Looking for the Best CPAP machines to help with sleep apnea?
Sleep in comfort with these CPAP machines
Australia is one of the luckiest countries in the world, with clean air, active lifestyles and fresh food and produce. However, did you know in the past couple of decades sleep apnea has been growing in prevalence, even among those who actively exercise.
For many Australians, sleep apnea remains an issue that is too hard to deal with and resolve. And in fact, for some Australians, they are not even aware that they are experiencing sleep apnea, and simply try to get through life with perseverance. I found this out the hard way. Although this site is about running and cycling, I could not figure out why my recovery from training sessions were so slow. I discovered it was because of my poor sleep! Quality sleep is a key factor in recovery from exercise, without it the muscles do not have the ability to rebuild.
There are many contributors to sleep apnea. For Australians, reasons may include pollution caused by bush fires or the stress of dealing with the coronavirus self isolation restrictions. Other more common causes may be excessive consumption of coffee (caffeine) or sugary diets. And perhaps a lack of exercise (not my case though).
Though there are many reasons, suffice to say, you are not alone if you have sleep apnea, because many Australians are experiencing these issues and lifestyle pressure.
Top 4 CPAP Machines
- ResMed AirSense 10 AutoSet
- Philips DreamStation Auto CPAP with Humidifier
- BMC Luna IQ Auto 2020
- ResMed AirMini with Nasal Pillow
What is a CPAP Machine?
To assist with mitigating sleep apnea, machines have been created to help with sleeping. CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. CPAP Machines are therefore small devices which help regulate the air being inhaled and exhaled during your sleep. There is no additional oxygen being circulated through the breathing cycle, just normal breathing air.
CPAP machines are not overly obtrusive, and can be considered as efficient, focused air tubes connecting to either your nose or mouth. The pressure created by the machine, regulates the sleep breathing pattern and therefore mitigates sleep apnea.
Why use a CPAP Machine?
Sleep is one of the most under appreciated needs of our body. Too often the focus is on our diet and exercise to maintain a healthy body, but the importance of sleep is overlooked.
With an average of seven (7) to eight (8) hours of sleep per day that our body needs, that equates to a third of our time. It only makes sense that, enhancing our sleep would produce health benefits.
If you are like me, though I have an active lifestyle and excercise regularly with running and cycling, I still have sleep apnea symptoms. And without a CPAP machine (sleep apnea machine), these symptoms will continue to persist.
The symptoms of sleep apnea will vary from person to person, but generally they include:
- Loud and persistent snoring
- Interrupted breathing during sleep
- Restless sleep
- Lack of energy during the day
- Inability to fall asleep
- Short concentration span
- Waking up frequently during sleeping hours
Buying and using a CPAP Machine may not completely remove all the symptoms that you experience with sleep apnea, but it will most certainly help.
Considerations when buying a CPAP machine
There are several components when purchasing a CPAP machine, so we’ll break it down into the following:
- Pressure adjustment
Of course, there is the financial aspect to also consider. But putting this aside, if you are seriously looking for better sleep, then the effectiveness of the CPAP machine should be at the forefront of your mind.
There are three types of masks that can be used with each CPAP machine. Often when purchasing a CPAP machine, the mask will come with it, and you can choose the type of mask. We describe the three masks from the least obtrusive to the most. Please bear in mind, obtrusiveness, does not necessarily correlate to the effectiveness of mitigating sleep apnea. Some find that the full face mask (the most obtrusive) is the more comfortable and effective.
Finding the right type of mask that is suitable for you is very important. Do not under estimate the benefits that a good quality and well fitting mask will bring.
The nasal pillow connects to the nose and covering is confined to the nostrils. The nasal pillow, can therefore be deemed to be the smallest of the three masks. But it may not be comfortable for some users. The tubing sits underneath the nose with a good fitting imperative for the effectiveness of the mask. Really good, if you can get a good fit, and if you are comfortable with breathing through the nose.
The nasal mask is a full nose covering. Some find this more comfortable than the nasal pillow, as it can fit easily by covering the entire nose. A complete nose coverage means, there is no need to be concerned with pressure of the mask underneath the nostrils, with the fitting specifically more around the nose.
If you can’t find a good fit with the nasal pillow, using a nasal mask will be easier.
Full Face Mask
Although a full face mask looks cumbersome, many find the full face mask to be the most effective. You’ve got to take into consideration, that the effectiveness of opening up the airways and assisting breathing sleep, more than compensates the additional coverage of including nose and mouth. And yes, it’s doesn’t look as cute and nifty as the nasal masks, but who the heck cares how you look when sleeping.
