One of the most sought after pieces of survival and personal protection these days is the humble gas mask.
And for a great reason. The air is becoming increasingly toxic. And you can only survive mere minutes without a readily supply of oxygen.
Whether the threat of chemical warfare, disease or merely DIY jobs, gas masks can come in handy for many activities. Government enforcement agencies are spraying tear gas at mass-attendance protests, so having a gas mask handy will ensure you are fully protected and able to get to safety.
This is why it is a must-have item.
- 1 Reviewing the Top 10 Gas Masks on the Market
- 1.1 1. Mira Safety CM-6M Full Face Respirator CBRN Defense Gas Mask
- 1.2 2. Mira Safety CM-7M
- 1.3 3. 3M Ultimate Full Face Respirator FF-402
- 1.4 4. PD100 Full Face Gas Mask
- 1.5 5. PT-101 Full Face Gas Mask
- 1.6 6. Israeli Gas Mask
- 1.7 7. DISKIN Full Face Mask - Military Grade Mask - CBRN Rated
- 1.8 8. Honeywell North 7600 Series Full Face Gas Mask
- 1.9 9. 3M Versaflo Respiratory Hard Hat Assembly M-307 Gas Mask
- 1.10 10. 3M Full Face 6800 Respirator
- 1.11 11. Drager X-Plore 5500 Full Face Mask
- 1.12 12. PPWYY Full Face Gas Mask
- 1.13 13. AVON M50 Gas Mask
- 2 Filter options for Your Mask
- 3 The Best Gas Masks for Kids and Infants
- 4 2. CBRN Child Escape Hood made for Infants and Small Children
- 5 The BEST Gas Masks Buying Guide
- 6 So What Exactly are Gas Masks?
- 7 How Do Gas Masks Work?
- 8 What are Respirators? Are they Different from Gas Masks
- 9 Types of Full Face Gas Masks
- 10 CBRN Gas Masks
- 11 Factors to Consider When Purchasing a CBRN Gas Mask
- 12 Types of Filters
- 13 Self Contained Breathing Apparatus Mask
- 14 Best Type of Gas Mask for Nuclear Attack
- 15 Best Gas Masks for Children
- 16 Tips for Wearing Your Gas Mask
- 17 FAQ’S
- 18 Types of masks to avoid
- 19 Our Conclusion on the Best Gas Masks
Gas masks basically protect you from basically any biological or chemical agents.
Now more than ever it is important for you to own gas masks for you and your family.
However they can be expensive and purchasing one can be difficult if you don’t know what to look for. That’s why our team has consulted experts and researched extensively the best gas masks and respirators on the market. Rest assured that the masks on our list will give you the best value for your money.
We’ve also included an extensive buying guide to help you decide on the best one for you. All our masks are accessed by their function and effectiveness as well as their comfort and fit and lastly price range.
Reviewing the Top 10 Gas Masks on the Market
MIRA Safety is one of the most reliable gas mask brands on the market. So we have included a few on this list.
- Radioactive and
This mask is made from extremely durable bromobutyl rubber and a 5 point head harness for a comfortable, yet secure fit. It is tight to face when on, and the inner mask prevents fog when exhaling.
The MIRA mask has integrated speech diaphragm which makes it great for communicating.
This allows at least 95% intelligibility of speech. It comes with a pre-fitted hydration system and a canteen, ideal for long periods of use.
The Mira Safety CM-6M is compatible with the widely available 40mm NATO filter cartridges.
Need to wear glasses? The Mira mask is compatible with the 3M safety spectacle kit, that can be easily installed in the mask to still allow you to wear glasses.
One of the best features of this mask is the full face shield which allows your vision to be panoramic.
To fit the filter, simply screw the filter to the left or right inhalation chamber. The side without the filter can be blocked with the inhalation chamber plug.
Military gas mask CBRN graded that protects its wearer from threats of:
- And nuclear attacks
Protects against aerosols, vapors and gases
The MIRA Safety CM-7M mask is compatible with up to two NATO-standard filters.
To install the filters (sold separately) simply screw the canister to either the left or right side (of both) of the face.
It comes with the hydration system built-in to the mask and a canteen to make for safe drinking when wearing it for extended periods.
The mask’s facepiece is again made from bromobutyl rubber which provides exceptional protection. This top quality material can withstand extreme conditions and years of use.
