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If there’s one thing in the life that you cannot put a price tag on it’s your health. The importance of staying healthy and safe in the workplace and at home is paramount. That’s why, when it comes to DIY projects or professional building jobs, it’s absolutely essential that you protect yourself from any potential dangers. One of the most dangerous things that people come in contact with is fumes. Fumes, dust, gases and particles can be fatal if breathed in over a length of time or even sometimes immediately. The easiest way to protect yourself is to buy a respirator mask which will protect your respiratory tract (nose, nasal cavities, mouth, throat, lungs etc) from unwanted fumes and dust.
There are lots of different respirators available to buy which include: disposable, half cartridge masks, and full face masks. The best respirator for you will largely depend on how often you will use it and for what type of project. In this guide we look at the best masks for different types of uses, we have taken cost and quality into consideration too, so choosing the right type of mask for you shouldn’t be a problem. We’ll also tell you the what to look for when buying a respirators and how to take care of them.
Read on to discover our favorite respirators:
The Best Respirator For Spray Painting
The first respirator on our list is an absolute favorite from the trusted brand 3M Personal Protective Equipment. The half mask has been manufactured using the highest standard silicone that not only provides a super soft feel to the face but is very durable too. The design also boasts a unique adjustment feature that helps to reduce pressure points on the face – perfect for those who will be using the mask for longer periods of time.
This 3M respirator has a special CoolFlow valve which will make breathing easier for the wearer. Another feature we liked was the dual mode head harness which can be worn for a standard fit or to ‘drop down’ which means you can lower the mask without having to take off your safety hat. The breathing valve directs your breath downwards which reduces fogging in your safety glasses and draws the moisture down too. The masks are available in a variety of different sizes.
Advanced Silicone Material For Extra Comfort
Special CoolFlow Valve For Easy Breathing
Dual Mode Head Harness
Directed Breathing Valve To Reduce Fogging
- Weight6.4 ounces
If you’re looking for the best respirator for painting then stop right there as this might be your perfect option! The Breath Buddy Mask has been made for professional use and is said to block out vapors and fumes as well as dust and pollen. It’s a reusable mask that has been designed so you can breathe easily – anyone who has worn a respirator mask before will be aware how difficult it can be to forget your wearing it when it’s strapped to your face! You won’t have to worry about that with this mask, as it’s been made with comfortable straps and features a cooling air valve to reduce moisture and sweat.
Another feature that we rated highly was the fact that this mask came with a pair of safety glasses to protect your eyes, a pair of gas/vapor cartridges and a pair of particle filters too – we think this gives the product excellent value for money. If the product fails to eliminate any organic chemical vapor or fumes then the company will also give you your money back!
Reusable Mask With Cooling Air Valve
Safety Glasses, 2 x Gas/Vapor Cartridges & 2 x Particle Filters Included
Money Back Guarantee If Organic Chemical Odors Are not Eliminated
- BrandMinor Miracle Home Solutions
- Weight1 pounds
This 3M full face respirator is one of the best protective masks on the market for guaranteed safety and protection. This mask has been specially made for use with paints, lacquers and pesticides. An excellent investment, this reusable spray paint respirator can be worn again and again. You’ll just have to change the cartridges and filters wherever needed. In the pack you’ll find a variety of different extras including: 2 x organic vapor cartridges, 4 x P95 filters, 2 x filter retainers and 2 x face shield covers. It’s absolutely perfect for DIY jobs around the house, professional spray painting and other jobs which require protection from harmful vapors. This is an industrial strength mask which is versatile and good value for money.
Reusable Full Face Respirator
2 x Organic Vapor Cartridges, 4 x P95 Filters, 2 x Filter Retainers & 2 x Face Shield Covers
Can Be Used With Spray Paints, Pesticides & More
- Weight1.37 pounds
This 3M respirator has so many excellent features, it’s difficult to know where to begin! Firstly, the mask has been designed for maximum comfort with a special head ‘cradle’ which reduces pressure points and hair pulling. Manufactured from soft silicone, it’s also super durable and easy to clean too. The lens on the front of the mask provides a wide field of view which gives ultimate visibility. It’s been protected with a special Scotchguard coating too which is stain resistant. When liquids hit the mask they will form ‘beads’ so they can be wiped away easily.
Breathing is effortless with this full face respirator, as it features a CoolFlow valve which allows hot and humid air to be released and therefore also reducing fogging. This can be particularly beneficial for workers who are using the mask in warmer weather conditions too. Another cool feature is the passive speaking diaphragm which has been added to aid communication. It means that you can hold a conversation without having to remove the mask. The mask meets all government regulatory standards.
