The Best Respirator Mask
Photo: Sarah Kobos
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The Best Respirator Mask

Keeping a supply of reliable respirator masks on hand will leave you with one less thing to worry about in a wildfire or other disaster—including the coronavirus pandemic—and the masks can also be useful when you’re doing a home renovation project. After 50 hours of research and testing, we’re confident that the 3M 8516 N95 Particulate Respirator is the best disposable respirator mask and the 3M Rugged Comfort Quick Latch Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6501QL/49488 is the best reusable respirator when used with N95 or P100 filters.

Our pick

3M 8516 N95 Particulate Respirator

3M 8516 N95 Particulate Respirator

The best disposable respirator

This NIOSH-approved N95 single-use respirator is sturdily constructed and comfortable enough for long-term wear.

Buying Options

Buy from 3M

May be out of stock

Used properly, respirators capture inhaled particulates like smoke and viruses. But respirators do not prevent wearers from exhaling either into the air, because their exhalation valves don’t act as filters. So during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s important to instead wear a cloth surgical mask—commercial or homemade—which is designed to capture exhalations and thus limit viral spread. (Besides, as of April 2020, respirators “are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders,” per the CDC.) Your first line of defense in any case of risky outdoor air should be to minimize your time outside and, in the case of known airborne dangers like wildfire smoke, to use an air purifier inside your home.

Disposable respirator masks, which are often sold in bulk, are easy to store in an emergency kit and to share when needed. All the disposable masks we tested are government-certified to filter out 95 percent of harmful particulate matter, but the 3M 8516 N95 Particulate Respirator stood out as the most comfortable mask for long-term wear, as its design gives you space to breathe and has edges that don’t push against your cheeks. Its exhalation valve works as a dehumidifier, keeping your face cool and preventing exhaled breath from fogging up glasses. Whereas other single-use models have loosely stapled rubber bands for straps, the 3M 8516 has sturdier, braided straps that are less likely to snap or catch in your hair.

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Our pick

3M Rugged Comfort Quick Latch Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6501QL/49488

3M Rugged Comfort Quick Latch Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6501QL/49488

The best half-facepiece reusable respirator

Compatible with NIOSH-approved N95 or P100 filters, this half-facepiece respirator is constructed so that—when conditions allow—you can uncover your nose and mouth without having to take the whole mask off.

Buying Options

Buy from 3M

May be out of stock

*At the time of publishing, the price was $15.

A reusable, half-facepiece mask fits more securely to your face and feels more comfortable for long-term wear than a disposable model, and it offers you a greater range of protection because you can match it with various compatible cartridges. If you prefer this type of protection, we recommend the 3M Rugged Comfort Quick Latch Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6501QL/49488. Our testers rated this respirator highest in overall structure and quality due to its comfortable silicone facepiece and handy “quick latch” mechanism, which enables you to remove the respirator from your face without taking off the entire headpiece. Unlike other models we tested, it has an adjustable crown and a downward-facing exhalation valve that keeps your face cool (and ensures that you won’t fog up any glasses you may be wearing). The respirator doesn’t come with filters. To use it, you also need to purchase pancake-style filters or hard-plastic filter cartridges—when used properly, the two types are equally effective. You can buy a bundled version of the mask with P100 filters, but buying the components separately is usually less expensive.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

3M 8516 N95 Particulate Respirator

3M 8516 N95 Particulate Respirator

The best disposable respirator

This NIOSH-approved N95 single-use respirator is sturdily constructed and comfortable enough for long-term wear.

Buying Options

Buy from 3M

May be out of stock

Our pick

3M Rugged Comfort Quick Latch Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6501QL/49488

3M Rugged Comfort Quick Latch Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6501QL/49488

The best half-facepiece reusable respirator

Compatible with NIOSH-approved N95 or P100 filters, this half-facepiece respirator is constructed so that—when conditions allow—you can uncover your nose and mouth without having to take the whole mask off.

Buying Options

Buy from 3M

May be out of stock

*At the time of publishing, the price was $15.

