The 10 Best Pulse Oximeters
This wiki has been updated 29 times since it was first published in February of 2015. Pulse oximeters are useful for athletes who want to track their fitness levels as well as patients who are told by doctors to perform at-home monitoring. These digital devices can measure your blood oxygen, pulse rate, and perfusion index, and are conveniently small enough to use almost anywhere. They can provide accurate results in a matter of seconds. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. If you'd like to contribute your own research to the Wiki, please get started by reviewing this introductory video.
January 09, 2020:
Joining our selection in today’s are update are five reliable, user-friendly models, all of which are compact and provide bright screens for easy readings. The AccuMed AC-CMS50D can display your results in either portrait or landscape format, and will automatically adjust accordingly as you move your hand. It boasts a sleek, curved profile and comes with a sturdy travel case, so it’s a cinch to take along in your gym bag or backpack.
Designed for little ones, the Zacurate Children features a cute polar bear design that makes it fun for kids to hold, and the power button doubles as the furry friend’s nose. It’s suitable for kids ages 2 and up, and also works well for teens and adults with small fingers. It’s as simple to use as they come, and incorporates a plethysmograph, which is a visual representation of your heartbeat in waveform.
For an innovative design that deviates from most, check out the Wellue Tracker, which attaches around your wrist with a soft band that’s attached to a small screen, which in turn attaches via a cord to a thumb ring that serves as the sensor. It’s more comfortable to wear for extended periods than the standard index finger-insertion models. The thumb ring will vibrate to alert you if your blood oxygen drops below the normal threshold. It can sync to a corresponding app on your smartphone or PC.
Another thumb model on our list (and this one does not require a cord) is the Viatom Tracker, which shows your stats both on its small screen and on the corresponding, downloadable app for your mobile device. While it has a sturdy, waterproof build, note that it’s not made to be worn during exercise.
The panel of the CMI Handheld features a large, colorful screen and blue buttons that include a mute key. It can be hooked up to either of the two included sensors, one of which is a finger cuff for adults, and the other of which is an infant foot wrap geared toward the tiniest of users. It’s battery operated and can be plugged in to an AC power source, but note that a power cord is not included with your purchase.
It’s important to note that unless otherwise indicated, these devices are designed for home use, exercise or travel, and as such, they are not intended for use in a professional medical setting. Whichever model you go with, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions, including any guidelines regarding how long they can safely be worn at a time.
Nonin Onyx Vantage This small and lightweight, portable device is intended for spot-checking both adult and pediatric patients on the fingers, thumbs, or toes. It’s suitable for use in hospitals, clinics, skilled nursing facilities, and more. It’ll last for up to 6,000 spot checks on two AAA batteries, and comes with a four-year warranty. The bright LEDs allow you to see the readings from any angle, in all lighting conditions. With it, you’ll also get a lanyard, instructions in a CD, and the required batteries. Optional add-ons include a carrying case and a retractable lanyard. nonin.com
Hopkins Handheld Pulse Oximeter A great choice for home healthcare professionals, this model is suitable for both spot-check applications and continuous monitoring. It’s got three software settings geared toward infants, pediatric patients, and adults. When you purchase it with the complete kit, you’ll also receive a nylon zippered organizer, six disposable tape measurers, 10 newborn Y-probe wraps, 10 alcohol prep pads, and three AA batteries. It comes with a generous two-year warranty for guaranteed use. hopkinsmedicalproducts.com
Benefits Of A Pulse Oximeter
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.
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.
The heart responds by beating faster, and the breathing increases to raise the levels of oxygen in the blood.
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.
Without natural eliminators such as this, the body is left prone to attack from various environmental stress factors.
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.