Reviews

Best Gas Masks: Stay Safe in Polluted Environments

Protect yourself against dangerous chemicals and pollutants with one of these top gas masks

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BY Alice Musyoka , Daniel Rika / LAST UPDATED ON January 5, 2020

Some lines of work are at high risk, and protection is a top priority. Gas masks can keep you safe in polluted environments. They offer protection against dangerous fumes and respiratory irritants. If you want to stay safe in your line of work, get the right gas mask. Below we’ve reviewed some of the highest-quality gas masks that provide both comfort and safety.

Best Overall
Dräger X-plore Respirator Mask
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Summary
Summary

This mask comes with two easy-slide cartridges to keep you protected from toxic fumes. It is NIOSH-certified, so you can be confident about your purchase. It also comes with two filters.

Pros
Pros

The side-by-side placement of the filters allows for an unobstructed field of vision. The mask is silicone-free and skin-friendly. It can be worn for long periods without irritating the skin. It also stays in place.

Cons
Cons

It may not be the best mask to use against gases like carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide. It is also not easy to wear and remove as its straps and hooks are not easy to attach.

Best Overall
Dräger X-plore Respirator Mask
Best Value
3M Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6000 Series
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Summary
Summary
This 3M mask is certified for industrial use and protects you against concentrations up to 10 times the permissible exposure limit. You can customize it for the best fit, field of view, and comfort.


Pros
Pros
The mask is lightweight, so you can wear it for long periods. It is designed to be used with other personal protection equipment. You can easily assemble and disassemble it when you want to clean it.


Cons
Cons

Fitting problems are common with this model. The mask also has a bad, plastic smell that lasts for a while, even when you add the filters. You have to install the filters yourself, which can be hard.

Best Value
3M Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6000 Series
Honorable Mention
Israeli Rubber Respirator Mask
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Summary
Summary
This is a full-face mask designed to meet some of the highest standards. It comes with a filter and a drinking tube. The mask has a very long shelf life, up to 25 years in its original packaging.


Pros
Pros
It has a one-size-fits-all design with adjustable straps. Its goggles are fitted with scratch-resistant polycarbonate lenses. It is approved for industrial and commercial use, and it has two filters for total preparedness.


Cons
Cons
The full-face design might affect peripheral vision. The goggles become foggy quickly, especially if there is a temperature difference. The rubber makes the mask uncomfortable to wear for long periods.


Honorable Mention
Israeli Rubber Respirator Mask

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Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Tips

  • The way you store a gas mask determines its longevity. Loosen all the straps and let them hang toward the front of the mask. That way, they won’t get tangled. 
  • Gas masks usually cover the face. Ensure you have minimal facial hair or get a clean shave before using a gas mask. Alternatively, you can buy a gas mask that is designed for people with beards.
  • You may need to wear a gas mask for extended periods. If you are in an area where constant hydration is important, you will need a hydration port. Get a mask that comes with a gas mask adapter and a drinking tube. 

FAQs

Q: How do I wear a gas mask?

A: Putting on a gas mask is a five-step process:

  1. Loosen your mask, making sure the straps dangle to the front to reduce obstruction. 
  2. Place your chin in the chin cup. Wear the mask, tilting it upward towards your face while keeping your chin in place. Put your nose in the nose cup. 
  3. While holding the mask, stretch the straps over the back of your head.
  4. Secure each strap, starting with the mid strap, then the top strap, and finally the neck strap. 
  5. Make sure the seal is tight by covering the filters and taking deep breaths. If you notice that air is still getting into the mask, the seal is compromised. Refit the mask. 

Q: What is the best way to clean a gas mask?

A: Fill a sink with warm water and add dish soap. Submerge the mask for five to 10 minutes. Drain the water and leave the mask to dry. Once it dries, check if there’s any remaining dirt. If there is, scrub it gently.

Q: Can anyone use a gas mask?

A: Yes. However, if you have a pre-existing respiratory condition (such as asthma), it is advised that you refrain from using a gas mask as it interferes with normal breathing. 

Q: Does a gas mask offer protection in a fire?

A: Gas masks have color-coded filters that indicate the types of protection they provide. You need to ensure that the filter you use is designed for protection against carbon monoxide and smoke. It is also important to note that the materials used to make a gas mask are not fireproof and may melt. 

Final Thoughts

The Dräger X-plore Respirator Mask is a great option since it is approved for different uses. It can be used with many cartridges and comes with two filters. But if you want an affordable mask, the 3M Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6000 Series is ideal.