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Best Finger Oxygen Monitor

Judah Hassan
  Jan 27, 2023 9:44 PM


Even though finger pulse oximeters are used in medical settings like hospitals and clinics, you may not know that you can also purchase one for use in your own house. You can easily check your blood oxygen saturation levels without leaving the convenience of your home, as there are a variety of brands and designs available.
 


OVERVIEW

The COVID-19 epidemic may have rekindled interest in home pulse oximeters, but there are plenty of other good reasons to have one on hand. Hypoxemia is just one example of a condition that can cause low blood oxygen levels; knowing you have a finger pulse oximeter at home can give you peace of mind.
Talk to your doctor about whether to use a finger pulse oximeter at home, how to interpret the readings, and when you should seek medical attention if necessary.
It may take some time to find the ideal equipment for your needs, and you may be confused by the variety of options available. Here we've selected our eight favorite finger pulse oximeters to help you get started monitoring your oxygen saturation levels in the comfort of your own home with minimal effort.
 


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BUYING GUIDE

The Most Important Features to Consider

  1. Accuracy
    Accuracy is paramount in any medical tool, even ones that aren’t officially intended to act as professional hospital-grade medical tools, but even more so for ones meant for self-diagnosis by non-medical professionals. Therefore it’s a good idea when choosing a portable fingertip oximeter that claims of accuracy on the manufacturer’s part are backed with published evidence or the equivalent. Though peer-reviewed academic studies aren’t likely to be found supporting portable fingertip pulse oximeters, it’s a good idea to see if the products you’re looking at are supported by some sort of clinical trial.

  2. Easy-To-Read Displays
    When testing yourself, it’s important to be able to read the display quickly and easily in any environment and light level- that’s why displays with red or green on black displays are generally the best bet, especially for use during sports and other outdoor or athletic activity. It’s also important to keep in mind that a display that shows more information may actually be harder to read during some activities or by seniors or people with sight issues, so depending on the user, more is not always better.

  3. Compact, Non-Bulky Design
    Oximeters are sophisticated technology and necessarily require a certain amount of bulk to house the needed components and remain durable, but if you’re likely to be using it on the go, it’s ideal to have one that’s been designed to be as compact as possible without sacrificing important features or durability. Thankfully, most commercially available fingertip oximeters at all price lines are designed with this factor in mind, and often include lanyards for wearing around the neck, if they’re too large to fit comfortably in a pocket.

 

How do finger pulse oximeters work?



 

Pulse oximeters are non-invasive medical devices that can be comfortably worn on the finger. With LEDs installed deep into the probe, these gadgets may shine tiny beams of light through your fingertip to measure the blood oxygen saturation level. The light penetrates your fingertip's tissues and is detected by the sensor on the opposite side.

By monitoring the amount of light that passes through your finger, pulse oximeters can make an educated guess as to how many of your red blood cells are actually carrying oxygen. An oxygen saturation (SpO2) level will show up as a percentage.

Normal range is 95%-100%; readings below 92% may suggest low blood oxygen levels. If the reading on your finger pulse oximeter is less than 90%, either retest to rule out the possibility of an error or think about making an appointment with your doctor.

An oxygen saturation level of 90–92% is recommended by the American Lung Association. If you're not sure if you need emergency medical attention, checking your oxygen saturation level can help. Such incidents may result from acute illnesses like pneumonia or from exacerbations of chronic diseases like asthma. There is some speculation that oximeters could be helpful in extreme sports.


 

How we chose the best finger pulse oximeters


 

Here, we zeroed in on oximeters available without a prescription from a doctor or other medical professional for use in the comfort of one's own home.

Keep in mind that unlike prescription pulse oximeters, consumer devices like these are not evaluated or regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They are smaller, less expensive, and simpler to use because they are intended for random inspections. There's a chance that some of them come with nifty extras that come in handy in regular situations.

 

Overall, we chose the best finger pulse oximeters based on:

  • ease of use

  • overall cost

  • accuracy rates

  • display options

  • age recommendations

  • comfort and size

  • customer reviews and ratings

  • clinical testing

Pricing guide

General price ranges with dollar signs ($ to $$$) are indicated below. One dollar sign means the product is rather affordable, whereas three dollar signs indicate a higher cost.

  • $ = under $25

  • $$ = $25–$100

  • $$$ = over $100

Comparison of the best finger pulse oximeters

 

Product name

Price

Best for

Innovo Premium iP900BP Fingertip Pulse Oximeter

$$

Multiple display options

Walgreens Pulse Oximeter

$$

Ease of use

CVS Health Portable Pulse Oximeter

$$

Children and adults

Metene Fingertip Pulse Oximeter

$

Portability

Contec CMS50DL Pulse Oximeter

$

Budget

ChoiceMMed Pulse Oximeter

$$

Easy to read results

 

What to look for when shopping for a finger pulse oximeter

  • If you need a pulse oximeter for the whole family, make sure it fits a child’s small fingers.

