CPAP masks usually fit into three main categories: Nasal Pillows, Nasal Masks, and Full Face Masks. Each mask is best used for different types of CPAP users and cases.
Nasal Pillows offer an easy solution to CPAP masks. This type of mask is easy to achieve a good seal due to the shape of the nasal pillows. Nasal pillows usually have a membrane that protrudes from the front of the mask that lines up with your nostrils. These membranes fit snugly into your nostril and achieve a seal with little pressure from the headgear.
Nasal pillows traditionally were great for people who sleep mostly on their side and do not toss and turn too much through the night, but Philips and ResMed have made nasal pillows with more headgear to increase stability. This allows basically any type of sleeper to use a nasal pillow mask.
Nasal masks are a great form factor that is between a nasal pillow and a full face mask. Nasal masks usually have a normal about of headgear which allows them to be quite stable in their position. When compared to a nasal pillow mask, they can be slightly harder to get an appropriate seal, but not by much.
Nasal masks are preferred by users that don’t like the feeling of the nasal pillows membranes going into their nostrils. It is also a good form factor for restless sleepers due to its stable headgear.
Full face masks are the most traditional form of CPAP mask. There are two types of full face mask: Over the Nose, and Under the Nose (UTN).
Over the nose masks cover the mouth and nose, and sit on the bridge of the nose. While under the nose only covers the mouth, and sit against the nostrils. Under the nose is better for anyone who requires glasses, or wants an unobstructed view when reading or watching TV.
Full face masks require more pressure to get the same results when compared to the nasal or nasal pillow masks, due to the extra space the air must fill. Most machines have settings for each type of mask.
Hybrid masks allow you to alternate between mask types without having to buy a whole new mask set. Examples of Hybrid masks are the Philips DreamWear and ResMed N30i and P30i. These masks have interchangeable nasal and nasal pillow cushions, allowing a user to switch between a Nasal Pillow Mask, or Nasal Mask.
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