2. Pressure Adjustment
The best CPAP machines come with the ability for the use settings which regulate the pressure. As we sleep the air pressure needs to slowly increase. This is because, when conscious we are breathing with purpose and intent and therefore the pressure from the CPAP machine can be less. However, as we fall into deep sleep, the need for the CPAP machine to take over with cycling air increases, and therefore the pressure should increase.
The best CPAP machines will automatically adjust the pressure through sensors. They can determine the pressure needed when you begin to sleep and as you fall asleep through to deep sleep. Some CPAP machines, do not have this ability, but have settings which will follow a pressure pattern. Though not as effective as the best machines, some users find this sufficient.
The best CPAP machines now come with heated humidifier. The air humidity is important in CPAP machines to prevent a dry sensation that some users will experience. Without humidity, the air causes the mouth and nose to become dry, and in some cases cold.
The best CPAP machines will therefore come with a humidifier function. The humidity can be controlled AND the temperature can also be set.
Please note that not all users will experience the sensation of dryness, some even find the use of the humidifier not necessary.
Most (if not all) of the current CPAP machines on the market are “quiet”. That is, quiet enough for a typical sleeper. For some super sensitive sleepers (perhaps with the sharpest of hearing), will need to find the quietest of machines. Typically a CPAP machine is slightly quieter than a gentle hum. The quieter machines, aren’t that noticeably more quiet, but again this will vary from person to person.
If a quiet machine is super important to you, the best CPAP machines are all relatively quiet.
5. Size and Weight
For some users, the size and weight of the CPAP machine is not an issue. For some, having the ability to travel with the CPAP machine is highly important, particularly for those who travel by plane often. Naturally, this will be specific for you as an individual, and if this is important for you, then consider the portability and the mobility of the machine. However, to be honest, we have placed this at the bottom of considerations, as we place the effectiveness of the CPAP machine above portability.
In addition, you find that all of the new generation CPAP machines, are easily the size of hand carry luggage if not smaller.
ResMed AirSense 10 AutoSet
Most Popular CPAP Machine
ResMed are the pioneers of CPAP machines and therefore the most trusted and popular of all brands. They have the widest range of machines, with their flag ship – ResMed AirSense 10 AutoSet – belonging in the Top 2 of most bought machines in Australia. This device truly excels in all aspects. The downside is that the price is high, however it is worth it for many users.
The ResMed AirSense 10 AutoSet has numerous features. We shall review the main features.
Auto Ramp – a lot of users love this feature. Ramping is a term that refers to the increasing of air pressure when falling into sleep. The most ideal CPAP machine would be able to adjust air pressure according to a person’s needs, and the ResMed Airsense 10 is the closest thing out there that can do this.
Automatic start and stop – air will automatically stop circulating through the tubing after 10 seconds when the machine senses that mask has been removed. The machine begins circulating once it recognises that mask has been put back on the face. This great feature allows the user to not be concerned about switching “on” and “off” the machine during the middle of the night.
Wireless communication – in all new technology, the Internet of Things (IoT) is built in, and with the ResMed AirSense it comes with all the bells and whistles. With wireless communication, data can be sent to your PC or mobile device. Of course, if you are old school, there is a SD Card which also stores your sleep data, and can be used to transfer to other devices.
Intuitive and easy to use – the menus are very easy to navigate and to scroll through. Playing around with the settings is a breeze. You will be able to find the settings that need your needs without any hassles.
Humidifier – in built to the side, easily accessible with a simple pull out then snap back in.
Filter – found on the side of the machine, it is easy to change and replace.
Reporting – A mobile phone app is available to quickly see sleep data. In addition there is a simple My Air report which can be view by logging in via any internet browser.
Super quiet – probably the most quiet CPAP machine out there. More quiet than the Philips DreamStation. You will still be able to hear the machine operate, as if it too is quietly breathing, but it is so quiet that it’s not noticeable.
Weight and Size – Light and easy to handle. Can easily be carried onto a plane as hand luggage.
Model: AirSense 10 AutoSet
Price: Can be found between $1,500 to $2,000 AUD, depending on the bundle.
Philips DreamStation Auto CPAP with Humidifier
The second most popular but only by a smidgen. Still a very good quality CPAP!
Philips has developed into one of the most popular brands along side ResMed for CPAP machines. The Philips DreamStation is often compared against the ResMed AirSense – the two machines typically regarded as the best on the market. The Philips probably comes out as the second best, but it runs a very very close second.
The Philips DreamStation has just as many features as the ResMed AirSense. We shall review the main features.
Auto Ramp – Philips refers to this feature as “Smart” Ramp. Ramp settings allows the user to configure a timer and pressure to increase pressure feature when falling asleep. Built into the system, are sensors which monitor breathing patterns and therefore adjusts the pressure accordingly.
