Travelling with a CPAP machine keeps getting easier.

Whether you’re bringing your home CPAP in a shoulder bag on the plane, or you’ve rented a travel CPAP for the next great road trip, leaving home doesn’t mean leaving better sleep behind. But what if your adventures take you to a place without easy access to power? What if you’re going to sleep in a tent, or that cabin where the power goes out every time there’s a rainstorm? With CPAP batteries, what used to mean suffering through off nights while you’re away can now be as comfortable as sleeping at home (mosquitoes notwithstanding).

Portable power for CPAP machines

After testing options for travel CPAP machines a few weeks ago, it was time to push the test even further and see how they could perform untethered. The option to run on a battery means you can use your CPAP anywhere – whether on a plane, the passenger seat of a car, or on a crazy backwoods adventure. On trial this time were the Medistrom Pilot-12 Lite and Pilot-24 Lite batteries, as well as their many charging options.

Getting the right battery for the job

The first thing I was surprised to discover is that even though there are different voltages (12 and 24-volt versions, as the names imply) there really isn’t a runtime advantage to the higher voltage battery.

The 12V works for some machines, and the 24V for others. I won’t give the whole which-battery-for-which-machine breakdown here (the team at Apnée Santé will make sure you get the size you need) but the general idea is that whichever one you’re using, it will provide reliable power for one night’s sleep (an average of 12-13 hours to be exact, and if you’re getting more sleep than that you’re luckier than me).

pilot 24 lite cpap battery pack with airsense aircurve cpap

Basic battery functions

The batteries (either voltage) weigh next to nothing and are easy to use. They both have a power button and a light to show when they’re in use, and there’s a gauge to show how much charge is left. Charging and plugging in machines is simple and foolproof, and the batteries even have a built-in LED flashlight to help you get your tubes and cables untangled in the dark.

The cores of these batteries are lithium-ion, which makes for a couple of key advantages: first, they’ll maintain full power output until just before they’re drained, so you won’t lose air pressure as the night goes on. Another perk is they’ll hold their charge for an incredibly long time while sitting idle, so when you put one away charged you can just pick it up and go the next time (though they insist in the manual that occasional users still charge them once every six months).

medistrom pilot 24 cpap

Videos about the Pilot 12 and 24 batteries

The many ways to get charged

But wait! If I’m going camping and the battery only works for one night, what good is it? Well not to worry. First of all, if you’re somewhere with access to power even for a short while during the day, you’re all set. The manual says the batteries will charge in 2-3 hours, but I found charging much faster than that.

If you can’t get to an outlet, the automotive charger (sold separately) is next in line: in my test the 24V battery got a full charge while I drove off and on throughout my day. I even took a shot at leaving the keys in the car with the ignition off in the driveway, and found I could get a full charge in around 90 minutes and still have plenty of juice left to start the car (though no promises there if your car battery is on its last legs).

If you’re so remote that you won’t have a car to plug into, the Medistrom solar charger will top up your battery in about the same time. I charged a 12V in an hour on the lawn on a hot sunny day (though it’d obviously take longer under clouds). The solar charger folds away into a neat little pack, and has DC and USB output ports so you can use it to charge all sorts of different batteries and devices.

solar panel

Solar Panel Charger for CPAP Pilot Lite Batteries

Extra ways to make use of your battery

As an added bonus, Medistrom batteries will not only power your CPAP machine away from home; they can also be used as a fallback in case of power failure. You can plug your battery into the wall, then plug your machine into the battery, and your CPAP will run on regular power but kick seamlessly over to the battery if power fails (it really works – I cheated this test by setting it up and then pulling the plug while the machine was running).

The batteries also have a USB port to juice up your favourite devices (phones and tablets, I’m looking at you!). I fully charged a dead iPhone from the Pilot-12 without putting a dent in the battery gauge, and was still able to run the CPAP overnight.

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Limitations to know about

While the freedom to take a CPAP on your next trip cataloguing butterflies in the Amazon is decidedly cool, there are drawbacks.

First and most surprisingly, the Respironics DreamStation requires a 12V power source, while the travel version (DreamStation Go) needs a 24V battery. This frankly seems like a strange oversight. The truth is there’s a fair chance that if you have two machines of any make the battery might not work for both of them (which doesn’t matter much but it would be nice to have a battery you could travel with AND use as a backup for your home machine).

The other drawback is you’ll have to turn off your machine’s humidifier or you’ll cut runtime severely – I found out the hard way that if the humidifier is on you only get about three hours before everything shuts down. The DreamStation Go even forces the issue by putting the DC input where the optional humidifier would normally connect. If humidity is crucial to your comfort, the ResMed AirMini with its built-in waterless humidification system is hands down the winner – it’s the only one that can keep up humidity on a battery.

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Whether you use your home CPAP machine on the road or opt for a travel-sized version, whether you’re a business traveller, an occasional backwoods adventurer, or both – the freedom to continue sleep therapy on a battery is a game changer. Though hard to believe, it’s easily possible to get good sleep without a plug, and to have the peace of mind of knowing that your CPAP machine will keep working no matter what happens to local power, even on a dark and stormy night.

