Best CPAP Machine Buying Guide 2017-2018 + Reviews

sleep-apnea-cpap-machine

Do you experience difficulty in breathing while sleeping? Does this interrupt your sleeping leading to inadequate sleep? Do you or any of your family members face suffer from sleep apnea? I can understand your situation. I am here to address this situation with few solutions.

Many people all over the world suffer from sleep apnea. It is a sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted. This results in inadequate oxygen supply to brain and other parts of the body resulting in oxygen-deficient health problems especially heart failure, high blood pressure, stroke and many others. However, many people do not realize that they suffer from sleep apnea until a family member or spouse notices it. It often goes undiagnosed, even doctors cannot detect the condition during routine checkup. Sleep apnea can affect anyone at any age.

During my childhood, I had seen my grandfather suffer from breathing issues at night and my parents rush with masks to help them. I did not even know one can suffer from sleep apnea until few years ago, when I saw my brother go into panic mode after experiencing difficulty in breathing and had to be hospitalized for the same. The issue started out with snoring and eventually led to shallow breathing and disrupted sleep cycle, which is when he realized the severity of the growing issue. To this doctor recommended the use of CPAP Machines as a treatment for sleep apnea. After this, I began researching on sleep apnea, its treatment methods and also the machines used for treating.

I am able to put this together due to my deep understanding on the topic which initially began as a way to help my brother find relief from this disturbing problem. I performed extensive research on finding the best product in the market with all the necessary qualities so that he could use it effortlessly. Initially, he faced slight tension in adjusting to it, but later on adjusting became a problem. We came to an understanding that, the best CPAP machine in the market is not necessarily the best preference for everyone. The preference varies from person to person based on their sleeping disorder. Hence, I narrowed down to a set of CPAP machines that are better than the rest and have varying features that will definitely fit into everyone’s personal preference.

I have provided below the best CPAP machines you can purchase which perfectly fits your preferences. I have ranked them based on their overall performance, noise control features, comfort of using, weight/size and also the components available within the package.

CPAP Machine Comparison Table (Updated December 2017)

 XT-FitCPAP MachineResMed AirSense 10 Autoset with Heated HumidifierApex Medical iCH II Auto CPAP MachineDreamstation Auto by Philips Respironics
PriceCheckCheckCheckCheck
Warranty2 Years2 Years2 Years2 Years
110 VoltageYesYesYesYes
220 VoltageYesYesYesYes
Integrated Battery----
Optional DC Cable-YesYesYes
Pressure Range4 - 20 cm4 - 20 cm4 - 20 cm4 - 20 cm
Auto Adjusting Pressure--YesYes
Exhale Pressure Relief-YesYesYes
RampYesYesYesYes
Auto Alt. Adj.ManualYesYesYes
Heated HumidifierOptionalHumidAirYesDreamStation Humidifier
Leak Compensation--YesYes
Mask Off Alert--YesYes
Hr/Session Recording-YesYesYes
Data Card-SD CardYesSD Card
Weight1.76 lbs2.75 Lbs2.51 lbs2.94 Lbs
Weight w/Humidifier/Case5.75 Lbs4.5 lbs4.37 Lbs
Size w/HumidifierN/A4.57" x 10.04" x 5.91"6.5" x 7.8" x 6.9"11.7" L x 7.6" W x 3.3" H
CPAP Only Size5.8" x 5" x 3.9"N/AN/A5.5" L x 7.6" W x 3.3"H

With many new improvised sleep apnea treatment products constantly coming to market, not necessarily the latest-best, it is quite confusing to conclude to one. Keeping this in mind, I ensure you the list remain up to date. So, take a look at the list below and choose your best preferred.

Dreamstation Auto by Philips Respironics

DreamStation-Auto-CPAP

33+ Amazon Reviews

This CPAP machine is one of the latest and innovative sleep therapy products that have stormed the market right now. The notably smaller size, lightweight with modular design and vibrant color screen display makes Dreamstation the best preferred CPAP machine. It has advanced features incorporated such as Bluetooth connectivity, smartRamp and opti-start technology. An ambient light sensor on the top of the machine allows the machine to adjust screen brightness depending on light levels in the room. This is an auto-adjusting machine that automatically adjusts pressure during the night on a breath-by-breath basis to provide the optimum pressure needed.

Dreamstation’s top-mounted humidifier hose swivel and front-facing display make it easy for patients to operate while lying down or sitting up in bed. The clinically proven C-Flex, C-Flex+, and A-Flex technology are all available with the DreamStation Auto CPAP. With Opti-Start enabled, the machine begins therapy at 90% of the pressure reached in the previous session to help address residual events that may occur early in therapy. By mirroring the user’s natural breathing, the algorithms intelligence will respond to the user’s needs on a breath by breath basis.

