Being in the market for a portable oxygen concentrator can feel overwhelming at times. There are several different models available, and each has its own specs and settings.
Today we’re continuing our series of portable oxygen comparisons with a look at two models from a popular manufacturer –Inogen.
It’s always a good idea to shop around until you find the concentrator that best suits your needs. To make it easier to start, let’s compare two of Inogen’s most popular models and find out what they have to offer.
Inogen G4 vs Inogen G5 Portable Oxygen Comparison
Inogen is a popular oxygen concentrator manufacturer that was founded in 2001 because one of the founders wanted a better solution for their grandmother, who was reliant on traditional oxygen therapy. They sought a more portable solution that would give her more freedom, and Inogen was born. Today Inogen operates in 46 countries around the world.
Inogen’s concentrators are small, streamlined and quiet, which makes them ideal for everyday use. Despite their small size, they’re powerful and feature-rich. All Inogen units feature their unique intelligent delivery system, which detects an in-breath and delivers oxygen in the first 400 milliseconds when it will do the most good.
Let’s take a closer look at two of the Inogen current models: The G4 and the G5.
Please note prices vary between sellers – the prices stated here are an estimate.
Inogen G4 Portable Oxygen Concentrator
About: The G4 is one of Inogen’s smallest models, which makes it easy to carry around.
Price: Starts at $2,295
Flow type: Pulse dose
LPM available: Up to 3 LPM
FAA approved: Yes
Dimensions: 5.91” wide x 2.68” deep x 7.2” high
Weight: 2.8 lbs with a single battery and 3.3 lbs with a double
Battery life: Almost 2 hours and 40 minutes on a single battery and up to 5 with a double
Anything else: The G4 is a quiet unit – only 40 decibels. That’s less than your average indoor conversation. Intelligent delivery means it detects your breathing pattern and adjusts the oxygen delivery accordingly. That means you can use it around the clock (though it’s not suitable for use with a CPAP as it doesn’t offer continuous flow.)
What customers are saying: Customers seem to be impressed with just how small and light this unit is and how easily it fits into their lives. The only complaints we noticed were that the sound level is a little more than some people expected.
Our verdict: Light and easy to carry, but still has a decent battery life for the size. A great solution for everyday use.
Inogen G5 Portable Oxygen Concentrator
About: The G5 is Inogen’s latest offering. It’s a bit bigger and heavier than the G4, but offers a higher LPM setting and excellent battery life.
Flow type: Pulse flow
LPM available: Up to 6 LPM
FAA approved: Yes
Dimensions: 7.19” wide x 3.26” deep x 8.5” high
Weight: 4.7 lbs
Battery life: Up to 6.5 hours with a single battery or an impressive 13 hours with a double.
Anything else: Another one that comes below 40 decibels for quiet operation. You can charge the batteries at home or in the car, which makes it easy to use the unit anywhere and everywhere.
What customers are saying: There must be some negative reviews of the G5 out there – but we haven’t found them yet! Customers love its long battery life and up to 6 LPM settings, and we saw several comments about how quiet and easy to use it is.
Our verdict: A quiet, reliable machine that offers higher LPM than many portable concentrators, and a very impressive battery life to boot.
Inogen G4 vs G5 – Which Should You Choose?
Both the Inogen G4 and the G5 feature sleek design, easy to use controls, and Inogen’s unique intelligent delivery system. It really comes down to your oxygen needs, and whether you prefer a lighter unit or a longer battery life.
If you need 3 LPM or lower, the G4 retails for a little less, and is very small and light. Add a second battery and you’ll get up to 5 hours of use, which is more than generous enough for daily wear.
On the other hand, if you need a higher LPM, or longer battery life is particularly important to you, the G5 might just be what you need. It offers up to 6 LPM, which is high for a portable unit, while still being small and light enough to carry. Add a second battery and you can run it for up to 13 hours with no problem.
The G5 is a fantastic addition to the Inogen range, while the G4 remains popular too. They both have slightly different strengths, but between the two models there’s a good chance of finding what you need.
Who Needs A Portable Oxygen Concentrator?
Portable oxygen concentrators are prescribed to people of all ages (including seniors) whose blood oxygen levels are lower than ideal. Sometimes this is because of an ongoing chronic condition such as COPD or asthma, while at other times it’s a short-term remedy while recovering from an illness or surgery.
Some people need oxygen around the clock, while others only need a burst of oxygen when carrying out more strenuous activities.
Portable models are much more convenient and safer than old-style oxygen tanks and offer a new level of independence to regular oxygen users. They’re useful for everyone who needs extra help, from still-active seniors who need something to carry with them during a busy day, to seniors who spend more time at home and need something reliable they can take from room to room.
How Does Portable Oxygen Work?
A portable oxygen concentrator is a small machine (most models are less than 10” high) that you carry around with you using a strap or small carry case. Oxygen is delivered via a tube to a nasal cannula, or sometimes to a mask.
The concentrator pulls in air from around it and then uses a compressor and sieve bed to purify it. The air we usually breathe has around 21% oxygen concentration, but the air from a concentrator has 95% oxygen concentration for a valuable boost.
Once your concentrator is set up and running, you can carry it with you wherever you need to go. They’re suitable for use at home and outside, and provide much-needed oxygen support while out running errands or visiting with people. Many models are FAA approved, so you can even take them on vacation with you.
Portable concentrators run off batteries that need to be charged regularly.
How Much Does Portable Oxygen Cost?
The cost varies a bit depending on the model and where you buy it from. You can expect to pay around $2300 – $2500 for one, though you will sometimes find them for prices as low as $1800 or as high as $3000 or more.
How Do I Purchase a Portable Oxygen Concentrator?
The first step to getting your oxygen concentrator is a prescription from your doctor. Portable oxygen is always provided via prescription – it’s the only way to know for sure what kind you need.
The most convenient way to buy a concentrator is from an online store such as Pure Medical, Sprylyfe, or Oxygen Concentrator Store. A good store will always check your prescription details with you, and be ready to discuss which brand best suits your needs.
How Do I Know Which One I Need?
When your doctor prescribes oxygen therapy, they’ll let you know what kind of machine you need, and how much oxygen.
Portable concentrators come in two flavors: Pulse or continuous flow. The pulse dose units are the most common. They provide bursts of oxygen on inhalation. Continuous flow units provide oxygen constantly. They’re harder to come by as they’re generally less portable, but there are some on the market (or you might need to consider a stationary rather than a portable model.)
Concentrators offer different levels of oxygen, measured in liters per minute (LPM). Your doctor will tell you what LPM you need.
What Else Should I Check Out When Buying?
Once you know your desired LPM and what kind of flow you need, you can start shopping for concentrators that fit those criteria. In addition, we recommend checking out:
- How long the unit lasts per battery charge.
- Whether you can extend the usage time by adding an extra battery (many models offer this option).
- The size and weight of the unit, to be sure you can move it comfortably.
- What kind of warranty it comes with, how long it lasts, and what it covers.
- Whether you can get a bundle deal on accessories such as spare cannula and batteries – this is often a good way to save money. We recommend always having spare tubing, cannula and batteries on hand.