Find the perfect CPAP Mask

Types of CPAP Masks

If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you know that the next step is getting set up with your CPAP machine. One of the most important parts of starting your CPAP therapy will be reading about several different CPAP masks so that you can find the best option. The CPAP mask is the piece of equipment that connects you to the machine and delivers the therapy. If you are uncomfortable with the mask, you’ll likely abandon CPAP.

Because we are all different, it is impossible for there to be a “one size fits all” mentality towards masks. There are hundreds of different styles of CPAP masks in many different sizes, but there are three main styles of masks: Nasal Pillows, Nasal Mask, and a Full Face Mask.

Nasal Mask

CPAP Nasal MaskNasal masks offer the widest range in size and fit. It fits over the nose and covers from the bridge of your nose to upper lip. It delivers air to your nasal passageway but not directly into your nostrils like the Nasal Pillow. It’s a more natural airflow than the Nasal Pillow.

You should consider a nasal mask if…

  • You want a lower profile machine but nothing directly in your nostrils.
  • You sleep on your side or toss and turn in your sleep.
  • You like to read or watch TV before bed.

You should not consider a nasal mask if…

  • You breathe through your mouth or struggle to breathe through your nose.
  • You will be bothered by the smaller design putting more pressure on the bridge of your nose.

Nasal Pillow Mask

The nasal pillow is the smallest style so it’s perfect for someone who feels claustrophobic or moves around in their sleep. The nasal pillow fit into the nostrils and delivers air directly into your nose. The potential for leaking is incredibly small, but some people find it uncomfortable to have something in your nose.

You should consider a nasal pillow if…

  • You have facial hair. Facial hair can impact the seal, and nasal pillows don’t come in contact with facial hair.
  • Ideal if you feel claustrophobic from other masks.
  • Wear your glasses because nothing covers the bridge of your nose.

You should not consider a nasal pillow if…

  • Can be uncomfortable with a high-pressure setting.
  • Not ideal for mouth breathers.

Full Face Mask

This mask covers your entire mouth and nose and fits underneath your chin, rather than against it, offering you greater comfort when trying to fall asleep. Because the mask has more surface area, it spreads the pressure out and some people find it more comfortable. Some full face mask fits underneath your chin, rather than against it, offering a greater seal when trying to fall asleep.

You should get a full-face CPAP mask if…

  • You breathe through your mouth.
  • You frequently struggle to breathe exclusively through your nose because of allergies or congestion.
  • You typically sleep on your back.
  • The smaller masks put too much pressure on a smaller area of your face

You should not get a full-face CPAP mask if…

  • You sleep on your side.
  • The larger mask makes you feel smothered or claustrophobic.

How to Chose the Best CPAP Mask

The most important thing to remember is to find a mask that you feel comfortable using every night. An ill-fitting mask that leaks or causes skin irritation will interrupt your sleep which negates the whole point of CPAP therapy. It’s supposed to help you sleep!

Take note to how you sleep. Whether you sleep on your back or side, sleep like a log or move constantly, the different styles of masks can accommodate you.

Size, Comfort, Fit

Put the mask on before you start the machine. This will prevent the mask and tubing from becoming misshapen and creating the leak you are trying to avoid.

Use a mirror when you put on the mask to make sure you are wearing it correctly. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines because each mask has a specific sequence to put it on.

CPAP Nasal Mask Fit Guide

Measure your actual nose size from top to bottom and side to side

Measure straight down from the middle of your pupil to just below the lower lip. It may help to imagine a horizontal line extended from your lower lip to beneath your eye, so that you can measure straight down from your pupil. Measure the width of your mouth in a natural position. (i.e. not smiling). Make sure top fits at bridge of nose, and bottom covers mouth completely.

CPAP Accessories to Consider


As important as the type of mask chosen is the type of headgear.  This is the device used to apply the mask to the face and help retain the ever important seal of the mask. If you need a full face mask but sleep on your side, headgear can help maintain the seal. These items can be made of plastic or fabric and are available in adjustable models as well as models of different sizes.


People who use either a nasal pillow or mask sometimes wear a chin strap too. It helps keep the mouth shut in order to get the full benefit of the therapy.

CPAP Replacement Matters

If you don’t have the ideal mask, you don’t have to struggle with it. CPAP supplies are made to be disposable and are manufactured with replacement schedules in mind. Contact us to find out when your insurance will replace your CPAP supplies.

If you cannot fall asleep with your mask, don’t skip therapy. We can offer the lowest allowable prices for new CPAP masks.


What’s the best CPAP mask for side sleepers?

The Nasal Pillow or Nasal Mask offers a minimal design that can effectively provide CPAP therapy while sleeping on your side. The Full Face Mask is designed to be used while sleeping on your back but there are different types of headgear that can allow you to sleep on your side and use a full face mask.

What is the best CPAP mask for mouth breather?

The full face mask completely covers the mouth and nose so it is ideal if you are a mouth breather.


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