One of the most prevalent treatments for obstructive sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) equipment (OSA). OSA is a condition in which the airway becomes obstructed or collapses during sleep, leading people to stop breathing for short periods of time several times throughout the night.
If you’re just getting started with your CPAP machine search, be sure to check out our in-depth CPAP machine buying guide. The best CPAP machines are listed here!
Which Type of Machine Will Work Best For You?
There are a variety of machines available, including CPAP, APAP, and BiPAP machines.
If you need varied pressure rates during the night, auto-adjustable positive airway pressure (APAP) equipment may be perfect for you. If you sleep on your stomach, sleep very deeply, or take sedatives, this can happen.
If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea and are on a budget, a CPAP machine might be suitable for you.
Depending on whether you’re inhaling or exhaling, bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP) equipment delivers varying pressures. If you need high pressure on inhalation but find CPAP therapy uncomfortable on expiration, this machine might be right for you. BiPAP is also beneficial for those who suffer from the following conditions:
- Retention of carbon dioxide as a result of respiratory problems (CO2)
- CO2 retention is caused by chronic progressive neuromuscular diseases.
- CPAP is difficult to tolerate
Types of CPAP Machine
You might be shocked to hear that there are several different types of PAP devices available if you’re new to CPAP therapy. While they all rely on positive airway pressure, the methods for determining and delivering it differ.
CPAP – Continuous Positive Airway Pressure: The standard (or fixed pressure) CPAP machine is the most often recommended type of PAP machine. It provides a steady flow of air at one consistent pressure throughout the night. These are often regarded as the most efficient and cost-effective sleep apnea treatment.
BiPAP – BiLevel Positive Airway Pressure: Patients with other health concerns, such as COPD or a history of heart disease, or who have a more sophisticated sleep position disorder, such as Central Sleep Apnea, are usually prescribed BiPAP machines.
APAP – Automatic Positive Airway Pressure: These machines, also known as AutoCPAP, Auto-Titrating CPAP, or Auto-Adjusting CPAP, use advanced algorithms to monitor your breathing and modify your air pressure accordingly. APAP devices are not a substitute for a sleep study, and the range of pressure settings should be suggested by a doctor or sleep specialist, despite the fact that they can regulate themselves.
Travel CPAP: Travel CPAPs provide the same airway pressure therapy as their larger cousins and typically have the same features, but in a smaller, more portable package! Travel CPAPs are essential for OSA patients who travel frequently, however, they may or may not be suitable for daily usage.
CPAP Machine Features to Consider
You might think of comfort features as a luxury, yet some of them can have a significant impact on the quality of your sleep. It’s no exaggeration to state that these characteristics can mean the difference between completing your treatment and abandoning it.
As you read, make a list of the qualities that are important to you, and utilize that list when looking for a CPAP machine.
When you use the Ramp feature, your airflow starts at a lower pressure when you first switch it on, making it easier to fall asleep. It then steadily increases the pressure until it reaches your desired settings, ensuring that you have adequate airflow when you need it most.
While the Ramp feature uses a timer, the Auto Ramp uses the same complex algorithms as an auto CPAP machine to wait until the machine detects that you’ve fallen asleep before increasing your pressure.
When you exhale, this setting lowers air pressure for a more natural and comfortable breathing rhythm. Despite the fact that they all work in the same way, each manufacturer has a different name for this feature. Some of the most well-known are:
- ResMed – Expiratory Pressure Relief (EPR)
- Philips Respironics – C-Flex, A-Flex
- DeVilbiss – SmartFlex
One of the most popular and practical CPAP features is humidification. A humidifier adds moisture to the air you breathe, helping to keep your mouth, airways, and nasal passages wet.
A humidifier may be built into your CPAP machine or must be purchased separately. Humidifiers are often divided into three types:
- Heated humidifier – Warms the water in the water chamber to produce vapor.
- Cold or Passover humidifier – The water chamber is surrounded by airflow that wicks away moisture without increasing warmth.
- Waterless humidifier – The Waterless humidifier, which is commonly used in travel CPAPs, absorbs moisture from your exhaled breath to condition your airflow.
