Can you recommend an oxometer I can buy on amazon or at a drugstore?
June 11, 2020 1:43 PM   Subscribe

There are so many that I have no idea how to choose. Just a simple one to do the job. I'd like to have one in the home during these corona virus times. Thank you!
posted by Tziv to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
On the NIH website: The Accuracy of 6 Inexpensive Pulse Oximeters Not Cleared by the Food and Drug Administration

Conclusions: Many low-cost pulse oximeters sold to consumers demonstrate highly inaccurate readings. Unexpectedly, the accuracy of some low-cost pulse oximeters tested here performed similarly to more expensive, ISO-cleared units when measuring hypoxia in healthy subjects.

The winners were Contec CMS50DL and Beijing Choice C20.
posted by ShooBoo at 1:59 PM on June 11 [8 favorites]

Thank you so much!
posted by Tziv at 3:05 PM on June 11

This is not my field of expertise. The technology in oximeters is pretty basic, and inaccuracies are probably more likely to come from how you use it (make sure your finger is properly inserted, don't let it be confused by nail polish, etc.) than from the machine itself. You're not looking for minor variations anyway: a change from 96 to 97 is nothing, but a sudden drop into the 80s, accompanied by physical signs (shortness of breath, fever) might be cause to make an appointment with your GP and get a test. The oximeter itself is not a diagnostic tool: it only suggests that something is going on. I have a Zacurate which I got from Amazon---it seems to work as advertised. I found the heart rate measurement more interesting.
posted by alonsoquijano at 3:17 PM on June 11

I purchased this one for $10 more than it shows up at now. It seems to have very good reviews and I have had no problem with it. It shows approximately the same readings (93 to 95 range) different days and different fingers. I am a computer programmer so I do not claim any knowledge in this area except what I've read on line. But my research gave me the same impression as alonsoquijano mentioned above: it's meant to establish a baseline such that you would notice a significant deviation over multiple readings and especially in combination with other symptoms.

For the specific Facelake FL400 I linked to above, there are two notes:
#1- be careful when you put the batteries in, it is not the way you'd expect
#2- it reads "upside down" but I gather it's meant to be used by someone reading it while facing you, I don't have any particular problem inverting the digits in my head.

The above is all I know on the topic.
posted by forthright at 3:36 PM on June 11

I am not an expert but FWIW I bought this Innovo Deluxe and I love it. It is super-user-friendly and seems reliable. (Or at least, the results I get from it are within normal range, with a very small amount of variability.)

While I was waiting for it to be delivered I used this Pulse Oximeter app (iPhone only) and since then I've tested them together and gotten identical results. So FWIW an app may be equally as accurate as a physical device.
posted by Susan PG at 3:43 PM on June 11

Like someone noted above, the tech here is not very complicated. I have a basic oximeter from Walgreens, just a little battery powered device that fits over the end of the finger. I have never had any problems with it or doubted its accuracy. There are times when it does take awhile for it to show a reading, but that's more my circulation than a defect on its part.
posted by Fukiyama at 4:13 PM on June 11 [1 favorite]

My husband was having breathing problems awhile back and the doctor recommended we pick up an oxymeter from any drugstore. It doesn't really matter which one you get. The doctor will only care what the thing says if it's in the low 90s or lower, but if it does say that they'll take you seriously no matter where you bought it from. I had it on hand recently when I had a bad cold that was giving me shortness of breath, and it was good to set my mind at ease that I wasn't dying.
posted by bleep at 5:09 PM on June 11

Oximeters on Amazon fall into one of new Amazon categories - items from endless, constantly changing, no-name companies that all have essentially the same pictures, 10 to 20 obviously false reviews and, I assume, one or two actual manufacturers. See also, phone chargers and cables. They popped up because two to three months ago demand far exceeded supply. So look at review sites to see what the actual brand names are and make sure that you are buying one of them. (I'm sorry but I do not have any actual recommendations
posted by rtimmel at 7:14 PM on June 11

I've got a cheapo oximeter, and they all seem to have the same interface. If your oximeter is "upside-down," hit the button again and again and it may change orientations. My has half a dozen variations on orientation and pulse indicator, including a waveform that gets drawn below the values.
posted by Sunburnt at 7:44 PM on June 11

Seconding Susan PG's Innovo Deluxe. Not the cheapest, not the most expensive. Seems to work.
posted by Chitownfats at 4:16 AM on June 12

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