CPAP Comparison: Is the Dreamstation a Good Alternative to the AirSense?

The AirSense 10 from ResMed and the Respironics Dreamstation are two of the most well-regarded and highly sought after CPAP machines on the market, but are they actually comparable? 

We’ll take a look at some of the most important design components, features, and functions to determine if these two CPAPs are actually created equal, or if one of them edges out above the other.

To start, let’s break down the basics of what a CPAP actually is and how it does what it does.

Continuous positive airway pressure machines - most commonly referred to as CPAP machines - operate by pushing a continuous flow of air into your mouth and/or nose to prevent your airways from closing as you sleep.

The air supplied by CPAP machines is filtered and often also humidified to make breathing more comfortable and safe. 

When discussing CPAP machines, it is important to also distinguish the difference between a CPAP and a BiPAP machine. Much like CPAP machines, Bi-level Positive Air Pressure (BiPAP) machines deliver continuous airflow; however, BiPAP machines alternate the strength of the air stream based on the cycle of inhales and exhales.

Basically, this means that higher air pressure is applied while you’re inhaling, while lower air pressure is applied as you exhale. This helps the breathing cycle feel more comfortable, and is a great solution for users who have trouble exhaling against strong air pressure.

AirSense 10 vs. Dreamstation

Now that we know a little more about how a CPAP works, let’s take a look at how the AirSense 10 and the Dreamstation compare. Since both devices are widely recognized for their many advantages, we’ll break down their features into several categories to provide a better side-by-side comparison.

Size

The Dreamstation and the AirSense are both quite compact and lightweight for easy portability. The AirSense is slightly taller (5.91 inches tall by 10.5 inches long), while the Dreamstation is somewhat longer (3.3 inches tall and 11.7 inches long). However, the Dreamstation features the added capability of functioning without the humidifier, if needed, bringing the size down to only 7.6 inches long.

Both weighing similarly, the Dreamstation edges out ahead of the AirSense once again, featuring a low weight without the humidifier at 2.94 pounds, and 4.37 pounds with the humidifier. The AirSense weighs slightly less without the humidifier, coming in at 2.75 pounds, but can only function with the humidifier attached making the true weight 5.75 pounds.

Noise

Operating noise is one of the most common concerns for CPAP users, as many devices are loud, irritating, and difficult to sleep next to. The AirSense and Dreamstation both claim to be whisper quiet, making them great options for users who are sensitive to noise. However, the AirSense is a bit louder, measuring 26 dBa compared to the DreamStation at 25 dBa.

Power & Tubing

One of the most basic aspects of a CPAP machine is the tubing and power supply, and a poor design can significantly impact how easy it is to use your device. Luckily, both the Dreamstation and the AirSense feature swivel connections for heated tubing and accept power from both AC and DC sources, making them functional for any user needs. 

Humidifiers

For maximum comfort in the delicate membranes of the nose and mouth, many CPAP users find that they prefer a CPAP that humidifies the air they’re breathing throughout the night. Thankfully, both the AirSense and the Dreamstation address this need with humidifier attachments. 

The main difference between them is that the AirSense has to have the humidifier to function, while the Dreamstation can work without it, allowing it to shrink for convenient travel if needed.

Controls

Both the AirSense and the Dreamstation pride themselves on a simple, intuitive design. They operate automatically at the push of a button and feature easy-to-navigate control screens for simple adjustments. Both devices also feature ambient light sensors in the control panel that adjust brightness for improved visibility and comfort.

Additionally, they each take their ease of use one step further by providing mobile apps that offer convenient reports and goal tracking. These apps allow users to review valuable therapy feedback—such as breathing rates, leak rate, events per hour, and many others—directly on their phones.

Cleaning & Maintenance

Something a lot of people overlook until it’s too late is how easy a CPAP is to clean, however, both the AirSense and the Dreamstation have your back. Each features an easy-to-remove water chamber and easily accessible filters. The Dreamstation also includes the added convenience of a simple button that allows you to completely detach the water chamber for even easier cleaning, emptying, and refilling.

Both the AirSense and the Dreamstation are also covered by a two-year warranty through their respective manufacturers. 

Accessories & Versatility

A frequently-asked question regarding many CPAP machines is whether or not they are offered in a BiPAP format. Fortunately, both the AirSense and the DreamStation are offered in CPAP or BiPAP models. This allows customers to pick the format of air delivery that they prefer while maintaining all of the other advantages of either product.

Price

Finally, one of the most important factors in any purchase is cost, and the Dreamstation offers a significant advantage over the AirSense, coming in at about $100 less at roughly $700, while the AirSense 10 averages closer to $800. However, the Dreamstation is even more appealing with the special discounted price available from Rehabmart, with packages available for as little as $499.

Conclusion

When the question comes to which CPAP machine is “better,” these two products are clearly close competitors. Both have small, lightweight designs, are easy to clean and maintain, and are offered as either CPAP or BiPAP machines. Additionally, each of the machines is available with heated tubing and humidifiers, as well as accompanying mobile apps for tracking important treatment data. Given all these similarities, these products can widely be viewed as equally high in quality.

Ultimately, one of the most important distinctions comes at the products’ price points. The lower cost of the DreamStation—especially with the discounted price when purchased at Rehabmart.com—makes it the significantly better-valued product. By competitively offering all of the advantages seen in the AirSense while maintaining a lower cost, the DreamStation clearly demonstrates its place among the top CPAP machines on the market.

Shop the Dreamstation CPAP Now

For more helpful product comparisons, reviews, and ratings, check out the rest of our articles on Caregiver University. And, if you're ready to shop, make sure to come back and browse the full catalog of high-quality medical products available on Rehabmart.com.

Author:

Co-founder/CEO of Rehabmart, Pediatric Occupational Therapist, husband, and father. Passionate about connecting special needs kids with superb nutrition, sensory integration, and complementary health strategies. Excited about Rehabmart's mission to become the premier online educational platform which empowers caregivers by spotlighting innovative devices and interventions to achieve optimal patient response and recovery.

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