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Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that affects between 2% and 9% of adults in the United States. The most common form, obstructive sleep apnea, occurs when the tissues in your throat block your airway as you sleep, causing your breathing to stop and start. This can lead to decreased oxygen levels, poor sleep quality, and a decline in your overall physical health.
Lifestyle adjustments like losing weight may help address the symptoms of sleep apnea in the long term. However, one of the most effective treatments that can immediately improve sleep apnea symptoms is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy.
A CPAP mask is a key piece of equipment for CPAP therapy. The mask connects to your CPAP machine with tubing, creates an airtight seal around your mouth and nose, and delivers pressurized air to help keep your airways open as you sleep. Although CPAP masks are required for CPAP therapy, they often don’t come included with new CPAP units.
When shopping for a CPAP mask, you’ll quickly realize they come in many different shapes and sizes. We’ll examine the different styles of masks and discuss which mask types suit which sleeper types so you can find the best CPAP mask for your needs.
Best Full Face CPAP Mask
The ResMed Airfit F20 is a full face CPAP mask that offers a comfortable fit for most facial types. The full face design fits over your nose and mouth. However, unlike other full face masks, the \Airfit F20 is relatively low profile and lightweight. This compact design makes it an ideal choice for those who require high pressure settings but tend to toss and turn throughout the night. It also offers a clear field of vision for watching TV or reading in bed.
To customize the fit, you can choose between three interchangeable cushion sizes. ResMed’s cushions feature the company’s proprietary “InfinitySeal.” The silicone construction of the seal allows for a significant amount of contouring to the shape of your face. Combined with its cushioned headgear straps, the Airfit F20 creates a secure yet comfortable seal for most facial structures.
The Airfit F20 also features ResMed’s QuietAir technology, a diffuser vent placed within the connection point of the mask. The diffuser disperses air as you exhale and helps the mask operate with little noise. The Airfit F20 is compatible with any CPAP machine, including ResMed’s AirMini Travel model. If any components of the mask begin to wear out, ResMed offers individual mask components for purchase, such as cushions and headgear.
The ResMed Airfit F20 sits in the middle of the price range for full face style CPAP masks. Additionally, all of ResMed’s CPAP masks are protected by a 90 day warranty from the date of purchase. ResMed’s warranty protects against defects in the materials of the mask and workmanship. This includes the mask frame, cushion, headgear, and elbow connector.
Best Nasal Pillow CPAP Mask
The ResMed Swift FX is a low profile, flexible nasal pillow mask that allows for freedom of movement even with high pressure settings. The flexible cushion base allows the Swift FX nasal pillow to create a comfortable seal at the base of the nose. The tubing connects at the nose and is set with a 360 degree swivel. This allows for more freedom of movement as you sleep. The simple headgear design features two adjustable straps that go on the top and back of your head.
The Swift FX has all the benefits associated with nasal pillow style CPAP masks. It’s incredibly compact and lightweight, making it easy to wear glasses in bed as you read or watch TV. The soft and flexible cushion creates a secure seal with minimal contact to the face. But what sets the Swift FX apart from other nasal pillow masks is its ability to withstand high pressure. This mask is designed to handle pressure settings up to 20 cm H2O.
The Swift FX comes in small, medium, and large pillow sizes and is compatible with all CPAP machines. It’s also available in a “For Her” design with a smaller size range to better suit womens’ facial structures. You can purchase individual parts including new headgear and nasal pillows from ResMed to extend the life of your Swift FX. At the lower end of the price range for a nasal pillow style CPAP mask, the Swift FX represents an excellent value. Like all ResMed CPAP masks, the Swift FX is protected by the company’s 90-day warranty that guarantees against defects in the mask’s materials and craftsmanship.
Best CPAP Mask for Kids
Sleep apnea in children is fairly rare. However, some children still experience sleep apnea severe enough to warrant CPAP therapy. For these children and their families, it can be a struggle to find CPAP accessories to accommodate a child’s small size. To address this need, ResMed worked with pediatricians to design the ResMed Pixi Pediatric CPAP Mask, a CPAP mask design specifically for children aged 2 and up.
The Pixi is a nasal style CPAP mask that seals around the upper lip and nasal bridge. Unlike typical nasal masks which have a triangle-shaped cushion, the Pixi has a more compact design to suit the unique facial structure of young children. The cushion is also made with a thin, single-wall silicone construction. This more minimal cushion design helps to reduce the pressure on your child’s face while still creating a secure seal. The Pixi’s headgear also contains extra cushioning for comfort.
In addition to its unique shape and small size, the Pixi incorporates several other design features to make CPAP therapy easier for you and your child. Two tubing positions can accommodate different sleeping positions. And a quick release latch makes the Pixi easy to take on and off without the need to readjust the headgear.
The Pixi is protected by ResMed’s CPAP mask warranty. The company’s warranty extends 90 days from the date of purchase and protects against faulty materials and workmanship.
Best for Active Sleepers
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Made by Philips Respironics, the DreamWear Nasal CPAP Mask is a nasal pillow style mask that’s designed to accommodate active sleepers. Like other nasal pillow masks, the DreamWear has a low profile design that creates a seal at the base of the nostrils and makes minimal contact with your face. The combination of the DreamWear’s soft, flexible silicone nasal pillow and its cushioned head strap make this a comfortable option.
The DreamWear features several clever design elements for those who toss and turn in their sleep. Unlike many other nasal pillow masks, the DreamWear’s tubing attaches to a swivel connector at the top of the head. This gives the tubing greater freedom of movement and also makes it less likely to become tangled and disturb your mask’s seal if you move around in your sleep. Additionally, the DreamWear features a slip resistant frame that helps to keep the nasal pillow in place and securely sealed, even for side and stomach sleepers. And at the middle of the price range for a nasal style CPAP mask, the DreamWear is also a great value.
The DreamWear Nasal CPAP Mask is compatible with all CPAP machines and connects with standard CPAP tubing. It’s available in three sizes: small, medium, and large. This mask is protected by a 90 day manufacturer’s warranty against flaws in the mask’s materials and craftsmanship.
Like anything related to sleep, buying a CPAP mask is a highly personalized choice. However, this major purchasing decision gets more complicated when you’re forced to navigate the medical jargon often used to describe CPAP masks. To give you a better understanding of how to compare different CPAP masks, we’ll break down what to consider when shopping for a new mask and discuss how to buy a CPAP mask online.
Wading through the hundreds of CPAP mask models can seem daunting, especially if you’ve never purchased a CPAP mask before. Remember to consider each of these points in the context of your own unique needs including your sleep style, comfort preferences, and CPAP therapy prescription from your doctor.
The single most important thing to consider when choosing a CPAP mask is your doctor’s recommendations. Your doctor will give you a specific pressure prescription for your treatment. This will dictate which type of mask you can use. Your doctor also has an expert’s understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of different types of masks and which style will be most likely to work for you.
CPAP masks come in several distinct styles including full-face, nasal, and nasal pillow. There isn’t a single mask type that works for everyone. Each style has its own benefits and drawbacks when it comes to different pressure prescriptions, sleep style, and breathing style. Talk with your doctor about your CPAP treatment plan, your preferred sleep position, and whether you breathe from your nose or your mouth as you sleep to find the right CPAP mask type for you.
Generally, most CPAP masks are designed with a universal fit that’s compatible with all CPAP machines. There are some exceptions to this rule, though they are few and far between. Note that some of the connection equipment for hooking your mask up to your CPAP machine is mask specific. However, CPAP masks typically come equipped with specially fitted adapters and short tubing that will fit into standard CPAP tubing.
Fit & Sizing
CPAP masks come in different sizes so you can find a mask that suits the size of your head and face. Without the proper fit and sizing, your mask may fail to create the air seal required for your CPAP machine to function correctly. Moreover, a poor fit can result in discomfort and pain during the night. Masks are generally available in small, medium, and large sizes. Some brands also offer women’s specific sizing and wide options to fit a broader range of face types.
You’ll be spending 7 to 9 hours every night wearing your CPAP mask, making comfort a key concern. A mask that’s comfortable to sleep in will have high-quality materials, a proper fit, and the right style to suit your preferred sleep position. Don’t be afraid to try out multiple models and sizes.
Headgear allows you to adjust the fit of your CPAP mask and keep it in place as you sleep. This ensures that your mask creates an airtight seal and that you get the most from your CPAP treatment. Most CPAP masks come with headgear made from soft, elastic material that wraps around the back of your head. However, the shape and size of the straps will differ between manufacturers. Make sure to choose a model that contains some cushion and several points of adjustability.
Your mask’s materials will have a significant impact on its durability and comfort. The most typical configuration is a CPAP mask made of a hard plastic with a softer silicone-based seal cushion. Silicone is an excellent choice for flexible comfort. However, if you’re allergic to silicone, you can also find masks made with cloth, gel, foam, or even inflatable cushions.
CPAP masks are a high usage product and come into close contact with the skin. With repeated usage, components can stretch out and the seal can break down. It’s recommended that you replace your CPAP mask every 3 to 6 months. However, to get the most out of your mask, search for styles made from higher quality materials. Customer reviews are also an excellent resource for first hand information about a product’s long term durability.
