What is a Jet Nebulizer?

May 14, 2024
What is a Jet Nebulizer?What is a Jet Nebulizer?

Jet nebulizers use compressed gas to make a medicated mist. These nebulizers deliver this gas through a pressurized stream of air, down a narrow tube or channel, and through an opening to create a jet. The movement of the air creates a vacuum that pushes the liquid medication out of the nebulizer, driving the misted medication deep into the lungs. Jet nebulizers are inexpensive, easy to use, and can deliver a variety of medications that cannot be administered by handheld inhalers.

How Does a Jet Nebulizer Work?

Delivering compressed gas through a jet causes negative pressure that draws the liquid medicine up the tube or channel, in what scientists call the Bernoulli effect. The air flowing forces the solution onto the surface of a baffle. The baffle breaks down the solution into small droplets, measuring 1 to 5 micrometers, which a patient can easily inhale.

By creating smaller droplets, the medicine can be more easily absorbed into the lungs providing faster results for anyone with breathing difficulties.

How To Use a Jet Nebulizer

Using a jet nebulizer is simple enough that even children can administer their own treatment. Follow these steps:

  1. Wash your hands to prevent contamination of the medicine.
  2. Connect the hose to an air compressor-make sure it is securely connected.
  3. Fill the medicine cup with your prescribed medicine-always check the medicine to make sure it is correct.
  4. Attach the hose and mouthpiece to the medicine and check the connection to make sure it is secure.
  5. Place the mouthpiece in your mouth.
  6. Breathe through your mouth and take a deep breath. Continue to treatment until the medicine in the medicine cup is completely gone.
  7. Turn off the machine when done.

Are Jet Nebulizers Better for Adults, Children, or Both?

Both adults and children can use a jet nebulizer to receive their medication, however, some are designed to be better suitable for children. Some popular nebulizers are made in children-friendly designs that promote and encourage treatment compliance and help children feel more comfortable while receiving their therapy.

How a Jet Nebulizer Can Benefit Children

A jet nebulizer is especially helpful for children treating their respiratory illnesses because it gives them some measure of independence. Because jet nebulizers are fairly easy to use, kids can manage their treatments and take responsibility for managing their illnesses. The ability for kids to take care of themselves helps them feel less like they are sickly and need medical care and more that the treatments are simply a part of their daily routine.

Benefits Of Using Jet Nebulizers 

Jet nebulizers are easy to use and can be used by children with little practice. Any type of medication for respiratory illness can be used with the jet nebulizer. They are very efficient at delivering misted medication. Also, jet nebulizers can reduce the time it takes to perform a treatment. Most jet nebulizers are easy to clean and are lightweight and small so they can be easily transported for vacations.

Most jet nebulizers are quiet so they can be used discreetly anywhere a treatment is needed. Some jet nebulizers offer battery power options so they can be used when there is no power source available.

How a Jet Nebulizer Can Benefit Children

A jet nebulizer is especially helpful for children treating their respiratory illnesses because it gives them some measure of independence. Because jet nebulizers are fairly easy to use, kids can manage their treatments and take responsibility for managing their illnesses. The ability for kids to take care of themselves helps them feel less like they are sickly and need medical care and more that the treatments are simply a part of their daily routine.

What Does a Jet Nebulizer Look Like?

Jet nebulizers have a base. A hose connects the machine to an inhaler. The inhaler fits into the mouth to breathe misted medicine. There is a medicine cup where the liquid medicine is placed. The liquid medicine is then turned into a fine mist that is pumped through the tube into the inhaler.

The user breathes deeply to draw the misted medicine into the lungs. Most jet nebulizers are small and compact and can be easily packed into a suitcase for use on trips. 

What Increases the Concentration of Medication in a Jet Nebulizer?

With jet nebulizers, drug concentration may increase significantly during aerosol therapy. 16-18 An increase in drug concentration may be due to evaporation, heating, or the inability to efficiently nebulize suspensions. Not all jet nebulizers work the same.

Concentrations of medication may need to affect your respiratory condition unless the concentration is very high. Liquid medication that is not effectively misted will not produce immediate results in terms of relief from breathing problems. The best jet nebulizers reduce the concentration of the medicine as much as possible to keep the mist fine enough so that it can be easily and quickly breathed deeply into the lungs.

Is a Compressor Nebulizer than Same as a Jet Nebulizer?

The terms compressor nebulizer and jet nebulizer are used interchangeably. The jet nebulizer relies on a compressor to turn the liquid medicine into a fine mist. The other type of nebulizer is a mesh nebulizer. Mesh nebulizers use a mesh cap with tiny holes to help dispense medication into consistent particle sizes that can be easily and comfortably inhaled.

Almost entirely silent, modern mesh nebulizers are also small and compact and enable you to complete your treatment in as little as 7 minutes. They are also often battery-operated, giving patients the freedom to complete their respiratory treatment when they’re on the go.

Who Can Use a Jet Nebulizer?


Asthma is condition in which a person's airways become inflamed, narrow and swell, and produce extra mucus, which makes it difficult to breathe. For those who struggle with asthma, jet nebulizers can deliver medication into the lungs for instant relief. Instead of using an inhaler, avnebulizer could be a better option for those who are too young or too ill.

Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis (CF) affects the cells that produce mucus, sweat, and digestive juices. It causes these fluids to become thick and sticky, blogging airway passageways, making it hard to breathe. Using a nebulizer will help break down the mucus to help a user breathe better. 

Lung Infections

Immunocompromised Patients: If a person has pnuemonia, leukemia, HIV, or other illnesses, a nebulizer can provide relief and avoid the risk of worsening a person's symptoms or other diseases. 

Mechanically Ventilated Patients: Nebulizers can be used to help mechanically ventilated pateints if other types of treatment do not work. 

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Also known as COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease makes breathing difficult because of inflammation, damaged air sacs, and excessive production of mucus. A nebulizer will help relieve the difficulty a person has breathing.

Acute Lung Injury

An acute lung injury is a condition in which fluid collects in the lungs' air sacs, depriving organs of oxygen. A nebulizer will help to stop the fluid as well as prvide relief to the lungs.

Breathing in Advanced Cancer Patients

For those who have advanced stages of cancer, a nebulizer can provide medicine to help with shortness of breath or other respiratory-related symptoms. 

Insulation Application

For those who have diabetes, insulin injections is crucial to control their glucose levels and associated symptoms. Although not as effective as insuling, a nebulizer can actually help patients control their glucose levels as well. 

FDA Approved COPD Drug for Jet Nebulizer Use

The FDA recently approved Yupelri (revefenacin, Theravance BioPharma) for the maintenance treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This drug is a long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA). It is to be administered as an inhalation solution. Yupelri is a once-daily, nebulized bronchodilator. It is the first and only of its kind to be approved for the treatment of COPD in the United States. To administer, patients should use a 175 mcg vial with a standard jet nebulizer.

The new approval gives patients with COPD a new option. In a clinical trial, 1000 patients with COPD showed positive results with revefenacin treatment. Results show general, positive toleration with no new safety issues.

How to Maintain and Clean Jet Nebulizers

After each use of a jet nebulizer:

  • Make sure the tubing isn't attached to anything that can generate electricity.
  • Remove the medicine cup's top by unscrewing it.
  • Clean the nebulizer by completely cleaning it and then refilling it with fresh water.
  • Connect the compressor to the tubing by screwing the top of the medicine cup back on.
  • To flush out any remaining medicine, run the device for a few seconds again.
  • Then disassemble the nebulizer and store it until the next time you need it.

Daily Cleaning

Disconnect the medicine cup's tube. All objects, excluding the tubing, should be washed in hot, soapy water. Remove any excess soap by rinsing all parts in clean water. Allow the nebulizer to air dry thoroughly. There is no need to use a towel. Reassemble and store it in a clean area until the next time you use it.

Inhaler vs Nebulizer for COPD

Inhaled medication can help treat COPD. Inhalers or nebulizers deliver medication into the lungs. Inhalers are small, handheld devices to give you medication on-the-go. There are three types of inhalers: metered-dose, dry powder, and soft mist. Each of these inhalers deliver medication in different ways. Moreover, they have their particular clean methods and have different ways of tracking when it’s empty.

Nebulizers are less portable but can be used both at home or on-the-go. You connect to the machine and breathe in the medication. However, you must clean all the parts after use. They take about 20 minutes to complete a treatment.

A physician will help you decide whether to use an inhaler or a nebulizer. Most patients with COPD use inhalers for their daily routines. They like the portability and speed of delivery. However, a study recently reported that fewer than half of the people using inhalers use them properly.1 If you have trouble using an inhaler, a nebulizer might be a better choice. Nebulizers are also preferable when you are in the middle of a flare.

Respiratory Tips for Using Inhaled Medicine

A respiratory therapist Jose Acosta, CRT, tells patients to first understand how to take your inhaled medication correctly. This includes how the device works and how the medication is delivered. If the directions are not followed, an accurate dose of medication may not be delivered.

In addition, it is important to learn about the medication being taken. Ask your physician how often to use the device and at what prescribed dose. Remember, each medication works differently. Some may relax muscles while others may curb swelling. Some are short-acting and others are long-acting. Knowing what to expect and how everything works will set you up for long-term success.

Where to Buy Jet Nebulizers

You can shop for nebulizers online at The Oxygen Concentrator Supplies Shop. We offer them and hundreds of other products to help respiratory and oxygen therapy patients. If you would like to learn more or need any assistance, please give us a call at 888-941-1688. Our knowledgeable staff would be happy to help you.


The author is not affiliated in any way with any particular nebulizer brand, so this post constitutes publicly-available information. Additionally, this post does not constitute medical advice in any way. It is recommended to discuss the specifics of any oxygen products with your doctor before ultimately purchasing a device to ensure you have the right equipment for your needs. This information is for educational purposes only.

Chris Vasta

Chris Vasta is the president of The CPAP Shop and an expert in sleep and respiratory therapy. He often provides insights on product design and functionality on various manufacturers’ prototypes and is frequently tapped to provide reviews on new releases.