Types of CPAP Machines

Written by

Matthew Whittle, Staff Writer
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CPAP machines are the most universally effective treatment for sleep apnea. CPAP therapy provides airflow from a machine, through a CPAP hose and into a face mask. This constant flow of air prevents the tissues in your airways from collapsing during sleep, allowing for continuous breathing throughout the night. CPAP machines also function as an anti-snoring device.

There are several types of CPAP machines available. Some machines can provide different types of airflow depending on your breathing needs. There are also many ways to customize your CPAP machine to your personal needs, including different types of CPAP masks, CPAP nightstands, as well as the option to buy a portable CPAP for traveling. These machines work best when they are used consistently, so finding the right machine and CPAP equipment suppliers is important.


Positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy is the most effective non-surgical treatment for moderate to severe sleep apnea. These medical devices are FDA prescribed and require a prescription from a medical professional.

There are several types of CPAP machines. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) are two of the most popular types. While CPAP machines work by providing a continuous steady flow of air throughout the night, the BiPAP machine works by providing two different air pressures, one for breathing in and another, lower pressure level for breathing out. The FDA has also recently approved a PAP machine which adjusts the level of air pressure according to your breathing, called automatic positive airway pressure (APAP). The more complicated types of PAP therapy, such as BiPAP and APAP, can be more costly, and are sometimes used if CPAP therapy has not worked.

CPAP machines and supplies

CPAP machines are an effective way to treat sleep apnea if they are used nightly. Finding the right CPAP machine for you, as well as well-fitted CPAP equipment, increases the likelihood that you will consistently use the machine. When looking at CPAP equipment suppliers, it is important to do your research thoroughly.

Finding comfortable, well-fitted sleeping equipment, such as your mask and headgear, is very important when customizing your CPAP machine. A well-fitted mask that is the right size for you and which is tightened comfortably will prevent leaking, and ensure that you are getting an adequate amount of air. There are three common mask types that each fit your face differently. These include a nasal pillow mask, a nasal mask, and a full-face mask. Each mask works better for different types of sleepers. For example, if you typically breathe through your mouth, then a full-face mask might be the most suitable option.

When setting up your CPAP machine it is important to find the right CPAP cleaning supplies to go along with your specific machine. CPAP machines require regular cleaning and maintenance, as a dirty CPAP can grow bacteria and mold, which can cause respiratory infections. Some types of CPAP devices come with an automatic cleaner for CPAP machines, while for others you have to buy a machine to clean CPAP devices separately or clean by hand. CPAP and BiPAP cleaning are done the same way.

Some types of CPAP machines come with built-in humidifiers, which need their water chambers regularly cleaned. (For other types of CPAP machines, you may need to buy an external humidifier to stop your throat from drying out at night.) Those who use larger CPAP machines may want to use a bedside CPAP table or one of the many CPAP nightstands available to store the machine in.

Portable CPAP machines

Traditionally, CPAP machines have been quite cumbersome, and are difficult to transport. Today, there are portable CPAP machines, which are smaller and more compact. Since CPAP therapy is dependent on being used every night, having a portable CPAP machine can allow you to use this even as you change locations. These machines still include a motor, CPAP hose, and CPAP face mask. Keep in mind that for these smaller, portable machines, you should get spare batteries, as well as voltage adaptors, if you are traveling internationally. It may also be beneficial to buy a portable CPAP cleaner. Unfortunately, travel CPAP machines are not typically covered by health insurance.


Can you use a travel CPAP all the time?

Although you can use your travel CPAP for regular use, it is often not advised, for a couple reasons. Firstly, these machines are not typically made for long-term use, and using them exclusively for travel will help them last longer. Secondly, many portable CPAP machines do not come with some of the built-in features that the larger machines have.

How do I choose a CPAP machine?

Since CPAP machines are class II machines, they require prescriptions from a medical professional. A doctor or sleep specialist can help you find the right type and fit for your specific needs.

What is the best CPAP mask for a side sleeper?

If you are a side sleeper, then finding a mask that fits is important. Side sleepers often benefit from using a nasal pillow mask to avoid air leakage. In addition to a nasal pillow mask, many side sleepers use a special CPAP pillow that accommodates the device and can help them sleep more easily on their side.

What are the different types of CPAP?

There are a multitude of different types of CPAP machines that come with different accessories and features. There are different machines that alternate the kinds of air pressure you are receiving including CPAP, BiPAP, and APAP.

What is a CPAP machine used for?

A CPAP machine is used to treat sleep apnea, in particular, obstructive sleep apnea. It allows for continuous breathing and prevents repeated periods of halted breathing during the night. There are several types of CPAP machines depending on your needs and budget.

About The Author

Matthew Whittle

Staff Writer

Matt Whittle is a freelance writer and editor who holds a B.A. in English from Penn State University. He has experience as a writer and editor in the wine industry and higher education.

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