Which CPAP mask do I need?
4 Steps to choosing the perfect CPAP mask
CPAP masks come in a range of different shapes and sizes to accommodate the way you breathe during sleep. Nasal masks and full-face masks are the main types of mask.
Let’s break down the steps to find the right mask for you:
Step 1: How do you breathe when you sleep?
The first question to ask yourself is, how do you breathe when you sleep?
If you breathe through your nose when you sleep, a nasal mask will benefit you the most.
When it comes to nasal masks, you have two different options:
- Nasal Cushions – These masks create a seal around your nose, providing air pressure directly through to your nose.
- Nasal Pillows – These masks feature two prongs that rest directly against your nostrils to provide air pressure through to your nose.
Mask claustrophobia is common, so for some people, a nasal mask is the only option; a chin strap will prevent mouth breathers from opening their mouths during the night.
Intus advice: If you use a pacemaker or defibrillator, you will need to choose one of our magnet-free masks.
You do not need a prescription to purchase a CPAP mask.
Step 2: What CPAP cushion do you need?
Nasal and full-face masks use a cushion or pillow that will either be silicone or gel. The silicone cushions are usually translucent, which is the standard cushion type. The gel cushions are generally blue (they can also be translucent or a different colour) and are usually considered to be more comfortable as they are softer and more adaptable.
The gel cushion masks can be a bit more expensive than their silicone equivalent, so it is up to you as to whether this is a valuable upgrade.
If you’re looking for a mask that is not made from silicone or gel due to an allergy or personal preference, consider a SleepWeaver skin-friendly mask.
SleepWeaver masks use neither silicone nor gel; they use fabric. They are designed to be more breathable, keeping your skin moisture free. This cushion makes it considerably more comfortable than regular masks, so it is certainly worth contemplating.
Step 3: What position do you sleep in?
Masks for different sleeping positions
The best CPAP mask for side sleepers
Some full-face masks can be too bulky to turn onto your side at night. Nasal masks could be are a much better option for you.
Here are some nasal masks to take a look at:
- Brevida Nasal Pillows Mask – Singe Size or Brevida Nasal Pillows Mask – FitPack (multiple cushion sizes included)
- AirFit P10 Nasal Pillows Mask
- DreamWear Nasal Mask – FitPack (multiple cushion sizes included)
However, If you use a full-face mask and sleep on your side, a CPAP pillow is designed with cut-outs to make room for your mask. The pillow ensures your mask does not get dislodged during the night.
For mouth breathers, a good option is a soft silicone, minimal contact Evora full-face mask.
Masks for back sleepers
CPAP users who sleep on their backs can wear any mask, providing a doctor or sleep clinician has not encouraged them to sleep in a different position.
Take a look at our mask range.
Masks for stomach sleepers
Sleeping on your stomach can cause red marks and skin damage from your mask as you press your face into it. In turn, causing air leaks and neck discomfort.
Because of these factors, a nasal pillows mask is more suitable.
Here are a few options:
Breathe from your mouth? Simply add a chin strap.
Do you have a beard?
Many CPAP users have beards, making choosing the best mask difficult. Common side effects can occur when wearing a mask whilst having a beard. You could experience a loose-fitting mask, air leaks and uncomfortable breathing.
The most simple solution would be to use a nasal pillows mask, as this avoids contact with the skin. Nasal pillows are great for accommodating facial hair because they do not sit at the top of the lip or cover the mouth. Nasal cushion masks also have a low volume giving the user’s beard space to sit. If you find nasal masks more comfortable but breathe through your mask, consider adding a chin strap to your therapy.
Less bulky full-face masks can be used when you have a beard, although trimming your beard could add comfort. Some masks use a minimal contact design, and the cushion sits on the upper lip.
Here are some options for you to take a look at:
- Evora Full-Face Mask
- Evora Nasal Mask
- iQ 2 Nasal Mask
- Phantom 2 Nasal Mask
- AirFit P10 Nasal Pillows Mask
For those who need a full-face mask, consider the Evora; this minimal-contact mask is a great option for mouth breathers. The compact design reduces bulkiness, made with soft silicone and dynamic support technology. The silicone frame and material are very flexible, so they can easily cover a moustache or beard.
Step 4: How do I choose the right size mask?
Your mask needs to fit comfortably to get the most out of your CPAP therapy and avoid leaks and discomfort. Many of our masks come in different sizes; you must scroll down to the ‘downloads’ tab and print the ‘sizing guide’.
Please be aware that each mask has a different sizing guide.
We also offer fit-pack options; these masks come with multiple cushion sizes included. So you don’t need to worry about printing the sizing guide.
Mask fit insurance
You can add ‘mask-fit insurance’ when purchasing a mask from Intus.
This gives you 28 days to get used to your mask from the dispatch date; you can notify us that you are unhappy with it for any reason.
You can return it and refund it (we must receive it within 7 days of being notified).
Take a look at what other CPAP users have to say
We always recommend reading reviews that other CPAP users have left about the mask you are considering. This gives you an insight into other people’s experiences with that CPAP mask. All of our masks have a reviews section; here’s a customer review for the AirFit F20 mask:
“Just love the AirFit foam F20; it has made all the difference, especially for a ‘newbie’ who was struggling with the F30 ‘full-face’. The point here for other newbies – the F20 covers the nose ie to the bridge of the nose, and the memory foam makes it super comfortable, my previous F30 had a ‘nose cushion’ and although the mask was less cumbersome – ie just the mouth region, the constant puffing up the nostril, was just too much! My advice, the main point, is to get used to CPAP; if that means a full mask initially, well, that is not too much to ask to begin with. Love the mask – will probably not change!”
While we could give enough information to fill an Encyclopedia, there is no substitute for the input of those who use and wear CPAP masks every night.
Can I use any mask with my CPAP machine?
If you want to know more about masks for side sleepers – CPAP masks for side sleepers
A comprehensive guide to understanding how to stop a dry mouth – CPAP therapy: How to stop a dry mouth
Helpful advice on solving common side effects – 9 Common CPAP Machine Side Effects & How To Fix Them
If you have any questions and need some support, do not hesitate to contact us.