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This article is a comprehensive review of all the available mini CPAP machines on the market by our board-certified sleep physician.

Mini CPAP: A Guide to Portable CPAP Machines

plane train and car symbols

Are you in the market for a CPAP that can fit in the palm of your hand? CPAP users in one of the following categories might benefit from a travel-sized machine in addition to their standard CPAP machine:

  • frequent travelers
  • hunters
  • backcountry campers
  • sailors
  • vacation homeowners who don't want to lug their regular machines back and forth between homes
  • those who don't want everyone to know that they have sleep apnea when they take a commercial flight
  • as a backup machine in case your primary machine suddenly quits or you lose power - travel cpap machines with a battery component are ideal for this purpose

What travel-friendly CPAP machine options are available?

ResMed AirMini - from $849

airmini cpap

Notable Features: 

  • Very lightweight: 0.66 lbs
  • Has ResMed's superior auto-adjusting algorithm
  • Settings can be adjusted remotely by your clinician
  • Through a Bluetooth connection, the machine sends data to ResMed's myAir app which allows you access to compliance reports with detailed therapy data. These reports can also be obtained remotely by your clinician.
  • Can be set to three different settings: fixed pressure, AutoSet, and ResMed's proprietary "AutoSet for Her" algorithm which has been shown to enhance comfort and tolerability in women
  • No battery option yet. ResMed promises that there is one in the works. 
  • Only compatible with the following masks:
    • F20 AirFit
    • N20 AirFit
    • P10 for AirMini (NOTE: this is different from the "regular P10")
    • AirTouch F20

Available Accessories:

  • HumidX is ResMed's heat moisture exchange (HME) to help prevent dryness - $34 for a three-pack
  • HumidX Plus: recommended for extremely dry environments - $34 for a three-pack (NOTE: HumidX is not available with the full face mask option) 
  • Bed caddy mount system to secure the device during use while traveling - $39 
  • Padded travel bag - $59

Order an AirMini

Philips Respironics DreamStation Go - $889

dreamstation go cpap

Not to be outdone by ResMed, Philips also introduced its travel CPAP model, the DreamStation Go, in 2017. 

Notable Features:

  • In 2019, Philips unveiled a heated humidifier component that easily connects to the machine with no additional parts needed. This could be a real game-changer. We are awaiting user feedback on how well it works. The concern is that it might be too small to provide enough humidification for an entire night of use. The labeling also says that any type of water is acceptable for use, including tap water. We have an inquiry in with Philips as to what mechanism, if any, is in the humidifier that can prevent the minute amounts of bacteria in tap water from getting into your lungs. 
  • Like the AirMini, data can be streamed to your sleep doctor for monitoring and the pressure settings can be adjusted remotely after the initial setting. 
  • Includes Philips' proprietary FLEX exhalation relief system for added breathing comfort
  • Weight: 1.86 lbs

Available Accessories: 

 Order a DreamStation Go

Somnetics

Transcend 365 CPAP - $829 

transcend 365 auto-cpap

Notable Features: 

  • In 2019, Somnetics unveiled the Transcend 365 which provides a novel solution for the dryness often associated with travel CPAP machines. The 365 has a water chamber attached to the machine that delivers heated humidification only on inspiration, thereby (according to Somnetics) enabling a full night's use out of a single water chamber fill-up. 
  • EZEX pressure relief system
  • Weight: 1.7 lbs
  • Unable to adjust the pressure settings remotely or stream data to your sleep doctor. 

Available Accessories: 

Order a Transcend 365

Transcend 3 - $529

transcend 3 travel cpap

Notable Features: 

  • The newest iteration of the world's first "mini" CPAP machine, the new design has a flat base and is more stable compared to the old "kidney bean" shape. 
  • The Transcend 3 is still the only CPAP that lets you take your sleep therapy "off the grid" with its solar panel charger. 
  • Drying mode removes excess moisture to help prevent germ growth
  • EZEX pressure relief system
  • Weight: 1.09 lbs
  • Unable to adjust the pressure settings remotely or stream data to your sleep doctor. 

Available Accessories: 

  • Two battery options: the P4 ($250) provides up to 7 hours of use and the P8 ($300) provides up to 14 hours of use
  • Solar panel charger - $250

Order a Transcend 3 MiniCPAP

Z2 CPAP - $589

Z2 auto-cpap machine

 

Notable Features: 

  • In 2019, HDM released the Z2, the newest iteration of its "Z" line of travel CPAP machines. The Z2 is slightly lighter than the AirMini, making it the lightest portable CPAP. 
  • Weight: 0.64 pounds
  • Per the manufacturer, the motor is quieter than the Z1
  • Z-Breathe expiratory pressure reduction for comfort
  • Unable to transmit data to your sleep doctor or have a clinician adjust pressure settings remotely

Available Accessories: 

Order a  Z2

How well do the machines work? 

The best scientific research paper to analyze the comparative effectiveness of autoCPAP machines was the 2015 Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine article entitled, "All APAPs Are Not Equivalent for the Treatment of Sleep Disordered Breathing: A Bench Evaluation of Eleven Commercially Available Devices," by Zhu et al. The Transcend AUTO was tested for efficacy in this article and scored a 96% rating, which placed it at the top of the group of eleven auto CPAP machines that were evaluated. The Z1 was not included in the study. The ResMed AirMini and the Philips Go are relatively new to the market and have not been included in any peer-reviewed journal articles yet. 

Can I use a mini CPAP as my "everyday" machine? What are the typical complaints regarding travel CPAP reviews? 

In theory, you could. But with portable sleep apnea machines, the reduced size comes with tradeoffs; the major one that might affect daily use is lack of robust heated humidification. This may take its toll on your throat, leading to significant dryness and negatively affecting your ability to tolerate therapy with the machine after a few days of use. The Philips DreamStation Go and Transcend 365 now come with humidifiers which might negate this concern. 

Where can I purchase these machines? 

The machines discussed above are available for purchase online from a number of Internet-based DME retailers, as well as brick-and-mortar DME shops. You can order the Z2 and Transcend directly from their manufacturers.  As a reminder, you will need a prescription to order one of these mini CPAP machines. 

If I buy a travel cpap machine, will I need special tubing for it? Do only specific CPAP masks work with these small cpap machines? 

The AirMini requires its own tubing. Standard tubing works with the DreamStation Go and Z2 but these machines have their own lighter tubing as well: the DreamStation Go's micro-flex tubing and the Z2 SlimStyle tubing respectively. The Transcend 3 and Transcend 365 take standard tubing. 

How do I clean my equipment while traveling? 

You will need to clean your mini machine, mask, and tubing regularly. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to manually clean the machine or consider purchasing the Sleep8 Travel CPAP Cleaner to your CPAP travel bag, which can save a lot of time over the long run. Remember, if you're traveling outside of the United States or using untreated water, like while backcountry camping, you will need to boil or otherwise treat (e.g., iodine tablets, portable water purification systems) the water before using it to clean your equipment. 

Order a Sleep8

sleep apnea test home sleep study Joseph Krainin Joseph Krainin, M.D., FAASM is the founder of Singular Sleep, the world's first online sleep center.  He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and board-certified in both sleep  medicine and neurology. He has been practicing medicine for over 10 years.



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