An APAP machine is better than a CPAP machine because it automatically adjusts to meet your therapy needs as you sleep. There are many more reasons an APAP machine is better than a CPAP machine and we cover those in this article.
What is an APAP Machine?
APAP stands for Automatic Positive Airway Pressure and the machine is similar to a CPAP machine. APAP machines are a non-invasive treatment for obstructive Sleep Apnea that deliver pressurized air through a mask within an appropriate high- to low-pressure range. APAP machines disperse air at a pressure within a range and constantly adjust as needed. APAPs have a sensitive algorithm technology that allows the machine to detect how much inhalation pressure you need with each breath. The breath-by-breath adjustments allow for maximum comfort and better sleep.
As an additional resource, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to CPAP machines. It’s a comprehensive guide that helps you make sense of all the options and features when picking a new machine, getting you on a path to finding the right CPAP machine for you.
APAP vs CPAP: How Are They Different?
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP therapy) has been the long-standing leader in Sleep Apnea treatment. These machines deliver a continuous, steady stream of pressurized air that keeps your airways from collapsing and causing apnea events. The air pressure delivered from the both the APAP and CPAP machines functions as a splint, delivering a continuous stream of pressurized air to prevent your throat from collapsing in on itself. The continuous, pressurized air helps Sleep Apnea sufferers breathe freely through the night, which can lead to a good night’s rest.
APAP is similar to a CPAP in that it also supplies pressurized air. But, APAP therapy provides a range of air pressure to follow and counteract changing breathing needs throughout the night. APAP machines are designed to fluctuate automatically between a low-pressure setting and a high-pressure setting to meet the patient’s needs.
After a CPAP titration study, your sleep technician and doctor determine the proper amount of pressurized air you need to keep your airways clear of obstructions and set your machine to that number. CPAP machines can only be set to one pressure setting that remains consistent throughout the night. Regardless of your body position, weight changes, or what stage of sleep you are in, the air pressure from a CPAP machine doesn’t change.
APAP on the other hand, has two settings, a low range and a high range, that the machine fluctuates between throughout the night. It automatically adjusts itself to suit your particular needs at any given moment throughout your sleep. APAP machines use algorithms that sense subtle changes in your breathing and adjust themselves to the best pressure setting at any time of the night.
Why APAP May Be Better For You
So which is a better fit for you: a CPAP or an APAP? Here are some things to consider:
- Most APAP machines can also be set to a straight CPAP mode, allowing you to discover which titration therapy works best for you.
- Most patients don’t have the same breathing patterns throughout the night due to a variety of reasons like sleeping positions and sleep stages (REM and non-REM sleep). APAP machines automatically adjust to different pressure settings between your low range and high range settings.
- If you suffer from a cold or allergies, your airways become congested and breathing is more difficult. In these cases, a range in air pressure may be needed to reduce apnea events.
- Changes in your health such as weight loss/gain can require different settings, and an APAP will automatically make those adjustments. A CPAP machine requires you to recalibrate your pressure settings.
Resmed AirSense 10 AutoSet
The AirSense™ 10 AutoSet CPAP Machine with HumidAir™ Heated Humidifier builds on the reliable and advanced features of the S9 line and adds a built-in HumidAir™ humidifier, all in a sleek design that is 23% lighter.
“This CPAP is smaller, quieter and has more & better features than my last CPAP. The auto-sense works so much better than I expected. My former machine was set at 9- but my auto sense took me to 13.4! The auto humidity (combined with the heated tube) is really great as well- I used to get dried out and sneeze half the day. Best sleep I’ve had in years.”
The AirMini™ AutoSet™ Travel CPAP Machine is the smallest ResMed machine available today, weighing only 0.66 pounds. This small CPAP uses a 20W power supply to further minimize the size of the travel unit. Pair the machine with the AirMini™ by ResMed smartphone app to track therapy and adjust machine settings.
“Truly teeny, light in weight and quiet, unlike anything else on the market. Great Bluetooth connection to phone or tablet through unique app, and perfect for throwing in a carry on or backpack, this is a no-compromise solution that makes travelling with a CPAP significantly easier. Highly recommend.”
Z1 Auto Travel CPAP Machine
At 6 1/2 inches long and 10 ounces, the Z1 Auto Travel CPAP Machine is the lightest APAP machine available. It is small in size, yet big in comfort. Advanced features such as Z-Breathe exhalation relief and Nitelog data can be viewed on smartphones and tablets, making the Z1 Auto a great option for home and travel.
“My home machine is the Resmed S9. It works great, but I travel frequently and wanted to leave my home machine set up. With the Z1, I now have a machine I can go backpacking with for four nights away from power (I bought two batteries) and I can land in a foreign country and check into a hotel without fiddling with power for my CPAP. If you need something you can travel or camp with, or if you simply want a very small CPAP, this is a good machine to consider!”
Fisher & Paykel ICON Auto
ICON Auto CPAP Machine with Built-In Heated Humidifier and ThermoSmart Heated Hose by Fisher and Paykel takes features from the SleepStyle line of CPAP machines and combines them to enhance patient comfort and provide a personalized treatment system. ThermoSmart Technology makes Fisher & Paykel a leader in humidification.
“This machine is SO quiet. My wife has fallen in love with it because she can sleep with it working, she doesn’t hear a thing from it! I would order the same again.”
Philips Respironics DreamStation Auto
The DreamStation Auto CPAP Machine is a sleek, user-friendly APAP machine from Philips Respironics. The machine has multiple advanced features such as bluetooth connectivity, SmartRamp, and OptiStart. Also available is the optional DreamStation Heated Humidifier to increase comfort by adding heat and moisture to therapy air.
“I have had my last CPAP for seven years. It has performed tirelessly. This new unit is lighter, smaller and very quiet. Its automatic adjustment to any mask leaks is remarkable. Excellent product. I am very pleased with it.”
As you can tell, APAP patients enjoy the customized pressure of their machines. Contact us to learn more about CPAP and APAP and find the machine that is right for you.
Daniela has researched and published over 60 articles covering topics that aim to inform and empower people living with Sleep Apnea. As an avid reader and researcher, Daniela continues to grow her knowledge about Sleep Apnea and CPAP therapy everyday with the help of coworkers, CPAP.com customers, and members of other CPAP communities online.