CPAP Product Reviews

Z1 Travel Portable CPAP/APAP Machine Review

Traveling with a CPAP requires a lightweight, compact machine—even better if it’s whisper-quiet, for those times when you’re using your machine on an airplane or in a tent at 8,000 feet. There’s nothing like the loud hissing or whirring of a noisy CPAP or APAP to draw unwanted attention (or to drive wildlife away).

If you’re looking for a small and subtle apnea machine with the advanced features of a larger CPAP, you may like the Z1 Travel Portable CPAP/APAP line from Human Design Medical (HDM). At just 10 ounces, the Z1 model is “the lightest CPAP machine available” according to the manufacturer. Z1 machines come equipped with a removable, optional battery system called the Powershell and boast features you’d typically see on larger CPAP or APAP models, including pressure relief, auto altitude adjusting, a failover power source, and a ramp feature.

These features—plus the availability of both CPAP and APAP models—make the Z1 a popular choice with frequent flyers, business travelers, and hikers and campers. The Z1 is versatile, sleekly designed, and easy to pack or keep bedside. Many users who’ve reviewed it on our site say it’s a pleasure to bring on trips; some have even opted to make the Z1 their every night machine.

Is the Z1 line a good CPAP/APAP choice for your travel or everyday needs? Read on to learn more about its features.

Lightweight, Small, Compact Design—Great for Travel and Camping

Both the APAP and CPAP in the Z1 line were designed by HDM for people with active lifestyles. If you travel or frequently find yourself sleeping outdoors, this line of portable machines is a handy choice. The Z1 CPAP and APAP boast the following features that make them ideal for people on the go:

  • Approved for use on flights. The Z1 models comply with aircraft travel standards and are permitted to be used on flights.
  • Auto Altitude Adjustment. The Z1 can operate from sea level up to 8,000 feet above sea level; the machine automatically adjusts as needed to accommodate changes in elevation. This makes it ideal for hiking and camping.
  • Small size. The Z1 machine is the lightest machine you can get, weighing in at just 10 ounces—less heavy than a can of soda, and about the same dimensions: 6.48″ long by 3.3″ wide by 2.02 high. Its compact size makes it ideal for carryon bags, overnight bags, or backpacks.
  • Travel-friendly accessories. The Z1 comes with a fabric carry pouch, 4-foot slim style tube, 2 disposable filters, a tube adapter, an AC power supply cord, micro USB cable instructions, and a heat moisture exchange unit. In addition, a number of travel accessories are available to customize your unit for your particular needs. The popular Q-Tube In-Line CPAP Muffler Kit muffles the sound of airflow, which is of particular help when you’re sharing close quarters with others or sleeping in nature. Battery and DC power options and adapters, a travel bag, and a luggage tag are also available.
  • Quiet. The Z1 operates at 26 dBA—quite a bit softer, in terms of noise, than comparable travel CPAPs and APAPs on the market. According to HDM, “a very quiet room fan 3 feet away and set to a low speed is noted as 35dBA.” What sound the Z1 does emit—mostly, from the mask and hose, rather than the machine itself—can be easily masked by a room fan, a white noise generator, or a muffler. Users say that paired with the available muffler (sold separately), the sound output is easy to ignore. Placing the machine a bit farther from the head also helps. One user pointed out that the cabin noise on an airplane is far louder than the Z1, eliminating their concerns about sounds interfering with fellow passengers’ comfort. On the whole, users report that the Z1 is quieter than expected.
  • Optional, removable PowerShell with battery. The Z1 optional PowerShell with Battery is fully integrated with the machine; the unique PowerShell design holds both the machine and battery together in a single compact bundle. You can use the battery to run the Z1 machine independently (for example, when camping), or use it as a failover in case of AC power interruptions, like during a brownout or blackout. The PowerShell includes a lanyard, which can be useful if you need to hang the full unit nearby, in the absence of a bedside table—for example, travelers might hang it off a headboard, a frame pack, or a tent ceiling loop.