Sleep Tracking and Bluetooth/Wireless Connectivity
Newer and more advanced CPAP machines can help you and your doctor improves your sleep health by offering personalized reports on your quality of sleep.
While CPAP machines have long been able to record usage hours, advances in technology now enable them to monitor apnea events, sleep stage, breathing patterns, and more. Whereas prior machines could only link to your smartphone via SD memory cards, Bluetooth and wifi technology now allows your CPAP machine to connect to your smartphone!
Apps like ResMed’s MyAir and Respironicsa Dream Mapper can use this to give you insight into your sleep habits, as well as customized tips for improving your sleep health.
Air Leak Detection
Some CPAP machines can now detect if the air is leaking from your mask, tube, or mouth, in addition to monitoring breathing patterns. The computer will then either email you an alarm or, in some situations, modify your airflow!
FAA-Approved for Flight
Airlines are required not to count your CPAP as a carry-on item because it is considered medical equipment. If you want to use your CPAP during a flight, you’ll need to be sure it’s FAA-approved. Many travel CPAPs also feature auto-altitude automatic adjustment for just such a reason!
If you frequently travel or live off the grid, you’ll want to think about how your CPAP can accept electricity. While nearly all CPAP machines can be used with a standard AC outlet, some may be able to use DC with or without an adaptor. Car chargers, solar panels, CPAP batteries, and even deep-cycle naval batteries are all possibilities.
If you want to get the most out of your CPAP machine, make sure you choose a device that is comfortable for you. CPAP therapy, when used correctly, can help prevent long-term effects of OSA, such as heart disease and stroke.
CPAP machines, on the other hand, can pose certain safety issues. To avoid becoming sick with your CPAP, follow all cleaning instructions to avoid mold and mildew accumulation.
After prolonged use, CPAP can produce dry mouth, nasal congestion, and skin rashes. Make sure your face and nose mask are snug enough to prevent you from inhaling through your mouth to help reduce these side effects. After each use, be sure to clean your attachments.
Insurance and CPAP Machines
The cost of CPAP therapy machines is often covered by insurance. However, even if you have insurance, you should contact your provider to double-check coverage information.
Coverage may vary depending on the machine’s intended use. To file a claim, you may require additional paperwork (such as a referral).
Some insurance companies will not cover the entire cost of a unit upfront and will instead force you to rent one. They may also demand proof that you use the device for at least a particular amount of time each week.
Supplies, like replacement masks and tubing, may be covered under your policy. However, before purchasing anything, always inquire and obtain information from your source.
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, Medicare will usually reimburse a portion of the cost of a 3-month CPAP therapy trial. It’s possible that your coverage will be renewed if your doctor reports that the therapy is helping, but this isn’t guaranteed.
Best CPAP Machines Overall
ResMed is a well-known CPAP machine manufacturer, and their AirSense 10 is one of the best-rated models on the market. It features an LCD screen, just like other modern machines, so you can simply alter the settings. However, because it is smaller than most CPAP machines, you may take it on an airplane with you.
The ResMed AirSense 10 CPAP machine is unique in that it automatically starts up when you breathe in – no need to click a start button. It also has a built-in integrated humidifier to prevent dry lips and nose.
The motor is also the quietest CPAP machine, which is an advantage. If you or your partner is a light sleeper, the ResMed AirSense 10 could be an excellent fit.
- Caters To User’s Preferences
- Built-In HumidAir Humidifier
- Bluetooth MyAir Connectivity
- Not The Best Travel Machine
- Humidifier May Consume Lots Of Water
- Dim Backlight Of LCD Display
This machine has an in-line muffler that helps to deaden sound and keeps the noise level at 26 dB, making it ideal for light sleepers.
While you sleep, the Z2 provides auto-adjusting pressure that responds to your breathing demands. It is lightweight and portable, weighing only 10.5 ounces.
It also has a heat moisture exchanger and a waterless heated humidification system for ultimate comfort. This reduces your chances of waking up with a dry mouth or a headache.
