Many visitors to the mountains as us if they should rent a supplemental oxygen machine (concentrator) to help with altitude sickness and symptoms while they are visiting high altitude. Then they ask what the difference is between a stationary machine and a portable machine is. Both oxygen machines essentially do the same thing, providing 92-96% pure oxygen. The supplemental oxygen from either machine gives your body a break, a chance to recover from sports, helps you sleep at night and provides an easier adjustment to altitude in the mountains.
With that being said, around 90% of our clients rent the stationary oxygen machine. This is the blue colored machine above. It is on wheels and weighs around 25 pounds. It is the size of a carry-on bag that you’d take on the airplane. It can easily be moved from room to room or to the living room and two people can be on a machine at one time (biggest advantage). As the stationary blows oxygen continuously, like a water faucet that is always on, it is also the most convenient to use while sleeping or if you are connecting to a CPAP machine. The vast majority of visitors to the mountains are already healthy and they don’t need to be on oxygen “all the time” or on a portable machine. The stationary rental is also the more affordable option.
Our clients using the portable oxygen machines usually (not always) have a specific medical need for oxygen. Generally, they need to be on oxygen 8+ hours a day and to be mobile during that time. For example, they need to be on oxygen while walking around the house, running errands in town, driving in a car or taking a trip on an airplane. Only one person can use a portable machine at a time. Fortunately, we have the newest portable machines that can also be used while sleeping. Another advantage of the portable is when one is doing a week long road trip and staying at different hotels almost daily. It is much more convenient to move to the car, etc. Finally, there are times when there is a special event, such as a wedding, at a high altitude venue and an attendee would like the peace of mind to have an oxygen solution with them at the high altitude event.
The disadvantage of a portable oxygen machine is that it can’t be used with a CPAP machine and you can only have 1 person on it at a time.
We can ship either machine to virtually anywhere in the western U.S. If you have any questions on either oxygen machine, reach out by phone and we’ll be glad to help.