Written By
Published Apr. 15, 2019

When working on a big auto job, a DIY project or even a deep clean of your home, you need to protect yourself from all those airborne nasties you will undoubtedly create. From humble dust to fumes and allergens, it is essential that you take the right steps to keep your breathing sweet.

Holding your breath and hoping for the best just won’t cut it, you need to add protection to your kit list. And with our review of the best dust masks, you can be confident we have your respiratory system covered. From simple face masks that filter out household dust or pollen through to military-style particle filters that suck up even the most harmful of airborne particles, there is a dust face mask for you.

But don’t just take out word for it, take a deep breath and read on…

The Best Dust Mask

People with respiratory conditions need a dust mask that is always able to protect them from contaminants. The Base Camp M Plus Dust Face Mask provides that protection. This option is constructed with six additional layers designed to filter out up to 99.4 percent exhaust gas, pollen, dust, particles, and smoke. It contains improved mesh materials that improve breathability 11.3 percent. This option contains an adjustable hook and loop straps to accommodate different facial dimensions. It also contains 6.1 percent additional elasticity to provide a more comfortable fit.

It also provides an AEB system designed to keep the mask securely in place for every task. This option also contains enlarged one-way valves that reduce the fogging of safety glasses by 26.3 percent. This mask is invaluable for body shop painters to protect themselves from paint fumes. Base Camp provides a dust mask more than capable of protecting you from contaminants regardless of the task.

Key Features
  • Contains a breathable and durable dust mask shell
  • Aluminium covered with plastic adjustable nose clip
  • Earloop design
  • Convenient adjustable hook and loop fastening
  • Large, dual one-way discharge valves
Specification
  • Brand Base Camp
  • Weight 1 ounce

We are constantly striving for multipurpose items designed to streamline our daily endeavors. The AstroAI Reusable Dust Mask with Filters is constructed of premium nylon that provides the durability you demand in a dust mask. The dust mask contains an activated carbon filter designed to filter out non-oil particles. This option offers specific comfortability for those that wear eyeglasses or protective goggles.

It also has increased ventilation to let heat and moisture escape to avoid fogging your glasses or contains. This option includes an adjustable nose clip for a more comfortable fit. The mask also contains flexible earloops to reduce added pressure on your ears. The AstroAl is also designed for use while running, cycling, or other outdoor activities. This option contains replacement filters designed to extend the mask’s service capabilities. AstroAl provides the versatility you need, no matter where you are.

Key Features
  • Adjustable nose clip for form-fitting comfort that accommodates every facial type
  • Contains a four-layer filter designed to repel particles while allowing users to maintain breathing
  • Adjustable neck strap to alleviate neck strain while providing a comfortable fit
  • Made from premium nylon that allows for easy mask washing and multiple uses
  • Contains six replacement filters that prolong mask usage
Specification
  • Brand AstroAl
  • Model NDM1PB
  • Weight 4.9 ounces

Searching for a dust mask that provides comfort and quality can be a difficult task. The BAIGEWA Adult Unisex Face Mask offers a suitable solution for your dust mask search. This option maintains durability during every use thanks to its eight constructed layers of activated carbon, melt-blown cotton, and non-woven fabric. BAIGEWA contains adjustable earloops for a comfortable fit for men and women. It also has adjustable straps and a nose bridge to provide a stabilized facial fit.

The mask is constructed in a cotton knit jersey design, similar to an everyday T-shirt to maintain breathing comfort. It contains two PM2.5 carbon filters to provide complete protection against contaminants. This option is washable and designed for reuse to maintain comfortable breathing. BAIGEWA provides a dust mask option that delivers the durability and results you demand from any dust mask.

Key Features
  • Contains an elastic buckle designed for form-fitting comfort
  • Its nose part design provides seamless airflow to enhance your breathing
  • The five-layer PM2.5 filter prevents dust and particles from entering your mask
  • Made of polyester fiber to absorb moisture more efficiently
Specification
  • Brand BAIGEWA
  • Weight 1.13 ounces

For sucking out the muck of the urban environment, the CFORWARD Dustproof Mask is a cool looking piece of kit that’s suited to the fitness fan’s gym bag.  There’s a stealth ninja look to this well-priced face dust mask, which has been designed for running, cycling and other outdoor activities. It can also work well as a go-to particulate mask for the DIYer’s toolbox.

Made from a lightweight, neoprene-style fabric for a quick- drying and comfort fit, there’s an alumimum adjustable clip on the nose bridge so you can custom the shape to fit your face. There are plenty of ventilation holes as well as a double-air breathing valve to let your exhaled breath easily escape, reducing heat and moisture build-up on the inside of the mask and giving you a smoother breathe.  The activated carbon filter is also effective in halting around 95% of non-toxic airborne particles created by dust, the natural environment, car fumes and general urban living in their tracks.

