Pulse oximeters are used to monitor your blood oxygen levels and heart rate. While the most popular at-home pulse oximeter is a device that rests on your fingertip, there are also devices that can detect your vitals from your wrist, earlobe, or toe. When using a pulse oximeter, light wavelengths are transmitted and received through where it rests on your body, calculating your health information.
At-home pulse oximeters are useful in staying on top of and determine your blood oxygen levels to provide insight on early signs of illness, such as COVID-19 or pneumonia. By monitoring your oxygen levels at home, you will be able to catch illness early when irregularities show up.
Let’s dive into the best pulse oximeters of 2021 to give you the ability to monitor your health at home.
The Five Best Pulse Oximeters of 2021
At-home pulse oximeters range in technology to fit your lifestyle needs.
Editor’s Pick: 3B Medical Digital Pulse Oximeter
Accuracy is key when it comes to the best pulse oximeters. With the 3B Medical Digital Pulse Oximeter, you can precisely measure your oxygen saturation levels and pulse rate within a ± 2% margin of error. Measuring pulse rates between 30 to 250 beats per minute, the 3B Medical Digital Pulse Oximeter gives you the ability to monitor your heart health and provide you with daily peace of mind.
The 3B Medical Digital Pulse Oximeter has a padded finger insert for your comfort. It’s simple to use by starting with just the push of one button. The digital screen has adjustable brightness to allow you to read through your health information with ease.
Budget-Friendly Pulse Oximeter: Roscoe Fingertip Pulse Oximeter
Get the biggest bang for your buck with the Roscoe Fingertip Pulse Oximeter. The Roscoe Fingertip Pulse Oximeter accurately measures your pulse rate between a range of 30 to 335 beats per minute and your oxygen saturation rate from 70% to 99% in less than 10 seconds. This pulse oximeter displays your information using a large, adjustable LED display and has a soft silicone padding to keep you comfortable in the process.
If you want to take your Roscoe Fingertip Pulse Oximeter on-the-go, you can easily do so! The pulse oximeter is FDA-approved and works using two AAA batteries. Since the Roscoe Fingertip Pulse Oximeter is battery operated, you can receive up to 30 hours of use, making it perfect for travel.
Best Pulse Oximeter for Sleep Apnea: BodiMetrics CIRCUL Sleep & Fitness Ring Tracker
From your sleep health to your blood oxygen levels, the BodiMetrics CIRCUL Sleep & Fitness Ring Tracker tracks your AHI, sleep stages, heart rate, and is a reliable oxygen monitor to allow you to take control of your health. The CIRCUL Ring monitors your oxygen levels at all times you wear the ring to put you in the driver’s seat. By also keeping track of your AHI, blood oxygen levels, and sleep stages, the CIRCUL Ring allows you to understand how your previous night of sleep went.
The CIRCUL Ring tracks your heart rate and is sweat and waterproof, so you can wear this versatile ring all day and night. The CIRCUL Mobile App charts all of your data, so you can come prepared with information for your next doctor’s visit.
Best Watch Pulse Oximeter: Garmin Vivosmart 4 Fitness Tracker With Pulse Ox Sensor
Continuously monitor your blood oxygen saturation, heart rate, and sleep as well as your energy and stress levels with the Garmin Vivosmart 4 Fitness Tracker With Pulse Ox Sensor. Take the stress away from health tracking—wearing the lightweight Vivosmart 4 on your wrist gives you a nonstop monitor of your blood oxygen content. Through the constant monitoring of your blood oxygen levels, you can come equipped to your next doctor’s appointment thanks to the Garmin Connect Mobile App.
Easy to Use Pulse Oximeter: Roscoe Medical Digital Finger Pulse Oximeter
Lightweight, compact, and simple to use—the Roscoe Medical Digital Finger Pulse Oximeter is the best pulse oximeter to use for real-time spot-checking on-the-go! It has an oxygen saturation rate range of 35% to 99% and a pulse rate range of 30 to 235 beats per minute, giving you the pulse oximeter accuracy you deserve.
This digital finger pulse oximeter takes two AAA batteries and turns off after eight seconds to save battery. The Roscoe Medical Digital Finger Pulse Oximeter runs for around 30 hours and has a low battery notification, so you never have to be without.
What Is a Pulse Oximeter?
A pulse oximeter is a painless and non-invasive way to monitor your oxygen levels or the oxygen saturation of your red blood cells as well as your pulse rate. Pulse oximeters measure how effective oxygen is at being delivered to your extremities (arms and legs) from your heart. Pulse oximeters also track your heart rate in beats per minute (BPM).
How Does a Pulse Oximeter Work?
A pulse oximeter rests on your finger, ear lobe, nose, forehead, toe, or wrist to detect your blood oxygen levels. The reason these areas are used to determine your blood oxygen level is because they have higher vascular densities than other parts of the body.
A pulse oximeter works by attaching to most commonly your finger and using cold light wavelengths to shine through the site of application and measure how much oxygen is in your blood. The light passes through your fingernail, skin, tissue, and blood. When this occurs, the sensor is able to determine the amount of light that went through your finger and thus, figuring out your blood’s oxygen saturation. By finding out your oxygen saturation, you can measure how your lungs are performing, which is useful in discovering illness. When you start to get sick, your oxygen levels will drop, indicating that it is time to see your doctor.
How to Use a Pulse Oximeter
To properly use a pulse oximeter, ensure it is positioned correctly and securely to make sure the right amount of light travels through your finger or place of application. Remove any nail polish as it might obscure the light’s ability to read your information. To get the most accurate reading, warm your fingers or toes before applying the pulse oximeter. Lastly, make sure you are sitting still. If you move around a lot while the pulse oximeter is reading, you will lower the effectiveness.
What Does a Pulse Oximeter Measure?
A pulse oximeter measures the oxygen saturation of your blood and how effective your heart is in supplying oxygen to the rest of your body. Pulse oximeters also determine how well your lungs are performing. Pulse oximeters measure your pulse rate, which is determined by the number of times your heart beats in a minute.
Pulse oximeters are useful to monitor health conditions such as:
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Lung Cancer
- Heart Health Conditions: Heart Attacks, Heart Defects, or Heart Failure
How to Read a Pulse Oximeter
To read a pulse oximeter, you will see two numbers. One is your blood oxygen saturation level, which is shown in units of SpO2. The other number is your heart beats per minute (BPM).
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a healthy reading for a pulse oximeter is between 95% and 100%. If you have previous health concerns, your levels will typically be above or below 95. However, depending on your condition, you should talk with your doctor about the appropriate number for you. If your blood oxygen saturation is low, you may be experiencing breathing difficulties, a lung infection, blocked airways, or poor blood circulation.
An at-home pulse oximeter puts you in charge of your health by allowing you to monitor and measure your blood oxygen and pulse rate from the comfort of your home. The best pulse oximeter for you depends on the lifestyle factors that matter the most to you!
Taylor has seen sleep apnea treatment first-hand and has learned the ins and outs through formal training in CPAP machines, masks, and equipment. She strives to make learning about sleep apnea and sleep apnea therapies a breeze. Interested in sharing your story or have a topic you’d like CPAP.com to investigate? Contact us!