Whether you’re talking about a portable oxygen or a home oxygen unit, both operate in largely the same way when it comes to how air is processed. The oxygen concentrators will pull air inward, manipulate it and deliver it to you in a new way. Both portable and home units intake air, followed by a compression sequence and filtering and removal of nitrogen before delivering purified air to you via the attached nasal cannula.
Where these two types of units differ comes by way of the locations in which they are intended to be used. As its name suggests, a portable oxygen concentrator is designed to be used both in the home and on the go. These types of units tend to be smaller and much more compact while still being great for people with breathing issues and various types of chronic lung conditions. Portable units are commonly small enough to fit in the average-sized automobile and most major brands are approved by the FAA for travel on airplanes.
While a standard home oxygen concentrator is still small enough to travel around your home with, it is much larger and more cumbersome than a unit designed to be portable. Home oxygen concentrators also often use what is called a continuous flow system, instead of the on-demand system that is used by most portable units. The on-demand system is one of the reasons that portable oxygen units can be designed as small as they are.