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Hardshell VS Softshell: Which is Better?

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If you’re considering hyperbaric therapy, you might be wondering whether to choose a hardshell or a softshell chamber. Much like picking a new phone or choosing the best food for your furry friend, this decision is crucial. It can feel a little overwhelming, right? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

This article is a friendly guide that breaks down the differences between the two types of chambers, their advantages, and drawbacks, and even reviews some of the top products on the market. Our aim? To help you navigate this journey with ease and confidence.

So, buckle up and let’s embark on this informative journey together.

1. Hardshell VS Softshell, Which is Better?

Navigating the world of hyperbaric chambers can be quite challenging, given the range of options and factors to consider. Whether you’re considering a hardshell or softshell chamber, it’s crucial to understand their differences, advantages, and limitations. So, let’s dive in and explore the world of hyperbaric chambers!

Hardshell hyperbaric chambers,
constructed with sturdy materials like steel and acrylic, can withstand high pressures up to 3.0 ATA. This makes them very effective in treating various severe conditions such as decompression sickness, serious infections, or wziounds that haven’t healed due to diabetes or radiation injury. These chambers are typically used in hospital or clinical settings, providing patients with professional medical supervision, ensuring safe and effective treatment.Additionally, the secure structure and controlled environment of a hardshell chamber allow for the administration of pure oxygen, which can enhance therapeutic effects. However, hardshell chambers come with challenges like high costs, both in terms of initial investment and ongoing maintenance. Their significant size and weight require dedicated space, making them unsuitable for small clinics or home settings. Furthermore, they lack portability, restricting their usage to a fixed location.

Softshell hyperbaric chambers, made from flexible materials, are lightweight and portable, offering great convenience. They can be easily set up in a home setting, allowing for frequent or long-term treatments, perfect for individuals needing routine therapy for conditions such as mild brain injuries, chronic fatigue, or recovery from sports injuries. Their lower cost makes them more affordable and accessible, opening up hyperbaric treatment to a broader population.

On the downside, softshell chambers operate at lower pressures, typically around 1.3 to 1.5 ATA, limiting their effectiveness in treating certain severe conditions. Treatments in a softshell chamber, particularly when done at home, may lack direct medical supervision, which could be a concern for patients with complex medical needs.

Ultimately, the choice between hardshell and softshell chambers should consider various factors. It’s important to consult with a healthcare provider knowledgeable about hyperbaric medicine to ensure the chamber meets specific medical needs, budgetary considerations, space and portability requirements, and the level of medical supervision required.

2. Softshell Hyperbaric Chambers Finest Selections

The best hyperbaric chamber: Oxyhealth Vitaeris 320

Who it’s for: Someone who values space, comfort, and the latest safety features in a hyperbaric chamber for long-lasting, reliable use.

Why we like it: Oxyhealth’s Vitaeris 320 is as efficient and spacious as any other chamber on the market, including the more expensive ones. The chamber offers a roomy 32-inch diameter design that provides a comfortable treatment experience. The tamper-proof, dual redundant pressure regulator valves and patented 2-zipper seal assemblies ensure impeccable safety during treatments.

The Vitaeris 320 offers three patient viewing windows that illuminate the interior with room light, creating a less claustrophobic environment for users. Much like the previous models, the Vitaeris 320 has a durable double-sided 44 oz. urethane-coated polyester bladder that maintains its form even when deflated. The chamber is also manufactured with non-toxic, medical-grade components, ensuring that it’s safe for users and the environment. It’s also practical and ideal for both clinics and homes thanks to its manageable weight and size.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: The large viewing windows, while offering a more comfortable experience, may pose a risk for long-term use, potentially shortening the chamber’s service life. Also, the larger size might require more space for installation and storage. But if you value a spacious and comfortable hyperbaric experience with the latest safety features, the Vitaeris 320 is worth considering.

The Compact Powerhouse: Oxynova Oxynova 7

Who it’s for: Someone who values a fast airflow, slightly higher operating pressure, and customization in their hyperbaric chamber.
Why we like it: The Oxynova 7 offers an impressive 160 litres per minute airflow, ensuring a fresh and safe environment inside the chamber. Operating at a slightly higher pressure of 1.4 ATA, the Oxynova 7 allows for more intensive treatments, a feature that sets it apart from many other chambers in the market.