The CM-7M differs from the CM-6M in that this one has a dual lens design. The dual lens configuration enhances depth perception. This makes it ideal for use in combat or with rifle iron sights.
It is compatible with night vision goggles and other optical devices as well as helmets and breathing apparatus.
If you require glasses when wearing, we recommend purchasing the spectacle kit - which is compatible with the CM-7M mask.
- Can easily be donned and doffed (taken on and off)
- Low breathing resistance -
- Compatible with NATO standard 40mm mask filters (in any protection level)
- Effective sweat drainage
- Easily compatible with Camelbak hydration bladders (using a Type M adapter)
- Comfortable for all day wear
This mask has a lifespan of 20 years after its date of production
The mask comes in three different sizes, so can be worn by any user. Size 2 is made to fit 95% of the population so this is recommended for an average sized person.
The 3M face mask combined with the separately purchased filter cartridges to protect wearers against vapors, gases and particles.
Different filters you can purchase with the mask can protect you against:
- Multi gas vapors
- Acid gas/ organic vapor
- Formaldehyde organic vapor
- Ammonia methylamine
Just add the filter cartridge by twisting the filter on and off for quick removal.
The mask has a secure fit with a 6 strap configuration. It is comfortable and ventilated with a cool flow valve which keeps you dry.
It is easy to communicate with others around you with the passive speaking diaphragm making you speech clear whilst wearing it.
The mask also allows for easy viewing with a large single lens for panoramic vision.
Made in the USA, the PT-11 is one of our recommended masks at less than $100!
The PT-11 is a top quality gas mask fitted with a heavy duty filtration system. It comes with 2x activated charcoal filters and full face coverage.
This is a great mask for full protection from toxic materials and chemical substances, whilst supplying the wearer clean air and protection from debris.
It is made from silicone which forms a tight seal to your face for uncompromized protection.
Don’t worry about your mask fogging up, with the anti fog technology circulating air inside to keep you fresh and stops the lens from fogging up.
The speaking diaphragm ensures your speech is clear for easy communication. This guarantees you never have to remove your mask for communication.
Rest assured you are purchasing the best mask as it comes with a 100% money back guarantee!
The PT-101 mask is pretty similar to the PT-100 mask which we reviewed just above. It differs only slightly in the design.
Both the PT-101 and PT-100 have the same levels of protection.
Again the mask comes with dual activated charcoal filters for chemical and toxic material protection.
Technology includes the anti-fogging air circulation technology and the speech diaphragm for easy and clear communication with everyone around you.
Changing the filters is easy with the twist on and off filters, to install any filters you want.
The PT-101 Full face mask is a USA made, high quality mask that comes with a full money back guarantee.
The Israeli Mask is a NBCR (nuclear, biological, chemical and radioactive) protective mask that provides good protection at a competitive price.
It comes with the 40MM MBCR filter and has a lightweight and comfortable fit. The dual eye piece design promotes a wide range of view. It is made from high quality materials with scratch free lens.
The Israeli mask has a shelf life of 20 years.
The DISKIN Full Face Mask is a gas mask made by an American Patriot. It is fully designed and made in the USA.
Diskin has designed its full face mask to give protection against threats of hazardous and toxic materials whilst in contaminated environments.
It is compatible with the 40mm filters which are sold separately.
The mask is a one size fits all adults mask that is fully adjustable to fit all sizes. It fits to give a snug fit that fits well to your face for full protection.
The bulk of the mask is made of high quality butyl rubber and the wide lens for unobstructed vision, DISKIN is a comfortable and durable gas mask.
It comes with the speech membrane which ensures you can communicate to others around you clearly.
The Honeywell Mask is a gas mask that can protect you against a range of threats such as particles, fumes, organic gases and vapors and many other contaminants.
The mask is fully compatible with a whole range of different filters and cartridges to suit any contaminated environment.
It is a durably built mask with a wide viewing lens to maximize downward and peripheral vision. The mask seals well against your face, with the silicon seal providing full protection against contaminants.
The Kapton speech diaphragm makes communicating easy, enhancing and clarifying your voice eliminating muffled speech.
As well as being an air purifying respirator, the Honeywell Gas Mask can be used as a powered air purifying respirator providing a continuous supply of oxygen. The attachments for this are sold separately.
It is also compatible with a welding adapter.
