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Best Travel CPAP Machines in 2023: A Complete Guide
Ensure restful sleep while traveling with our comprehensive guide to choosing the best travel CPAP machines.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are commonly used for sleep apnea treatment and ensuring restful sleep.
Choosing the right travel CPAP machine is crucial for older adults who prioritize both effective sleep apnea treatment and convenience during travel.
When selecting a travel-friendly CPAP machine, consider factors such as affordability, noise level, weight, warranty, and features.
Travel can bring culture and adventure to people of all ages, but it also provides numerous physical, mental, and emotional benefits that contribute to healthy aging. Recent research highlighted how tourism can enhance cognitive function and improve mental health in older adults.1 Of course, if you’re one of the roughly 30 million people with sleep apnea,2 lugging your CPAP machine with you might seem like an inconvenience—but a travel CPAP machine can ensure you get the most out of your travel experience. When our Reviews Team surveyed 600 CPAP users in July 2023, 30% of respondents reported using their regular CPAP machine when they travel, while just over 21% said they use a travel CPAP machine.
Quality sleep is essential for our overall well-being, which is why our Reviews Team researched the best travel-friendly CPAP machines, so you can prioritize your health and well-being during your adventures.
Our Reviews Team recommends products and services we believe provide value in the lives of our readers. We have performed in-depth, independent research to help inform your online search for travel CPAP machines. To make our selections, we:
Engaged in independent research
Mystery shopped five retailers and more than eight models of travel CPAP machines to evaluate characteristics, like affordability, noise level, weight, size, warranty, special features, and overall customer service
Read real reviews from verified customers on trusted third-party websites, such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot
Surveyed 600 people about their experience researching and purchasing CPAP machines
Comparison of best travel CPAP machines, as of September 2023
ConsRelatively higher priceMust be plugged in (no battery)Only compatible with ResMed masks
Price: $999–$1,349, depending on the accessory kit you select
Noise level: 29 decibels (dB)
Weight: 10.6 ounces (oz)
Warranty: Two years
Weighing less than a pound, the ResMed AirMini is highly portable. We chose it as our “Editor’s Choice” CPAP machine for travel due to its compact size, advanced features, and positive reviews.
During our research, we found most users were happy with their purchase and the therapy they received from the ResMed AirMini, especially due to the features that enhance its usability and convenience:
Bluetooth connectivity: With Bluetooth, you can connect your machine to the AirMini app on your smartphone or tablet, enabling you to track your therapy data (time of use, number of apnea events, and mask seal strength), adjust pressure and mode settings, and receive feedback with a nightly sleep score.
Pressure modes/range: The ResMed AirMini offers a wide pressure range, which accommodates a variety of therapy needs. It can deliver continuous positive airway pressure, as well as auto-adjusting pressure (APAP) based on the user’s breathing patterns and prescription. APAP mode was designed for people whose sleeping patterns change during sleep and delivers lower pressure upon exhalation, often making it more comfortable for the user.
AutoRamp technology: This technology can help you fall asleep easier because it starts out at a lower, more comfortable pressure while you’re awake and adjusts up to prescribed levels once you have fallen asleep.
Waterless humidification: HumidX keeps your airways from drying out without adding water. It’s achieved by inserting special filters into the mask and is available with four of the five mask kit options offered by ResMed.
In-flight use: The ResMed AirMini is FAA-compliant for use on airplanes. Since this model requires a power source, consider requesting a seat near an outlet. If you’re traveling internationally, ask your airline in advance if you should bring an adapter.
At $999–$1,349, this is the most expensive machine we reviewed, with the price depending on the mask you select. It’s important to note only ResMed masks are compatible with this machine. The five kits to choose from all come with humidification cartridges, tubing, and a mask. If you’re unhappy with your purchase, ResMed offers a rare 30-day, risk-free trial.
To reach ResMed customer service, call 800-424-0737 Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. PT, or use the “Contact Us” form to submit your inquiry.
ResMed has 4.3 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot with more than 4,500 reviews, as of June 2023. Customers repeatedly mentioned excellent customer service and quick attention to repairs or replacements when necessary.
On Google, the AirMini specifically has 4.4 out of 5 stars, with positive reviews praising the quality of therapy, quiet function, and the convenience of the waterless humidifier component. One reviewer noted how it fit in his shirt pocket, making it an effective travel machine. Complaints primarily focused on masks from other brands not being compatible, and while some people thought the machine was quiet, others complained it was louder than other machines they’ve used.
