Request a test Oxymeter

A friend said that one of these saved her elderly fathers life - had covid, felt OK, but the oxymeter said his oxygen levels were dangerously low. Called an ambulence. They said he needed to be hospitalised. Can you recommend a brand/type. Have read tht TGA/FDA approval is good, but hard to find that information easily.

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Welcome to the Community @Romadgem

I venture to suggest your best source of information would be your GP or pharmacist. However, as you implied

A place to start is

Although most devices are manufactured in China, not all Chinese products are equal. Look for an ARTG number on the package.


Another source of recommendations may be your local GP surgery, Doctor or their resident clinician nurse. They likely have one or two models they prefer and others they may choose not to use.

They may also offer some advice on how and when to use, as well as the relative merits, or otherwise.


Some doctors may have ones you can hire. Also check with your private health insurer, if you have it, to see what they cover. They might also have access to hired equipment as well. If there is the possibility of hire equipment, it availability may be reduced because of Covid.

With any medical equipment use, one needs to have some form of training to understand how to use and what the results mean. Otherwise it may give a false sense if security rather than be a acceptable solution.

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A few of the high end sport watches & smart watches have oximeters in them now. Personally, at the start of covid I bought this one Buy Heart Sure Pulse Oximeter Online at Chemist Warehouse® when they had a 10% off everything sale on.

Hope this is of some help.

As the government is now talking about home care for covid there is lots of reading to be done, with a quick search “is oximeter accurate for covid”


I upgraded my Apple Watch to one wit Oximetry. I’m afraid its inaccuracy was quite marked. I also have a Fingertip Pulse Oximeter and there was almost no agreement between the two, unless I was sitting quite still, having not been active in any way.

I get breathless just putting the bins out, and started testing early in 2020 after I had had a couple of massive nosebleeds requiring transfusion. Low iron, haematocrit and haemoglobin meant I didn’t have much of the goods to take oxygen around my bod. Not only that, I have a touch of heart failure so things don’t work quite the way they should. The watch showed my SpO2 to be between 97% and 99% 100% of the time, when the fingertip meter showed a range of 85%-98%. The watch only measured 15 seconds and theres no way to alter the timing as far as I know, so for that purpose, its useless. SpO2 cannot be accurately measured that quickly. I’m sending the watch back for a refund, and have already reverted to my old AW5. I’m planning to buy a BT enabled finger gadget instead, so the measurements can be permanently recorded without my intervention.


From the more reputable online store catalogues these medical devices appear similar in cost to a quality blood pressure monitor or digital ear thermometer?

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Welcome to the forum. I empathise with your desire to get a fingertip O2 & pulse meter. I had a friend in another city who lives alone and was very, very sick with COVID symptoms, but the hospital wouldn’t take him on several attempts to be admitted as his O2 was not abnormal. Eventually it dropped to a level where they deemed it dangerously low and whipped him straight in. It was confirmed he was infected with the Delta variant.

I searched TGA and could not find any mention of finger O2 meters, so unless someone can find what they recommend, I don’t think you will be able to find a TGA approved finger O2 meter.

Some time ago I asked our family doctor, and she said they used what their medical supplier had available. Concluding they were much of a muchness I bought a finger O2 pulse meter directly from China.

As with other measurements, I think the trick is to use the new device a number of times when the patient is well to get an idea of the ‘normal’ measurement as a baseline, so when the person is unwell you can compare the reading taken to the ‘normal’ on that device.


Thanks for that info. I was curious as to how the two types compared.

This was similar to my experience also. I asked my GP and a nurse friend about what they use and they said “whatever the practice supplies”

I still think the OP’s request of a Choice test would be good.


What would the test assess? Would it be more in the form of a review of the specifications?

Considering how they function
Pulse oximetry - Wikipedia

And the following advice from the USA FDA
Note the FDA indicates there are 2 classes of device. Those sold for professional medical use and those sold over the counter for general use.

What is reasonably practicable?

My opinion only, is Choice may not be able to test the accuracy or reliability of any of the devices. Hence a ‘desktop’ review may be more practical? A sample of one is insufficient to score a device on accuracy other than a pass or fail relative to specification for that single sample.

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Sounds like a good idea, compare the differences as mentioned above between the stand alone finger type and the wrist smart/sport watch type.

I think I paid around $29 some years ago… allowing for inflatiom, probably $40-50 now

The usual way to test the accuracy of any device is to compare its results with those of another device which you know is accurate. This doesn’t seem to me to be beyond the capability of Choice’s team.

That simple test is not the issue. The issue is the products are consumer grade subject to wide variation between samples and lots, so testing one is essentially testing that device, not the 100s and 1000s of products shipped. Thus any testing of a limited number could be misleading.

The TGA has issued the following that explains some of the issues beyond ‘comparing a device to a known device’ to determine its accuracy. It is not so simple as you suggest.

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And Choice possibly shouldn’t test Oxymeters when the TGA states:

Home use of pulse oximeters is safer and more effective when done as part of medical management, overseen by a doctor who will consider other factors when recommending treatment, and may be able to recommend a particular pulse oximeter for use.

The danger of carrying out tests is individuals may take it upon themselves to test themselves not understanding the devices, how to use their or their medical application. It will become a ‘doctor Google’ type scenario when individuals buy their own believing that the devices are what is best for them. All it will benefit is those selling Oxymeters, especially those online outside the TGA approval process.

Based on this, an Oxymeter should be only used in consultation with a doctor. A doctor will be able to provide advice on whether a oxymeter is needed in a treatment regime and what models may be suitable for the individual involved. These devices will be those approved by the TGA for supervised medical use.

It may be reassuring to note that in Australia the importation and sale of medical devices is Commonwealth Govt regulated.

TGA approval and listing of any regulated medical device can be established from the TGA web site. The ARTG number is the key. Some products appear to be imported by multiple sponsors, resulting in the same manufacturer having the same product available under different names and or brands.

EG Pulse Oximeters. One sample.

TGA Search -- Pulse oximeter

A supplier should be able to advise the ARTG ID of a device you are intending to purchase, and the accuracy of the device per specification.

The following advice on who might need to purchase one and when is similar to @phb prior post.

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