- Cheaper Than Most Travel CPAP Machines
- Works With All CPAP Mask Types
- Lightweight, Portable, Fits In The Palm Of Your Hand
- No Advanced Software Capabilities
- Size May Impact Durability
This little machine, dubbed “the world’s tiniest CPAP,” weighs only 10.56 ounces and fits in the palm of your hand. It’s so small that you can carry it on a flight with you. It’s also fairly quiet, at 30 decibels, and won’t bother surrounding travelers.
It has a waterless humidification mechanism and can be used with numerous masks. You can use the companion app to access and evaluate data from the device, such as sleep and CPAP therapy progress reports.
If you are a frequent traveler, you may want to seek a CPAP that is small enough to take on a plane and is FAA-approved. Preset alarms, humidifier capacity, ramp time, and therapy data recording are all important elements to consider when looking for a reliable sleep apnea machine.
- Smallest Travel CPAP Machine On The Market
- Compatible With A Variety Of Mask Fits
- Bluetooth Compatibility
- Only Compatible With ResMed Brand Masks
- Can Only Be Powered By A Power Outlet
- May Be Too Loud For Some Users
DeVilbiss offers a highly regarded yet less priced product: the IntelliPAP 2 Auto Adjust, which is not as well-known on the CPAP market as names like ResMed. This machine has garnered a lot of excellent feedback on the internet.
It’s Bluetooth compatible, quiet, and small enough to take with you on a trip. What is lacking in comparison to more expensive brands? Some of the more popular features, such as heated tubing, are missing.
One of the most cost-effective CPAP machines available is the IntelliPAP 2 Auto Adjust. It also comes with a 3-year warranty, which is a little longer than most other models.
- A quiet CPAP machine
- Automatic on/off feature
- RAMP feature
- The basic model has no heated tubing
The APEX XT Sense is only palm-sized, making it an outstanding travel CPAP machine with all of the capabilities you’d expect from a daily-use CPAP. Best of all, it’s a fraction of the price of big-name brands!
You’ll also like the following optional features:
- The Automatic pressure Adjustment feature is ideal for frequent passengers who want to use their CPAP while in the air.
- Leak Compensation detects air leaks and adjusts your airflow so you don’t lose sleep until the problem is fixed.
- Your doctor and you will have quick access to your sleep health data thanks to the SD card and USB connector.
- RAMP feature
- Sleep data tracking
- Few additional features
The Philips Respironics DreamStation CPAP machine is the best portable and most convenient CPAP machine on the market. This CPAP machine is one of the lightest on the market and meets all of the requirements for in-flight use. This makes the device particularly useful for persons who travel frequently but still want to get a decent night’s sleep.
The DreamStation Go is designed to accommodate everyone’s sleep patterns and behavior, not just those that travel. The DreamStation Go is designed to make use of modern technology for a more convenient and improved everyday experience.
The Auto CPAP Machine, 6-foot tubing system, Built-in Bluetooth module, elegant carrying case, power cord, Care package (containing 3 travel nasal mask varieties), power supply, and a 2-year warranty card for the main unit are all included when you buy the Philips Respironics DreamStation Auto device.
- Compact and lightweight travel model
- Bluetooth connection
- USB port
The ResMed CPAP machine is regarded as one of the highest-quality CPAP devices available. The AirSense 10 Autoset is a high-end device that adapts to your sleeping habits as well as therapeutic requirements.
The device is designed to provide a comfortable night’s sleep by allowing for direct and instantaneous air pressure adjustment. The AirSense 10 Autoset is also regarded as one of the most dependable systems on the market, thanks to its superior airflow detecting mechanism.
This approach ensures that the patient receives appropriate treatment and gets a good night’s sleep.
- Online connectivity
- Built-in humidifier
- AutoRamp feature
- Weighs almost 5 pounds with all the additions
The IntelliPAP Auto CPAP machine is a popular auto-adjustable equipment that has been increasingly popular in recent years. It has been a best-seller and a unit that people trust since its introduction.
