Home Tecnology The Best Pulse Oximeters for Use at Home

The Best Pulse Oximeters for Use at Home

by Jasbinder Singh
The Best Pulse Oximeters for Use at Home

To keep yourself and your family healthy, use the best pulse oximeters to monitor your blood oxygen levels. In search of the best pulse oximeter? This guide will assist you in selecting the best one for you, as well as show you the best price available.

Home pulse oximeters are an excellent tool for monitoring your blood-oxygen levels, and they are now very affordable. You might be surprised that such a thing is even possible if your home medical kit consists of only sticking plasters and antiseptic. Many people, however, find it very desirable to use optical technology to monitor blood oxygen saturation (SpO2), a figure that can reveal illness even when the patient is unaware of it. Along with the infrared thermometer, this is something you should have in your medicine cabinet (opens in a new tab).

The SpO2 level in the blood should be 95-100 percent. Hypoxemia occurs when oxygen levels fall below 90%. A pulse oximeter functions similarly to a digital camera in that SpO2 can be detected optically by passing light from an emitter to a sensor located somewhere arterial blood flows (like the middle finger of the dominant hand). The more oxygenated the air, the fewer light frequencies pass through. For accurate results, the devices must also account for the distance traveled by the light as well as any ambient light.

Certain conditions necessitate regular monitoring, whereas athletes and pilots can all benefit from their own devices. In an era when acute respiratory diseases (SARS, Covid-19) are on the rise and test prices are rising, it is possible to detect a drop in lung capacity by taking regular readings; however, you can only assist your doctor, not replace them!

A brief examination of the best pulse oximeters

  • Best pulse oximeter for fast results: Oxiline Pulse 7 Pr
  • Best basic or simple pulse oximeter: SantaMedical Generation 2 Fingertip
  • Best ear clip pulse oximeters: Nonin 8000Q2 Reusable Ear Clip Sensor
  • Best fingertip pulse oximeter: Innovo Premium iP900AP Fingertip
  • Best pulse oximeter for kids: Hopkins Handheld
  • Best pulse oximeter with alarm: Innovo Deluxe iP900AP Fingertip
  • Best forehead sensor for pulse oximeters: Covidien Nellcor SpO2 Forehead Sensor with OxiMax
  • Best pulse oximeter for continuous monitoring: Philips WristOx2 Wrist-Worn Pulse Oximeter
  • Best pulse oximeter during exercise: iHealth Air Wireless Fingertip Pulse Oximeter

Pulse oximeters for home use are not new, but as COVID-19 continues to prioritize health and safety, more people are looking for ways to manage their health.

A comprehensive guide to pulse oximeters is provided below, including what a normal read looks like and how to select the best product for your needs.

Best pulse oximeter for fast results

Oxiline Pulse 7 Pro

The Oxi line Pulse 7 Pro is a small, oval-shaped device with a hinge that opens to enclose your finger. It includes free shipping, a lifetime warranty, and a money-back guarantee for 30 days.

According to Chen, “this pulse oximeter is FDA-approved and has great nanosensors with high-level detection.” “Both units from the brand [Pulse 7 Pro and Pulse 9 Pro] are also capable of providing results in a short time frame, which can be beneficial to users who are on a time crunch.”

Advantages

  • FDA-approved
  • provides immediate results
  • superior detection

Disadvantages

  • According to some reviewers, the screen scratches easily.

The best basic or basic pulse oximeter

SantaMedical Generation 2 Fingertip

This device is worn on your finger and measures blood oxygen levels, pulse rate, and blood flow changes. Your blood oxygen and pulse are represented numerically, while your blood flow is represented as a waveform.

“The SantaMedical Generation 2 pulse oximeter has a unique auto shut-off feature after 10 seconds,” Chen says. “This oximeter also has only one button for convenience and is powered by AAA batteries.”

Advantages

  • Reviewers say it’s simple to use and comes with a protective carrying case.
  • The display is both large and bright.

Disadvantages

  • According to some users, readings can vary greatly.

The most effective ear clip pulse oximeter

Nonin 8000Q2 Reusable Ear Clip Sensor

Are you looking for a sensor that does not require you to use your hands? This clip-on option is attached to your earlobe. According to the brand, it is designed to provide accurate measurements even with dark skin tones.

“Unlike other ear pulse oximeters, this does require a tabletop set to hook up to it,” Chen tells Healthline. “However, I generally do not recommend ear pulse oximeters because they are typically more expensive and more difficult to use.”

