Editor’s note: The FDA has issued a recall alert for the ResMed AirFit F20 and AirFit N20. The reason for the recall is that ResMed is updating the labeling and warnings on these products, as they contain magnets that could interfere with the functioning of certain medical implants or devices, which the FDA warns could cause “serious harm or death.” For more on the recall, you can visit the full statement from the FDA.
Men may be more likely to develop sleep apnea1, but that doesn’t mean women can’t get it. A woman’s chances of getting this sleep disorder can increase with things like age and weight gain.1
However, many CPAP masks are often designed to accommodate men more than they are women, who can have smaller bone structures than that of their male counterparts. This means that if you’re a woman with sleep apnea, this can make finding a well-fitting mask, understandably, frustrating.
That’s why we’ve rounded up three of our favorite CPAP masks for women. We’ll go over each product in detail, and then we’ll discuss some more general recommendations for choosing a CPAP mask.
Best CPAP Masks for Women
- ResMed Swift FX Bella Nasal Pillow – Editor’s Pick
- ResMed AirFit F20 for Her Full-Face CPAP Mask – Best-Fitting CPAP Mask for Women
- ResMed AirFit N20 Nasal CPAP Mask – Best CPAP Mask for Women Who Are Active Sleepers
ResMed Swift FX Bella Nasal Pillow – Editor’s Pick
ResMed Swift FX Bella Nasal Pillow
The ResMed Swift FX Bella is specifically designed for women to create a comfortable seal with minimal face contact. It’s easy to adjust and wear even if you sleep with a hair bonnet at night.
Sleep Advisor Score
3.62 / 5
Why the ResMed Swift FX Bella Earned Editor’s Pick
The ResMed Swift FX Bella is a nasal pillow mask, designed specifically for a female’s facial structure. The nasal pillows are inserted slightly into the nose, creating a comfortable but solid seal, and the mask itself only covers the nostril area. This makes this mask light and unobtrusive.
Uniquely, this mask features light and soft headgear that wraps solely around the back of the ears, rather than fully around the back of the head. Depending on how much hair you have or your type of hair, this can make sleeping comfortably much easier. In fact, all of the materials used in this mask feel especially soft and seem less likely to leave lines or creases along your skin.
What We Liked
- It is unobtrusive and light – This nasal pillow mask allows for a full field of vision and should be a good fit for anyone who wears glasses.
- Easily adjustable – The headgear on this mask is simple to adjust, as well as slip on and off.
- Allows for different hair needs – The ear loops on this mask are ideal for women with a lot of hair or those who wear hair bonnets to bed.
- It is soft – The materials used in this mask are soft and comfortable. It includes soft wraps around the cheek straps to prevent lines or facial creases.
- The ear loops may be uncomfortable – Some people report discomfort with the ear loops. Fortunately, if you don’t like them, this mask also comes with standard Swift FX headgear.
- It is less stable – Nasal pillow masks, in general, tend to be less secure, and the ear loops on this mask make it particularly wobbly if you toss and turn a lot.
- It is best for lower pressure settings – If you have more severe sleep apnea and require higher pressure settings2, you might do better with a standard CPAP nasal mask or a full-face one.
ResMed AirFit F20 for Her Full-Face CPAP Mask – Best-Fitting CPAP Mask for Women
ResMed AirFit F20 for Her Full-Face CPAP Mask
The ResMed AirFit F20 is a full-face mask for women, featuring a low profile with soft materials that are gentle on the face. This CPAP mask works for mouth breathers, even those who use high-pressure settings.
Sleep Advisor Score
4.20 / 5
Why the ResMed AirFit F20 for Her Earned Best-Fitting CPAP Mask for Women
This full-face mask is designed to contour and comfortably fit any face shape. It does this with its unique “wing” design in which the wings gently curve to even the most unique facial features.
Even though this is a full-face mask, it has a low profile. Additionally, the material used along the bridge of the nose is soft, making it more comfortable, as well as beneficial for improving visibility and reducing the risk of marks along the nose and cheeks. Even the headgear was designed for comfort, with additional padding.
What We Liked
- Quick elbow release – You can simply press down on the two tabs located on the mask’s elbow to quickly and easily disconnect from your mask. We’d say this is especially beneficial for those who get up several times throughout the night.
- Works well for mouth-breathers – People who breathe through their mouth typically need full-face masks3. That said, your healthcare provider will have the final say on which mask type you specifically need.
- It’s quiet – This CPAP mask is designed to be quieter, with a noise level of just 21 decibels4.
- Should work for high-pressure settings – This mask comes with the InfinitySeal full face cushion, which is not only soft but creates a solid seal around both the nose and mouth. This should make leaking less likely, even with high-pressure settings.4
- It runs a bit small – A few people have complained that this mask and its headgear run smaller than they’re used to. It’s important to remember that you won’t be the same size in each mask, so you might want to order a size larger than you normally would.
- It uses magnets – This mask uses magnetic clips to make adjusting and removing it simpler. easily put on or remove the mask. People with certain implants or medical devices are advised by ResMed to avoid masks with magnets5.
