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What Are Oxygen Concentrators, and How Do They Differ from Oxygen Cylinders?

Oxygen cylinders have a liquid form of oxygen. Oxygen is separated from other gases and compressed at -185 deg centigrade to create a liquid form of oxygen. 1lt cryogenic(liquified) oxygen cylinder is approximately 861lt of atmospheric oxygen at room temperature. 6.8lt cylinder is approximately equal to 5850lt of atmospheric oxygen.

Oxygen cylinders

Oxygen cylinders for rent come in 2 variants.

  1. Industrial
  2. Medical

Industrial cylinders have a lesser % of oxygen, which is used in welding work. Medical oxygen is 99% pure. Now, calculate the oxygen you need v/s cylinder capacity. It can last that long. After that, a refilling is needed. In case of a COVID situation, you will need continuous oxygen. Only hospitals can help with that. They will have heavy machinery or a surplus of cylinders for the purpose. If it is for some other treatment with more than 5lt of oxygen per min, cylinders are best.

Oxygen Concentrators

Oxygen Concentrators can filter and separate oxygen from the atmospheric air. That is when we speak of its purity. 93% pure oxygen means, in a liter, it was able to extract 930 ml of oxygen from the air, but other gases like Nitrogen, Helium, CO2, and more are still present in about 70 ml. This means this does not store oxygen in any form. But does live generation. Hence, you get oxygen when it is on. There are 2 types of oxygen concentrators.  

  1. Home machines 
  2. Medical OC 

Home machines supply up to 93% oxygen at 1lt/min flow and reduce as the flow increases. These numbers vary from machine to machine. For example, 2lt/min gives about 70% pure oxygen, 4lt at 40%, and 5lt about 25-28%. At the same time, medical O2 concentrators provide almost 90% pure oxygen even at a peak load of 5lt/min. The kind of 02 concentrators a person needs to use depends on the flow and air quality required. Generally, COVID patients and patients suffering from sleep apnea need more than 2lt of oxygen per minute. So, it is suggested to get a home oxygen concentrator for rent as the patient needs a max of 2ltpm.

What are the primary considerations to take before renting or owning an oxygen concentrator?

Buy or Rent

One can get an oxygen concentrator on rent for approximately Rs 5000 per month in India. On the other hand, you can buy a new oxygen concentrator for about Rs 50-60000. Therefore, if you are going to be using the equipment for less than 1-year, it makes better financial sense to rent the machine. Even if you consider resale value, it may make better sense to rent rather than purchase if the usage is less than 6-months. 


One set of items, such as a humidifier bottle, nasal cannula, etc., are available on purchasing a new O2 concentrator. However, if you rent an O2 concentrator, one set needs to be purchased. The one-time cost of a set of accessories can be assumed as Rs 5000. 

Maintenance cost

Maintenance can be a headache that you may want to do without. If you rent a 02 concentrator, the maintenance responsibility is that of the rental agency. If the machine is not working properly, they simply give you a replacement. But, if you own the equipment, you may have to call the seller and wait for them to fix it. Sometimes this may mean the incapability to use the equipment for a day till it is fixed. In the case of rent, the maintenance cost is included in the rent charges. At the same time, most O2 concentrators come with a 2–3-year warranty; hence, the maintenance for the warranty period is Nil.

New vs. Used

It is likely to be a used product when you rent any medical equipment. From a health point of view, it does not matter, as long as t the tube, mask, and other accessories have been changed. However, if the oxygen concentrator for rent is highly used, it may have frequent failure. It is, therefore, advised to check how many hours the oxygen concentrator has already been used before you accept the machine for rent. Usually, the average lifespan of an oxygen concentrator is typically 5 years or 10000 hours, depending on the maintenance and usage.

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