July 16, 2020

APAP vs CPAP: Which One Should You Choose?

APAP vs CPAP: Which One Should You Choose?

The medical field is advancing every day. The countless new vaccines and medicines are not the only developments. This field is developing technologically, too.

New instruments and machines are benefitting people of all age groups, suffering from various kinds of diseases and syndromes.

Scientists have used technology and science as a tool to ward off all our health-related difficulties. APAP and CPAP machines are the best examples of techno-medical advancements.

Before we dive into the key topic, it is advisable for you to read some more information regarding these two machines for better understanding.

What is a CPAP machine?

Airsense 10 CPAP machine on nightstand

CPAP or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure is a machine that helps patients suffering from respiratory diseases or other diseases. It is mainly used for sleep apnea to help patients breathe efficiently and adequately.

According to sleepapnea.org, approximately 22 million people in just the US suffer from sleep apnea. It is a disorder that leads to disturbing sleep by obstructing your airways. This generates an abnormal breathing pattern, which does not let the patient have a peaceful sleep.

Click here to take a free sleep apnea test!

To overcome this disease, scientists invented CPAP machines. These machines make sure you get a continuous supply of air by adjusting the pressure of your surroundings.

How do CPAP machines work?

CPAP machines work by passing the pressurized air through the tube, the mask, and into your airways. This pressurized air makes sure that your airways stay open and do not collapse.

Pros and Cons of CPAP machines

The medical field considers CPAP machines as one of the best treatments for sleep apnea. If the device suits you, it can provide relief and comfort to patients having a hard time getting a good night’s sleep.

Find the best-rated CPAP machines in 2020 here.


Helps in Treating Mild to Severe Sleep Apnea

Various kinds of CPAP machines work differently and thus can treat mild to severe forms of sleep apnea through their effective working mechanism.

Better Quality of Sleep

Woman getting a good sleep.

CPAP machines give a continuous flow of pressurized air, which results in getting the necessary supply of oxygen one needs throughout the night.

Reduced Snoring

Snoring can affect the soundness of your sleep. It can also cause an embarrassing situation for the surrounding people. 

CPAP machines make it easier for you to breathe and also reduce the pressure exerted by your internal body. Thus, giving a peaceful sleep to you and your loved ones.

Maintains Blood Pressure

Apart from maintaining the breathing process, CPAP machines also help in maintaining your blood pressure. Irregular breathing patterns can lead to a rise in blood pressure. Hence, maintaining the breathing pattern ensures healthy and regular blood pressure.


CPAP machines come with some minor complications.

Discomfort Because of Machine Structure

CPAP machines come with a tube and a mask. People who are not used to this, at first find it hard to adapt to wearing masks, due to the suffocation and claustrophobic feeling. Find some tips to get used to your CPAP machines here.

Pressure Settings

One of the significant drawbacks of CPAP machines is the same inspiratory pressure (IPAP) and expiratory pressure(EPAP). The high pressure leads to the following problems:

  • Difficulty in exhaling.
  • Stomach bloating
  • Gas problems.

Side Effects

CPAP machines have some minor side effects such as:

  • Feeling of dry mouth.
  • Skin irritation and infection.
  • Dry or stuffy nose.

To reduce these drawbacks, scientists discovered a similar machine known as the APAP machine.

What is an APAP Machine?

APAP or automatic positive airway pressure is another type of PAP treatment given to patients suffering from sleep apnea or other such disorders. It is quite similar to the CPAP machine.

It is a device used to treat Central or Obstructive Sleep Apnea.  It delivers the air to the patient’s airways at a balanced rate for normal breathing.

How Does the APAP Machine Work?

The APAP machine is connected to the pressure generator through a mask. It generates air pressure according to your breathing pattern and makes sure that the airways do not collapse.

This ensures a proper breathing rate and pattern throughout the night and also reduces the effect of sleep apnea.

Pros and Cons:

Scientists introduced APAP machines to overcome the limitations of CPAP machines. It has almost all the features that the CPAP machines lack. Given below are the pros and cons of using APAP machines.


Different Settings and Modes

APAP machines let the patients choose either the continuous mode or the auto-adjusting mode. The continuous mode works like the CPAP machine and hence, gives you two machine settings in just one.

