Mayo Clinic Health Library

Slide show: Which CPAP masks are best for you?

Updated: 01-05-2012

Many options available

Photos showing a variety of CPAP masks

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) masks and headgear come in many styles and sizes to comfortably treat your sleep apnea. Everyone has different needs and face shapes, so you may need to try a variety of CPAP masks before finding the right one for you. And just because you're a certain size in some styles of CPAP masks doesn't mean you'll be the same size in others.

Here's a look at a few CPAP masks and possible benefits of each. Work closely with your doctor and CPAP mask supplier to make sure you have a mask that suits your needs and fits you.

Nasal pillow mask, side straps

Photos of CPAP mask with nasal pillows and side straps

Nasal pillows beneath the nose supply air pressure. Side straps keep the mask in place.

Might be good if:

  • You feel claustrophobic in masks that cover more of your face
  • You want a full field of vision for reading or watching TV
  • You want to wear your glasses

Nasal pillow mask, ball-cap-style straps

Photos of CPAP mask with nasal pillows and ball-cap-style straps

Nasal pillows or a small mask called a cushion (shown here) supplies air pressure. The front mount containing the nose piece adjusts up and down. Ball-cap-style straps keep the mask in place.

Might be good if:

  • You feel claustrophobic in masks that cover more of your face
  • You sleep on your side (no side straps)
  • You sleep on your abdomen
  • You want the option of using a pillow or mask interface

Nasal mask with foam cushion, side straps

Photos of nasal CPAP mask with foam cushion and side straps

The mask covering the nose supplies air pressure. The foam piece around the nasal mask helps seal the mask. Side straps keep the mask in place.

Might be good if:

  • Your doctor has prescribed a high air pressure setting — the foam piece seals the mask to the face well without a lot of pressure on the face
  • You move around a lot in your sleep — the headgear flexes due to the foam piece and how the straps attach

Nasal mask that suctions to face, side straps

Photos of nasal CPAP mask that suctions to face and has side straps

The mask covering the nose supplies air pressure and suctions to your face while the CPAP machine is running. Side straps keep the mask in place.

Might be good if:

  • You move around a lot in your sleep — both the suction of the mask to your face and the side straps help keep it in place
  • Your doctor has prescribed a high air pressure setting — the suction of the mask to your face maintains a good seal, so air doesn't escape

Full face masks that cover nose and mouth, side straps

Photos of two full face CPAP masks that cover nose and mouth

The mask covering the nose and mouth supplies air pressure. Side straps keep the mask in place.

Might be good if:

  • You have nasal obstruction or congestion that makes breathing through your nose difficult
  • You breathe through your mouth at night despite a month of trying a nasal mask or nasal pillow interface combined with a heated humidity feature or chin strap or both to keep your mouth closed
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