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How To Read A Pulse Oximeter

How To Read A Pulse Oximeter

The doctor may tell you to monitor your oxygen saturation level or you need to check your pulse rate due to medical problems. Maybe you’re an athlete or fitness enthusiast and want to keep track of oxygen saturation and pulse rate. No matter who you are, if you are advised to use a pulse oximeter and are thinking of buying it for yourself. Then you must wander about how to read a pulse oximeter.

If so, don’t worry because it is easy to read and requires no technical knowledge. In this article, we tell how you can take readings using Pulse Oximeter and interpret them. We are sure you will get complete reading knowledge after reading this article.

For What Pulse Oximeter Use

Pulse Oximeter is an electric sensor device that uses light beams to monitor the oxygen saturation level in blood and check the pulse rate. It is mostly put on the finger, earlobe, or toe to take the measurements. The device is most commonly used in hospitals and homes.

We divided the working process of the Pulse Oximeter into two parts; first, we tell you how to take readings, and 2nd one tells you how to interpret these readings.

How to Take Readings

Before taking the measurement, you must have an Oximeter and the person whose oxygen saturation level or pulse rate you want to measure.

After this, make sure to clean the oximeter and the finger or other body part where you are going to place it. In the case of a finger, remove nail polish or another color from the finger. Also, ensure that the hand is warm and allow the person to rest for five minutes before using.

Now place the oximeter and make sure it is properly in position. It works best on the middle or index finger for better results.

The tool takes time to show the readings. Keep it attached and in position until it displays the readings.
Don’t remove the meter if the readings keep changing.

Record the results if readings stop and have not changed for 5 seconds.

Reading the Results

Now you can consider the readings when they stop changing. The meter shows two readings on the screen;

SpO2: SpO2 shows the oxygen saturation level in the blood.

PR: PR represents the pulse rate of the person.

Normal SpO2 Reading Range

  • The SpO2 normal ranges lie from 96% to 100%
  • 95% SpO2 consider acceptable, and you can continue home monitoring

Normal Pulse Rate(bpm) Reading Range

  • 40-100 bpm is a normal pulse rate reading
  • 101-109 bpm is an acceptable pulse rate. You can continue monitoring at home

Abnormal SpO2 Reading Range

  • SpO2 is considered concerning if it ranges from 91% to 94%. You should consider consulting the doctor.
  • SpO2 less than 90% is alarming. You should immediately go to a nearby health care center.

Abnormal Pulse Rate(bpm) Reading Range

110-130 bpm is concerning pulse rate and should consult the doctor.
131 or above is an alarming situation. You should immediately go to the nearby health care center.


Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to use the device. Seek medical attention if you are unsure of the readings or think the apparatus gets some error.


So, you can easily place a pulse oximeter on your finger and another part of your body to take the readings. It will display the two readings, SpO2 and PR, which are oxygen and pulse rate, respectively. Then you can read the pulse oximeter and notice the reading. Take the necessary measurement suggested in the article by looking at the readings.