Image of a person's hand using a finger pulse oximeter

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“You can buy a finger pulse oximeter at home, even if you don’t know it, because they are usually found at doctors’ offices and hospitals. You can easily check your blood oxygen saturation levels from the comfort of your home with the different brands and designs available.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a renewed interest in pulse oximeters for home use, there are many other reasons why you might consider investing in your own device to have on hand. For example, conditions like hypoxemia can result in low blood oxygen levels, and having a finger pulse oximeter at home could provide better peace of mind.

It is important to discuss with your doctor when you should use the finger pulse oximeter, how to interpret the results, and when to seek medical care if you are considering purchasing it.

Finding the right device for your needs may take some time, and you may be wondering what the difference is between all of these different devices. To make it easier to find the best finger pulse oximeters, we have compiled our top picks of the best ones.

Pulse oximeters are most commonly worn on your finger and are completely painless to use. These devices have light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, on the inside of the probe that can send small beams of light through your finger to track the amount of oxygen in your blood. The light shines through the tissues of your fingertip, and the sensor on the other side picks up the light that comes through.

The amount of light that comes through your finger can be used to estimate the number of red blood cells that are carrying oxygen. The results of this reading are displayed as a percentage.

Readings should typically fall between 95 and 100 percent, with readings at 92 percent or below potentially indicating that there isn’t enough oxygen in your blood. If your finger pulse oximeter reading is below 90 percent, try testing again — in case there was a testing error — or consider contacting your doctor.

The American Lung Association also says that your oxygen saturation level should be over 90 to 92 percent. Checking that your oxygen saturation level is above the recommended level can help you determine whether you need to seek emergency medical attention. Such cases may be brought on by acute illnesses, like pneumonia, or flare-ups of chronic conditions, like asthma. Oximeters may also be useful for extreme sports.

Signs of low blood oxygen levels

  • Difficult breathing
  • fast breathing
  • shallow breathing
  • When breathing, sucking in the stomach.
  • There is confusion.
  • It is difficult to wake up.
  • The lips or face were blue.

No matter what your finger pulse oximeter says, seek emergency medical attention if you or your child has any signs of low blood oxygen levels, or hypoxemia.

“We focused on OTC oximeters that are made to be used at home by people who aren’t healthcare professionals.”

“The FDA doesn’t review consumer devices in the same way as it does prescription pulse oximeters. They are meant for spot checks and are designed to be cheaper and easier to use. Some may have features that are specific to your needs.”

We chose the best finger pulse oximeters.

  • It is easy to use.
  • Overall cost
  • The accuracy rates are high.
  • There are display options.
  • Recommendations for age.
  • The size and comfort are important.
  • Customer reviews and ratings.
  • Clinical testing is done.

Pricing guide

“The general price ranges are indicated by dollar signs. One dollar sign means the product is affordable, whereas three dollar signs mean it’s more expensive.”

  • $ = under $25
  • $$ = $25–$100
  • $$$ = over $100

Product name Price Best for
Innovo Premium iP900BP Fingertip Pulse Oximeter $$ Multiple There are display options.
Walgreens Pulse Oximeter $$ Ease of use
CVS Health Portable Pulse Oximeter $$ Children and adults
Metene Fingertip Pulse Oximeter $ Portability
Contec CMS50DL Pulse Oximeter $ Budget
ChoiceMMed Pulse Oximeter $$ Easy to read results

Best for multiple There are display options.

Innovo Premium iP900BP Pulse Oximeter

  • Price: $$
  • Battery: 2 AAA batteries included

This finger pulse oximeter has a few more There are display options. and features than other finger pulse oximeters on the list. One such feature is a waveform display, which lets you see a visual representation of your heartbeat and blood flow. It also includes a The index is called the perfusion index. (a number that shows the strength of your pulse) so that you will know if you need to adjust the placement of the probe to get the most accurate oxygen saturation reading.

The pulse oximeter has a A multi-dimensional display. that can be changed in six different directions and it has 10 different brightness levels to help with reading. Some customers said that the device may not be suitable for users with small or large fingers.


  • A multi-dimensional display.
  • The index is called the perfusion index.
  • The batteries are ready for immediate use.


  • It may be too large for small fingers.
  • The display was too small for some users.

Best for It is easy to use.

Walgreens Pulse Oximeter

  • Price: $$
  • Battery: 2 AAA batteries included

This portable fingertip pulse oximeter comes in bright yellow, so it’s easier to spot around the house. It has more than 3,900 ratings on the Walgreens website, with an average of 4.5 stars. This device measures your oxygen saturation level and heart rate, then displays the results on an easy-to-read screen with adjustable brightness. It’s also lightweight, provides one-button operation, and automatically powers off.

The manufacturer recommends it for recreational and sports use, but it may not be the best device for medical purposes. Chunky polish and acryllic nails may obscure readings.


  • The design is lightweight and colorful.
  • batteries included
  • One-touch operation.


  • intended for reading.
  • no The index is called the perfusion index.

Best for both children and adults

CVS Health Portable Pulse Oximeter

  • Price: $$
  • Battery: 2 AAA batteries included

The pulse oximeter is designed to fit all fingers and measure your pulse rate and oxygen saturation. It has a The grip is slip-resistant. and internal finger padding, which can be helpful when trying to get a reading from a child. This device can save battery life by automatically shutting it down. A new customer is having trouble with the results from this device.


