One of the first questions that people ask when it comes to travel CPAP machines is this: what is the size?
These machines are much smaller than traditional CPAP machines, which makes a significant difference. In fact, many of them are as small as your smartphone or alarm clock.
Most of the models on the market do have the option of running off a battery, which must be purchased separately in most cases. The length of time the battery will run on a single charge depends on the pressure being delivered as well as any accessory components, such as a heated humidifier. In most cases, under standard use, the battery should last for 1 to 2 nights.
You will find that most of the travel CPAP machines on the market have an Auto-CPAP option with default pressure settings ranging from 4 centimeters to 20 centimeters of water pressure. In order to get the most benefit from using the machine, you will need to consult with your sleep medicine provider so they can prescribe and refine your settings.
Also, it’s important to note that since this is a medical device, you will need a prescription in order to obtain one.
As with anything else, there are some benefits and there are drawbacks when it comes to using a travel CPAP machine. We will go over these below to help you determine if you want to try this non-intrusive anti-snoring device.
Travel CPAP machines offer features that make them a great option to use while away from home (or even at home, if you want). Many of the design elements are similar to those of standard models- and there have been some promising improvements as well.
Quiet. Advanced technology has created devices that make almost no noise. This is a significant improvement from the older models and is true among all of the manufacturers.
The tubing is smaller. Many of these devices feature slimline tubing, which is smaller than standard CPAP tubing. This makes it much easier to pack when you are traveling and also offers flexibility so you can move around when you’re sleeping. Of course, it is important to note that this does affect the flow- but the machines have a setting to accommodate for this.
Variety of mask options for some models. When you use standard tubing, it’s possible to use a favorite mask. There are a few models that only allow certain masks, but for most of the other models, any mask can be used. Therefore, if you’ve been using CPAP for a while and you have a mask that you like, this might be a good thing.
Integrated display. Many models have an integrated display that makes it easy to review your settings and usage data. This display does impact the size, but it eliminates the need to use an app on your smartphone. Additionally, it allows changes to be made by you, your sleep medicine provider, or your general medical provider. Most of the time, it’s touch-screen.
Grab a battery and go. Most of the travel CPAP machines are designed to accommodate an integrated battery. These devices are safe to take on a plane with you without restriction. Portable and handy - A CPAP machine can’t be carried everywhere without being cumbersome. With a CPAP alternative, it can be carried everywhere in your backpack.
Of course, when you’re considering a non-intrusive anti-snoring device such as a travel CPAP, it’s important that you consider the drawbacks as well. Some of these are minor inconveniences, while others may be more significant.
Pressures not consistently effective. Due to pressure variance and algorithm responsiveness, the device may not work as well as a traditional CPAP. You may need higher pressures and a tighter range for the machine to be effective, which means you’ll need to pay close attention when you are just getting started with it. Any changes to the settings must be input by your sleep medicine provider.
May not have a humidifier. If you don’t use the added water, this may not be an issue for you. However, if you experience dry mouth or nosebleeds, it may be a major one. If a saline nasal spray doesn’t help, therapy may be undermined. There is a reason the standard models included integrated humidifiers and sometimes not having one is a problem.
Button responsiveness not guaranteed. On some models, the buttons can be difficult to push and are not always responsive. Some models have a clunky navigation menu, especially compared to the more streamlined options.
Cost. For many people, the cost of these machines is a deterrent. They often sell from $500 to $900 and there is a wide variety of options. These are more expensive than standard CPAP machines. Unfortunately, insurance will only cover a new machine every 5 years, so you’ll likely have to pay for it out of pocket.
Size of device. Unfortunately, on the one feature they should shine in, portability, these machines often fail. They are much smaller than traditional CPAP machines, but once the battery is connected, the size and weight often make them difficult to travel with.
If you are interested in a non-invasive anti-snoring device, such as a travel CPAP machine, there are plenty of options on the market. Most of them are reliable, as the companies have plenty of experience in creating and manufacturing them. However, even though there have been some substantial improvements, there is still room to grow.