ResMed accepts PayPal and all major credit cards. Medicare and some private health insurance policies may cover a portion of your CPAP machine.
Financing through Affirm is available and requires four interest-free payments every two weeks. Additionally, FSA and HSA accounts may be used to pay for CPAP machines and equipment.
ProsSmallest and lightest machine on this listMultiple power source options Add-on accessory for quiet operationCompatible with any maskDrying modeFree shippingFAA-approved
ConsLimited built-in features compared to larger CPAP machinesRequires additional accessories for humidification or battery operationNo trial period
Noise level: 27 dB
Weight: 7.68 oz
Warranty: Two years
The Transcend CPAP machine takes the title of “Best Compact” travel CPAP machine due to its incredibly small size and lightweight design—it’s the approximate size and shape of a baseball. This machine is specifically built for travel, making it exceptionally portable and easy to pack. Despite its compact size, it offers a wide pressure range of 4–20 centimeters of water (cmH20) ⓘThis is the unit of pressure based on the pressure head of water. It’s most commonly used to measure breathing on respirators and ventilators., allowing for personalized therapy. Plus, its multiple power-source options make it ideal for use on an airplane.
The Transcend Micro Auto CPAP comes with the following features:
Portable power options: The optional battery pack and solar charger make this machine versatile for use in different travel settings, especially where you may not have access to an AC outlet. The P8 battery lasts for two nights and costs an additional $319. You can also purchase a solar charger for $250 that will charge the P8 battery with the sun (even in low-light settings), so it’s great for weeklong camping trips or other extended time away from electricity.
EZEX Pressure Relief: During exhalation, this function provides automatic reduction in pressure, which may make it more comfortable. This is a similar feature to the APAP mode setting on the AirMini.
Gentle rise: This is an auto ramp feature, which lets you fall asleep to a lower, more comfortable pressure that ramps up gradually once you’re asleep. You can also adjust this feature, so you can set specific ramp times or even turn it off.
Bluetooth connectivity: The MySleepDash app offers guided setup, setting adjustments, and records data, allowing users and health care professionals to monitor therapy progress.
Drying mode: You can remove built-up moisture inside the machine and tubing by activating a 30-minute “drying mode” cycle in the morning. This helps it stay dry and can reduce contamination.
WhisperSoft Muffler: This is an accessory placed in line with the tubing, so it functions like a muffler and reduces the sound of air passing through the tubing.
This machine does not come with waterless humidification, like the AirMini, but you can add the Transcend AirMist accessory for $18.95 for the same result.
To reach Transcend customer service, call 866-978-9481, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT. You can also visit the “Contact Customer Care” section to fill out an online inquiry form.
As of June 21, 2023, customer reviews for Transcend are minimal. The brand isn’t rated by Trustpilot and can’t be found on the BBB.
On Google, the machine has 4.3 out of 5 stars, with users praising how small it is and generally agreeing it’s an efficient machine for travel. It was also noted how quiet it is, even without the muffler. One negative review complained they didn’t like the fact you have to buy the humidifier separately.
Transcend accepts all major credit cards and PayPal. Interest-free financing is available with the option of four monthly payments or 10 payments every two weeks. Interest-free financing is also available through PayPal Credit, with four payments every two weeks.
Depending on your particular health insurance policy, it may pay for all or part of your CPAP machine if it’s the first machine you’re purchasing. CPAP machines are always eligible for payment through FSA/HSA accounts.
ProsAffordable priceQ-lite muffler included to decrease noiseCompatible with any maskVoltage converter unnecessary for international travelFAA compliantFree shipping
ConsUser interface is less intuitive compared to other modelsBulkier compared to other compact travel machinesNo free trial periodNot approved for use with supplemental oxygen
Noise level: 26 dB
Weight: 10.5 oz.
Warranty: Two years
We gave the Breas Z2 Auto CPAP Machine the title of “Best Value” due to its affordability and helpful features. This machine provides exceptional value for those seeking a cost-effective yet high-quality CPAP solution.
The Breas Z2 Auto CPAP comes with the following features:
Bluetooth connectivity: The Nightlog app lets you adjust settings on your machine and view and download sleep-tracking data to share with your physician.
Auto-adjusting pressure: This function uses advanced algorithms (a Breas algorithm called Z-Breathe) to automatically adjust the pressure based on the user’s breathing patterns. It will reduce pressure upon exhalation in order to be more comfortable for the user. This APAP functionality is in all of the machines in our review. Additionally, this machine can also be used with fixed pressure (standard CPAP) settings.
