Spot check pulse oximeters are typically used to take quick readings. All pulse oximeters have the ability to spot-check. Finger oximeters are best for spot checks when oxygen saturation needs to be measured for a short period of time because they are portable. Hand held and table top oximeters are typically used in settings that have different sized patients (infants, pediatrics, etc.), need to be used on other regions of the body such as the ear, forehead and toes or require alarms when a reading goes below a certain level.
Continuous monitoring oximeters are best used for monitoring for over one hour.