How to choose the right CPAP mask

Face mask

The condition of sleep apnea is one that affects many Australians.

Potentially very serious, it is a sleep disorder that results in your breathing regularly stopping and starting.

If your partner’s sleep apnea is keeping you awake, then wireless earbuds are a good option for you. But for them, they might need a CPAP machine to help alleviate the condition.

Otherwise known as a ‘continuous positive airway pressure,’ it helps you get a safer and better night’s sleep by facilitating a steady stream of oxygen into your airways via both a mask and tube.

If this is something you might require, there are three main styles of masks available right now in Australia.

In this article, we will outline how you can go about choosing the right CPAP mask for you, to ensure you find one that benefits you the most.

Types of CPAP Masks

As mentioned, there are three main styles of CPAP masks currently available for purchase in Australia. They are as follows:

Full Face Masks

This type of mask is the most traditional design for CPAP therapy. As its name alludes, it covers your mouth, nose and much of your face.

Widely used, it has a strong seal, which safeguards against leaking. Some people may find it cumbersome, awkward or claustrophobic to wear when trying to sleep.

Given its size, it can also be a hindrance when attempting to read or watch TV.

Nasal Masks

Nasal masks are specifically designed for those who like to read or watch TV in bed.

Unlike the full-face mask, they are not as chunky. Their slimline design ensures your whole nose is not covered, which will help ensure a clear line of vision.

Nasal Pillow Masks

In recent times the use of nasal pillow masks has grown increasingly popular.

Whilst not a mask in the conventional sense, technological advances have created a fitting that delivers the airflow pressure, via a tube from a CPAP machine, straight into your air canals.

At the end of the tubes, the pillows have an opening that can be directly inserted in the nose to ensure you are not affected by obstruction whilst you sleep.

Best CPAP Masks for your preferred sleeping position

When it comes to choosing the right CPAP Mask for you, many people find the way they sleep as being a very important determining factor.

Back Sleepers

If you predominantly sleep on your back, any of these masks will do, since this position can easily accommodate them all.

For those who want to use a CPAP Mask, it is probably the best position to use one in. It is less likely to get in your way or to dislodge.

Side Sleepers

For those who sleep on their side, nasal masks or nasal pillows are probably your best option.

Sleeping on your side is considered the optimum position for sleep apnea treatment, as it stops gravity from disrupting your airway, as much as it can do when sleeping on your stomach or back. 

Subsequently, side sleepers often struggle to find a suitable CPAP Mask.

By contrast, nasal pillows are a decent option for those who sleep on their side, as their lower profile sits at a higher point than the pillow itself.

Similarly, nasal masks that cover most or some of the nose, are an alternative option that works for many people who sleep on their side.

Generally, the best models are the ones that have soft and adjustable headgear and excellent seals. This assists in the stopping of air leaks, although some people who sleep on their side might still require a pillow that is CPAP-friendly.

Stomach Sleepers

The majority of stomach sleepers tend to only be able to use a nasal pillow.

While this is the rarest sleep position of the three, those who do sleep on their stomach tend to have major concerns when choosing the right CPAP mask for them.

This is predominantly because the position causes most of these styles of masks to press into the face. Which in turn causes discomfort and regular air leaks.

Also, depending on the mask’s size, your head can be forced into a position that places stress on the neck and can subsequently cause you to wake up with stiffness or pain the next morning.

As a result, nasal pillows are the only style of mask that tends to work, as their lower profile means they are less likely to cause pain or otherwise dislodge, regardless of the way you sleep.

That said, even people who choose a nasal pillow mask need to make sure their pillow can accommodate it. This is because some masks have a tube positioning that runs along the temples, which may result in restricted air flow. Depending on how firm your pillow is and the position in which you sleep.

What else to look for in a CPAP Mask

Choosing the correct mask is the key to both a successful and comfortable solution to your sleep apnea issues.

Therefore, when looking for a CPAP Mask, there are several other factors you should consider too. These include the following factors:


Make sure the mask feels comfortable on your face and is something you think you can wear for a prolonged period of time.

Size of the mask and its sealing

It is worth taking into account the size of the mask and its sealing when choosing the right style of mask for you.

Be sure to check the level of pressure and fit thoroughly before making your decision.

Machine and Treatment Specifications

Should you be advised to begin with a high therapy pressure, you will have to find a mask that can provide you with this.

Some machines will outline specifications that relate to their own masks, which should help you make a decision.

Where Can You Purchase CPAP Masks?

Unlike in some other countries, in Australia, you can purchase a CPAP machine without a prescription.

If you do not have one, then it is worth buying an automatic machine that uses advanced algorithms to ascertain the most appropriate pressure output requirements for you.

You’ll find a number of online retailers in Australia. One of which is CPAP Direct who have a range of different CPAP masks to choose from.

They are also available from sleep clinics, as well as at plenty of medical equipment retailers who operate out of brick-and-mortar shops.