How to Choose a CPAP Mask

How to Choose a CPAP Mask

February 26, 2014 | |

Each component is necessary for CPAP therapy, including CPAP machines, tubing, and optional use of a humidifier. They are all highly important and individualized decisions. However, choosing the right CPAP mask can be one of the most daunting tasks. It requires an individualized and personalized effort because opinions vary from one CPAP user to the next.

It also is nearly impossible to suggest a single CPAP mask that will provide all the comfort and effectiveness for every CPAP patient. However, because a CPAP mask is one of the most important factors in future compliance, it is vital to gain as much information as possible in order to make an informed decision when making your personal selection.

There are a wide variety of CPAP Masks available with different features to fit the needs and preferences of each individual while also providing the best fit and greatest degree of comfort. The most important properties to look for in a CPAP mask include style, fit, comfort, quality, price, and parts availability. Having one that fits properly and comfortably enables better compliance and increased acceptance of the therapy.

As one of the most important components of CPAP therapy, a mask generally comes in three primary styles including full face, nasal, or nasal pillow. There are also a number of other subcategories within the style range. These include Nasal Prong Masks, Oral Masks, and Hybrid Masks. Since each of these style categories is based more on individual preference, it is important to keep in mind that each style of CPAP mask will work with all CPAP machines.

The full face CPAP mask, which covers both the nose and mouth, is primarily for people who tend to breathe through their mouth while sleeping. What they all have in common is that each has a cushion that creates a seal on the face. This is to eliminate leakage. Additionally, they are securely in place by headgear that attaches to clips on the mask.

The traditional nasal CPAP mask covers just over the nose and has been the most popular mask available. Some have gel cushions while others are simple silicon or dual walled. Different styles accommodate different facial features and structures as well as preferred sleeping positions, beards, and glasses.

To wear nasal Pillow CPAP masks, start by inserting small, soft cannulas into the nares. Next, secure them with straps around the back of the head. Nasal pillows provide a feeling of openness and freedom during therapy. Nasal pillows systems' design is to keep the wearer’s field of vision clear in order to accommodate those that wear glasses and/or prefer to read or watch television prior to going to sleep.

How to Stop CPAP Mask Leaks?

If a CPAP mask is the wrong size or style, or the cushion is old and causing sores, air may leak out. This then reduces the effectiveness of the therapy. These leaks generally occur around the eyes or nose, which may indicate the CPAP mask is too big. Facial hair under the nose can also be the cause of a leak.

Other leaks can result when sleep positions interfere with the mask’s placement, particularly when sleeping on one’s stomach or side. There are special CPAP pillows to mitigate these types of leaks. When the leak occurs around the edge of the mask, this likely indicates that the cushion is losing its integrity. An old cushion requires a replacement for the mask to work properly again.

CPAP Mask Care and Parts

It is crucial that users take care of their CPAP mask and replace parts when it becomes necessary in order to maintain maximum therapy effectiveness. Most masks have replaceable cushions as well as headgear and other parts.

CPAP Mask Liners help with therapy compliance by creating a barrier between your face and silicone of the mask. This makes the masks more comfortable and eliminates most of the common problems such as skin irritation and air leaks. Mask liners also help to hold the mask in the correct position during sleep and allow people to use night-time skin products without affecting the silicone of the mask.

It is important to keep your masks clean and free of skin oils. They should be washed or wiped down daily. Manufacturers and suppliers suggest using warm water with a gentle, non-perfumed soap. They should be air dried out of direct sunlight. Antibacterial soap is not recommended as it reduces the longevity of the silicone parts. Any soap that contains lotions should also not be used because they can make the seal slippery. In order to be sure that the cleaning supplies are safe for all CPAP mask cleaning, leading suppliers like the CPAP Shop also sell CPAP Mask Wipes and Cleaners specially made for this purpose.

While this information covers the basics of choosing a CPAP mask, it is important to remember that you have support in making this decision. The task of choosing a one is easier when working with the experts at The CPAP Shop!

To begin viewing the many CPAP mask options available to you, please visit

Chris Vasta

Chris Vasta is the president of The CPAP Shop and an expert in sleep and respiratory therapy. He often provides insights on product design and functionality on various manufacturers’ prototypes and is frequently tapped to provide reviews on new releases.