Comparing CPAP Masks

While treating your sleep apnea is not particularly difficult, you'll want to make sure to use the right CPAP mask. Otherwise, you may not get the proper airflow you need for continuous sleep or for your overall health. To help you narrow down your options, we’ve broken down the different types of masks, including the nasal pillow, full face mask and nasal mask, as well as their unique advantages and disadvantages.


Nasal Pillow

Nasal pillows are among the most widely used of CPAP masks, mainly because of their simplistic design, which can be quite appealing to those who feel claustrophobic under bulkier OSA masks or material on their faces. Another benefit is it’s easy to watch TV, wear glasses, and read while wearing a nasal pillow. If you commonly move around a lot while sleeping, the nasal pillow CPAP mask is sure to be more comfortable.

As far as the downsides of nasal pillows, they might not be the best fit if you need high-pressure airflow while sleeping. There’s also a chance this mask might dry out your sinuses, which has the potential to lead to nosebleeds.

Full Face Mask

The full face mask is built to go over your nose, mouth and a portion of your face, which could be a design you prefer if you breathe through your mouth, sleep on your back, or often find yourself congested. If for whatever reason you don’t like the feel or functionality of the nasal pillow and don’t like large objects on your face, you still might find the full face mask to be preferable to the nasal pillow, mainly because it only touches the outsides of your face. 

One disadvantage of this CPAP mask is there’s a good chance air could leak out, which might dry out your eyes. Unlike the nasal pillow, you may have difficulty while reading, watching a screen or wearing glasses with the full face mask.


Nasal Mask

This particular mask fits over the nose and upper lip. There are also several different designs, making it easy for you to find the perfect fit. This mask is better suited for those who need high-pressure settings and natural airflow to treat their apnea, and the minimal design keeps it in place even if you move in your sleep.

There’s a chance you might experience chafing on your nose while wearing a nasal mask. Users who have deviated septums, compromised nasal valves, swollen turbinates or other conditions that lead to problems with breathing might not find a good fit with this particular CPAP mask. On a related note, anyone who has allergies or feels as if they always have a cold might not find a good fit with the nasal mask. Finally, the nasal mask usually isn’t a good match for those who breathe through their mouths.


Talk with your doctor about which CPAP mask is best for you, and try out different ones until you find the right option. While it might be frustrating to go through this period of trial and error, keep in mind it’s the best for your health as well as your overall quality of sleep. 

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