Home health is an important part of taking proper care of yourself, especially when you suffer from a condition that requires consistent monitoring. If you have a condition that impacts breathing, such as COPD or asthma, monitoring your health with a pulse oximeter is one way to make sure you stay healthy and don’t have any complications. But, how do you find the best pulse oximeter to use?
When you’re looking for a home pulse oximeter, there are a number of important considerations to work. Many devices will work, but some are more up to the task than others. I want to teach you how to figure out which devices are the best and which ones you should avoid based on their features and your specific needs.
**Below, you'll find more detailed reviews, but you can also click links above to check current prices and read customer's reviews on Amazon.
How To Choose The Best Pulse Oximeter?
How Do Pulse Oximeters Work?
A home pulse oximeter shows you your heart rate as well as how much oxygen is in your blood. It can detect the oxygen saturation levels by shining a bright light source from the top of the device down to the sensor at the bottom.
The light will shine through your finger, and depending on how much light reaches the sensor, the device can calculate how much oxygen is being carried around in your blood.
It’s important to note that some of the lower quality pulse oximeters cannot take a reading if you are wearing nail polish, if you have hot or cold fingers, if you use the wrong finger in the device, or if your skin tone is too dark.
Look for a high quality device that won’t give you these kinds of issues and will give you an accurate reading within just a few seconds.
How to Choose the Best Pulse Oximeter?
So, with all of that in mind, how can you choose the best pulse oximeter? Here are the factors you should consider when you’re looking at your choices. Not all of them will matter to you specifically, but it’s still a good idea to know what you can expect and what will work well for your needs.
The best pulse oximeter models will be researched and verified by reputable medical sources. This will help you to know that the readings you’re getting from the device are accurate and useful. Regardless, you should still compare your reading with your doctor’s machine when you get it, just to make sure that it’s accurate.
There are three main types of pulse oximeters: finger clips (the most common type), wrist wearables, and handheld devices.
- Does it work with all skin tones?
As I mentioned above, some lower quality pulse oximeters don’t work if your skin tone is darker. Make sure that you look for one that works with all types of skin tones so you can avoid this issue when you’re getting your readings.
- What size fingers does it work with?
Some finger oximeters are made to fit fingers of a specific size and will not work with just any hands. Measure your fingers to ensure you get a device which will fit you properly.
- Are there any guarantees or warranties?
Always get a pulse oximeter with some sort of warranty, guarantee, or return policy! That way if you test it and find that it doesn’t give an accurate reading, or if it doesn’t work with your hands, you can send it back and get a new one or buy a different model.
- Is it well-built and long-lasting?
Cheap pulse oximeters won’t last long enough to be worth the money, and they might start giving inaccurate readings after a short time. The best pulse oximeter is one that’s built to last for years.
- Is there a built-in alarm for low level readings?
Some of the better devices will sound a small alarm when your readings are below what they should be. This is a great help if you are not very familiar with what an average reading is versus a low reading.
- How readable is the device display?
Small displays are difficult to read and might cause you issues if your eyesight is poor. Check that the display on a device you want will be readable and not confusing. It should be quick and easy to check your readings.
- What kind of battery life can you expect?
You never know when you will need to take a blood oxygen level reading, so getting a device with long and reliable battery life is essential.
Top 5 Best Pulse Oximeter Reviews
This device from Acc U Rate is meant mostly for sports enthusiasts and other active people. The company specifies that it’s not a medical device, but it can also give a very accurate reading to help with medical condition monitoring. It exceeds FDA standards with around + or – 1% deviation.
You can read the measurements from any direction, because the screen rotates in all directions to help you get a better view. Numbers are well displayed and easy to read, making it hard to get confused or read your percentages incorrectly. The finger chamber adapts to the size of your finger, so children and adults alike can all use this pulse oximeter and get accurate measurements.
Using the Acc U Rate is very simple. There is only one button: the power button. Put your finger into the chamber, making sure your finger is well placed on the LED lights and sensor, and hit the power button. Readings for your oxygenation levels and pulse rate show up usually within around 5 seconds or less.
- Good customer service and interactions
- Comes with silicon cover, lanyard, batteries, and storage pouch
- Automatically turns off when removed from your finger to save battery life
- Comfortable to use, not too tight or pinching
- No alarm for low readings
- Sometimes this device has trouble with elderly or arthritic hands
- This is a simple, yet useful pulse oximeter that is reliable. With only one button, it’s very easy for anyone to use, even without any understanding of technology. Sometimes this unit doesn’t work well on fingers that aren’t perfectly straight, but it works well for many people who need a quick reading on their pulse and blood oxygen levels.1
The Zacurate Pro Series pulse oximeter is an upgraded version of a previously popular model. This newer device features hardware and software updates that help it to run smoothly and give off more accurate readings consistently. Just one press of the button and the device turns on. Within about 10 seconds your readings will be displayed on the OLED screen
There is a lot of value for your money if you choose this pulse oximeter, as it’s meant to be carried around with you wherever you go and it gives very accurate readings in almost any situation. Sometimes it may be difficult to get a proper reading if you are outside in the hot sun, but this is actually a common problem with many devices, not just the Zacurate
Within 30 seconds of showing you your reading, the display will automatically shut off to conserve the battery. If batteries die, you can replace them with any 2 AAA batteries to get it started up again.
