Does The Length Of Oxygen Tubing Matter?

How Long Should My Oxygen Tubing Be?How Long Should My Oxygen Tubing Be?

Longer oxygen tubing may affect your oxygen concentrator’s performance. Factors such as the type of oxygen concentrator you are using and the type of airflow impact whether a shorter tube may be necessary.

Understanding Oxygen Tubing Lengths

Oxygen tubing connects your oxygen device to your nasal cannula or oxygen mask with the task of delivering oxygen safely and effectively during oxygen therapy. Oxygen therapy is prescribed by doctors for those who have COPD or other respiratory illnesses. If you currently use oxygen therapy, the standard recommendation for oxygen concentrator tubing length is approximately 15m for home oxygen concentrators (for more freedom moving around the house) and often even shorter for portable oxygen concentrators (for convenience and travel-friendliness).

Oxygen Concentrator Tubing Length And Output Flows

The tubing length a user chooses to use impacts the output flows while receiving therapy. Oxygen tubing that is too short can lessen a person's movement and keep you close to your oxygen concentrator, which could an annoyance. However, the shorter tubing is more efficient in delivering airflow as it has a lesser ways to go then longer tube.

Longer tubing offers more freedom of movement around the house for more convenience. However, oxygen flow rate may be reduced in cases where a patient needs high-flow oxygen because of the length of it. 

Effect of Tubing on Pulse Dose Machines

Pulse dose oxygen concentrators deliver oxygen only when they detect an inhale from the user. Longer oxygen tubing means that your oxygen concentrator may not detect a breath, which means no pulse dose will be administered. Additionally, pulse dose is the preferred method of oxygen delivery for portable oxygen concentrators. For those reasons, it is best to use a shorter tube. A 7-foot nasal cannula should be sufficient.

Effect of Tubing on Continuous Flow Machines

Continuous flow machines provide continuous oxygen therapy. Because this is the preferred method of delivery for home oxygen concentrators, longer tubing is usable. However, most manufacturers caution against using tubing longer than 50 feet. This is due to a drop-off in oxygen output past 50 feet. Additionally, while longer tubing gives you more freedom of movement, it can sometimes get caught, kinked, or tangled.

What Is The Maximum Length Of Oxygen Tubing?

Most guidelines will recommend and instruct patients to use tubing lengths that are no longer than 19.68 ft (6 m) when using an oxygen concentrator to ensure optimal performance. 

How to Keep Oxygen Tubing from Tangling

In order to keep oxygen tubing from tangling, make sure that it is properly coiled at all times. Think of your oxygen tubing like a garden hose - to keep the water flowing through the hose, there can't be any kinks. Tubing in a big pile on the floor is more likely to become snarled. Maintaining a smooth, even coil and feeding out only as much tubing as you need helps reduce tangles.

What is an Oxygen Tubing Reel?

Another option to minimize tangling is to place your longer oxygen tubing on an oxygen tubing reel. Just like the reel on a fishing rod, an oxygen tubing reel lets you slowly unwind as much tubing as you need and then wind it back up again when you need less length.

What Should Be the Length of Tubing for Optimum Oxygen Delivery?

As previously mentioned, most manufacturers recommend oxygen tubing lengths of no more than 50 feet. Longer oxygen tubing will diminish oxygen concentration and effectiveness of therapy. If your oxygen tubing is too short, consider using an oxygen tubing connector to create one long tube from two short tubes.

Oxygen Tubing Length Tubing Maintenance And Care

Proper maintenance and cleaning of oxygen tubing can prolong its lifespan. To clean it, suction up a small amount of water after each use to clear the tubing out. At the end of each day, soak suction tubing in warm soapy water. Make sure you also replace your tubing every 3 months. 

If you need advice on which machine best fits your needs or help with oxygen concentrator supplies like tubing, our customer care team is here to help. Give us a call at 888.941.1688 or email us at

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.