Sleep Your Way to Health : CPAP Machine Buyers Guide

To be honest a lot of people stress out over buying a CPAP machine to get. And that’s not the case. By the end of this page you’ll be able to chose the right machine for your needs.

There are 3 types of CPAP machines:

  • CPAP
  • BiPAP
  • APAP (aka VPAP)

CPAP Machine

Sample CPAP Machine

Source: RESMed

CPAP machines provide a continuous positive airway pressure. Which is a fancy way of saying the machine blows air into your mouth or nose. This type of machine provides a constant pressure required to keep your airways open.

BiPAP Machine

Sample BiPAP Machine

Src: Philips

A BiPAP or BiLevel PAP machine supplies the air like CPAP but it reduces the pressure when you breathe out. This makes breathing a lot easier: you don’t feel like someone is trying to smother you when you breathe out.

APAP or VPAP Machine

Sample APAP Machine

Src: RESMed

APAP (Automated Positive Airway Pressure) or VPAP (variable positive airway pressure) is the bee’s knees of CPAP machines. Instead of having a fixed pressure when you breathe in or out this device adjusts automatically to the type of pressure you need for breathing in and breathing out. It does this with every breath you take. This is very useful if you have different pressure needs through out the night but these machines are more expensive.

How to Choose Your Sleep Apnea Machine

In the end it comes down to three things:

  • The type of machine your doctor suggests (CPAP, BiPAP or APAP).
  • How much you can afford/how much your insurance company will pay.
  • If you have allergies.

There are other nice features such as digital tracking and ramp up but in the end the above three criteria are the main decision points.

What Type of Machine Should You Get?

Your doctor will tell you what type of machine you will need. It will normally be for a CPAP Machine or BiPAP machine.

If you can, ask your doctor to write a prescription for an APAP device. The APAP device can be configured to run like BiPAP or CPAP. If not ask for a BiPAP machine as it can operate like a CPAP machine when configured to do so.

In the end though you should always follow your doctor’s advice.

How much does a CPAP Machine Cost?

The price range for sleep apnea machines for sale are:

  • CPAP Price Range: $189.00 to $949.
  • BiPAP Price Range: $945 to $2895.
  • APAP Price Range: $341 to $1025.

How noisy are CPAP machines?

One of the major considerations is the quietness of the machine.

My first machine was a rental and was obnoxiously loud. It was like the noise a truck makes driving past your window. It was so loud that it kept me awake. So much for improving my sleep. In the end I stopped using my machine so I could at least get some sleep.

The second machine was quieter but still too noisy. The manufacturer said it was ‘only’ 30dB. It kept my wife awake at night. So that one had to go.

We finally bought a more expensive one that was rated at 26dB. Only 4dB difference but what a difference. We could both whisper to each other and still hear each other.

Most machines are in the 26 to 30 decibel range. To put that in context a 26dB machine is like someone whispering, whereas 30dB is the noise a fridge makes.

It’s best to buy a machine that’s as quiet as possible.

Top Tip: rent your machine before you buy it. That way you know what noise level you can expect. Also some companies allow you to put the rental fees towards the price of a new machine thereby making the rental free while you try out different machines.

Why Should I Care About CPAP Digital Recording?

Some medicare programs require proof that you are actually using your machine, aka medicare DME. If that’s the case you’ll also need a machine that captures usage data.

This is also known as Full Digital Recording.

This data recording is also useful when going to the doctor and getting updates to your prescription. It’ll provide data about leaks and how often you use the machine. This makes you accountable to your doctor that you’re using the machine properly. He’ll also be able to see when the machine is working and what adjustments need to be made.

Other Features to Consider when Buying a CPAP Machine

One of the most important feature of a CPAP machine is whether or not it has a Humidifier. Humidifier is essential for using with these machines as it prevents drying out your nose and causing nose bleeds. For more information read our Humidifier Buyer’s Guide.

All CPAP machines come with a hose that connects the machine to the mask. There are many different features of hoses:

  • Heated
  • Slimline
  • Light weight
  • Covered.

For more information please read our Accessories Buyer’s Guide.

Another great feature is the Ramp-Up. It starts the air pressure at a lower level while you try to get to sleep. After a while it will slowly increase the pressure until it reaches the correct level. This really helps getting to sleep.

Best CPAP Machines in 2014

CPAP

There are two machines that are competing for best CPAP:

Both are excellent machines but I prefer the ResMed S9 because it’s smaller than the System One and fits on my bedside table better. It’s also easier to travel with.

S9 Elite Machine

Src: RESmed

BiPAP

For the best BiPAP I have to go with Philips Resprionics BiPAP Pro.

Philips Resprionics BiPAP Pr

Src: Philips

ResMed don’t produce a BiPAP instead they focus on APAP machines.

APAP

Philips system One 60S

Src: Philips

For the best APAP machine I recommend the Respironics PR System One REM Star 60S because:

  • Replacement parts are cheaper than ResMed S9Auto.
  • The hose adapter swivels and is on top of the machine so doesn’t get trapped as often.
  • The humidifier water bottle is dishwasher friendly.

However if you have allergies then the ResMed S9 Auto is the one to go for because of it’s advanced selection of filters.

Where to buy New CPAP Machines

There are a number of sellers but for price and selection I recommend Vitality Medical: they have competitive prices and free shipping on all machines.

Where to buy Used CPAP Machines

SecondWindCPAP.com has used CPAP machines for sale. You can save about $300 over new prices. This is good if you have to buy your own machine and have limited funds.

But they are older machines and are likely to be noisier than newer machines. Spare parts can be difficult to find.

Another good source for CPAP Machines is ebay.com. There aren’t many but the prices are good. Unlike secondwindcpap these machines aren’t likely to have been recently serviced so beware.

But the cheapest option would be go to an online ad site like craigslist. I came across an older ResMed S8 Escape with H4i Humidifier and Quattro FX mask for $200. It was 6 months old and to buy it new would have been $800 plus $185 for the mask. Quite the steal.

Where to get a Free CPAP Machine

It’s not impossible to get a free cpap machine.

The American Sleep Apena Association provides CPAP machine and masks for people that don’t have medical insurance or can’t afford a machine. You will be expected to make a $100 donation to ASAA so it’s not totally free but it makes it much more affordable. For more information go here: http://www.sleepapnea.org/resources/cpap-assistance-program.html

Another way is to go to a sleep disorder center. They run research programs and if accepted may provide you with a machine free of charge.