Pulse oximeters are extremely useful tools for measuring the oxygen level ( or oxygen saturation) and pulse rate of an individuals blood in a fast and accurate manner.
Nowadays’s there are many digital pulse oximeters available on the market but choosing the appropriate one for your need can be overwhelming.
To make it easy for you to choose a good pulse oximeter we’ve reviewed a number of different brands and devices and narrowed it down to our top 5 best affordable pulse oximeters.
Each of these oximeters has received several hundred reviews and has a rating of at least 4/5 on Amazon.com.
1. SantaMedical Finger Pulse Oximeter
SantaMedical’s Finger Pulse Oximeter is a very popular device that’s well designed and comes with an accompanying carrying case and neck/wrist cord for added protection and mobility.
Their pulse oximeter is able to quickly and accurately measures pulse rate and SpO2 blood oxygen saturation of arterial hemoglobin levels so the user can obtain a quick assessment of their status.
The bright LED display provides real time data and a pleth bar measures pulse strength for accurate and reliable readings. This device features a durable case construction for long term use and is designed to provide up to 30 hours of continuous operation on a single set of batteries.
2. Acc U Rate CMS 50D Fingertip Pulse Oximeter
Acc U Rate’s CMS 50D Fingertip Pulse Oximeter features a high quality OLED screen with 6 multdirectional display choices and a plethysmograph to measure the strength of your pulse for added reading accuracy.
This pulse oximeter is ideal for sports and health enthusiasts or anyone interested in measuring their pulse rate and SPO2 levels.
In addition to sharing all of the benefits of a quality portable pulse oximeter this model comes with a silicon cover to protect it from dirt and damage and has an automatic power off feature to provide long term battery life for the user.
3. AccuMed® CMS-50DL Pulse Oximeter
AccuMed’s CMS-50DL Pulse Oximeter features a digital LED display with easy ambient light reading. It offers a sleek design that can accommodate a large range of hands from pediatrics to adults with fast and accurate SPO2 and pulse readings.
The auto power off function turns the device off after 5 seconds of non use and it comes with a durable carrying case and lanyard for easy portability.
4. Concord Fingertip Pulse Oximeter
This extremely well selling Fingertip Pulse Oximeter from Concord Health Supply is a great low power pulse oximeter that can get up to 30 hours of continuous use on 2 AAA batteries with an auto power off function and low battery indicator to ensure you’ll always have a working device ready when you need it.
It features a compact, lightweight design that can accommodate a wide range of finger sizes and works great for those interested in tracking their pulse rate and SPO2 over a wide range of activities from sports to health.
It comes in four different color options so you can choose a look that’s right for you and has a protective carrying case, shock resistant protective cover and neck strap/lanyard for simple handling.
5. Concord Pulse Oximeter With Reversible Display
Concord Health Supply’s Fingertip Pulse Oximeter with reversible display is bundled with several useful items including a lanyard, carrying case and shock resistant protective cover.
It features an easy to use one button reversible display that’s great for capturing fast and accurate SPO2/pulse rate measurements, and has an auto power-off function after 8 seconds of non use to conserve battery life.
This fingertip pulse oximeter is designed to work with both pediatric and adult sized hands and offers over 30 hours of continuous use on 2 AAA batteries and comes with a two year warranty.
Premium Pulse Oximeter (Honorable Mention)
If you’re interested in a more premium device (and higher cost) then you should give Innovo’s SnugFit Probe Wrist Color Pulse Oximeter a look.
This device features an LED light and sensor set up with a full color digital display that is able to store up to 24 hours of data, and built in visual / auditory alarms to identify bad finger / wrist placement, set Sp02 limits and low battery warnings.
It also incorporates a rechargeable lithium battery (optional Bluetooth support) and free software to help you analyze and upload your data to your computer (check for availability).
During non strenuous activities (ie: sleep, rest periods etc..) the device can continuously measure Sp02 levels and pulse rate, so that you can better interpret your physical condition. If you don’t mind spending the extra money and want a pulse oximeter that offers some additional features check out Innovo’s wrist pulse oximeter.
How to choose a pulse oximeter
Choosing a good pulse oximeter is easy once you’ve identified your needs and know what to look for.
By identifying the features and aspects that are important to you you’ll be able to narrow down your choices and find an adequate oximeter at a reasonable price.
The following tips and advice offered here should help you make a better buying decision and save you time / money on your purchase.
While price isn’t the most important thing to consider when buying a pulse oximeter it’s still a good idea to make sure you purchase a device that provides you with adequate readings at a reasonable price.
The price of a pulse oximeter may vary depending on its accuracy, features, material and brand, so keep this in mind when buying a pulse oximeter.
Many decent pulse oximeters can be purchased for between $20 – $50 based on the features it offers and how it takes / records readings.
In most cases you don’t need to spend a lot of money to purchase a device that provides reasonable readings.
Also consider any warranties and /or return policies that are offered by the manufacturer as it can be a good sign of their brand strength and stance behind their product.
At the very least choosing a device with a good warranty / return policy limits your buying risk if the device doesn’t provide accurate readings or you don’t like the pulse oximeter you purchased.
Arguably the most important aspect of a pulse oximeter is its accuracy and speed.
Choosing a decent pulse oximeter from a reliable brand can improve your odds of purchasing a device that will provide you with reliable readings time and time again.
In addition to choosing a known / reliable brand also consider the type of pulse oximeter you want to purchase as different types of oximeters may yield different results.
Oximeters come in a number of different types such as finger pulse oximeters (most common), handheld oximeters (often found in hospitals / nursing institutes), fetal pulse oximeters (used on children), wrist worn sensors and tabletop sensors designed to read blood oxygen levels and pulse rates.
Due to the nature of inexpensive and commonly used finger pulse oximeters we’ve chosen to include the best finger pulse oximeters we’ve found as the basis for this article.
In addition to accuracy and speed a pulse oximeter should include a number of features that can help improve readings and extend the life of the device.
Features such as an easily readable display with blood oxygen, pulse rate readings and audible alarms for identifying potential health concerns / abnormalities can help you quickly obtain valuable information at a glance and take action if necessary.
Some pulse oximeters also offer a history save feature that will allow you to easily look up previous readings as a way to keep track of earlier recordings.
Other features you may want to consider include choosing an oximeter with an automatic battery preservation mode that shuts the device off after a certain amount of time when it is not being used and buying a device that offers good durability and mobility.
Here are some things to consider when buying a pulse oximeter:
- Alarms/Alerts (for potential health alerts)
- Sensors (pulse rate / blood oxygen level)
- Battery life / battery preservation
- History lookup
By keeping these features in mind when buying a device you should be able to choose a pulse oximeter that best suits your needs and use case without breaking your budget.
Ask your doctor /coworkers
Asking a reliable doctor or healthcare professional about their recommendations for a pulse oximeter can be a good place to start when choosing a device.
These individuals have likely been asked the same questions by others and can point you in the right direction based on their personal knowledge, training and choices.
If on the other hand you work in a healthcare setting then there is a good chance that some of your coworkers use pulse oximeters in their daily work.
Healthcare coworkers / employees are a great way to get advise on choosing a good pulse oximeter since they have adequate experience using these devices.
Your coworkers can offer you good insights into which oximeters offer good, reliable readings and which ones you should steer clear of.
If you notice numerous coworkers mentioning a particular brand or model then it may be well worth your time to check out that device and see if it is a good fit for you and your needs.
Read online reviews
Aside from asking those you know you should also read online reviews from sites such as Amazon, which can have hundreds of reviews detailing all of the pros and cons of each device.
In some cases these online reviews will help you identify potential concerns you may not have thought about on your own and can allow you to narrow down your choices more easily.
When reading online reviews be sure to check for their authenticity by reading other reviews left by a particular customer and look for reviews that have been certified and/or vetted by the website as some products can have fake reviews that are easily overlooked. In many cases you can easily identify a good review with a little effort and due diligence.
Where to buy a pulse oximeter
Pulse oximeters are available through many different retail channels as well as online.
If you are unsure of which pulse oximeter you should buy than it may be a good idea to do an online search to comparison shop, learn about the unique features of each model and gain additional information through customer reviews.
In fact customer reviews area great way to learn about a device before you hit the buy button and have it shipped off to your house / office.
Even if you decide to buy a pulse oximeter from a physical store you may want to check online first to learn about the devices ins and outs so that you can make sure it is a good purchasing decision.
One of the biggest benefits of buying a pulse oximeter online through an website is that you can comparison shop, review online popularity and read about the overall satisfaction people have with the device.
Online websites such as Amazon often have a larger range of devices to choose from than is available at a physical retailer, which provides you with plenty of options to choose from.
You’ll also save a lot of time that would otherwise be invested in driving to a store and looking for clues as to which pulse oximeter is best based on the packaging and listed features.
If you decide to buy a device online you can find a number of eCommerce sites such as Amazon and AllHeart as well as through a direct seller such as Concord and many others.
Here are some pros and cons of purchasing a pulse oximeter online:
- Plenty of potential for some great deals and low prices
- Large selection of devices to choose from
- Ton’s of online reviews, star ratings and comparison options
- Convenient (you don’t need to leave home, spend time driving and waste gas)
- Can’t use the device immediately (gets shipped to you)
- May not be able to talk directly to a sales representative
- If you don’t like it you may have to ship it back out for a return
Buying In Store
The biggest benefit of being able to purchase a pulse oximeter through a physical retailer is being able to use the device immediately as well as return it immediately if you don’t like it.
You’ll may also have the option of talking to a sales rep (at certain stores) who can help you shop for a decent device.
On the other hand you may be limited in terms of the devices you are able to choose from and you’ll have to leave your house and drive (or walk) to a store, which can be time consuming if you don’t live around the corner from the store.
It’s also more difficult to review / comparison shop for devices the way you can on a site such as Amazon due to a lack of online customer reviews and little to no data on product popularity.
If you choose to purchase a pulse oximter from a physical retailer (rather than online) there are a number of well known places you may be able to find one at such as Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Walgreens, CVS, Costco and other retailers that sell digital products.
Here are some of the pros and cons of buying a pulse oximeter at a store:
- You’re able to pick up and use the device immediately
- You can quickly return it if you don’t like it
- You can speak directly with a sales professional or customer service rep
- You have to drive (or walk) to a store to pick it up and if you don’t like it you have to drive all the way back (potentially very time consuming)
- Less options available to choose from in store than online
- More difficult to comparison shop as there are no star ratings, popularty charts or customer reviews to read from in the store