CPAP Therapy

How to Pick the Best CPAP Machine for Your Needs?

Don’t know the difference between a CPAP, APAP, or BiPAP machine? Need help picking the best Sleep Apnea machine for your needs? This article goes over the key differences between each type of machine, and helps you select the best one.

Which Style of Machine Works for You?

Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Moe.

It’s ok to be picky. Which CPAP machine to pick? When it comes to choosing the right one, it can be tricky. You definitely can’t navigate your choice by singing a rhyme and seeing which one you land on. To make your therapy more comfortable, it takes some knowledge and understanding of certain features that are offered. There are a spectrum of options, so let’s talk machines.

Dreamstation CPAP

CPAP Machine – Set at One Pressure Setting

Did you know the invention of the CPAP was propelled by reversing a vacuum cleaner? This reverse now provides the most common Sleep Apnea remedy. One constant flow of continuous positive air pressure to open your airway and prevent the obstruction caused by muscle relaxation.

What does a CPAP prescription need to say?

Your prescription is required to read “CPAP” and the doctor must prescribe the setting. A pressure needs to be determined before it can be shipped.

ResMed AirMini AutoSet best cpap machines

APAP Machine – Set at a Range of Pressure

Between doctors and manufacturers, APAP machines have earned many variations of its name; you might see it called an Auto Adjusting CPAP, Auto Pap, or just Auto. In every regard the “A” stands for “Automatic”. This is because APAP’s automatically adjust pressure on a breath by breath basis. Instead of blowing one set pressure stream like a CPAP, an APAP adjusts to the pressure necessary to keep airways open. While this machine is more expensive, many find it significantly more comfortable.

What does an APAP prescription need to say?

This prescription can read APAP or CPAP, but note, if your prescription reads APAP only it will not be suitable for a CPAP.

resmed bipap aircurve 10

BiPAP Machines – Set at Two Levels of Pressure

BiPAP machines may be referred to as:


BiLevels or VPAPs (Variable Positive Airway Pressure) and are less commonly used than APAPs or CPAPs. These complex machines deliver two unique pressure streams: one at inhalation and another at exhalation. BiPAP machines are typically used to treat people with respiratory disorders like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It would be smart to talk to your doctor on this one to see if your symptoms apply here.

What does an BiPAP prescription need to say?

This prescription must read BiLevel, BiPAP, or VPAP. The doctor will also have prescribed two pressure settings for your therapy.

cpap humidifier

Comfort Features for CPAP Therapy

CPAP machines have come a long way since they were originally invented in 1981. Today many have comfort features which help cut down on the discomfort associated with airway pressure. Different features like Flex, EPR, or SmartFlex technology relieve pressure during exhalation making it easier to breathe against the machine air. Additionally, many machines offer Ramp settings which starts you off at a lower pressure as you fall asleep, and “ramps” up to your full pressure requirement.

Why Do You Need a Humidifier?

Lastly, nearly all CPAP machines have an available humidifier. By adding moisture to your airstream your nasal cavity is less likely to become irritated from dryness. Humidifiers can be added separately if necessary. Or you can opt for ones with and built-in design. Be sure to check your heat setting, it can be adjusted according to your needs.

Take Your Pick

Now that you have more information on what your CPAP options are, let us know which one you picked! Need more information? No worries! Our CPAP experts are here to answer any questions you might have, just contact us through email, phone, or chat.

For more information on this and other topics, please see the following comprehenseive resource on: CPAP machines. There you’ll find more information about Sleep Apena and available treatment options.

For more information on this and other topics, please see the following resource: The Ultimate Guide to Treating Sleep Apnea. There you’ll find more information about Sleep Apnea and available treatment options, to help you in your journey.

Happy CPAPing!


  1. Ron Lavender Reply

    I’ve looked at the XT Fit CPAP and the XT Auto CPAP. At present I use a set pressure of 19, which is high, however I will be reducing this in time. With the Fit CPAP can I adjust it downward as required?

  2. Ron,

    Yep, the CPAP blows one set pressure, however that one set pressure can be changed. This machine is able to be set from 4-20cmH20.

    Hope that helps! Feel free to let us know if you have any other questions.

  3. I have an auto CPAP and when I run it at a fixed setting of 12 cm. and my AHI is always under 5. If I use it on auto mode my AHI is invariably greater then 5. Why is this?

  4. Steve,

    That’s unusual. It could be the default pressure range in the Auto setting is too low (ex. 4-10, instead of 4-20).

    I would encourage you to call in to our customer service team at 1-800-356-5221. They are experts when it comes to this stuff and can likely identify what might be causing this.

  5. Yes, there are indeed other trtmnaetes available for sleep apnea. There is surgery available which is done by laser, that cuts away the extra tissue in the airways which is causing the blockage. The surgery is available only to those individuals who are classified as having Severe sleep apnea. Then there is also an AMP dental appliance worn in the mouth like a retainer. The device essentially pulls the lower jaw forward and thus increase airway space. Talk to your doctor about these alturnatives to your treatment. I was wondering though, if it is latex that you are allergic to? Because I also have the same problem, and I was able to order a latex-free mask and tubing from my Apnea healthcare team. So that may also be a solution to your allergy. Good luck!

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