The research

To find out which respirators work best in emergency situations, we spoke with Nura Sadeghpour, a spokesperson for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the federal agency that certifies respirator masks. We also consulted Dale Schornack, a spokesperson for the California Department of Public Health; Venessa Vidovich, the supervising public health nurse at the Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency; representatives from mask manufacturers 3M and Honeywell; and John Ramey, who runs The Prepared, a site that reviews supplies for emergency preparedness. In addition, we reviewed educational materials from NIOSH, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

We researched this guide prior to the coronavirus outbreak; at the time, we envisioned people planning to protect themselves from poor-quality air. Our picks are capable of effectively capturing the coronavirus when you’re inhaling, too, and the usage and fit advice below is the same. But their exhalation valves don’t have filters and thus don’t help to keep a wearer from spreading the virus if they already have it. For that, you need a commercial surgical mask or homemade cloth mask. We have more information on the use of respirators against coronavirus transmission below.

When outdoor air quality is compromised by particulate matter—fine solid and liquid debris that can be inhaled and cause health problems—staying inside as much as possible is the best thing you can do, and using HEPA purifiers in your home can make a big difference in the indoor air quality. But if you must go out, wearing a respirator mask that seals securely to your face and filters particulate matter can help keep you safe. The CDC has guidelines on how to get a good fit (especially important if you have a beard, because facial hair can prevent a mask from sealing against the skin, allowing particles to sneak in).

People who frequently travel to places with poor air quality or pollution may also find respirator masks useful, as will those dealing with mold infestations in their homes. People with impaired lung function, due to asthma or emphysema, for example, should check with their doctor before using any respirators, because they make the act of breathing slightly more difficult.


If you’re unsure whether the air around you warrants donning a respirator mask, check with your county’s department of health. To check your local air quality more precisely, type your zip code into AirNow, an EPA resource that provides a national map of current fires and useful fact sheets.

As with many emergency preparedness supplies, respirators can sell out or be otherwise unattainable during times of increased demand, such as after a natural disaster. When you’re building up your stock of emergency supplies, it’s wise to include a reusable mask and replacement filters or a box of disposable masks. Most disposable respirators can work for around eight hours before you should discard them, whereas reusable masks can work indefinitely provided you replace the filters per the manufacturer’s instructions. “We recommend having a half- or full-face mask plus a few boxes of disposables,” said John Ramey of The Prepared. “That’s what I do.”

Is there a respirator mask for kids?

NIOSH does not certify any respirator masks intended for children. Although you can find masks in smaller sizes, they are still meant to best fit adult faces and may be too big on a child to form the tight seal that’s necessary to ensure protection. In addition, respirators obstruct airflow, so while they make the air safer to breathe, they also make it more difficult to breathe, which is riskier for kids than for adults. Some public health departments are also apprehensive about how masks may offer a false sense of security that leads people to spend more time in hazardous outdoor conditions than they otherwise would. This concern is especially acute when it comes to kids: Because children’s lungs are still growing, they’re particularly vulnerable to wildfire smoke and ash, according to the EPA. Although it’s likely difficult and inconvenient, the far better course is to keep children inside and away from hazardous air conditions as much as possible rather than to outfit them with a respirator mask.

The discussion about masks and the coronavirus has taken a head-spinning series of turns since the outbreak began. Adding to the confusion, people are using the term “masks” as a catch-all for a range of devices that serve different purposes. Here are a few types, including those beyond what we’ve covered in this guide, and how some of our picks relate to protecting against the coronavirus—information we’ll try to keep updated as the world’s understanding of the virus evolves.

Surgical masks are loose-fitting disposable latex or polypropylene barriers that medical professionals and sick people use primarily to keep the wearer’s germs in by catching droplets from coughing and sneezing. They do not filter out many small particles from the outside air, including naked viruses, though they can block airborne droplets that contain the virus. They’re easy to identify on sight: They look like a piece of pleated paper or fabric (often pale blue or green) that’s strapped closely around the nose, chin, and mouth.

Respirators, by contrast, are designed to keep germs out. When used correctly, they form an airtight seal around the user’s face, and a series of dense felt-like layers filter out tiny airborne particles each time the wearer takes a breath. An N95 “mask” is a respirator; the “95” means it removes 95 percent of 0.3-micron particles from the air, although it also captures many much smaller (including virus-sized) particles. (NIOSH-certified respirators are identified by a letter and number. The higher the number, the greater the percentage of airborne particles they capture. The letters N, R, and P indicate, respectively, whether a respirator is not, somewhat, or highly resistant to petroleum—a specialized concern largely relevant in industrial or agricultural settings.) Our picks in this guide are disposable respirators (usually white, tightly fitted, look like a stiff igloo on your face), or reusable respirators (rubber and silicone, round or rectangular external filters on either side of the face, look like a Hollywood gas mask). But again, while they can keep germs out, they do not prevent wearers from spreading the coronavirus, because their exhalation valves do not filter the exhaled air. For that, you need a commercial surgical mask or homemade cloth mask, both of which are effective at capturing virus-laden sneezes and coughs.

