Table of Contents
- 1 Reviews of the Best Respirators
- 2 What Are Respirators?
- 3 What Are the Differences Between Full Face and Half Face Respirators? Which is Best?
- 4 1. 3M 65023QLHA1C - PS Pro Multipurpose Respirator with Quick Latch, Medium
- 5 2. MSA Advantage (TM) 200 Half Mask
- 6 3. Honeywell Paint Spray and Pesticide Reusable Half Mask Respirator Convenience Pack
- 7 4. Safety Works 817662 Paint and Pesticide Respirator
- 8 5. Breath Buddy Respirator Mask
- 9 6. 3M 62023DHA1-C Professional Multi-Purpose Drop Down Respirator
- 10 7. 3M Personal Protective Equipment Respirator Kit, Full Face 6800
- 11 8. North 760008A Silicone Full Facepiece Respirators 7600 Series
- 12 9. 3M Mold and Lead Paint Removal Respirator
- 13 10. North 54001 Full Respirator Facepiece, Medium/Large size
There are many particles in the atmosphere that can be hazardous to the respiratory system, yet there are also hazards that come with applying pesticides and chemicals. Respirator masks are meant to cover the entire face, including both airways, with a filter to extract air that is then processed through the filter to remove particles from entering the body.
These masks are much more complex than a simple surgical mask, which is made of cloth and has no filtration system. Respirator masks come in different varieties and certain types will protect from a range of particles or aerosols depending upon the issue at hand.
Reviews of the Best Respirators
This buying guide will explore respirators in general, the differences between the types of respirator masks, and review the ten best respirators available to buy on Amazon.
Last update on 2020-04-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
In this review and guide, you will learn:
- What respirators are and the differences between the types of respirators
- The functions of a respirator cartridge and the materials of the various types of respirators
- Why you should use a respirator and which is best based upon a range of uses
- Reviews of ten of the best respirators for a variety of different contaminants
For the benefits of trying to decide where to look in such a wide field, we have assembled ten of the best respirators with reviews of each for your consideration. Before deciding on the right product, it is important to know about the types of respirator masks and their various uses.
What Are Respirators?
A respirator mask is a device that comes in the form of a mask that fits over the face to repel particles from entering the lungs. Although this is a basic summary of respirators, the complexity of these masks are varied based upon the uses needed.
“Each type of respirator can come in several varieties, each with its own set of cautions, limitations, and restrictions of use. Some respirators require testing to ensure a tight fit to the face, and should not be used with facial hair.” According to the Center for Disease Control.
This means that a respirator mask goes far beyond a simple surgical mask in its level of protection provided. Some respirators are made to cover the entire face and these models are used primarily in controlled environments where exposure to dangerous chemicals and pathogens are present.
The more accessible type of respirator mask is the half mask, which only covers the mouth and nasal passages. Pesticides, chemical agents, asbestos, mold and mildew, and in more severe circumstances, pathogens, are some of the airborne substances and illnesses that respirator masks work to repel from the airways.
This type of mask is more complex than a surgical mask due to a cartridge attached to cover the airways. This cartridge contains a powerful filter which is designed to catch the particles and pathogens and then filter the clean air into the airways.
As equally important as knowing when to wear a respirator is the knowledge of knowing how to correctly wear one. Instructions that come with a respirator should be followed accurately. You will want to ensure that there is absolutely no exposure to outside air that isn’t coming through the filter.
Rather you choose to wear a powerful full face respirator or a more comfortable half mask, investing in a respirator mask is crucial if you work around any dangerous aerosols, or airborne particles or pathogens. In terms of viral outbreaks, the most important protocol to follow is that issued by health organizations to see if a respirator is even going to work.
What’s the Difference Between the Types of Respirator?
As previously mentioned, respirators come in different sizes and dimensions. A full face respirator mask is designed to provide respiratory protection from powerful airborne chemicals and pathogens. This type of respirator is essential for individuals working in laboratories or with chemical agents.
A half mask respirator is more common. This type of respirator provides a filter and is made to only cover the nose and mouth. You can use this type for all other uses where a respirator is beneficial, such as working around mold, mildew, and asbestos, as well as utilizing this model as a pesticide mask.
The most common type of respirator available to the public is known as a powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR). These masks can be either full or half masks and work by catching harmful particles, aerosols, and pathogens in the filter before the air reaches the lungs.
Disposable masks are also very common and an easy way to protect yourself against non-toxic airborne dusts. These disposables are usually much cheaper to buy and available in multipacks. Due to the outbreak of viruses such as Coronavirus, these disposable masks have become common sight in public across Asia and parts of Europe.
An emergency escape breathing apparatus (EEBA) and a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) are more geared towards professionals and government-controlled institutions.
