Home Use Pulse Oximeters To Check Oxygen In Blood

If you find yourself on this page, there is a very good chance you are looking to buy a Pulse Oximeter or at least, just know more about them. If so, then you have come to the right place cause this article is going to be all about pulse oximeters and nothing else.

Pulse oximeters are non-invasive devices that help to find the amount of saturated oxygen in the blood. It is also used to check the pulse rate of the patient. It has become more common than blood gas tests due to their non-invasiveness.

A medical procedure is said to be non-invasive when no break in the skin is created, as is done by using a syringe.

An arterial blood gas test is a blood test that is done to determine the amounts of certain gases in the arterial blood. For an arterial blood gas test, blood sample is drawn from an artery such as from the wrist.

On the contrary, pulse oximeters do not need a blood sample to determine the amount of oxygen in arterial blood but rather depend on absorption of wavelengths of light by oxygenated haemoglobin. Moreover, they are also capable of producing real-time results quicker, without compromising on accuracy unlike arterial blood gas tests, which could take some time to produce the results.

Pulse oximeters have been observed to provide accurate results with a wide range of patients, regardless of sex and age. They are also very compact devices and are easy to use, and can be used by any person. Add to that how affordable they are and it will not be a surprise as to why they are becoming more and more common these days. ( Refer Blood Glucose Meter Here )

In this article you will find how a Pulse Oximeter works, its types followed by Buyer’s guide to help you make the right decision along with answers to frequently asked questions and our list of Best Pulse Oximeters.

How a Pulse Oximeter Works

The probe of the pulse oximeter is clamped on a thin part of the patient’s body such as a fingertip or an earlobe.The probe then sends two wavelengths of light through the body part to a photodetector, i.e. a receiver. Oxygenated haemoglobin absorbs one of the two wavelengths of light while de-oxygenated haemoglobin absorbs the other wavelength. The photodetector or receiver analyzes the two wavelengths after they have passed through the body part and determines the blood oxygen level.

Types of Pulse Oximeters

There are five types of pulse oximeters that are available in the market. They are:-  

Finger Pulse Oximeters

Finger Pulse Oximeter

Finger pulse oximeters are also known as Portable pulse oximeters. As the name suggests, such oximeters are small and portable and are generally used on the fingertips. The oximeter is simply clipped on the finger and the display screen is on the probe itself. When the oximeter is clipped on the finger, the results are shown on the screen, almost instantaneously.

Such oximeters are battery operated and are very useful to check blood oxygen levels at home. The ease of use of such oximeters, portability, and affordability, makes this type of oximeters especially suited for use at home or to check oxygen saturation levels by clinicians, caregivers or by patients themselves.

Handheld Pulse OximetersHandheld Pulse Oximeter

Handheld pulse oximeters are slightly more sophisticated than the finger pulse oximeter and are capable of producing more accurate results.

A handheld pulse oximeter has two parts, the probe and the display screen which is a handheld screen. The two parts are connected via a cable. The probe is attached to the person’s finger; ideally, the index finger and the blood oxygen levels are shown on the screen.

Such pulse oximeters are capable of continuous oxygen saturation monitoring. They are mostly used in hospitals, ambulances, medical institutes and emergency medical services (EMS).

Tabletop OximetersTabletop Pulse Oximeter

Tabletop oximeters are bigger than handheld pulse oximeters and are very similar to handheld oximeters. Like handheld oximeters, tabletop oximeters also have two parts, the probe and the display screen, connected by a cable. They are generally used in hospitals, medical facilities and home care centers/settings.

Some tabletop oximeters come with audio and visual alarms, to warn people around when parameters like blood oxygen level and pulse rate fall below the safe range.

Most tabletop oximeters also come with plethysmograph display as well and are suitable for monitoring adults, kids and even neonate patients. They even come with a provision to store data or logs for several patients, even up to 100 in some cases.

Wrist Worn OximetersWrist Worn Pulse Oximeter

Wrist worn oximeters are just like the wrist watches that one wears. This type of pulse oximeter is used for continuous monitoring.

In many cases, the doctor may want to monitor your blood oxygen levels on a daily basis, or during your sleep, wrist-worn oximeters are ideal for such cases.

The probe is attached to the patient’s finger, and the readings are displayed on a screen which is worn on the wrist, just like a wrist watch. The probe and the screen are connected by a short cable, which will not be a hindrance as you go about your daily work.

Such oximeters are capable of storing data as well. Some oximeters even have wireless connectivity via Bluetooth for wireless data transfer while others have USB connectivity for transfer of data.

Pediatric Pulse OximetersPaediatric Pulse Oximeter

Paediatric pulse oximeters are oximeters specially designed for kids, especially infants below the age of 4. They are finger pulse oximeters but built and designed to cater kids and their smaller fingers without any problems.