The Oxynova 7 is also more customizable, offering eight custom-interchangeable positions with dimmable LED lighting that enhances user comfort. The smaller size of the Oxynova 7 makes it a great option for those with limited space.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The fast airflow, while ensuring a fresh environment, might cause discomfort due to pressure on the eardrums. Also, the smaller chamber size could potentially reduce the comfort level compared to larger models. But if you’re looking for a chamber with faster airflow, higher pressure, and customization, Oxynova 7 might be the one for you.

The Balanced Design Bargain: Oxygenark 301

Who it’s for: Someone who values a balanced design, convenience, and high-quality components in their hyperbaric chamber.
Why we like it: The Oxygenark 301 strikes an excellent balance between chamber size and space-efficiency, enhancing the user experience. The two moderately-sized viewing windows maintain the chamber’s original shape and prolong its service life. The central control unit (CCU) integrates a high-quality air compressor and oxygen generator, providing users with easy-to-operate and space-efficient solutions.
The European standard molecular sieve used in Oxygenark 301 ensures the provision of pure oxygen for extended periods. Moreover, its self-designed CCU makes it a space-efficient and easy-to-move device, which is a major plus for users who prefer a more compact design.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: The oxygen purity level is slightly lower (88±3%) compared to some other models in the market. Fewer viewing windows compared to the Oxyhealth Vitaeris
Feature Oxyhealth Vitaeris 320 Oxynova Oxynova 7 Oxygenark 301
Working Pressure (ATA) 1.3 1.4 1.3 / 1.4
Diameter (in/cm) 32 / 81.28 28 / 71.12 31.5 / 80
Length (in/cm) 92 / 233.68 90 / 228.6 86.61 / 220
Weight (lbs/kg) 105 / 47.63 31.9 / 14.5 114.6 / 52
Airflow (L/Min) N/A 160 75
Oxygen Delivery (L/Min) N/A N/A 5
Sound Level (dB) N/A <60 <60
Power (watt) N/A 800 650
Material Urethane coated polyester N/A 2-layer TPU
Integrated Compressor Yes Yes Yes

3. Hardshell Hyperbaric Chambers Top Picks

The Medical Grade Powerhouse: Oxyhealth Fortius 420

Who it’s for: Medical professionals and patients seeking a high-quality, versatile hyperbaric chamber that can be treated at a wide range of pressures.
Why we like it: The Oxyhealth Fortius420 is a medical-grade hyperbaric chamber offering exceptional versatility and safety. Its large 42″ diameter interior provides ample space for comfort, and the ability to treat up to 3.0 ATA (29 psi) makes it perfect for various medical protocols. The mirrored controls inside and out allow for safe functionality, whether it’s a physician or a patient self-treating. The Fortius420 is designed for efficiency and durability, capable of being shipped and installed in less than 10 days. It also provides 100% oxygen at up to 3.0 ATA through a hood assembly system, making it cost-effective and safe for patients. The chamber’s reinforced steel construction with a handsome powder coated baby blue finish gives it a robust and appealing look. This chamber is easy to move and comes with a custom fit contoured mattress for added comfort.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: This chamber is considerably heavy, which may present challenges for some installations. Also, its larger size might not be suitable for smaller office spaces or homes.

The Spacious Therapy Chamber: Perry Baromedical Sigma 40

Who it’s for: Anyone looking for a hyperbaric chamber with a large internal diameter to accommodate a variety of patient sizes and reduce claustrophobia.
Why we like it: The Perry Baromedical Sigma 40 hyperbaric chamber is a game-changer in the industry, offering a large 40.5″ internal diameter, which makes it the largest in the industry. This size significantly reduces the incidence of claustrophobia and allows for the treatment of the bariatric population. Despite its size, the Sigma 40 uses new technology to reduce its weight, resulting in fewer weight restrictions. The chamber also features a cool and quiet treatment compartment, patient-controlled temperature, an adjustable stretcher certified for patients up to 700 lbs, and an optional 22″ flat-screen TV with CD and DVD features for entertainment during treatment. It also provides an intrinsically safe two-way communication system for added safety.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: The building requirements for the SIGMA 40 are quite specific and may pose challenges for some facilities. Also, the large size of the chamber may not be necessary for all users, and could potentially take up more space than is available in some settings.

