If you need to take a blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) reading, you need a pulse oximeter. And you don’t need just any old pulse oximeter – you need one that is accurate, with the right fit and long battery life.
Couldn’t Wait? No Problem, Here You Go. Our Top 3 Picks For Best Pulse Oximeters For Nurses:
Next to having the best stethoscope and blood pressure cuff, the pulse oximeter is one of the most used pieces of equipment that nurses use daily.
A pulse oximeter is a non-invasive, clip-on device that uses light waves passed through a fingertip or earlobe, to measure how much of each light wavelength is absorbed by the blood. This reading is an easy, non-invasive way to measure the blood oxygen level of a patient.
We’ve pulled together the top 10 rated pulse oximeters as reviewed by nurses across the nation. We graded them on the accuracy, battery life, durability, ease of use, and fit.
But before we get to the goods, let’s take a second and go over some qualities that you need to look for in a quality pulse oximeter.
Ten Best Pulse Oximeter For Nurses
So we checked out reviews, comments, ratings, and chat rooms to find out which pulse oximeters were preferred by nurses. We paid special attention to performance, durability, and ease of use.
These are the top 10 pulse oximeters that got consistent top reviews across the board.
Innovo Deluxe iP900AP Fingertip Pulse Oximeter (Best Overall)
Do you need a pulse oximeter that does it best? The Innovo Deluxe iP900AP Fingertip Pulse Oximeter is one of the most advanced models at the price and has a plethysmograph and perfusion index so you know the reading is right.
The green display on a black background is quick to read and the waveform meter is nice. Upgraded software, multiple alarms – it’s quick, accurate, and simple to use.
Cons: finger-specific design is harder to use on other body parts, like an earlobe – try the
Zacurate Pro Series 500DL Fingertip Pulse Oximeter (Easiest To Carry)
The Zacurate Pro Series 500DL Pulse Oximeter is just a good little design. It comes with a red LED display that’s simple and has all the features: SpO2 reading, pulse monitor – the works.
The silicone cover and lanyard are nice additions so it’s great if you’re on the go and need to keep it handy. Good for travel nurses.
Cons: the red display may not be bright enough for some people’s liking – try the Innovo Deluxe iP900AP for a brighter screen.
Masimo MightySat – (Best for ER Use)
Do you need the most advanced and best quality pulse oximeter for nurses with its own app and smart tech connectivity?
The Masimo MightySat has more features and takes more measurements that others can’t, like Respiration Rate (RRp) and the Pleth Variability Index (PVi). To collate all these data, you can download a phone app to give you more vital health information.
Cons: all computing power comes at a price however – if you want something more budget-friendly, try the
mibest OLED Finger Pulse Oximeter – (Easiest To Use)
The mibest OLED Finger Pulse Oximeter’s one-touch operation makes this one the easiest to use. One-touch and you’re getting the full array of information: SpO2, pulse, PR.
But don’t let the easy operation fool you, it’s got 10 levels of brightness that makes it effortless to see and four operation modes. Ideal Pulse Oximeter for Sports.
Cons: not suitable for medical use, try the Zacurate Pro Series 500DL for nurses.
Wellue Pulse Oximeter – (Best Add-Ons)
Want all of the features of the Masimo MightSat without the high price tag? The Wellue Pulse Oximeter gives you all the sensor tech and a Bluetooth-connected phone app all at an affordable price. You can record data, graph information directly to your phone.
Cons: there’s a lot going on, if you like something a bit easier to use, try the mibest OLED Finger Pulse Oximeter.
CONTEC OLED CMS50NA Pulse Oximeter – (Best For Home Use)
If you want a pulse oximeter that has full features to use around the home? The CONTEC OLED CMS50NA pulse oximeter has a very attractive price and can give you all the readings you need.
Cons: not for medical use, try the Wellue Pulse Oximeter if you need one for medical use.
FaceLake FL400 Pulse Oximeter – (Best Price)
If you need a great pulse oximeter at the lowest price, the FaceLake FL400 pulse oximeter is your pick. Even though it’s easy on the budget, it still gives you all the features.
However, it’s not suitable for medical use so if you need one for the hospital, try one of the other brands.
Cons: durability is OK, but if you want sturdiness, try the Zacurate Pro Series 500DL.
Santamedical Generation 2 Fingertip Pulse Oximeter – (Best for PT or Rehab Use)
What makes the Santamedical Gen 2 pulse oximeter the best design? It’s sleek and the display is easy to read with a very originally designed look. Operation is one-touch and scrolling through the menus is easy.
All the features, alarms, alerts and several different modes, and good battery life.
The compact design also makes it ideal to use in situations where a patient may need to wear it for a while, like in rehab or PT.
Cons: none really, but if you’d like more connectivity, try the Masimo MightySat.
FACEIL Pulse Oximeter – (Best Display)
Another great pulse oximeter, the FACEIL, measures all of the data, has great battery life and you get a little bonus: it has a colorful, easy-to-read display.
