medical providers. As a result, the company is often on the approved list of providers for insurance plans, and there is a greater chance of finding some sort of payment program to help pay for the Lifechoice Activox.

Inogen One G3

One of the most powerful POCs on the market is the Inogen One G3 model. Inogen One features the same pulse technology as the Lifechoice Activox, but Inogen One provides more LPM settings, going all the way to five. It also comes with a stronger battery than most units, with the option to further increase the battery from an eight to 16 cell, effectively doubling how long the POC can be used. The unit itself is lightweight, but it also utilizes wearable technology to make the device easy to carry over the shoulder without sacrificing quality.

As one of the newer POC units, the Inogen One comes with advanced customization options. It is recommended to speak with a physician before fine tuning any of the settings. These extra features do increase the overall price of the Inogen One G3, but it is considerably less expensive than the other advanced POCs on the market. There are also two additional models, G4 and G5 available, but the main difference with these models is the increased battery life and reduced noise options. For most seniors, especially seniors on a budget, the G3 model is all they need.