The 9 Best Pulse Oximeters

Updated May 18, 2018 by Chase Brush

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We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. Pulse oximeters are ideal for athletes who want track their fitness levels, patients who need to keep tabs on their blood oxygen saturation, or anyone simply interested in keeping a close eye on their health. They enable at-home monitoring to manage conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, and other issues related to the circulatory system. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best pulse oximeter on Amazon.

9. ChoiceMMed 2-in-1

This compact offering from ChoiceMMed 2-in-1 doubles as a pedometer, measuring both O2 levels in the blood and number of steps taken. It's ergonomic and easy to use, with a comfortable finger stall, but you should note that this is more of an athletic than medical device.
  • strong lanyard included
  • battery provides 10 hours use
  • doesn't work well on cold fingers
Brand ChoiceMMed
Model CG519
Weight 5.6 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

8. Elera Starhealth Sh-c2

The Elera Starhealth Sh-c2 has a two-color OLED screen, making it easy to read results even from the opposite side of the device. It will work for 50 continuous hours, and offers fast and accurate real-time spot checks whenever you need them.
  • adjustable 4-direction display
  • low voltage indicator
  • does not include batteries
Model SH-C2
Weight 0.3 ounces
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

7. MeasuPro Instant

The MeasuPro Instant utilizes the latest technology to quickly and precisely measure blood levels in a wide variety of users, though it's not technically endorsed for medical purposes. It is, however, FDA-approved, plus it features a nice ergonomic design.
  • includes perfusion index
  • backed by 2-year warranty
  • not very durable
Brand MeasuPro
Model OX200
Weight 2.4 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

6. iHealth Air

Designed to be compatible with the iPhone, the iHealth Air can track trends and organize records, giving you a more comprehensive view of your body. It's suitable for athletic purposes and, being HIPAA compliant, also for monitoring a patient's health over time.
  • expensive but high quality
  • shares results with others
  • app can be difficult to use
Brand iHealth
Model PO3M
Weight 4.8 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. Dr. Meter Black

Unlike other units with poorer displays, the Dr. Meter Black incorporates an extremely bright and clear OLED screen that makes it easy to read from any angle. It's suitable for patients over 15 years old, including those with asthma and exposure to high altitudes.
  • long 40 hour battery life
  • has a mute function
  • interface is not very intuitive
Brand Dr.meter
Model CMS-50DL-Blue
Weight 4.6 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

4. Concord Health Supply BlackOx

The Concord Health Supply BlackOx is a well-rounded option that accommodates adult and pediatric fingers alike. It flips 180 degrees for two display modes, meaning easy readings when it is used by a caregiver or when you operate it yourself.
  • batteries come included
  • shock resistant cover
  • not as accurate as other models
Brand Concord Health Supply
Weight 2.4 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

3. Innovo Deluxe

With a detailed plethysmograph and perfusion index, the Innovo Deluxe is a highly capable unit that beeps for each pulse, as well as when your pulse rate and SpO2 levels are beyond normal limits. It's been clinically tested for accuracy and reliability.
  • low power consumption
  • stylish black and white design
  • somewhat slow to process readings
Brand Innovo
Model CMS50DL
Weight 3.2 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Santamedical Generation 2

Newly updated and FDA approved, the Santamedical Generation 2's winning feature is its bright, multidirectional display that shows pulse rate, a bar graph, and battery level. Thanks to its accuracy and affordability, it's a favorite among practicing RNs.
  • thorough user manual
  • backed by satisfaction guarantee
  • automatic power off after 10 secs
Brand Santamedical
Model SM-1100S
Weight 4 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Zacurate Pro Series 500DL

This newly-upgraded Zacurate Pro Series 500DL is able to read blood oxygen levels up to 100 percent. It's perfect for the serious athlete, for the responsible pilot, or for anyone prone to SpO2 issues, and it comes with a carrying case and batteries.
  • large red led display
  • fits children's or adults' fingers
  • hypoallergenic finger chamber
Brand Zacurate
Model 10430-BKO
Weight 3.4 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

Benefits Of A Pulse Oximeter

A pulse oximeter is an effective way to measure blood oxygen saturation and pulse rate. Oximeters are mainly used in hospitals and operating rooms, but they are also used in physical therapy clinics and for home monitoring. Oximeters give accurate readings within seconds, which is especially important in an emergency situation.

