Updated: February 8, 2019
Let’s face it. Nothing’s worse than a noisy CPAP machine. In this article, we’ll go over the following topics:
- Are CPAP machines loud?
- What are the quietest CPAP machines on the market?
- What are some tips on noise reduction?
Let’s dive right in!
Using a CPAP machine is supposed to improve your quality of sleep, but some users find that the noise of their machine can actually make it more difficult.
If you’re looking for a quiet CPAP machine, you’re probably digging through reviews to find out what other users are saying.
The only problem – everyone perceives sound differently. This means that even when machines are advertised as being “quiet,” user reviews on quietness can vary, leaving you confused.
When you’re trying to find the quietest CPAP machine for quiet therapy and a good night of rest, here are a few tips and ideas to keep in mind.
How Loud is a CPAP Machine?
Every CPAP machine comes with a decibel (dB) rating that’s specified by the manufacturer. Most CPAP machines are rated at about 30dB, which is equivalent to the sound of raindrops. For comparison:
- 20 decibels is like a whisper or softly rustling leaves
- 40 decibels is like the sound of your refrigerator humming.
- Snoring can be as loud as 60 – 90 decibels.
Yikes! What can be as loud (or louder) than snoring?
- Vacuum cleaners — 70 decibels
- Chainsaws – 100 decibels
Sometimes, snoring can even be as loud as doing laundry or other household chores. Who knew snoring was so loud!
Of course, your perception of sound, as well as the conditions of your sleeping area, can make it tough to gauge. What could sound ok to you, might really bother someone else.
When users switch to a new machine, it often sounds a lot louder at first when it’s not. Every CPAP machine has its own sonic quality, so even though machines may have the same decibel rating, they still will sound a bit different.
Take the Transcend and DreamStation Go:
While technically a quiet machine (at only 26 decibels) some people don’t like the pitch the Transcend makes. Whether or not it will bother you varies from person to person. You may not be bothered by it at all.
The DreamStation Go checks in at 30 decibels and makes a very audible noise, rated louder than most other machines, but some people will be comfortable with that while others won’t.
Sometimes it just takes a bit of time to get accustomed to the new sound.
And background noise doesn’t have to be bad. For example, some people are able to be very productive in a cafe, and those same people can often fall asleep with a little noise. You may be able to also. Only you can know if you’re extremely sensitive to noises, so keep that in mind when planning for your new machine.
What are the Quietest Machines Available Today?
The quietest CPAP Machines have a decibel rating that is lower than 30 Db. Here are the quietest CPAP machines on the market. In no particular order:
“I had a system one and though it wasn’t a bad machine this new one is great, my wife couldn’t tell it was running and the ease of the Bluetooth to get the data in the morning is a nice touch.”
Many users report loving how quiet the DreamStation Auto CPAP Machine is, and the machine has a stand-alone decibel rating of 25.8 dBA.
However, if you use the optional humidifier, the noise level goes up to 27.9 dBA.
Along with its reputation for quietness, it offers other great features like OptiStart Technology, A-Flex Pressure Relief, Bluetooth connectivity, and a user-friendly, colorful display.
“This machine is awesome. It is extremely quiet. In fact, on startup and before ramp up it is almost totally silent. You can’t even tell it is on. The look of this AirSense 10 is that of a clock radio. It is smaller than my S8 and the Humidifier is integrated and fits quite snugly into the side. It is easy to get in and out and the tank is hinged…perfect.”
Manufactured by ResMed, the AirSense 10 has a sound level of 26.6 dBA and gets great reviews from users for its quiet operation.
It’s not only quiet, but it’s also one of the best CPAP machines on the market today!
- It also has a built-in heated humidifier and a very sleek design that keeps it light for easy traveling.
- With Advanced Data options, an AutoSet Algorithm, and a My Options Color LCD Display, it’s easy to see why this machine has a five-star user rating.
“I switched from a two-year-old CPAP to this auto CPAP four nights ago. I am amazed at how much the tech has advanced in two years. This unit is much smaller and lighter, which is very helpful for travel. It also is much quieter.”
Marketed as one of the quietest CPAP machines on the market, this machine also comes with a five-year industry-leading warranty, which is why so many users like it.
Users give it a five-star rating, commenting on its quiet operation, lightweight, and ease of use.
Top features include an easy-to-follow CPAP user menu, backlit LCD screen, SmartCode compliance tracking, and an optional integrated heated humidifier.
