CPAP machines are essential tools for people with sleep apnea, but the standard-grade models can be quite bulky and heavy.
If you’re looking for a portable option that you can take with you on your travels, then a travel CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine may be the best choice for you.
Before you buy one, however, there are some things you should keep in mind.
1) Length and Frequency of Travel
The first thing you’ll have to consider is how often you travel and how long your trips are. If you only take short weekend getaways, then a smaller and more lightweight machine may be all you need.
If you’re gone for longer periods or tend to do a lot of international travel, however, then you’ll need a machine that can handle longer flights and power outages.
Note: It’s highly recommended that you carry your CPAP machine along with you in your carry-on luggage. This is to ensure that it won’t get damaged or lost in transit. This equipment is FAA-approved – so you wouldn’t need to worry about them being confiscated by airport security.
2) Power Requirements
Many CPAP machines are powered by an external battery. Ensure that the model you purchase has the correct voltage and amperage for the electrical outlets at your location.
In addition, if you’re going to be stuck on a long flight, you’ll want to have a good extension cord or a rechargeable battery to keep your machine running.
Some machines also have an AC adaptor, which is useful if you’re visiting a nation that utilizes a different voltage than your own (110V vs 220V). But if your machine doesn’t come with that, you can always purchase a universal adapter.
3) Size and Weight
For you to reap the full therapeutic benefits of the machine, you must use the device daily. That said, carrying a bulky machine isn’t always the most feasible option.
That’s why it’s important to consider the size and weight of the machine when making your purchase. Models that are compact and lightweight are perfect for travel, featuring the most essential functions with added mobility and protection. These machines weigh less than one kilogram, making it easy to tote them with you on your journeys.
On top of that, some travel CPAP machines also come with a dedicated carrying case, which makes transporting it even easier.
4) Noise Levels
Most CPAP machines are not noisy—however, the sound level could be a concern if you’re looking to purchase a travel machine.
Some of the smaller and lighter machines can emit up to 30dB of noise, which is equivalent to the sound of a fan running. This gets drowned out in aeroplanes (which reaches up to 140dB during takeoff), but may be noticeable in small, cramped spaces. If this is too loud for you, then you’ll want to consider a machine with a lower noise level.
If you plan to stay in a hostel or shared space, it’s ideal to get a machine that’s not too noisy. But overall, travel CPAP machines don’t make a lot of noise and are perfect for use in a hotel or home.
5) Doctor’s Prescription
It’s required that you consult with your doctor before purchasing a travel CPAP machine. This medical equipment is a Class II medical device, which necessitates a doctor’s prescription before use.
Your doctor will be able to help you choose the best machine for your specific needs and can provide advice on how to properly use the device. They may also recommend travelling with your full-sized CPAP machine instead of a travel model, or a mask adjustment if it’s too tight or loose-fitting.
6) Climate Control
CPAP machines come in two types: one with a built-in humidifier and one that’s external. Most machines with a humidifier are bulky and not suitable for travel. However, there are some compact travel-sized humidifiers on the market that you can purchase separately.
If you’re travelling to a very dry or cold climate, it’s important to have a machine that can adjust to the weather conditions. Otherwise, the air blowing out of the machine could dehydrate your nasal passages and throat, leading to discomfort and potentially harmful health problems.
7) Pressure Levels
Pressure levels are an important consideration when purchasing a CPAP machine, as they dictate how strong the air pressure is that’s delivered to your airways.
Most machines have a range of 4-20 cm H2O, which is suitable for the majority of people. However, if you need a higher or lower pressure level, be sure to check the specifications of the machine before purchasing.
Buying a travel CPAP machine is a big investment, but it’s 100% worth it if you dream of better sleep. That’s why it’s important to consider all of the key factors before making your purchase.
By doing so, you can ensure that you’re getting a machine that’s perfect for your specific needs and travels.
Take care and happy travels!