It’s been 2 months since ResMed began shipping their AirMini Travel CPAP machines to suppliers. ResMed’s entry into the travel CPAP market has given the travel-CPAP ‘niche’ a major shake-up. I could imagine Transcend and HDM – the manufacturers of the most popular travel CPAP machines shaking in their loafers.
The main appeal of the AirMini device is it’s portability – it’s size makes it the smallest CPAP machine on the market.
With that – let’s dive into things and see what people have been saying about these units.
Introduction to the ResMed AirMini AutoSet CPAP Machine
The AirMini has featured within the top-selling CPAP machines overall on many of the online retailers websites since its release. This is significant, as the travel CPAP machines typically occupy a small corner of the demand and are only for those that can afford to purchase a second, travel-specific CPAP machine. This suggests that many people are actually choosing the AirMini as their primary device.
Released in early 2017 – the ResMed AirMini is an incredibly compact CPAP machine with most of the features you have come to expect from ResMed’s larger bedside units. The machine is pitched to the upper end of the market – and ResMed have tried to cram in all of the features of the larger AirSense machines. Consequentially – it is priced about the same as their top-echelon bedside machines – $US880.
The AirMini has a comparatively tiny profile – the machine itself measuring 5.4 inches (13.7 cm) by 3.3 inches (8.4 cm) making it one of the smallest CPAP machines available. It is light too – weighing just 0.66 pounds (300 grams) – less than the weight of a can of soup. So, it definitely fits into the ultra-portable travel CPAP machine category.
It comes standard with ResMed’s unique HumidX humidification system, expiratory pressure relief, autostart, bluetooth connectivity, and ramp features. All things we have come to expect from our CPAP machines.
What do the Reviews Say about the ResMed AirMini CPAP Machine?
As you’d expect from any of ResMed’s products – it has SOME raving fans, and its getting pretty good reviews overall. The travel CPAP market can be scathing – and keeping patients happy is all-too-often an impossible task. Travel CPAP users demand near-identical features and noise levels from a machine that is a fraction of the size of traditional CPAP machines. Nobody is saying that the AirMini can do everything that the AirSense machines can do. However, it is possibly the best travel CPAP machine currently on the market – and it would want to be with it’s premium price point.
It is being noted in many reviews as being incredibly small and portable. It is described by many as ‘relatively quiet’ – for a travel CPAP machine with water-less humidification.
Some Selected Reviews
Here are some of the more useful reviews from around the web.
- “If you’re looking for a sleep therapy device that’s simple to use, light to lug around and looks inconspicuous on your bedside table, the AirMini fits the bill.CPAP Australia
- “My wife could not sleep as it is terribly noisy”CPAP.com
- “Great machine but the noise from the nasal pillow is substantially greater than my larger F & P auto machine. Machine noise so far is minimal and very acceptable.The CPAP Shop
- “That’s a $999 initial outlay!! VERY disappointed at that price point, VERY disappointed in their decision to lock users into proprietary hoses and masks.cpaptalk.com
- “I was impressed with the humidity pod – I always have trouble with the dry air on the plane and was really happy with the level of humidity provided.CPAP.com
Like the reviews say, the ResMed AirMini falls short of the premium bedside units especially in terms of quietness of operation. Despite this, the AirMini is likely the quietest travel CPAP machine available with a water-less humidification system. It is much quieter than the equivalent Transcend and Z1 water-less humidification systems. If noise is a major issue for you and you need humidification; a travel-specific CPAP machine may not be for you. Consider the AirSense range.
HumidX and HumidX Plus Humidifer Systems
The AirMini device utilizes a waterless humidification system that their marketers have called the HumidX and HumidX Plus. The system uses a capsule that is placed in-line with the CPAP tubing that traps water vapor and heat from your exhaled breath. When you breathe in, this trapped moisture helps humidify the inhaled air. Although not as effective as heated humidifiers they do help in significantly humidifying the inhaled air (Wikipedia). Effectively, it is a heat moisture exchange (HME) unit which has been given the ResMed treatment.
