cpap masks

CPAP Mask Selection Discussion by Users

In a recent survey we asked over 300 CPAP users to tell us how they selected their current CPAP masks. The idea was that perhaps their individual stories or journeys to the perfect CPAP mask would be informative or inspirational to those still in the process of making their own CPAP mask selection. We've taken a few of the most compelling stories and compiled them in this post on CPAP mask selection.

The DreamWear nasal mask by Philips lets me sleep comfortably on my side and move about at night as the hose connects from the top of my head. My hands never get entangled in the hose. I also liked this mask because it does not make me feel claustrophobic and allows my mouth to be free. I sometimes try the Amara again when the other mask needs cleaning (the straps need washing every 2 days or they get smelly). But, I feel more comfortable with the nasal mask called Dreamwear.

Nasal pillow masks work well for me but only with the Nuance Gel Mask. The standard frame doesn't work well for me. As for my mask journey, I only tried a new mask design when I found one that overcame the one problem I had with an older design.

The masks do keep improving, and I try new ones with positive reviews every so often. I hate the lines on my face that are caused when a mask gets old. I also have trouble with leakage often.

As far as my CPAP mask selection, I've been using a CPAP for 15 years. I was initially given a nasal mask and something that resembled an oxygen mask with my first Resmed machine! Hated the nose prongs (stretched my nostrils) and felt very confined with the other mask! Tried a mask for women which worked better but the headgear didn't last very long and a prong broke off where the headgear attached! Very disappointing! Then, I found the one I use now! Love it!!

I followed the advice of the technician. (I also had to follow the orders of my doctor, who specified a full-face mask.) When my first mask wasn't working for me, the technician helped me pick out a better one. Seriously, if you want me to try a new mask, I need to get replacements via insurance. And that means I need everything approved by medical providers. That means I would need a “Try-On Day” somewhere with professionals.

I started with a nasal mask and it leaked and made my eyes dry. Then, I tried nasal pillows. I saw a smaller nasal pillows mask online and tried it and liked it.

During the sleep study, the technician asked which type I thought I would like the best. He brought out the ResMed Quattro FX in small and medium for a trial run. The medium fit the best and had fewer issues with leaks because I'm a mouth breather. I've been using with this model and size for four years.

I really like my therapy device and I like the minimalist design of the Dreamwear frame and mask. I'm purchasing the newly released nasal pillows to try in lieu of the cushions that came standard with my initial Dreamwear mask. Cushions were fine but at times I think they collapse and give obstruction readings. I liked the nasal pillows of the Optilife mask, but not the chinstrap and tight feeling. Dreamwear has no chinstrap or tight feeling and I am optimistic that the nasal pillows will give me the best of both worlds.

My advise to others is to keep on trying and to experiment with new products.

I find that comfort and a good seal are the most important features. I have to sleep on my back, and have not been able to keep my mask in place if I try to sleep on my side-- a negative to me. A prefect mask would be one that's quiet, comfortable and does not leak.

I originally tried the nasal mask, but due to deviated septum, frequent sinus infections, and the high pressure I need, I also have a full face mask. The full-face mask leaks more, but I have developed less and less tolerance to the nasal only mask.

I had trouble keeping them on my head. They would slide up my head and almost come off, therefore, breaking the seal. Therefore I tried several masks before finding a good fit that would stay on all night.  I found my current Resmed F20. Also as my pressure raised higher some masks could not take the increased pressure.

I was recommended the full-face mask because I was snoring and found the chinstrap doesn't work for me. Due to irritation and cuts to my nose, I chose the pillows as an alternative. I also was using a nasal mask with the same effect as the full-face mask. The nasal mask seems to have a better effect on my overall sleep than any other at the moment.

Well for my CPAP mask selection story, I was recommended a nasal mask initially, which I used successfully for years.  I then saw a sleep technologist and told them of extreme dry mouth and constant fussing with the mask fit, so they recommended I try a full face mask. I've used the nasal type for 10 years but sinus allergies caused me to breath through my mouth. I tried the Res Med F10 first and then when the ResMed F20 came out it got rid of red marks on my face due to excellent cushioning.

I've used the Swift FX for years and I'm on my second headgear for this system. But the air blowing out the front of the mask and the near constant awareness of the tubing kept me looking. The new Dreamwear is almost there for comfort and ergonomics, but the seal does not quite work for my Asian nose, leaking far too much to be effective. The ideal fix may be the DreamWear Gel Pillows, which would add a layer of gel to the flat surface of the nasal holes, creating a better seal that had been missing in the original design. Time will tell! I've not gotten them yet but feel like this could be the best balance between comfort and placement of the tubing.

I have always just accepted what my physician's office staff sold me without checking into the options. They only offered the mask kits and no replacement parts so every time I needed pieces for my mask it was over $200. I am now looking into more affordable options that hopefully fit better

Picked pillows and have been satisfied. Now the supplier went and changed the design..what next? I had the perfect mask!

