Answer:

Pulse oximeters, which clip onto your finger tip, are non-invasive, and measure blood oxygen saturation as well as pulse (heart rate), are relatively inexpensive (about $20) and can be purchased for home ("non-medical") use.

Although they are not as accurate as FDA-approved "medical" pulse oximeters, which cost much more and undergo more rigorous testing, comparison studies indicate that some (but not all) non-medical pulse oximeters can help signal when medical attention is needed in conditions such as COVID-19, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Learn the pros and cons of non-medical pulse oximeters, which brand (available on Amazon and online) has performed best in studies, and tips on using a pulse oximeter. Sign in as a ConsumerLab member.

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2 Comments

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J20961
September 23, 2020

I'm curious about your comments on this video review https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvxjcNuMmiE

ConsumerLab.com
October 1, 2020

We watched the video, apparently made by the manufacturer of the DB products, so unclear how objective it is. In our article, we cite results from independent studies.

Gene20960
September 23, 2020

In terms of Amazon customer reviews, the ChoiceMMed Grey Finger Pulse Oximeter at $25 has good reviews. As a long-time (good) HR monitor user for athletics, I can attest to its accuracy on that score and it’s pulse oximeter readings closely jibe with what’s been found in the doctor’s office. I don’t know about its accuracy under 90, but if I had a steady reading there, at least during the covid-19 period, I’d be on the way to the hospital.

Other things to add about these finger monitors is that I’ve found they need to be held away from other electrical devices, such as a phone charger, the hand/arm should be flat not upright and lower than heart level, and it typically takes a few moments to a minute or so for the readings to become settle, all like in the doctor’s office.

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