You might think that finding a CPAP mask or machine would be easy. But with a daunting number of choices available today, it’s tricky to figure out the differences between all the models. Here’s a look at the most commonly used types of CPAP machines and masks, including the pros and cons of each.
CPAP Mask Types
The main concern for most people using CPAP therapy is what type of CPAP mask they’ll need to wear. Read about these popular options to find your best fit:
- CPAP Face Mask: A face mask will cover the entire nose, mouth and all or part of the face. They are great for mouth-breathers or those with nasal obstructions and/or allergies. However, some people feel claustrophobic in these masks, and the larger surface area creates an increased chance of air leakage.
- CPAP Nasal Mask: This mask is slightly smaller. It covers the nose from the bridge to the upper lip. It is generally the most popular design since it comes in a wide range of sizes and fits and has very little air leakage. However, it is not the best choice for mouth-breathers and can cause discomfort for those who experience allergies or frequent sinus blockages.
- CPAP Nasal Pillows: A nasal pillow is the most minimal design for CPAP masks. It sits on the upper lip and has two tubes that are inserted into the nostrils to supply air directly. While it’s certainly the least restrictive design, this mask may be more likely to cause nasal dryness. It can also be uncomfortable if you require high pressure settings.
CPAP Machine Features
If you’re a first-time CPAP therapy user, you might not know what to look for in a CPAP machine. Here are some of the key features you might want:
- Quiet functioning
- Built-in humidifier
- Portable design
- Exhalation pressure relief
- Heated tubing
- Leak compensation
- Mask on/off alert
- Data recording
The very best resource for deciding which type of CPAP device to purchase is a medical professional. Use this guide to do your research so you’ll be more informed when discussing your options with your doctor.