It’s auto-adjustable, which means it adjusts the air pressure levels, mask conditions, airflow, and a whole lot more. When it detects a change in breathing or mask state, it controls everything on its own.
The SmartFlex technology in the IntelliPAP manages the pressure release as well as the particular inspiratory system. The manufacturer offers a 5-year warranty on this unit.
This technology allows for a configurable transition between breathing during sleep therapy and exhaling cycles, resulting in a restful night’s sleep with no interruptions.
- A quiet CPAP machine
- Automatic on/off feature
- RAMP feature
- The basic model has no heated tubing
FAQs About CPAP Machines
Can you travel with a CPAP machine?
Absolutely. Some versions, on the other hand, are more suited to travel.
If you travel frequently, seek a CPAP machine that meets the following criteria:
- easy to power (e.g., it has a long battery life or power source/cable, and can be charged with a car cigarette lighter or USB)
- Federal Administration Association (FAA) compliant
Are CPAP Machines Uncomfortable?
They have the potential to be.
One of the most common reasons people stop using CPAP therapy is discomfort. Sleeping with a mask, for example, can take some getting accustomed to. Wear it at other times of the day so it seems more natural when it’s time to go to bed.
It’s critical to adjust the mask appropriately so that it fits perfectly. It’s possible that you’ll have to test a few various types of masks before finding one that you like.
Some patients claim that CPAP therapy causes them to feel stuffed up. This type of soreness can be alleviated by using saline spray before sleeping.
What Characteristics Will Make It Easier For You To Operate Your CPAP Machine?
Most CPAP machines now have digital screens and Bluetooth connectivity, making them far more user-friendly than in the past. Other features to think about include:
- Depending on your comfort level, you can pick between a full-face and a nose-only mask.
- if you travel frequently, overall size
- a removable humidifier, which may aid in the prevention of dry mouth and nose
- engine noise, especially if you or your companion sleeps light.
- Warranties, return policies, and customer service in general
- Some machines can link to your smartphone and track your machine usage.
What CPAP Equipment Do You Really Need vs. What Would Be Nice?
There are a plethora of options, supplies, and accessories available to customize your CPAP machine to your liking. Many of these can help you get a better night’s sleep quality or acclimate to using your CPAP machine. However, you only need three things to get started right away:
- CPAP Machine – Positively ideal pressure air is produced.
- CPAP Mask – This allows you to inhale compressed air through your mouth or nose.
- Tubing/Hose- This connects your CPAP mask to your CPAP machine (Usually included with the purchase of a CPAP machine)
Once you’ve mastered the fundamentals, most CPAP users swear by a few additional items:
- Humidifier – Increases the amount of moisture in your airflow. This can help minimize side symptoms including dry mouth, sore throat, and nasal congestion that might occur when using a CPAP machine.
- Heated Hose – Warms your airflow gently, which can become chilly throughout the pressurization process. This makes breathing easier and more pleasant, as well as helps to reduce ‘rainout,’ which occurs when moisture condenses in your tubing and “rains” into your CPAP mask.
What Will Insurance Cover?
Another factor to consider is your medical insurance, which may only cover specific types of CPAP machines. If you have an insurance company, you can check with your insurer by calling or chatting online to see if the options you want are covered.
You may need to consider how much you’re willing to pay out of pocket for your CPAP machine, depending on the features you want and your budget.
How Do You Know What Your Prescription’s Settings Should Be?
When using a CPAP machine for your specific condition, air pressure, airflow, and time are all crucial settings. Working with your in-network healthcare provider should eliminate the guessing.
Consider scheduling a checkup if your condition hasn’t been monitored in a while to identify the settings you require right now.
OSA can become a life-threatening disorder if left untreated.
CPAP can aid in the reduction of long-term cardiovascular risks while also enhancing your quality of life. It might make you sleep better, which could boost your energy levels.
The CPAP market is huge right now, and some people are using these machines for reasons other than OSA. Filtering your results by determining which features of a CPAP machine are most important to you.
Before speaking with your insurance provider about your alternatives, consider our roundup of CPAP devices with your doctor.