Great nebulizer - but not fantastic or perfect
by: Wayne on April 04, 2019
I used its predecessor, the NE-U22, for almost a decade until I accidentally dropped it and damaged the head. I had the choice of replacing the head for about $40 or getting a new unit for $120.
I kinda wish I'd replaced the head.
Now, don't get me wrong. The NE-U100 is a fantastic nebulizer, but it isn't perfect, and I would rate the 22 as perfect, 10 for 10. Absolutely flawless up until the point that I dropped it. The 22 is smaller and lighter, clocking in at about 23 grams lighter than the 100, excluding batteries. I also prefer the case design of the 22: the squarish design is an advantage when it comes to running distilled water for a cleaning cycle, and having the LEDs on the flat top is very nice to see it turn on when the batteries are low.
The 100, as noted, is slightly heavier, I can't say that I notice the increase in weight. The more oval case fits your hand nicely, but you can't set it flat when you're running distilled water. Also, the tank design is quite different if you're used to the 22. The entire head assembly must be mounted on the main unit when filling: it seals against the shroud of the vibrating element: the tank will leak if it is not properly mounted.
Speaking of leaks, expect to encounter leaks regardless! I don't understand why as the unit seems to be engineered very well with O-ring seals in all the right places, but it will leak even when the medication container is properly seated on the main unit. I'm used to having condensed vapor on my hands after nebulizing, but to have medication leak directly on my hands doesn't make me happy.
The travel case for the 100 is much larger than that of the 22, but it also accommodates the face mask, which is nice. It is also not rigid. If you're traveling for overnight or a weekend, you might be able to fit your meds in the case.
Another advantage of the 22 over the 100 is residual volume. When you're done nebulizing with the 22, the residual volume, that is, the amount of medication that might be left inside but not nebulized, is listed as 0.1 ml. Not very much. In the 100, 0.5 ml. The numbers are approximate. If you're nebulizing 4 ml of whatever, that's 12%, or 1/8th, of your meds! I really think the tank design could be improved upon by Omron, maybe in a NE-U100 Mark 2, or a NE-U122? I'd be willing to spend $40-50 on an improved medication container.
So why buy a NE-U100? There are a few excellent reasons. First, it is all but absolutely silent. When I was recovering from multiple pneumonias a decade ago, I was using one of the old air compressor nebulizers. I HATED IT. My hearing isn't the best anyway, and having that little compressor hammering me twice a day sucked. Then I was waiting to have some imaging done at the National Institutes of Health and the guy sitting next to me had an NE-U22. I fell in love with it - the nebulizer, not the guy, though the guy was very companionable. The silence of the silent mesh technology is so wonderful! Absolutely worth the money. And the portability! I love to travel, and the 22 - and the 100 - are so small. Even throwing in a charger for my batteries it's very little space.
Second: NE-U100 now has 10ml medication container capacity, up from 7ml on the 22. Nice little improvement there. Usually I'm only doing 4ml twice a day, but sometimes I'm doing 7: nice to know that I have a little spare room there in case something happens and another med gets added to my mix.
Third: SPEEEEEED! According to the spec sheet, the 22 had an output rate of 0.087 ml/minute, the 100 0.1 ml/minute of a 2 ml, 1% NaF solution. I calculated that as a 13% improvement (IIRC). That's nice! I was not happy with my morning neb session taking 45 minutes or so. That's on paper. I've been using mine for about 2 weeks now, and it's different in real life. With my medication mix, it's proving to be a good 50% faster! I do three neb sessions per day, either one morning and two befo