Guide: Buying a CPAP Machine in 2019
Buying a CPAP machine can be quite a challenging task. The market is abounding in offers, but you need to be careful when making a choice. For example, there are many sellers that do not offer a guarantee for the machines they sell. You must purchase a CPAP that comes with a certain guarantee so that you will not risk losing your money because of a faulty machine or a device that does not deliver what it promises.
It is also extremely important to buy your CPAP through a certified seller. There are many sellers available out there that do not have a permit in order to sell such medical-grade devices. There are many aspects that you need to take into account when buying a CPAP. For example, you should also be able to get in contact with the seller for any questions or concerns you might have. Does the seller offer a warranty? Can the seller help you pick the right device based on your prescription? Can the seller advise you which are the best accessories that you should also purchase for the maintenance of your device? These are all important questions that definitely need an answer.
Can you buy a CPAP without a prescription? What is a sleep study?
It is extremely important to mention that you cannot buy a CPAP machine without a doctor’s prescription. After being diagnosed with a certain breathing disorder such as OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea), your doctor will recommend the use of a CPAP machine to assist you with breathing. The prescription will also specify the type of device that you need and the recommended pressure setting that works best in your individual case.
If your physician suspects that you might struggle with Sleep Apnea, he will recommend that you take a sleep study. This study will help tracking several important parameters such as your heart rate, the blood oxygen levels or your breathing pattern during sleep. The study will also indicate how many times you stopped breathing during the sleep phase (how many apnea events occurred).
Your physician will check the study results and if you have Sleep Apnea he will recommend the use of a CPAP machine. Besides a CPAP machine, he might also recommend surgery or the use of certain oral appliances or even BiPAP therapy.
CPAP Machines: what they are and how they can help
A CPAP- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure- machine e is a medical-grade device used to treat Sleep Apnea. This is a health condition that causes a temporary loss of breath during the night. The CPAP is such a device that draws in environmental air through a special fan, then it pressurizes the air and delivers it to the patient through a special mask. The CPAP will pressurize the air at constant pressure, highly depending on the pressure needs of each individual patent. The standard CPAP machines can pressurize air between 4 and up to 20cmH2O. In order to buy a CPAP machine, you always need to present your prescription.
When shopping around for a CPAP machine, patients should pay attention to several factors. For example, price is such an important aspect. There are CPAP machines considered entry-level which cost between $200 and $400 but there are also more professional CPAP machines that cost $900 and up. Then, another factor is the size of the unit. You should make sure it fits comfortably on your nightstand. However, for patients who are frequent travelers, a travel CPAP machine represents the ideal solution. This is a smaller and more compact unit that patients can take with them during flights.
The most popular CPAP Providers
Shopping around for the best CPAP you will come across a variety of brands of CPAP units. It is imperative that you opt for a CPAP machine manufactured by a highly trusted brand. This way you will get access to a top-quality device that will serve your needs and requirements for many years to come. CPAP machines manufactured by trusted providers are also made of the highest quality components and these machines run through different tests before being launched on the market. Let’s check out a few of the most trusted manufacturers of CPAP devices and components.
ResMed– considered a highly trusted leader on the market of CPAP equipment. The company continuously strives on bringing to consumers the most innovative and technologically advanced CPAP systems and all kinds of accessories. When it comes to the price, the ResMed CPAPs are considered on the more expensive side, but you will get the best quality available out there. ResMed also offers some great guarantees for most of their products.
Philips Respironics– Phillips is yet another highly trusted brand when it comes to CPAP equipment. They manufacture equipment at the highest standards of quality. You can also find thousands of positive genuine testimonials online that talk about how great their products are. Regarding the price, they are on the more expensive side, but less expensive than the ones offered by ResMed.
Fisher & Paykel– This company is best known for its ICON CPAP machines and accessories. People love the quality of their products, even though they are not the cheapest on the market. The company is also renowned for its Simplus line of minimalistic masks that were quite popular among CPAP users.
Some other highly trusted manufacturers include Somnetics, Human Design Medical or DeVilbiss with its IntelliPAP line of CPAP machines and accessories.
About CPAP Humidification
Not all the CPAP machines come with an inbuilt humidification system. However, while you are shopping around for your machine, make sure to read carefully the description and the main specs of the device. There it will be mention if the respective machine has inbuilt humidification or not. The humidifier helps delivering air that is moist and at comfortable temperature levels. This way you will not struggle anymore with a dry mouth or nose. The humidifier will deliver air that is comfortably moist so that you can easily prevent nasal irritations or dry mouth syndrome.
