Pros and Cons of Travel CPAP

September 11, 2019

Travel continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are a common way of treating sleep apnea when one is traveling. CPAP machines that are designed specifically for travel come with features that make them an ideal option for use away from home. Most of them come with design elements that are similar to standard CPAP model machines, which is a reflection of their quality. Some of the common models available on Easy CPAP include Somnetics Transcend, Philips Respironics DreamStation Go, Apex XT Fit, ResMed AirMini and Human Design Medical Z1 among others.  But what are the pros and cons of travel CPAPs?

The Pros:

Here are 5 pros of travel CPAP machines:

  1. They are highly portable

Most travel CPAPs models are highly portable and are designed to work with batteries. This means you do not have to connect them to power during travel. They are safe to carry in planes with no restrictions.

2. They are Silent

While the initial CPAP machines used in the early years of development were noisy, things have changed over time. Noise reduction has been one of the areas that competing manufacturers have sought to address over the year. The modern CPAP machines are virtually quiet which means users can sleep comfortably without being disturbed by the noise.

3. They have a sleek slimline tubing

For easy packing, some travel CPAP machines come with a smaller, slimline tubing that lessens the size of standard tubing. This does not change the airflow dynamics. Rather, the smaller tubes affect the pressure and add airspeed, but this should not worry because there is a programmed setting designed to accommodate these changes. Besides easier packing, it also makes the tubing flexible and easy to move when one is sleeping.

4. They come with integrated displays

Some travel CPAP machines come with integrated displays that make it easy to review data usage and settings. While the presence of a visual display does not in any way affect the size of a CPAP machine, in some devices, it removes the need for users to have a smartphone application. The display is designed to respond instantly to touch. This makes it easy for physicians, users and equipment providers to effect changes.

5. Some models have varying mask options

Most travel CPAP machines come with standard tubing connectors, making possible for users to use their favored mask. However, this only applies to some models. For instance, a model like AirMini only works with a restricted type of masks, specifically those that are variants of AirFit series because of the design of the humidifier. For other designs, any mask may be used with the tubing. This means if you prefer a certain mask model, this will be a deal-breaker.

The Cons

Here are some disadvantages of travel CPAP machines:

  1. The size of the travel CPAP machine may not be ideal

Though travel CPAP machines are not as big as standard versions, some models may still be too big to travel with. In the event their batteries are connected, their size and weight goes up and may not be desirable.

2. It may be challenging to get pressures that are consistently effective

In many instances, CPAP machines may not produce pressures that are consistently effective. The pressure variance coupled with algorithm responsiveness could be pointers that your CPAP device is not working as well as it should. This could mean getting higher pressures and a tighter range to make pressures effective. This also means you have to pay close attention at the initial stages of use and having a sleep physician helping with changes in settings.

3. The cost of owning travel CPAPs may be high

The cost of acquiring a travel CPAP ranges between $500 and $900. For some people, this price may be too high despite the fact that prices range from high end to low-end models. Highly prices CPAP models come with greater convenience. At the same time, insurance companies only cover new travel CPAP devices every 5 years so most costs have to be covered by the owner.

4. They may not have humidifiers

Standard CPAP models come with humidifiers to address the mouth dryness problem and not having them integrated into the devices is a problem.  If you are a CPAP user who already quit using added water, then not having a humidifier will not be an issue. However, if you experience persistent dry mouth or nosebleeds, then having a humidifier in your travel CPAP machine is a must. Sometimes using a nasal saline spray helps but if it does not work for you, the dryness could affect your CPAP therapy negatively.

5. It is not a guarantee CPAP buttons will be responsive

Some CPAP machine models have buttons that are really hard to push, which means their responsiveness is not consistent. Some models also come with clunky navigation menus that make it hard for users to use them effectively.

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