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Inogen One G3 vs. G4 - Which is Right For You?

Individuals who require medical oxygen often find that what were once normal, everyday experiences can become a much greater hassle. The problem? While oxygen tanks generally do a great job of providing supplemental oxygen, they aren’t exactly designed for on-the-go use. Carrying a heavy, bulky oxygen tank with you everywhere you go can become a major inconvenience.

Thankfully, the Inogen One product line has made it so patients don’t have to worry about these issues. Compact and lightweight, these portable oxygen concentrators allow patients to continue receiving the therapy they need while without disrupting their normal routine.

In addition to its older G2 model, Inogen currently offers two portable systems: the Inogen One G3 and the Inogen One G4. While you might assume that the G4 is the new and improved version of the G3, the comparison isn’t quite as straightforward as that. Here is a closer look at the differences between these oxygen condensers, and how either model could have a significant impact on your life for the better.

Who Needs Oxygen Therapy?

Of course, having a refresher on why you might need oxygen treatment in the first place can be helpful. Oxygen therapy is used for anyone who is not able to get enough oxygen into their lungs by breathing on their own. Whether one needs oxygen therapy or not is typically determined by performing an arterial blood oxygen test. This is a non-invasive test performed by a medical professional. If blood oxygen levels are 60 mmHG or less, then therapy is necessary.

It should be noted that while some people need therapy at all times, others only need oxygen therapy during certain times of day or certain activities.

Even prior to conducting a test with a medical professional, there are a few signs that you can watch for that may indicate that you need oxygen therapy. Rapid breathing, as well as coughing or wheezing, often occur when your body isn’t getting enough oxygen. Your heart rate may also accelerate, even if you aren’t participating in particularly strenuous activity. Sweating and shortness of breath are also common.

There are several conditions that can contribute to low blood oxygen levels which will subsequently require that you start oxygen therapy. As previously noted, some conditions may require that patients receive continuous treatment, while others may only require occasional therapy.

Some of the most common health issues contributing to these breathing problems include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), sleep apnea, cystic fibrosis, asthma, and pneumonia. Heart failure and lung disease can also contribute to breathing problems that require treatment.

While something like sleep apnea can be addressed with a standard CPAP machine that is only used at night, conditions like COPD and lung disease will require more frequent care.

Benefits of Oxygen Therapy

Oxygen therapy has been found to significantly improve quality of life for individuals with conditions such as COPD. Though such individuals may require as much as 15 hours of therapy per day, this treatment increases life expectancy and alleviates many common symptoms associated with poor oxygen levels.

By getting enough oxygen, you will be less likely to experience shortness of breath, which will make it easier to participate in the normal activities you previously enjoyed. Other side effects, such as headaches and fatigue, can also be reduced or eliminated as your body receives adequate levels of oxygen.

Ultimately, oxygen therapy allows you to continue enjoying your life with family and friends.

Why the Inogen One Systems?

Though oxygen tanks can make a big difference in your daily life by providing the supplemental oxygen you need, there is no denying that they can be a bit of an inconvenience. Many oxygen tanks are simply too big to be portable. They must be used at home, and even then, only in certain locations.

For example, home oxygen tanks must be kept 10 feet away from open flames, stoves, or fireplaces. It is strongly discouraged to use an electric razor or allow others to smoke nearby when using an oxygen tank due to the risk of sparks causing combustion.

Even slightly smaller tanks are typically too big to simply be carried around. Instead, they must be strapped to a wheelchair or cart. This is because the tank must be a sufficient size to carry the oxygen you will need throughout the day. The weight of the tank itself combined with that of the compressed oxygen results in a large, bulky tank.

Inogen One products, on the other hand, aren’t oxygen tanks at all. Rather, they are oxygen concentrators. As Inogen itself explains, “An oxygen concentrator is akin to an air conditioning unit: takes air in from one system, modifies it, and delivers it in its new state. But instead of cooling the air, oxygen concentrators compress and purify the air, removing nitrogen or other agents that complicate breathing. The new oxygen is then delivered via a nasal cannula in the desired flow setting to enhance the user’s breathing.”

