CPAP Machine Features
In this post, we’ll explain CPAP machine features you need to know, from power options for home/travel machines, an overview of CPAP machine warranty policies, to the technological features of the latest CPAP machines on the market. You’ll be a master of CPAP machine features in no time!
Standard CPAP Machines do not usually come with an integrated battery. This means that if you plan on taking your CPAP machine somewhere without a power source, you will need to find a way to power up your home or travel CPAP. Here are your options:
Most CPAP machines can accept battery kits. ResMed and Philips Respironics have developed their own battery kits, specifically for their machines, while battery specialty stores have manufactured universal battery kits to work with all types of CPAP machines.
The charge is good for one night, maybe two. But if you are planning to stay away for longer, a deep-cycle marine battery can be used and will provide power for up to three days, maybe more (depending on usage). You can re-charge the battery various ways but the most common is from using the DC outlet or an inverter.
2. DC Power Cord/Inverter/Converter
If your CPAP machine has a DC outlet, you can use a DC power cord and connect it to a cigarette lighter plug. A DC adapter cable with converter clips can be used with a deep cycle marine battery to offer direct power. If you do not have the DC outlet, you will need an inverter to convert your DC power to AC power.
Adapters have become necessary for traveling with a CPAP when power is derived from a battery. Some DC converters are even strong enough to power both the machine and the humidifier. However, the use of humidifier can drain the battery life by 50%. The DreamStation Go does not even offer a humidifier option.
3. Solar Power
Solar power is the newest option to recharge your battery kit. The Transcend Travel CPAP machine has a solar power option for those going off grid or do not expect to rely on an available power source.
The catch? You must have at least six hours of sun. But, this truly portable and sleek-designed charger is ideal for camping trips.
SunPower has also manufactured a solar panel that allows you to charge their Freedom Travel Battery Pack and is compatible with many popular CPAP machines.
Travel CPAP machines, on the other hand (like the DreamStation Go, Z1 Auto, and Transcend), have optional integrated batteries that the manufacturers made, available for purchase. The ResMed’s AirMini does not have a separate integrated battery. An integrated battery is designed specifically for the CPAP machine and does not require additional cables, inverters, and/or adapters. It simply attaches to your CPAP machine, using the same cord the CPAP machine uses for power. Once it is charged, it is ready for portable use.
The warranty duration is only one of the three factors you should be considering for a CPAP’s warranty policies, before purchasing a machine. The majority of CPAP machines have a 2-year warranty (Eg: ResMed and Philips Respironics), and some (Eg: DeVilbiss CPAP machines) have a 3-year warranty. The majority of CPAP humidifiers have a 1-year warranty, and some have a 2-year warranty.
A very important factor to consider is how convenient and quick the warranty service is. Manufacturers like Philips Respironics, ResMed and DeVilbiss have very convenient warranty services – you can trade your defective machine for a brand new one, and there is almost no idle time wasted between returning the faulty machine and receiving a new one.
On the other hand, some of the other manufacturers take longer to replace your machine, and they often repair the machine and send you a refurbished version, instead of a brand new model.
You should thoroughly check the manufacturer’s warranty policies before purchasing a CPAP machine.
There are a couple of ‘technological features’ that are common in many CPAP machines:
– Auto-adjusting pressure
All APAPs have this feature – the CPAP machine detects your sleeping behavior on a breath-by-breath basis, checking for flow limitations, apneas hypopneas, etc, and adjusting the pressure level accordingly. The exact capabilities depends on the manufacturer. Philips Respironics calls this the auto-adjusting pressure, ResMed calls this feature the AutoSet Algorithm, and F&P calls this the Auto Algorithm.
– Pressure relief at exhalation
Many of the latest CPAP machines are able to decrease the pressure level by up to 3 cm H2O at every out-breath, mimicking a more natural breathing pattern. This softens the transition between inhalation and exhalation, adding a layer of comfort to the CPAP user’s therapy. Respironics calls this A-flex/B-flex/C-flex, ResMed calls this EPR (Expiratory Pressure Relief), and F&P calls this SensAwake (though, the function of SensAwake slightly differs).
– Auto Start/Stop
Many of the top CPAP machines are able to detect when the user puts on their mask and starts breathing, and turn on the therapy accordingly. Likewise, once the user takes off their mask at the end of their therapy, the machine turns off automatically. This avoids the need to manually switch the machine on and off before and after each therapy session.
– Mask fit check
Many machines can tell you whether your mask is fitting snugly or not, usually with a green/red light. This way, if the machine detects that your mask isn’t fitting properly, you can readjust your mask before starting your therapy, to avoid any leakages.
– Leak compensation
Leak compensation is when the CPAP machine compensates the pressure level when leakages occur – i.e. when there is a leak, the pressure level is increased automatically. This ensures that you are able to continue your therapy at the optimal pressure level, even when some leaks occur. Most CPAP machines have this feature.
– Heated hose
Some CPAP machines (Eg: The AirSense 10, DreamStation, or ICON) have optional (or integrated) heated hoses. If the hose is heated, it keeps the humidification warm, making it more pleasant to breathe in the air during therapy. It’s basically an add-on comfort feature.
– Data tracking
All CPAP machines either have advanced data tracking, with which you can check all kinds of data like events per hour, leak rate, AHI, periodic breathing, etc., or basic compliance data, which shows basic information like usage hours. If you want to improve your therapy success and track your progress, we would recommend getting a machine with advanced data tracking.
– Ramp feature
Ramp is when, at the beginning of your CPAP therapy, the machine starts at a lower-than-prescribed pressure level and then gradually ‘ramps’ up the pressure over time. This is a comfort feature intended to make it easier to fall asleep, as users may find high pressure levels uncomfortable and distracting when trying to fall asleep. Most machines are equipped with this feature.
Many of the CPAP machines on the market have bluetooth capabilities, allowing the user to connect to an app (Eg: DreamMapper for Respironics) to track their data.
To see which of the top CPAP machines have the functions mentioned above, check out our post, “Best CPAP Machines Comparison Chart.”