The Innovative and Portable Option: Oxygenark 901

Who it’s for: Home users or commercial situations looking for a lightweight, maneuverable hyperbaric chamber with integrated features.
Why we like it: Oxygenark 901 is an innovative hyperbaric chamber that combines an air compressor and oxygen generator into a Central Control Unit (CCU). This integration makes installation and operation much easier than other models in the industry. The chamber is made with lightweight aluminum, which is one-third the weight of comparable products, making it super maneuverable and user-friendly. Despite its light weight, the chamber has a life span of over 20,000 hours, which is notably longer than soft chamber options. This makes the Oxygenark 901 an excellent choice for both commercial situations and home use.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: The Oxygenark 901 operates at a maximum pressure of 1.5 ATA, which might not be sufficient for all treatment protocols. It also requires a power source for operation, which may limit its usability in some locations.

4. 9 Key Considerations When Buying a Hyperbaric Chamber

Whether you are a healthcare provider, a patient seeking treatment, or a sports professional aiming for quick recovery, choosing the right hyperbaric chamber can be a crucial decision. It’s a commitment that requires careful consideration of multiple factors. Here are some key insights and top product recommendations to help guide your choice.
  1. Purpose: The intended use of the chamber plays a significant role in your decision. If you’re purchasing for a medical facility, a hardshell monoplace or multiplace chamber might be more suitable due to their higher pressure capabilities and ability to treat severe conditions. However, for home use or for treating milder conditions, a softshell chamber offers convenience and affordability.

  2. Space: The available space in your clinic or home will also affect your choice. Monoplace chambers, which accommodate one person, generally require less space compared to multiplace chambers that can treat multiple patients simultaneously.

  3. Safety Features: Safety should be a top priority. Look for chambers with built-in safety features, such as redundant pressure regulators, emergency pressure-release valves, fire suppression systems, and secure, tamper-proof closures.

  4. Ease of Use: The chamber should be user-friendly, with clear, easy-to-understand controls. For home use, consider whether you will be able to operate the chamber safely and effectively on your own, or if you will need assistance.

  5. Warranty and Service: Consider what type of warranty or guarantee the manufacturer provides. This can provide peace of mind in the event of any issues with the chamber. Also, check whether the company offers regular service and maintenance, which can extend the life of the chamber and ensure it continues to operate safely.

  6. Comfort and Accessibility: Features such as roomy interiors, large viewing windows, adjustable lighting, and comfortable seating or bedding can make treatments more pleasant for patients. If the patient has mobility issues, consider whether the chamber is easy to enter and exit.

  7. Training and Support: Some manufacturers provide training on how to use their hyperbaric chambers safely and effectively. This can be a valuable resource, especially for home users or smaller clinics without a lot of hyperbaric experience.

  8. Oxygen SourceThe type of oxygen source used (e.g., mask, hood, or built-in system) can impact the effectiveness of treatments and the overall user experience. Check what type of oxygen delivery system the chamber uses, and consider whether it meets your specific needs.

  9. Customization: Some chambers offer customizable options, such as adjustable pressures, interchangeable positions, or dimmable lighting. These can enhance user comfort and allow treatments to be tailored to individual patient needs.
By taking these factors into account, you can make a well-informed decision when purchasing a hyperbaric chamber. Always remember to consult with a healthcare provider knowledgeable about hyperbaric medicine to ensure the chamber meets your specific needs.

Dive Deeper Into Our Resources

For some insightful reads, we’ve curated a list of recommended articles just for you:


Still haven’t found what you’re looking for? Don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re available around the clock to assist you.


And there we have it! You’ve made it through our comprehensive guide and review of hyperbaric chambers. We’ve explored the differences between hardshell and softshell chambers, dissected their pros and cons, and even took a deep dive into some of the best products out there. Don’t worry, you’re not alone in this. Oxygenark will be an invaluable ally in this journey, ready to provide professional advice tailored to your specific needs.

We hope this article has shed some light on the world of hyperbaric chambers and empowered you to make a choice that suits you best. After all, it’s all about finding the right fit for you. Here’s to making choices that prioritize your health and well-being!

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