Jabran (J.) Kundi is a seasoned reviewer for Four Best. He has an engineering background from the National University of Science and Technology and studied in Germany for several years. In his free time, when he is not spending his time researching and reviewing some of the best products around, he enjoys speaking German. Guten Tag!

The 4 Best Pulse Oximeters for 2020

May 4, 2020    Health Travel 

Pulse Oximeters

Pulse oximeters are portable devices that measure oxygen levels in the blood. It is a non-invasive device and convenient to use. For many sport enthusiasts, outdoor adventurers and even aviation enthusiasts, pulse oximeters provide on-the-go oxygen level values that are instrumental in staying healthy when the body is being pushed to the limits. In our review, we have shortlisted four of the best pulse oximeters currently available in the market. Let's dive in!



    Pulse Oximeter

    Amazon.com Paid
    • The Metene Oximeter is easy to use thanks to its user-friendly interface and one-button operation. It gives a reading within a few seconds making it suitable for use during sporting activities. The device shuts down automatically when inactive
    • One button operation makes it easy to use.
    • Get a reading within several seconds.
    • Suitable for a variety of finger sizes from kids to adults.
    • Shuts down automatically in a few seconds when inactive
    • Not intended as a medical device.
    • Most expensive oximeter in our selections for this review.


    Finger Pulse Oximeter

    Amazon.com Paid
    • An easy to use pulse oximeter that comes with all the accessories and user-manual. Ideal for use during sports. While it does cost extra to ship, the price is definitely quite attractive for such a device.
    • Spot checks and displays in real-time.
    • Easy to use thanks to its one button operation.
    • Comes with batteries and accessories and can be used right out of the box.
    • Shipping costs extra.
    • Not suitable as a medical device
    • Not manufactured in the U.S.


    Fingertip Pulse Oximeter

    Amazon.com Paid
    • The last on our list is the Lovia Pulse Oximeter that is perfect for use on the go. It gives a quick and clear reading and is designed to save battery usage when inactive. A large OLED display makes reading values easy.
    • Large and clear digital display.
    • Shuts down within 5 seconds when not in use.
    • Portable and compact.
    • Ideal for spot checking oxygen levels during sporting activities.
    • Limited stock.
    • Not intended for babies and newborns
    • Not FDA approved.

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Pulse Oximeters

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What is a Pulse Oximeter

A pulse oximeter measures the oxygen saturation levels in a person’s blood. It is a device that has a clip-like design that can be attached to a body part such as a finger or a toe. It then gives a reading of the oxygen levels in the blood, giving an indication of how well the heart is providing oxygen to that part of the body.

Pulse Oximeters are beneficial in a lot of ways. From monitoring blood oxygen levels of people with serious diseases to helping people sleep and breathe better, they find use in a lot of health-related treatments. Some of the common diseases that require a constant eye on oxygen saturation levels include:

  • Asthma
  • Lung diseases
  • Heart problems
  • Pneumonia
  • COPD – Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

How does a Pulse Oximeter Work?

A pulse oximeter cannot by itself detect the level of oxygen in the blood. It uses light absorption to mathematically calculate that level to a reliable degree of accuracy. Once an oximeter is clamped on to a finger or a toe, or any other body part for that matter, it passes a beam of light through the body and detects that beam on the other side of the oximeter with the help of a sensor. By measuring the intensity of the light that reaches the sensor after passing through the body, it can determine the levels of light absorption and use them to mathematically calculate the level of oxygen in the blood that the light has passed through.

Benefits and Limitations of a Pulse Oximeter

Image Credit: iStock

Benefits of a Pulse Oximeter

Here are some of the benefits of pulse oximeters:

  • Specially designed oximeters are used in newborn intensive care, alerting the staff on any abnormalities in the newborn’s blood oxygen level.
  • Oximeters provide psychological relief to people with heart or respiratory problems by alerting them on changes in oxygen levels
  • When people are put under anesthesia, pulse oximeters are employed to constantly monitor their oxygen saturation.
  • They are vital in assessing the impact on lung medication
  • They help in measuring whether a ventilator is helpful or not
  • Since physical activity has an impact on oxygen saturation levels, oximeters help determine how much increase in physical activity can be tolerated by a person.
  • They are used for patients suffering from sleep apnea – to determine if the patient stops breathing in his sleep at any point during the night.

Limitations of a Pulse Oximeter

There are a few limitations associated with pulse oximeters, which are important for the users to know.

  • Cases of carbon monoxide poisoning cannot be detected by a pulse oximeter.
  • Changes in the user’s pulse can reduce the accuracy of the reading.
  • Outside interference of light, or using nail polish can alter the meter’s accuracy.
  • Poor blood circulation or cold hands can give an unreliable oxygen saturation level reading.

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