Third, many people now wear cloth face coverings in public, either by local regulation or on the CDC’s advice. These are akin to surgical masks in that they are neither airtight nor very good at filtering out small particles, but they may capture larger droplets from the wearer’s coughing or sneezing (or droplets that fall on them from the outside).

Last are generic dust masks, the kind you may have picked up at the hardware store the last time you did a home project. Like N95 and other disposable respirators, they’re stiff, felt-like, and almost always white, but they don’t make a tight seal against the wearer’s face. That’s a problem when it comes to protecting yourself against anything in the air, because unfiltered air slips in through the gaps.

So which kind should you use? In the simplest terms: whichever kind you have (or can make), but only if you wear it and wash or dispose of it correctly. (Disposable respirators are supposed to be one-time-use, but that may be impractical as this time. Cloth masks should be laundered frequently.) Bear in mind that all commercially made masks are in short supply right now, and that both respirators and surgical masks are a vital part of any health-care worker’s personal protective equipment (PPE). Here’s advice on donating any masks you may have.

We originally wrote this guide before the coronavirus outbreak, and at the time we evaluated masks and filters on their abilities to protect against particulate matter in the kind of poor-quality air you might encounter in a natural disaster or in a heavily polluted area. These are generally N95-rated masks, meaning they filter out at least 95 percent of fine airborne particles. N99 and N100 masks are even more efficient: They capture at least 99 and 99.97 percent of fine airborne particles, respectively. Respirators whose designations begin with an R or P (as in “P100”) are in addition somewhat or highly resistant to oil-based particulates, such as some pesticides, though that’s generally relevant only in industrial or agricultural settings. Respirators NIOSH-rated 95 or 100 will efficiently capture the coronavirus on inhalation but will not prevent an infected person from spreading it, because their exhalation valves don’t contain filters. Commercial surgical masks and homemade cloth masks, by contrast, do help capture exhaled viruses and virus-laden droplets, which is why the CDC recommends their widespread use to limit community transmission.

We considered only NIOSH-approved masks and looked for those that were user-friendly and readily available. Respirators are evaluated for NIOSH approval (PDF) at the agency’s National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (PDF). The lab approves a respirator if it meets the minimum construction, performance, and protection standards. Although filters have different levels of efficiency, such as N95 or P100, there is no ranking of better or worse NIOSH filters—they’re either approved or they’re not. NIOSH approval is the single most important factor when you’re searching for a quality respirator. You can find hundreds of knockoffs online that lack this crucial government certification. We avoided those entirely, and you should, too.

We consulted both editorial reviews and customer reviews at Amazon and other retailers. Most respirator masks you can buy online are made by 3M or Honeywell. As Venessa Vidovich of the Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency noted, public health officials are generally brand-agnostic. “There is no preference for us,” she said. If it’s a NIOSH-approved N95 or P100 mask, “that’s all we care about.”

Apart from NIOSH approval, we considered ease of use and comfort. For reusable masks, we also considered available sizes—more is better. Disposable masks generally come one-size-fits-all. Because a tight seal is critical for proper respirator function, a quality mask should stay put and feel comfortable on bare skin. A respirator immediately loses its benefit if it chafes your skin (causing you to adjust it) or if your breath fogs up any glasses you may be wearing. We prioritized features such as adjustable hardwire strips that can conform to the bridge of your nose, and we excluded masks that lacked exhalation valves, which direct your outgoing hot air away from your face.

A panel of 10 people tried 12 disposable and reusable half-facepiece respirators, evaluating the following:

  • Ease of use: In an emergency, you need a respirator that’s intuitive and adjusts to your head’s shape. We noted which respirators’ straps tugged hair or twisted out of place.
  • Comfort: Respirators should be comfortable enough that you can keep them on for extended periods of time. We looked for respirators that didn’t smush the cheeks or chin or smell unpleasant. We disqualified any that inhibited us from wearing glasses.
  • Quality of construction: Our testing panel examined each respirator’s body and straps and noted which models felt flimsy or poorly made.
Our disposable pick, the 3M 8516 N95 Particulate Respirator mask.
Photo: Sarah Kobos

Our pick

3M 8516 N95 Particulate Respirator

3M 8516 N95 Particulate Respirator

The best disposable respirator

This NIOSH-approved N95 single-use respirator is sturdily constructed and comfortable enough for long-term wear.

Buying Options

Buy from 3M

May be out of stock

For people looking for a comfortable, easy-to-use, disposable mask to cope with wildfire smoke, the COVID-19 virus, or everyday air-quality concerns, we recommend the 3M 8516 N95 Particulate Respirator. This NIOSH-approved N95 model protects against most particulates caused by wildfires or pollution and against airborne viruses, as well as against acid gases (such as hydrogen fluoride and chlorine) found in some industrial work settings. This is the best single-use option overall for anyone concerned about preparing for natural disasters or dealing with urban air pollution.

The 3M 8516 requires minimal setup. Unlike on other, pricier disposable masks we tested, the braided straps don’t demand any unintuitive tightening via a plastic mechanism.The metal nose bridge makes it obvious which side is the top, whereas other models lack a visible nose-bridge piece. Most important, this mask is ready to wear straight from the package and sits where it should on your face, unlike the malleable 3M Aura 9211+ Particulate Respirator (a former pick in our guides to emergency preparedness supplies and bug-out bags), which is comparably difficult to unfold and place.

  • A tester wearing the 3M 8516, our pick for best Respirator mask

    Compared with other disposable respirators we tried, the 8516 feels roomy, and its secure straps create a tight but comfortable seal. Photo: Sarah Kobos

  • A tester with glasses wearing the 3M 8516 Respirator Mask.

    The downward exhalation valve ensures that glasses won’t fog. Photo: Sarah Kobos

  • A tester with facial hair, wearing the 3M 8516 Respirator Mask.

    Facial hair inhibits a tight seal, rendering respirators non-protective. Photo: Sarah Kobos

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Our testers liked that the mask’s soft interior didn’t hug their skin too closely and left enough space for them to breathe comfortably. Although some testers found the straps too tight for long-term wear, the panel unanimously agreed that the 8516’s braided straps were far more durable than the rubber-band straps on the similarly designed 3M 8210V.

This respirator usually costs about $4 more than the cheapest models we looked at—a significant cost considering that disposable masks last only eight hours. Given that the comfortable fit and durable straps make this mask more likely to remain securely on your face than the competition, we think it’s worth the higher price.

  • Our pick, the 3M Rugged Comfort Quick Latch Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator.

    Photo: Sarah Kobos

  • Inside view of the face seal of our best reusable respirator pick.

    Photo: Sarah Kobos

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Our pick

3M Rugged Comfort Quick Latch Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6501QL/49488

3M Rugged Comfort Quick Latch Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6501QL/49488

The best half-facepiece reusable respirator

Compatible with NIOSH-approved N95 or P100 filters, this half-facepiece respirator is constructed so that—when conditions allow—you can uncover your nose and mouth without having to take the whole mask off.

Buying Options

Buy from 3M

May be out of stock

*At the time of publishing, the price was $15.

The 3M Rugged Comfort Quick Latch Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6501QL/49488 is our favorite reusable respirator mask. It offers a more snug, comfortable fit than any of the disposables we tested, making it a better option for long-term wear. Facepiece respirators like this one are typically used by industrial or agricultural workers, but they’re also practical for people who have to cope with poor air quality on a regular basis, as well as for people who are serious about emergency preparedness. With the proper filters (outlined in the next paragraph), they are effective against viruses in the air, which may include the new coronavirus. This mask plus the necessary NIOSH-approved filters or filter cartridges—they’re available for purchase separately and sold in pairs—typically cost more than a box of 10 disposable 8516 masks.The reusable mask feels heavier to wear than a disposable, too, but we found the Rugged Comfort Quick Latch easier to breathe through and its soft silicone less likely to chafe the skin in comparison with other reusable models. 3M also offers a bundled version of this respirator with filters, but at this writing that bundle costs more than buying the two things separately.