- Heart symbol beside the pulse rate reading helps you avoid confusion
- Smart spring system helps this pulse oximeter to work for fingers of all sizes
- 12-month warranty and US-based tech support
- Comes with silicon cover, batteries, and a lanyard
- Sturdy build that holds up well
- Takes longer to show results than some other readers
- No option to manually shut off the device
- If you want a device that gives a lightning fast reading, then you’re not looking at the right oximeter for your needs. However, it’s a solid device that works very well for anyone who wants to have a better idea about how their vitals look throughout the day.
As a compact and convenient device, you might find this pulse oximeter to be comparable to other similar models. It is great for giving off accurate readings, as long as conditions are not too unstable.
If you try to take a reading from your finger while moving even a little than you may have to wait longer until it appears on the screen. Otherwise, you’ll usually see the levels shown in between 10-30 seconds.
Battery life is good on this device, which can last for 30 hours while you use it continuously. An automatic shutdown feature makes the OLED screen turn off on its own a certain amount of time after it gives you the reading or if it fails to find any readings.
- Batteries can last more than 30 hours with continuous use
- 2-year warranty is longer than many other devices offer
- Travel case, silicon cover, lanyard, and batteries are all included
- Low battery indicator helps you change batteries before they fail you
- Sometimes readings are difficult to get when you have low perfusion
- This device doesn’t work well for babies
- If you’re a bit more patient with how long it takes to get your blood oxygen levels and pulse rate, this device will work perfectly fine for you. It could be frustrating it you want something that pops up instantly. This isn’t a hugely high-tech gadget, but it’s effective and reliable, and it does its job well.
For anyone interested in getting a well-liked pulse oximeter that’s proven to be effective, it’s hard to bypass this choice. As of writing this review, it is listed as a best-selling device. Reviews are generally positive and encouraging for anyone looking to get some good use from their oximeter
This is an accurate device that’s easy to read and has a simple design. Numbers on the OLED display are well separated and difficult to confuse. A small pulse rate bar moves along the bottom of the display to help you see a visual representation of the heart beat as it’s taking its readings.
Cycle through the different viewing angles to catch the best view of the screen from any direction. A low battery indicator helps you know what you need to change batteries, before it’s too late
You can use the Generation 2 pulse oximeter for sports, outdoor activities, aviation, and some self-monitoring for medical conditions, although the company does not consider this to be one of its uses. Up to 1 year after getting the device, you can send it back for a new one or a full refund if it doesn’t perform well for you.
- Attractive looking device with an easy to read display screen
- Sturdy and compact build
- Includes convenient accessories: lanyard and protective carrying case
- Best-selling device that has exceptional feedback
- Takes some time to give you a final reading
- Screen takes more battery than many other devices
- If you’re looking to get a well built, compact pulse oximeter, then you can find this one to be useful for you. It’s easy to see clearly, to use any time, and to read during any lighting or weather conditions. Sometimes this device might take longer to show you your readings, but it’s a great little machine otherwise.
A great set of features and many convenient accessories are what make this pulse oximeter a great choice for a lot of different people. A soft and protective travel case means you get to take accurate readings at home or on the road.
It’s great for use when traveling or resting. The interior sensors also offer you a way to take the measurements for any size of finger, as the chamber is adjustable inside
At the push of a button you can effortlessly turn on the OLED screen and have your readings taken within a few seconds. For sports, aviation, and other non-medical uses, this pulse oximeter works to give you the best reading it can without suffering from any damages as you take it around with you and get use from it.
- Comes with a protective padded case and a lanyard
- High standards were met for accuracy of the blood oxygen levels
- Can use rechargeable or alkaline batteries
- Runs up to 30 hours continuously on one set of batteries
- Readings on the screen don’t face directly at you for easy viewing
- Doesn’t work well on all fingers, but works great for most people’s middle fingers
- This is not as sturdy a device as some, and the OLED screen is not as simple to read because it’s facing the opposite direction of you, but it is still an accurate and useful pulse oximeter. Simply put your finger in the chamber and press the on button to get an idea about your blood oxygen levels and your heart rate
Out of these 5 devices, my personal favorite is the Zacurate Pro Series. It seems to be the best value for your money, and it is one of the most updated and newer devices offered on the market today. This particular device is on the best pulse oximeter list because of its high build quality and excellent, reliable accuracy. Both of those features will serve you well for years if you choose to test it out.