Which Type of HBOT Chamber is Best, a Soft Shell or Hard Shell?

Which Type of HBOT Chamber is Best, a Soft Shell or Hard Shell?

Which Type of HBOT Chamber is Best For You…Soft or Hard Shell?

Finally we have reached the world’s most important question when it comes to HBOT chambers! And one that has had many an experts nickers in a twist for years!

However the answer is extremely simple…It depends!

The question is better rephrased, what HBOT chamber is best for you? The factors that determine what’s best for you are again very simple:

  1. Your budget?
  2. The space you have available?
  3. How many people are going to be using your HBOT chamber at once?
  4. How often are you going to use your HBOT chamber?
  5. Are you likely to move in the next few years?

Once you know the answers to these questions, you can then answer which is best for you, a soft shell HBOT chamber or a hard shell HBOT chamber?

Before I answer each aspect individually, I will answer the question if there are no limitations, whether that be price, space, frequency of use or portability of the HBOT chamber, once we have established what a hard shell HBOT chamber and a soft shell HBOT chamber actually is.


What is a Hard Shell and Soft Shell HBOT Chamber?

First off some of you may be wondering what is a soft shell HBOT chamber as opposed to a hard shell HBOT chamber? I will keep this brief as it’s very simple.

A soft shell HBOT chamber is an inflatable structure, people even refer to them as tents (not a term I like as it undermines their effectiveness). It’s often made of polyurethane with a zip to open and close, well it will have typically two layers of zips to accommodate the pressure the zip will be subject to.

They are lightweight, easily moved, don’t take up a huge amount of space and are very cost effective. More on these aspects later.

A hard shell HBOT chamber is, by the name suggests, a hard solid structure. Typically made from metal and acrylic (the windows). Due to their high build quality, they can withstand higher pressures. It’s these higher pressures that generally improve the benefits for users of hyperbaric oxygen therapy.


What Type of HBOT Chamber is the Best?

In a nutshell, considering that none of the above are limitations, the hard shell HBOT chamber is by far the best. It’s that simple. The reason why is the pressure.

The pressure is the key component when it comes to hyperbaric oxygen therapies effectiveness. I have heard some people believe that 1.8 ATA is better for people with chronic conditions such as MS and a lot of the MS centres in the UK use this level for that very reason. Whereas some conditions are better suited to 2.0 ATA.

However one thing that the soft shell HBOT chamber can’t do, is operate at higher pressures than 1.5 ATA. Therefore it’s not as effective at treating nearly all conditions that a HBOT chamber can significantly help with.

The reason you are using a HBOT chamber in the first place is its effectiveness to treat certain conditions effecting you or to benefit from the longevity benefits. Quite simply a soft shell is doing this at a reduced rate or in other words you will need to spend a lot more time in the soft shell HBOT chamber to get similar results.

Now please don’t just assume that just because the HBOT chamber is a hard shell HBOT chamber that it is 1.8 ATA and over. There are a lot of hard shells that are in fact just 1.5 ATA, these are typically the lie down HBOT chambers. And 1.5 ATA is good but ensure you confirm what ATA it is and not just assume, whether purchasing or for a treatment. Plus you would be better off having a soft shell 1.5 ATA HBOT chamber as its less money, you can sit upright and a lot easier to move!

Now that we have made what is often a very complicated subject very simple, let’s move on to the nuances for your particular circumstances:


Your Budget?

This factor alone makes your decision extremely easy.

If your budget is around £10,000 and that, is it. Your option is very, very easy. Go for a sit up 1.5 ATA soft shell. Please don’t get confused and buy the sit up 1.3 ATA soft shell HBOT chambers as they look the same, are about the same price though deliver a significant difference in pressure.

If you have over £30,000 and are happy to lie down (sounds like hell to me!) then go for a hard shell. If you have over £40,000 and it’s just for you or one person then go for the sit up hardshell. Then finally, if it’s for a few people at a time whether in a clinic or spa setting or even for multiple family members at home to use together, then if you have over £75,000, go for a multi chamber hard shell.

Budget is most likely the main condition for most people, and this sums it up very clearly and very simply.


Space Available?

So you got the cash, but do you have the space? The single use hard shell and soft shells are not much different in size, plus they have different size options as well, typically small, medium and large. Generally the hard shell will be marginally bigger, however it would have to be a very small room with limited flexibility for this slight difference to be an issue.

The hard shells typically are the ones used for multi-users and as you can imagine a lot bigger. If you have the budget for one of these, you will likely have the budget for the extra space required.

It’s worth noting that in recent times a soft shell two person HBOT chamber has been launched, though this is 1.4 ATA and not 1.5 ATA like the best of the soft shell HBOT chambers.


How Many People Are Going to Use Your HBOT Chamber at Once?

This is very important and yet very simple. If you want more than one person at the same time and they are not close or familiar with each other, then it has to be a hard shell HBOT chamber. It’s that simple. Though you can get a two person soft shell HBOT chamber, this would only be recommended for people close.

If there are more than two people using the HBOT chamber at a time, you have absolutely no choice in that it has to be a hard shell HBOT chamber.


How Often Are You Going to Use Your HBOT Chamber?

If you are going to be using it a lot and/or the same people, then a soft or hard shell are fine, and it doesn’t make much difference. As you will have to get used to using either option anyway. However, if you are a in a clinical setting where lots of “different” people are going to be using the HBOT chamber then by far, a hard shell HBOT chamber stands out as the best option for you. Though not essential. This is from the perspective of both ease of use and wear and tear.

Soft shell chambers are often harder to get in and out of, due to them not being a fixed rigid structure. So who is going in your HBOT chamber will have a big impact on your buying decision, as people with limited movement will struggle to get in and out of a soft shell HBOT chamber.


Are You Moving Soon?

If the answer is yes and you can’t wait until you move to get your HBOT chamber, then perhaps go with a 1.5 ATA sit up soft shell. They are light weight and easy to move.

Whereas a hardshell HBOT chamber is going to weigh at least 200 KG and that’s for the smaller lie down hard shell HBOT chambers, whereas if you are thinking of a larger sit up or even a multiuser HBOT chamber, then weight can easily go up to 600 KG.

Though of course you can pay removal guys, it’s just another hassle. Another thing to remember is to ensure that you can get your HBOT chamber through the doors of your new venue or home. Sometimes doors can be narrower than normal, and this can lead to creative measures needed to ensure your HBOT chamber loves its new home!


Final Thoughts

If you can, always go for a hard shell HBOT chamber. I didn’t personally due to budget and mine back in 2016 was £25,000 and that was before almost a decade of rampant inflation when £25,000 was a good amount of money before the government printed even more money out of thin air! Though back then even a hard shell lie down option was £50,000.

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