Oxygen canister V Concentrator - British Lung Foun...

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Oxygen canister V Concentrator

cazza34 profile image

Hi today i went for a second test to see if i need oxygen. I don't need resting oxygen but need it for mobilising. Prescription is 5l the nurse seemed bit negative about the concentrator saying you have to breathe it in as akin to it being delivered continuously. The big oxygen is to heavy to carry on a backpack so i am having half canister which lasts an hour my prescription is for 6 canisters per week. It needs to be on my back as I work in Events so am always moving around. A concentrator I think would suit me better so I could re charge it and that would mean i could go away for the odd weekend..im really active and on my 50,s. Anyway here tried canisters and concentrator?

26 Replies

All new to us to find it a little difficult to understand. Husband has been on 2 litres for three months now, like you for when he is mobile. They lasted about two and a half hours, he uses a backpack. Now upped to Three litres so they do not last as long. He has been prescribed 8 canister's but not over a specific time, when we get to six empty canister's we then order for delivery the next day. Our nurses have been very good they have shown my husband a couple of smaller concentrators but they require you to nose breathe to activate them and my husband is a mouth breather. They have also suggested the liquid oxygen in a large cylinder but decided to wait for another few weeks to see how many canisters he gets threw. The first month he hardly used the oxygen now he realises it does help him he is getting threw them a lot faster. Like you we would be grateful for any advice from the regulars.


Liquid oxygen may be more beneficial, if you have a place for the Dewar ( holding tank for liquid oxygen) which you self fill a flask, on 2lpm could last up to 8 hours.


If your are on 5lpm continuous, you would have to assessed to see if setting 5 pulse delivery is suitable. You can get a conserver to work with you cylinder if suitable. Which will double your current usage.

They do provide a portable concentrator that goes to 6lpm, slight heavy at about 10lbs but comes with a trolley. The POC is the Inogen one G2.

There may be some trials of the inogen one G3 goes to 5lpm, speak to your respitory nurse they should arrange a assessment.

I have cylinders with conserver which I use in home, for outside I purchased my own POC.

I have a inogen G3 goes to 5lpm. I only use 4lpm, both have been tested on six minute walk to the satisfaction of the oxygen team.

Hi cazza I'm going to be assessed for concentrator , so hope I can use it, I hate having to carry canister around , my shoulders and back ache , and I'm limited to time as mine runs it , I'm on 3l at present ,good luck sorry your having same problems as me xx

cazza34 profile image
cazza34 in reply to Linnie13

Hello linnie13

Good to hear from you i I've got mini canisters that last an hour. The big ones were to heavy for me. Hope ur well

My concentrator does two litres continuous, six litres pulse. But it is heavy, carrying things makes me out of breath. And the battery only lasts forty mins. My prescription is for eight bottles, when i get short i ring dolby and they bring them round the next day. Terrific service

Hi Cazza, I’ve got a home concentrator it has a very long tube which allows me to move freely about my home. It reaches every corner, even the garden shed. The unit stands in my kitchen. For going out I’ve got

an INOGEN concentrator, on a trolley. It has a battery life of 2.5 hours (I’m use 4 ltm) I also bought a spare battery. Which, once you get used to, is easy to change. In addition, I have 4 small cylinders that I use occasionally when popping out and don’t want to drag the portable concentrator. Which, I might add makes a noise, cylinders don’t! All this takes some getting use to but you do! I’ve been using oxygen for a year now and, as I’m very mobile, always bobbing about, I find the large concentrator (noisey too) works best for me. By the way, I had to fight like crazy to get what suited me but got there eventually. The small cylinders can be replaced as and when I need them to be, daily (not weekends) if necessary. I hope this is of help and wish you the best of luck. Also, you get a rebate on your electricity used for running both concentrators, they get read ocassionally by oxygen provider. Joy.

Thanks Joy....im going to try with that mini canisters and see how i get on i really would need a concentrator that can go on.my back. I couldn't pull one with my job......im going to look in to see if i can borrow or rent a small one for a weekend and see how i get on.


My prescription is for 5 litres per min. I have an Inogen G3 which is supposed to deliver 5lpm on demand (pulsed) breathing, but I find it's not really enough if I'm active - I prefer constant flow but you should try it as it's a nice unit and fairly easy to walk around while wearing.

I prefer the liquid oxygen if you have somewhere to store the dewar (tank). It's about the size and weight of a steel beer barrel. You can keep it at home but it needs to be a ground floor delivery as they can't get it up or down stairs. I have mine in my hallway where it sits in the corner.

You have a small flask - about half the size and weight of a normal oxygen cylinder - which you fill from the dewar. The flask holds 685 gaseous litres of oxygen - so at 5l per minute, that's 137 minutes of constant use. I turn mine on and off, and up and down as required, so I get more like 4 hours before I need to refill. You can fill more than one flask as a spare, but the liquid Ox is under pressure so they leak over time and a full flask will empty itself in about 24 hours so not practical for overnight.

