Guide to Portable Oxygen Tanks and Portable Oxygen Cylinders

Portable oxygen is a necessity for many people around the world. Primarily for those who suffer from COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) which in simple terms means that their lungs are not absorbing and processing sufficient of it. As we all know we must be able to breathe to survive. Portable containers are also a standard piece of equipment for emergency services – ambulances, clinics, hospitals, firemen. Other sports related activities such as high altitude mountaineers or scuba divers also require these.

Although these tanks and cylinders come in different sizes, with different amounts of oxygen, and are made by different manufacturers there is a difference between a cylinder and a tank relating to the state (liquid or gas) and this difference means that there are variations, specially regarding durability, but also in the refilling process.

Many times the two terms are used to refer to either of these oxygen containers, but in actual fact one refers to a container that holds it in liquid form and the other to compressed oxygen.

The other important aspect is the portable side of the name. This means that the container is not a stationary structure and therefore can be moved around comfortably. There are also mobile tanks and cylinders and this restricts the size and weight as a user must be able to carry it comfortably. A portable tank or cylinder may be pulled along on a trolley for example, as its weight and size reduces the patients carrying ability – but it is still portable, and an excellent means of supplying oxygen while practicing many activities.

Portable Oxygen Tanks:

These are containers that hold liquid oxygen. The main advantage is you can store much more liquid oxygen than compressed oxygen gas, in the same volume of space. The oxygen relationship is approximately 860 to 1. In other words one liter of liquid oxygen is equivalent to 860 liters of compressed oxygen. One thing to note though, is that liquid oxygen does evaporate and therefore a certain amount is lost. Having said that it lasts much longer. Another aspect that is important is that the refilling process is not as simple and must be done by a professional supplier.

Portable Oxygen Cylinders.

These by default store compressed oxygen in its gaseous state. They hold less oxygen but now days with flow meter and regulators they are now more practical as much less oxygen is wasted than when flow is constant. From the point of view of the refilling side, it is much easier. The options are through a professional supplier or by connecting them to a home stationary oxygen concentrator (the third type of portable oxygen unit).

Both these options are practical and provide increased mobility.