What is Portable Oxygen Concentrator?

What is a Portable Oxygen Concentrator?

Portable Oxygen concentrator is battery operated Oxygen Concentrator which works on the same principle as a stationary or home Oxygen Concentrator but is much more compact & mobile.

A Portable Oxygen Concentrator is a small device that works on battery and provides Oxygen to patients by taking room air.

In comparison to Home Oxygen Concentrators, most Portable Oxygen Concentrators (POC) work on Pulse/on-demand flow; i.e. they provide Oxygen to patients only at the time of inhalation.

Portable Oxygen Concentrators work on internal/external rechargeable batteries and can also be used as a plug and play to electric socket being stationed at home. Most models have an option of connecting to the car charger (DC socket in car) as well.

Longer battery life make life a lot easier and patients don't feel physiologically burdened upon others while undergoing oxygen therapy; they can spend time with their families/friends, travel anywhere and most importantly can do their necessary work/job.

Portable Oxygen Concentrator woth belt Portable Oxygen Concentrator with trolley


There are 2 modes in a Portable Oxygen Concentrator:

  1. Pulse or on-demand Flow
  2. Continuous Flow

Some POCs have only Pulse flow while some have both. It depends on patients requirements which flow is suitable.

Pulse (On-demand) Flow:

This mode enables / prompts the Oxygen Concentrator to produce Oxygen only when the patient is actually inhaling and not otherwise; hence, reducing load on the machine. When a patient inhales, it causes negative air pressure which activates the Oxygen Concentrator to provide Oxygen at that very moment as and when required.

In pulse flow, machine gives Oxygen only when a person breathes ‘in’ and stops immediately during exhalation. Thereby, increasing the battery duration and becoming more efficient.

This method is referred to be a clever / resourceful technique of using an Oxygen Concentrator during the respiratory process.

Pulse Flow is much sensitive, sophisticated and conserver technology which makes it more economical and efficient. It is also known as ‘Pulse Dose’ and ‘On Demand’.

Nasal Cannula is used by patients opting for this mode.

The ‘pulses’ or ‘shots’ of Oxygen are measured in milliliters (mL). The flow that we usually set is called ‘pulse setting’ which is equivalent to the same Litres Per minute (LPM) in continuous flow.


  • 2 pulse setting = Equivalent of 2 LPM
  • 3 pulse setting = Equivalent of 3 LPM
  • 5 pulse setting = Equivalent of 5 LPM

Continuous Flow:

As the name suggests, it simply means the Oxygen produced by the machine is being delivered continuously to the patient, whether the patient is inhaling or exhaling.

Continuous Flow mode should be used if POC is connected to a CPAP or a Bi-level device or if the patient has a habit of breathing through mouth during sleep.

All the stationary home oxygen concentrators are also based on this and provide continuous flow of Oxygen to patients

It is to be noted that the oxygen produced by the machine during exhalation phase remains unconsumed. However, there are times when only continuous flow is required and that’s why this mode is made available in some POCs at extra cost.


Portable oxygen concentrators operate on the same principle as a stationary concentrator; the air compressor is miniaturized and pressurizes the ambient air into the small molecular sieves which have a property of trapping the Nitrogen.

Air contains 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen & 1% other gases; once this Nitrogen is removed from air, it leaves behind Oxygen as the primary gas which can be supplied to patient using a delivery system like cannula or mask, this Nitrogen is released back into the surroundings.
brief of working of Oxygen Concentrator

Main article: How does an Oxygen Concentrator work?

Major brands (with Models)

AirSep [Caire] - About the company

SeQual Technology [Caire] - About the company

Philips Respironics - About the company

  • SimplyGo
  • EverGo

Invacare - About the company

  • XPO2
  • Solo2

Inogen - About the company

DeVilbiss Healthcare - About the company

  • iGo

FAA approval

FAA stands for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the portable oxygen concentrators which are approved by FAA can be taken on an airplane while travelling. FAA is not to be confused with FDA (Food & Drug Administration) as all major oxygen concentrators also carry FDA approval.

