A few months ago, my partner started complaining that I was snoring heavily at night. And I couldn’t get enough sleep no matter how hard I tried. I always found myself sleepy and exhausted during the day. A visit to the doctor showed that I was suffering from sleep apnea.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a sleep condition where the upper airway collapses, making it difficult to breathe. I was shocked to find that more than 25 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea.
Most doctors recommend CPAP treatment for sleep apnea. It is one of the most effective OSA treatments. The Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) feeds you with pressurized and humidified air through a hose while you sleep.
If you are interested in getting one of these devices for yourself, read our buying guide below regarding the top CPAP machines.
What is the Best CPAP Machine?
Philips Respironics DreamStation Go – Our Top Pick
Philips Respironics DreamStation Go is clearly one of the best CPAP machines available and my personal favorite. It is super comfortable and highly portable. This device comes decked with a USB port, Bluetooth support, as well as a MicroSD slot.
The high connectivity options make it great for monitoring your sleep apnea therapy. The DreamMapper app is quite useful for monitoring your sleep patterns. You can do a Performance Check and monitor daily progress.
DreamStation auto is an inbuilt automatic pressure adjusts itself to match your regular breathing pattern. It delivers personalized therapy that is highly accurate, so you can enjoy your therapy sessions and sleep better.
You don’t have to worry about traveling with your Philips Respironics DreamStation. We found it super lightweight and compact. There aren’t a lot of external parts as the power brick is internal.
Plus, it ticks all the flight compliance checkboxes so you can use it on an airplane. Although it doesn’t come with a humidifier, the DreamStation Go has a handy built-in port.
Who’s it for?
The DreamStation Go is extremely compact and very light, making it perfect for home use or on the go. And it’s in-flight compliance makes it great for air travel.
ResMed AirSense 10 Autoset – Best Premium Option
RedMed AirSense 10 Autoset promises and delivers a good night’s sleep thanks to its advanced detection system that monitors airflow. The RedMed CPAP delivers premium quality air control that adjusts itself to match your typical breathing pattern, giving you an unparalleled therapy.
The unit comes with an automatic humidifier as well as heated tubing. Also, Expiratory Pressure Relief makes it easy to breathe. It is quite easy to configure your setting using the MyOption colored LCD screen. You can change the ramp time, adjust the humidity, SmartStart, and many other features.
Many people struggle to fall asleep with any lights on. The ResMed AirSense 10 Autoset has a light sensor that detects any adjacent light and adjusts the brightness of the screen to compensate. At night, it will dim the screen before completely going dark after a screen timeout.
ResMed provides a ton of useful data such as events per hour, usage data, leak rate, AHI, and average usage. Such data tracking helps monitor your therapy and progress.
Who’s it for?
The ResMed AirSense 10 Autoset is a great machine for home. It offers everything an Obstructive Sleep Apnea patient may need for therapy.
ResMed AirStart 10 CPAP with HumidAir – Best Affordable
If you have a lower budget or need a cost-effective device for your sleep apnea, RedMed AirStart 10 CPAP machine with HumidAir might be your best bet. Despite being small and compact, it carries premium features and functionalities, making it one of the bestselling devices.
With ResMed AirStart 10, you won’t have to worry about noise disturbance. The Whisper Quiet technology does an excellent job of keeping the noise level at only twenty-six decibels and making it the quietest CPAP machine around.
In fact, it is one of the most silent CPAP machines in the market. The space-saving size and the quiet motor make it a great addition to your bedroom.
The MicroSD card slot allows for convenient monitoring and storage of progress data. Despite having a single pressure setting, it does an excellent job of filling in the gaps during an event.
The AirStart 10 System allows you to breathe normally without waking up. You’ll get better sleep thanks to its built-in humidifier.
Who’s it for?
The RedMed AirStart is best for anyone on a tight budget. Though small, it offers almost all the features of a premium apparatus without the hefty price tag.
Apex Medical iCH II Auto – Best universal AC CPAP
When traveling abroad, one of the biggest problems for me is finding an AC power source that works with my equipment. The Apex Medical iCH II Auto CPAP Machine is in a class of its own when it comes to international travel.
It has several different AC adaptors with a universal cable. You can literally check into any hotel without worrying about your CPAP equipment not working.
Apex Medical’s CPAP comes with support for a humidifier. However, you have to buy the humidifier separately. The humidifier adds comfort to your sleep apnea therapy, eliminating the soreness, headaches, and dry mouth or throat that are common without a humidifier.
Another incredible feature is the Ramp functionality that automatically adjusts the pressure while you are sleeping. It makes sleeping with apnea comfortable.
Thanks to its backlit LCD, reading the information on the display is simple. You can check the Ramp setting or sleep hours at night (or during the day) without any problems.
Who’s it for?
The Apex Medical iCH II Auto is perfect when you want to travel. It has universal AC support with adapters for any international power connection. It is also super compact.
DeVilbiss IntelliPAP Auto – Best Customizable
The DeVilbiss IntelliPAP is one of the best-selling devices and it has a remarkable record as far as safety and reliability are concerned. It automatically configures the air pressure, airflow, mask conditions, among many other controls. It can detect changes in your breathing pattern, and it reconfigures itself automatically.
