Basic Differences Between Welding vs Medical Oxygen

Many people are confused between welding oxygen vs medical oxygen. They think that as long as it is called “oxygen”, there is no difference.

However, we should not disregard the word preceding this which is completely different- welding and medical.

Welding has something to do with industrial works while medical is for human and animal health purposes.

In this article, we will dig into details about welding oxygen and medical oxygen. This will help you know their similarities, differences, production processes, and uses.

Are There Any Similarities Between Welding Oxygen vs Medical Oxygen?

Welding Oxygen vs Medical Oxygen

If you were to ask a random person what is welding and medical oxygen, they would probably answer that “Welding oxygen is used to weld and medical oxygen is what supports people when they can’t properly breathe on their own.” Well, it makes sense. In that way, you can already see they are different.

Welding oxygen and medical oxygen most likely differ because of their grade. The grade defines how much and how pure the oxygen is.

The welding grade is less than the medical grade. The medical-grade oxygen is purer as it is composed of 99.5% oxygen, while the welding-grade oxygen is only 99.2%. This can also signify their quality so we can better know in what ways they can be useful.

Nevertheless, they both undergo the same process.

How Welding Oxygen and Medical Oxygen are Made?

Both of them go through the same process. Firstly, it undergoes air-liquefaction. This process makes gasses liquid as they are cooled and compressed.

This will then make the gasses’ boiling points different from one another. Hence, it will separate oxygen from other gasses like nitrogen.

After the air-liquefaction process is the electrolyte process. The term “electro”, means that this is a process where electricity will be needed to break down hydrogen and oxygen. Then, the oxygen will now be compressed in a bottle.

What is Welding Oxygen?

Welding oxygen is used for welding processes. Oxygen is essential to produce heat and maintain the welding process where it cuts and joins different kinds of metals.

Welding oxygen is made up to 99.2% grade. This percentage shows that welding oxygen is less pure than medical oxygen.

How Welding Oxygen Cylinders are Filled

Before your tank will be filled with welding oxygen, it should not contain any acetylene. If they find any, then your cylinder needs to be cleaned first before it can be refilled with oxygen.

Can Humans Breath Welding Oxygen?

What is Welding Oxygen

No, humans can’t breathe welding oxygen because it does not possess the specific ‘human grade’ certification. This can be dangerous to human health and is just used for welding alone.

However, in some cases, welding oxygen is used as a short-term and least life-saving choice. To make this possible, they first need to ensure the cleanliness of the welding regulators and hoses to prevent harmful contamination.

What is Medical Oxygen?

If you’ve been in the hospital, the tanks you see there contain medical oxygen. It is used to help regulate the patient’s breathing, and you must have a prescription before you can obtain one. The medical oxygen’s grade has 99.5% oxygen, which means it is purer than welding oxygen.

How Medical Oxygen Cylinders are Filled

The filling of medical oxygen cylinders is not complicated. Since they are located in hospitals and clinics, there is an assurance that cleanliness is maintained, unlike welding oxygen cylinders. It will be filled right away. The only demanding part is the documentation.

Can Medical Oxygen be Used in Welding?

Yes. If you run out of welding oxygen, you can use medical oxygen as a substitute. However, this is not ideal so medical oxygen will not be as efficient as welding oxygen and it will also run out faster. 


Welding oxygen and medical oxygen are not the same.

Although they undergo the same processes and can be used in some similar situations, they still possess uniqueness to each other as they are graded depending on the oxygen’s purity.

This means that if you’re going to use it for welding, your first and best choice should be welding oxygen instead of medical oxygen.

The welding process won’t be complicated, then. The same goes for medical purposes. Medical oxygen will be the best choice.

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