The capsule itself, which needs to be replaced every 30 days, only works with ResMed’s Nasal Pillow and Nasal Masks. This is a sore point for many CPAP users, as they prefer their own mask and may not want to use a ResMed mask. Yes, they are disposable – but they last considerably longer than other similar heat moisture exchange devices – which need to be replaced weekly.
The devices come in two humidication levels as well. The standard HumidX is recommended to be used in normal climatic conditions. The HumidX Plus on the other hand is for those really dry environments such as on AirPlanes, and may be better for particularly cold climates.
By far the biggest complaint among early adopters of the AirMini device has been the noise. Granted, the machine is considerably louder than the AirSense machines. This is largely due to the vibrations caused by the HumidX humidification system. However, most accounts suggest that it is considerably quieter than comparable travel CPAP machines with water-less humidification devices attached.
ResMed have not hidden this fact, and the noise level is quoted as being about 38dB – about 11dB louder than their AirSense device. This would be the equivalent noise level of a library, or a bird call (44dB). This is too loud for some people (or their partners) and any travel machine with a water-less humidification system is unlikely to work for them.
What do the CPAP users think of the noise issue?
In addition, since all of this technology has been squeezed into to such a small shell, less noise insulation it is almost expected that machine will be noisier due to the lack of room for noise insulation. The noise issue was succinctly addressed by a very thoughtful user on CPAP.com:
“I’ve seen some complaints on noise, and while it may not be as quiet as the newest fullsize CPAPs, it is whisper quiet compared to the loud-high-pitched noises the Z1s or Transcends make.CPAP.com
It seems that travel CPAP users need to make a trade-off when it comes to this issue; and they are left with three options:
- Using the waterless humidification system and putting up with the noise
- Use a CPAP machine with a heated humidifier, and deal with having to fill it up and empty it – as well as the added power usage
- Using a travel CPAP machine without any humidification
The AirMini humidification system can only be used with ResMed’s own Nasal (N20) and Nasal Pillow (P10) CPAP masks. This is no small thing for many of you, as some of you took a long time to find a mask that you dearly love.
If you don’t want to use ResMed’s nasal masks, or need a full face mask, I’m afraid you will have to go without the HumidX humidification system. Buying the full-face option of the machine will allow you to use your own CPAP mask – but without humidification.
Why did ResMed do this?
CPAP Australia describe The ‘built-in vent that features the ActiveAir technology’ serves as the ‘crucial pivot that makes the AirMini solution possible’
The AirMini-specific nasal masks are unique in that they do not have the mask vents on the masks themselves. This is because the mask vents are located within the hose, machine-side of where the HumidX disk is placed. This is vital to the operation of the HumidX humidification system. Moisture is captured in the HumidX disk from the exhaled breath as it passes through and out the ‘Active Air Vent’. This trapped moisture is then used to humidify the inhaled air as it passes through the HumidX in the opposite direction. Traditional masks wouldn’t work, as the moisture is exhaled straight out of vents on the mask, bypassing the HumidX disk.
This is why ResMed has released proprietary masks that work with the HumidX system on the AirMini. These masks are ‘un-vented’ and rely on the vent on the HumidX system for this. Traditional ‘vented’ masks will not work with this system, and using the AirMini-specific unvented masks on another CPAP machines could have catastrophic consequences (as there is nowhere for the CO2 gas to escape).
The AirMini doesn’t have an on-board LCD screen. Instead, the AirMini is controlled using the AirMini app.
Tthe AirMini application is easy to setup; with an easy to follow setup guide and clear pictures when you open the application. The range of compatible Android devices is far from exhaustive on ResMed’s website. In fact, a better way to determine if your device is compatible is to visit the AirMini apps page on the Google Play Store where you can find out if your device is compatible or not.
Once it is connected you can change the devices settings and view your compliance and treatment history using the application.
- it’s small
- it’s noisy
- you need a compatible iPhone or Android phone
- you need to use ResMed’s AirMini-specific N20 or P10 masks if you want to use it with humidication
- it’s small
The Ideal User:
Already uses ResMed’s nasal masks and could sleep through an air raid without stirring.