Unlike single-use respirators, this one is designed for long-term use and is compatible with a wide range of replaceable filters available in various NIOSH ratings, including N95 and P100. (As with all facepiece-style respirators, you need to use cartridges made by the same company as the mask.) N95 cartridges are a good choice if you’re preparing for wildfire smoke or for the virus that causes COVID-19. P100 filters or cartridges are even more effective, because their filtration efficiency is higher, at 99.97 percent of fine particulates, versus N95 filters’ 95 percent. (Whether the new coronavirus is airborne is still unclear.) But as a P-designated filter, they’re specifically designed to protect against oil-based particulates in the air, such as some pesticides. NIOSH approval means that any pancake-style filters, like the 3M 2097 filters, will protect you just as well as hard-plastic cartridge filters, like the 3M 60926 cartridges. The plastic cartridges are more expensive, but they’re also sturdier, and their swept-back design makes them less likely to obscure your vision.

We recommend the Rugged Comfort Quick Latch respirator because it has a simpler setup, is more comfortable to wear, and is more structurally sound than the other half-facepiece respirators we tested. The Rugged Comfort Quick Latch has an adjustable, crown-like harness (the 3M 7502 was the only other model that had this feature) and a unique “quick latch” mechanism that allows you to drop the mask from your face without removing the head straps. You should remove the mask only when you’re inside or safely away from a contaminated area.

A tester using the "quick latch" mechanism of the 3M Rugged Comfort respirator mask.
The “quick latch” mechanism in action. Video: Sarah Kobos

Testers appreciated that the silicone facepiece didn’t give off an unpleasant smell, whereas Honeywell’s 770030L and 550030M models did. The Rugged Comfort Quick Latch’s downward-facing exhalation valve also prevents fogging up glasses.

A couple of testers found that this respirator secured too tightly against their faces and pulled their hair. One tester noted that this model worked with their glasses but pushed their eyewear “a little” upward. Neither of these criticisms was unique to this half-facepiece mask.

  • A tester with glasses wearing our reusable respirator mask pick, the 3M Rugged Comfort.

    The Rugged Comfort Quick Latch with 3M’s Filter Adapter 603 and N95 filters. Photo: Sarah Kobos

  • Closeup of the headpiece of our best reusable respirator pick.

    We found that the headpiece and straps did not interfere with glasses arms. Photo: Sarah Kobos

  • A tester with glasses wearing our reusable respirator mask pick, the 3M Rugged Comfort.

    The mask provides a secure yet comfortable fit on the nose bridge. Photo: Sarah Kobos

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It’s important to understand what cloth face masks can and can’t do. Most important, they are not designed to filter the coronavirus or fine virus-containing droplets out of the air you’re breathing in—and they’re very not good at that. As a 2010 study in The Annals of Occupational Hygiene found, improvised masks made from T-shirts, sweatshirts, towels, and other household materials “may provide marginal protection against nanoparticles including those in the size ranges of virus-containing particles in exhaled breath.” Even the best-performing material, taken from a Hanes all-cotton T-shirt, let 40 percent of fine particles through. Scarves performed the worst, letting as much as 98 percent of fine particles through.

Cloth masks may not catch what comes in, but they do capture larger, virus-laden droplets that the wearer may breathe, cough, or sneeze out. And they’re highly effective at doing so, according to an April 2020 study in Nature. Not surprisingly, the widespread use of masks can reduce the transmission of many respiratory diseases, and—among other examples—helped slow a SARS outbreak in Hong Kong in 2003. (SARS was also caused by a coronavirus.) This is why the CDC is now “advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the [COVID-19] virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.”

In a guide called “Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19,” the CDC offers good advice on their design and use. “They should be routinely washed” on the hottest permissible setting, the CDC says, and then fully dried, again ideally on the hottest setting.

As commercially made cloth masks become increasingly available, we may have specific recommendations in the future. For now, whether you buy a mask or make your own, how well it fits is the key consideration. A mask should cover the nose, mouth, and chin, and it should be strapped tightly enough that as few gaps as possible exist between the cloth and your skin. A CDC guide from late May 2020, Important Information About Your Cloth Face Coverings, re-emphasized this position. The CDC’s guide to making cloth face coverings advises using at least two layers of fabric because doing so significantly improves the masks’ effectiveness. You can also use an additional layer of a paper towel or coffee filter, either inserted in a pocket in the fabric mask or held to the face by the mask (dispose of the paper goods after wearing). Finally, a recent preprint study from Northeastern University researchers reveals a simple addition that greatly improves cloth-mask performance: Using a nylon stocking to cover the mask and pull it flush to the face, eliminating any air gaps your mask may have missed. A photo in this NPR article shows how it works.