Man in bed asleep with a monitor around his chest

  1. Wallace A, Bucks RS. SLEEP 2013;36(2):203-220.
  2. Accessed at on Aug. 7, 2019.

So you’ve come to embrace your CPAP machine and the restfulness it helps you enjoy, along with all the other benefits you’re gaining by treating your sleep apnea, but you’ve got vacation plans lined up for the summer.

Too bad you can’t take a vacation from your sleep apnea, right? A lot of CPAP machines are indeed relatively portable, but once you involve air travel with baggage limits, or maybe a camping trip where the amount of gear you carry is scrutinized down to the last wooden match, things get trickier. Fortunately, there are solutions, and Apnea Health has ways to help.

Travel CPAP Machines

The team at Apnea Health set me up to test a couple of new, very small CPAP machines for their performance and fitness for travel. Up for the test were the Respironics DreamStation Go by Philips, and the AirMini from ResMed. Both performed admirably and lived up to their claims to the name, “Travel CPAP.” There were some differences of course…


Size matters!

Since the name of the game is portability, size really does matter.

The DreamStation Go, a sleek 6” x 6” little box without the added humidifier accessory, weighs in at only 1.86 lbs. It screams portability, though it’s so diminutive a better word might be whispers. The addition of the optional humidifying unit doubles the length (it remains easily detachable for travel) and adds barely any weight so altogether it still weighs under 3 lbs., hose, mask and all.

The ResMed AirMini is in a league of its own for size – this thing is tiny. By stripping down the humidifier (more on that shortly), the screen, knobs and everything else but two touch spots for power and Bluetooth, ResMed has managed to create a full-function travel CPAP that’s about the size of a butter dish and weighs only 2/3 of a pound. It comes with a travel pouch but could just as easily slide into a purse or the side pocket of a laptop bag or backpack.

airmini coffee


These two manufacturers have managed to squeeze all the features that you’ve come to expect from your regular CPAP into a couple of much smaller packages.

The touchscreen on the DreamStation Go is intuitively easy to navigate both for setup and feedback, as is the DreamMapper app that provides reports, user manuals and handy informational videos on your phone or tablet. The Micro-flexible tubing is remarkably light and narrow but works with any mask, and the humidifier is designed to be happy using regular tap water so you don’t have to worry about lugging or finding distilled water while you’re on the road. This machine works and feels like a regular CPAP, just in a smaller package: in spite of its dimensions it can perform as a full-time machine with the added bonus of impressive travel ability.

As for the AirMini, absolutely everything is controlled through the app – you set it up on your phone or tablet and then push a button (or just put on your mask and breathe to auto-start) and begin therapy. For humidification, ResMed has done away with traditional water tanks and opted instead for a system that uses a rather ingenious pod with a porous filter built into the hose that captures and re-uses heat and moisture as you breathe. The filter “pucks” come in two grades for more or less humidity, or you can forgo them entirely if you don’t feel the need (depending on local conditions, time of year, etc.). The filters don’t require cleaning but do need to be replaced once a month.

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Shop travel CPAP bundles

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AirMini and P10 Starter Kit Combo

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AirMini and N20 Starter Kit Combo

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AirMini and F20 Starter Kit Combo

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AirMini and F30 Starter Kit Combo


Truly it is difficult to find a drawback with the DreamStation go, other than that it’s not as small as the AirMini. When you add the humidifier it does get larger, but the whole thing is still much smaller than a regular CPAP machine. As a stand-alone without the water tank it would travel even lighter, and I did test it out that way (on a warm night in the Montreal area) and had no complaints at all.

The AirMini is the reigning champion for small size. One unfortunate drawback it that the “HumidX” waterless humidification system, while brilliant and highly effective, is positioned on the hose just below the mask, and expels a constant stream of air. It’s surely something you’d get used to, and for many it wouldn’t be disruptive at all, but to me it felt like one of the kids snuck into my room to blow on my face through a juice-box straw for a prank. The machine is ever so slightly louder, and it is actually limited to working with a few specific ResMed masks, but those minor complaints are far outweighed by the convenience of its impressively small size.

AirMini Info

What about that camping trip?

You might be wondering about powering your CPAP on that camping trip I mentioned, if you’re headed for the woods with no access to an electrical outlet.

Not to worry, there are also batteries available with multiple charging options, so you can take your CPAP to sleep in a tent, on a plane, the passenger seat in the car, you name it. You can use a battery with a travel CPAP or your own existing machine, or you can use a backup battery in case of a power outage at home.

medistrom pilot 24 cpap


Overall, both the ResMed AirMini and the Respironics DreamStation Go are impressive, full-functioning travel CPAP devices, and either would make travelling far easier and more convenient. Imagine the freedom of going on vacation with a CPAP that takes up no more room in your bag than a beach novel!

The DreamStation Go works exactly like a full-sized machine in a tiny package. And the AirMini, while recommended solely as a travel CPAP and not meant for full-time use, is the winner if you’re looking for ultra small size in a second machine.

Apnea Health has both models available along with informed staff to help find the best solution for you.

