If you have severe COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder) and low levels of oxygen in your blood, a portable oxygen concentrator (POC) can help you live a longer, healthier life.

Benefits: Oxygen therapy is known to give patients more energy, and reduce the risks of heart failure and lung disease. Those who take extra oxygen during exercise, perform better and have less shortness of breath. Supplemental oxygen has also been shown to enhance user’s mental alertness and overall mood.

The two most common ways to take extra oxygen are through oxygen tanks and portable oxygen concentrators. Both are effective at giving users the increased oxygen they need, but portable oxygen concentrators are much more convenient.

How POCs Work: Unlike traditional oxygen tanks which need constant refilling, portable oxygen concentrators take air from the surrounding room and turn it into concentrated oxygen. This way they never need refilled. POCs run off of batteries. When traveling with a POC, it’s smart to take a spare battery with you as well as an AC/DC adapter.

POCs vs. Oxygen Tanks: In addition to not needing refilled, portable oxygen concentrators offer three other major benefits over traditional tanks.

  1. 1. They’re easier to carry. Oxygen tanks can be big and heavy, but POCs are meant to be portable and only weigh a few pounds.

  2. 2. They’re safer. Oxygen tanks can leak oxygen and are therefore fire hazards, whereas POCs make their own oxygen.

  3. 3. They’re ultimately cheaper. Though a portable oxygen concentrator may cost more upfront, you won’t constantly have to pay for oxygen refills, saving time and money long term.