This is a great choice if you are looking for a hard hat with a respirator. The large visor is made from high quality polycarbonate and the bulk of the mask is made from
The 3M Full Face Respirator can be combined with a whole array of filter cartridges to give you respiratory protection against particles and gases/vapors.
It is a minimalist gas mask that is lightweight and breathable. The silicone face seal ensures that the mask remains firmly fitted to your face. The cool flow valve keeps the inside of the mask cool and dry.
It is made with a wide lens for optimal viewing and excellent visibility when wearing.
This is also a good choice if you are planning on wearing glasses with this mask as it is roomy inside, and the seal works well around the glass stems. Alternatively you are able to use the eyeglasses insert, if the mask does not seal around your regular glasses.
The Drager Respirator face mask is an excellent choice for a top quality face mask.
It comes with a double layer face seal for extra protection. It can be fitted with a range of compatible filters that you can purchase in a combo deal. These filters are low profile, and don’t obstruct your view when wearing.
It is made with a large wide lens that makes for panoramic vision. The lens is made from polycarbonate which is tough and impact proof fending off flying debris.
Drager X-PLore mask has a 5 point harness system. This makes it easy for taking on and off. The mask comes in a universal size that is great for any face.
You can rest assured knowing you are purchasing a top mask with Drager. Drager has decades of experience and high standards in producing respiratory protection equipment. No matter what kinds of contaminants or chemicals you are dealing with, you will be fully protected.
This is a great affordable gas mask for those looking for full protection on a budget. Coming in at less than $50, this mask is an obvious choice if a cheap gas mask is what you want.
The PPWYY gas mask has a single large lens with full adjustable head straps for a comfortable and customizable fit for all sizes. The mask forms a secure seal against the wearer’s face to prevent any leakage and keep you protected against contaminants.
It is compatible with CBRN 40MM NATO filters (purchased separately) to protect you against any chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear threat.
13. AVON M50 Gas Mask
This is the gas mask that is used by the military of the US and UK, so you know it is the real deal. It is extremely high quality, durable and great for operations. Coming in at around $500, it is pricey and the downside is that it is hard to purchase first-hand. Avon now only distributes directly to the military organizations, and so you’ll be lucky if you can get your hands on one.
Nonetheless, we have included it on our list as it is still one of the best gas masks around.
Filter options for Your Mask
Now that you’ve decided on the best gas mask for you, it is necessary to have a good amount of filters to keep on hand, and for future use.
We’ve solely recommended gas masks that are compatible with 40mm filters, as these are the most readily available and universal filter cartridges. In fact most top quality gas masks use 40mm cartridges.
The only one we can think of that doesn’t is the Avon M50 Gas Mask. This is the mask used by US and UK military and defense and so filters for these masks are also relatively easy to find.
Not all filter cartridges are the same. They each offer different levels of protection from different contaminants. For example, some are CBRN (chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear) rated and others aren’t.
Here are some of our top choices for the best gas mask filters available.
This is our top pick for the best gas mask filter. The Mira Safety CBRN Mask provides hours of clean air and protection from a whole range of threats (chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear).
It can be used on any universal gas mask that fits a 40mm gas filter cartridge.
Depending on whether your mask can take 1 or 2 filters, you can use one or double up for the extra air-intake.
The best thing about this gas filter is its very long shelf life. The Mira Filter has a 20 year shelf life and you will be hard pressed to find another one of this length on the market.
This filter is still a good option but is slightly cheaper compared to the Mira Safety filter.
As opposed to the CBRN (chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear) protection offered by the Mira Safety this is a NBC (nuclear, biological and chemical) protection rated filter.
It is a NATO-standard filter that is compatible with a whole range of respirators. This filter comes with a leak proof seal and is made with comfort in mind, being lightweight and having a low breathing resistance.
The Best Gas Masks for Kids and Infants
Here are the top gas masks made for young children and infants.
You may be curious if gas masks are safe for children. Yes, they are suitable but all children are different in how they will react to wearing a gas mask.
Children take in less oxygen than adults and so some children may feel discomfort wearing one. Some children may also feel claustrophobic.
So to make sure your child will be able to wear a gas mask in any given situation it is best to try them out using it beforehand.
Test out the mask when you receive it with a spare filter to see if your child is okay in using one. If they are suffering discomfort, the best alternative is an air-purifying alternative that is powered.
Trialling the mask on your child in an environment where they are being watched is imperative to ensure that they don’t suffer from claustrophobia when wearing.