The SmartFlex system lets you enjoy uninterrupted sleep thanks to the configurable transitions between inhaling and exhaling. You can also adjust the humidifier to the levels you want with the straightforward controls.
It also comes with Bluetooth support, an external SD card slot, spare filler packs, and auto start and stop functions. It is one of the best budget-friendly options out there.
This machine has a lot of performance options and metrics such as snore detection, SmartCode therapy tracker, auto altitude adjustment, and flow rounding technology, among many others. The heated humidifier is another great feature as it makes sleeping more comfortable.
What’s it for?
The DeVilbiss is an excellent choice for someone who is looking for a highly configurable CPAP machine. Its simple controls and the user-friendly interface let you adjust your options quickly.
Buyer’s guide (what to look for when buying a CPAP machine)
With all the options available, it’s a daunting task. Modern designs come with all sorts of features and technologies that can be confusing.
Review the following features and options before buying.
First things first…
What Sleep Apnea Do You Have?
The first step is understanding the type of sleep apnea condition you have. Only a licensed doctor can make this diagnosis.
There are two types of sleep apnea: Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and Central Sleep Apnea (CSA). CSA is a brain condition that requires a BiPAP machine, a device with different pressure settings for breathing in and breathing out. OSA is, however, a collapse of the airway while you are sleeping.
When CPAP therapy fails, your doctor may advise you to try BiPAP.
Ok, now the biggest question has been answered, let’s move onto the specifics:
What does a CPAP machine do?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is when the airway collapses either wholly or partially during sleep. This collapse makes breathing difficult, leaving you gasping for air while asleep. These machines use pressurized air to keep the airway open, known as “positive airway pressure”.
They work by drawing air into its chamber using a fan, and then it will pressurize it. The pressurized air is fed to the patient through a mask covering the nose or mouth.
The steady supply of air allows the patient to sleep soundly throughout the night. Many CPAP units come equipped with a humidifier that makes it comfortable to use.
Can I just buy a CPAP machine?
CPAP machines fall under the category of medical devices that are regulated by the FDA. You can’t sell CPAP devices, CPAP humidifiers, or CPAP masks without getting an FDA license.
The same case applies when buying CPAP devices. Since they are medical devices, the FDA regulates their sale and use. You will need a prescription to purchase CPAP machines. It is possible to get a CPAP from a private dealer. However, the best thing to do is get an OSA examination and a prescription from a licensed medical practitioner.
How long does a CPAP machine last?
Just like any other machine or electronic equipment, the lifespan of your CPAP depends on the quality of care. A well-maintained unit may last for more than twenty thousand hours. When you translate this to years, it comes to around two years.
With regular servicing and cleaning, it could cross the fifty thousand hours mark. That is more than twice the average lifespan. If your CPAP machine has a humidifier, be sure to use clean water. Most experts recommend using distilled water.
It’s important to look for a high-quality machine from a reputable brand to get the most out of it.
Pros and cons of using a CPAP machine
Let’s look at some of the benefits of using CPAP machines for your obstructive sleep apnea sleep therapy:
Some of the cons of using a CPAP machine include:
Types of CPAP machines
CPAP machines are, without a doubt, the most popular and effective therapy for sleep apnea. Different machines exist on the market. They include:
Standard – The standard CPAP machines come with one setting for the air pressure. A doctor conducts a sleep study and determines the right air pressure for your machine. Anytime you want the air pressure changed, you will need to visit a doctor.
Auto – During your sleep, you may need more or less pressure than the one your doctor sets in a standard machine.
An auto air pressure adjusts itself throughout the night to control your breathing pattern. You get to experience deeper and uninterrupted sleep.
Travel – They are lighter and more compact than your standard CPAP. Most of them will come with only a single pressure setting and may not include a humidifier. However, some premium models come with all the features of an auto CPAP machine, with only a slight difference in size.
Extra features that may differentiate one CPAP machine from another include the presence of a humidifier, connectivity, communication, and an LCD screen with or without touch functionality, among others.
Keeping Your CPAP Machine Clean
Regular cleaning can help keep your CPAP functional for a long time. While most devices come with cleaning instructions, it’s good to learn about the cleaning basics:
Conclusion: What Machine Is Right For You?
Choosing the right device is the key to getting the most out of your sleep apnea therapy. Because of their hefty price tags, CPAP machines are more of a long-term investment. Numerous models and options are available today, each with different features.
The Philips Respironics DreamStation Go ticks all the right boxes when it comes to a perfect device.
It is light and compact, making it suitable for travel while at the same time maintaining almost all the features of a traditional CPAP machine. Since it is an auto-machine, you will get uninterrupted sleep.
The Dreamstation Go also features a USB port, Bluetooth functionality, and a MicroSD card slot. The DreamMapper app is useful for monitoring your sleeping patterns and Sleep Apnea treatments. The fact that it supports universal masks, as well as micro tubing, makes it excellent for both home and travel.