  • The lanyard and carry case is included.
  • The grip is slip-resistant.
  • Automatic shut-off.


  • If taken in motion, readings may be incorrect.
  • pricey for some budgets.

Best for portability

Metene Fingertip Pulse Oximeter

  • Price: $
  • Battery: 2 AAA batteries included

The Metene Fingertip pulse oxer is lightweight and portable, and it is easy to carry with you all day. You can measure your blood oxygen saturation level using one button, and have a clear reading in about 8 seconds. It has an alarm and a screen to let you know that your reading is out of range. The device is included with a lanyard and two batteries, which is a nice addition considering the device is less expensive than other finger pulse oximeters.


  • It is affordable.
  • The case has a belt loop.
  • fast reading
  • batteries included


  • “It is possible that you won’t get a reading on the first try.”
  • Not recommended if the readings are medically required.

Best for budget

Contec CMS50DL Pulse Oximeter – Needs Vetting

  • Price: $
  • Battery: 2 AAA batteries (not included)

“If you are looking for a simple finger oximeter that can give you a quick pulse reading at an affordable price, this might be a good choice for you. It shows your pulse in real-time and measures your oxygen saturation level. Your results are visible on the device’s digital face with numbers that are easy to read. Each reading is designed to use less energy and is designed to help you get the most out of your batteries. The batteries aren’t included in the pack, so make sure to pick them up.”


  • Very affordable price.
  • The pulse rate is live.
  • It is easy to read results.


  • “The batteries aren’t included.”
  • Other devices on this list may not last as long.

Best for easy to read results

ChoiceMMed Pulse Oximeter

  • Price: $$
  • Battery: 2 AAA batteries included

The finger pulse oximeter is made to fit both adults and children with a Silicone padding that helps hold the device in place. The device shows the results on a high-definition display, making it easy to read. The oximeter has a lanyard and carrying case. Customers report that this device is easy to use, but a few also noted that it was not accurate.


  • It is a comfortable fit.
  • portable with a carrying case
  • batteries included
  • high definition screen


  • It is recommended for sports and aviation use.
  • Users may find slight variations in results.

  • If you need a pulse oximeter for the whole family, make sure it fits a child.
  • If the device is FDA approved, you should check it out.
  • “Look at the product’s ratings and customer reviews.”
  • Spot checks are what most finger pulse oximeters are for. If you need continuous monitoring, ask your pharmacy about medical-grade oximeters.

The most accurate way to measure blood oxygen levels is through pulse oximeters or blood samples.

If you want to know more about monitoring your blood oxygen levels, speak to your doctor or another healthcare professional.

  • Make sure your hands are not sweaty or cold.
  • “Keep your hands and fingers together. Don’t move while you read.”
  • “If you place the pulse oximeter probe on a nail that has nailpolish or tattoos, it’s best to avoid it.”

There is more information about how to use a finger pulse oximeter.

How accurate are finger pulse oximeters?

Home devices are designed to be easy to use but may not be as accurate as medical-grade devices. The device and how you use it can affect the accuracy of a reading.

But these at-home devices can give you a good estimate of your blood oxygen saturation levels. In fact, a 2021 study found that while the accuracy of some at-home oximeters fell short of the ISO standards required for clearance by the FDA, they could still accurately rule out the possibility of hypoxemia.

According to a 2016 study, some pulse oximeters that are not approved by the FDA can produce large errors (an average of 6.3 percent lower, or 4.3 percent higher, than the actual result) with blood oxygen saturation measurements.

What can affect pulse oximetry readings?

A pulse oximeter reading is an estimate and may not be accurate. The light travels through your skin and fingernail, and can affect the accuracy of the SpO2 reading.

  • Skin color. Skin with more pigment may cause some pulse oximeters to give inaccurate readings. A 2020 study found similar supporting results.
  • Conditions that cause circulation problems. Poor blood circulation in your hands and fingers may cause lower readings.
  • Cold hands. Having cold hands may cause lower readings.
  • Wet skin. Water or sweat on the skin may reflect the light and affect the measurement.
  • Thick fingernails. Thick nails can block the light penetration and may cause lower readings.
  • Fingernail polish. Black, blue, and green nail polish may cause significantly lower readings.
  • Bruises or tattoos on the fingertips. Both may cause inaccurate readings. Try choosing a different finger or limb for a more accurate reading.

I have dark skin. Can I still use a pulse oximeter?

The short answer is yes. While the FDA has found that pulse oximeters may have a higher risk of inaccurate numbers when used on skin with more pigment, these devices can still help you monitor your health.

If you want to monitor your blood oxygen levels, you should watch for trends in your readings.

There are many finger pulse oximeters available for at-home use, and knowing how you will use the device will help inform your decision. While they may not be 100-percent accurate in their readings, these oximeters could still be a very helpful tool if you’re tracking your blood oxygen level and pulse for exercise or personal use.

If you need to track your blood oxygen levels for medical reasons, you should look for FDA-approved devices or talk to your doctor or pharmacy about the best finger pulse oximeters.