Key Features
  • Designed for runners, cyclists and outdoor activities
  • Made from breathable, quick-drying material
  • Adjustable nose band for comfort fit
  • Double-air breathing valve for easy exhalation
  • Comes with a one-year warranty
Specification
  • Brand CFORWARD
  • Weight 1.6 ounces

For a straightforward breathing mask to have in the workshop or back of the truck, the cost-effective SAS Safety dust mask comes in a box of 50 so you are always ready for those small dusty “nuisance’” jobs. The SAS Safety does not provide NIOSH approved protection, so they are not suitable for heavy-duty projects or against dangerous irritants such as mold. These face dust masks are not intended to protect against vapors, such as those found when spray painting your auto. But it does act as a reasonable filter against household dust, pollen or cut grass, making it a good everyday domestic mask.

Simplicity is the keyword with these dust face masks, a soft mask that fits over your nose and mouth, with an adjustable nose piece to shape the mask to your face and a single elastic strap to hold it in place.  Use at the height of the pollen season to help protect against hay fever or if you are sensitive to dust but need to give the house a good clean. They can also help if you are doing a minor sanding job in the workshop when you could do with a little extra protection.

Key Features
  • Protects against pollen, household dust and cut grass
  • Single strap elastic head band
  • Adjustable metal nose piece
  • Does not provide NIOSH approved protection
  • 50 masks per box
Specification
  • Brand SAS Safety
  • Model 2985
  • Weight 8.3 ounces

For a basic dust mask to keep around the house, this five-pack from 3M is a good addition to the cleaning cupboard. They come with the 3M quality reputation, but they are NIOSH approved, so not suited to more toxic or heavyweight jobs. But for helping to protect against everyday allergies or to keep your lungs clear when tackling the housework, the 3M Home Dust Mask is the way to go.

Neatly covering the mouth and nose, the material of these breathing masks is soft and nicely pliable and will not irritate the skin on your face. There is a simple aluminum nose clip so you can tailor the fit and the whole dust mask is kept in place by a sturdy elastic band.  If you use them for light jobs, you should get several wears out of each mask too, if you store them well between use. You do get a bit of a ‘hot breath’ effect inside this 3M dust mask, particularly if you are working hard but with its simple design, that’s to be expected.

Key Features
  • Pack of five home dust masks
  • Simple nose and mouth cover design
  • Adjustable nose strip for comfort fit
  • Protects against dust and pollen
  • Not NIOSH approved
Specification
  • Brand 3M Safety
  • Model 8661PC1-A
  • Weight 0.8 ounces

Unassuming but hardworking with a great shelf life to boot, the Vogmask also comes with a n95 mask rating, making it a great choice for jobs, big and small. Made from a lightweight and impressively breathable fabric, the Vogmask fits really well, snug but not too strong on your face. The nose and mouth half-face dust mask is kept nicely in place, thanks to the latex-free spandex ear loops. But what we really like from such a straightforward breathing mask is its performance, protecting you against PM 2.5 particles in air pollution and other non-toxic airborne contaminants.

Dust, pollen, wood shavings, fire fumes and air pollution, it not only reduces your exposure to airborne nasties but also filters odors too. The breathe while wearing this N95 dust mask is good too, thanks to exhalation valves, keeping the heat and moisture inside the mask to a minimum. And as a reusable dust mask, it is really good value; hand wash and look after this breathing mask well and it should last you up to six months.  

 

Key Features
  • Dust mask to protect against non-toxic airborne particles
  • Rated at N95 – filters 95% of contaminants
  • Protection against particles as small as 0.3 microns
  • Soft fabric, with non-latex spandex ear loops
  • Reusable – lasts for 3-6 months
Specification
  • Brand Vogmask
  • Model Single Valve
  • Weight 1.6 ounces

The premium pick in our best dust masks review is this sleek looking breathing mask from RZ Dust that is a totally sleek operator too. Made from breathable neoprene and with a dual exhalation valve system, this hardworking dust mask will filter out the non-toxic airborne nasties without leaving the inside damp or your eye protectors fogged. Rated to an impressive 99.9%, the RZ dust will also suck up minute particles, to a size of 0.1 microns, to give you awesome all-round protection. And, thanks to the neoprene, it has been designed to perform effectively in cold temperatures.