Add to that a very reasonable price tag and it’s no surprise that this machine is a customer favorite.
I’ve used it at home for several nights, and I slept well. So thumbs up! It is certainly going to be a lot easier to pack for vacations than my regular machine! I appreciate that I can use my regular mask and did not have to buy a special one. I’m planning to order the battery pack for it, too!
The Z1 CPAP machine is one of the quietest travel CPAPs on the market today with a sound rating of 26 dBA.
User reviews vary on the noise level, with some reporting they found it a bit loud, and others reporting that their partner found the noise a bit loud.
It’s low price and compact design for traveling still make it a great choice, and features like Auto Altitude Adjusting, Advanced Sleep Data Reporting, and the 15-day risk-free trial make it an attractive option.
“The unit is quiet. In the winter I tuck it inside my sleeping bag and included the “cuddle” hose cover to keep things cozy. P8 battery has gone beyond expectation with 3.5 nights of use on the first two trips. Total weight with carrying case and solar charger 3.75 pounds!”
If you’re specifically looking for something small that travels easily while offering quiet operation, the Transcend Auto miniCPAP Machine offers all that and more. It has a sound level rating of 26.6 dB and is one of the smallest Auto CPAP machines available on the market.
While some people note that it’s not their first choice for regular use (though not loud, some users dislike the pitch it makes), when you need a machine that travels well without weighing you down, this option is hard to beat.
Other features include EZEX Pressure Relief, Auto-Adjusting Technology, and the ability to try it risk-free for 10 days.
6 Tips for Creating a Quiet CPAP Environment
So many different things can influence how loud your CPAP machine seems to you.
Here’s the kicker:
Several different factors affect the sound of your machine, so there are several things you can do to create a quiet CPAP environment.
1. Change the Filter Regularly to Keep Your Machine Quieter
It’s so important to change your filter regularly to reduce the noise level and improve the performance of your CPAP machine. If your machine seems to get louder, it may need a filter change. Not only will filter changes reduce the noise level so you can sleep more soundly at night but a filter also keeps the dust and dirt out of your machine motor will prolong the life of your machine, too.
2. Keep Your CPAP Machine Away from Your Ears
In many cases, having your CPAP machine below ear level can reduce the noise. You don’t have to keep it on your nightstand next to your head. Keep it below your bed and it may reduce the noise and vibration. You can also go with a longer hose so your machine can be placed further away from your bed. Just remember that a longer hose increases the chance of rainout if you use a humidifier with your machine.
3. Consider a CPAP Machine with an Integrated Humidifier
Machines used with optional humidifiers often are reviewed as noisier, and some users decide to go with standalone humidifiers that can be placed further away from the machine. A quieter choice can be a machine that has an integrated humidifier since the sound is condensed a bit when the humidifier is attached.
4. Pair Your CPAP Machine with a Quiet Mask
You may be surprised to learn that a lot of the noise you hear at night as air traveling through the hose and into your mask. Your machine might be very quiet, but your mask could be noisy. Inform yourself on the best quiet CPAP masks for quieter CPAP therapy. You can also purchase masks that come with free returns so you can send them back if you’re not happy with the noise level.
5. Reduce Vibration and Sound by Placing Your Machine on a Soft Surface
Sometimes your breathing pattern or pressure settings may result in a louder machine. Lowering the intensity of the machine’s vibration by placing it on a towel or foam pad can reduce the noise.
6. Consider Using a CPAP Muffler to Help Reduce Hose Noise
Just like a muffler for your car, the Q-Tube Inline CPAP Muffler Kit helps dampen the sound of the air as it moves through the hose to your mask. This helps reduce the level of noise traveling through the tube so that it’s even quieter than what you may be used to. This product is great for anyone who’s extremely noise sensitive.
Although everyone’s perception of sound is a little different, it is possible to find a quiet CPAP machine that allows you and your partner to enjoy a good night of rest. Try some of our tips for quieter operation or consider upgrading to one of the industry’s quietest CPAP machines.
To help choose your first or next CPAP machines, we’ve created the following comprehensive guide to the best CPAP machines. We hope you find the information helpful as you get on your path to CPAP success!
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David Repasky has been using CPAP treatment since 2017 and has first-hand experience with what it’s like to live with Sleep Apnea. He brings the patient’s perspective to the CPAP.com blog and has received formal training in CPAP machines, masks, and equipment.