- Side sleeping may be difficult – This full-face mask may feel less comfortable when sleeping on your side, rather than on your back.
ResMed AirFit N20 Nasal CPAP Mask – Best CPAP Mask for Women Who Are Active Sleepers
ResMed AirFit N20 Nasal CPAP Mask
This full nasal mask provides a secure seal to ensure no leaks happen during the night. The design uses InfinitySeal silicone cushions for maximum comfort while allowing full visibility.
Sleep Advisor Score
4.40 / 5
Why ResMed AirFit N20 Nasal Mask Earned Best CPAP Mask for Women Who Are Active Sleepers
If you’re someone who tosses and turns a lot during the night, this can make it more challenging to keep your CPAP mask in place. As such, you need a mask that can better accommodate your movements.
Fortunately, the ResMed AirFit N20 Nasal Mask should be a good fit for women who are more active sleepers. This particular product is a nasal mask, compared to a nasal pillow or full-face mask, which means this mask should be both secure and comfortable, no matter your sleep position. Plus, it’s easier to remove if you’re getting in and out of bed a lot during the night.
What We Liked
- Quick elbow release – Getting in and out of bed throughout the night should be easier as this mask uses a quick elbow release. You’ll simply push a button to release yourself from the mask and then you can easily put it back on.
- InfinitySeal Silicone Cushions – These cushions are not only soft and flexible, but they also create a solid seal. This means you shouldn’t have to worry about this mask leaking when you move about.
- The headgear is padded – Those who move from their backs to their sides should feel comfortable in either position since the headgear is padded.
- Low profile design – This mask doesn’t come up as far on the bridge of the nose as some nasal masks do, so it could be a good fit for people with glasses.
- It includes magnets – Like our previously mentioned ResMed mask, this one also includes magnets in its construction. ResMed doesn’t recommend that people with certain implants or medical devices use CPAP masks with magnets.5
- May run small – Some people report this mask runs on the smaller side. If you purchase this product and it doesn’t fit, you should easily be able to return it for a new size within 30 days.
- Won’t work for mouth-breathers – Nasal masks like this one are not designed to work for those who breathe through their mouths during sleep.
View our guide: Best CPAP Machines
What Is a CPAP Mask for Women?
As we said, females tend to have a unique set of issues when it comes to sleep.6 For example, we have a higher incidence of insomnia, are more likely to have restless leg syndrome (especially during certain times in the menstrual cycle), and later in life, hormonal fluctuations during menopause can lead to things like tossing and turning and hot flashes.6
As such, women might need to look for particular qualities in a CPAP mask that men don’t. For example, if you get in and out of bed a lot, you’ll want to look for a mask that is easy to remove and put on. If you change positions often, look for a mask that will be comfortable and stay put as you move around. If you’re dealing with hot flashes, a mask that covers less of the face might be ideal.
In short, a CPAP mask for women is whatever you need it to be, according to your unique sleeping patterns and face shape.
Additionally, some CPAP mask manufacturers specifically design masks for females’ face shapes, which on average, tend to be smaller8, have larger cheeks, and have smaller and less prominent brows, noses, and chins.
Learn more: Tips for Sleeping Better in a CPAP Mask
What to Look for in a CPAP Mask for Women
Size and Fit
Women usually have a smaller facial structure than men, and since many CPAP masks have been designed to fit male facial features, ensuring the right size and fit is particularly important.
That said, the masks marked “for her,” or that are specifically designed for women, will likely be designed for narrower facial features and smaller proportions.
You’ll want to consider both of these things when ordering your mask. If the mask you’re looking at is unisex, it may run larger; if it is designed for women specifically, it could run a bit small.
You should also make sure that your CPAP mask fits securely and comfortably, and that it has no air leaks when you are lying in your preferred sleep position.
While experts say that it will likely take a few weeks of regular use7 to get used to your CPAP mask and machine, a CPAP mask that fits correctly should not feel painful or uncomfortable.
In fact, an uncomfortable CPAP mask is one of the reasons for CPAP noncompliance8, and sticking with CPAP therapy regularly is vital for avoiding sleep apnea complications like heart problems and daytime fatigue.7
For this reason, it’s important to make sure your mask not only stays securely attached to your face without leaking air but that it feels comfortable as well. Comfort is key when sticking to CPAP therapy.
When choosing your CPAP mask, you’ll want to consider your preferred sleeping position. For example, if you tend to sleep on your side, a nasal or nasal pillow mask will be best because it covers less of your face.
Back-sleepers have the freedom of choosing any type of mask, including nasal, nasal pillow, hybrid, or full-face since their face won’t be making any contact with the pillow. Combination sleepers might want to choose a nasal mask, which can accommodate multiple positions while remaining securely attached to the face.
If you’re having trouble getting comfortable wearing a CPAP mask, consider a CPAP pillow for sleep apnea. These are designed with small indentations or cutouts to accommodate your CPAP mask in various sleep positions.