We previously recommended the 3M Aura 9211+ Particulate Respirator in versions of our emergency preparedness supplies and bug-out bag guides. It remains an affordable, serviceable respirator. In our 2019 panel testing, though, we found its fold-out construction less intuitive than the ready-to-wear 8516, and some testers discovered that the staples holding the 9211+ mask’s straps in place dug into their cheeks. Still, if price is a big concern for you, the Aura 9211+ is a solid choice for stocking an emergency kit.

Although the 3M Particulate Respirator 8293 P100 has exceptionally sturdy straps, most members of our test panel couldn’t figure out how to thread them through the plastic adjusters. This model is not compatible with glasses.

While one glasses-wearing tester had better luck with the 3M R9211-10 Particulate Respirator, others complained that it was itchy and gave off a rubbery smell. This mask is a little cheaper than 3M’s Aura 9211+ at this writing, and overall it scored better in our tests. If price is your main concern, this mask is another good emergency-kit option.

The 3M Particulate Respirator 8210V N95 is nearly identical to the 8516 mask we recommend but has flimsier, rubber-band straps.

We did not test the 3M Particulate Respirator 8511PB1, as it is nearly identical to our pick. We tried the 8516 instead since 3M recommends that model specifically for workplace environments that involve “heat, humidity, and long wear periods.”

Testers gave the Honeywell Sperian Saf-T-Fit Plus N95 Disposable Respirator With Exhalation Valve RWS-54006 the highest ratings for ease of setup but disliked its thin rubber-band straps.

The Honeywell North Sperian 14110445 One-Fit N95 Molded Cup Mask with Valve works with glasses and is roomier than the 3M 8516 in the nose area. However, it lacks an adjustable nose clip, so getting a tight fit is more difficult.

Although we loved the fun patterns and look of the popular Vogmask models, they’re not NIOSH-approved, though the company claims that these masks “conform to NIOSH standards.” They are certified by the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. We also disqualified the Debrief Me cloth masks, as they too lack NIOSH approval. We hope to test both companies’ masks in the future, should their approval status change.

Half-facepiece respirators

The 3M Medium Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator 7502/37082(AAD) is structurally similar to the Rugged Comfort Quick Latch but lacks the “quick latch” mechanism that our testers found useful. Both 3M models are compatible with 3M-brand filter cartridges available in various NIOSH ratings such as N95 or P100.

Testers gave the GVS SPR457 Elipse P100 Half Mask Respirator the highest cumulative score for ease of use, comfort, and construction quality of all the masks we tested. However, its straps felt less secure than those on the Rugged Comfort Quick Latch, and at this writing the SPR457 Elipse is harder to find online. This mask comes ready to wear with replaceable P100 filters, but it works only with those specific filters. We prefer the versatility of the Rugged Comfort Quick Latch, as well as other 3M and Honeywell masks we considered, which allow you to connect a range of protective filters and cartridges.

More than half of our testers complained that the Honeywell North Safety 770030L 7700 Series Silicone Half Mask Respirator gave off an unpleasant smell. It also fit less securely and comfortably than the Rugged Comfort Quick Latch or the SPR457 Elipse. Members of our panel also indicated that the Honeywell North 550030M Half Mask Respirator provided a less secure fit than the Rugged Comfort Quick Latch and felt more cheaply made. Like 3M’s masks, Honeywell’s masks have “bayonet” connectors, but the Honeywell models we tested work only with 7700-series adaptable filters and cartridges.

Sabrina Imbler contributed reporting to this guide.

  1. Dale Schornack, spokesperson, California Department of Public Health, email interview, February 28, 2019

  2. Nura Sadeghpour, spokesperson, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, email interview, March 5, 2019

  3. John Ramey, CEO and chief editor, The Prepared, email interview, March 29, 2019

  4. Venessa Vidovich, supervising public health nurse, Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency, phone interview, April 22, 2019

  5. Michael Guarnieri, MD and John R. Balmes, MD, Outdoor air pollution and asthma, The Lancet, May 3, 2014

  6. AirNow, Environmental Protection Agency

  7. Respirator Fact Sheet, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, January 20, 2012

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