COPD Foundation Position on Non-Clinical Retail Oxygen Concentrators

Posted on February 17, 2021   |   

This position statement was reviewed by the COPD Foundation Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee.


Supplemental oxygen therapy is a mainstay of therapy for COPD and other chronic lung conditions. As with all medical devices, oxygen concentrators intended for clinical use in the outpatient setting must undergo a rigorous approval process to demonstrate both safety and efficacy before sales and distribution are permitted. This assures that those who need supplemental oxygen therapy can be confident that their needs will be met by their equipment.

Over-The-Counter Oxygen Concentrators

Recently, a number of lower-cost devices being marketed as oxygen concentrators (as well as 'oxygen generators') have appeared on retail websites such as and and Facebook. These devices are appealing to many, as they are readily accessible without a prescription and at a fraction of the retail cost of approved devices. They are also often marketed with stock images of people using standard oxygen cannulas, as well as stock images of people wearing clinical attire, implying these items are the equivalent to approved medical devices. Comments and (potentially seller-generated) reviews in the retail listings often indicate these units are safe and effective for patients requiring up to 7 liters per minute of flow, leading many to believe these units are appropriate for their needs. However, the technical specifications (which are often obfuscated or difficult to find), reveal that the purity of the oxygen delivered is as low as 30%, an unsafe level far below regulatory standards.

COPD Foundation Position

At this time the FDA has not approved the purchase of oxygen concentrators without a prescription. The COPD Foundation does not recommend the purchase or use oxygen concentrators that are not approved for use as Medical Devices for the treatment of COPD or other chronic lung condition. We advocate for these unregulated devices to be removed from the marketplace due to the high levels of risks they pose. The COPD Foundation encourages all individuals to discuss oxygen therapy with their personal clinical team and adhere to their prescribed regimen.


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  • I find myself more dependent on my O2 as COPD symptoms worsen and would love to hear peoples opinions on whether they’ve had better luck renting or buying O2. As a purchaser I keep running into problems of malfunctioning concentrators and then have nothing as repairs or replacements take time. My lung doctor has not been very helpful on how to best feel secure with O2 supplies.
    Any advice?
    • Hi Momjnc - After renting from my oxygen provider for a few years, I purchased a new Portable Oxygen Concentrator, with a lifetime warranty. I've had this POC for about 2-1/2 years and have not had any problems with it. I decided to make the purchase for several reasons, but primarily the O2 provider would not provide the POC that I wanted - one that was quieter, lighter weight and a longer lasting battery.
      Do you have a Oxygen provider, like Lincare? Or are you completely on your own?

  • I have a home concentrator which is supplied by my oxygen provider. I have tanks that can be carried in a backpack. I also have a portable concentrator that I purchased myself. I also have the lifetime warranty and they will actually have one to my door the next day if my unit malfunctions. They are true to their word. I have had one malfunction and the tech tried to help me fix it and when that did not work, I was told to have it ready for the UPS driver to make an exchange. The next morning, I had a new unit.

  • Like Caroline and the other Jean, I have a POC that I purchased, with the lifetime warranty. I get my home equipment from a national provider and have very good luck with them regarding home equipment and usage. I use my POC for travel and have always had great service from the company that sold it to me.