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Pulse oximeter buying guide: What you must beware of before buying a pulse-oximeter?

Although the manufacturing of the device has been boosted to cater to the needs, some people are taking advantage of the situation.

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Prevention is indeed better than cure. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has compelled everyone to take extra care of their health. Considering the pressure on the health system, taking pro-active measures is the most effective way to win over the pandemic.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been trying scientific as well as household methods to boost their immunity. The pandemic has substantially instilled medical awareness in people throughout the globe. Now, terms like a pulse-oximeter, antibodies, virus-chain, and herd-immunity are not restricted to a biotech lab. They have become a part of general human awareness.

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What is a pulse-oximeter? 

Pulse oximetry is a noninvasive scientific method to determine and monitor a person’s SpO2 (blood oxygen saturation) level. A pulse oximeter is a compact and portable device that tells the SpO2 level conveniently and without pain or piercing. Pulse-oximeters range across various types and sizes. However, the most used clinical pulse-oximeter easily fits onto the fingertips and in a few moments. Almost all pulse oximeters take about 8 to 15 seconds to determine a person’s SpO2 levels. Some specialised oximeters can tell the reading of a person’s blood saturation level in merely three seconds.

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What should you consider before buying a pulse oximeter?

The demand for the pulse oximeter has shot up especially in India where the COVID-19 cases have been incessantly rising for the past few weeks. This has put a pressure on the manufacturing units leading to scarcity of the medical supplies including pulse oximeter. Although the government has facilitated the manufacturing of the device, some people are taking advantage of the situation. Cases of black-marketing and faulty medical resources have been observed in several stats in India.

Before you buy a pulse oximeter, you must verify the product on the following metrics.

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There are three kinds of pulse oximeters. Each type is designed for a different purpose. You can’t choose a pulse oximeter by merely skimming through a list of products. You need to know the usage of each variety. The pulse oximeter comes in the following three types.

  • Fetal pulse oximeter: This is made for hospital use and needs specialised knowledge to use it.
  • Handheld oximeter: This is also a complex device designed for hospital use.
  • Fingertip pulse oximeter: This is the most portable version to be used for domestic as well as medical usage.

Before you buy a pulse oximeter, note the technical words. Do not forget to include the term ‘fingertip’ in the search field to get the desired pulse oximeter.

What should you consider before buying a pulse oximeter?
What should you consider before buying a pulse oximeter?


The price of pulse oximeters generally lies between ₹1,000 and ₹5,000. Choose to buy the device from a registered shop or on a reliable platform. Do not get tempted by sellers or websites claiming to sell the same device at a much cheaper price. Those products may be faulty or smuggled. Moreover, refrain from paying an exorbitant price. The government regulations restrict the shopkeepers from selling the medical supplies beyond the market price.


For the general public, judging the efficacy of a pulse-oximeter may not be possible. The only way to get assured of the accuracy and validity of a pulse oximeter is through genuine certifications. The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare approves the medical devices including pulse-oximeters. The Quality Council of India (QCI) and the National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies (NABCB) check these devices against international quality standards.

With some awareness, you can buy the right pulse-oximeter for you and track your health during the ongoing pandemic.

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