This question has come up a couple of times during the past 24 hours so thought I would write a general post about it.
In an ideal world those of us who need to use these machines should get them supplied by our doctors or respiratory teams. There is no such thing as an ideal world unfortunately, and so it very much depends on whether your local doctor or respiratory teams can afford to provide you with one on a long term loan basis. Nebulisers are not available on the NHS, and for the time I have been using them which is now 22 years they never have been.
There lots of different types of nebulisers out there to purchase and for the newbie it can be a minefield. So has a long term user who has bought various types, and made some expensive mistakes thought a little guidance may well be useful.
The traditional nebuliser that some of us may have come across in hospital, clinics or the GP practice is the compressor. This draws in air and compresses it to make the medicine in the nebuliser turn into a vapour. They tend to be a little noisy but are good work horses for every day use. Some compressors are made purely to be used on mains electricity in the home, and others are multi-purpose and can be used on a battery or plugged into a car cigarette lighter.
Next come the Ultra Sonic Nebulisers, these too can be used at home, car or battery, they use ultra sonic power to break up the liquid and turn it into breathable vapour. These machines are much quieter that the traditional compressor nebulisers, and do not stand up so well to heavy duty use. Manufacturers claim that they do, but in my own experience have owning 3 over the years, find these are much more suitable for light use. They are also much more fiddley to clean, and you have to be careful in how you touch certain pieces because mesh plates can damage easy and are expensive to replace.
Finally you have the new breed of nebuliser the "Mesh" Nebuliser, these are tiny little machines, pocket size is a good description (battery powered. but can be purchased with electrical adaptors). Again they are advertised as being suitable for every day use, my experience says totally different. They are okay if you only need to neb salbutamol, and want to pop out for a few hours, okay to stow in your hand bag or pocket for a night out. But again depending on the design you buy (some are easier to assemble and disassemble) they can be fiddley, also if you touch the mesh cap with your fingers, you risk damaging the nebuliser and having to replace an expensive part, average cost £40.
If you are newbie in the nebuliser world I would say consult your respiratory team/nurse. I wouldn't advise GP to be honest because this is not their specialist area and you will be surprised how little they know what is available out there.
You can buy nebulisers from a variety of places, chemists (though I find these are always more expensive), direct from the manufacturer, or a nebuliser specialist and Amazon UK. If you are a newbie I would say go to a nebuliser specialist, they will guide you through what is available by the information you have provided to them.
Don't buy from outside the UK, in my experience if your product goes wrong it is a nightmare to sort out, and I have made this mistake twice. Always buy a well known brand of nebuliser, some of the following are names to consider:-
Clement Clarke, Omron, Pari
All of the above do sell to the public!
Nebuliser supplier is "Evergreen Nebulisers Limited 01942 701210
Nebulisers are VAT Free for the chronically sick/disabled
Finally nebulisers can be expensive, so if you have home contents insurance very often like your camera, cam corder or any other thing you might take out with you they can be covered at no extra cost, though always check with your insurance company.
Sorry for such a long post, but I have written to a couple of posters in the past 24 hours who have been a little mystified, so thought a general post may be useful.
Hope those who read it find it useful, and if there is anything I have missed please feel free to add.
Cheers Daxie Mad