The 4 Best Pulse Oximeters of 2020

Stay on-top of your oxygen levels at-home

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First Look

CMS 50 D at Amazon

"This pulse oximeter has been cleared by the FDA as a Class II Medical Device."

CMS 50 DL at Amazon

"This red LCD is particularly useful if you find yourself having to wake up in the middle of the night to take a quick reading."

Invacare Digit Ox-2 at cascadehealthcaresolutions.com

"This particular pulse oximeter has a large LED screen with 10 different luminescence levels."

Drive 18705 Pulse Ox at cascadehealthcaresolutions.com

"This device is FDA cleared as a Class II Medical Device."

Pulse oximeters are devices used to determine how much oxygen is in your blood, which then also indicates how much oxygen is getting to your vital organs. Many doctors use them when checking your vitals.

Many households might want a home pulse oximeter to monitor their oxygen levels to check for signs of illnesses or viruses. People with COPD and asthma typically use these devices at home to monitor their levels.

While you can purchase an at-home pulse oximeter, many of them are not necessarily medically-approved devices and are often designed for sport or recreational use. Research has shown that the accuracy of at-home pulse oximeters cannot be validated. However, if you want to monitor your oxygen levels during the COVID-19 crisis, these devices can be a good indicator of the state of your health if you start showing symptoms.

If you need a reliable pulse oximeter, look for one that is approved by the FDA (some on the list below are).

Due to increased demand for online shopping, items in this article may be out of stock. Updates to this article will be made frequently with only products we recommend.

Our Top Picks

1

CMS 50 D

AccuMed Pulse Oximeter

 Photo from Amazon

This pulse oximeter has been cleared by the FDA as a Class II Medical Device so it can accurately monitor your oxygen levels. It also comes with a lanyard, a typical black and green LED screen, and a long battery life. There’s a bar pulse indicator right there on the screen to help you obtain a strong and accurate reading. This particular pulse oximeter can be used at high altitudes, low altitudes, high temperatures, and low temperatures. This makes it ideal for outdoor enthusiasts—hikers, campers, or anyone else who may enjoy life outdoors.

Whenever you’re looking at an LCD screen outdoors, it can appear dark and difficult to read. That’s not the case with this one—it has 10 different brightness levels to make it easier to read in bright sunlight.

One of the faults of pulse oximeters on the home market is that they may provide a false reading. This is particularly applicable to this one as outdoor enthusiasts can push themselves the point where they’re out of breath—yet the pulse oximeter can still show that oxygen saturation levels are OK.

2

CMS 50 DL

ClinicalGuard CMS 50-DL Fingertip Pulse Oximeter

Photo from Amazon

Instead of a green LCD screen, this one has a red one. Red LCDs are designed to be easy to read at night without bothering people who are asleep. This red LCD is particularly useful if you find yourself having to wake up in the middle of the night to take a quick reading. You’ll find that the red LCD won’t hurt your eyes if you’re groggy—this isn’t true with any other color. This one also comes with two AAA batteries and a lanyard. Just like the CMS 50, it can be used at high altitudes, low altitudes, high temperatures, and low temperatures. However, it doesn’t have 10 different brightness indicators – this can make it difficult to read in bright sunlight.

This also has a long battery life—use it for 30 continuous hours or perform 2500 spot checks with it. It has a pulse rate, SPO2 reading, and a bar graph.

If you’re patient who needs one of these, make sure that you monitor and keep a log of your various saturation levels throughout the day and while performing various activities —especially if you’re an outdoor enthusiast and plan on using this outdoors.

3

Invacare Digit Ox-2

Digit-Ox II

Photo from Cascade Healthcare Solutions

Invacare is a well-known supplier of home medical products. This particular pulse oximeter has a large LED screen with 10 different luminescence levels—optimal for reading at any angle with or without reading glasses. This one comes with two AAA batteries and a lanyard. In other words, the device comes with everything you need to get started—including the lanyard to help keep track of it.

It has a one-button operation with an auto-off feature to save battery power. When you look at it, it’ll have a black background with bright green lettering. You’ll see the SPO2 waveform as well as a pulse-strength bar meter. With each set of batteries, you’ll receive 16 hours of continuous use and 1400 different readings. It is manufactured by Probasics and comes with a two-year warranty.

Every pulse oximeter has its downsides. When compared to hospital-grade devices, it can be seen as inaccurate. Furthermore, pulse oximeters may prove ineffective under certain conditions such as cardiac or respiratory arrest, cardiac arrhythmias, shock or carbon monoxide poisoning.

4

Drive 18705 Pulse Ox

Drive 18705 Fingertip Pulse Oximeter

Photo from SE Medical Supply 

Many pulse oximeters can give false readings when the user is wearing nail polish. The nice thing about this one is that it will tolerate users who use nail polish. This also means that it is more accurate than some of the other oximeters you may find on the home market. You may purchase it was either a 3.6v lithium battery or two AAA batteries. Either way, it will provide for a full 40 days of use or 1000 hours on each set of batteries. There are three power indicators—full power when it is at one-third power and when the batteries are nearly depleted.

Not every company goes through the effort of getting their devices approved by the Food and Drug Administration that Drive Medical has. This device is FDA cleared as a Class II Medical Device. It is lightweight and affordable.

This one doesn’t have as many luminescence levels as others. Furthermore, this one doesn’t come with a lanyard—it may be easy to lose.

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Article Sources
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  2. Hakverdioğlu yönt G, Akin korhan E, Dizer B. The effect of nail polish on pulse oximetry readings. Intensive Crit Care Nurs. 2014;30(2):111-5. doi:10.1016/j.iccn.2013.08.003