New CPAP User Purchase Guide
  • 17 Jun 2022
  • 7 Minutes to read
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New CPAP User Purchase Guide

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Are you new to CPAP? If so, chances are you have a lot of questions, and it all can seem overwhelming. With all the options out there from CPAP machines to sleep apnea masks and tubing, you may be wondering where to begin. 

To get you started, we've put together this short video with an overview of choosing a CPAP machine:

In this article, we’ll start with CPAP basics and guide you through buying your first CPAP machine. 

What Is CPAP?

CPAP is Continuous Positive Air Pressure providing just enough air pressure to keep your airways open while you sleep.

If You Suspect You Have Sleep Apnea

If you are not sure whether you have sleep apnea, please refer to this article here. Once you have decided to seek out help, you will want to first see your Medical Doctor. 

Since you are new to CPAP, your doctor will require you to have a sleep study. You have two choices when it comes to sleep studies. Most doctors will refer you to a sleep clinic where you will spend the night (the In-Lab Sleep Study), and the clinic and doctor will determine your CPAP needs based on that study. 

More and more people are opting for In-Home Sleep Studies. These, while more comfortable, are only able to diagnose mild to moderate sleep apnea. 

The in-home sleep study is a less sensitive test that only monitors your breathing while you sleep. If you have severe sleep apnea or obstructive sleep apnea, you will be sent for a clinical lab sleep test.

To get a better idea which study is best for you, please read this article here

Q: I have severe central sleep apnea. What is the best machine for me?

A: Your doctor will be able to determine the best machine for your specific medical condition and treatment response. There is not a one-size-fits-all answer.

Making Your First CPAP Purchase

Once your Dr. has provided you with a prescription for CPAP therapy, you will want to start doing research into what machine will work for you and your budget. Your best first step would be to call a licensed CPAP dealer as they will guide you to which machine will work based on your prescription. 

Note that our experts here at Respshop are very good at helping first time users and can explain all the benefits and options that will fit into your budget. We don't recommend just making an online purchase without talking to someone first. 

Keep in mind that you will need a prescription to purchase a CPAP from any reputable company. A sleep study, whether in-home or in-lab, is the step to take to obtain a prescription. 

Here is a list of things to consider when making your first CPAP purchase.

The CPAP Machine Cost

The cost of your first CPAP machine will depend on your prescription from your doctor and of course your budget plus the features you are looking for.

CPAP Machines will come with a tube and typically a 2-year warranty. Masks are sold separately.

Manual or Single pressure CPAP machines with humidifiers start at about $400.

Auto Adjusting or APAP machines start at around $500 and go up depending on features.

BiPAP or VPAP machines are for more severe obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea and start at $1,600.

For a more detailed overview of different types of CPAP machines, please read this article here

Travel machines are great for travel and as back-up, but they are not recommended for daily home use. Travel machines start at $200 without a humidifier or comfort features and go up from there.

If you are using your insurance, make sure you don’t pay more than you would if you just purchased it yourself out of pocket. Many authorized online CPAP companies, such as Respshop.com, can help you make a cost-effective decision. 

Q: I am trying to save money when buying a CPAP. What are my options?

A: There are some lower cost models that do not have wifi and use an SD card to store sleep data. You can also rent your CPAP

Q: Do you sell refurbished units?

A: Not typically, but you can check our "Open Box" section for any items that we do have in this category.

Features of Your CPAP Machine

Your CPAP machine will come with many features, so we will cover just a few important ones here.

Expiatory Pressure Relief

A very important feature of your machine is the exhalation relief, which makes breathing out against the pressure feel more natural. Most CPAP machines have this feature. Each manufacturer refers to this feature differently, so ask about it when you purchase your machine and request it be turned on.

Humidification

Humidification is a very important feature. Unless you know for sure that you can sleep without the humidifier, opt for a machine that has one included. Without the humidifier, your sinuses and throat can become dry and inflamed, so even having a little humidity can be helpful. 

You will want to replace the water chamber every 6-12 months so the plastic does not leak water into your machine rendering the warranty obsolete as water damage is not covered.

Tubing

Your machine will come with a standard tube. However, if you live in a colder climate or like to keep your room cool when you sleep, you may notice you are getting condensation building up in your tube. Or, the air in your tube is too cold even though you are using the humidifier. 

The problem with condensation is that when you move around, the moisture in that tube could go into your mask, and you don't want to breathe in that water. A heated tube will also keep you more comfortable and your sinuses less irritated from the cold air.

Therapy Data

The final consideration is your CPAP therapy data. Most machines come with either an SD card or with Bluetooth capabilities which allow you to pair your CPAP machine with your smartphone to keep track of your performance or compliance. 

Your doctor may want to see how your therapy is going, and this is an easy way to provide that info to them. CPAP data software enables patients and clinicians to analyze the sleep data that is recorded by the CPAP machine to ensure compliance and to provide therapy feedback. 

This software data is stored, recorded and transferred in various formats, such as CD, SD card, USB data card, Bluetooth, or Smartlink module.

Q: Does the Bluetooth App work anywhere in the world?

A: No, it only works within the US.

Travel CPAP

If you travel, consider purchasing a Travel CPAP. These machines are much lighter and easier to carry, you don't have to worry about damaging your larger home machine, and it is always a good idea to have a back-up CPAP unit. 

We invite you to read this more detailed article on travel CPAP

Cleaning and Maintaining Your CPAP Machine

Now that you have your sleep apnea machine, you will need to consider how you will want to keep it clean and maintained properly. You have options when it comes to cleaning.

You can purchase a sanitizing machine, such as the SO CLEAN. You can also wash it using a mild detergent. You will want to clean your tube, mask and humidifier each day. 

You will also want to keep your device in top condition by replacing the filters, tubing, and mask regularly. To keep your machine running at top performance, manufacturers recommend replacing your tubing and mask cushion every 3 months and your complete mask every 6-9 months. 

Once you get organized and have a routine, cleaning your sleep apnea equipment will be a breeze. 

Choosing a CPAP Mask

Once you have decided on a CPAP machine, you will need to choose a CPAP mask. This may seem like a secondary decision; however, it is extremely important to the success of your therapy.

You will need to determine if you can sleep with your mouth closed, and if so, you have a lot of options available to you. If you sleep with your mouth open, you will need to either purchase a full face mask or possibly a nasal or pillow mask with a chin strap. 

We recommend not letting price be the decisive factor when purchasing a mask. This is something you wear every night and will largely determine the success of your therapy. Since you will want to find the most comfortable mask, we recommend calling our experts at Respshop.com to discuss your options. 

When purchasing a mask online, make sure the company has a sizing gauge to help you find the best fit. Some masks come with “Fit Packs,” meaning they include different sizes, taking the guesswork out of your selection and getting a good fit which is important in preventing mask leaks.

For a full article on mask sizing, including sizing gauges for different masks, click here

If you can sleep with your mouth closed, you are lucky and have more options! This means that you can choose either a nasal mask or a nasal pillow mask. The nasal mask typically fits just over or under your nose, and the pillow mask has nasal prongs that fit just inside the nostrils. Look for a mask that is easy to clean and to take apart.

CPAP Supplies

One last thing to consider when choosing a Durable Medical Device (DME) is if they will support you after the sale. Check to make sure they sell parts to your machine and mask and if they offer perks if you purchase from them regularly. 

You may want to look up how long they have been in business so if you do have a problem they will still be there.

We hope you have found this guide helpful and look forward to helping you should you want to make a CPAP purchase or have further questions. 


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