This process essentially gives oxygen concentrators a continuous supply of air. Because the air is drawn from the patient’s surroundings, it also eliminates the need for a bulky, cumbersome tank. There will never be a need to refill the oxygen concentrator, and as long as the unit has electric power, you can count on it to deliver the oxygen you need.

Key Attributes of Both Models

Though there are some important differences between the Inogen One G3 and the Inogen One G4, the two products also share many similarities. For starters, both models are designed to be lightweight and portable, easily fitting into a carry bag so that you can take them on the go for any of your daily activities.

In fact, both Inogen One systems meet FAA requirements, meaning you can even continue therapy while traveling across the globe. Though both models are battery powered for improved portability, they also come equipped with an AC/DC power supply so you can recharge the lithium-ion battery or power your device while at home. The auto-sensing AC power supply adapts to the outlet’s voltage, ensuring that you can use your Inogen One system anywhere in the world.

Both machines also offer quiet operation, with an average noise level of less than 39 decibels for the Inogen One G3 and 40 decibels for the Inogen One G4 — similar to the noise levels of an average library.

Both models also make use of Inogen’s Intelligent Delivery Technology. This system uses proprietary technology to help deliver optimal oxygen levels at any time of day or night. For example, the size of each bolus dose is increased at night when breathing rates slow down. Rather than providing a continuous flow of oxygen, these pulse doses ensure more effective treatment.

The Intelligent Delivery Technology system also ensures faster delivery of oxygen for greater impact on the lung gas exchange.

Both Inogen One models are also supported by a generous warranty. The concentrator itself is protected by a standard three-year warranty, while the batteries and other supplemental components are also protected by a one-year warranty. Some packages even come with lifetime warranties. Such coverage ensures that any performance issues that arise with your system will be addressed at no additional cost to you.

Both the Inogen One G3 and the Inogen One G4 utilize an LCD display that make it easy to adjust settings and operate your device. The versatility and functionality offered by these systems makes them a great fit for portable use, travel, and stationary at-home use. The Inogen One systems have actually been clinically tested to ensure that they can function 24/7 if needed without compromising performance.

Size Matters

While the Inogen One G3 and the Inogen One G4 share many similarities, one area where they differ is size. Both systems are small and compact, making it far easier to receive oxygen therapy while on the go. However, the Inogen One G4 is notably smaller.

While the Inogen One G3 weighs 4.8 pounds, the Inogen One G4 cuts that nearly in half, coming in at a mere 2.8 pounds. It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that the Inogen One G4 also has smaller dimensions. The Inogen One G3 has a length of 8.75 inches, a width of three inches, and a height of 8.25 inches. The Inogen One G4, on the other hand, has a length of 5.91 inches, a width of 2.68 inches, and a height of 7.2 inches.

Both concentrators have available carry bags that further facilitate transportation. These bags are custom fitted to the unit of your choice to provide a snug and secure fit. The bags utilize a padded interior to provide much-needed cushioning, as well as a zip-flap along the bag’s base so you can change batteries while leaving the concentrator unit inside the bag. These proprietary carry bags also feature mesh panel exteriors — an important feature that ensures that the concentrators are properly ventilated during transportation.

Though the size differences aren’t major, the smaller weight and dimensions of the Inogen One G4 may make it the better choice for those with a more active lifestyle.

Battery Power

Another key difference between the Inogen One G3 and the Inogen One G4 are their batteries. Both models have single and double batteries available, with the double batteries generally offering around twice the charge length of the single batteries.

However, battery duration also varies depending on the Inogen One model that you are using. For the Inogen One G3, single batteries can last for up to 4.7 hours, while a double battery can last an impressive 10 hours. With the Inogen One G4, battery duration is much lower. A single battery can last for 2.7 hours, while a double battery can last a maximum of five hours.

It should be noted that for all types of batteries and both Inogen One systems, the actual duration of your batteries will vary based on your actual usage. It should come as no surprise that at higher flow settings, battery duration will decrease.

