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CPAP Tubing: What to Look For

Whether you’re replacing existing tubing or looking for an upgrade, these factors will help you find the perfect option for your needs

With so many options, features, and settings to consider when picking the perfect CPAP machine for your needs, it’s easy to overlook something like tubing.

Though it might seem like a minor consideration, your tubing is the connection between your CPAP mask and your CPAP machine.

This means this seemingly simple tube can significantly impact your CPAP experience.

If you’re unsure what hose to pick or looking to upgrade or replace your existing CPAP tubing, this guide will cover the factors to consider and options available to you!

Essentials to Consider when Choosing CPAP Tubing

When it comes to all of the various things you might consider when choosing CPAP hoses, you can split factors into two categories: essential elements and optional features.

We’ll start this guide by looking at the essential elements first, as they’re most likely to create problems in terms of compatibility or functionality. 

Tube Connections

While most third-party CPAP tubes feature universal connectors or adapters for popular CPAP machine models, most tubes from major CPAP manufacturers are designed for use with machines of the same brand.

In some cases, they might even only work with a specific series of machines from the manufacturer. 

This is particularly true when considering heated CPAP tubing.

So be sure to check connection points and ensure compatibility with your machine if you already own one. 

If you’re shopping for CPAP tubing along with a new CPAP machine, consulting with your CPAP supply store or contacting the CPAP machine manufacturer can help to ensure compatibility if you’re unsure.

Tube Sizing

The majority of CPAP tubing measures 1.8 metres (6 feet) in length, has an inner diameter of 19mm and connects to your mask using a 22mm cuff connection.

However, if you’d like to customize your tubing to your specific needs, there are options available in 1.2m (4ft), 2.4m (8ft), and 3m (10ft) lengths. 

This can help add slack to your tubing if it spans a larger room, allow for a little more freedom of movement if you toss and turn in your sleep, or eliminate extra hose if you’d prefer a lighter option or need to save room in your travel bag.

Some newer machines utilize a “thin” or “slim” CPAP tubing design. These will come in the same lengths but have 12mm or 15mm inner diameter. If they do not allow seamless connection to a 22mm mask port, they’ll often include adapters.

However, if your machine does not natively support 12mm or 15mm tubing, using these thinner CPAP tubes might not be as simple.

Even if you can find an adapter to connect the smaller tube to your machine, you might find that it doesn’t work correctly without changes to your settings. 

If you’re planning to switch from standard to thin tubing (or vice versa), be sure to consult your manual or contact your CPAP machine supplier or manufacturer to check for any changes that might be required to ensure safe and accurate operation.

The same is true for travel CPAP machines. If your machine uses a non-standard connection and you wish to use it with third-party CPAP tubing, an adapter is likely required. Be sure to check the availability of any adapters before ordering your new tubing.

Optional Features and Factors to Consider when Choosing CPAP Hoses

The features in this section won’t make or break your ability to use your CPAP machine but can certainly help or hinder your overall experience. Typically, while not required, these features will add comfort, convenience, or a bit of personalization potential to your CPAP setup.

We’ll break down important but optional features and factors based on what buyers typically look for in a high-quality CPAP tubing option.

Heated Tubing

Heated CPAP tubing is one of the most sought-after upgrades and a major reason why many people choose to upgrade from standard CPAP tubing.

It can drastically increase comfort–especially in colder climates or seasons–by ensuring the air flowing from your CPAP machine stays at a consistent (and pleasant) temperature regardless of the ambient temperature of the room in which you’re sleeping.

Heated tubing can also reduce or eliminate rainout–or the build-up of condensation within your CPAP tubes due to humidifier use and temperature differences.

However, it’s important to consider that you’re typically limited to options made by the manufacturer of your CPAP machine when choosing heated tubing. 

This will also limit your ability to choose different lengths of tubing as most heated tubing options from major manufacturers are only available in standard 1.8m (6ft) sizing.

If you’d like to enjoy many of the benefits of heated tubing while maintaining the ability to use a wide range of tube brands or models, consider insulated CPAP tubing wraps. These slide over a range of tube sizes and lengths, helping to reduce the loss of heat or humidity in your air supply without drastically limiting your CPAP tubing options.

Tubing Weight and Materials

If you have a longer or heavier CPAP hose, you might find that the tubing weighs on your mask–especially if you use a smaller CPAP mask or your tubing hangs slack between your CPAP machine and bed. 

In this case, choosing CPAP tubing made of a lighter material can help to reduce this pulling or weighty sensation.

As most CPAP tubes are primarily plastic, lighter weights can sometimes signal thinner walls or lesser durability. So be sure to choose a trusted brand or ask your CPAP supplier about reliable options so that you’re not left replacing your tubing sooner than expected.

Many slim CPAP tubes are also noticeably lighter than standard 19mm tubes. So if your machine will allow you to use them, they are a simple way to reduce weight and improve comfort without sacrificing durability or service life in most cases.

Tubing Color and Appearance

Finally, there’s the aesthetic look of your tubing. Most CPAP tubing features a thin transparent or translucent tube shell with a reinforcing coil which helps avoid kinking or obstruction and keeps things flexible.

However, some companies offer tubing in a variety of colours–including bright coils or dark and opaque tube shells. 

If you’re looking for a simple way to tell multiple tubes apart or customize the appearance of your CPAP set up for a bit of fun, these can be great options.

However, there is one crucial consideration to keep in mind: cleanliness.

Most manufacturers’ transparent or translucent tubing lets you quickly see any build-up, debris, or damage in your CPAP tubing. 

Coloured or opaque tubing can sometimes hide these issues. As such, proper CPAP cleaning and maintenance will be essential to ensure the safe operation of your equipment.

Summary

  • Connection types will typically be your most limiting factor when choosing CPAP tubing. In many cases, tubing from major manufacturers will only work with their machines (and sometimes only within a single series of machines.)
  • CPAP tubing is typically assembled in 1.8m (6ft) lengths with an inner diameter of 22mm, 15mm, or 12mm. 
  • When using thinner diameter tubing, be sure to check for any setting changes or adapters required for safe and accurate operation.
  • Longer tube lengths are often available from third-party manufacturers for added flexibility and ease of use.
  • Heated tubing is a simple way to improve comfort and reduce rainout when using a CPAP humidifier.
  • Most heated tubing is explicitly made for each series of machine. As such, using heated tubing often drastically reduces your tubing options.
  • If you’re trying to reduce CPAP tube weight, ultralight models are available. However, be sure the reduced weight of your tubing doesn’t compromise its quality. 
  • In most cases, thin or slim tubing is a simple way to shed weight without sacrificing durability or service life should your machine allow them.
  • The clear or translucent colouring of most CPAP tubes isn’t just a random choice or cost decision–it also allows you to quickly inspect your tubing for damage and ensure that cleaning removes debris or build-up. 
  • If using coloured tubing, be sure to monitor the condition of your tubing carefully and thoroughly clean it to minimize and risks of tube failure or health concerns.

CPAP Supply is Canada’s leading online provider of CPAP supplies in customer satisfaction. Our extensive selection of heated CPAP tubing and tubing options from major CPAP machine manufacturers ensures we have options to fit most popular CPAP machine models. Browse our selection of high-quality CPAP hose options or contact us today to discuss your needs and find answers to any questions you might have.

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