Now, here are some of our top picks for the best gas masks for children. Their are limited choices available on the market, but we have included the best two available for purchase.
1. MIRA Safety CM-2M Kids Gas Mask
MIRA Safety CM-2M Kids Gas Mask
This is the mask that saved 1000’s of lives in Chernobyl!
It will protect your child against CBRN (chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear)
- toxic and poisonous substances
- Radioactive dust and radionuclides
- Aerosols including fumes, dog and dust
- Biological aerosols
The MIRA Safety mask fits kids of ages 1.5 to 15 and is the only mask on the market to do so.
- Size 1 fits kids of ages 1.5 to 6 years
- Size 2 fits kids of ages 6 to 15 years
It is made from a PMK-S rubber material which is durable and has a lifetime of 10 years.
The CM-2M kids mask fits the NATO-standard 40mm gas filters that adult sized masks use
It is made with an anti-fog face shield for unobstructed vision.
The MIRA Safety mask is also compatible with the hose and pouch system. This reduces the weight of the mask on a child’s face by placing the filter inside a pouch (sold separately). It also makes breathing easier with reduced resistance.
The flexible straps secure the mask on place
2. CBRN Child Escape Hood made for Infants and Small Children
CBRN Child Escape Hood
The MIRA Safety child escape respirator is one of a kind on the market.
This escape hood gives children another option rather than a traditional gas mask. Due to the children's small size, they obviously have a lower lung capacity. This can make it difficult for children to use gas masks and some of them may struggle to take in enough oxygen.
As well as the ability to try and fit an adult sized respirator on a child.
This is a great option for infants, children and young teens who would otherwise struggle with a regular mask. The escape hood works by expanding the hood and placing it over the head of the child. Then activate the blower, and the hood will overpressurize which allows the child to breath easily whilst being fully protected.
This hood works with the standard NATO 40mm filters.
Further features include integrated water bottle - for safe drinking whilst being protected
Can be mounted on either the back or on the waist (back mounting is recommended for ages under 4 and waist/belt mounting for ages 4 plus)
The blower uses 4 batteries to power the blower for up to 22 hours of continuous use. The system provides 45 litres per minute of airflow
- Can be folded away to be stored easily in small places
The BEST Gas Masks Buying Guide
So What Exactly are Gas Masks?
When you think of gas masks, you probably conjure up an image of something haunting like this. These are the typical post-apocalyptic gas masks which you will see in films. Truth is gas masks, can look like this or they can look much less suspecting and subtle like this.
Gas masks can come in all shapes, sizes and looks but in essence it is owning your own air purifying device. The filter works to provide you with your own supply of detoxified air.
Gas masks can be more commonly known as respirators. The typical gas mask consists of a fitted facepiece with filters and clear eye pieces.
It usually is either held to the face with straps or as part of a hood. The filters are in the sides of the mask and filter out the toxins when breathed in by the user.
These filters are replaceable. It is important to know that they work by cleaning the air and if you are looking for a mask that adds oxygen, you will have to find one that can attach to a separate oxygen tank.
The filters are most commonly made up of fibre screens that work by separating the tiny particles. They usually also have compounds which either absorb these toxic gases or chemically react with them to alter the composition. One that is commonly used is charcoal, which one of its properties is the ability to absorb toxic materials.
Everyday Uses for Gas Masks
There is actually a large number of everyday uses for gas masks besides the events of chemical, nuclear attacks or for use during a riot or biological attacks.
Gas masks come in handy for the following:
Natural disasters like earthquakes where - particles, dust and debris are largely distributed into the atmosphere
Bushfires, wildfires or building fires - where smoke and fumes make oxygen quality poor and smoke inhalation is occurring
DIY projects like painting where you are using materials filled with chemicals and are exposed to fumes
How Do Gas Masks Work?
You can simply think of a gas mask like a vacuum cleaner. The gas mask filters out dangerous particles that can be deadly if ingested.
Then in order to filter out gases, masks are made with substances that capture the chemicals as they pass through the mask.
Components of a Gas Mask
Depending on which type of gas mask you choose will determine the degree of facial covering that you get. A full face gas mask will provide complete coverage of your face and neck, protecting them from heat, chemicals, radiation, particles and fragments.
It is fully sealed so you can rest assured that you are safe from gases.
Alternatively, half face masks will only protect your eyes and nose.
The level of protection advisable, should be based on the situation you are planning for.