  • Check to see if the device is FDA-approved, or tested to ensure accuracy.

  • Take a look at the product’s ratings and any customer reviews.

  • Most finger pulse oximeters are for spot checks. If you need continuous monitoring, ask your pharmacy about medical-grade oximeters for at-home use.

At this time, the most accurate ways to measure blood oxygen levels are through pulse oximeters or arterial blood samples.

Speak with your doctor or another healthcare professional for more information on monitoring your blood oxygen levels.

Tips for using finger pulse oximeters

  • Make sure your hands aren’t too cold, hot, wet, or sweaty.

  • Keep your hand and fingers still. Don’t move while you’re taking the reading.

  • Avoid placing the pulse oximeter probe on a fingernail that has nail polish or on tattooed skin.

 

Frequently asked questions about finger pulse oximeters

 

Who needs a fingertip pulse oximeter?

 

Fingertip pulse oximeters are a great way for athletes, exercise enthusiasts, the elderly, and people with underlying heart or respiratory conditions to get quick and generally accurate blood oxygen (Sp02) and pulse information about whatever activity they're engaged in, though they should not be used as a replacement for a doctor's visit or hospital-grade and medical-community approved equipment.

 

What’s the best fingertip pulse oximeter?


 

According to our research, the Zacurate Pro Series 500DL Fingertip Pulse Oximeter is the best fingertip pulse oximeter on the market due to its high level of accuracy, quickness, portability, user-friendliness, clear display, and affordable price. The Zacurate 500bl is another another high-quality and widely-used option that just missed our cut. These, and the vast majority of the items on our list, may be purchased from websites like Amazon, as well as local drugstores, grocery stores, and department stores like Walgreens and Target.

 

Can a fingertip pulse oximeter help detect coronavirus?


 

While it is known that patients infected with coronavirus or Covid-19 typically exhibit low blood oxygen levels, whether or not a pulse oximeter is indeed a useful tool in self-detection has not been conclusively demonstrated. This is due in part to the fact that low blood oxygen levels are symptoms of a wide variety of serious health conditions. Pulse oximeters should not be used for this purpose at this time because the medical profession has not had enough time or data to reach an agreement on the topic. This is consistent with the fact that fingertip pulse oximeters were never meant to serve as a substitute for actual medical advice.

 

How do fingertip oximeters work?


 

Painlessly measuring oxygen saturation and pulse rate, oximeters shine a light through a patient's fingertip and record the changes in light absorption; the results are then displayed on a small LED screen.

 

How accurate are finger pulse oximeters?


 

However, the accuracy of home devices may not match that of professional ones due to their focus on user friendliness. A reading's precision can also be affected by the instrument's quality and the user's skill in its application.

The blood oxygen saturation levels can be difficult to measure, but these home devices can give you a good approximation. Despite the fact that some home oximeters' accuracy fell short of the ISO requirements necessary for FDA clearance in 2021, they were nevertheless able to rule out the potential of hypoxemia, according to a research.

Non-FDA approved pulse oximeters have been shown to significantly over- or under-estimate blood oxygen saturation levels (by an average of 6.3% and 4.3%, respectively) in a research conducted in 2016.


 

What can affect pulse oximetry readings?


 

A pulse oximeter reading is an estimate and may not always be accurate. As the light travels through your fingernail and tissue, several things can affect the accuracy of the SpO2 reading, including:

  • Skin color. Skin with more pigment may cause some pulse oximeters to give inaccurate readings. A 2020 study found similar supporting results.

  • Conditions that cause circulation problems. Poor blood circulation in your hands and fingers may cause lower readings.

  • Cold hands. Having cold hands may cause lower readings.

  • Wet skin. Water or sweat on the skin may reflect the light and affect the measurement.

  • Thick fingernails. Thick nails can block the light penetration and may cause lower readings.

  • Fingernail polish. Black, blue, and green nail polish may cause significantly lower readings.

  • Bruises or tattoos on the fingertips. Both may cause inaccurate readings. Try choosing a different finger or limb for a more accurate reading.

 

I have dark skin. Can I still use a pulse oximeter?

 

The simple answer is that it is. Pulse oximeters, despite the fact that the FDA has discovered that using them on skin with a higher pigment content may increase the risk of the device producing inaccurate readings, can still assist you in keeping track of your health.

If you want to monitor the levels of oxygen in your blood, you should keep an eye out for trends in the readings you take, such as whether or not the readings show percentage levels that are decreasing or dropping.


 

IN CONCLUSION

 

There is a wide variety of finger pulse oximeters designed for home usage; knowing your intended application will assist narrow the selection. These oximeters may not provide entirely reliable results, but they can still be useful for monitoring your blood oxygen saturation and heart rate when exercising or for general health and fitness purposes.

If you need to monitor your oxygen levels for medical reasons, however, you should opt for a medical-grade, FDA-approved gadget, or consult with your doctor or local pharmacy for advice on which finger pulse oximeters are the most reliable.

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