The AirFit F20: the new Full Face mask from ResMed.
According to ResMed it will:
1. Fit (nearly) everybody
2. Be crazy light
3. Be preferred by 80 to 90 % of patients
4. Seal better than ever before, and
5. Be the quietest mask you have ever used.
ResMed has produced some of the most beloved CPAP masks of the past 10 years while innovating arguably the most long-lasting and adopted improvements in CPAP mask design.
Let’s see how the new AirFit F20 Full Face mask stacks up.
The AirFit F20 Full Face Mask
The AirFit F20 is ResMeds new full face offering. Typical of ResMed, they have retained many of the features that made the F10 Full Face mask a winner, with slight improvements throughout. We will focus on the main changes to the mask, and give our opinion whether we think it is a winner or not.
1. The cushion.
The cushion makes or breaks a mask, and is arguably the most important part of any mask. ´The F10 mask cushion was good, but the F20 one is better´ is the tune that ResMed is dancing to here. Although the basic shape of the silicone cushion on the F20 looks very similar to the F10 (the reps will argue otherwise), there are some changes that are meant to make it more comfortable and allow it to establish and retain a better seal.
ResMed has used a combination of the frosted silicone surface which was on the F10 mask cushion, and the polished silicone surface found on its earlier masks (Quattro FX and Mirage Quattro). This seems like a good idea, as the polished silicone seal of the earlier masks did appear to `stick` to the skin better, preventing the cushion from riding up off the chin into the mouth. The frosted surface on the upper part if the cushion is meant to help reduce any discomfort across the bridge of the nose. These incremental changes should be a good improvement, and I like how they have combined their two technologies here, recognizing that each has it’s place.
In addition to this, a major issue with the F10 arose when the silicone part of the cushion was detaching from the hard plastic of the cushion. This would require buying a new cushion, a seemingly trivial issue to some; but this proved to be very costly for many Australian patients (just look at how much CPAP equipment costs in the land down under). ResMed look like they have made this connection more robust with the F20 (see below). This should improve the longevity of this mask part and reduce the need to replace the cushion. However, only time will tell.
2. Magnets magnets magnets
This is an example of ResMeds out of the box thinking that has just worked. They experimented with the magnet idea in their N10 model, and they were obviously happy with the results. The bottom straps of the headgear attach to the mask frame with specially designed, magnetized clips.
No more breaking silicone hooks.
The F10 had silicone hooks that the headgear looped over when attaching to the frame. As well as being prone to breaking, some patients with limited dexterity and strength found them difficult to use. This is despite the hooks being considerably easier to use than the clips on the older Quattro models.
In addition; and this is important; the magnetic clips are really, really, really, really, really easy to use. They are simply the best option for anyone who has issues with dexterity or strength. The great thing is, if you get the clips close enough, they will simply snap into place (i like to refer to them as near-field CPAP headgear clips). Considerably less fiddly than other masks headgear, and very likely the best system I have seen.
If the magnetic clips actually stay attached during the night, and they don´t just disconnect for no reason. Absolutely fantastic.
The Mask Frame and Elbow
Whilst the mask frame itself is more compact compared to the F10, the angles at which the headgear attach and ´pull´ the mask onto the face have remained pretty much the same. There have, however been some notable changes to elbow and exhaust design.
ResMed have changed things on the elbow of the mask. The Squeeze Tabs allowing the easy removal of the elbow joint from the frame have been replaced by harder plastic clips. They are easy enough to locate, and will indubitably prove to be more durable than the flimsy rubber on the F10. In addition, ResMed have opted for harder plastic for the entire elbow assembly, a nice throwback, and likely making this part more durable as well.
The headgear design, in principle, hasn´t changed much since the F10. Obviously the mechanism of attaching the headgear has changed (for the better we think) bus the basic design is still solid. It´s breathable, comfortable, and stable. As much as you can ask for in a CPAP mask headgear.
Altogether, the combination of the small improvements ResMed has made in this mask add up to a significantly different. They really are fine-tuning the open face full face design now and have come a long way since the Quattro FX masks. The F20 looks like it will be a winner, and certainly worth trying if you are looking for a new full face mask.
In addition, ResMed seems to have thrown back to things that have worked for them in the past, and have tried to create a more durable and long-lasting mask. It is still lightweight, mind you, but the F20 really seems like it has been made to last.
Overall, we think ResMed has done a good job here. They have incorporated the best features of their masks into what seems to be a very solid package.
You can check out the price of the F20 at most online CPAP retailers including those on Amazon.com.