Nebulizers vs. Inhalers: Which is Best for Me?

Plenty of people know what inhalers are, and likely know someone who uses one, has seen someone use one, or even use one themselves. Nebulizers, however, are a less common sight. As a growing product for patients with respiratory illnesses, there’s still a lot of confusion and ambiguity when it comes to nebulizers. We figured it would be a good time to point out the pros and cons of each, and why for some people, switching to a nebulizer might be a good decision.


Nebulizers are small devices which turn liquid medication, such as Albuterol (the most common respiratory medication) into a fine mist, which is then breathed in through a facemask.

Nebulizers are a perfect device for small children, or people with severe illnesses which impact their ability to inhale sufficiently. Since nebulizers turn medication into a mist which is then inhaled normally, there’s essentially no possible way to make a mistake taking the medication. Patients simply wear the facemask and breathe normally for as long as the medication takes to completely nebulizer (usually around 10 minutes). For most patients, this process is done as part of their morning routine, either for themselves or for their children in the case of parents.

The obvious drawback to this, however, is the amount of time it takes to fully absorb the medication. A nebulizer would not be a good machine for use in emergency situations, where time is of the essence. However since that is the exception rather than the norm, many people prefer nebulizers over inhalers.


Inhalers work by using Metered Doses (a set amount of medication) which is quickly pumped into the mouth and throat of the patient, who then inhales quickly in order to absorb the medication.

Inhalers require no facemask (although some still use them), and are much faster than inhalers. For this reason, many older children and adults prefer the use of inhalers to nebulizers.

However, for those who are not experienced with the process or lack the ability to control the power of their breathing, inhalers can sometimes not work. Since the medication is pumped in through one quick dose, there is the possibility of missing the window of time (which is not a large window), and therefore receiving less medication than necessary. There is a device called a spacer which can help with this, but it’s still not foolproof.

The Verdict

With that in mind, what a lot of people do, parents especially, is use a nebulizer in the morning for their children or sick loved ones as part of their daily routine, ensuring that the patient receives all the medication necessary for healthy respiratory function. Then, the patient can carry an inhaler with them during the day in case of emergency, in order to supplement their nebulizer use.

If this sounds like something you would be interested in, Aeroflow offers Nebulizers and Respiratory medication, all through insurance. In order to qualify, click here, or call our Toll Free number at 1-888-345-1780.

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