The filter is ESSENTIAL. This is what filters the contaminated air and in turn provides clear and filtered air for you to inhale.
These filters are in a canister shape and made from plastics. Activated carbon (charcoal) canisters are the most common and we talk about them in more detail below. These canisters are the most protective.
The straps of the mask are made from silicone and offer the wearer full adjustability and comfort. They keep the mask attached firmly to the wearers head, and should be snug when fitted. Different masks may have other straps to attach to the neck.
This feature is specific to full face masks. The lens of the mask is vital at protecting your eyes from an array of things. This could be either the gases, heat, debris like particles or fragments. The lenses are made from polycarbonate as polycarbonate has the properties of being heat resistant, waterproof and impenetrable by materials.
How Do Gas Masks Work?
- Filtering of Particles
- Chemical Reactions or Absorption
We have previously described how filters work simply separating the particles from the air as you breathe in. There is no chemical reaction that happens here, and the filter is just a physical barrier.
You will need to frequently change the gas filters around 24 hours as the filters will become ineffective once they get clogged.
Gas masks with solely filtration methods are best for protection against biological agents. An example of one of these agents is anthrax.
The masks that are best for protection against chemicals are those that are composed of materials that neutralize the chemicals. If you try to wear a particle filtration mask when faced with chemicals the gas will go straight through.
Masks that actively protect you against chemicals are made with activated charcoal. When wearing one of these gas masks, adsorption occurs.
Activated/oxidized charcoal through a reaction with oxygen when the wearer inhales, becomes highly porous. These pores that form in the carbon become chemically bonded to the toxic materials that are inhaled. This is how it prevents toxins from being inhaled by the wearer.
However, the activated charcoal masks do not protect against every toxic gas. Nitrates are just one example of a gas that can go straight through a gas mask.
It is possible to buy filters for gas masks that are made to protect against certain gases. If you will know what type of toxin you could be exposed to then these filters will be helpful. It is often the case where you will not know the specific chemical and so this option may be ineffective.
These filters are colored to show what they protect the wearer against.
What are Respirators? Are they Different from Gas Masks
A frequently asked question is whether there is a difference between gas masks and respirators. The answer to this is yes.
A respirator is a type of gas mask which is the one most easily found at the stores. They are inexpensive and effective for protection against mild amounts of particles, chemicals, bacteria and potentially some gasses.
These are the best masks for DIY projects like painting, woodworking etc, pollution and particle exposure.
These masks only cover the mouth and nose of the wearer, unless you get a full face mask. The filters are often purchased separately so we have included some of our top filter picks below.
They are readily purchased from hardware stores and a good item to have handy stashed around your home, in your car and in a survival kit.
Another con to the respirator masks is that they whilst providing mouth coverings, not all provide protection to your eyes and skin. If you want comprehensive facial covering look for the full face respirators.
Respirators are available in 2 kinds:
These will give you the greatest value for your money. They come in at around $20 each and protect against over 99% of particles in the air.
It is vital to check for P100 or N95 ratings when purchasing.
Half Face Respirators
Half face respirators kick up the protection, and whilst not as good as gas mask they will protect against few gases as well as particles that the soft respirators protect against.
Full face respirators
The full face respirators offer the same protection as half faced ones, but these have eye coverings which can come in handy.
Then you will need to make sure you have filters on hand. These will need to be purchased separately. Here are some of our top picks for great value and top quality filters.
2. Full Face Gas Mask
On the other hand, a proper gas mask is the full blown protection that will offer extensive protection against particles, gases and chemicals.
They work with interchangeable filters and are the highest level of protection for a gas mask that is not powered (does not connect to an oxygen tank).
They are more expensive but give you far more protection, and so are a worthwhile investment.
Which is the Best Option for Me?
Ideally you would like to own both. Having respirators on hand can provide short term, basic protection but in the event that you will require it, a gas mask kicks the level of protection up a notch.
Types of Full Face Gas Masks
Now we are ready to kick it up to the real deal. The full face gas masks. Before you purchase it is important to consider a few things.
AVOID purchasing from low quality, cheap brands. There are plenty of inferior gas masks readily available for purchase on the internet. In our experience, the quality and effectiveness of these poor quality masks are a direct reflection of the price.
It is important to purchase from reputable buyers like the ones we have included in our list of the best gas masks on the market.