Advantages

  • works well for both short-term and long-term monitoring
  • provides an alternative location for reading

Disadvantages

  • greater price point

Best fingertip pulse oximeter

Innovo Premium iP900AP Fingertip

Pulse Oximeters

“I do recommend that my patients have a portable pulse ox handy as part of their essentials, like a thermometer,” says board-certified internist Christine Bishara, MD. “However, before purchasing a portable home-use pulse oximeter, patients should always consult with their doctors about their specific medical problems and the use of a portable home-use pulse oximeter.”

The iP900AP pulse ox from Innovo is available in two models, both of which made the list. The Premium has the same fingertip features and construction, as well as visual and numeric readouts on an OLED display. If you don’t require an alarm, the Premium iP900AP may be suitable for you.

Advantages

  • simple to transport
  • ready to use straight from the box
  • Reviews provide accurate readings.

Disadvantages

  • Battery configuration can be perplexing.
  • It is not very durable, according to reviewers.

Pulse oximeter for kids

Hopkins Handheld

Pulse Oximeters

This device has three programs, one for each age group: infant, pediatric, and adult. It comes with a 2-year warranty and the necessary AA batteries.

“This handheld pulse oximeter can easily be wrapped around children’s soles or palms,” Chen explains. “However, keep in mind that they are more expensive than finger and toe oximeters.”

Advantages

  • High/low oxygen saturation levels and pulse rate audible and visual alarms
  • includes a neonatal sensor with Y-probe
  • can be used for babies, children, and adults

Disadvantages

  • higher cost

Oximeter with alarm

Innovo Deluxe iP900AP Fingertip

“This pulse oximeter has an alarm (that can be turned off) and six different layout options,” Chen explains. “It’s also ready to use right away, as it only requires AAA batteries to operate.”

The main distinction between the two Innovo iP900AP models is that the Deluxe model has an alarm.

Advantages

  • includes a programmable alarm
  • six distinct layout options
  • high-quality item

Disadvantages

  • Some customers complain about the company’s customer service.

Best forehead sensor for pulse oximeters

Covidien Nellcor SpO₂ Forehead Sensor with OxiMax

Pulse Oximeters

This pulse oximeter, like the others, takes readings from your forehead using an adhesive pad and does not require access to your hands or arms.

“Covidien has an oximeter with forehead pulse attachments,” Chen explains. “However, these oximeters are more expensive and require a tabletop system to obtain a complete reading.”

Advantages

  • detects low oxygen levels up to 90 seconds sooner
  • use via plug-and-play
  • suitable for both children and adults

Disadvantages

  • greater price point
  • a tabletop system is required

Continuous monitoring

Philips WristOx2 Wrist-Worn Pulse Oximeter

Pulse Oximeters

According to Philips, the WristOx2 model has a longer battery life and increased memory, which could allow for more data collection.

“Continuous monitoring should really only be used in hospitals,” Bishara says. “This is due to the fact that pulse oximetry readings should always correlate with clinical findings, which are closely monitored in this type of setting.” Philips, on the other hand, provides continuous monitors for hospitals as well as portables for patients.”

Advantages

  • Bluetooth-enabled
  • simple to read display

Disadvantages

  • Philips has had several significant recalls of breathing machines.

Best pulse oximeter during exercise

iHealth Air Wireless Fingertip Pulse Oximeter

This iHealth oximeter can help you monitor your oxygen levels and heart rate while exercising. It can even communicate with your smartphone to display your oxygen saturation, pulse rate, and pulse strength.

To see trends over time, save your results in the free iHealth MyVitals app. The oximeter includes a lanyard and a micro-USB charging cable. One lithium-ion battery is required.

Advantages

  • Bluetooth innovation
  • free smartphone application
  • Warranty period: 12 months

Disadvantages

  • battery life is limited

The best products compared

ProductPriceLocation of readingEase of use
Oxiline Pulse 7 Pro$$FingertipVery easy
SantaMedical Generation 2 Fingertip$FingertipVery easy
Nonin 8000Q2 Reusable Ear Clip SensorVariesEarlobeDifficult
Innovo Premium iP900AP Fingertip$$FingertipSomewhat easy
Hopkins Handheld$$$Soles or palms (handheld)Easy
Innovo Deluxe iP900AP Fingertip$FingertipEasy
Covidien Nellcor SpO2 Forehead Sensor with OxiMax$$$ForeheadSomewhat difficult
Philips Wrist-Worn Pulse OximeterVariesWristVaries
iHealth Air Wireless Fingertip Pulse Oximeter$$FingertipEasy

How do pulse oximeters function?

