Travel CPAP Options

It’s summer time, so for us that means road trips and family vacations. We started it off by driving for two days down to Florida.

My issue is that when the car starts rolling it makes me sleepy, one of the few times I can fall asleep with no effort. The downside of this is when I sleep in the car without using my CPAP, I wake up and I can feel it -- my head hurts, and I'm more tired than I was before I went to sleep.

Searching for a compact alternative

Knowing this, I try to stay up until we reach our destination, but it rarely happens. This began my journey to see what portable CPAP options are out there, since pulling out my CPAP in the car isn’t practical.

I was shocked at how many options there were for travel or mini CPAP let me tell you about the top 3 that I researched and what I ultimately ended up for our next trip.

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What is a travel CPAP?

Travel CPAP machines are compact, lightweight, and easy to transport, making them the perfect companion for frequent travelers or those who simply want to maintain their sleep therapy routine while away from home. Whether you're embarking on a business trip or planning a vacation, having a travel CPAP ensures that you can continue receiving the necessary treatment for your sleep apnea without any disruptions.

I found there were plenty of options, but for the biggest hurdle was finding one that was affordable. Since I currently have a CPAP for use at home, our insurance wouldn’t cover a travel machine and the cost of one is comparable to buying a full-size unit.

The tradeoff is finding something cost effective that can plug into the cigarette lighter or USB port in the car, or have a battery for flights.

Option 1: Res Med Air Mini

The first option was the Res Med Air Mini. My current machine is also by Res Med as well. The mini is super cute and tiny. I thought it would be a great option, but at $900 it’s almost as expensive as my full size machine without all the features. I couldn’t justify spending that much on a CPAP to use just for traveling. Also, this model still needs to be plugged in, so it's not a good fit for long drives or flights.

Option 2: Somnetics Transcend Micro Auto Travel CPAP

The next option on my list to try was Somnetics Transcend Micro Auto Travel CPAP. What drew me to this one was that it could be used easily in the car. We spend a lot of time traveling back and forth on the highway, so that was a big plus. This machine is super lightweight and the smallest on the market. That said, it comes in just a tad cheaper than the Res Med, at around $780 -- also too expensive just for travel.

Option 3: Human Design Medical Z2 Auto Travel CPAP

The Human Design Medical Z2 Auto Travel CPAP was the third model that I looked at. It fits in the palm of your hand, but at around $700 is still pretty expensive for a travel machine. This model also doesn't have an AC adapter, so it wouldn't be a good option for the car.

It’s amazing to see that there were so many options that were under a pound and can fit in your hand with at least some of the same convenience of a full-size machine.

I checked out eBay and other secondhand sites and did find some of the machines slightly cheaper, starting at around $400. I still can't justify the price, though, because there is no guarantee of how long a pre-owned unit would work.

The decision

After looking at these three I ultimately found a cheap $24 micro CPAP that fits on your nose. I ordered that and a chin strap, and for a total of $60 with shipping, I've found a cost-effective way to try to get some rest while traveling.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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