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Home vs. Portable Oxygen Concentrators

When you are first learning about oxygen concentrators, you may be wondering, “What is a portable oxygen concentrator, and how does it differ from a stationary oxygen concentrator?” Though both a portable oxygen concentrator (POC) and a home oxygen concentrator unit operate in largely the same way when it comes to how air is processed, the primary difference is the size and where you use the unit. Whether you only receive oxygen treatments at home, or whether you want to be able to continue your therapy out of the house, both portable and home units intake air, followed by a compression sequence, filtering and removing nitrogen before delivering purified, oxygen-rich air to you via the attached nasal cannula. 

What Are the Differences Between Stationary and Portable Oxygen Concentrators?

These two types of units differ primarily in the locations in which they are intended to be used, as well as the size of the units themselves. As its name suggests, a portable oxygen concentrator is designed to be used both in the home and on the go. As a result, these types of units tend to be more compact and lightweight while still providing essential oxygen for people with breathing issues and various types of chronic lung conditions. POCs use pulse dose technology, which means the oxygen is delivered to you when you inhale and is based on your breathing rate and other factors. Portable units are commonly small enough to carry, and fit easily in the average-sized automobile or under the seat in an airplane. Plus, most major brands are approved by the FAA for travel on airplanes. Inogen POC models are designed for portability, and are all FAA-approved for airplane use. A stationary oxygen concentrator is meant to remain at home, though some, like the Inogen At Home, may still be small enough to carry from room to room as needed. Stationary oxygen concentrators also offer continuous flow oxygen, rather than pulse dose, which means your unit runs continuously, providing a steady flow of oxygen when it is in use. 

Here is a more detailed stationary and portable oxygen concentrator comparison so you can see the differences in the three styles of oxygen concentrators. 

Inogen One G5

  • Size: 8.15 inches tall, 7.19 inches long, 3.26 inches wide
  • Weight: 4.7 pounds
  • Sound level: 38 dBA at setting 2
  • Flow Settings: 1-6
  • Battery duration: Single battery = up to 6.5 hours; Double battery = up to 13 hours
  • Comes with Inogen Connect and Bluetooth Mobile App
  • Clinically validated for 24/7 use

Inogen One G4

  • Size: 7.2 inches tall, 5.91 inches long, 2.68 inches wide
  • Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Sound level: 40 dBA at setting 2
  • Flow settings: 1-3
  • Battery duration: Single battery = up to 2.7 hours; Double battery = up to 5 hours
  • Comes with Inogen Connect and Bluetooth Mobile App
  • Clinically validated for 24/7 use

Inogen One G3

  • Size: 8.25 inches tall, 8.75 inches long, 3 inches wide
  • Weight: 4.8 pounds
  • Flow settings: 1-5
  • Battery duration: Single battery = up to 4.7 hours; Double battery = up to 10 hours
  • Clinically validated for 24/7 use

Inogen At Home

  • Size: 16.5 inches tall, 7 inches long, 13 inches wide
  • Weight: 18 pounds
  • Flow settings: 1-5
  • Provides 5 liters per minute of energy efficient, continuous flow oxygen

Your doctor will help you choose the right oxygen concentrator for you. 

Choosing a Stationary vs. Portable Oxygen Concentrator

When it comes to a stationary and portable oxygen concentrator comparison, consider how your oxygen concentrator is used, as well as your present level of activity. You may wonder, “What is a portable oxygen concentrator best for, and when is a stationary unit better?” Think about whether you will need to travel, what flow level you require and how often you will need your oxygen treatments. While an Inogen home oxygen concentrator is small enough to travel around your home, it is larger than a unit designed to be portable. If you maintain an active lifestyle, but require regular oxygen therapy, our portable oxygen concentrators are designed to help you maintain that level of activity. However, if you are primarily home-bound, or will need continuous flow oxygen, the stationary unit is likely the right choice.

The size of the unit is partially dependent on the kind of flow they provide. 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, while continuous flow requires a larger system. The kind of flow your doctor prescribes will have a significant impact on choosing the right oxygen concentrator for your needs. 

Choosing Inogen for Supplemental Oxygen

Whether you choose a stationary oxygen concentrator or a portable oxygen concentrator, Inogen’s oxygen concentrators are designed to improve your quality of life. Both units can be moved around your home as needed, while the portable oxygen concentrators can also be taken out and about as needed. Regardless of the kind of unit you require, Inogen’s goal is to help you live as normal a life as possible, even while receiving your oxygen therapy. Ask your doctor which oxygen concentrator best meets your needs, and contact us today to learn more about how Inogen can help you get oxygen anytime, anywhere.

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