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Best Pulse Oximeters

Keeping track of your own health is essential to maintaining your quality of life as you age. There are many health concerns that can affect your blood oxygen levels, including COPD, asthma, emphysema, and heart disease. Using a pulse oximeter to measure the amount of oxygen in your blood so you can talk to your doctor if your oxygen levels drop too low before a minor problem becomes a major health risk.

What Do Finger Pulse Oximeters Do?

The best pulse oximeters to use at home are fingertip models. These simply clip onto your fingertip and provide a digital readout of you blood oxygen levels. It’s a non-invasive test (no needles) using a sensor to measure light wavelengths to measure the saturation of oxygen in your blood hemoglobin.

Normal saturation is typically between 75 and 100. If yours falls below this, you may feel symptoms such as lightheadedness, headache, dizziness, rapid breathing, shallow breathing, restlessness, chest pain, confusion, and wheezing. If you have any of these symptoms or your blood oxygen level is at or below 75, contact your doctor.

When choosing a choosing the best pulse oximeter for your needs, talk to your doctor first. If you have a serious, life-threatening condition and need to constantly monitor your oxygen saturation precisely, you may need a more expensive, medical grade device or a handheld oximeter, which will be more accurate. For at-home use for most seniors, fingertip units are the easiest to use and fall within the degree of accuracy needed.

How to Find the Best Finger Pulse Oximeter

Always check online pulse oximeter reviews before purchasing. By comparing the pros and cons of various brands, you can get a better idea of which ones offer the features that are important to you at the price you want. Fortunately, most pulse oximeters are relatively affordable, costing less than $50.00 plus the cost of a few inexpensive batteries.

Before purchasing a finger pulse oximeter, talk to your doctor. He or she can steer you toward the best kind for your needs. Some measure only your blood oxygen levels, while others will also monitor your heart rate. Once you determine which of these you need, consider each of these features when reading through pulse oximeter reviews:

Accuracy

Some oximeters are more accurate than others. Some will indicate with a warning light when a reading may be inaccurate so you know when your device may not be function properly.

Alarms for Low Oxygen Levels

If you have medical issues that are a real concern when your oxygen levels drop below a certain level, an audible alarm can alert you quickly so that you can contact your doctor immediately.

Clear Display

The display should be bright, clear, and easy to read. Screens vary in color and size, as do the numbers. If you may have to read it in different lighting conditions, take this into consideration as well.

Battery Life or Plug-In Feature

How long do you need your monitor to last and how long will you be using it each day? If you will be checking your blood oxygen saturation twice a day, your batteries will last a fairly long time. If you will have to check multiple times day and night, you may want to consider a rechargeable device to prolong the life of your finger pulse oximeter.

Durability

How hard are you on your devices in general? Will you be throwing it in your purse, taking it along on hikes and kayaking trips, or will it sit by your bedside or on the coffee table? Consider how rugged your oximeter will need to be so you won’t need to be constantly replacing it.

Three Best Finger Pulse Oximeters For Under $50

Although you can find some pretty amazing and complex oximeters that will measure lots of vital signs, if you want a basic model that accurately monitors your oxygen saturation, we found three excellent devices under $50.00 that will do the trick.

Zacurate Pro Series Fingertip Pulse Oximeter

This is a lightweight, easy to read blood saturation oximeter that ca be used right out of the box. It works on two AAA batteries. It’s easy to read, with large, brightly-lit, red letters against a black background that face the user. It also comes with a lanyard and a silicone cover, so if you’re on the go, it’s easy to take with you and protect it from the elements. It can accommodate even smaller finger sizes with a spring-loaded hinge. The Zacurate Pro Series also monitors your pulse rate and pulse strength and takes 10 seconds to take all measurements.

Pros

  • Also measures pulse rate/strength
  • Lanyard and cover
  • Accommodates wide range of finger sizes
  • Battery life of 40 hours
  • Ready to go out of the box
  • Easy to read for user
  • 12 month warranty
  • USA based customer service
  • Accurate for home use


Cons

  • Readings can take longer than 10 seconds

 

Final Thought: This is one of the best pulse oximeters for active seniors at a reasonable price, particularly if you want to track your pulse rate as well as your oxygen saturation.