It’s great if you’re on the go a lot and need to keep your gear handy. It has good accuracy and gives you all the info, but not specifically for medical use.
Cons: not for medical use, try the Santamedical Generation 2 instead.
ANKOVO Pulse Oximeter – (Best Design Runner-Up)
It was a close second, but the Star Wars-like design of the ANKOVO Pulse Oximeter was a shoo-in for the top 10 list. Sure it looks like something Luke would be using, but it really does give you space-age features.
The big red display is also a nice touch. It has updated software giving you accurate readings and good battery life.
Cons: the red display isn’t liked by everyone – if you like a softer color, try the Innovo Deluxe iP900AP.
The Nurse’s Pulse Oximeter Buying Guide
Many pulse oximeters will have the same features, but not all will have the same quality. There are 6 things you should look at when you’re shopping for the right pulse oximeter for you.
You need an accurate reading every time. Most will have an accuracy indicator. It should be at least within 2% of lab standards (arterial blood gas test).
Whether it’s a rechargeable battery or regular batteries, a pulse oximeter with longer battery life and lower energy consumption is going to save you the annoyance of having it shut off while you’re using it.
Our selection all have great battery lives of up to 40 hours (that’s a long time).
In a display, you should look for one that has large, easy-to-read numbers and indicators. A nice addition is a backlight to see in low light conditions.
Alarms and alerts are an easy way to let you know that something is off with the patient’s SpO2. Look for a pulse oximeter with an alarm and alert function.
If you’re going to be using your pulse oximeter a lot, make sure it’s made from quality materials. A good feature to look for is one that is shock-resistant in case you drop it.
There are many types of fit, especially if it’s a pediatric model. Make sure it is a universal fit or specifically for pediatrics. It should fit the finger easily, while still remaining snug. Mest pulse oximeters measure ½ inch to 3 inches.
What Are The Types Of Pulse Oximeters?
In general, there are three types of pulse oximeters: medical-grade, home use, and sports models. All are great for checking the SpO2 levels in the bloodstream, the only difference being that the medical-grade models have a higher degree of accuracy.
Medical grade pulse oximeters have a degree of accuracy within a 2% margin of error. These are rated for clinic and hospital use.
Even some home models have the same degree of accuracy as medical models, even though they’re not hospital-rated.
Sports models are often made to be worn while exercising to measure how the athlete’s body is processing oxygen; a way to measure fitness and lung capacity.
Three different models of pulse oximeters:
There are three general types of pulse oximeters – two clip-on styles and a cuff style.
- Finger clip – made to clip on to a patient’s finger snugly
- General clip – this type of clip is flatter, more like an alligator clip so it can be attached to an ear lobe.
- Cuff style – the cuff style can be worn around the wrist. Many sports models are cuff-style and are also used overnight to measure SpO2 while patients are sleeping.
What Does A Pulse Oximeter Measure?
A pulse oximeter measures the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream, or saturation level (SpO2). To do this, it sends two types of light (infrared and red) through a fingertip or earlobe and measures how much light is absorbed.
According to what type of light is absorbed and how much can determine how much oxygen is in the bloodstream.
Which Finger Is Best For Accurate Pulse Oximeter Reading?
Although some studies showed a slightly elevated SpO2 reading on the right middle finger, the variance was slight enough to be statistically insignificant.
Most use either the right middle finger or index finger – both will give you an accurate reading (however the thumb and pinky aren’t recommended).
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Best Pulse Oximeter To Buy?
The Innovo Deluxe iP900AP Pulse Oximeter is the best-rated model by almost every reviewer. It’s accurate, easy to use and has a good price.
What Pulse Oximeter Do Hospitals Use?
Another popular choice by nurses everywhere is the Zacurate Pro Series 500DL. Compact, easy to carry in your scrubs pocket, and easy to use.
Which Pulse Oximeters Are Accurate?
The Wellue Pulse Oximeter is accurate within specifications and can connect with a free app on your phone.
Is There A Way To Calibrate My Pulse Oximeter To Make Sure It’s Accurate?
Yes, most digital pulse oximeters have a calibration mode you can access in the settings screen.
Can These Pulse Oximeters Be Used Overnight?
Yes, they can, but you should make sure they are secured so they don’t come off. If you need to monitor a patient overnight, you need the most advanced pulse oximeter to record, collate and graph all the data.
The Masimo MightySat is just the model for you.
When it’s your top three most-used pieces of equipment, you want to make sure your pulse oximeter has the accuracy, readability, durability, and ease of use to always give you the performance you need.
Still unsure? Well, here’s a quick review of our three top picks: Innovo Deluxe iP900AP, Santamedical Generation 2, and the Wellue Pulse Oximeter.
You’ve got 10 great choices with every base covered for a choice of the best pulse oximeter – now all you’ve got to do is decide which one you like.