A cartridge for a respirator is a device placed over the nose and mouth that contains the disposable filter. An N95, N99, and N100 cartridge is not resistant to oil-based aerosols or particles, which is what the “n” stands for. This essentially means that some of the more dangerous reasons that respirator masks are utilized for will be blocked with one of these masks.
The higher the number next to the n, the better the efficiency is for filtering particles and aerosols. Additionally, the power of a cartridge is only as effective as a correctly applied respirator.
Respirator masks can be made from a wide variety of different materials. The most durable and strongest models are typically made from rubber, neoprene, and silicone. The filter inside of the cartridge is highly manufactured to withstand a wide variety of chemicals and aerosols. A filter is usually made from fibrous material with layers of thickness based upon the construction of the mask.
Most respirator masks are highly durable. More simple face masks are generally left out of the category of respirators due to the lack of a filter. With this in mind, there are also some respirators that are disposable and more quality respirators can be reused with frequent cartridge changes.
What Are the Differences Between Full Face and Half Face Respirators? Which is Best?
A full face respirator mask is designed to cover the entire face and this usually includes the eyes as well. These types of masks are typically the most durable of all types and they can also be the most constricting. These masks are usually meant to be worn when the danger to the lungs is incredibly high.
A half face respirator mask is designed much in the same way as a full mask; however, this style of mask is a bit less constricting as it only covers the vital areas of the mouth and nasal passage. Half face masks are more common than full face masks and this is likely due to the comfort and general ease of breathing for these masks.
For all intents and purposes, a half facepiece respirator is generally all you need. A full face mask may offer a bit more protection, yet this is not always necessary based upon the general use of a respirator in most situations.
Why Should You Use One?
Respirators should be used whenever a situation arises where harmful particles can enter the airways. This can occur in common cleaning to more advanced situations such as exposure to chemical agents and potentially dangerous living organisms such as mold, mildew, and viruses. Particles are not meant to enter the airways and a respirator can go a long way in preventing this.
Respirators for spraying pesticides are also crucial for all pest control professionals. A respirator for pesticides allows technicians to administer potentially lethal insecticides without the worry of inhaling the fumes. Although respirators for viruses are contingent upon scientific research, these types of masks are proven to limit exposure.
Which Type of Respirator Do You Need?
For the general public, a half facepiece respirator is really all that is needed for most types of situations. This variety of respirator protects the mouth and nasal passage where harmful particles can enter the body. A full face mask is usually only necessary for more dangerous situations.
What is the Best 3M Respirator?
3M is a company that blends the most innovative patterns of design and science in its products. A 3M respirator will typically provide protection from both particles and fumes in a variety of designs for both full face and half face masks.
In deciding the best 3M respirator, the situation you will be facing is important to know, which can inform the decision based on the severity of airway antagonists. An all-around perfect choice for this company would be the 3M 65023QLHA1C-PS. This model is a full face design and can protect your airways from either particles or aerosols, therefore providing universal protection from a trusted company.
What Are the Three Types of Respirators?
Respirators are divided into three different types: Air-purifying respirators (APRs), supplied-air respirators (SARs), and a combination of self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and emergency escape breathing apparatus (EEBAs). APRs are undoubtedly the most common of all respirators and these models are designed to protect the lungs from airborne contaminants.
Supplied-air respirators and SCBAs and EEBAs are more geared towards protecting the airways from submersions, usually water. Furthermore, APRs are usually divided between full mask respirators and half mask respirators.
Which N95 Mask is the Best?
N95 and its higher ratings are terms used to designate the effectiveness of a filter cartridge. N95 masks are not as durable and textured as a full-on respirator mask, but an N95 does contain a filter that will block particles and even some fumes.
When selecting an N95 mask, ensure that the mask has a filter cartridge, as this will provide the best coverage for a more general mask. The 3M N95 Particulate Respirator is one of the best N95’s on the market to buy. 3M is a trusted and innovative company and this model will provide superior protection even though the product is not a traditional respirator mask.
What is the Best Respirator for Woodworking?
When performing woodwork, you will want to invest in a respirator mask that has a very high cartridge rating. Sawdust and wood particles can be quite thick, therefore, a respirator with a filter ranking of N95 and above is best. Additionally, you may also want to invest in a full face respirator as this will protect the eyes.
The 3M 6800 is a full face respirator with a P100 filter. This level of filter can filter out the thickest and harshest of particles and fumes and can protect the airways from virtually any particle or fume, making this mask perfect for woodworking.