The fit is good too, with a back fastening and adjustable nose clip to keep you snug and your breathing mask slip-free. Use to filter dust, pollen, or airborne irritants, then watch it step up on your more hardcore home DIY jobs, such as plastering, sanding, and sawing. It may be at the top end of our best dust masks review budget but with its twin replaceable active carbon filters, the RZ dust mask will prove to be a great value purchase over time.

Key Features
  • Laboratory tested – filters 99.9% of particles
  • Dual-Exhalation valve system removes moisture
  • Anti-Fog adjustable nose system
  • Includes two replaceable active carbon filters
  • Neoprene design to work in low temperatures
Specification
  • Brand Hardware & Outdoor
  • Model BONUSPACKM1BLKR
  • Weight 5.4 ounces

There are times when we are looking for a dust mask that maintains basic characteristics while providing the results we demand. The CandyCare Disposable Face Mask is more than a viable option. It is constructed in a powerful three-layered fabric designed to protect against external contaminants. CandyCare masks are latex-free, which can protect against facial rashes caused by latex designed options. This option’s softer design allows for seamless breathability. It also contains a bendable metal edge on top of the mask designed to fit your nose.

This feature prevents the mask from slipping off your face while maintaining facial stability. CandyCare contains a universal ear loop design to accommodate all facial dimensions while alleviating ear strain. This option is not recommended for medical use, but it is recommended for overall daily activities.

Key Features
  • Contains universal ear loops that stabilize the mask and alleviate ear strain regardless of facial construction.
  • Constructed with three filtered layers that help maintain your breathing regardless of the task at hand
  • Soft and smooth fabric designed for comfortable wear
  • Highly efficient for protection against dust particles and other contaminants
  • Suitable for wearing in large crowds
Specification
  • Brand CandyCare
  • Model OTB00004
  • Weight 0.3 ounces

Our lives are too busy for constant repurchasing of quality items. ANGPO Reusable Respirators provide a dust mask option that compares favorably with other leading options. It provides the comfort and ability for use in hot climates necessary for outdoor occupations. The ANGPO contains double breathing values that maintain breathing comfortability. This option is constructed of nylon that allows for permeability for the inhalation of fresh air while exhaling carbon dioxide.

This mask from ANGPO contains a hanging ear designed elastic strap to accommodate any facial dimension. It can be washed for reuse while maintaining a durability standard that lasts two years. The mask also contains filters along with easy to follow directions on filter replacement for your dust mask. A mask that protects us from contaminants while maintaining our breathing is the last thing we should worry about. ANGPO provides a durable dust mask option that maintains your breathing every time.

Key Features
  • Contains dual breathing valves that streamline the flow of carbon dioxide from the mask while maintaining your breathing
  • Contains replaceable filters that help maintain the mask’s two-year shelf life
  • Easy to clean mask that helps maintain its shelf life
  • Lightweight construction allows for streamlined breathing in cool and warm climates
  • Hanging ear design elastic strap helps maintain the mask’s comfortable fit while alleviating ear strain
Specification
  • Brand ANGPO
  • Weight 2.39 ounces

Best Dust Mask Buying Guide & FAQ

Things to Consider When Buying a Dust Mask

To get the best dust mask, you will need to check out the following to make sure it is totally up to the dust-busting job:

Filter: First up, know what you are looking to keep out of your lungs. This way you can match the filter type and strength to the job at hand. The filter ability of a dust face mask or respirator is split into two:

  • Particles: you are in dust mask territory if you need to filter out microscopic particles – aka dust – from the air. Particulate masks should be approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), meaning they can filter out particles as small as one millionth of a meter – or 0.3 microns to you and I. Particle filter masks tackle dust, pollen, mold spores, sanding and wood dust but do not work on gas or vapor. Also, check the product’s labelling as some particulate masks are not suitable for high volume or toxic dust.
  • Vapor: these breathing masks use activated charcoal, which is highly porous, to suck out dangerous vapor you may get from paint and chemicals. We are also moving into respirator territory here, with some models also having air purifiers to help with easy breathing as you work.

Dust mask ratings: All NIOSH approved dust masks come with one of three ratings – N, R and P – which show the filter’s ability to resist oil mist. N is ‘not resistant’, R is ‘somewhat resistant’ and P is ‘strongly resistant’. Masks are also rated to show the efficiency of the filter in the worst-case scenario – 95%, 99% and 99.7%. Now, here’s the clever bit – your mask will be rated as a combination of the two, for example, N95 mask (not resistant, 95% filter capacity).

Fit: Doesn’t matter how good the filter is, it if is a poor fit, your dust face mask isn’t really going to work.  Dust face masks come in small, medium and large sizes and often have adjustment fittings to make sure they are snug. With most reusable dusk masks, look for an aluminum strip across the bridge of the nose that can be bent to fit as well as a strip of foam rubber on the inside to ensure a good seal.