A weak seal can cause air leaks around your CPAP mask, preventing you from getting the right air pressure as your sleep. The fit of the mask as well as the type of mask closure will impact your mask’s seal. Look for CPAP models that offer plenty of adjustability so you can dial in the fit of your mask to achieve a secure seal.
Line of Sight
Some styles of masks can restrict your line of site, making it difficult to read or watch TV in bed before you fall asleep. This is especially true of full face and nasal CPAP masks as well as masks with bulky forehead straps. If you enjoy some light activity before bed that requires a clear line of vision, consider a nasal pillow style CPAP mask or look for models with a low profile.
Depending on the style of CPAP mask you choose, the tubing that connects your mask to your CPAP machines may attach near the nose or at the top of your head. Top-of-the-head attachments tend to be more common for low profile nasal pillow masks and can be helpful for active sleepers.
Allergies & Colds
For those who experience recurring allergies and colds, nasal masks will be less effective. Consider choosing a full face or oral mask if you have frequent nasal blockages that prevent you from breathing through your nose as you sleep.
When choosing the best CPAP mask for you, it’s crucial to consider your preferred sleeping position. This will help determine which style of CPAP mask you choose. Full face masks tend to be best for those who sleep on their back and don’t move frequently in their sleep. Nasal and nasal pillow style masks are better for side and stomach sleepers with nasal pillows being the best for more active sleepers who toss and turn frequently.
For CPAP masks, price will have a more significant impact on your purchasing decision if your insurance plan does not cover the full cost of your CPAP accessories. Contact your insurance provider if you aren’t sure whether your plan covers CPAP masks. And remember that price doesn’t always correlate perfectly with quality and comfort. You can find comfortable and durable CPAP masks that are in the middle or even the lower end of the price range.
A manufacturer’s guarantee in the form of a warranty typically protects against any defects in the materials or craftsmanship of your CPAP mask. This will give you peace of mind that, if something goes wrong with your mask, you’ll be protected under warranty.
Although masks are categorized as CPAP accessories, they can make or break the success of your CPAP treatment. Without a properly fitted mask, your CPAP machine may not be able to deliver the right amount of pressurized air to your nose and mouth. Moreover, if you’re not using a mask that suits your unique needs and sleep preferences, your CPAP treatment may end up disturbing instead of helping your sleep.
To help you find the right CPAP mask for your needs, we’ll cover the steps to buying a mask or other CPAP accessories including getting a prescription, choosing the right model and size, ensuring a proper fit with the help of your doctor, and navigating the purchasing process with your insurance company.
Purchasing CPAP equipment and accessories including CPAP masks requires a prescription from your doctor. If you’ve experienced any of the symptoms of sleep apnea, speak with your doctor first to discuss diagnosis and treatment options. CPAP therapy is one of the most commonly prescribed treatments for sleep apnea.
Once you’ve received a formal prescription from your doctor for CPAP therapy, you can begin searching for the best CPAP mask to suit your needs. Just because CPAP masks require a prescription doesn’t mean you’ll be limited to shopping at your pharmacy. You can order CPAP accessories online. This requires uploading a copy of your doctor’s prescription to a retailer’s website.
CPAP therapy is highly customizable. When creating your treatment plan, your doctor will determine a unique air pressure prescription for your CPAP machine based on your breathing patterns. Your pressure prescription will also help determine which style of CPAP mask you choose. Discuss different mask styles with your doctor to find the right CPAP mask for your facial structure, sleep apnea severity, prescribed pressure settings, and sleep position. Depending on your needs, your doctor may recommend a specific product.
When you’re ready to purchase your CPAP mask, determine how much of the cost will be covered by your insurance. Some health insurance plans will cover a portion or even all of the cost of your CPAP accessories. CPAP accessories including masks are typically listed under the “durable medical equipment” category in your insurance benefits. You can also contact your insurance provider directly to discuss the specifics of your coverage in greater detail.
Where to Buy
You can buy CPAP masks online, through your doctor or sleep specialist, from your pharmacy, or from a local sleep clinic. Although you have many choices, online retailers tend to have the widest selection and often the most competitive prices for CPAP masks and accessories.