Regular finger pulse oximeters are bigger in size and cannot cater to the smaller fingers of kids, and hence paediatric pulse oximeters are used to monitor the blood oxygen levels for children and infants.

Some pulse oximeters come with an alarm when the pulse rate or oxygen saturation level goes below the safe range. Some of these pulse oximeters even have an anti-motion feature, which will help you get an accurate result, despite the child moving his/her hand.

Pulse Oximeter Buyer’s Guide

In purchasing a pulse oximeter, there are certain things to consider. Putting these into consideration will get you the best pulse oximeter.

Cost:

In choosing the best pulse oximeter to use, its affordability must be taken into consideration. The best option is to choose an oximeter you can afford; high cost on an oximeter can attract a high maintenance fee, and also give you more durability while low cost can bring about small maintenance fee, and sometimes less durable products.

Warning System:

Most pulse oximeters come with a warning system. Therefore, it’s good to choose an oximeter with an excellent warning system. A suitable oximeter will produce an alarm warning you about your steady heartbeat and also your irregular heartbeat.  For those who rely on pulse oximeters for disease management, an indicator for a low battery to be able to maintain their health adequately.

Lightweight:

Some oximeters can be very portable and also bulky. Therefore, choosing an oximeter which is lightweight is a good buy. These lightweight oximeters can be kept in your pocket without feeling uncomfortable. Any individual suffering from hypoxia will need a lightweight oximeter, and it is almost impossible for a light weighted oximeter to get damaged or destroyed by careless management.

Durability:

Durability is an essential factor in choosing the best pulse oximeter to buy. A strong pulse oximeter will provide the best result at all times. So, selecting a pulse oximeter that is not durable will put your life at risk in several scenarios. A quality pulse oximeter should be able to withstand hard impact with the ground and possess a waterproof structure to prevent damage from water and humidity. The durability of an oximeter will avert the failure of the device and prevent inaccurate readings.

Visible display:

There are several pulse oximeters with different styles or display and font color. Therefore, it’s crucial to choose a pulse oximeter with the perfect display of your choice and right font size. It’s also essential to select a pulse oximeter with a beautiful backlit display. Under severe lightening conditions, some of the best pulse oximeters have adjustable brightness that is needed during these conditions. You can also look for pulse oximeters with multiple angle displays to improve your visibility during usage.

Popularity:

The popularity of a pulse oximeter is essential in purchasing the right oximeter. Some pulse oximeters are more popular than others, and this popularity is derived from user reviews. User reviews also help in choosing the best pulse oximeter as some of those reviews state the general satisfaction of consumers. Therefore, it’s vital to preview several user reviews before purchasing the product.

Accuracy and Reliability:

The very first thing that one should look for while purchasing a pulse oximeter is its accuracy and reliability.

The primary purpose of a pulse oximeter is to measure your blood oxygen level and pulse rate. The key is to find a pulse oximeter that can produce accurate results consistently and reliably.

Most pulse oximeters use the same mechanism to produce readings, and the only difference lies in the way they are manufactured. Unfortunately, the only way to check whether a pulse oximeter is accurate or not is by cross-checking the results it produces with another one, such as one at your doctor’s office or other medical clinics.

Most oximeters should be capable of producing results within a few seconds with an accuracy of ±3%.

Accuracy of the oximeter is affected by motion. So, if your hand trembles, find an oximeter that has an anti-motion feature, which will still be able to produce accurate results.

Ease of Use:

A pulse oximeter should be easy to use and should not need much technical or special knowledge.

Finger oximeters are very easy to use, and they involve just clipping the oximeter on your finger and pressing a button, and voila, there is your result on the screen. Also, a large screen will make life easier, enabling easy reading of the results.

Some oximeters even display the results in a different way making them easier to read and understand. All these are added benefits that will make it a lot easier to use a pulse oximeter. And that’s the way a pulse oximeter should be- easy to use.

Size of Probe:

Check the size of the probe while purchasing a pulse oximeter and ensure that the probe fits on your finger snugly and comfortably. This is generally not an issue with the clip-on type of probes, where the probe can simply be clipped on to the finger without any fuss.

If you are looking to check the saturation oxygen for kids and infants, or even people with smaller hands or fingers, you could consider buying a paediatric pulse oximeter, which would be more suitable for that application.

Other Features:

Some other features that could be an added bonus are features such as memory for storage of data and multi-person memory wherein data for more than one person can be stored.

Other features could include Bluetooth connectivity or USB connectivity to transfer data to a system, where it can analysed further.

Some oximeters are even capable of sending real-time data to your doctor which could be very beneficial.

Short cables which would not create much of a nuisance would definitely help. An oximeter which is not very bulky and portable would come in handy and can be easily stored as well.

Some pulse oximeters are even capable of generating other statistics such as a plethysmograph and perfusion index, which could also help in getting a better diagnosis.

