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Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are a standard treatment for sleep apnea, and many CPAP users use a chinstrap to ensure their treatment is successful. CPAP machines deliver a steady stream of pressurized air via a mask, which can cover the nose, nostrils (in the form of a nasal pillow mask), or the entire face.
Nasal and nasal pillow masks are the most comfortable option for many people, but users must breathe only through their nose to receive the full benefit of their treatment. Elastic CPAP chinstraps provide a solution for users who breathe through their mouth while asleep. They gently hold the mouth closed, reducing air leakage and improving the effectiveness of CPAP treatment.
As with other CPAP accessories, choosing the right CPAP chinstrap can be a complicated and confusing process. A CPAP chinstrap should be effective, durable, and comfortable enough to wear nightly. To help our readers find the best CPAP chinstrap for their needs, we’ll cover everything you need to know before making a purchase.
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CPAP chinstraps with a single anchor strap are the standard for a reason, as they offer users stability without adding bulk to their CPAP headgear. This model by ResMed, a prominent CPAP manufacturer, is an excellent example of the single-strap style. The entire chinstrap is 27 inches long, providing plenty of room for adjustment with a velcro-closure design. The anchor strap is wide enough for comfort without feeling bulky and is securely stitched for long-term durability. Support is provided by a soft cotton sling that is large enough to provide security but not so wide that it digs into the user’s throat.
While effective for many CPAP users, this chinstrap is not the right option for people who require significant tension to keep their jaw closed. It also comes in only one size, limiting its adjustability for users who require a smaller strap. However, the average customer looking for a lightweight chinstrap is likely to find that this model provides the security they need with minimal adjustment. ResMed stands behind their product with a 90-day warranty on manufacturing defects and flaws.
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CPAP users who move while they sleep, or who require more tension to keep their jaw closed, are likely to appreciate the lightweight stability of this adjustable chinstrap. It is available in two sizes, large and extra large, that have a maximum size of either 22 to 25 inches or 26 to 28 inches, respectively. The chinstrap also has two velcro panels — one at the top of the head and one at the base of the skull — for easy adjustability. Aside from the velcro, the entire chinstrap is made from lightweight, comfortably stretchy polyurethane. Its wide straps and the thickness of the polyurethane should also prevent irritation.
Although polyurethane is a comfortable material, those with particularly sensitive skin may find it irritating. It is also less breathable than organic materials like cotton, so warm sleepers prone to sweating may want to choose another model. Aside from these concerns, we’ve found the Topaz Adjustable Chinstrap to be one of the most comfortable and effective options on the market. It is likely to work well for almost all CPAP users, including those who feel claustrophobic in other multi-strap models.
Choosing a CPAP chinstrap, like choosing a CPAP mask or other CPAP supplies, is highly personal. What works for one person may not work for another, so it’s crucial to keep your own needs in mind when shopping. Some people need to try more than one chinstrap before discovering what works for them. While chinstraps tend not to be prohibitively expensive, educating yourself about how to choose the right model may make it easier to pick the right option to begin with.
The qualities you should look for in a CPAP chinstrap can be broken down into seven different categories. Individual categories may be more or less important to you, but you should consider each one carefully before you make a purchase. However, the most crucial factor when buying a CPAP chinstrap should always be the advice of your healthcare team.
Size & Fit
A CPAP chinstrap that fits correctly should support the jaw rather than holding the mouth shut. It should be comfortable, with just enough tension to keep you from opening your mouth during the night. Many CPAP chinstraps, including adjustable options, are available in different sizes. These may vary between manufacturers, meaning that you should make sure to read reviews and carefully measure your head before purchasing.
CPAP chinstraps are available in a wide range of designs. A standard chinstrap has a single anchor strap across the top of your head, as well as a chin rest made of soft fabric. Other designs have a second anchor strap around the back of your skull, use a mesh cap to anchor two chinstraps for improved stability, or are designed to hook onto your mask headgear.
Although most CPAP chinstraps are designed to work with all CPAP masks, some specialized mask or chinstrap designs may not function well together. Before you purchase a chinstrap, examine both your headgear and the chinstrap to understand how they will fit together. It’s also important to read any available information, as the chinstrap manufacturer may acknowledge any mask incompatibilities.
Every CPAP chinstrap has three features that usually use different materials: a chin rest, anchor strap or straps, and closures. Some people might prefer one made entirely from cotton with buckle closures, while others might find a polyurethane fabric chinstrap with velcro closures works better for their needs. Customers should consider their comfort preferences, physical limitations, and skin sensitivity before deciding on a chinstrap.
While the average chinstrap should last at least a year, high-quality CPAP chinstraps can last up to 2 years. Conversely, some chinstraps begin to show signs of wear and must be replaced after less than 6 months. Price is not always an indicator of durability, but models from respected manufacturers usually last longer than less expensive options from lesser-known competitors.
High-quality CPAP chinstraps tend to cost between $15 and $35. Their price is usually directly based on their complexity, meaning that most single-strap models cost less than those with multiple anchor straps or chin supports. Particularly given the affordability of even more complex models, it is crucial to base your purchase on what you need rather than what chinstrap is cheapest.
If a CPAP chinstrap has a warranty, it is likely a short-term offer that covers manufacturing defects or flaws. Third-party retailers may also offer their own warranty or satisfaction guarantee. If you are interested in purchasing a CPAP chinstrap with a warranty, your best options will probably be chinstraps made by reputable CPAP manufacturers or sold by dedicated CPAP accessory retailers.
While CPAP chinstraps are less complex than many other CPAP accessories, many customers still have questions even after doing research. Your healthcare team is best positioned to answer any other concerns or in-depth questions you may have about what CPAP chinstrap is right for you.
Most people who use a CPAP chinstrap wear it beneath their mask’s headgear, but some masks and chinstraps work better when the chinstrap is worn over the headgear. Chinstrap location also depends on a mask’s design, as some have tubing in areas that would be covered or blocked by the chinstrap’s anchor straps. Masks with top-of-head tubing are more likely to conflict with chinstraps worn over the headgear.
CPAP chinstraps usually cost between $15 and $35 depending on their complexity and durability. Single-strap chinstraps tend to be the least expensive, while complex models with multiple straps or chin supports have price points at the higher end of the scale. Additional features, such as fleece padding, can also increase the price of a chinstrap. As with all CPAP accessories, it is important to choose the most effective model for your needs even if there are cheaper options available.
Although some insurers cover CPAP machines, accessories like CPAP chinstraps are not usually covered. These accessories are not considered essential for treatment, so customers are expected to cover the costs themselves. However, it is important to remember that — despite being considered non-essential — CPAP chinstraps are a crucial element of CPAP treatment for people who use nasal masks and tend to breathe through their mouth. If you choose not to use a CPAP chinstrap because it is not covered by insurance, you may want to switch to a full-face mask that can be used regardless of mouth position.
Since CPAP chinstraps are a relatively low-cost accessory, we recommend that our readers purchase a chinstrap rather than make their own. Given the apparent simplicity of CPAP chinstraps, it’s no surprise that some people choose to make their own. Homemade chinstraps may appear effective, but the most common designs each have significant downsides. Elastic options, for example, tend to quickly lose their elasticity and therefore their effectiveness. Ace bandages tighten as you wear them, making them an even worse option that can cause muscle strain or other issues.
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