March 2013 Issue

Pulse Oximeters: Inexpensive Safety

Pulse oximeters offer protection against hypoxia at a range of prices. The 9590 Onyx Vantage is best, but even the $32 Contec is acceptable.

Ever since the price of personal pulse oximeters dropped out of the stratosphere, we’ve owned one because it is a fast and easy way check to see if we are at risk of doing something foolish because the lungs aren’t delivering enough oxygen to the brain. Now that the selection of pulse oximeters is confusingly large, with prices from about $25 to over $200, we decided to examine a cross section. We found that the lowest priced units worked pretty well, the others under $100 weren’t necessarily much better, and the most expensive was worth the money if you are going to be using it frequently, want a warranty and may subject it to a rough environment.

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