1. Santamedical Generation 2 SM-165 Fingertip Pulse Oximeter 

Santamedical Generation 2 SM-165 Fingertip Pulse Oximeter
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This santamedical generation 2 SM-165 fingertip pulse oximeter measures pulse rates faster than most oximeters and produces accurate results on SpO2.

It is the right product with an excellent digital OLED display. It also comes with a rotatable multidirectional display that showcases your results in any direction you want.

Results ranging from pulse rate, pulse wave, SpO2 level, bar graph, and battery level can be displayed on the digital OLED. It can automatically power off itself after seconds of non-usage, and it also has a long battery lifespan.

Main Features
  • A digital OLED display screen with adjustable brightness.
  • It displays SpO2 level with pulse rate including a pulse bar graph, and waveform.
  • A neck/wrist cord included with casing for secure handling.
  • It is packaged with two AAA Batteries.
  • Low-level battery alarm.
  • Comes with a one-year warranty, and excellent customer support feature.
PROS (What we liked)
  • Excellent quality and good batteries.
  • Cheap and easily affordable.
  • Accurate readings in different views.
  • Simply easy to use.
  • Automatic power off feature.
  • 30+ hours of continuous monitoring of pulse rate.
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • It could disband if not appropriately handled.
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2. Newnik Fingertip Pulse Oximeter PX701

Newnik Fingertip Pulse Oximeter PX701
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Newnik’s fingertip pulse oximeter is one of the best oximeters available in the market, designed to give quick, accurate and reliable readings of blood oxygen level and pulse rate.

It is a FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and CE (European Conformity) certified oximeter and comes with a one year warranty.

Main Features
  • Gives quick and accurate readings of blood oxygen saturation and pulse rate, along with profusion index and plethysmograph.
  • FDA and CE certified.
  • Comes with a one year warranty.
PROS (What we liked)
  • Comes with an audio as well as visual alarm.
  • Has a high accuracy of ±2%.
  • Has anti-motion feature, enabling it to produce accurate readings even during motion.
  • Water resistant.
  • Suitable for both adults and kids.
  • Auto on and off feature automatically switches it on and off when finger is inserted or removed.
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • No cons that will make a significant difference.
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3. Life Plus Pulse Oximeter LPM-101 

Life Plus Pulse Oximeter LPM-101
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Life Plus provides a simple way of checking your saturation oxygen and pulse rate by using their fingertip oximeter, LPM-101.

This pulse oximeter is suitable for use at hospitals, diagnostic centres and at homes as well. They produce accurate and reliable readings and is a CE approved and ISO registered product.

Main Features
  • 2 color OLED display, with 6 display modes.
  • Displays accurate readings of pulse rate and saturation oxygen along with pulse bar and plethysmograph.
  • Comes with a one year warranty.
PROS (What we liked)
  • Has visual and audio alarms.
  • Has anti-motion feature.
  • Has power saving mode as well.
  • Has auto on and off feature.
  • Can be used with adults as well as kids.
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • Not a con really, but has a relatively lower accuracy of ±3% when compared to the Newnik PX-701
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4. Dr. Morepen PO-04 

Dr. Morepen PO-04
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Dr. Morepen’s PO-04 pulse oximeter is capable of producing accurate readings almost instantaneously.

This pulse oximeter is suitable for both adults and kids as well.

The dual colour OLED display comes in 6 display modes, and displays both pulse rate and oxygen saturation.

Main Features
  • Gives quick and accurate readings of both saturation oxygen and pulse rate.
  • Comes with a one year warranty.
  • Has a dual color OLED display with 6 display modes.
  • Auto power off feature enables it to switch off on its own when not in use.
PROS (What we liked)
  • ABS plastic and anti-shock feature ensure that it is capable of producing accurate results even after minor falls.
  • Capable of working up to 30 hours continuously.
  • Light and compact.
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • No alarm included.

 

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5. VKare Fingertip Pulse Oximeter 

VKare Fingertip Pulse Oximeter
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VKare’s fingertip pulse oximeter is a small, compact, simple, reliable and durable oximeter capable of producing accurate readings with ease. It is easy to use and can be used by almost anyone, and is widely used in clinics, hospitals, medical facilities and home care centres.

Main Features
  • Displays accurate readings of saturation oxygen and pulse rate.
  • Has a LED screen with a four directional rotational system.
  • Comes with a one year warranty.
PROS (What we liked)
  • Has a low saturation oxygen alarm which rings when saturation oxygen is below the safe level.
  • Easy to use and operate.
  • Compact, light weight, portable and durable.
  • Long battery life.
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • No anti-motion feature.

 

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6. Niscomed FPO-50 Pulse Oximeter 

Niscomed FPO-50 Pulse Oximeter
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Niscomed FPO-50 is a finger pulse oximeter capable of producing quick and accurate readings of saturation oxygen and pulse rate with an accuracy of ±2%.