Coverage: You can also choose how much the dust mask covers your face. A simple half face mask will cover the nose and mouth, which is perfectly serviceable if you are working in an environment which does not have particles that could be harmful to your eyes or skin. For more aggressive and harmful situations where you need more protection, then opt for a more full-faced dust mask design.

Durability: You may have your disposable or reusable dust mask in storage for some time so before you use, check it is in good condition. For a long life, store away from sunlight, in a dry, dust-free environment. Also, if you have a filter mask, check the expiry date.

Man With Dust Mask

Why You Should Use a Dust Mask?

If you are working in an environment that could expose you to hazardous dust, then you need to take the right precautions to keep you safe – and this means wearing a dust mask. Whether it is for work or for your own DIY project where dust and harmful particles are present, then it could well be a lifesaver. Many materials used in construction and even in your own garage or workshop can be harmful to your health, particularly if they are inhaled over a prolonged period of time. Using a particulate mask will filter out harmful particles before you have the chance to inhale them, protecting your lungs and respiratory system from contamination.

Dust Mask vs. Respirator

While it can seem that they do the same job, there is a clear distinction between a dust mask and a respirator. Dust masks should only be used for filtering out dust particulates you get when you are sanding, grinding, cutting wood etc. In short, if there’s physical dust in the air, wear your dust mask. To filter out anything chemical – which includes spray paint – only ever opt for a respirator-style breathing mask, anything less is ineffective.

To be safe, always keep a respirator and a supply of dust masks in your workshop cabinet so you have all the bases covered.

Disposable vs. Replaceable

When choosing a dust mask, you can opt for either disposable or a multi-use alternative which has a replaceable filter. Both work well in situations where you need protection against airborne particles or dust, but when it comes to picking which is right for you, it is about personal choice. To help, here’s the lowdown on both:

  • Disposable

These breathing masks are intended to wear for a short period of time before you throw them away. A disposable dust mask needs to be discarded when it starts to crack or fold, and you can see visible soil or dirt on the inside of the mask. However, the benefits are convenience and also cost and can be bulk bought for when you need them.

  • Replaceable

A replaceable dust mask comes in two parts – the main mask body and a filter cartridge which enables you to extend the resuable dust mask’s shelf life and makes the whole mask a little more durable. When the filter is used and becomes ‘unstable’ you simply replace so that the whole mask can be re-used.

Dust Mask

Best Dust Mask FAQ:

Q: How does a dust mask work?

Simply put, a dusk mask is a flexible pad which is held over the nose and mask by straps (typically elastic or rubber) to protect your airways from potentially hazardous airborne particles as you work on your auto, DIY or construction project. There are several dust mask types, but they are basically all designed to rotect you from dust created from drywall, brick, wood, silica, fiberglass for example. They can also be worn if you are susceptible to allergies. Typically made from a breathable fabric, dust masks act as a barrier to pollutants and can also include filters to target and remove specific particles and allergens. However, they cannot protect against chemicals, vapors or mists so if this is your issue, you need to look for a more heavyweight respirator to keep you safe.

Q: What is dust?

Dust is made up of miniscule particles of solid matter from the environment – both natural and man-made. Everything around us is constantly breaking down thanks to the wear and tear it experiences. From rocks and soil, to minerals, plastics, fibers, household materials, plant pollen to human and animal skin, tiny particles are released into the air, to create what we know as dust. We can help this process when we embark on a DIY or building project – fire up your buzz saw or sander and you will know exactly what we mean!

Q: How often should I perform a fit test?

We say opt for the ‘better safe than sorry’ approach which means check the fit of your dust mask every time you put it on. Disposable masks are only designed for a couple of uses and many are not adjustable so if the fit has failed then discard and put a new mask on. For adjustable masks, test each fit section and replace the mask if there are any signs of sagging or wear.

Our Top Pick

Price, filter quality, comfort and ease of use – these are the reasons why the Fightech Dust Mask scooped our best dust mask review’s top pick.

For less than $20 you get a multi-purpose breathing mask that will take you from workshop to garden and then on to your outdoor training session, whipping out the main airborne nasties as you work, rest and play. And with the highest NIOSH rating in our review, it works hard to keep your breathing sweet. Washable and reusable you get a lot for your money and so we think it is an essential for your tool box.

Sources:

  1. The Difference Between Dust Masks and Respirators, and When to Use Them – LifeHacker
  2. Do You Have Questions about Disposable Dust Masks? We Have Answers! – EHS Today

 

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