A pulse oximeter, also known as a “pulse ox,” is a device that measures heart rate and oxygen levels in the body. They are typically found in a hospital or clinical setting, but there are at-home or consumer electronic versions available online.

What exactly do pulse oximeters do?

“One can use a pulse oximeter at home to measure your oxygenation, or at a clinic (or at hospitals) to monitor how much a person is oxygenating, and if blood is saturated with oxygen,” says Julie Chen, MD, an internal medicine specialist in California.

Who should use pulse oximeters?

According to John Hill, RRT, of pulmonary services at Deborah Heart and Lung Center in New Jersey, those with chronic heart and respiratory conditions benefit the most from using a pulse oximeter.

“Patients with lung or heart conditions, such as those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD] and asthmatics, as well as those with allergies, benefit from monitoring their oxygen levels,” Hill explains.

COVID-19, a respiratory-borne illness that affects oxygenation status, has recently increased the demand for pulse oximeters, according to Vicken Zeitjian, MD, a cardiovascular specialist at UT Health in San Antonio.

“COVID-19 is a respiratory-borne illness, and admission to the hospital is frequently based on oxygenation status,” Zeitjian explains. “While the virus may cause a variety of symptoms, and oxygen saturation of less than 90% should prompt someone to seek medical attention.”

What is the precision of pulse oximeter readings?

According to Chaim, most at-home pulse oximeters provide users with accurate readings. However, he cautions that the accuracy of pulse oximetry readings can be affected by a number of factors.

How do blood oxygen levels in pulse oximeters get measured?

Pulse oximeters work by shining a light through the finger (or earlobe) and then measuring the reflection of the light beam to see how much light passes through, or gets reflected away from the sensor on the other side,” says Brooklyn, New York-based physical therapist Chaim Backman, PT, EMT. The amount of oxygen in the blood is then calculated using a mathematical equation by oximeters.”

What is a healthy pulse oximeter reading?

According to Backman, a normal pulse oximeter reading falls between 98 and 99 percent.

Anything less than 90 percent indicates a more serious problem that must be addressed immediately, he adds.

What factors influence pulse oximeter readings?

For starters, nail polish color and decals, as well as acrylic or gel nails, can all have an effect on readings.

“If nail polish absorbs light at 660 nm [nanometers] or 940 nm of light, it can affect pulse oximeter readings,” Zeitjian explained. “This is most noticeable in black, green, and blue nail polish.” Keep in mind that artificial acrylic nails may impair the accuracy of pulse oximeter readings.”

Furthermore, Chen suggests that the following factors can influence reading accuracy:

  1. anemia
  2. low blood pressure
  3. skin with more pigment
  4. low body temperature
  5. intravascular dyes, which are used at a hospital for certain tests

“Dark skin and intravascular dyes in the blood make it difficult for the sensor to read oxygenation because the coloring makes it difficult to read,” Chen explains.

“Low blood pressure means less blood volume, and anemia means fewer blood cells, making it difficult for the sensor to see the data,” explains Chen. “Low body temperature also causes blood vessels to constrict, making it difficult to read.”

What kinds of pulse oximeters are there?

According to Jaydeep Tripathy, MBA-MPH, Ph.D., a board-certified internist, pulse oximetry probes or sensors can be attached to the finger, nose, ear, toes, and forehead.

He adds that the most accurate readings are usually obtained when the pulse ox is clamped to the finger, specifically the middle finger, rather than other body parts.

However, according to board-certified internal medicine specialist Spencer Kroll, MD, Ph.D., pulse oximeter probes frequently vary in a clinical setting.

Hospital-based pulse oximeters can be connected to equipment that simultaneously measures a patient’s heart rhythm and machines that measure blood pressure and temperature, according to Kroll.

While hospital systems are able to provide a printout of readings, he continues, “home-based pulse oximeters only measure the pulse oxygenation and the heart rate.” However, some smartphone-compatible pulse oximeter accessories are now available that can save data for later printing.

How to Make a Decision

There are numerous brands to choose from when shopping for at-home pulse oximeters, according to Zeitjian.

“When purchasing, look for pulse oximeters labeled ‘for medical use’ and ‘FDA approved,'” Zeitjian advises. “These can be found on products sold at CVS, Walgreens, and Target. Most pulse oximeters also measure your heart rate, which many people appreciate.”

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