For Pesticides and Insecticides:
1. 3M 65023QLHA1C - PS Pro Multipurpose Respirator with Quick Latch, Medium
- Captures a wide range of particles
- Perfect for working around heavy concentrations of dust and/or asbestos
- Works great for pest control applications
- Allows for quality protection with an emphasis on facial comfort
The 3M 65023QLHA1C receives our top pick based upon a commitment to comfort and durability. This model works perfectly in capturing particles as well as filtering out harmful fumes and aerosols. A cooling mechanism is truly what makes this respirator stand out.
With a convenient quick latch and proprietary 3M Cool Flow Valve technology for cool comfort, this model ensures that your face will be kept cool during strenuous or complicated situations. Often, respirators can be uncomfortable, a burden that this model seeks to remedy.
This model also features a quick latch mechanism that ensures that your mask is fully operational with one simple click, which is perfect to buy for more complex jobs.
2. MSA Advantage (TM) 200 Half Mask
- For pesticides and chemical spraying
- Provides protection from particles and aerosols with no filtration necessary
- Works best in environments with heavy concentrations of particles
- Fits snugly over the mouth and nose for adequate, comfortable protection
The MSA Advantage is a perfect introduction to respirator masks as this mask focuses on the basics of respiratory protection. This makes this mask good for basic situations that do not contain a level of urgent danger. This mask utilizes a series of straps to keep the mask snugly in place.
Although this mask is perfect if the situation is not dangerous, a more durable and filtered mask should be used for more complex situations.
3. Honeywell Paint Spray and Pesticide Reusable Half Mask Respirator Convenience Pack
- This mask is contoured towards aerosols and fumes from harmful chemicals
- Can also be used to filter out harmful particles
- Exhalation valve increases comfort with cooling technology
- Perfect for construction or painting
The Honeywell OV-R95 is a respirator mask that is a great option for both professional contractors and DIYers. It features a contoured sealing flange to help eliminate pressure points on the face, and it is made with a soft, non-allergenic elastomer, silicone blend for comfortable all-day wear.
The new low-profile cartridge provides a wider field of vision, which is especially helpful for close up detail work. A strategically placed exhalation valve allows for more breath to be exhaled faster, keeping the mask cooler and more comfortable to wear.
4. Safety Works 817662 Paint and Pesticide Respirator
- Features a flexible seal which can be adjusted during pesticide application and during the drying process
- Works best for chemical jobs
Safety Works has been creating masks for pesticide applications for quite some time and its adherence to technology and comfort is well-suited to pesticide use. This mask is low-maintenance in its durability and comfort level, yet also powerful in its ability to block harmful chemicals from the airways.
5. Breath Buddy Respirator Mask
- Prioritizes breathing comfort with increased filtration efficiency for both particles and aerosols
- This model provides a cool air valve for comfort
- Works at a high N95 filtration capacity
The Breath Buddy Respirator Mask is a professional breathing protection set that eliminates any hint of airborne contaminants from your lungs without affecting your breathing. These contaminants include dust, mold, EVA foam, paint and varnish fumes, galvanized fumes, ammonia, organic gases, volcanic ashes, petroleum-based vapor, fiber dust and more.
The Breath Buddy Respirator Mask is reusable and this is perfect for pest control professionals who are seeking a good line of respirators for spraying pesticides.
Pesticides and Chemical Spraying: FAQs
What Should You Wear When Spraying Roundup?
When choosing a respirator mask for spraying pesticides and herbicides, always choose a mask that is designed for chemical filtration. All of the above masks are suited for this purpose and gloves, along with protective clothing are also recommended to further eliminate skin contact with the chemical.
The best mask for spraying Roundup should contain a filter, preferably an N95, in which to eliminate the fumes from entering the airways. Wearing a mask that has no filter will generally do no good against fumes and chemicals.
What is a Chemical Respirator?
A chemical respirator is a model that is designed exclusively for filtering out fumes. Particle filtration is not heavily concentrated in these types of masks. Fumes from chemicals and aerosols need an added layer of filtration protection to adequately eliminate the fumes from entering the respiratory tract.
For Asbestos Removal:
6. 3M 62023DHA1-C Professional Multi-Purpose Drop Down Respirator
- Perfect for both fumes and more complex respiratory antagonists such as mold and asbestos
- Uses a powerful filtration system that has dual technology against both particles and fumes
3M’s 62023DHA1-C multi-purpose respirator with drop-down feature is intended for workplace and occupational jobs involving mold, lead, and sprays from coatings and sealants. It provides at least 99.7 percent filtration efficiency against solid and liquid aerosols, including oils.
This respirator’s drop-down feature makes it easy to take down the cartridge assembly and talk when in a non-contaminated area without removing the entire respirator. 3M reusable respirators are designed and constructed for exceptional performance and comfort that lasts. In addition to providing protection from mold, lead, and sprays, this lightweight and comfortable respirator also offers protection from asbestos.