In-flight pressure adjustment: The Breas Z2’s auto-adjusting pressure has you covered on land and in the air. On airplanes, it automatically adjusts to the cabin’s pressure.
Auto start/stop: The machine detects when you put on or remove your mask and starts or stops accordingly.
Ramp feature: Like the other machines in this review, the Breas Z2 allows the user to fall asleep at a lower pressure setting, then gradually ramps up the pressure once you have gone to sleep.
Waterless humidification: Similar to how the AirMini has waterless humidification, this machine comes with a humidifier cartridge, allowing users to enjoy the benefits of added moisture during therapy without needing to search for water.
Rechargeable battery option: When fully charged, the rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides one night’s use.
Ultra-quiet operation: At 26 decibels (for reference, 30 decibels is like a whisper), the AirMini is the quietest machine on our list.
Automatic voltage conversion: The power supply converts any voltage ranging from 100–240 volts; you just need the proper plug for the country you visit.
This machine is not quite as tech-savvy and easy to use as the first two on our list, with some reviewers complaining the interface isn’t always user-friendly. It’s also larger than both the AirMini and Transcend Mico, but it still offers a well-reviewed portable option for a decent price.
Since the company is not profiled on Trustpilot or BBB, online reviews are hard to find.
On Google, the Breas Z2 Auto has 4.1 out of 5 stars. Reviewers liked its portability, with some even commenting how they could use it every day, while negative reviews were primarily about it being a noisier machine (despite it being a low-decibel machine) and with some complaining functionality could be better.
Breas does not sell machines through its website and instead refers customers to various online retailers. If you prefer to shop in person, you can search local retailers on the brand’s website.
ProsAffordable priceAuto-adjusting technology for in-flight useQuiet operationBuilt-in power supply
ConsHeavier than other travel modelsHumidification attachment is bulkyNo DC converter or battery optionNo app
Noise level: 28 dB
Weight: 28.16 oz
Warranty: Two years
We ranked the Apex Medical XT Auto Portable CPAP Machine as the “Most Affordable” on our list because it’s a cost-effective and versatile solution for your sleep apnea therapy while traveling. In our Reviews Team’s CPAP survey, price was one of the top five considerations when purchasing a CPAP machine for over 60% of respondents.
The Apex XT Auto loses points as the largest and heaviest machine on this list, so it’s not a good choice if you want a truly compact model. But it’s still highly portable and can fit in a backpack, making it smaller than standard in-home units. It also offers some advanced features without breaking the bank.
The Apex XT Auto comes with the following features:
Pressure Variation Algorithm: Designed to relieve discomfort during exhalation, it works by automatically reducing pressure, making it easier to breathe out, similar to other APAP operation modes.
Built-in power supply: With this model, you don’t have to deal with an external power brick. While this means you don’t have to carry around an extra accessory to power your CPAP, you do have to plug it into the wall, so make sure to have an extension cord if needed.
Ramp feature: Like the other options on this list, this model offers a ramp feature that gradually increases pressure after falling asleep to prescribed levels over a 45-minute duration.
Automatic altitude adjustment: If you need to use your CPAP on a plane, this feature will adjust pressure for different altitudes.
Optional heated humidifier: Designed to prevent dry mouth and throat, this accessory comes as a tank that attaches directly to the machine. Unfortunately, it requires the addition of water and adds quite a bit of bulk.
While this machine collects data, it does not have an app, so your information is stored on an SD card, which can be inserted into a computer. For some, the lack of an app could be a deal-breaker.
Apex doesn’t offer many ways to contact them for assistance. You can visit the brand’s website and fill out an online request form, or you can message the company through LinkedIn. No phone number or email address is provided on the website.
The company is in the midst of a merger with Wellell, which has its own website. Wellell can be contacted by calling 714-671-3818 or filling out an online request form.
Apex has limited reviews online and doesn’t have a presence on BBB or Trustpilot.
On Google, the Apex Medical XT has 4.2 stars out of 5. While most reviewers found it a suitable machine for travel with good function, negative reviews centered on the humidifier being bulky and the pressure being too high at times.
Apex no longer sells machines through the brand’s website, but the XT Auto may currently be purchased through RespShop for $769.
The brand accepts all major credit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, Affirm interest-free financing, and the store’s own RespShop financing, which offers six-, 12-, or 18-month payment plans for a small fee.
APAP machines are designed to automatically adjust the pressure throughout the night based on a person’s needs.