While the batteries on Inogen One systems are easily interchangeable and rechargeable (and you could carry multiple batteries with you on the go), battery life should be a key consideration for those who are frequently on the go. If you are often away from areas where you can recharge or power your system using AC/DC connections, an Inogen One G3 may be the better choice due to its longer battery life.

Flow Settings

Flow settings are another important area of consideration where there are some noteworthy differences between the Inogen One G3 and the Inogen One G4.

Remember, optimal oxygen flow rates are prescribed by a doctor, who will determine how many liters per minute are needed for your therapy. The vast majority of patients need less than two liters per minute for their therapy, though some may need as much as 10 liters per minute. In addition, depending on your activities, you may need more or less air flow at different times of day.

To better adapt for patient therapy, the Inogen One G3 and the Inogen One G4 utilize multiple flow settings that can be adjusted as needed. Each flow setting adds an additional 210 milliliters per minute to the total oxygen flow.

The Inogen One G3 offers settings ranging from one to five, allowing for up to 1.05 liters of oxygen per minute. The Inogen One G4 only has three settings, allowing for a maximum delivery of 630 milliliters per minute. Bolus volume is impacted by these flow settings, as well as the patient’s breathing rate — with fewer breaths per minute, the larger the boluses.

While many patients will do just fine with flow settings one through three, those who frequently require higher levels of oxygen delivery may be better served by the Inogen One G3. Getting the proper air flow for your various activities throughout the day is crucial for managing your condition.

Inogen Connect

Though the previous differences seem to give more of the advantage to the Inogen One G3, the Inogen One G4 has a few unique attributes of its own that can make it the right choice for you. Perhaps the most notable addition for this smaller system is its integration with the Inogen Connect app.

This free mobile app is available exclusively for the Inogen One G4, and gives users greater control over their treatment and more empowerment as they care for their device.

The Inogen Connect app can play a key role in properly maintaining your system. For example, the app allows users to check their device’s battery life, column life, and filter life. Maintenance reminders will help you remember when to change the system’s columns or cannula, so you can always have confidence that your device is operating like it should. Even something as simple as knowing when to clean or replace your particle filter will help you get higher quality treatment while simultaneously extending the lifespan of your device.

The Inogen Connect app also facilitates key updates for your device. The app can link to your Inogen One G4 to provide software updates or perform column resets after you replace your unit’s columns.

In addition, the Inogen Connect app gives users easy access to the device’s user manual, as well as additional troubleshooting tips and frequently asked questions. With fast, reliable responses to your questions and concerns, you will be able to take better care of your system.

Finally, this app gives users special promotions and discounts, which can make certain part replacements more affordable. Not available for the Inogen One G3, this app can significantly streamline the way you use and care for your oxygen concentrator.

This isn’t to say that system updates aren’t available for the Inogen One G3. However, collecting data or performing updates will require a compatible USB device. With Inogen Connect, everything can be done through your smartphone or tablet.

Make Your Pick

As the above examples illustrate, you can’t really go wrong when choosing between the Inogen One G3 or the Inogen One G4. Both models provide a reliable source of oxygen therapy that is much easier to incorporate as part of your daily routine than an oxygen tank.

While an oxygen concentrator may have a greater upfront cost than a standard oxygen tank, it can yield long-term savings because you won’t need to worry about refilling your tank on a regular basis. Nor will you have to deal with the inconveniences of trying to transport a bulky tank with you as you go about your day.

Instead, the use of an Inogen oxygen concentrator will allow you to save money in the long run, while also helping you get more enjoyment out of your daily activities.

Here at No Insurance Medical Supplies, we offer great prices on the Inogen One G3, the Inogen One G4, and many of their associated components. We even offer certified refurbished models and rental options to help you better manage your budget — and shipping is free on all orders over $89.

As long as you have a valid prescription from a medical professional, you can get the convenient oxygen therapy you need through the Inogen One systems. Place your order today to discover how these versatile oxygen concentrators can transform your treatment — and your life.


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