The Advanced Features of a Larger CPAP Machine, in a Portable Size

The Z1 line of travel CPAPs and APAPs are particularly prized for their advanced features, including:

  • Z-Breathe Pressure Relief. This comfort feature offers a reduction in air pressure when exhaling, which makes breathing more closely mimic the process of natural sleep breathing. Users can choose to set Z-Breathe to one of three levels: 1 (gentle pressure relief), 2 (moderate pressure relief), or 3 (large pressure relief).
  • Auto Altitude Adjusting. The Z1 automatically adjusts as needed for changes in elevation up to 8,000 feet.
  • Leak Compensation. The Z1 adjusts pressure automatically to account for minor air leaks, so users will not need to worry about pressure loss affecting therapy. If pressure does drop, a “REMINDER” display will remind the user to correct the leak.
  • Ramp Feature. The Z1 machines include an optional ramp feature allowing pressure to start low and work up to the prescribed pressure—a comfort setting many users appreciate when they’re falling asleep.

Z1 Auto Travel CPAP Upgrades

If your doctor has approved or suggested an APAP machine in place of a CPAP, the Z1 Auto Travel is a convenient choice with one key technical advantage. In addition to gaining the benefits of auto-adjusting air pressure, the Z1 Auto comes with a sophisticated reporting tool upgrade over the standard Z1 Travel CPAP: a built-in Bluetooth chip used to wirelessly connect to a nearby smartphone or tablet using the free Nitelog app.

You can use Nitelog from an iOS or Android tablet or smartphone, where you can review or share report data for the past day, week, or 30 days of use. You can also use the app to adjust basic machine settings such as Z-Breathe and ramp.

The earlier model Z1 Travel CPAP records data such as usage time and leaks via the Z1 Software/firmware, but that software offers fewer features and is only compatible with Windows computers.

Z1 Battery Power Options

The Z1 is compatible with the Pilot-12 Lite, provided you purchase the Z1 & Z2 Mixed Cable Kit, which provides the correct cable to make the connection between the Pilot-12 Lite and your Z1. You won’t need to use an inverter at all, and you’ll be able to connect to your Z1 easily. 

The Z1 is also compatible with the Portable Outlet CPAP Battery, which is a battery that allows you to connect to any electronic device using the power supply. Just plug it in, and you’ll be ready to go! It’s designed to be robust enough to give you a full night of therapy even if you’re using humidification.

Lastly, let’s not forget the Z1 and Z2 PowerShell Battery pack, which is a CPAP battery designed to work specifically with the Z1. The battery is designed to give optimum performance using a device designed for the Z1.

Considerations (Possible Drawbacks)

What are some possible downsides to going with the Z1 Travel CPAP or APAP? We consulted user reviews and the listed features to develop the following list:

  • Data/compatibility is limited on the Z1 Travel CPAP. The Z1 Software used to collect and transmit data for the Z1 Travel CPAP is only compatible with 32 and 64 bit Windows computers (no Macs). However, the Z1 Auto CPAP (APAP) is Bluetooth enabled for use with a more robust and detailed app that can run on Android and Apple smartphones and tablets.
  • Sound. Some users find that the sound level from this travel machine is blissfully quiet, or at least tolerable; others dislike the air exchange hisses from the mask and hose, describing them as “high-pitched.” Fortunately, HDM will allow a 15-day trial to see if you can get comfortable with the noise.
  • Shorter risk-free trial period. Whereas competitor ResMed allows a 30-day risk-free trial of their travel CPAP, HDM grants just 15 days to decide whether or not the Z1 travel machine will work for you.

Conclusions

The quiet, lightweight Z1 Travel CPAP/APAP Machines by HDM are compact and easy to fit in just about any carry-on bag, backpack, or even purse. Advanced features like the ramp setting, auto altitude adjusting, leak compensation, and Z-Breathe pressure relief make this machine a reasonable option for every night use in addition to travel.

The unique Powershell with battery gives users the option to carry the battery or leave it at home, and the power failover option is a useful option for those traveling in areas that may lose power or experience interruptions.

In the new APAP model, the built-in Bluetooth and NiteLog app enable users to view reports from iPhone, iPads, and newer Android devices.

Customer feedback on our site often mentions good customer service from the manufacturer, HDM—another important plus.

Overall, the Z1 line of machines appears to be a wise choice for frequent travelers or outdoors enthusiasts looking for a quiet, easy-to-carry machine with a proven track record of happy users.

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