Before you can buy a CPAP machine, you’ll need to get a prescription from a medical professional that specifies which device you should get. It will also outline what pressure setting is required to treat Sleep Apnea. Getting an order is not as simple as going into the doctor’s office and asking for one. A CPAP machine is a specialized medical device, and the doctor will need to conduct a sleep study to know if you even have Sleep Apnea, to begin with.
Sleep studies measure the following:
blood oxygen levels
how many times you stop breathing in the night
how many times you wake up in the night
If the sleep study results show you have Sleep Apnea, they’ll prescribe a course of treatment, which may be done with a CPAP machine. The doctor could also prescribe BiPAP therapy, oral appliances, or recommend surgery.
What is a CPAP Machine?
“CPAP” is an acronym that stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure therapy, commonly known as CPAP, is the most prevalent form of treatment used to treat OSA. Many patients learn they’re suffering from OSA the same way – by getting diagnosed after a sleep study.
CPAP devices come in three different varieties:
there’s the traditional CPAP, which supplies therapy air at only one pressure.
APAP machines provide variable pressure that changes based on user needs during the night.
Each type of CPAP machine does something a little bit different, and each type is suitable for certain things. Generally, most people use APAPs because of their versatility and flexibility. Once you understand what sleep apnea machine works best for you, your next step in the buying process is to choose a brand.
How to Choose a CPAP Machine Manufacturer
When you get a CPAP machine through your insurance, you don’t get to choose your CPAP machine manufacturer, and you don’t get to select the features you want. Just like certain car companies rank higher in terms of overall satisfaction, build quality, or value for the dollar, CPAP manufacturers follow the same route.
Today’s top CPAP machine brands are Philips Respironics, ResMed, DeVilbiss, Fisher & Paykel, Somnetics, and Human Design Medical (HDM). There are several other key players in the field that you can confidently consider, too.
As with any big purchase, it helps to read the reviews. Customer Reviews will tell you a lot about the machine, and generally, it’s better to go with a device that has mostly good reviews.
Consider a Travel CPAP Machine
Unless you’re 100% certain you’ll never sleep in a bed other than yours, the portability factor is something to consider when looking to buy a CPAP machine. If you spend a good part of your life on the road, a specially-designed, travel CPAP machine may be the answer.
Even if you don’t travel often, there’s always going to be situations in which you’ll need to bring your machine to new sleeping environments. A lightweight and portable device is going to be a better fit than a large, bulky, heavy machine. Most modern CPAP machines are lightweight, and some even come with a carrying case, so there’s a chance you can find a highly portable device also if it’s not listed as a travel machine. All it takes is paying attention to the weight and finding one that fits your needs.
What Does a CPAP Machine Cost?
Getting a CPAP Machine on the cash market (like buying from CPAP.com or other online retailers) is going to cost less than what it would cost through the insurance company. CPAP machine cost varies throughout the year, as machines go on and off sales, but generally:
A CPAP machine is the least “fancy” of the three types and costs between $300 – $700
APAP machines have greater sophistication, and cost between $600 – $1,000
BiPAP machines are the most complicated, and cost between $1,000 – $2,000
Prices between different models of CPAP machines tend to fluctuate a lot, as different machines have different features. There’s a big difference in the degree of sophistication between a machine that costs $300 and a machine that costs $1,000. As is true of almost any product, you do get what you pay for, and the best CPAP machines are among the most expensive.
Where Can You Buy a CPAP Machine?
Most people that are new to treating Sleep Apnea may not realize that they have options when it comes to starting CPAP therapy. It may seem like the only option is to go through your insurance company to get a CPAP machine. That’s only one way to get started. You could also visit a local CPAP shop, but you may not find the selection is very good.
One of the best ways to get a CPAP machine is to order online. You’ll get the opportunity to get the exact quality and type of machine that you need for your therapy and not get bogged down by insurance red tape and regulations.
When you go through insurance, they choose the machine and give you the mask they think works the best. You have very little say in the type of device you get. Since the insurance company gets reimbursed the same whether you get a great machine or an average machine, they have little incentive to give you the highest quality machine.