How to Choose Good Oxygen Tanks and Cylinders

Oxygen is a fundamental element for many purposes, ranging from physiological, industrial, medical, and aerospace usage. A person can hardly survive four minutes without this important element in their blood.

Good oxygen tanks and cylinders are vital tools for both out and in-patient medical centers. Some cylinders are portable, allowing patients with breathing difficulties to take them at home for supplemental or constant oxygen supply.

Types of oxygen tanks.

Oxygen stored in tanks can be in liquid form, compressed, or in concentrators. Whichever type you want, it’s best to know their primary features, uses, and the most suitable for your needs.

  1. Compressed oxygen tanks.

The main difference between the air we breathe and compressed air is the difference in oxygen level. The normal atmospheric oxygen has 21% oxygen composition, while that of compressed gas is 99.9% pure oxygen without any traces of other foreign gases.

You can obtain this gas through a process that involves compressing air molecules from the atmosphere and filling it in good oxygen tanks and cylinders.

Cylinders designed to hold compressed gas are made from solid and highly engineered metals to serve their purpose effectively and last longer.

Some can last for more than ten decades if well maintained. Poor maintenance of gas cylinders can cause drastic effects on the environment, people, and other intermediate materials.

To avoid any hazards related to oxygen gas packaging and use, manufacturers and end-users should adhere to DOT requirements on the cleaning, repairing, maintenance, requalification, and service changes.

Oxygen gas containers need a requalification checking after 5-10 years before refilling and transporting it.

During this process, the cylinder is checked for elasticity, any possible defects, thickness, and calibration; all these features should match with manufacturer specifications.

  1. Liquid oxygen cylinders.

Liquid oxygen contains the same percentage of oxygen as compressed gas, but it’s in fluid form. This gas can go back to the gaseous state when exposed to warmer temperatures, and it’s made by cooling oxygen gas to -2970C.

After converting to a gaseous state, this gas can easily flow to the designated destination without disruptions.  The liquid needs to be kept in good oxygen tanks and cylinders designed to ensure its coldness to prevent unnecessary evaporation.

It is important always to check the humidifier’s water level.If you realize the drops are below the filling line, you need to refill it after discarding the remaining water (do this at least once daily).

Use distilled, sterile, or pre-filled water but not tap water due to the minerals and other elements present it contains.

Ensure you connect the oxygen tube well; one end in the humidifier while the other end on the mask. It’s advisable always to use your physician instructions when setting the flow regulator. You can also use the scale by switching on the control button until the ball rises to the required level.

The main parts of a liquid-gas bottle include; flow meter, humidifier bottle, indicator, and a filling connector. An indicator shows you the exact oxygen amount remaining in the container while the humidifier facilitates the mixing of water with oxygen.

Combining water and oxygen prevents the user’s throat, mouth, and nose from drying.

  1. Concentrators.

Doctors widely use oxygen concentrators as a form of therapy treatment. It helps to purify the user’s breathing air by removing nitrogen gas plus other impurities from the regular air leaving only oxygen gas. The filtered oxygen is then stored in a bottle/tank for use.

Concentrators have varying capacities, sizes, and types. The common parts of most concentrators are; light indicator, power switch, flow meter, alarm bell, and a humidifier bottle. The lights indicate if the device functions while the alarm will alert you when the concentrator’s power stops.

All the other parts function as the above tanks.

Features to consider when procuring good gas tanks and cylinders

Many people manufacture, use, and transport gaseous oxygen globally. Usually, this gas is compressed or liquefied then stored in cylinders that require maximum attention and caution because of high pressure inside them. Some of the aspects to consider when choosing a gas bottle include:

  1. Capacity and size.

A cylinder’s capacity matters a lot and varies with its usage, type, reliability, and portability factors. An oxygen tank meant for industrial use cannot have the same capacity as the portable one.

Medical cylinders should be big enough to hold sufficient oxygen for patients to avoid frequent refilling that might disrupt their well-being. Small tanks are suitable for mobile and home use while the bigger ones for stationery use, for example, in industries.

Gas tanks sizes range from A-E, where A is the smallest and E the largest.

