1. Zacurate Pro Series 500DL Fingertip Pulse Oximeter
2. Santamedical Deluxe SM-110 Two Way Display Finger Pulse Oximeter
3. Santamedical Fingertip Pulse Oximeter Blood Oxygen Saturation Monitor (SpO2)
4. Facelake FL400 Pulse Oximeter with Carrying Case
5. Contec CMS50M Fingertip Pulse Oximeter
When it comes to making decisions that have to do with your health, it is important you go for the best option possible because your entire existence may depend on it. If you are looking for an easy and effective way to measure your oxygen level, then you need the best pulse oximeter you can find on the market. But how do you know which one of them is good enough for you because there are a lot of different brands and models available?
In this post, we will be sharing with you some of the best brands that offer the most recommended oximeters, but before then, we will take time to explain what this device really is, why you may need it, and factors you must consider to ensure you choose one that is most suitable for you. Every piece of information we will be sharing with you is verifiable and gathered from our in-depth research and consultation with health specialists.
What Is a Pulse Oximeter?
A pulse oximeter is a small device used in pulse oximetry tests, which measure the oxygen level of the blood. A shortage of oxygen in the blood can be disastrous and cause every part of the body to suffer immensely. This shortage of oxygen in the blood is known as hypoxia, and an excess supply of oxygen in the blood is known as oxygen toxicity. With a standard pulse oximeter, you can monitor the oxygen level in your blood to seek medical treatment if you have hypoxia or oxygen toxicity.
Aside from monitoring the level of oxygen in your blood, you can also use this product to check on your current heart rate status and your blood flow. This device is not one of the most common things there is, but a good number of health and fitness enthusiasts have them and use them for various reasons.
People do not typically just order one for themselves without some reason. If you are here on this page reading this post, it is probably because you are looking for a quality oximeter to buy. So, what are some of the reasons why people purchase one of these for themselves?
Sleep analysis: Sleep specialists usually recommend this device for people who have sleeping issues such as sleep apnea and excessive snoring. Sleep apnea is a disorder defined by repeated pauses in breathing when sleeping, while snoring is the partial obstruction of breathing while sleeping, which results in a hoarse sound from the nose or the mouth.
Anyone who suffers from any of these conditions would most likely experience reduced oxygen because humans can only get oxygen by breathing in air.
Oxygen therapy: Every now and then, medical experts see the need to put their patients in oxygen therapy; this is usually necessary when the patients cannot breathe on their own. The therapy entails the use of supplemental oxygen in treating medical conditions like coronavirus, asthma, pneumonia, pneumothorax, lung cancer, and so on.
With the help of a ventilator, breathable air is moved in and out of the lungs, and with the help of an oximeter, the physician is able to monitor the rate of oxygen flow and saturation in the blood.
Physical fitness: Medical experts use this device to monitor how safe it is for a person to be involved in certain physical activities for the sake of their health. This is especially the case for people with cardiovascular disorders and respiratory problems. Health professionals always advise that these individuals wear a pulse oximeter while exercising to help them monitor and keep their oxygen levels in check. Medical experts also use this device when conducting a stress test.
Keeping vulnerable patients in check: Patients in the intensive care unit will have one of these on them because they might experience a spike or drop in oxygen supply without prior notice. A good example is an infant in a neonatal intensive care unit; babies, in most cases, cannot express themselves effectively. Using an oximeter on them can help alert the staff when there is an issue with the oxygen level in their blood.
How to Pick the Right Pulse Oximeter
Considering that this device is related to your well-being, it is important to get the best pulse oximeter you can find. There are a few things you should look for when shopping for this device.
There are a lot of different brands on the market, and this makes it quite hectic to decide on a particular one especially if you are not sure of what you want. Many people believe that the best products are made by older brands that have been on the market for a long time and some other popular ones that may not be so old.
The thing about older brands is that they have gathered a wealth of experience over their years of business, and they have remained relevant to their customers for so long. They are worth checking out. The popular ones are popular because people love their products so much that they cannot help but talk about them. Some of the brands we recommend include Zacurate, Santamedical, Facelake, and Contec.
When it comes to understanding the accuracy, variability, and bias in blood saturation readings, experts recommend taking into consideration the measurement bias, motion tolerance, and average reading. A device with the best of these factors has nothing more than a 2% plus or minus error margin.