Humidifier systems also help patients stay away from all sorts of nasal infections, different side effects of constantly using your CPAP and even bloody noses. There are also many CPAPs that allow you to disconnect the humidifier part. This can represent an ideal solution for frequent travelers for example. When you do not want to take a bulky humidifier with you, simply disconnect it and then reattach it later when needed. Most patients find it that there is a huge difference in the quality of their air therapy when using a humidifier. It is definitely worth the extra investment to get a CPAP machine with an inbuilt or a detachable humidifier.
Top Rated CPAP Machines with a Humidifier
- ResMed AirSense 10 Auto Set with HumidAir Heated Humidifier
- ICON Auto CPAP Machine with in-built Heated Humidifier + ThermoSmart Heated Hose
- AirSense 10 AutoSet for Her with Heated Humidifier
- Transcend 365 Auto CPAP
- AirSense 10 Elite CPAP Machine with HumidAir Heated Humidifier
Breakthrough in CPAP therapy: CPAP with Waterless Humidification
HumidX is the waterless humidification system patented by ResMed. This is a portable humidification system perfect for traveling or use while you are away from home. The system is small and compact and you never have to use any water in order to get perfect humidification. So how does HumidX work? When you exhale through the mask, the air that escapes is captured and then stored within the small ridges of the humidifier. Then, whenever you inhale the heat and moisture that has been captured is released in order to humidify the air that you inhale.
– Small, lightweight, compact
– Extremely easy to use
– Can be used for up to 30 days from opening
– 3 pack or 6 pack sets
– Highly convenient waterless humidification system
Please keep in mind that HumidX and HumidX Plus are only compatible with the AirFit N20 or the AirFit P10 for the AirMini CPAP.
Choosing a quiet machine for better sleep
Noise levels are particularly important when selecting a good CPAP machine. Think of it that you need to get therapy during the night, so both you and your bed partner should be able to enjoy a quiet and uninterrupted night of sleep. The ideal solution would be to find a suitable CPAP machine that has a noise level below 30dB. These types of machines are even labeled as being “whisper quiet”. They make a soothing and very quiet operation sound that will not disturb you or your bed partner.
Please keep in mind that CPAP machines that come with noise levels higher than 30 decibels are somewhat loud. If you are looking for a perfectly quiet machine, then search for CPAP machines that are labeled to have a noise level between 25 and 28dB. All the manufacturers will indicate the noise levels in the main specification sections. When you browse online, simply comparison shop for the best price, quality an also consider the noise levels of each machine before making a final decision.
What is Ramp feature? Do you need one?
Getting used to your CPAP therapy pressure might be difficult at first. Some CPAP models are equipped with the Ramp feature. Ramp is basically the ability of the device to deliver oxygen at lower pressures at first, and then gradually increasing pressure to required levels. Typically, Ramp can be set from 0 to 45 minutes. This means that your CPAP will gradually increase the pressure during those 45 minutes in order to give you more time to adjust to the required levels. Many patients state that Ramp has helped them get used to their therapy much faster or that they can fall asleep much easier if Ramp is on. This is an extra feature, so it is completely up to you if you will activate it or not.
When the CPAP therapy starts with Ramp ON the pressure will not be bothering at all. However, by the time you fall asleep, the unit will already deliver oxygen at the exact required pressure levels.
Smart Data Recording
Some CPAP devices also allow you to record important therapy data. Your physician can review these details and adjust the settings to meet your needs even better. For example, a CPAP with Smart Data enabled will be able to provide you with details such as pressure changes, leak rates, snoring episodes, apnea events during the night and many other. This can be an extremely helpful feature, so you should look for a CPAP with smart data recoding option included if you would like to track therapy data.
Things to consider when buying your CPAP machine
Summing it up, it is extremely important to pay attention to all the above-mentioned details when purchasing a CPAP unit. Keep in mind that you will use your CPAP on a daily basis for medical reasons so you must buy a machine that meets perfectly all your needs and requirements. Your mask needs to be comfortable while providing protection against leaks, while your unit must fit well into your environment and be portable if you travel frequently.
Check the following features when buying your CPAP machine:
- Portability- can you take your CPAP with you while traveling? Is it FAA approved?
- Perfect mask- feels comfortable, does not irritate your face, and protects against leaks
- Data recording options- for tracking your therapy details. Useful both for you and for your physician
- Leak compensation- in case your mask starts leaking, machines with this feature are capable of compensating for this loss through instantly increasing the airflow. This means you will still get the air pressure at prescribed levels, even if your mask is leaking for some reason
- EPR- Exhalation Pressure Relief- this feature ensures to lower the pressure upon exhalation. Then, the machine will return to prescribed levels by the time the inhalation phase starts. A particularly useful feature for first time CPAP users and for those who require therapy at high pressures and find it difficult to exhale against a high pressure
If you have any questions or you want to share your thoughts and experiences, please do so in the comments section below.