I have primary central sleep apnea, so my CPAP mask selection story may differ from others. Started with a CPAP machine and a nasal mask. This didn't work well because of mouth leaks. Moved to a full face mask, and tried hard for compliance, but I still had >15 ahi, and was fighting leaks constantly. Went through a second sleep study and obtained an asv machine. Also tried a new ResMed mask (Quattro air) with vastly better results. Almost never have > 1 apnea event per hour and feel much better; improved cognitively, increased alertness, less fatigue. I don't intend to abandon therapy after getting so much out of it.

Did sleep clinic twice, mask selected for me. It was very uncomfortable and they put me in a nasal pillow. Straps would not stay on head. Tried several others before finding one that serves my purpose and I have only had it a few days and so far so good!

I don't think there is a perfect mask.

I tried everything, and I mean everything, until I found the Quattro Mirage. I've been using that for years. The hose gets in the way at times, I use cloth gaskets to keep from getting nose sores, it leaks at times, but overall it has been the best experience. I use a vpap adapt at very high pressure, so it's tough to find a mask that's "perfect."

I found a mask that was comfortable years ago, the Sleepnet Phantom mask. However, it has been discontinued, so now I'm trying to find another nasal mask that is comfortable for me.  I'm using a trial and error system and reading online reviews, and listening to referrals from friends.

I was diagnosed with sigmoid colon cancer five years ago. I had chemo for one year during which I was diagnosed with OSA and prescribed a Resmed S9 auto. Also, I suffer from COPD (emphysema/bronchiectisis), but then lung cancer in 2015. Operation to remove wedge section of upper lobe. I tried many masks, but find that, although I now use a bipap AVAPS machine, ResMed seem to make the most comfortable masks and with a pressure of 14 EPAP and 23 IPAP the Airfit F20 does not leak so much and is reasonably comfortable. I used to use Airfit F10 before that the Quattro FX and Quattro Air.  That's pretty much my CPAP mask selection story.

I have tried different masks and different C PAP machines. Its been trial and error and trying to get as much information and reading reviews before hand which makes the difference. I tried different masks until I found one I liked and was comfortable to sleep in. It was a struggle years ago to find the right mask. Now I am comfortable and sleeping better.

I started out with a full face and in the morning hated the gas entrapment and pressure point discomfort. I then went to a nasal mask with similar pressure point issues. That led me to nasal cushions, which weren't bad, however a friend of mine ask me, "If I had tried nasal pillows?" He gave me a sample, and the rest is history! I haven't changed from the ResMed or looked back!

Went through 8 different masks by various manufacturers until I landed one that fit my particular needs and comfort and offered the best breathing with my machine.

When I first started my BiPap/CPAP journey 12 years, I knew absolutely nothing about the products that were on the market. I was given a "gel comfort" nasal mask which I found to provide absolute no comfort at all. It was cutting into my nose and I was going to work with an open wound on the bridge of my nose. I called my provider a week later and explained that I was not comfortable with the mask and their response was pretty much "tough - insurance won't cover a new mask for 6 more months". That's when I took it upon myself to investigate what my options were and I ordered several masks over the next few months from different manufacturers (resmed, fisher paykal, respironics etc) to find a mask that provided me with the comfort I needed to succeed in my therapy. I found a few, mostly nasal masks, that I liked (some now discontinued) and have successfully stuck through my therapy. Now I mostly use pillows as I have found a style that is comfortable for me but for the last month I have been experimenting with a nasal mask that seems to provide a good seal and is also the most comfortable of all the nasal masks I have used. I'm finding though that most everyone seems to recommend a Large or Extra Large mask or pillow for me (maybe its the standard for many men) but I'm beginning to find out that Medium and in some cases Small provides a more proper fit to decrease air leakage around my face. The nasal and full face headgear seem to be more prohibitive in my comfort as opposed to the nasal pillows headgear which may prevent me from sticking long term with either the nasal or full face masks. Although when it comes to my sleep therapy, I may be willing to sacrifice some comfort for excellent results in CPAP mask selection.

I started with my CPAP in 2001. I've had two different home machines in that time, three sleep studies and 25 or so different masks. Now that I am able to breathe better and travel, I also have a Z1 with a small mask. It's okay for a two week trip, but I miss water vapor. CPAP has made my life better as I sleep better and am able to breathe better during the day. I don't sleep at night without it.

When I started CPAP therapy, I was not convinced it would help. However, I was having trouble falling asleep when driving, but I did not tell my doctor because I did not want to lose my license. And for the same reason I tried CPAP, because I did not want to kill myself or someone else, while driving. It did an abrupt about face for me. More energy, more stamina, overall better outlook. The PERFECT mask would have minimal head strap or none at all. Pie in the sky!

Final Words on CPAP Mask Selection

If you've enjoyed reading CPAP mask selection user stories, please check our Facebook feed.  For the next few weeks we plan on sharing user's CPAP mask selection stories there.  Also, feel free to comment and possibly help others on their individual CPAP mask selection journeys.  We want to help others find their "perfect CPAP mask" too!

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.