You need to consider the battery life of the device because you do not want one that will die too quickly. The battery life of different oximeters varies depending on their quality and brand. The best of them can last for about thirty to forty hours of use before they need to be recharged or replaced. With all things being equal, a rechargeable battery can work for a couple of years or more in general.
Typically, this device is meant to have some form of display where you can see the readings of oxygen saturation in the body. The most basic pulse oximeter will usually show two numbers on an LED display, but the more sophisticated ones will show much more than that.
The information on display includes pulse waveform, pulse meter, perfusion index value, battery level indicator, menus for various functions, blood oxygen saturation level, and pulse, depending on the particular model. Whatever choice you make, just be sure that it is clear enough in different light levels and that the screen is large enough as well.
Quality products last for a long time, so the first key to oximeter durability is investing in a quality product. It might cost you a little more in some cases, but this is better than having to deal with a non-functional device two days after purchase.
Also, to ensure the durability of this product, take a proper look to see what warranty and guarantee come with the device. A good device from a good brand should offer warranties and guarantees. This is another way to tell that a product can (or cannot) last for a long time.
The size of the device is an important factor to be considered in the decision-making process. This has to do with how well it fits your finger comfortably. Generally, they are available within the size range of 0.5 to 3 inches, and you are expected to choose a size that will fit snugly around your finger but not too tightly.
You may want to measure your finger to give you an idea of what size you should look for. To do this, measure your finger from the tip of your nail to the bottom of the pad.
Oximeters make use of special algorithm patterns that can assess a patient’s condition and analyze it within the shortest time possible for a precise and accurate result. It takes about 3 to 10 seconds for the assessment and response to happen, based on the pulse rate of an adult patient.
In some cases, it may take less time than that, while in other cases, it may take a little more time. In all, the average time it takes to assess and provide an accurate reading should be 3 to 10 seconds.
With a good device, you can set up some thresholds where the alarm is expected to go off, which is great for someone that does not understand the implications of specific readings or for someone who is sleeping. Aside from going off when the patient’s blood oxygen level is dangerously low, this alarm safety feature also helps to detect when the battery is low and needs to be recharged or replaced.
Top 5 Best Pulse Oximeters
After careful evaluation of some of the most highly recommended oximeter models on the market, we had to make the tough decision of selecting the best five based on the brand, accuracy, battery, display, durability, speed, and safety. We have reviewed our top five models below.
1. Our Pick: Zacurate Pro Series 500DL Fingertip Pulse Oximeter
- Average speed of 10 seconds
- Large LED display
- Displays 100% of SpO2
- Smart spring system for ages 12 and above
- A pair of AAA batteries included
- Made with hypoallergenic materials
The Zacurate oximeter is quite popular, which is not surprising considering that it is highly effective and affordable as well. It comes in a royal black color with a large LED display that shows clear readings, and it displays 100% of SpO2. There is also a smart spring system to adjust the size and make it fit for users who are age 12 and above, all things being equal. The manufacturers took initiative by making this unit with hypoallergenic medical-grade silicone materials to prevent any allergic reactions. It comes with a number of accessories including a pair of AA batteries that can last as long as 40 hours of use, a silicone cover, and a lanyard.
- 40-hour battery life
- Accommodates a wide range of finger sizes
- Buyers enjoy US-based technical phone support
- Great accuracy level of 2% plus or minus error margin
- Easy to operate and convenient
- Comes with 12-month warranty
- Issues with the packaging and serial number
- May be too delicate for some
This device is convenient and easy to operate and has a steady and helpful support system you can always reach out to if you have any issues with the device. A great accuracy level of 2% plus or minus error margin and a 12-month warranty are other advantages.
Public Review Summary: It is consistent in oxygen and pulse readings. It comes with easy-to-understand instructions, and using this oximeter is easy also. It is accurate, and batteries are provided in the package. But unfortunately, some complain that this product did not work as long as they hoped.
2. Best for Design: Santamedical Deluxe SM-110 Two Way Display Finger Pulse Oximeter
- Two-way display features
- Large LED display screen
- Designed for sports and health enthusiasts
- Comes with a neck cord and a carry case
- 75 to 99 percent accuracy
- Shows results in numbers and bar graphs
This product is newly upgraded with major improvements to make it more effective in reading a user’s oxygen saturation rate and pulse. The two-way feature is a unique one that makes the design outstanding compared to many others and makes it a little more convenient as well. The large LED display screen, which shows results in numbers and bar graphs, is really easy to view even in low light conditions.