Depending on the severity of your sleep apnea, your unique facial features, and your preferred sleep position, your doctor will likely recommend a specific type of mask for you. If they do, you must your doctor’s recommendation when purchasing your mask. Remember, you won’t be able to purchase CPAP equipment, including both your machine and mask, without a doctor’s prescription.
CPAP masks are made from various flexible plastics, like gels, foams, or silicone. These should work just fine for the majority of wearers, but for a small population with a silicone allergy9, masks containing this material could cause contact dermatitis.
Some masks also include latex in their construction, which again, should be fine for most people. However, those with a latex allergy will want to be aware of this.
Finally, some masks, including two of the ResMed masks on our list, include magnets. For those with certain implants or medical devices, ResMed suggests you avoid masks with magnets.5
More generally, be on the lookout for masks that are soft in all the areas that come into contact with your skin, particularly along the bridge of the nose, or if you’re a side sleeper, along your cheeks. This should reduce the risk of red marks and discomfort.
When budgeting for your CPAP mask, you might want to keep in mind the budget for all of your CPAP supplies. For example, without insurance, a CPAP machine should run anywhere from 500 to 1,000 dollars10, and the mask itself usually costs between 50 and 200 dollars, depending on the type of mask you need.
In general, nasal pillow masks tend to be the least expensive, followed by nasal masks, and then full-face masks, which tend to cost the most.10
You will also need to factor in the cost of CPAP accessories like tubing, replacement filters, and CPAP machine cleaning supplies.
If you’re using insurance to help cover CPAP therapy, costs will vary widely depending on your specific insurance plan.
We’d recommend looking for a mask with a warranty of at least 90 days (the industry standard). If your mask fails during these first three months of normal use, this warranty should cover a replacement or repair.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you know what kind of CPAP mask to use?
The type of CPAP mask that is best for you depends on several factors. First, what is your preferred sleep position? If you sleep on your side or stomach, you’ll want a mask that covers less of your face, like a nasal or nasal pillow mask.
Second, what are your pressure needs? If you have more severe sleep apnea and require more air pressure, a full-face mask or nasal mask will likely be better.
Third, do you breathe from your mouth during sleep? If so, you’ll probably need a full-face or oral (hybrid) CPAP mask.
Finally, if you move around a lot during the night, a nasal mask could be the best option for both comfort and staying securely attached to the face.
Keep in mind, though, that your healthcare provider will likely provide a specific recommendation for the best type of mask for you and your needs.
How do I keep my CPAP mask on all night?
Some people find that they’ll remove their CPAP mask during sleep if it feels uncomfortable. This is one reason finding a mask that fits you is so important.
When you do your CPAP titration study11 to determine how much air pressure is right for you, your sleep specialist should also try out different types and sizes of masks to see what works best for you.
If your sleep specialist recommends a specific mask and size, be sure you stick with it for the greatest chance of comfort when you get home.
If you find that you’re removing your CPAP nasal mask because of dry mouth, you might try adding a chin strip to keep your mouth from opening during sleep.
Does it matter what CPAP mask you use?
Yes, it does matter what CPAP mask you use. Finding a CPAP mask that fits correctly and won’t leak air could mean the difference between CPAP therapy that is working to treat your sleep apnea, or not. Your mask should also feel comfortable so that you’re more likely to stick with CPAP therapy long-term.
Ask your doctor or sleep specialist if they recommend a specific type of mask, given your air pressure needs, sleep position, breathing habits (mouth or nose breather), and face shape.
Natalie is a content writer for Sleep Advisor with a deep passion for all things health and a fascination with the mysterious activity that is sleep. Outside of writing about sleep, she is a bestselling author, improviser, and creative writing teacher based out of Austin.
- 1. “Sleep apnea”. Mayo Clinic. Last modified April 6, 2024. –
- 2. Deshpande, Sheetal., et. al. “Oronasal Masks Require a Higher Pressure than Nasal and Nasal Pillow Masks for the Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea”. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. 2016. –
- 3. “Slide show: Which CPAP masks are best for you?: Full-face masks (oronasal)”. Mayo Clinic. Last modified March 3, 2024. –
- 4. “AirFit F20”. ResMed. Webpage accessed November 30, 2024. –
- 5. “Mask Magnet Addendum”. ResMed. 2024. –
- 6. “Do women need more sleep than men?”. Piedmont Healthcare. Webpage accessed November 30, 2024. –
- 7. “CPAP machines: Tips for avoiding 10 common problems”. Mayo Clinic. Last modified November 29, 2024. –
- 8. Aalaei, Shokoufeh., et. al. “Factors Affecting Patients’ Adherence to Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Therapy for Obstructive Sleep Apnea Disorder: A Multi-Method –
- 9. Rath, Subhendu., Kaplish, Neeraj. “Allergic Contact Dermatitis to Silicone causing PAP Intolerance (P1-1.Virtual)”. Neurology. 2022. –
- 10. Ikpeze, Tochukwu. “How Much Do CPAP Machines Cost?”. SLEEP APNEA.ORG. Last modified May 4, 2024. –
- 11. “CPAP Titration”. NorthShore University Health System. Webpage accessed December 3, 2024. –