4.7 Stars

Facelake® Pulse Oximeter

This is a lightweight, easy to use oximeter designed with a large, LED display that can be easily seen. You can use it right out of the box, as it comes with two, AAA batteries. The included lanyard and carrying case means you can take it with you anywhere without worrying about losing it or damaging it. The case can be clipped onto a belt loop or the lanyard.

Pros

  • Also measures pulse rate/strength
  • Lanyard and carrying case with clip
  • Accommodates wide range of finger sizes
  • Battery life of 30 hours
  • Ready to go out of the box
  • 12 month warranty
  • USA based customer service
  • Quick readings in under 10 seconds

Cons

  • Readings can be a bit high compared to medical grade oximeters
  • Numbers are upside down if reading yourself, but right side up for a caregiver

 

Final Thought: An attractive, lightweight pulse oximeter that gives quick results. Good quality for the money.

4.5 Stars

Santa Medical Fingertip Pulse Oximeter

Pulse oximeter reviews rate the Santa Medical oximeter high for comfort. It’s carefully shaped on the inside to fit the curve of your finger and is sleek looking on the outside. The LED readout is easy to see and read, with a five-bar readout for pulse strength as well as blood saturation and pulse rate. The SMART spring system ensures the oximeter stays snug on your finger for an accurate reading every time. The latex-free, silicone finger chamber eliminated allergy concerns.

Pros

  • Also measures pulse rate/strength
  • Lanyard and carrying case
  • Accommodates wide range of finger sizes
  • Battery life of 30 hours
  • Ready to go out of the box
  • 12 month warranty
  • USA based customer service
  • Quick readings in under 10 seconds
  • SMART Spring fingertip fit
  • Latex free

 

Cons

  • On rare occasions, an inaccurate one gets through, but customer service quickly replaces it

 

Final Thought: For accuracy, this is one of the best for the price. It’s also hypoallergenic and extremely comfortable.

4.9 Stars

Our Pick

Santa Medical is known for quality design and dependability, and their Fingertip Pulse Oximeter is no exception. The accuracy of the oxygen saturation readings on their pulse oximeters rivals that of hospital grade equipment. Many nurses and doctors actually use these as backups on their rounds or for checking on patients at home. You can’t get a better recommendation than that. It’s comfortable and easy to use, with an adjustable fit. The quality of the Santa Medical Fingertip Pulse Oximeter is amazing for the price.

Highly Rated

The Zacurate Pro Series 500DL Fingertip Pulse Oximeter is an Amazon bestseller. People love it for its price point and dependability. It also has the longest battery life of any of the modes we looked at, with up to ten hours more battery life than most other models. If you’re traveling, this can make a real difference. The all black design is sleek and modern and helps make the LED readout show up in all lighting. It is a bit slower to register readings than some other brands, but only by a few seconds.

Great Value

If you’re looking for value, you can sometimes get the Facelake Pulse Oximeter on sale for around $30.00. Be aware that the numbers face away from you, but otherwise they are clear and easy to see. The readings register in less than 10 seconds and you also get pulse rate and pulse strength readings.

A Few Tips for Getting an Accurate Oxygen Saturation Reading

When you get your new pulse oximeter, there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure it works properly and ensure you’re getting an accurate oxygen saturation reading every time:

  • Take your pulse oximeter to your doctor’s office and ask to calibrate it to the one our doctor or nurse uses. Comparing the readings a few times will indicate how accurate yours is and whether it reads a few points high or low.
  • Always use your pulse oximeter in a resting state. You should be seated when you attach it to your finger, then rest your hand on the arm of your chair or on your chest. Between waist and heart level is best. Lower or higher will throw the reading off.
  • Warm your hands prior to attaching the oximeter by briefly rubbing your hands together. Cold hands will mean low blood flow, which will give an inaccurate reading.
  • Remove nail polish before using a pulse oximeter. Nail polish interferes with the reading.

If you continue to have difficulty getting an accurate reading, talk to your doctor.

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