- Quick reading time
- Comes with an indicator for low battery
- Suitable for users of all ages
- Functional and durable
- Lightweight and easy to use
- Comes with a two-year warranty
- Price that is a little on the high side
- Occasionally may have erratic readings
It is specifically designed for health and sports enthusiasts, so it can be used by just about anyone including children and adults. It is lightweight and comes with a neck cord and a carry case, making it quite portable. With 75 to 99 percent accuracy in readings, you will agree that this device is quite dependable. The price of this product is a little on the high side, and it may have erratic readings at times. But it comes with a two-year warranty and includes effective customer care service that you can always consult if you have any issues with the device.
Public Review Summary: This oximeter is a great option if you are looking for fast and accurate readings. Also, it is easy and comfortable to use. It comes with a case and is ideal for taking anywhere you need it. The only cons we can find are that there is no data storage or transmission.
3. Best for All Ages: Santamedical Fingertip Pulse Oximeter Blood Oxygen Saturation Monitor (SpO2)
- 30 hours of battery life
- 2% plus or minus accuracy margin
- Average speed of 8 to 10 seconds
- Shows readings for pulse rate, SpO2, and pulse strength
- Only for sports and aviation use
- Made from latex-free silicone
Unlike a lot of other units, this device by Santamedical is suitable for both children and adults of all ages. It comes with a smart spring system that holds snuggly to any finger of any size perfectly. According to the Santamedical pulse oximeter reviews, this product is one of the best on the market considering its convenient and functional features. The accuracy margin falls within the recommended range of 2% plus or minus accuracy; and it is quite fast in analyzing and producing results in only about 8 to 10 seconds at most.
- Comes with 12-month warranty
- Clear, accurate, and quick readings
- Clinically tested and reliable
- Suitable for all finger sizes
- Comes with a nylon carry case, a neck lanyard, a user manual, and a pair of AAA batteries
- Lightweight and convenient
- A little pricey
- Readings may fluctuate widely
It has a large LED display that shows readings for pulse rate, SpO2, and pulse strength, and it has been clinically tested and confirmed to be reliable. It comes with a pair of AAA batteries that can last for about 30 hours of use, a nylon carry case, a neck lanyard, and a user manual. It was designed for aviation use, and it comes with a 12-month warranty. This is a quality product that delivers great value. It is a little too pricey though, but it could be worth it for some users.
Public Review Summary: It is easy to operate. Also, this oximeter is quite compact and lightweight. The carrying case is excellent just like the lanyard. But remember that cold fingers do not give accurate results.
4. Best for Energy Efficiency: Facelake FL400 Pulse Oximeter with Carrying Case
- Reads oxygen saturation level and pulse rate
- Designed for health and sports enthusiasts
- Average reading speed of 10 seconds
- 2 AAA batteries, a nylon carry case, a lanyard, and a user manual included
- 30 hours of battery life
With the Facelake pulse oximeter, you can easily read your oxygen saturation level and pulse rate. Most of the time, it takes nothing more than 10 seconds to show the readings. This beautifully designed unit is available in blue and white and is designed specifically for health and sports enthusiasts. It comes with a pair of AAA batteries that are easy to insert and remove, a nylon carry case, a lanyard, and a user manual, which we recommend you read to understand how this device really works. This product is suitable for a wide range of users including older kids and adults.
- Highly accurate readings
- Comes with a 12-month warranty
- Straightforward and convenient to use
- Easy battery insertion and removal
- Ergonomic and attractive design
- Suitable for a wide range of users
- May be too technical for some people
- Readings may sometimes be slow
It also has a 12-month warranty to assure buyers of its durability. If it does not work according to your expectations, you are free to return it as long as it is still within the return window. If you are not so tech-inclined, it may be a little too complicated to figure out this product. You may need the help of a tech-savvy person to set you straight at first.
Public Review Summary: The sheath and lanyard included make it very convenient to carry around without worrying about it getting damaged or lost. It works pretty well and provides accurate results. It gives you a reading of your oxygen saturation in only a few seconds. On the other side, customers report that there could be inaccuracies in the results.