You could try a combination - have the flask for when you're moving around as it's easy to put in a backpack, and have a concentrator at your desk or production office or car for when you're stationary and as a back-up.

If you end up with regular oxygen bottles, you can get a nice carrier for them that you wear like a backpack. You should be able to get one from your supplier if you ask.

Let me know if you have any specific Qs about any of this.

Good luck!


cazza34 profile image
cazza34 in reply to timCHP

Hi Tim thanks for your reply...im so new to this so I think it may be trail and error. I am self employed working in weddings and events so am always on the move and carrying stuff. I need something I can pop on my back in a backpack. I also like to go away for the odd night. I've been tested and don't need oxygen at home for resting my sats drop when I move. I think possibly a concentrator would be the best option. Oxygen nurse seemed reluctant to prescribe this as she said I need to breathe it in as akin to continuous flow from a canister. My oxygen is arriving on Monday and I've been prescribed 6 small canisters...the full size was to heavy to carry. Question can you have more than one thing..ie can I have a concentrator if any available and canisters at home?

timCHP profile image
timCHP in reply to cazza34

Hi. I think what gear you have is dictated by your prescription, so you need to get the medical people to tell the suppliers what to give you. I don't know if they will let you have more than one thing. It might be possible if you can persuade your nurse to prescribe it.

Concentrators (that are portable) can only give you oxygen "on demand".

It senses the pressure change and gives you a micro blast of ox every time you breathe in.

The only way to know if you are OK with this is to use one and to monitor your saturation while you use it.

They need to take air in from the outside so they can't really go inside a backpack as it would block the intakes. But you can wear one like a shoulder bag. There are lots of diff models of varying sizes and abilities. I bought mine (an Inogen G3) from Pure O2 (healthoxygen.com). You could talk to them for advice, they're very helpful. Even if you end up getting one via the NHS, the intel you could get from Pure O2 would help.

But concentrators are a bit noisy (a small air compressor running all the time) and need recharging a couple of times a day (or you need spare batteries) so they're not foolproof. And they may not give you enough air. I'm at 5lpm and find my POC is not quite enough if I'm active.

Small canisters (as you're getting) are - in many ways - the simplest. The downside is that they run out fastest. But they are so straight forward. No batteries, no re-charging, totally silent, they don't discharge over time, super easy. As long as you have enough - if you can stack some up in your car for example - these might actually be the best bet.

You can get great rucksack style carrier for them and they don't weigh much more than concentrators.

Liquid Ox (that I use) is pretty good, but only if you're near home. You need to be able to recharge from the dewar and that's no good if you're travelling. Plus they can get fiddly - they can leak, and be tricky to fill, and you can't tell how much you have left so you can unexpectedly run out which can be bad news.

I think the oxygen canisters are a good start if you can get a rucksack for them (ask the supplier). And if you can get a concentrator as well, you can use whichever suits the situation you're in.

If I had to choose one, I'd go with canisters as they are reliable and simple and silent.

good luck!

stone-UK profile image
stone-UK in reply to timCHP


They do a back pack for the inogen G3 fairly expensive at about £140

skischool profile image
skischool in reply to stone-UK

i purchased the back pack that you mentioned and staggeringly expensive as you stated,the only down side to a nice piece of kit is i found i was constantly having to take if of my back to either switch it on or off or adjust the lpm so for most outings i have reverted to the normal shoulder carrier....Ski's

p.s if i had longer arms and better movement i could just about manage the controls whilst wearing it lol

stone-UK profile image
stone-UK in reply to skischool


That’s my problem. Might be useful for housework, gardening or decorating.

skischool profile image
skischool in reply to stone-UK

Yes it is a lot more useful when doing such things than the shoulder carrier but alas i am needing a greater rate of ambulatory o2 now and almost reaching the number 5 level i am also finding that when pulse breathing it is much harder to achieve saturation than when on continuous and i fear its days are limited.i think i need those valves sooner rather than later.

Hi Cazza, I have both. I’m on 8lpm. The home concentrator is great, it’s s a bit noisy but you get used to the noise. I have about 20 metres of tubing so I can access every room in the house. For getting out and about I have the canister backpack fitted with a conserver eccolite4000 which doubles the duration of the canister to around 3 hrs. The conserver acts on a pulse system rather than continuous flow hence extending the life of the canister It’s a god sent to me as I’m still working presently. I don’t have the recharging facility. To get restocked I phone Dolby who take usually 48 hrs to get to my home with new canisters. You soon get used to the backpack and weight. 😉 good luck

Hidden profile image

Hi Cazza34, and every body else ☺

I had a shock as I thought I was doing alright even though breathing I know has deteriorated, breathlessness a lot more than ever, but still getting on with it as didn't know help was available but the shock of my life when I saw my specialist on Monday this week then Tuesday this week I had the arrival of the oxygen machine plug in to use around home and 4 smallish bottles to have outside in a carry rucksack, and a medium size bottle incase of power cut.