Silicone Mask For Ultimate Comfort
Wide Lens For Better Field Of View
CoolFlow Valve For Easy Breathing
Paint & Stain Resistant
- Weight1.74 pounds
One of the most frustrating and potentially dangerous effects of using a respirator is that they can sometimes fog up with moisture and restrict your vision. Luckily this SAS Safety Full Face Respirator has been fit with a special nose cup which is designed to prevent this from happening, giving you an altogether clearer and safer experience. The wide viewing area on the mask allows for a distortion-free view too and has a special anti-scratch coating. This is a comfortable mask which has been equipped with a special 5-point head strap for the perfect fit. It has been NIOSH approved and designed by a company who have been manufacturing safety equipment for over 30 years. So you can expect the very best protection from this mask.
Special Nose Cup To Reduce Fogging
Wide Viewing Field
Comfortable 5-Point Head Strap
- BrandSAS Safety
- Weight3 pounds
If you are looking for a good value for money respirator then this product offers just that. What made this half face mask stand out was that it had a special patented nose bridge design which has been specially made to fit the nose area comfortably. This dust respirator will trap up to 99.97 % of toxic dust that it comes in contact with, protecting you from lead, hantavirus and asbestos. This is a multi-purpose product that is perfect for protecting against fumes such as paint fumes, pesticides, lead fumes and ammonia.
Patented Nose Bridge Design For A Better Fit
Protects Against Paint Fumes, Ammonia, Dust & Asbestos
Built In Exhalation Valve For Easier Breathing
- BrandSafety Works
- Weight1.05 lbs
This half mask respirator has a special low profile design which can fit easily under a welding helmet. The special design is super useful because it doesn’t get in the way of safety glasses or goggles. Another nice feature is its comfortable design which has really taken user comfort into consideration – you won’t feel constricted in any way with this product. The main part of the mask features a large non-return exhaust valve which reduces heat and rebreathing exhaled air. This respirator has been used from special medical grade materials, perfect for those who have allergies to latex and silicone. The four-point head strap provides an adjustable, cushioned fit.
Low Profile Design To Fit Well With Safety Glasses
Easy Breathing With Non-Return Exhaust Valve
Comfortable 4-Point Head Strap
- BrandMiller Electric
- Weight0.16 ounces
If comfort is one of the main features that you are looking for when researching the best respirator for painting then you’ll be pleased with this North Safety product. The mask features a soft silicone seal that is non-allergenic and a half mask cradle suspension. These work together to form a firm but comfortable seal around the face that will not only give you the very best protection, but you won’t get any pressure points on your face either as the suspension system is equally balanced. This is a low profile mask which will give users a wide field of vision and won’t get in the way of protective eyewear.
Low Inhalation & Exhalation Resistance For Easier Breathing
Low Profile Design
Non-Allergenic Silicone Seal For Ultimate Comfort
- Weight1.1 pounds
This toxic dust respirator promises to give you the very best protection and comfort. It has been designed with a special low profile which means that it will sit comfortably with a pair of safety glasses and not obstruct your vision in any way. This mask has a flexible face piece with fully adjustable headbands so you can fit the mask perfectly to your head. Not only is this feature essential for your comfort but it is essential for safety reasons too. The respirator has been NIOSH approved and we feel it offers great value for money.
Flexible Design For Comfort & Safety
- BrandSafety Works
- Weight1.28 ounces
When you have allergies it’s vital that you use the right type of equipment and there’s no exception with respirator masks either. Luckily, this Stanley paint mask has been manufactured from a super soft elastomer and silicone blend which is latex-free and fits snugly and comfortably on the face. Special contoured sealing helps to minimize pressure points on the face, which means that this mask stays comfortable all day. The design also features a special exhalation valve which has been strategically placed to allow more breath to be exhaled at a faster pace – giving the user a cooler, more comfortable wear.
Reusable Facepiece (Cartridges & Filters Not Included)
Special Contoured Sealing For Ultimate Comfort
- Weight1.1 lbs
Best Respirator Buying Guide
Features To Look For In a Good Spray Paint Mask
There are several things to consider when researching the best respirator mask for your needs. Here is a quick guide to the most important features you might consider:
Buying a respirator isn’t the same as buying an item of clothing when it comes to sizing. The job of a respirator is to provide you with protection and safety and neither of these things are possible if the mask doesn’t fit perfectly. Different types of masks have different sizing but as a general rule of thumb they come in Small, Medium and Large. Please ensure you have a tape measure on hand to measure you head size to find the most suitable option. Medium is the most widely used size but it’s still vital to measure!
