What Is an Oxygen Concentrator?
An oxygen concentratorÂ (also sometimes called “oxygen generator”)Â is a medical device used to deliver oxygen to those who require it. People may require it if they have a condition that causes or results in low levels of oxygen in their blood. These oxygen concentrators are normally obtained via prescription and therefore cannot be purchased over the counter. Oxygen concentrators are powered by plugging in to an electrical outlet or by battery. If the concentrator is powered by an electric battery, that battery will need to be charged by plugging into an outlet. Several parts make up a concentrator, including a compressor, sieve bed filter, and circuit boards.
An oxygen concentrator has a compressing element, but it should not be confused with compressed oxygen or an oxygen tank. Whereas a tank has a set amount of oxygen that it dispenses, a concentrator filters in air, compresses it, and delivers air continuously. The air supply will never run out. Instead of refilling compressed air, the concentrator just needs access to power.
How Does an Oxygen Concentrator Work?
An oxygen concentrator works much like a window air conditioning unit: it takes in air, modifies it and delivers it in a new form. An oxygen concentrator takes in air and purifies it for use by people requiring medical oxygen due to low oxygen levels in their blood.
It works by:
- Taking in air from its surroundings
- Compressing air, while the cooling mechanism keeps the concentrator from overheating
- Removing nitrogen from the air via filter and sieve beds
- Adjusting delivery settings with an electronic interface
- Delivering the purified oxygen via a nasal cannula or mask
Inogen Oxygen Concentrators
Learn about the Inogen One G4, G3, or G2 portable oxygen concentrators:
Still want to learn more about oxygen concentrators? Check out our infographic on the History of Oxygen Concentrators.