5. Best Smart Option: Contec CMS50M Fingertip Pulse Oximeter
- Reads SpO2 and pulse rate
- Designed for health and sports enthusiasts
- Neck lanyard and user manual included
- SpO2 measuring range of 10%
- 2% plus or minus rate of accuracy
- Working current of ≤ 25 mA
This is the last of the best pulse oximeters on our list, and it comes highly recommended for people that are looking for a functional smart option. With this device, you can read your SpO2 and pulse rate at a working current of ≤ 25 mA and a 2% accuracy rate, which is less than can be said for the substandard and cheap models on the market. Contec specifically made this device for health and sports enthusiasts who want to keep the oxygen saturation level of their blood in check as well as managing their pulse. The SpO2 measuring range is a hundred percent because it makes use of advanced technology. Plus, you get functional after-sales service.
- Functional after-sales service
- Makes use of advanced technology
- Large LED display
- Automatically shuts down to save energy when not in use
- Suitable for users of all ages
- Lightweight ergonomic design
- No batteries included
- Does not come with guarantees
This device is suitable for all ages, lightweight, ergonomic, and automatically shuts down when it is not in use to save energy. Although this may be a great product, you also need to know that it does not come with any batteries or guarantees. So, you will have to spend a little extra to get some batteries for it.
Public Review Summary: This oximeter has a bright and clear display. It works flawlessly and is quite accurate. It is easy to read and does not require technical abilities to use! The reading results appear quickly, and they are accurate. The main drawback is that this product can sometimes come broken or break too easily.
Best Pulse Oximeter FAQ
Following this guide will help you make the best decision about which pulse oximeters to go for. Despite that, there are still some other things you need to know. We have selected some of the most frequently asked questions about this device and have answered them in the best way possible in the hopes that they will address any questions you may have.
What is the correct way of using a pulse oximeter?
To use this device, you have to attach it to your finger, earlobe, or toe depending on what is convenient for you. A lot of people prefer to clip it to the tip of the finger and wait for a few seconds for the device to read and analyze their blood oxygen saturation and pulse. Then, the device will display the results on the LED display screen in numbers or graphs for you to see and interpret.
You may want to record your daily SpO2 and pulse readings in a journal to help you and your doctor make appropriate health decisions about your blood oxygen saturation levels. You may also want to know that the middle finger of the right hand gives the most precise accuracy, followed by the thumb.
Are there any factors that may alter the readings of a pulse oximeter?
Yes, there are several factors that can alter the readings of a pulse oximeter. They include blood pressure, AV fistula (often decreases distal flow), intravenous dyes such as cardiogreen (within 48 hours), pulsatile venous system i.e. CPR or tricuspid regurgitation, elevation with respect to the heart, cold, fear (endogenous catecholamines), medications, compression by the probe, cardiac arrest, and so on.
Do you really need to buy a pulse oximeter?
You may not have a respiratory disease or even be a sports or health enthusiast, but getting an oximeter is still ideal. At the time of this writing during a global pandemic, a lot of people have come to realize the benefit of an oximeter, and they are investing in it so that they can monitor their oxygen saturation levels at home.
What does it mean when the readings of an oximeter are low?
When there is an insufficient supply of oxygen in the blood, the oximeter detects this and displays it on the LED screen as a low reading. This does not necessarily mean you already have an issue with your health; it only means you are at a high risk of developing hypoxia, which can adversely affect the rest of the organs in your body.
Once you notice a low reading, please consult your health caregiver for further consultation and necessary treatment. Also, be sure to pay careful attention when using the device because something as little as incorrect finger placement or unsteadiness could also result in low readings. Please, feel free to reach out to us with any other inquiries you may have about this device, and we will do our best to get back to you promptly.
Every one of the devices we mentioned above has gathered great reviews and recommendations both online and offline. They are the absolute best for sports and health enthusiasts. Some companies now market pulse oximeters to parents of young infants. These devices promise peace of mind to parents concerned about sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and sleeping accidents, but no research supports the claim that they can prevent SIDS or accidents.
According to respiratory therapists and healthcare professionals, any of these devices will help you keep a close eye on your oxygen saturation level and heart rate while at home. Remember to use the device correctly if you intend to get consistent and accurate readings.