Know The Difference: Types of CPAP Headgear

Buying CPAP headgear and seeing the differences in the type of masks, or headgear can be such a chore. It takes a few tries before knowing which one is the best for you, but fret not! We are here to help get you acquainted with the types of CPAP headgear that you can buy and which would be the best for your reality (i,.e. Shape of your head, how you sleep, and the pressure needed). All of the types mentioned below and all your other CPAP needs are available online

There are three main types of CPAP masks that people use: Nasal CPAP Masks, Nasal Pillow CPAP Masks, and Full Face CPAP Masks. They all cater to various needs and comfort of the person using it. Read on to find out which of these CPAP headgears may be best suited for you.


  • Nasal CPAP Masks


Nasal CPAP masks, or sometimes called oronasal/nasal cradle masks, are shaped like a triangle and cover the entirety of the nose delivering oxygen exclusively through the nasal passage. These are often prescribed and are beneficial to people who breathe through their nose. This kind of mask delivers airflow indirectly which created more of a natural breathing sensation even at higher pressure levels. There are a wide variety of fits and styles for this mask that are ideal for people who sleep on their side, on their stomach, or who toss and turn because the masks can’t be knocked askew easily. 

Nasal CPAP masks may not be suitable for people who breathe through their mouths or any congestion in the nasal cavity, which can include colds or allergies. It can put a lot of pressure on the nose that can lead to irritation, pressure sores, or nosebleeds. 


  • Nasal Pillow CPAP Masks


Nasal Pillow CPAP masks are the most lightweight and compact of all CPAP headgears. It only covers the nostrils instead of the whole nose; plugs are inserted into the nares or the openings of the nose to deliver the pressurized area. Like the nasal CPAP masks, these are good for those who breathe through their nose and for those who move around a lot when they sleep. Another group that can benefit from the usage of this mask is people with facial hair because other masks can cause leaks whereas this one will not. Also, this type of mask is meant for low to moderate pressure levels of oxygen. Apart from all the benefits to these groups of people, this mask is one of the most cost-effective options from the 3 listed.

The Nasal Pillow CPAP mask has similar drawbacks to the nasal CPAP masks, but may also be too uncomfortable for people who need higher levels of pressure. 


  • Full Face CPAP Masks


Full Face CPAP Masks, as the name suggests, covers both the nose and mouth and tend to be bulkier and larger than the other two types. It is meant to be used by people who breathe through their mouth or suffer from nasal congestion or allergies. They are generally less intrusive for most people because they touch outside of the face and are best for those who sleep on their backs. 

Although this can offer more of a less intrusive way to enjoy your night, the Full Face CPAP Masks can interfere with nightly activities, such as watching TV or reading and can cause eye irritations or dryness if there are leaks. This can also cause a problem for people who move a lot when they sleep as the bulkier design does not give as much flexibility compared to the other two types. 

There are many needs we need to take into account when we are looking at the different types of CPAP Headgear. It’s best to consult with a medical professional and if you can, experiment and find which suits your lifestyle best. CPAP therapy should work with, and not against, you and your life!