APAP vs CPAP: Are Auto CPAPs Better?

The big question is: when it comes to CPAP vs APAP machines, which one is better for you?

You may already be familiar with CPAP machines, but have you heard of APAP machines? These automatic devices can choose the best pressure for you without you having to manually change it.

But which machine would best suit your needs? Let’s find out!

What’s an APAP Machine?

An APAP is a type of sleep apnea machine that can automatically adjust to your correct pressure while you sleep. This way, if things change during the night and you need a higher pressure, the machine will automatically adjust without needing input from you.

They’re sometimes referred to as “Self Adjusting CPAPs” or “Automatic Titrating Positive Airway Pressure” devices. But in the sleep health industry, they’re commonly referred to as APAPs or Auto CPAPs.

What’s the Difference Between CPAP and APAP Machines?

The main difference between APAP and CPAP machines is how air pressure is chosen. CPAP machines are at a fixed pressure while APAPs adjust to different pressures automatically. The air pressure delivered from both 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 those with sleep apnea breathe freely throughout the night, leading to a good night’s rest.

Now, let’s dive into the ins and outs of CPAP therapy. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure or CPAP has been the long-standing leader in sleep apnea treatment. CPAP machines deliver a continuous, steady stream of pressurized air that keeps your airways from collapsing and causing apnea events.

So if they both do roughly the same thing, why would you need an APAP over a CPAP?

The pressure that’s right for you today may not be the pressure that’s right for you tomorrow. As time passes, our bodies change. For your therapy to be successful, you may need to increase or decrease the pressure of your machine periodically. Depending on your lifestyle, the transformations you go through in a year, or even the changes present in a night, you may need to adjust your pressure several times during the course of your treatment. It’s beneficial to have a device that automatically adjusts to the pressure you need. It’s these auto CPAP settings that make APAP machines so valuable.

However, a deciding factor between APAPs vs CPAPs is the cost. APAP machines can cost as much as $300 more than a CPAP machine. For many customers, it’s a small price to pay for the comfort and convenience of an APAP machine, but for some, the cost of an APAP machine may be a barrier.

Why May an APAP Machine Be Better for You?

When deciding between an APAP and a CPAP machine, here are some things to consider:

You can use an APAP as a CPAP if you want. Most APAP machines can also be set to CPAP mode, allowing you to discover which titration therapy works best for you. Who doesn’t love options?

If your breathing changes in the night, you’re covered. Most people don’t have the same breathing patterns throughout the night, and an APAP adjusts to fit your needs.

An APAP adjusts if you’re sick. If you have a cold or suffer from allergies, your airway can become congested and breathing can be more difficult. Colds happen to everyone, and it’s nice to have a machine that can adjust automatically if you’re more congested than usual.

Body changes require different settings. Changes in your health such as weight loss or weight gain can require different settings, and an APAP will automatically make those adjustments.

Explore Top APAP Machines

The 3 Best APAP Machines

If you’re looking for some of the best APAP machines on the market today, then you’re in luck! We’ve collected a group of our customer’s favorite APAP machines to make shopping for your first or next machine APAP machine a breeze.

ResMed AirSense 10 AutoSet

The AirSense 10 AutoSet CPAP Machine with HumidAir Heated Humidifier is one of our most popular APAP machines! The AirSense 10 builds on the reliable and advanced features of the S9 line but a built-in HumidAir Humidifier has been added to keep your sinuses moisturized. The AirSense 10 features a sleek design that is 23% lighter than previous machines.

Built-In Heated Humidifier
Color LCD Display
One of the Quietest APAPs on the Market
Optional Heated Hose
For Her Version

Why do our customers love the AirSense 10? The built-in heated humidifier is a game-changer when it comes to the AirSense 10. The quiet machine takes up a small footprint on your nightstand or in your travel bag. The AirSense 10 is a great machine for both at home or on-the-go.

Buy Here

ResMed AirMini

Wanting a machine to take almost anywhere? Weighing only 0.66 pounds, the AirMini AutoSet Travel CPAP Machine is small enough to almost fit in the palm of your hand. The AirMini uses a 20W power supply to further minimize the size of the travel machine. Use the AirMini by ResMed smartphone app to track your therapy progress and adjust your machine settings.

Lightweight and Compact APAP
FAA Compliant
Waterless Humidification System
AirMini Mobile App

Why do our customers love the AirMini? In the travel category, the AirMini is one of the most popular machines on the market, and it’s easy to see why. Put this machine in your carryon, backpack, or purse and head on your next adventure. For many people who have the AirSense 10 as their home machine, the AirMini is their travel machine of choice. This tiny, lightweight, and quiet machine can connect via Bluetooth to your phone or tablet so you can access your data and settings on the AirMini app.

