How to Choose an Oxygen Cylinder

Friday, 1 June 2018  |  Paul

The process of choosing an oxygen cylinder can often be long and convoluted. From complex specifications to confusing jargon, the language of refillable oxygen tanks can seem entirely unfathomable. As such, we’ve written a concise guide to the complexities and technicalities of refillable oxygen cylinders to help you choose the oxygen cylinder that suits you and your needs.

Oxygen therapy is used by a variety of people around the UK
Oxygen therapy is a common treatment for a range of issues

PD vs. CF: Pulse Dose or Continuous Flow?

Continuous Flow (CF) as its name would suggest, provides a continuous flow of oxygen. This means that the rate at which oxygen is delivered is constant. A simple would be that using Continuous Flow is like turning on a tap; once the tap is on, the flow is steady and unchanging.

In comparison PulseDose or PD is slightly more sophisticated. PulseDose is reactive, meaning that it delivers oxygen in accordance with the user's breathing pattern. As such it’s more akin to drinking through a straw – The quantities and intensity of the flow are directly correlated to the users particular needs.

Which One’s for Me?

PulseDose offers the significant advantage in that it conserves your oxygen supply. As such it’s often the better choice. In contrast, a large amount of oxygen is wasted when using the Continuous Flow mechanism due to the fact that oxygen is being released at a constant rate, irrespective of the quantities of oxygen actually being inhaled.

Additionally PulseDose offers greater adaptability in that it allows for a broader range of activities due to the varying rate of flow. As such in the majority of cases PD is probably the better choice. However if you’re using your oxygen cylinder while you sleep or need a constant flow, then CF may be the option for you. 

Which Size Should I Choose?

Oxygen cylinders come in a multitude of sizes from compact and easy to carry ML6 cylinders, to high volume, stationary tanks such as the E sized cylinder. Each tank can be used with either the CF or PD mechanisms. However depending on which one you use the number of hours of use may vary significantly. Thus, with a broad range of weights and sizes on offer, it’s important to choose the size that’s right for you!

Oxygen cylinders in rows

The ML6 Sized Cylinder

The ML6 sized cylinder is the smallest and most easily transported cylinder on offer. Compact and mobile, the ML6 is perfect for travelling or partaking in activities during the day. With a weight of just 2.18 Kg, the ML6 provides 4.3 hours of use when used in conjunction with the PD1000 conserver. Filled in just 90 minutes, the ML6 is ideal for those with a busy schedule.

The C Sized Cylinder

The C Sized Cylinder offers a perfect intermediate by providing the best of both worlds in terms of weight and capacity. The C sized cylinder offers convenience and portability while providing a slightly larger capacity for increased adaptability. Weighing just 2.54kg the C sized cylinder is easy to carry and provides 6.1 hours of use when used in conjunction with the PD conserver. 

The D Sized Cylinder

The D sized cylinder is the largest capacity oxygen cylinder that still retains the quality of portability. Providing 10.5 hours of use when used with the Pulse Dose mechanism, the D sized cylinder weighs in at the relatively manageable weight of 3.27kg. 

The E Sized Cylinder

The E sized cylinder provides the largest capacity on offer. Perfect for use at home for extended use, the E sized cylinder provides 17.2 hour’s worth of oxygen when used with the PD conserver mechanism. While the E sized cylinder, weighing in at 4.45kg, is likely too bulky to carry around for day to day use, it is perfect for use at home or during the night while you sleep.

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