Difference between BiPAP Vs CPAP Machine & Indications

If you’ve been advised to use a breathing machine for your sleep apnea and need clarification about the different types of devices available today, this blog post is for you.

Specifically, we’ll discuss two popular breathing machine models: BiPAP and CPAP. We will discuss each type of machine in detail so that you can make an informed decision when selecting the right one for yourself or a loved one.

Additionally, we’ll discuss how treatment with these machines often affects other conditions, such as snoring. So keep reading to learn more – it may change your life (or someone else’s).

BiPAP Basics

Bilevel-positive airway pressure (BiPAP) machines have distinct settings for inhalation (IPAP) and exhalation (EPAP). The EPAP setting is generally much lower than the IPAP level, making exhaling more comfortable. Many BiPAP devices provide a range of 4-30 cm H2O of pressure. 

This makes it easier to breathe without having to strain against the machine. By giving different pressure levels for inhalation and exhalation, these machines allow users to feel more in control.

The BiPAP machines feature a switch that allows the user to choose between up to three settings for the transition between IPAP and EPAP.

  • Spontaneous: This setting automatically detects the user’s breathing pattern and switches between the 2 pressure levels when they inhale and exhale naturally. Most BiPAP users rely on this option, which is standard for these devices.
  • Timed: With timed switching, users can program how long each IPAP and EPAP stage should last; this ensures that they take in the proper breaths per minute, functioning like a ventilator.
  • Spontaneous/Timed: This mode is automatic and senses natural breathing patterns; however, it also includes time switching, which turns on when the machine detects the user has gone below a certain number of breaths per minute.

Furthermore, BiPAP machines are available in fixed or auto-adjusting versions.

  • FixedA fixed BiPAP machine’s IPAP and EPAP settings are predetermined and do not fluctuate at night.
  • Auto-adjusting: An auto-adjusting BiPAP machine has a set range for both IPAP and EPAP, allowing it to adjust automatically in response to the user’s breathing throughout the night.

CPAP Basics

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines provide the user with a constant airflow at a pre-set pressure. Setting up CPAP is much simpler than BiPAP, as it only involves one set: the pressure delivered to the patient’s throat muscles.

The standard range for CPAP therapy is 4-20 cm H2O. This range is generally higher than that of BiPAP machines, making it less comfortable for the user to exhale against the pressure.

CPAP machines are less versatile than BiPAP devices, providing a single pressure throughout the night. This can cause discomfort if users find their breathing changes during sleep or have trouble keeping up with the constant pressure.

On the other hand, BiPAP machines offer greater flexibility by delivering different pressure levels for inhalation and exhalation, catering to the specific needs of individuals with varying respiratory conditions.

Difference Between CPAP and BiPAP Machines

Parameter CPAP BPAP
Range of Pressure 4-20 cm H20 4-20 cm H20
Pressure Level 1 1
Cost $500 – $1,000 $500 – $1,000
Insurance Coverage Yes, though prices vary depending on the plan Yes, though prices vary depending on the plan


The level of air pressure during inhalation and exhalation differs depending on the type of PAP therapy a person is prescribed.

CPAP machines maintain constant air pressure throughout both breathing in and out. In contrast, BiPAP machines deliver two distinct levels –a higher pressure for inhalation and a lower one for exhalation.

Cost and Insurance Coverage

The cost of CPAP and BiPAP therapies can vary greatly, from around $500 to as much as $3,000. You must check with your health insurance provider for coverage details and any additional charges for supplies like masks or replacement filters.

If you have Medicare and require CPAP therapy, you may be eligible for a three-month trial period that includes a CPAP machine and accessories. After the trial period, your doctor will review the data collected and decide whether or not Medicare will continue covering the therapy.

Coverage for BiPAP therapy might only be possible if you cannot tolerate CPAP therapy or if it has proven ineffective in treating your sleep apnea. It’s essential to speak with your insurance company for details on coverage.

It is essential to look into the costs and insurance coverage associated with CPAP and BiPAP therapies before you embark on either type of therapy. This way, you can understand the full cost of treatment and decide which one will work best for you.

Recommended Use for CPAP and BiPAP

CPAP machines are usually recommended for people with mild to moderate sleep apnea. If the condition is more severe, a BiPAP machine may be prescribed instead or in addition to CPAP therapy.

BiPAP machines provide more breath-by-breath monitoring and better control over pressure levels during inhalation and exhalation, making it ideal for people with central sleep apnea (CSA). CSA is characterized by pauses in breathing, resulting from problems involving the brain’s signals to the respiratory system.

BiPAP machines can also help those suffering from Cheyne – Stokes respiration or complex sleep apnea syndrome. This condition is associated with overly deep and rapid breathing followed by shallow and slow breathing.

In short, CPAP machines are suitable for mild to moderate sleep apnea, while BiPAP machines are better suited for more severe cases. Speaking with your doctor about the best treatment for you or a loved one is essential.

BiPAP vs. CPAP: Which is Best for You?

Both CPAP and BiPAP machines are effective treatments for obstructive sleep apnea, but the best type of PAP therapy depends on your needs. Discuss with your doctor which one might be right for you or a loved one, depending on the severity of the condition.

BiPAP machines may offer more control over pressure levels and provide a better experience for those with more severe sleep apnea. However, CPAP machines are simpler to use and are often the first line of treatment.

It is important to remember that both BiPAP and CPAP therapies require regular maintenance to remain effective. Follow your doctor’s instructions on cleaning and changing supplies and any other recommendations for successful treatment.

Final Words

It is essential to understand the differences between CPAP and BiPAP machines before you decide which one is best for you or a loved one. Talk to your healthcare provider about each type of machine’s pros and cons to choose which device will best suit your needs. This will help ensure successful PAP therapy for years to come.

It’s also important to remember that both CPAP and BiPAP machines require regular maintenance to remain effective. 

Follow your doctor’s instructions on cleaning and changing supplies and any other recommendations for successful therapy. With proper care, you can enjoy many nights of restful sleep with the PAP device of your choice.

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