Intuitive and easy to use – the menu dims during the night, and will light back up when it senses the user being active. The dimming of the menu is great for sleeping and not disturbing partners. The menu is simple and intuitive.
Humidifier – is an attachable module. This is great for those who do not need to use a humidifier. But if you do, it is easy to attach on and sync with the main unit. Upon attachment, the machine does become slightly larger than the ResMed.
Reporting – the operating software syncs with your internet, and can be maintained and upgraded easily. Reporting can be viewed through an internet browser and data can be sent to therapists who may want to review sleeping data.
Quiet – not as quiet as the ResMed, but still quiet. Though can be noticeable for some users, they actually find the sound soothing – white noise. Again, the noise is actually quiet, but slightly louder than the ResMed.
Weight and Size – Because the humidifier can be detached from the main operating unit, the size and weight is smaller than the ResMed. However, if you wish to use the humidifier, it does become larger than the ResMed. Overall, the weight and size can still be considered light and can also be fit hand luggage plane sizing.
Price: Can be found between $1,300 to $2,000 AUD, depending on the bundle.
BMC Luna IQ Auto 2020
Best Value for Money
In my opinion, the BMC Luna IQ is the best value for money. It can easily perform all the core features that users love of the ResMed AirSense and Philips DreamStation, at only about a third of the price. Don’t think that this little machine isn’t effective. For many user it is, and it is worth it.
So if you are concerned about splashing money out and unsure of which machine to first choose, I highly recommend starting with the BMC Luna-IQ.
A very compact and easy to use CPAP machine. Contains a humidifier that is simple to fill up and clean. The water section of the humidifier can be maintained by cleaning with soapy water then rinsing. If you use distilled water, the frequency of cleaning may only need to be one or twice a year.
Using the unit is intuitive and simple to operate. In fact, because it focuses on the core useful features, it can be less overwhelming than the ResMed.
As mentioned earlier, users love the function of automatically turning on and off found in the ResMed, and it is also a core feature in the BMC Luna-IQ.
Auto Ramping is also a great feature found on the BMC Luna-IQ, sensing the breathing pattern of the user, and increasing/decreasing pressure as and when needed.
Users love that the machine is whisper quiet. A gentle sound, like soft breathing can be heard. It is more quiet than the Philips DreamStation and is on par with the ResMed AirSense.
The package comes with a nice little case. Everything can be packed and carried where ever it is needed. The size and weight is lighter than the Philips, and is on par with the ResMed.
Price: Can be found between $700 to $1,000 AUD, depending on the bundle.
Smallest CPAP Machine – perfect for travelers or those with limited space
The ResMed AirMini is the smallest CPAP machine on the market. But don’t be deceived into thinking that it is not as effective as the other larger machines. This pocket rocket is able to fulfill nearly all the same core functions. What is lacks (and may not be necessary for all users) is water for the humidifer and is slightly noiser than the other machines.
The ResMed AirMini is great for travellers. It’s compact and light weight, and does the trick.
This is the most compact machine out there. With dimensions of 5.2cm x 8.4cm x 13.6cm, it is approximately the size of 6 iPhones stacked on top of each other. That is super small! Plus the weight is a light 300g, just a bit heavier that the Apple iPhone 11 which weighs 230g. With these weight and size specifications, you cannot find a better machine to take with you when travelling.
The AirMini includes an auto-ramp function, which adjusts pressure by sensing the needs of the user. The auto-ramp can be switch to a manual function easily through an app or directly on the menu of the machine.
Smart Start is also available, just like the ResMed AirSense. This performs an automatic stop and start when sensing the mask is being used or not.
The battery lasts a very impressive three (3) nights of sleep, before it needs recharging.
The machine is easy to assemble, and extremely easy to use. There is a app which provides a morning report which is very helpful to users.
Lastly, the machine is slightly noiser than the other CPAP machines listed above. But only just slightly. It is still whisper quiet to many, though some have required a short period of time to become accustomed to it.
The ResMed AirMini is the best CPAP machine for travelers, or for those with limited space.
Price: Can be found between $1,500 to $2,000 AUD, depending on the bundle.
Disney DarkSide Deep Sleep 2020
Disney has made a grand entrance into the CPAP business, and have leveraged the “Force”, to enable you to sleep in peace (forever). The full face mask, cuts off all oxygen and puts you into a deep sleep. Offering great value for money, being the cheapest of all CPAP machines, it doesn’t compromise on being effective.
Many users have said that the loudness is the equivalent of riding a Harley Davidson. Pure quality “white noise”.
Buy the Disney DarkSide Deep Sleep if you want to sleep forever.
Please note: the mask needs to fit well, to ensure snoring is contained within the mask like a cone of silence.