With holiday travel around the corner, CPAP users are gearing up to take their sleep apnea therapy on the road. Travel can be a tricky time for people with sleep apnea; new surroundings make it harder to get to sleep, even without a sleep disorder. Then there’s finding a reliable, portable cpap machine. What options are available? Do I need a new mask? What features do I need to make CPAP therapy convenient and comfortable while I’m on the go?
Today we’ll be highlighting two of the most popular travel CPAP devices on the market, the AirMini Autoset Travel CPAP Machine by ResMed and the Transcend Micro Auto Travel CPAP Machine by Somnetics.
ResMed Airmini Autoset Travel CPAP Overview
The AirMini is one of the most in-demand mini CPAP machines on the market, and it’s easy to see why. ResMed has slimmed down the footprint of their larger machines while keeping much of the same functionality. And since so many people with sleep apnea are loyal users of popular at-home devices like the ResMed AirSense 10, choosing the same brand for a travel machine seems like a no-brainer. However, it pays to do a little research to find out if the AirMini will work best for the kind of travel you’ll be doing and what features are important to you.
Note: for a full rundown of all this machine offers, read our ResMed Airmini review.
Specs and Features
Weight: 10.56 ounces
Noise level: 30 decibels
Mask Compatibility: select ResMed masks
Therapy modes: CPAP, APAP, and AutoSet for Her
Power supply: AC adaptor
FAA Approved for In-Flight Use
Waterless humidification - ResMed’s HumidX is a quarter-sized disc you can insert into the tubing that uses moisture from your breath to generate humidity, which can dramatically improve your comfort. It also allows you to roam freely without the need to carry a supply of distilled water.
Exhalation Pressure Relief - a popular comfort setting that reduces the incoming air pressure as you breathe out.
Auto Start and Stop - put on your mask to start therapy, take it off to stop, that's it! No fumbling around in the dark in unfamiliar surroundings to turn your therapy on and off.
Mask Leak Compensation - the AirMini can detect when there is an air leak in your mask and adjust the air pressure accordingly.
AirMini Pros and Cons
If you’re already using a ResMed PAP machine, switching to the AirMini will be a breeze. It uses the same proprietary algorithms that help the air pressure adjust to your breathing patterns, so you’ll be getting the same sleep therapy you’re accustomed to. If you already use one of the compatible CPAP masks, switching over will be even easier since you won’t have to purchase a new one.
The AirMini compatible mask options are limited to certain ResMed models. If you don’t own one of these, this limitation is a con. You’d have to purchase a new mask and then get used to it, ideally prior to going on the road.
The leak compensation feature gives the AirMini point in the ‘pro’ column. It’s helpful to know that if you do have a mask leak during the night, your machine can keep up. The AirMini will auto adjust the air pressure to make up the difference, something the Transcend doesn’t offer.
For a travel CPAP, the lack of an out-of-the box battery power source is another con for the AirMini. Any alternative solutions would mean an additional purchase, like an aftermarket battery or DC converter that allows you to plug into a USB outlet.
Transcend Micro Auto Travel CPAP Overview
The Transcend Micro by Somnetics is, as the time of this writing, officially the smallest and lightest travel CPAP machine on the market. Similar to the AirMini, the Micro is packed with features you'd expect to find on a reliable at-home machine, including ramping technology, auto start/stop, and exhalation pressure relief. Additionally, the Micro boasts an innovative drying mode that dries up all the moisture left in your CPAP mask and hose after a night of sleep therapy, as well as a portable battery option.
Specs and Features
Weight: 7.68 ounces
Noise Level: 27 decibels
Mask Compatibility: compatible with any CPAP mask
Therapy Modes: CPAP, APAP
Warranty: 2 years
Power supply: AC adapter or portable battery (available separately)
FAA Approved for In-Flight Use
Gentle Rise Technology - an adjustable ramp-up period that begins at a low pressure range and gradually increases to full therapy level as you go to sleep.
AirRelief Technology - similar to the AirMini, the Transcend Micro Auto CPAP reduces pressure on the exhale for a more natural breathing sensation.
Drying Mode - a 30 minute cycle that produces a steady stream of air to remove excess moisture from mask and tubing to help prevent bacteria and grime from building up
Portable Battery - The Transcend P8 rechargeable battery is available to purchase separately.
Waterless Humidification - Transcend uses heat and moisture exchange filters (not included) to generate moisture, shedding the bulk of a traditional humidifier that can weigh the device down.
Transcend Pros and Cons
There are a few points in favor of the Micro over other mini CPAPs. The first is the ability to keep your current cpap mask if it happens to be one that isn’t compatible with the AirMini. Throwing a new mask into the mix during travel won’t make on-the-go sleep therapy easier since it can take a few days to adjust to the fit. The second is the CPAP battery power option. This is especially helpful if you’re camping or sleeping in a location that’s not right next to an outlet. Finally, the Micro is a bit smaller and lighter than the AirMini.
Both the AirMini and the Micro will be a bit louder than their non-travel counterparts, that’s because there is less space and material to absorb the sound. The Micro does offer a muffler kit for this exact reason. If you have a hard time sleeping with the white noise sound of the machine operation, the muffler kit can help. One con for the Micro is the absence of a mask leak compensation feature.
Don’t wait until you are about to leave for your trip to start thinking about your on-the-go CPAP equipment. It’s tempting to think you can hop online and pick up a machine that will provide everything you’re looking for. By doing a bit of preliminary research, and possibly trying out new masks if needed, you’ll be better prepared to get good sleep wherever you happen to find yourself. Make sure to make a list of your must-haves, whether it’s a portable power source, compatibility with your current mask, size, and noise level.