7. 3M Personal Protective Equipment Respirator Kit, Full Face 6800
- This model features four filtration systems that target against particles, fumes, and even airborne pathogens
- Full face design provides for maximum protection
- Perfect for a wide range of situations that present either particles or fumes
The 3M 6800, helps provide respiratory protection against exposure to mold, lead, asbestos, cadmium, arsenic, and MDA (methylenedianiline). This filter helps protect against a wide range of oil and non-oil based particulate contaminants. This model is perfect when used for asbestos.
The 3M Full Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6000 Series is a lightweight, well-balanced, full face respirator design with silicone face seal for enhanced comfort and durability.
8. North 760008A Silicone Full Facepiece Respirators 7600 Series
- This model is designed with both superior filtration and adjustable comfort in mind
- Works well as an asbestos respirator
- Can filter both particles and fumes with ease
The North 760008A is designed to provide eye, face and respiratory protection while ensuring optimal comfort and performance. The dual flange silicone seals give this facepiece superior fitting characteristics. A hard-coated polycarbonate lens provides over 200° field-of-vision and protects the wearer’s eyes and face against irritating gases, vapors and flying particles, which makes this model perfect to buy for asbestos removal.
Asbestos Removal: FAQs
What Type of Respirator Should Be Used for Asbestos?
The best respirator for asbestos will typically feature a powerful filtration system with a high cartridge rating of N95 or higher. Asbestos can saturate the air at a high and dense rate, which will require a full face respirator to keep both the airways and eyes free from the dangerous particles.
Do Respirators Protect Against Asbestos?
Asbestos is usually old cloth material that has degraded into tiny, potentially obstructive particles that can become trapped in the lungs. A respirator can protect against asbestos only if it has a powerful filtration system, preferably on N98 or higher.
Is an N95 Mask Good for Asbestos?
A good asbestos mask will provide a high level of filtration to protect the lungs. A mask with a cartridge rating of N95 or higher should definitely provide adequate protection against the harmful material. N95 is good, but a higher concentration will likely be needed against heavy concentrations of asbestos.
Do P100 Filters Protect Against Asbestos?
A P100 mask is likely the most superior mask that can be purchased. A mask of this level of filtration will work very well against filtering out asbestos.
For Mold Removal:
9. 3M Mold and Lead Paint Removal Respirator
- This P100 mask works well against both particles and fumes
- Mold removal is consistently safe with this model
The 3M Mold and Lead Paint Removal Respirator helps filter out airborne particles plus nuisance organic vapors from mold, which makes this a great respirator mask for mold. This model is also very adjustable and its features provide a comfortable fit. This also works great as a black mold mask as the power of the P100 filter can work against even the most aggressive of mold strains.
10. North 54001 Full Respirator Facepiece, Medium/Large size
- Full face mask that works to protect against a wide range of particles and fumes at high concentrations
- This model is designed to minimize frequent adjustments
The North 54001 is a lightweight, yet highly effective full face respirator mask that is designed to provide protection from thick concentrations of particles or aerosol fumes. This model features a chin cup which aids immeasurably in keeping the mask firmly on the face. When in situations where mold is present, this mask lacks a P100 filter but certainly makes up for it in its commitment to comfort and adequate airway protection.
Mold Removal: FAQs
What Kind of Mask Do I Need for Mold?
Like asbestos, a respirator cartridge for mold should preferably be a P100. Mold requires the highest filtration rating as possible to limit the exposure to a potentially harmful substance. Additionally, a full face mask is also necessary to avoid exposure to the eyes.
Do N95 Masks Protect Against Mold?
A respirator for mold remediation needs to have a high filtration rating to keep the tiny particles that exude from mold out of the airways. An N95 mask will likely be sufficient for lower concentrations of mold, but a higher filtration rating is best.
What is the Best Respirator for Black Mold?
Any 3M respirator for mold is likely going to be all that is necessary. With this in mind, a respirator that has a P100 filter will add an extra layer of protection not found in lower filtration ratings.
Is a P100 Filter Good for Mold?
A respirator cartridge for mold needs to have a high filtration concentration to keep mold out of the airways. A P100 filter is the absolute best filter cartridge to have when tackling mold remediation. These filters are very thick and can absorb both particles and fumes completely.
Respirators are indeed a complex and varied line of protective equipment. Any respirator is only as good as the power of the filter cartridge that comes with it. Rather you choose a full face or half face respirator mask, always ensure the filter has a high enough concentration for the situation before you.
Respirator Fact Sheet. (2020). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/topics/respirators/factsheets/respfact.html.