  1. Storage and portability.

How you’ll store and carry a gas cylinder will strongly rely on its size. Some big gas cylinder comes with a cart for easy movement and storage, for example, the E cylinders. C and D cylinders are much lighter, including a carrier bag, making them highly portable, even in flights.

  1. Flow regulators and valves.

Oxygen flow regulation is an important feature when procuring all types of oxygen tanks. These regulators enable you to set a definite amount of gas to release when using gas cylinders. Cylinders with faulty or zero flow regulators are dangerous to use.

Releasing a huge amount of compressed gas can cause the following hazards;

  • Fire
  • Explosions
  • Respiratory infection
  • Contact contamination

Waste products like oil or grease are highly flammable when exposed to oxygen. Small metallic debris like those of stainless steel can ignite or accelerate fire when in contact with pressurized oxygen gas.

Cylinder valves matter too; VIPR valves are easier to use than the stand-alone valves that require special handling. VIPR valves have its regulator and valve are joined together. If your tank has either of these valves, it’s important always to follow the manufacturers’ instructions when utilizing them.

Good oxygen tanks and cylinders regulators can support either a continuous or a pulse-dose flow. Continuous flow regulators are best for individuals needing oxygen on an irregular basis. These regulators allow you to adjust the LPM according to your physician’s instructions, which you’ll use until the gas runs out.

A pulse-dose flow controller is a bit improved; you’ve the capacity to increase its capacity effectivity by up to six times. This regulator saves oxygen wastage by releasing small oxygen short bursts when using it. Just like the continuous flow controller, you can adjust its LPM according to the caregiver’s prescription.

  1. Usage period.

The duration you intend to use a gas cylinder can determine the type or size of oxygen tanks to procure. Good oxygen tanks and cylinders should to serve you until its set utilization time ends.

Doing this helps to prevent the refilling process and other inconveniences that may arise, causing disruptions. Patients using oxygen tanks can risk their lives if the oxygen suddenly ends, and they don’t have a pre-fill bottle or the strength to replace/refill it.

It’s advisable for users always to check the cylinder’s indicators to know the amount of oxygen remaining.

  1. Cost.

Costs of oxygen gas tanks vary with quality, brand, use, size, type, or effectiveness. Sometimes, a gas cylinder might be cheap, but the maintenance cost makes it a liability in the long run, while others are costly upfront but with few maintenance obligations.

It’s better to consider the one that’s within your reach, suits your needs, and you manage without breaking your bank.

  1. FAA approval.

Individuals traveling by aircraft mostly need to look for oxygen concentrators with FAA approval. Without this approval carrying this device while traveling can be challenging.


Warranty is a very important factor when procuring good oxygen tanks and cylinders. Most oxygen gas bottles are expensive; obtaining one without a warrant will increase the maintenance or refurbishing costs that the manufacturer could have offered in a warranty.

Go for longer warranty periods, especially if you want a long-term cylinder.

Safety tips when utilizing good oxygen tanks and cylinders.

Oxygen tanks need proper handling and maintenance. Below are safety tips you can employ when using oxygen gas containers;

  • Have a standby oxygen system that you can utilize during emergencies.
  • Always have your supplier’s contact number in an easily accessible location to contact them when issues arise.
  • Always use the prescribed oxygen flow rate.
  • Double-check oxygen connection and if the tube works well.
  • Request a new oxygen supply earlier, for example, when you realize the container id ¼ full.
  • Be ready in case of oxygen gas fires by;
  1. Ensuring there’s a fire extinguisher in every household or institution using this gas.
  2. Avoid smoking near oxygen gas stations.
  3. Store oxygen containers far from high temperatures and open fires.
  4. Switch off the gas cylinder immediately fire starts and get away from that area.
  5. Call fire extinguisher providers.
  6. Always store oxygen gas cylinders in an upright position.
  7. Turn off the tanks when not in use.

Summing up

Selecting good oxygen tanks and cylinders need a proper understanding of its features, functioning, training, and hazards associated with it.

You should confirm relevance to your specific needs before picking on an oxygen cylinder to use; after that, select a tank with the most efficient and beneficial features you need.