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Finger pulse oximeters are small devices that provide a reading of oxygen levels in the blood. The device attaches to the finger and will take a reading within a few seconds.

Finger pulse oximeters can provide some helpful health information at home. However, a person needs to consider other symptoms and health readings to be able to determine their overall health and whether they need medical attention.

This article discusses finger pulse oximeters, including their usefulness, what to take into account when selecting one, and a few options people may wish to consider.

Oximeters are small noninvasive devices that attach to a finger or toe. The device measures the oxygen saturation level, or oxygen level in a person’s blood. It can determine how efficiently the heart is pumping blood to the hands or feet.

The device works by shining a cold light through the finger. It then reads the light going through the finger to determine the oxygen percentage in the blood.

In addition to measuring oxygen levels, many devices can provide a pulse reading.

Although finger pulse oximeters can provide some insights into a person’s health, they are not without limitations.

In February 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about oximeters. The warning indicates that certain variables, such as having a dark skin tone, can affect the results of an oximeter reading.

Other factors that may skew readings include:

The American Lung Association (ALA) suggests that people not use an oximeter as a sole source of health monitoring. It also encourages people to consider their symptoms as well as other health metrics to determine whether they may have a health issue that a doctor needs to address.

Oximeters can provide a small piece of medical information at home for people who need it. However, according to the ALA, many people likely do not need this information.

The ALA warns that several online manufacturers have taken advantage of people looking for COVID-19 symptom monitoring with at-home oximeters. It also states that the FDA considers oximeters to be medical devices but that many manufacturers sell them without FDA approval.

As a result, the ALA recommends people work with a doctor and get an approved oximeter for home use. People should not rely on an oximeter to diagnose a condition.

Finger pulse oximeters are medical devices. That is why the ALA recommends a person only purchase equipment that has FDA approval. Individuals should therefore avoid any devices that lack FDA approval, because they may not be accurate or work consistently.

Other considerations include:

  • cost
  • warranty
  • extra features, such as pulse readings

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based.

Wellue O2Ring

Wellue O2Ring is an FDA-registered device for measuring oxygen levels at home. The device will vibrate when a person’s readings for oxygen or pulse are low.

Some additional features include:

  • smartphone, tablet, and PC apps to help track and display data
  • overnight monitoring
  • built-in memory
  • rechargeable batteries

Aluratek Digital Pulse Oximeter-FDA Class I

Aluratek offers an FDA-certified oximeter.

The device:

  • has a touchscreen
  • works with most fingers
  • lightweight
  • displays results on an LCD screen

SureLife Clearwave II Pulse Oximeter

This finger oximeter is a budget-friendly option and one of the more affordable models available. However, it is not FDA-certified.

The device:

  • includes batteries
  • features simple one-button use
  • displays results on an OLED screen
  • has a soft finger insert

Wellue Checkme Doctor Vital Signs Monitor

The Vital Signs Monitor by Wellue is a palm-sized oximeter with a small display screen. The device is FDA-approved and allows for multiple users within a family.

In addition, the device features:

  • rechargeable batteries
  • tracking via smartphone apps and a PC
  • a touchscreen
  • small size for portability

Nonin Onyx Vantage 9590 Finger Adult/Pediatric Pulse Oximeter

This oximeter is suitable for both children and adults.

It is built in the United States, which may appeal to some people. However, it is not FDA-certified.

The device comes with a 100% money back guarantee. The company also claims that battery life lasts for several thousand tests.

According to the ALA, there are no known risks of or warnings about the use of finger oximeters. They are noninvasive devices that gently attach to the tip of the finger and use a cool light.

However, a person should consult a doctor before purchasing an oximeter to discuss any concerns they may have and to determine whether they truly need this device.

Finger pulse oximeters are small devices that people can use at home to check the levels of oxygen in their blood in a matter of seconds.

Finger pulse oximeters do not diagnose conditions. That is why a person with any new symptoms should contact a doctor.