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Which CPAP Mask is right for you?
With so many new models and types of CPAP masks on the market these days, choosing one that is right for you may feel overwhelming. Here, you will find a quick guide designed to outline the features of and differences between the three main CPAP mask styles: nasal pillows, nasal masks, and full-face masks. Nasal Pillows The least cumbersome of all the CPAP masks, nasal pillows are minimalistic and great for sleepers who suffer from claustrophobia or do not like a lot of material. They rest on the upper lip and contain two soft plastic cylinders that are directly inserted into the nostrils. Some benefits of nasal pillows include:

  • Good field of vision with mask on due to its small size. This allows users to easily watch TV or read before they fall asleep
  • Extremely lightweight with minimal material
  • Less chance of leaks as the prongs are inserted directly into the nostrils

Other considerations:

  • Very direct pressure, as the prongs are in the nose (as opposed to covering it). Higher pressures or more severe cases of sleep apnea may require a nasal mask for increased comfort and security.
  • Not ideal or recommended for mouth breathers

Popular nasal pillows:

  • Resmed P10
  • Respironics Dreamwear

Nasal Masks Nasal masks cover the nose only. As far as CPAP masks go, they are relatively comfortable for the user.  The natural choice for new CPAP users is to gravitate towards the less bulky nasal pillows, but those may not work for everyone. Sometimes, nasal masks can be a better choice as the pressure is not as direct, which many find more comfortable. Other benefits of nasal masks include:

  • More suited to higher pressure settings than nasal pillows
  • The options are almost endless: every producer manufactures a wide variety of nasal masks with varying shapes, straps, etc.
  • Headgear keeps mask in place through tossing and turning

Other considerations:

  • Not recommended for mouth breathers, unless used with a chin strap
  • Not recommended for people who have history of nasal problems (i.e. deviated septum, frequent allergies)

Popular nasal masks:

  • Respironics Wisp
  • Fisher & Paykel Eson

Full Face Masks Full face masks are the largest type of CPAP mask, covering the nose and mouth of the user, with straps on the sides to keep it in place. These types of masks can appear a little daunting due to their size, but there are real benefits associated with this type of mask:

  • They are ideal for mouth breathers, or people who have not responded well to nasal pillows, nasal masks, or chin straps
  • Work well with high pressure settings
  • Straps are helpful in keeping mask secure for restless sleepers

Other considerations:

  • Larger surface area comes with a greater chance of leaks
  • A bit more difficult to read or watch TV before bed (they obstruct vision more than nasal masks or nasal pillows)

Popular Full Face Masks:

  • ResMed Airfit F10, F20, F30, Simplus
  • Resmed Mirage Quattro

Whether you are new to CPAP therapy or interested in making a mask change, it’s important to consider the drawbacks and benefits of each CPAP mask before deciding on one.