In-flight use of CPAP machines is permitted by airlines. Some, but not all, CPAP machines are equipped for in-flight use.
Several types of devices continuously monitor breathing patterns and adjust the pressure levels accordingly, but the reduction in pressure during exhalation is usually more comfortable, so it’s important to choose a travel machine that matches your prescribed therapy. Additionally, an oxygen concentrator is different from a CPAP, BiPAP, and APAP machine, so make sure you chose the correct device type.
Most travel CPAP machines are designed to deliver CPAP therapy, which is the standard treatment for sleep apnea. Not all travel CPAP machines support BiPAP or APAP functionality, so it’s essential to check the product specifications.
Price: Consider your budget and compare the prices of different travel CPAP machines. Prices can range from $769–$1,349. While cost is an important factor, it’s crucial to balance affordability and essential features. Machines with the most advanced technology and apps generally cost more.
Weight: Look for a lightweight CPAP machine that won’t add excessive bulk to your travel luggage, making it easier to carry and reduce strain while on the go. The machines in our review all weigh less than 1–2 pounds, while in-home machines are much larger and heavier, weigh 2.5–4 pounds, and can be more than 10 inches long.
Noise level: Consider the noise level of the CPAP machine during operation. Look for models offering quiet or near-silent operation to minimize sleep disruptions for yourself and your travel companions. Travel CPAP machines tend to be slightly noisier than at-home units because they lack the space for noise-masking technology. In our Reviews Team’s CPAP survey, 44% of respondents reported that the noise from their CPAP machine sometimes, often, or always affected their sleep. But bed partners tended to fare worse—more than 67% of participants in our survey reported that the noise level of their CPAP machine sometimes, often, or always affected their partner. Fortunately, even travel machines can be “whisper quiet.” Those in our review range from 26–29 decibels, somewhere between rustling leaves and a running dishwasher. Anything less than 30 decibels should be comfortable for sleeping.
Pressure range: Check the pressure range of the CPAP machine to ensure it meets your prescribed therapy requirements. Most machines have a range of 4–20 centimeters of water, which will meet most prescriptions. But if your prescription is outside of that range, it may be more difficult to find a travel machine to meet your needs. Some machines offer auto-adjusting pressure capabilities, which can be beneficial for accommodating changing needs during travel.
Ramp settings: Consider whether the CPAP machine has ramp settings. These settings allow for a gradual increase in pressure, which can make it more comfortable to fall asleep.
Physician recommendations: Your doctor may have specific recommendations for you based on your preferences and your prescription and needs. Most doctors work closely with a few brands and are more familiar and comfortable with those particular machines. Popular manufacturers are ResMed, Apex, and Phllips. Note: Phillips recalled all CPAP machines made before April 2021.3 “You shouldn’t obtain a CPAP machine without … getting a prescription from your doctor,” said Elizabeth Lyda, a registered respiratory therapist and research quality improvement specialist at University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York. “The risks of applying CPAP to someone without knowing if they definitely have sleep apnea outweighs the benefits if something goes wrong.”
Data tracking: Evaluate whether the CPAP machine provides data tracking capabilities. Data tracking allows you to monitor your hours of sleep, pressure settings, number of apnea events, and quality of mask fit, providing valuable insights into your sleep quality and treatment effectiveness. Apps are useful for saving and storing this information.
Smart features: Look for CPAP machines with smart features, such as Bluetooth connectivity and mobile apps. These features can enable remote monitoring, data analysis, and customization of settings, such as auto-ramp and BiPAP/APAP/CPAP mode selection, for a more personalized experience.
Accessories: Consider the availability of compatible accessories, such as portable battery packs, travel cases, or mask options. The type of travel will determine the importance of specific accessories. A portable battery is imperative if you will be camping or otherwise away from an electricity source. Mask preference may determine which machine is best for you because not all are compatible with all masks. Some machines come with travel bags/cases, and others do not. Depending on your packing supplies and style, you may prefer a hard case versus a soft bag. You will probably at least want some type of bag to hold your mask and tubing.
How to purchase a travel CPAP machine
Do I need a prescription?
It’s required to have a prescription for a CPAP machine, including travel CPAP machines. A prescription ensures the machine is set to the appropriate pressure levels for your specific needs. Consult with your health care provider to obtain a prescription for a travel CPAP machine.
Will insurance cover the cost of a travel CPAP machine?