Don’t travel enough to feel the extra cost of a travel CPAP is justified? Apnea Health still has you covered – they also offer travel devices for rent so you can rest easy on your next trip.

airmini autoset travel cpap machine 3

Some of the best things in life come in a two-in-one package: shampoo and conditioner, peanut butter and jelly, a spork – the list goes on and on.

It’s the same thing with the DreamStation Auto from Respironics.

Because of the removable humidifier, it’s the perfect bedside sleep apnea fighter. You can use it at home AND on the Go.

Simply detach the humidifier and it becomes light and compact… the ideal travel CPAP! There’s no more need to purchase a second machine.

The truth of the matter is that not all of us have the dough to purchase two CPAP machines – one for travel and one to use at home. Of course, some of us don’t even travel that much, which would make purchasing a separate travel CPAP extravagant. With the DreamStation, you can have the best of both worlds.

Dreamstation travel vs home comparison

Full Comfort At Home, Built For Travel

The DreamStation makes your comfort the top priority. It’s the quietest CPAP machine on the market, making for a peaceful environment for you (and your sleep partner).

A big factor for comfort is heated humidification – it prevents dry mouth and sore throats, and when you’re at home, a humidifier is a must. However, if you are heading out on vacation or a quick business trip, you might want to ditch the humidifier to save luggage space.

With the DreamStation, you can do just that! Its versatile, detachable design means you can use your humidifier as normal while you’re at home, and leave it behind when it’s time to hit the road!

Once you’ve arrived, even if the voltage is different from home it isn’t a problem – the Dreamstation works with the Medistrom Pilot-12 battery (available separately).

It’s made to be small and lightweight enough to go with you anywhere, yet carries enough charge for up to two full nights’ sleep.

the dreamstation is a great travel buddy

How easy is sleeping with the DreamStation?

The DreamStation does most of the work for you. The DreamStation is auto-titrating, meaning it will automatically adjust according to your breathing instead of being set to one fixed pressure setting. That means better therapy with no extra work.

What’s more, you can monitor your sleep therapy with DreamMapper! Simply track your sleep data at home, making this CPAP convenient and easy-to-use.

Philips respironics Dreamstation Features

For those of you who have the Legacy System One CPAP, here’s how the Dreamstation compares to it:

Measurement Dreamstation PR System One
Length 6.18in 7in
Width 7.6in 5.5in
Height 3.3in 4in
Decibel Less than 30db Less than 30db

Compairson of the S9 versus the Dreamstation

The DreamStation Auto makes it easy to get your therapy data

With the DreamMapper smartphone app, your mobile device connects via Bluetooth to your DreamStation, and the data from the previous night transfers immediately. The app provides information about your pressure, leak rate, mask fit and much more.

This app is available in Android and IOS.

Man with cpap mask, showing the Philips app

The DreamStation also allows your respiratory therapist to remote connect to your device.

So never fear, even if you take your machine around the globe, Apnea Health will always have your back.

At Apnea Health we always go the extra mile.

Because we know that private health insurance coverage can be confusing and tricky, as experts in sleep medicine, we offer our patients assistance with insurance benefits. Read on to hear how it works.

When you visit our clinic, together we can contact your insurer to verify your insurance benefits and coverage for both rentals and purchases

We’ll also find out the terms of the rental or purchase and we can provide you with an estimate of your expected financial responsibility at the time of set-up and monthly for the term of your rental.

If you’re comfortable asking your CPAP provider on your own, we will supply you with the necessary equipment estimate and your prescription or sleep results for those who were seen in our sleep clinic. Get direct access to your insurer contact details here.

In general, Apnea Health is unable to bill your private health insurer directly, but we are able to help people like yourself by providing you with quick turnaround, affordable prices, and dependable custom service.

Delson clinic employee talking to patient

Insurance Claims FAQs

What is covered by Health Insurance Benefits?

Health Benefits plans offered by employers often cover the full or partial cost of CPAP machines (typically 80% of cost) and CPAP supplies, such as masks, tubing, filters etc. Coverage may vary, so we recommend confirming your coverage with your Insurance Provider. A contact list of common Canadian Insurance providers can be found below.

How can I obtain a quote or estimate for supplies?

If you need a quote or estimate for your Insurance Provider to confirm coverage prior to purchasing, you can either call us directly (1-800-727-8748) and we’ll be happy to assist your or you can do it yourself at through the following steps:

How do I submit for reimbursement after purchase?

If you’re eligible for reimbursement for your CPAP equipment, you will likely need to submit your receipt for reimbursement. When you purchase from Apnea Health online or in our clinic, you’ll receive a hard copy and soft copy (pdf by email) of your paid invoice.

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What’s NOT covered by insurance provider

CPAP Cleaning Products:

PURDOUX CPAP wipes – Aloe Vera (unscented)

CPAP Premium 2 in 1 Hose Brush

Lumin CPAP cleaning and disinfecting machine

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CPAP Comfort Products:

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Insurance Claim Forms and Contact information

Great West Life:



MÉDIC Construction:



Industrielle Alliance:

Standard Life:


The Co-operators:

Equitable Life:

RWAM Extended Healthcare: