Are you struggling with breathlessness or have asthma or a heart defect? Having an NHS-approved pulse oximeter at home could be a great benefit if you start feeling unwell or need to monitor your health.
Before we reveal where to buy NHS-approved pulse oximeters, we've pulled together a useful guide to ensure you can keep track of your wellbeing.
A pulse oximeter is a fantastic health gadget to monitor the oxygen levels in your blood. This medical device is widely used by the NHS and doctors to diagnose or monitor lung disease, as well as monitoring patients at home who are suffering from Coronavirus.
Best NHS-approved pulse oximeters 2023
Best for battery life
From the reputable Salter brand, this high-quality pulse oximeter is easy to use and has a clear
- Battery is included, automatic power-off function
- Some people found it difficult to read
Best smarphone compatible oximeter
While all the pulse oximeters on this list provide readings in the moment, this device lets you
- Batteries included
- You may not experience the full potential of the product if you don't have a smartphone to use the accompanying app on
Easy to read
As well as providing quick results and measurements fit for athletes, seniors, adventurers or for
- Large font makes it easy for people to read
- Not to purchase batteries separately
Best modern looking oximeter
The Braun pulse oximeter is comfortable, clear, and convenient to use. It's got a simple, single
- Simple to use
- Not to be used on anyone under 18 so not a great choice if you're looking for one the whole family can use
Best budget NHS-approved oximeter
Suitable for all ages, this pulse oximeter has been used by health professionals across the UK
- Suitable for adults and children who weigh 20kg+
- Batteries included
- Some reviews mention the instructions are difficult to follow when you first receive it
Easy to use
The TRAN pulse oximeter is a great option for respiratory patients, the elderly, athletes or those
- Lightweight and portable
- No information available about range and accuracy
This smart device comes with a handy carry case (unlike others on this list) and has built-in
- Batteries included
- Not many reviews yet
Best oximeter for range and durability
This is the most expensive pulse oximeter on this list but for good reason! This small,
- Very accurate results
- Very expensive compared to others
NHS-approved pulse oximeter FAQs
What is an oximeter?
If you're unsure whether or not you need to use an NHS-approved pulse oximeter, you should always contact your GP or a health professional. As an oximeter is a tool used to help with the diagnosis of COVID-19, monitoring sleep apnoea and more, it's essential that you find out what risks most apply to you and discuss any concerns that you might have.
According to the NHSwebsite, "A pulse oximeter is a small medical device that is put on the tip of the finger, to check someone's oxygen levels. Pulse oximeters measure blood oxygen levels by transmitting light through a finger – they are more accurate than smartwatches or phones which make less accurate readings by reflecting light off the skin."
Are oximeters accurate?
Pulse oximeters used in medical settings or hospitals are high-quality and likely to give you the most accurate reading. Pulse oximeters are available for sale in your local chemist or online for use at home and while they will record your oxygen levels, some can be inaccurate or give poor readings if used incorrectly.
It is important to invest in one that has been NHS-approved, comes from a reputable retailer or has been recognised for its quality. While it may not be necessary for everyone, this gadget could be used by individuals with underlying respiratory issues who may want to monitor or assess the severity of attacks, or physically active people who experience regular drops in oxygen levels.
Things that can affect the accuracy of your test include:
If you are wearing nail varnish or artificial nails
Your skin is thicker than normal
Your hands are cold (make sure they’re warmed first)
If you’re a smoker, the oxygen level shown may be higher than your actual oxygen
You’re not sitting still. Activity can raise your heart rate and decrease your oxygen levels shown, or move the oximeter out of place
Skin pigment can also impact the accuracy of pulse oximetry. Studies have shown that oximeters can overestimate oxygen saturation, so you should check your oximetry readings with your provider or GP if you’re concerned
How to use oximeter at home:
Want to use an oximeter from the comfort of your own home? You can measure your pulse rate and oxygen levels by clipping the oximeter to your fingertip. Once it's attached to you securely, switch it on and wait a short time for the results to show.
If you're still unsure how to get this device to work, the NHS has pulled together a six-minute video to show you how to use a pulse oximeter at home. We love that this video takes you step-by-step on how you can monitor your readings if you've been asked to use one by your GP or health professional.
Eleanor Weaver is the Deputy Homes & Garden Product Editor for Yours, specialising in home décor, furnishings and appliances. Having worked commercially on Yours magazine and Yours.co.uk for the past six years, she's previously hosted Yours Live events and loves looking for home inspiration online.