Oxygen Tanks vs. Portable Oxygen Concentrate [Infographic]

When you are deciding between an oxygen tank and an oxygen concentrator for your supplemental oxygen, it is helpful to know the pros and cons of each delivery method.  Our infographic below compares the two to help you make the best choice. 


oxygen concentrator vs oxygen tank

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Oxygen Tanks

Size: Oxygen tanks are technically portable, but since they contain compressed oxygen, the tanks must be built a certain way. As a result, oxygen tanks are:

  • Bulky
  • Heavy
  • Difficult to carry and lift
  • Require a wheeled carrier to move
  • Cumbersome to travel with

Safety: Oxygen tanks are susceptible to leaks, causing a potential fire hazard as well as a risk to the user. Safety risks include:

  • Could be punctured or leak
  • Leaks create oxygen-rich air, which is highly flammable
  • If the tank leaks, the user could run out of oxygen

Supply Consistency: Oxygen tanks contain a finite amount of oxygen. Users can monitor amounts, but tanks:

  • Run out of oxygen periodically
  • Need to be refilled or replaced

Cost: The costs of oxygen tanks are incurred over time. While they are inexpensive up front, you will pay for:

  • The initial tank, a refill and a cart
  • Each new tank or refill needed until oxygen therapy is no longer necessary
  • New tubing, masks or nasal cannulas

Lifestyle: Oxygen tanks can impact your ability to live your life normally, as you have to plan ahead for supply and transportation. You will need consider:

  • The amount of oxygen you have before needing refills or replacement
  • How to adjust for accessibility with the need to roll the large tanks
  • Whether you will need help lifting the tanks for transport


Oxygen Concentrators

Size: Oxygen concentrators are smaller than tanks and do not need to retain oxygen, making them easier to take with you. Oxygen concentrators are:

  • Small
  • Compact
  • Lightweight enough to carry in a bag
  • Can be wheeled or carried in a pack
  • Easy to travel with

Safety: Oxygen concentrators pull from the surrounding air, compressing it and purifying it to produce medical grade oxygen as needed. There is no storing, reducing risks of leaks, and it never runs out as long as you have power. They:

  • Do not have tanks, which can leak or be punctured
  • Pose a lower fire risk than oxygen tanks
  • Will continue providing oxygen as long as there is power
  • Offer power via battery and AC or DC power sources and can be recharged easily

Supply Consistency: Oxygen concentrators offer consistent supply as long as they are plugged in or the battery is charged. Users are able to enjoy:

  • A consistent, infinite oxygen supply as long as the concentrator has power
  • No need to refill or replace any tanks

Cost: You pay for an oxygen concentrator up front, but with few additional costs down the road. You will pay for:

  • The initial cost of the oxygen concentrator
  • Cannulas, filters and columns

Lifestyle: With a smaller, portable oxygen concentrator, you are able live your life, doing the things you enjoy without your oxygen supplies slowing you down. With oxygen concentrators, users experience:

  • Increased freedom
  • Increased mobility
  • Increased independence

Overall, their smaller size, endless supply and smaller safety risk allow portable oxygen concentrators to offer patients the ability to maintain a sense or normalcy and live the life they want to live, without being held back.  


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