Delivering the right amount of pressure relief and the correct time enables users to become and remain more compliant. Its features also include a wireless modem that allows data transfer, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities. Heated humidifier and heated tubes are available on additional purchase. The heated humidifier connects directly to the machine and features dry box technology to help reduce the chance of water entering the machine from the humidifier. The water chamber is dishwasher safe and is designed to be easily taken out for cleaning and filling. Heated Tube increases therapy comfort by helping maintain heat and moisture in therapy air all the way to the mask. If the humidifier is not being used, the heated tube can be connected directly to the machine. The SmartRamp feature will monitor the user and increase pressure only if an event occurs.

The machine will show on-screen advanced data such as AHI, Periodic Breathing, Leak Rate, and Therapy Hours. It will also show the pressure the machine was at or below 90% of the time, which is used for Opti-Start. The machine also provides mask fit check, auto on/off and regular alerts for filter change. You can get all these features at a very reasonable price. Though this machine has all the features that can make you fall in love with it, few have reported of noise disturbance issues from the machine during sleeping. Other than that, the machine is a go for it product for treating your sleep issues.

Apex Medical iCH II Auto CPAP Machine

apex-medical-cpap-machine

Amazon Reviews

A sleeky, small and lightweight second edition of the previous model by Apex Medical brings a bundle of joy to the users. The appealing and compact look is unmatched by other CPAP machines in the market. The conveniently small size and design will help in boosting your social and psychological attitude. Coming to the features of the device, this product have few advanced features such as in-built humidifier, pressure relief technology along with reduced noise level, an SD card, USB port and buttons for pressure adjustment.

True to the company’s holistic formula of triple compliance incorporated with elegance to level with the lifestyle of this generation. The noise level is at 28 dBA making it the only CPAP machine capable of achieving such an impressive low level.  The travel friendly machine weighs just 2.8 lbs and has a DC input which means it can be used in vehicles as well as extremely portable. The SD card enables smooth data collection and storage of the duration of your therapy on a daily basis. The information can be transferred using USB port for the physician to analyze. Unlike other CPAP machines which alert you about pressure change, iCH II Auto CPAP machine has the new technology, pressure variation algorithm (PVA), which reduces pressure levels during exhalation and then adjusts them to normal levels upon inhalation without interrupting your sleep.

Gone are the days when you had to completely depend on the doctor to interpret the data. iCH II Auto CPAP machine collects the data and displays a simplified form of the data for your easy interpretation. The display is backlit for visibility from a distance and also projects big letterings and numbers. This helps you to evaluate the quality of sleep.

The in-built humidifier can operate non-stop for 8 hours and even run during extreme conditions. The easy-to-use four button control and the anti-spill water chamber design make using this machine convenient. What makes it more interesting is its ability to convert into an alarm clock and also alert when leakage occurs.

The machine is undoubtedly ideal but comes little pricey. Even though you have to dig deeper to afford it, this CPAP machine is worth investing for all the innovative technologies incorporated to ease your sleep. Oh! Also for the unlimited 2 years warranty from Apex!

ResMed AirSense 10 Autoset with Heated Humidifier

ResMed-AirSense

Amazon Reviews

The successor of the popular ResMed S9 series stands out for its variety of features. ResMed presents a premium quality auto adjusting CPAP machine to the market this year. The device automatically adjust the air pressure levels to suit your changing needs and ensures you a comfortable and compliant therapy throughout. It is packed with a variety of features, such as the AutoRamp, Climate Control, Expiratory Pressure Relief, Smart Start, built-in cellular technology, and Air View, that make the users’ experience a comfortable and convenient one.  The AirSense 10 Autoset features an instinctive and seamless navigation with no complicated settings. This time ResMed integrated the proven technology of the AutoSet algorithm with the comfort of Optional ClimateLineAir Heated Tube to deliver optimal humidification with minimal rainout condensation.

One of the biggest changes with the AirSense 10 compared to the S9 model is the wireless capability. There is an internal modem that can wirelessly connect to a local cell tower. This allows easy and smooth data documentation. The AutoRamp technology enables the machine to sense when the user is awake or asleep, and when it senses that the user is asleep, it will increase to the full prescribed pressure comfortably. This setting allows the user to fall asleep easily. The SmartStart technology incorporated in the machine starts as soon as user starts to breathe and automatically turns off when it recognizes that user is not using the machine. This is contrary to the Start/Stop button previously used in the CPAP machines and once again caters the user’s comfort.