The coverage of a travel CPAP machine by insurance varies depending on your insurance provider and specific plan. Some insurance plans may cover part or all of the cost of a CPAP machine, including travel models if it’s deemed medically necessary. In our survey, 56% of respondents reported using Medicare or private health insurance to help pay for their CPAP machines. It’s advisable to contact your insurance provider directly to ask about coverage and any necessary documentation. If you already own a standard-size CPAP machine, insurance companies are unlikely to also cover an additional travel model.
Traveling with a CPAP machine requires some preparation and adherence to certain guidelines. Here’s a guide on how to travel with a CPAP machine and the essential items to bring along:
Ensure FAA approval: If you plan to use your CPAP machine during a flight, ensure your specific model is FAA approved. Most travel CPAP machines meet the FAA guidelines, but it’s always recommended to double-check with the manufacturer or your health care provider.
Carry-on or checked baggage: It’s advisable to carry your CPAP machine as a carry-on item rather than checking it with your luggage. This helps ensure its safety and accessibility during the journey. Generally, CPAP machines do not count toward your carry-on limit because they are medical devices.
Batteries: If you anticipate situations where you may not have access to a power source, consider bringing spare batteries or a portable battery pack for your CPAP machine. This is especially useful during flights, camping trips, or in areas with limited electricity.
Humidifier: Depending on your personal preference and the environmental conditions at your destination, you may want to bring your CPAP machine’s humidifier. The humidifier helps add moisture to the air, reducing potential dryness or discomfort during therapy. Some machines even have climate control features that automatically adjust to humidity and temperature changes around you.
Mask and headgear: Don’t forget to pack your CPAP mask and headgear, ensuring they are clean and in good condition. It’s recommended to carry them in a protective case or bag to prevent any damage.
Filters: Bring extra filters for your CPAP machine to replace them as needed during your trip. Filters help ensure clean air intake, protecting both the machine and your respiratory system.
Pillows: Consider bringing your preferred CPAP-compatible pillows. These pillows are designed to accommodate the mask and tubing, providing optimal comfort and stability while you sleep.
Other accessories: Depending on your specific needs and preferences, you may also want to bring additional accessories, such as tubing, chin straps, mask wipes, or power adapters. Remember to check the voltage compatibility of your CPAP machine if traveling internationally.
By following these guidelines and ensuring you have the necessary items and accessories, you can travel with your CPAP machine comfortably and maintain your sleep therapy routine while away from home.
Generally, a CPAP machine does not count toward your carry-on limit when flying. It’s considered a medical device and allowed as an additional carry-on item. When traveling, make sure to carry your CPAP machine in a case. You can store it in the overhead bin or below your seat.
Yes, travel CPAP machines are designed to work as effectively as standard CPAP machines. They provide the necessary therapy and pressure settings to treat sleep apnea while offering a more compact and portable design for travel convenience.
Yes, travel CPAP machines can be used daily, despite being designed for travel. Like standard CPAP machines, they are designed to provide consistent and reliable therapy for sleep apnea patients.
The lifespan of a travel CPAP machine can vary depending on usage, maintenance, and the specific model. On average, travel CPAP machines can last five years with proper care and regular maintenance.
In most cases, you can use your regular CPAP mask with a new travel CPAP machine. But it’s important to ensure compatibility between the mask and the specific model of the travel CPAP machine. It’s recommended to consult the manufacturer or your health care provider to confirm compatibility or consider purchasing a mask specifically designed for travel CPAP machines if needed. Not all machines accommodate all masks.
CPAP Survey. 600 respondents. Conducted using Pollfish. Launched July 25, 2023.
Qiao, Guanghui, et al. Understanding the Value of Tourism to Seniors’ Health and Positive Aging. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. February 2022. Found on the internet at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8834913
Berg, Sara. What Doctors Wish Patients Knew About Sleep Apnea. American Medical Association. April 1, 2022. Found on the internet at https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/what-doctors-wish-patients-knew-about-sleep-apnea
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Certain Philips Respironics Ventilators, BiPAP Machines, and CPAP Machines Recalled Due to Potential Health Risks: FDA Safety Communication. June 2, 2023. Found on the internet at https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/safety-communications/update-certain-philips-respironics-ventilators-bipap-machines-and-cpap-machines-recalled-due
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sleep and Chronic Disease. Last Reviewed: Sept. 13, 2022. Found on the internet at https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/chronic_disease.html
Guay-Gagnon, Martin, et al. Sleep Apnea and the Risk of Dementia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of Sleep Research. April 2, 2022. Found on the internet at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35366021/