External link: FAA approved Portable Oxygen Concentrators


  • Portable Oxygen Concentrator (POC) is a small device typically weighing 800grams to 6kgs which provides Oxygen by removing Nitrogen from room air.
  • The device works on rechargeable batteries, electric socket at home and DC output in car.
  • 2 modes: Pulse (On demand) & Continuous
  • Some POCs have just pulse mode while some have both Pulse & continuous flow option available.
  • Major brands: AirSep, SeQual, Philips Respironics, Invacare, Inogen, DeVilbiss Healthcare
  • The POCs with FAA approval can be taken on-board.
Buy/Rent Oxygen Concentrator in India

Medical Grade Purity guaranteed!

Oxygen Times Store


Clear Writing Solutions
Posted from United States on: 2020-05-26 at 05:42:36
Thank you for sharing this awesome post! Just what I need right now.
Sandra S Montjar
Posted from United States on: 2020-05-21 at 20:07:40
looking for 02/2liters, something portable and plugin
Posted from India on: 2017-09-17 at 21:59:06
I need to buy a portable oxygen concentrator for emergency, something that can be in my car or office or i can travel with. I guess my priority is light and small. Which would you recommend?
Oxygen Times
Replied on: 2017-09-17 at 23:22:53
Hi Jishnu, what is your LPM requirement of oxygen?
Jishnu Sen
Replied from India on: 2017-09-18 at 20:52:22
I use 1 litre at night. Fot that i have a home concentrator. one of the large things. My doc has said i need access to oxygen at all times in case of emergency so on flights, in my office etc...so in case i have a respiratory issue , i have a solution
Oxygen Times
Replied on: 2017-09-18 at 23:46:46
Jishnu, Airsep Focus will suit your need fine as it provides 2 LPM of pulse flow and is the world's smallest portable oxygen concentrator.
Posted on: 2017-09-08 at 07:09:57
If oxygen requirement is 0.5 Lpm then how many cylinder do we need to carry if we are travelling for 35 hours.
Oxygen Times
Replied on: 2017-09-17 at 23:29:43
Hi Sneha, either you need to carry 3 'D' type cylinder or two 'E' type cylinder.
Bindeshwari Prasad
Posted from India on: 2017-06-24 at 15:10:38
Want on monthly rent portable oxygen concentrator at affordable price.
Oxygen Times
Replied on: 2017-06-26 at 01:28:50
Hi Bindeshwari, you can use our dealer finder tool to find an Oxygen Concentrator dealer in your city. Hope this helps.
Susan Cooper
Posted from New Zealand on: 2017-06-15 at 17:28:56
I have COPD which portable unit would be best please?
Oxygen Times
Replied on: 2017-06-15 at 23:36:21
Hi Susan, how much liters per minute (LPM) oxygen have you been prescribed by the doctor?
Posted from India on: 2017-05-23 at 01:06:37
Which is the best brand to buy a continuous flow portable oxygen concentrator. Requirement being 2lpm. Please advise and if possible list of dealers in Mumbai who rent it out. So I can experience the product before buying it.
Oxygen Times
Replied on: 2017-05-23 at 01:17:18
Hi Arlene, the best brands to buy continuous flow portable oxygen concentrators are
1. SeQual
2. Philips Respironics
3. Devilbiss Healthcare.
You can follow this link to view all the dealers who rent oxygen concentrators in Mumbai. Hope this helps!
Replied on: 2017-07-29 at 03:31:41
I got to know about a brand called precision for POC... Any review on the same??
Oxygen Times
Replied on: 2017-07-29 at 03:39:23
Hi Arlene, we have never heard of Precision Oxygen Concentrator before.
Replied on: 2017-07-29 at 04:22:31
Then what brand would you suggest considering my usage being going for walks or theatre or perhaps shopping... Coz sequal etc are too bulky to carry.. How about Inogen g3?
Oxygen Times
Replied on: 2017-07-29 at 04:31:49
Inogen One G3 will not suit your need since its a pulse flow oxygen concentrator and your requirement is for continuous flow. You can try Philips Respironics SimplyGo as it is lighter than SeQual Eclipse.

Find the right Oxygen Concentrator

At Oxygen Times, you can find the most authentic information on Oxygen Concentrators with unbiased reviews, comparison, guides, product specs, dealer listings and much more.

Loading gif