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Philips Respironics DreamStation Auto

The Philips Respironics DreamStation Auto CPAP Machine is a sleek, user-friendly APAP machine. The machine stands out thanks to its multiple advanced features, such as Bluetooth connectivity, SmartRamp, and OptiStart. The DreamStation Auto is also available in a model with an included humidifier to increase your comfort level by adding heat and moisture to your therapy air.

Turns On Automatically
Ramp Feature Slowly Builds Up to Full Pressure
Color LCD Screen Provides Helpful Sleep Data
CPAP Mode Available if Needed

Why do our customers love the DreamStation Auto? The lightweight and quiet DreamStation Auto is a high-quality machine due to its remarkable automatic adjustments. When you use it, all you have to do is press one button and it starts without needing to partake in a long setup process.

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APAP machines work both with you and for you. Life is full of changes and your sleep apnea therapy should adapt with you to each and every curveball.


  1. ELAINE ELKO Reply

    Is this covered by my insurance, most likely? I use a CPAP right now….;.;

  2. ELAINE ELKO Reply


    • MICHAEL LIN Reply

      Thanks for the great questions, Elaine!

      This all depends on your preferred cleaning method. The Lumin CPAP cleaner is very convenient and operates differently than other cleaning products, using UV light to destroy 99% of bacteria, viruses, mold and fungi. Please call 1-800-356-5221 for assistance regarding payment options!


    • MICHAEL LIN Reply

      Hi Allen,

      We advise all customers to use the machine type recommended by their doctor. That being said, it’s important to note the differences between an APAP or BiPAP and speak with your doctor about your personal sleep preferences.

      BiPAP machines provide two distinct pressures. The higher pressure is needed for inhalation, while the lower pressure in need for exhalation. The lower pressure is intended to help you breathe out against the pressure of the machine.

      Auto Adjusting CPAP machines, or APAPs, adjust to your ideal pressure on a breath by breath basis. They can accommodate pressure changes from weight gain or loss, alcohol before bed and changing sleeping positions during sleep.


  3. Can you provide links to medical studies that say APAP is better than CPAP. Many years ago my doctor told me CPAP was better. I realize technologies change and sometimes medical opinions change – trying to get the most updated information.

  4. I have a DreamStation Auto Cpap. I have a problem with the variation in sound when the machine is in the auto mode–my breathing tries to sync with the sound variation of the machine, so I now have it set on cpap. I would like to have it on auto..Any suggestions ?

    • I have the same people with the dreamstation CPAP — I feel as though I have to match my breathing to the high and low pressure cycling but this leads to short and shallow breathing.

      I’d be interested to hear if anyone thinks that auto pap would be better, and if so, how do you find these settings on the machine?

      • Hi Pattie, I am a fan of auto-titrating machines because the machine will give you the pressure that you need on a breath-by-breath basis. This way, you are not receiving too little, or too much pressure. Please speak with your doctor about your interest in using your machine in auto-mode.

        If your machine has this feature and you would like to change the mode, we will be more than happy to assist you with the setting change. Please reach us at: 800-356-5221.

        Enjoy your day!

      • Christopher Jung Reply

        Every APAP I have used is basically an adjusting Bi-PaP. You set the min and Max pressure. Say 6 to 18. As you breath as long as everything is going good the pressure will stay low, one it determines a problem, even so slight you don’t notice, it increases pressure until the breathing is within normal or max pressure is hit.

        I had a Bi-PaP at 6 and 18. ( Wonder where those numbers from above were from?). With data from also my Max pressure used was usually under 9, occasionally if congested to 12-13.

        When I had Bi-PaP the high pressure was obviously much higher than I needed and I almost always woke up with a puffy feeling in face and eyes.

        With lower pressure I had less leakage, blowby ( nasal pillows) and issue with mouth leakage. Add to this I was able to just remove the humidifier. Didn’t need it with APAP. ( Because of APAP or just used to it, I don’t know). Been using a system one from Phillips for about 7 years.

        But research paper, bring info to your doctor (he may not know much about them, mine didn’t) and see if he thinks they are right for you. Best thing is, most if not all APAP will let you disable the auto and run as a standard Bi-PaP and if you have min and Max pressures set to Sam, as a CPAP.

        Hope this helps. I am not a pap expert but 7 years using and stayed at a holiday inn Express.

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