CPAP masks come in several different styles, each suited to different sleep styles and pressure prescriptions. Let’s explore the most common types of CPAP masks and the pros and cons of each.
|CPAP Mask Type||Description||Cost (est.)|
|Full Face||A full face mask is a type of CPAP mask that is large enough to cover your mouth and nose, creating a seal over both airways. This style of mask covers much of the lower half of the face and uses side straps to keep the mask in place. Full face masks are best for those who sleep on their back, breathe primarily from their mouths as they sleep, or need a high-pressure CPAP setting. Side sleepers, stomach sleepers, and those who sleep lightly may find full face masks too cumbersome and bulky.||$80-$250|
|Nasal||Nasal CPAP masks cover a small region around the nose, from your nasal bridge to your upper lip, delivering airflow to the nasal cavity.
Nasal masks offer a good balance of features found in both full face masks and nasal pillows. This style works better for high-pressure settings than nasal pillows but are more comfortable for active sleepers as well as side and stomach sleepers than full face masks. Additionally, nasal masks can be found in a wide range of shapes to suit most types of facial structures. However, nasal CPAP masks are not suitable for those who breath exclusively through their mouths as they sleep or suffer from frequent nasal blockages.
|Nasal Pillow||Nasal pillow masks sit below the base of your nose. Held in place by headgear, this style of mask creates a seal at the nostrils and delivers airflow directly to the nasal cavity. Nasal pillow masks are lightweight and create less contact points on the face. Nasal pillows are one of the more comfortable options for CPAP masks, especially if you tend to toss and turn in your sleep or find bulkier masks uncomfortable. However, nasal pillows work best for low to moderate pressure settings.
A similar style to the nasal pillow is the nasal prong mask. This style contains two prongs that sit inside the nasal cavity and inflate to create a seal inside the nostrils.
|Oral Mask||This less common style of CPAP mask covers and delivers air to your mouth. This design works well for sleepers who suffer from frequent allergies, congestion, or nasal blockages. However, if you don’t have a nasal blockage, the air pumped through your mouth can easily escape through your nose, making this a poor choice.||$60-$90|
|Total Face Mask||Total face masks cover the entire face. Similar to full face masks, total face masks deliver equalized air pressure to both the nose and mouth. While this is a less common style of CPAP mask, it’s best for those who sleep on their backs or have a condition that prevents the use of other types of CPAP masks.||$100-$200|
Shopping for medical equipment is never easy. To help you get started, we’ve answered some of those most common questions people have about CPAP masks.
CPAP masks generally cost between $50 to $200 depending on the style and quality of the mask. Your health insurance plan may help subsidize this cost so be sure to check with your insurance provider when you begin shopping for a CPAP mask.
CPAP masks should be replaced every 3 to 6 months to ensure that your CPAP machine stays clean and functions properly. Even with frequent cleaning, facial oils will eventually break down the ability of your mask to create a proper seal. Additionally, your mask’s pillow, cushion, and headgear can stretch out.
While it may be tempting to tighten the mask, this could cause painful pressure points. You’re better off replacing your mask more frequently. If notice any of the following signs, you should consider replacing your current mask:
You can purchase CPAP masks online, but you’ll need to get a prescription from your doctor first. CPAP machines as well as associated CPAP equipment typically require a formal prescription from a doctor. Your doctor may have recommendations for suppliers and you can also find some models at your local pharmacy. However, if you want the widest selection, shopping for CPAP equipment online is the best choice. You’ll likely need to upload a copy of your prescription(s) on the retailer’s website.
Clean your CPAP mask weekly using warm water and a mild detergent. Frequent cleaning will keep your mask sanitary and functioning properly. For a thorough cleaning:
Make sure the pieces are thoroughly dried before reassembling and connecting to your CPAP machine. You can also perform a quick daily cleaning by wiping down the areas of the mask that contact your face using a towel moistened with warm, soapy water.
There’s no one style of mask that’s best for everyone. The best CPAP mask for you will depend largely on your sleep style and preferences as well as your specific CPAP prescription from your doctor. To narrow down the type of mask best suited to you and your needs, ask yourself the following questions:
If you’re not able to sleep soundly with your current CPAP mask, then it’s time to consider finding a new mask that’s better suited to your needs. Everyone’s face is shaped differently so there’s no one-size-fits all recommendation when it comes to finding the best sleep apnea mask for your needs. To ensure you get the best possible night’s sleep while wearing your CPAP mask, pay close attention to the style and fit of the mask.
When choosing the style of mask, consider your unique needs and preferences such as your favorite sleep position and whether you breathe out of your mouth or your nose. For example, full face masks can work well for those who breathe through their mouths, but may feel bulky and cumbersome to light sleepers.
In addition to mask style, it’s important to find a mask that fits you well. A properly fitted mask should never be painful or cause discomfort. CPAP mask models typically come in different sizes and are adjustable. Your doctor as well as the manufacturer’s instructions can help you get the best fit.
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