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Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Review: HDM QTube In-line CPAP Muffler

My biggest issue with the HDM Z1 CPAP machine is that it's loud and noisy. If you don't have a humidifier (HME) attached to it, sound vibrates all the way down the tube and conducts through your skin into your ears, making sleep pretty much impossible unless you ride all day. (Granted, that's my usual use case when traveling with the Z1!) Even with the HME, however, it's still not that quiet, so when I saw (and someone on my blog comments recommended) that the Qtube In-line CPAP Muffler was available, I tried it.

One problem that I'd hoped the Qtube solved was that the HME is a consumable item. The HME should be replaced every 7 days. In practice, I've found that every 10 days is OK. Unfortunately, the Qtube is not maintenance free. The internal foam baffling needs to be replaced every 2 weeks. That means even if it did outperform the HME as a noise muffler, you'd still have to carry replacement foam baffling on a 3 week tour.

Unfortunately, the Qtube does not outperform the basic HME. I tried it in 3 configurations: Qtube alone, Qtube inline with HME with HME connected to the machine, and Qtube inline with HME with the Qtube connected to the machine. None of these configuration changes made any difference in sound, though with the Qtube inline with the HME I noticed a significant latency in the back-off whenever I breathed out.

Worse, the Qtube is heavy! You could carry 2 HME for less weight than the Qtube, which meant that for a 3 week tour of the alps, I did exactly that and left the Qtube behind.

All in all, disappointing, and I won't recommend it. Use the weight budget on carrying the HME instead.

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