It has a dual colour OLED screen with 6 display modes which comes with a wider viewing angle, making it easy and clear to view from any angle.

Main Features
  • Displays saturation oxygen, pulse rate, nd plethysmograph.
  • Dual colour OLED screen with 6 display modes.
  • Comes with a one year warranty.
PROS (What we liked)
  • Has high accuracy of ±2%.
  • Comes with automatic power off feature.
  • OLED screen has 6 display modes and comes with adjustable brightness.
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • No audio visual alarms.
  • No anti-motion feature.
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7. ChoiceMMed MD300C15D 

ChoiceMMed MD300C15D
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This pulse oximeter comes from the OxyWatch series of pulse oximeters by ChoiceMMed which is an American health care company.

This pulse oximeter has a small and lightweight and is capable of producing accurate pulse rate and saturation oxygen level readings.

Main Features
  • Produces accurate pulse rate and saturation oxygen level readings.
  • Has a two-year warranty.
  • Has an LCD screen display which displays the pulse rate and saturation oxygen along with a pulse bar.
PROS (What we liked)
  • Compact and lightweight design.
  • Low power consumption.
  • Has auto power off feature.
  • Produces reliable saturation oxygen and pulse rate readings.
  • Suitable for both adults and kids.
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • No alarms included.
  • No backlight on the LCD screen makes it difficult to read the results.
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8. Neclife Dr. Trust Finger Pulse Oximeter DR-50D 

Neclife Dr. Trust Finger Pulse Oximeter DR-50D
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Neclife’s DR-50D pulse oximeter is a portable and easy to use device that can be used to check pulse rate and saturation oxygen even in professional environments.

It has a dual core OLED display that displays pulse rate and saturation oxygen along with a bar graph and pulse waveform display.

It is widely used in clinics, hospitals and first aid kits.

Main Features
  • Dual core OLED display, displays saturation oxygen and pulse rate.
  • Comes with a one year warranty.
PROS (What we liked)
  • Compact, reliable and durable.
  • Has automatic power off feature.
  • Easy to use and portable.
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • No alarms included.
  • Not very rugged or robust and has to be handled with care.
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9. ChoiceMMed MD300C2 

ChoiceMMed MD300C2
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The MD300C2 is simple, easy to use pulse oximeter from ChoiceMMed designed to produce accurate readings of saturation oxygen and pulse rate.

It is very simple to use and fits most adults without any problems. It is small and compact, which makes it very portable and handy.

It is widely used in clinics and hospitals as well as a homes.

Main Features
  • Displays saturation oxygen, pulse rate along with pulse bar and waveform.
  • Dual color OLED display.
PROS (What we liked)
  • Small, compact, reliable and durable.
  • Low power consumption.
  • Has auto power off feature.
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • Not suitable for kids.
  • No alarms included.
  • No warranty included.
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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does every pulse oximeter come with auto power off feature?

Most pulse oximeters are designed to save power and automatically turn off after several seconds off inactivity, but not all pulse oximeters come with this feature.

2. Do all pulse oximeters come with a graph that tells you if your heart is beating abnormally?

Not all pulse oximeters produced come with a graph displaying if your heart is beating abnormally. But it will be advisable to buy an oximeter of your choice that includes a chart to display if your heart is beating abnormally.

3. Is there any battery aside from the regular battery in the description?

All pulse oximeters use AAA batteries; it might be challenging to acquire an oximeter that doesn’t use AAA batteries.

4. Are there pulse oximeters for infants?

Yes, there are. Though not all oximeters are recommended for infant use, some oximeters can be used on an infant.

5. Is every pulse reading stable?

Yes, all pulse readings are stable. This can be achieved if you aren’t connected or close to a defibrillator or an oxygen source that will cause an incorrect interpretation.

6. Is it compatible with every location?

Why not? If it counts heartbeats/pulse rates the same way, I see no reason why it won’t work in every location.

 7. Do pulse oximeters measure co2 retention?

No, a pulse oximeter measures oxygen in blood and pulse rate.

8. Does it keep permanent records?

No, it doesn’t keep permanent records. As long as the power is on it will keep updating oxygen and pulse rate readings but once the power is turned off the readings are lost.

Conclusion

While buying an oximeter, it is essential to consider the application and the field where it has to be used.

If you are looking for something to just help you monitor your saturation oxygen, a finger pulse oximeter should suffice.

But if you are looking for something to be used in a hospital in critical wards, you should look for something more sophisticated like a table top pulse oximeter. Our first pick is the Santamedical Generation Fingertip Pulse Oximeter.

However, if I had to suggest, I would go with Newnik Fingertip Pulse Oximeter PX701 for the sole reason that it carries no significant cons with itself and is an overall good product

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