Pulse oximeters are most beneficial for patients with asthma, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and other respiratory conditions. Patients with serious respiratory problems need to have their blood oxygen levels checked regularly, so having a pulse oximeter on hand is vital.

Patients with serious cardiac conditions regularly experience low oxygen levels. Pulse oximeters help them monitor their blood oxygen levels and use supplementary oxygen as needed. Pulse oximeters can also show the change in blood volume during a pulse of the heart, which is often a good indication of the heart's general condition.

Doctors often recommend exercise to improve the physical stamina and overall fitness of patients with respiratory disease. However, exercise can also result in the patient being more short of breath. Patients can monitor their oxygen saturation with pulse oximeters while exercising, adjusting the pace as their blood's oxygen saturation decreases. Utilizing proper breathing techniques during rehabilitation can increase the levels of oxygen in the bloodstream. Many patients with low oxygen levels are able to increase these levels using simple breathing techniques such as pursed lip breathing.

Pilots, mountain climbers, and people working in high altitudes also use pulse oximeters to help guard themselves against cerebral hypoxia. A pulse oximeter can also help athletes gain lung endurance or train for high altitude exertion. The reduction in oxygen level increases the number of red blood cells in athletes and helps to increase their endurance levels.

The Function Of Oxygen In The Body

It is easy to forget the important functions of oxygen in the body until being forced to monitor it with a pulse oximeter. Oxygen is one of the key elements in the metabolism of all the cells in the body, and helps to not only nourish but also remove toxins from the various tissues.

At any given time, the body is almost two-thirds oxygen. It acts to power cells in the body, as well as eliminate metabolic wastes produced by these cells. If proper levels of oxygen are not maintained, toxins can build up within the cells, leading to oxidative damage, cell death, inflammation, and even cancer. On the other hand, proper levels of oxygen have amazing effects on the body, such as activating T lymphosites, which help eliminate cancer cells and improve overall survival rate in patients with ovarian cancer.

When exercising, the muscles require much more oxygen. The cells in the overworked muscles begin shedding waste matter at a rapid rate, consuming oxygen just as quickly. The heart responds by beating faster, and the breathing increases to raise the levels of oxygen in the blood. This lets the body quickly energize itself while simultaneously releasing waste matter; avoiding any cellular malfunction.

The brain consumes around 20 percent of the oxygen in the bloodstream, more than any other organ. The main reason for this high level of consumption is the fact that there are so many processes happening in the brain all at once. When a muscle contracts, cells require oxygen to actually create the motion of contracting. This process is relatively simple.

In the brain, however, things are much more complex, as the brain is in charge of consciously controlled actions, such as moving the eyes to read words on a page. It is also tasked with controlling unconscious actions, such as interpreting the characters which make up those words. The brain is also charged with supporting the state of consciousness itself. Unlike many other areas of the body, the brain is constantly working and therefore it must constantly be fed with fresh supplies of oxygen.

Increase Your Oxygen; Increase Your Life

As oxygen is one of the most important elements required to sustain life, it is important to ensure the body has enough of it. Without oxygen, the health suffers. Utilizing tools such as pulse oximeters can keep a patient on track to inhaling enough oxygen for their bodies to thrive.

Weak cells lose their natural immunity, becoming susceptible to pathogens and oxidative damage which can lead to serious health problems. In addition to its importance in the respiration of cells, proper oxygen levels can reduce the harmful bacteria in the body without affecting necessary beneficial bacteria levels. Without natural eliminators such as this, the body is left prone to attack from various environmental stress factors.

Industrialized society increases the amount of stress in the body. The effects of various chemicals in the breathable air, pathogens or chemical exposure in food, and even emotional stresses experienced throughout the day can all contribute to oxidative damage in the body. As free radicals latch onto oxygen cells, they cling on to the various organ tissues, throwing the body out of homeostasis. By increasing the amount of oxygen in the body, we help to eliminate this toxic buildup that leads to chronic disease.

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Last updated on May 18, 2018 by Chase Brush

Chase is a freelance journalist with experience working in the areas of politics and public policy. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, he is also a hopeless itinerant continually awaiting his next Great Escape.

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