The device is extremely quiet when the mask is proper sealed. The same filters, standard tubing and masks of the previous S9 model can be used for this device. Only the heated tube cannot be interchanged. All the components come in a nice, quality bag convenient for travelling. The small footprint of the device assures the utilization of less room. It also comes with an option to turn on supply reminder in the display to keep you updated about the equipment replacement.

Few drawbacks of this product are the difference in power cable which makes the power cable of S9 unable to function with the upgraded device. The slight wideness of the machine when compared to other device makes it a little less friendly for compact travel. It tips over little easily due to the hose fitting which lifts the back and moves the device forward when the user shifts the sleeping positions. Though this version of ResMed CPAP machine has maintained similar price as the prior S9 model, it is considered as a bit pricey, but for all the features incorporated in this device, its well worth the investment for quiet and quality therapy.

XT-FitCPAP Machine

xt-fit-machine-review

Amazon Reviews

A lightweight and palm sized machine is the latest in the APEX XT line. The conveniently small stature enables ease of use during travel with the CPAP machine. The incredibly small size does not comprise on the performance and is in par with the other giants in the CPAP machines category. The XT Fit is equipped with leak compensation technology, ramp up functionality, an LED lit screen and a heated humidifier (optional).

The XT Fit is nearly silent during operation so you won’t have to worry about interruptions during sleep. This is a single pressure CPAP machine with ramp pressure gently starting therapy at lower ramp settings, and increase over a span of 45 min in 5 min increments. All models of the APEX XT come with a built-in power supply brick that essentially eliminates extra weight.

The LED lit screens are clear to read even in rooms with low light. The user interface is easy to use and making changes to setting or reading the display information has never got this better. The XT Fit will operate between 100-240V AC power, so it can be used overseas with the addition of the proper plug adapter. One can add heated humidifier to XT Fit for more comfortable therapy to reduce irritation caused by otherwise cold and dry air.  The humidifier is designed specifically for the XT machines and adds very little overall footprint to the CPAP system.

The drawback of this machine is that it is not auto-adjusting. This machine does not have a data card, and does not record or display compliance data other than basic information.

The machine is small, compact and exhibit incredible performance. All this comes at a great pricing making it an ideal travelling CPAP Machine available.

Types of CPAP Machines

There are three basic types of PAP machines (The CPAPPeople, 2010). These include:   CPAP, APAP or Auto CPAP, and Bi-PAP.

 CPAP – This is the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine. Though it is a basic form of the PAP machine, it is capable of delivering air pressure through a mask. The air pressure is given in centimeters of water pressure (cm/h2o).

APAP – This is the Automatic Positive Airway Pressure. It is also known as Auto Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine. One advantage of this machine is that it is capable of adjusting the pressure required by the patient itself.  The other machines use predetermined pressure values which are usually decided during a laboratory sleep study (Polysomnography). This machine uses algorithms that senses subtle changes in breathing and fluctuates throughout the night, automatically adjusting to the patients need at that moment (Walton,2015).

BI-PAP – The BI-PAP or Positive Airway Pressure machine can provide two levels of pressure to the patient. A high pressure air for inspiration and a low pressure air for expiration. This makes breathing comfortable for the patient  because exhalation will not be occurring against a high pressure of the machine. Bi-PAP machines require that physicians monitor how the patient is responding to its use. It can be operated in 3 modules: the spontaneous, the Timed and the Spontaneous/Timed modes.

Characteristics of a Good CPAP Machine

There are important features of a CPAP machine that a patient might want to consider before picking which machine to use.  The following are some of them:

  1. Noise level of the machine – For many people, getting to sleep while there humming appliances around may be a bit difficult. Therefore, it is a good idea for the patient to check the noise level of the machine in order  not to make the inability to get a restful sleep worse.
  2. Humidifier – Many CPAP machine come with this feature that enables patients to breathe moist instead of dry air. This makes the use of CPAP therapy with patients more convenient.  Humidifier is a reservoir of water usually attached directly to the machine ( MatchHealth , 2016).
  3. Heated Tubing – In order for the moisture in the air delivered to the patient not to cool and drop on the face of users, the tube of the machine is provided with elements/coils that keep the temperature constant. Though it might make the appliance cumbersome, it’s worth given a trial.
  4. Voltage Selection – A valuable appliance such as the CPAP machine require proper care especially with the Voltage. It is necessary to operate according to the manufacturer’s specifications to avoid damage. Some CPAP machine come with this feature that enable users to select the appropriate Voltage while others do this automatically.
  5. Mask on/off alert – This is a form of safety device that notifies the patient whenever the mask comes off during sleep. Beeps or messages displayed on the LCD might be useful in making the necessary adjustments needed to avoid any incident.
  6. Portability – For individuals that are constantly travelling , a portable machine will be helpful. A bulky  device might not be easy to carry about and the danger of getting damaged is high if it’s not portable.
  7. Data Recording Capacity – The data recorded will help to monitor the progress of the patient with the CPAP therapy. This will also assist the doctor in making any necessary changes where needed. The data are usually recoded include: Sinus rhythm, usage hours, hypopnea levels and leakages.
  8. Ramp – This feature allows beginners to adjust to the pressure of the machine by starting with a lower pressure so that the patient can sleep before the machine returns to a higher level required to keeping the airway open. Patients need not worry over the short period getting to sleep since apneic episodes usually occur after the individual has slept.
  9. Exhalation relief – this feature has several other names such as C-flex, Smartflex or EPR (Exhalation Pressure Relief). Because the high and low pressures provided during inspiration and expiration are more accurate, users are left with a more natural and satisfying feeling.
  10. Mask Selection – Another important feature of the machine is the mask selection. Just as picking the right CPAP machine is important so also is choosing the appropriate mask by the patient. This will ensure that problems such as leakages of the pressurized air, discomfort while using the mask and irritation of the nose are avoided.The different types masks available are: the triangular nasal mask, the full-face mask, the nasal pillow and the hybrid mask. Although individual needs and preferences often determine the choice of mask a patient makes, other factors that are usually considered are facial anatomy, facial hair, whether or not an individual is claustrophobic(ResMed, 2016).

Notable Manufacturers  of CPAP Machines

There are a good number of manufacturers of the manufacturers of the machine today. It is not a bad idea to check the name to see what the manufacturer  has done with its brand of the machine. Some place value on customer’s satisfaction and so strive to provide options that meet their requirements. The followings  are some of the notable ones: ResMED, Respironics, Puritan Bennett, Fisher and Paykel, and Aieomed.

Maintenance of CPAP Machine – All electrical appliances requires proper use and the CPAP machine is no exception. It is nice to always follow the manufacturer’s guide and to contact them when in doubt with the use of the machine. The prescribing physician can also be of help since he would be there to monitor and follow the progress made by the patient.

The equipment needs daily care to ensure a prolonged use. All its components require regular attention. The first thing that needs to be cleaned everyday is the tubing. (Valley Sleep Center,2016).  Rinsing it with warm soapy water and then placing it aside to dry will do it a lot of good. In addition, the water chamber should be also be rinsed daily.

The mask should also be given care everyday to remove the oil and other particles that might have settled on it. This routine checks will also ensure that any faults are detected quickly and adequate safety steps are taken.

Possible Side-effects of CPAP Machines and How to Minimize Them – Patients often complain of nasal congestion, nose irritation, and rhinitis. Dry, stuffy nose could be avoided through the use of a humidifier. Using a nasal saline spray at bedtime can also bring relief (Mayoclinic,2014). Consulting a sleep physician will also be helpful.

Conclusion

Sleep apnea is a treatable disorder provided you use CPAP machines or opt for other treatment which is comfortable for you. Further health issues caused by inadequate oxygen supply and sleep can be distanced by the use of CPAP machines on a day to day basic. Once you get comfortable with it, I assure that you will sleep peacefully without any interruption. If I had to choose my preferred CPAP Machine, it would be either DreamStation Auto or ResMed AirSense 10 Autoset. These top the list of CPAP machines with exquisite features ensuring a long lasting relief from sleeping disorders.

While choosing a best CPAP machine consider looking into few specific features such as adoptable design, easy portability, data collection and storage, low noise level, humidifier and comfortable mask. CPAP machines are available over the counter in local pharmacies or online at sites like Amazon.

I would also suggest buying the sanitizer kit for cleaning the machine. My preference among kits is the SoClean Sanitizer kit. These machines require cleaning on a daily basic or else it can get real dirty. To prevent mold formation, bacterial accumulation, I highly suggest you to buy one along with the machine. When it comes to buying CPAP machine, this guide will provide you all the information necessary to understand what to look for in CPAP machines and which to buy. I highly suggest that you should buy a CPAP machine based on your personal preference rather than going with the top rated machine. Everyone has different level of comfort and when choosing a best CPAP machine it is utmost important to go with comfort rather than overall rating. Sleeping is an integral part of our mental and physical development and no compromise can assure otherwise. So pick the CPAP machine suitable for you and sleep peacefully hereafter!

 

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  1. October 17, 2017
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