So as you will see I am in the learning process but have to say apart from feeling scared I decided to just take the bull by the horns and use it,

Wow I have never felt so happy as it already is making a huge difference, I can now look forward to I hope a complete shopping trip instead of only managing short bursts and having to rest, I feel so positive already, just hope no one dampens my excitement.

Good luck x

cazza34 profile image
cazza34 in reply to Hidden

Hi Ronnie great to hear how life changing oxygen is for you....brilliant. I've been tested and don't need oxygen at home ( resting oxygen) as my sats are ok when I sit still. It's when I venture out walking, work, shopping etc. I'm going to see if i can borrow or rent a backpack portable concentrator to see if that works better for me.

Hidden profile image
Hidden in reply to cazza34

Hi Cazza34

I do hope it works for you it is as I said before, for me I now have a light at the end of the tunnel, and hope it does the same for you.

You might need to check with your work that it allows you to have it when at work, as some do not cover their employees for oxygen use, (just a thought) I think it comes under the same as a form of disability, so adjustments may be needed ie not near heaters or naked flames (gas hobs etc).

Wish you all the best, let us know how it works for you if you try it.


I have Heart Damage,copd and my left diaphragm is paralyzed and it sits in the middle of my left lung. So no air can be heard in there! Yes I smoked. But most of this was caused by chemo for Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Its hard to carry a gallon of milk, I get breathless. My Doctor has me on the big concentrator at home with 25 foot hose. If my readings fall below 90...I put it on. I don't have to wear it if I can hold 90 and above! I do sleep with it on. I also have a Simply go that my brother bought me used for $500.00! That I love..I can go for hours! I can even plug it in while its on in the car cigarette lighter. It also has another cord to plug it in at home and I have 2 batteries with it! But it weighs over 10 pounds, which wears me out carrying it! I will put it in a shopping cart,and I am fine! What i do like about it, is it is really made good! It will with stand a lot! I hated the canasters that gave me only a hour out and about! Now I just bring it with me just in case I go below 90. Hope that helps! Janet127

Have u ask about the liquid oxygen ?? That’s ok a small canister and last longer . They offered it to me but with me havin children I declined it as it has to be stored in garden and can be dangerous with children about x

Hi yes I did ask about liquid oxygen but the canisters evaporate quickly so if i wanted to go away overnight that wouldnt work. Im going to see if i can rent or borrow a portable concentrator and see if i get on with that.

Hi Cazza, with regard to what equipment you can have, I have a large concentrator upstairs, a smaller portable concentrator downstairs and canisters with a conserver and a trolley which I use when going out. My provider, Air Liquide allows these 3 options at the same time. I am lucky with my respiratory nurse who is always determined to get whatever I need. Good luck in getting whatever equipment will help you.


Hi Cazza34,

My oxygen provider is Baywater and I use 6 litres per minute of oxygen but I'm provided with 6 cylinders and a back pack (the backpack was causing neck and back pain so I bought a trolly bag).

I now don't bother with a hand bag when going out because I can fit all I need in the pockets of the trolly bag.

I also have delivered liquid oxygen every fortnight and I have a special flask which I fill up but I don't take the liquid oxygen out of the house because it would not last long. I have a trolley which I ask for to put the flask on.

The cylinders that I use will last for quite a few hours when i'm out because I have a conserver with it that only lets me take in the oxygen I need.

I have been on several cruises and I pay for the oxygen which is delivered to my room on the ship at Southampton. It is very expensive so I bought a Inogen oneG2 concentrator and I have been using it whenever I go away because I only have to recharge the batteries. It comes with a trolley and very small, small enough to fit under the seat of an aircraft.

If you let the Physiologist at the respiratory centre know you are working they will provide you with a portable concentrator if you ask. I know Baywater has an Inogen OneG2 but it only goes up to 5 litres. You cannot take any of the oxygen and machines supplied by the NHS out of the country. I would also ask if they could give you a trolly/ trollybag. I have a spare trolly bag because after buying my own costing over £100 plus £30 duty Baywater decided I should try their trolly bag and give them a review.

My husband uses oxygen 24/7 after being diagnosed with IPF in September 2017. We bought an InogenOne G3 concentrator which delivers in pulse not continuous, which he uses when we go out. It comes with a battery that lasts approximately 4 hours on the maximum setting. There is a choice of two sizes of battery, 8v or 16v , we bought the 16v and also paid for a spare one of 16v. Giving him 8 hours if needed.

It comes with a carry case and charging leads, one of which can be used to charge in the car.

My husband has found this concentrator to be excellent.

Good luck.

Thank you for your reply. I've got a hospital assessment at the oxygen dept 25th April. I'm on oxygen with home concentrator 16 hrs a day. I'm going to be tested to see if I can cope with pulse. Did your husband find it easy having to breathe in the oxygen? Rather than it being continuous.

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