How to choose a CPAP mask
Choosing a CPAP mask can look daunting - particularly given how many are available. Our site currently has well over 50 masks to choose from, so there is plenty of choice. But where do you start? We'll help you narrow down those options and help ensure you get the right mask for you.
1) How do you breathe?
If you breathe through your nose, then you could use a Nasal Cushion or Nasal Pillows Mask. If you breathe through your nose but your mouth drops open, then you could consider using a chin strap to prevent that from happening.
If you breathe through your mouth, or sleep with your mouth open, then a Full Face Mask would be the way forward. If you are unsure, best to opt for a full face mask.
If you did choose a nasal mask, we would recommend having a full face mask as a backup in case you get a cold or other nasal or sinus issues which block your nasal passages.
2) Nasal breather - so nasal cushion, or nasal pillows?
80% of nasal masks that people buy from us are nasal cushion masks, with 20% going for nasal pillows. Nasal cushion is the first choice; they're generally considered easier to accept and more comfortable. However those who find a nasal or full face mask to be claustrophobic, or suffer from skin irritation (which RemZzzs may help) may find the nasal pillows option to be the best for them.
3) Which type of cushion to go for?
Nasal cushion and full face masks will have a cushion that will either be silicone or gel. The silicone cushions are usually clear, and these are the standard type of cushion. The gel cushions are usually blue (but something clear or use a different colour) and are generally considered to be more comfortable as they are softer and more adaptable. The gel cushion masks are usually a bit more expensive than their silicone equivalent (they have a premium of around £15 in most cases), so it is up to you as to whether this is a valuable upgrade.
If looking at nasal cushion masks, then you can also consider the SleepWeaver. It uses neither silicone or gel, and is instead made of fabric. This makes it considerably more comfortable than regular masks, so it is certainly worth having a look at.
4) Reviews, forums, feedback
We always recommend reading reviews that others have left about the mask you are considering to see what other people's experience of that mask is. You can also consult our forums, forums.cpap.co.uk to see what advice other CPAP users can provide when it comes to choosing a mask, or even a particular mask. While we could provide enough information to fill an encyclopedia, there is no substitute for the input of those who use and wear CPAP masks every night.