When looking for a comfortable mask take a look at the materials that it has been made with and special features that take comfort into consideration. It’s always safer to perform a ‘fit test’ once you’ve bought a mask to see if it’s safe to use around chemicals etc. Special Fit Test kits can be bought online that will show you if you’re wearing the right size.
You will definitely want to buy a mask that is fully adjustable. Not only is this safer and more comfortable but it will also allow space for other safety equipment that you might require alongside the mask such as safety glasses etc.
Benefits of Respirator Mask
The benefits to using a respirator are endless. Firstly, respirators offer protection from breathing in toxic chemicals. They work by forming a seal around your mouth, nose and sometimes your entire face, and filter out harmful fumes that can enter your respiratory tract. The second thing that they can do is to prevent you breathing in dust, asbestos and particles that can also enter your respiratory tract and cause irritation and death related diseases in your lungs. Many mask will also offer full face protection and therefore will protect your eyes from the same chemicals.
Types of Spray Paint Respirators
The following spray paint respirators are widely available:
If you are planning on using the mask on the odd occasion and you aren’t going to be in contact with any serious fumes or dust particles then disposable masks will give you adequate protection. Uses for these types of mask include sanding wood and resin.
- Cartridge Half Mask
If you are regularly exposed to paint fumes, dust, or any other toxic materials that you want to protect yourself from then it makes sense to invest in a good half-face cartridge mask. The benefit of having one of these, is that they are reusable, so you can just replace the cartridges as and when it’s needed. You can buy different types of cartridges for different needs too such as paint and sanding etc
- Full Mask
If you are a professional or a DIY enthusiast and need full protection then a full face respirator is the best option for you. These also have replaceable cartridges but with the added benefit of eye protection too.
Types of Respirator Filters
There are a number of different filters that are available and they are serve a specific purpose. Here are just some that you might find:
- Gas & Vapor Filter
You will need to use a specific filter for gas and vapors if you are going to be exposed to vapors such as ammonia, paint fumes and acetone. These filters will not protect you from particles though so are only suitable for gas and vapors.
- Combination Cartridge
If you have a project which involves sanding and painting then you will need a filter that can handle both gas, vapors and particles. You should never compromise and use one over the other as exposure to either can be dangerous.
- Particulate Filters
These types of filters including disposable masks are the most commonly used. They purify the air and have been designed for home use. These filters will provide protection from dust and larger particles but not gas and vapors.
Safety Tips for Using Your Respirator
The very first thing that you will need to do to ensure that your mask is doing its job properly is to check the fit. A badly fitted mask will NOT protect you from dangerous gases or particles. If you notice any smells or have a taste in your mouth then you will need to change the filter immediately. Don’t ever reuse a disposable filter, this can be dangerous and they haven’t been designed for this purpose. If you start to notice that you cannot breathe easily then the filter will need replacing. Keep your respirator dry, many masks won’t work when they’re wet. Follow the instructions on the packaging to ensure that you are using your mask correctly and throw it away if it’s broken.
Best Respirator For Spray Painting FAQ:
Q: What is a respirator for spray painting?
A: A respirator is a mask that covers your nose and mouth to protect your respiratory tract from harmful dust, particles, gases and vapors. There are a number of different types of respirators on the market: disposable, half face and full face. Normally a half face mask is used for painting.
Q: When should I change the filter?
A: If it has become difficult to breathe through your respirator then this is a strong sign that you will need to change your filter as it’s likely clogged. If you notice that your filter is soiled or damaged in any way then dispose of it immediately and replace. Generally it is thought that you should change your filter after every 40 hours of use.
Q: How should I take care of the filters?
A: Make sure that you regularly check your filters for any damage or soiling. If you find either...throw them in the trash! Store your respirator in a cool, dry area and clean the mask with a mild detergent after each use - remove filters first as these cannot be washed.
Q: What does NIOSH mean?
A: This stands for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and they believe in healthier, safer workers. Many respirators have been created in compliance with NIOSH standards which you will find in the product descriptions. We always recommend purchasing a respirator which has the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health seal of approval.
Our Top Pick
We chose the 3M Personal Protective Equipment Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator for our number one favorite respirator. This particular mask has been tested and approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the product is a popular choice for people looking for the best protection on the market. Made with soft silicone, the mask gives a very comfortable and safe fit whilst remaining durable too. This product has also been designed with a special CoolFlow valve which we liked as it enabled easier breathing which redirects your breath downwards to reduce fogging which not only can be annoying but dangerous too in the wrong situation.
- Safe and Healthy Spray Painting Tips - Family Handyman