Last updated: August 12, 2021

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Oxygen, as we know, is essential to life. And it's not just a question of having it in abundance around us. It needs to be in adequate quantity in the body. Those who need to monitor these levels frequently can rely on the oximeter.

This small device is a way to monitor your health and take preventative or rescue measures if necessary. If you have the recommendation to use one, but don't quite know where to start your purchase, this article will show you what is important to evaluate before choosing the best oximeter. Follow along.




First things first

  • Oximeter is a medical device for home use that helps monitor the amount of oxygen present in the bloodstream.
  • Home-use oximeter models are portable and can be worn on the finger or earlobe.
  • The quality of the oximeter display is essential for people who use it outdoors, such as athletes.

Oximeter: Our Selection

The oximeter options available on the market do not differ much in design, but they can bring features that are crucial in everyday life. For this reason, we have separated the best sold and well evaluated models from 2021. See which ones they are:

Buying guide: everything you need to know about the oximeter

When it comes time to choose an item responsible for monitoring vital levels of the body, it is common to feel apprehensive. To help you at this moment, we will use this section to clarify all the doubts about the oximeter and its use. Check them out below.

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The oximeter is a home medical device that helps monitor the amount of oxygen present in the bloodstream. Source: clickandphoto / 123rf.com

What is an oximeter?

The oximeter is a medical equipment used to measure the oxygen saturation in the blood. In other words, the device displays the amount of this gas being carried in the bloodstream at the time of measurement.

It is usually placed on the finger, but can also be worn on the earlobe and, in addition to measuring blood saturation, is also able to monitor heart rate.

How does the oximeter work?

The home oximeter, despite being small and portable, works in the same way as a professional oximeter, used in clinics, offices and hospitals. Although they vary in shape and size, all detect the saturation by the same principle.

When connected, small beams of light pass through the blood on your finger to measure the amount of oxygen. This is done by how much light can reach the other side.

The more light, the more oxygen. But don't try to see this with the naked eye, the difference is almost imperceptible. The process is simple and totally painless.

Ideally, more than 89% of your red cells should be carrying oxygen. This is what it means when you hear that saturation is at 90%, for example

Who is the oximeter suitable for?

The pulse oximeter is usually prescribed for people who are likely to have periods of low blood oxygenation, such as when doing aerobic exercise like running or skipping rope, or when travelling to high altitudes.

In addition, it can be used to monitor the health conditions of people with diseases which cause difficulties in breathing, such as pulmonary infections, cardiac disorders and neurological pathologies.

It is always good to keep in mind that if oxygen levels become low, it impairs the functioning of the body and can lead to overloading the lungs, heart and brain.

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Home-use oximeter models are portable and can be worn on the finger or earlobe. Source: famveldman / 123rf.com

What are the advantages of having an oximeter at home?

As we have just said, keeping the level of oxygen in the blood above 89% is essential to maintain the functioning of the other systems of the body. Having the possibility of monitoring these indices is the first advantage of this device.

However, there are some other positive points - and some inconveniences - in the use of the home oximeter. This is what we show in the table below:

Advantages
  • Simple to use
  • It can be carried to the gym or on trips
  • It also allows to measure heart rate
  • It is affordable
Disadvantages
  • Some models have low battery autonomy
  • It can lead to the mania of measuring saturation continuously
  • It can give the false sense of dispensing medical care

What are the types of oximeters and how are they different?

Although they look very similar, there are different types of oximeters. Although you will probably use a finger oximeter, it is worth knowing the difference between them:

Finger oximeter Desk oximeter
Size Smaller Larger
Indication Home and consulting rooms Hospital beds and ICUs
Type of measurement Eventual Constant
Power supply Battery or battery Mains or battery

How to use the oximeter correctly?

Despite its simple operating system, if it is not used correctly, it is likely that your oximeter will register values that do not correspond to reality. Therefore, it is essential to pay attention to some basic care when using the equipment.

To ensure the accuracy of the results, we have prepared a small step-by-step guide that can help you use the device correctly, regardless of the model you choose:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly (or clean your earlobe if you are going to use it);
  2. Check the battery level of the device;
  3. If it is cold, warm your hands with warm water or by rubbing them together to stimulate circulation
  4. Fit the oximeter correctly in place;
  5. Keep your arm and hand relaxed - resting on the table - during the measurement;
  6. Turn on the equipment;
  7. Wait for the signal that the reading has been completed.

Purchase criteria: What to take into account when choosing an oximeter

We have reached the moment when you feel ready to choose the oximeter best suited to your needs. To further support your decision, we have separated some factors that can be decisive in the purchase and use of the device. Take a look:

Display

It may seem silly, but the type of display, the size and the colours of the indications can make all the difference when it comes to use, especially for older patients or those with visual impairment.

The most modern models allow adjusting the brightness, which helps when measuring outdoors. In addition, it is important to check what information appears on the display and how clearly it is presented.

Fit

Almost all oximeter models are built in a clamp shape, to allow the best possible finger fitting into the saturation reader. However, not all of them have the same opening.

For this reason, when buying, it is worthwhile to make sure that the device chosen allows you to place your finger in the correct place. If you have doubts in this regard, read reviews from other buyers about the ease of use of the device.

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The quality of the oximeter display is essential for people who often use the device outdoors, such as athletes. Source: belchonock / 123rf.com

Extra Functions

We have shown that the oximeter usually already includes the heart rate monitor function, which facilitates the daily life of those who need to pay attention to vital signs. Some models also have a pressure gauge, which is another advantage worth considering.

Children's models, besides being colourful and fun, can also have a function to measure temperature, dispensing with the use of a child thermometer.

Besides this function, check if the chosen device has alarms and visual and sound signals indicating the end of the measurement and even when the levels are not ideal. This feature can be especially useful for elderly people or people with low vision.

Certifications

We are talking about equipment that will be used to monitor the amount of oxygen circulating in your body. And we have already talked about the damage of low saturation for the heart, lungs and brain. For this reason, it is necessary to have the guarantee that you are using a reliable product.

In this sense, an item you should pay attention to when choosing your oximeter is the certification of ANVISA (National Health Surveillance Agency) or other normative seals, such as Inmetro. This indicates that the product has undergone technical evaluations and is recognized as effective for this use.

Summary

Caring for health is a universal concern. And, in many cases, the constant monitoring of oxygen levels in the blood is a fundamental condition to control the proper functioning of the body.

For this reason, we talk here about the oximeter. We explain what this device is and how it works. We leave a list with the best sellers on the market and some tips on what is important to observe when buying.

We hope this material can help you in your choice. If it was useful for you, take the opportunity to share this information with your friends. Thank you and see you soon!

(Featured Image Source: juanrvelasco / 123rf.com)

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