Adjusts According to Your Sleeping Position

Many different positions to sleep in.

Patients need not worry about the sudden stoppage or change in the supply of air while sleeping. APAP machines work efficiently even when you change your sleeping position and adjust to it accordingly.


APAP machines are more adaptable than CPAP machines. Due to nose congestion, stuffy nose, or even in the case of allergies, APAP machines change the pressure automatically. Thus, they are adaptable and self-sufficient.


APAP machines, through their automatic pressure settings, adjust the pressure according to the intensity of sleep apnea’s symptoms. This ensures that you do not have a hard time adjusting to the varying pressures.


Before you buy this machine, here are a few cons you should look out for.

High Cost

With more features, comes more cost. APAP machines are usually expensive because of the various adjustments they offer.

Slow Adjustments

Although the adjustments are automatic, they can be slow in operation because of different sleeping patterns or other factors.

Not Advisable for People with Certain Health Complications

APAP machines are not preferable for patients also suffering from chronic heart failure, hypoventilation, or obesity.

Apart from these cons, APAP machines are very efficient and effective for sleep apnea patients.

However, now the question of which one to choose arises - APAP or CPAP, and how are they different from each other?

Significant Differences Between APAP and CPAP


As per our research, we have listed a few significant differences between APAP therapy and CPAP therapy.

These differences will help you get a better idea about the machine which will best suit your requirements.

1.     Change in Pressure

  • CPAP machines work at only one type of pressure setting prescribed by the doctor. This can raise concerns over different pressure needs of the patients’ respiratory systems at different times.
  • APAP machines have overcome this problem by adjusting the pressure settings according to the intensity of your sleep apnea syndrome.

Also, APAP machines provide a steady breathing rate during the REM cycle. In the REM cycle, the breathing rate and blood pressure might fluctuate more than expected.

  • Thus, APAP machines are better suited for adapting to different requirements of the patient’s body.

2.     Cost

  • CPAP machines can range between $225 to $500, making them very affordable.
  • On the other hand, APAP machines range between $320 to $640 and thus can be more expensive.

3.     Physical Changes in Patients

  • If a patient gains or loses weight, he/she should consider changing the pressure settings of their PAP machines.
  • CPAP machines only work on one pressure setting, and this creates an issue if the patient is undergoing some physical change.
  • APAP machines are entirely automatic and change the pressure settings according to the person’s weight and requirements.

4.     Comfort

  • Similar pressure settings at all times can lead to patients finding it hard to adjust to their CPAP machines. The high pressure makes it harder for the patients to exhale, and they start to feel claustrophobic.
  • APAP machines have varying pressures, and because of their adjustable behavior, it is easier for the patients to adapt to their APAP machines.

5.     Sleep Positions

  • Different sleeping positions can lead to different breathing requirements.
  • CPAP machines only allow one kind of pressure at every sleeping position. This may cause a disturbance in sleep.
  • On the other hand, APAP machines provide more pressure in those same sleeping positions, which demand more air pressure. Contrarily, they also lower the pressure whenever required.

6.     Alcohol Consumption

  • Alcohol consumption at night can cause acuteness in obstructive sleep apnea.
  • CPAP machines cannot meet the required demand for air pressure, and this can further risk the health of sleep apnea patients.
  • APAP machines adjust the settings of the air pressure as per the severity of the symptoms and thus help in giving patients a good night’s sleep.

Now that you know the differences let’s move to the next question.

APAP vs. CPAP - Which One Will Suit your Requirements?

CPAP and APAP are both excellent therapy measures to treat your sleep apnea. However, APAP is more efficient with better features.

You should prefer APAP if:

  • Your sleep patterns change a lot.
  • You would like different pressure changes.
  • You tend to consume alcohol before sleep.
  • You prefer comfort over cost.
  • Your weight fluctuates a lot.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a simpler and cheaper PAP alternative, CPAP is a suitable option for you.

This article was just a brief overview of CPAP and APAP machines. They offer the best sleep apnea treatment, but they are not a cure.

For more detailed information, we advise you to visit your doctor and consult him/her regarding your sleep apnea disorder.

In the end, the quality of your sleep is the most critical factor when choosing the right machine for you.

Written by The Sleeplay Team

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