The brands we promote are the same ones that supply gas masks to law enforcement agencies and firefighters. You can rest assured knowing that choosing any of the gas masks on our list are the cream of the crop and the best around!
Another concern is the amount of gas masks made and sold by foreign countries. In my experience, I would only purchase American-made brands as you know that these are properly certified and tested.
You can still find reliable brands that manufacture overseas, so this comes down to your personal preference.
Pictured: Mira Safety Gas Mask
When Purchasing a Gas Mask...
As a rule of thumb when purchasing any self defence or personal protection equipment, that you stick to these established brands. Spend that little bit extra knowing that you are receiving the best protection for you and your family.
In all honesty, gas masks do not come cheap. But it is a worthwhile investment and nothing is more important than investing in the safety of yourself and others around you.
Gas masks have different ratings and this is something else that you should familiarize yourself with. The two ones to lookout for are the NBC masks - Nuclear, Biological, Chemical or CBRN masks - Chemical, Biological, Radiation, Nuclear.
NBC was formerly the standard for gas masks but now it is CBRN, adding in the radiological protection element.
In order for these masks to meet the criteria of CBRN, they are evaluated by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. NIOSH provides the necessary guidelines for the manufacture of PPE.
Specifically CBRN gas masks are compared to the criteria for the Standard for CBRN Air Purifying Respirator. These stringent regulations are in place to ensure the utmost protection and reliance so that civilians, first responders and law enforcement know that they are purchasing valid products.
The testing process entails exposure to gases - Sarin (GB) and distilled mustard gas. It is then followed by a detailed examination of the mask.
CBRN Gas Masks
This acronym stands for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear. CBRN masks will provide the wearer protection for up to 8 hours.
When the gas mask is CBRN rated you know it is trusted and of great quality.
Factors to Consider When Purchasing a CBRN Gas Mask
Your Purpose of Owning A Gas Mask
Assess what your purpose is for owning a gas mask.
If you are planning on owning a mask for ultimate protection against chemical, nuclear or biological elements then a CBRN Gas Mask like the Mira Safety Mask is your pick. If it is for pollution or particles like dust then I would advise purchasing a respirator mask.
There are plenty of options on the market for good quality CBRN gas masks. A top quality CBRN mask will set you back around $200-250 USD.
Quality is everything, so spending that extra amount will ensure you mask is fully effective and has all the other necessary features required such as
The Length of Time You Plan on Wearing Your Mask
Generally gas masks are designed for shorter term use. They are a means of providing stable and clean oxygen whilst you get to safer surroundings.
If you are planning on wearing your mask for a long period of time, look at getting one with a drinking tube so you can hydrate when wearing your mask.
Having excellent visibility is essential. With obstructed vision in a gas mask, your ability to see threats, carry out tasks and make decisions are hindered. Especially when time if of the essence, and every second is vital.
Our top recommendation for unobstructed vision is a single lens gas mask. This gives you the best panoramic vision. Goggle-style masks are still good, but won’t give you as wide a view as single lens masks.
Pictured: Double lens Gas Mask
Types of Filters
The filter is the essential part to the mask, and will require to be changed.
Most masks come with the standard filter size. This is the NATO 40mm filter and can be purchased from a lot of places.
Whilst most gas masks use the NATO 40mm size filter, it is important to double check just to ensure. One of the popular masks, the Avon M50 mask has its own filters. The Avon M50 gas mask is the mask used by military and defense and so these filters are still available online.
The types of filters you can be are color coded for what they offer protection against:
- White - protects against particles
- Brown - protection against organic gases and vapors
- Grey - inorganic gases and vapors excluding carbon monoxide - they inorganic gases that they protect against include chlorine, dihydrogen sulfide and hydrogen cyanide
- Yellow - protects against acid gases
- Green - protection against ammonia and organic
- Brown (AX) - organic compounds with a boiling point ogf less than 65C
- Blue - nitrogen oxides
- Red - protects against mercury vapours
- Black - carbon monoxide
- Orange - radioactive iodine.
Comfort is paramount especially if you are planning on wearing your mask for long periods of time. The parts of the mask that will determine how comfortable they are, are the adjustable straps and the nose cup area. The straps should be fully adjustable. This is what fixes the mask to your face so you want to ensure that they can be adjusted for a firm, yet comfortable fit.
Your gas mask should be durable enough to last for lots of use. They will be subject to harsh conditions and so should be able to withstand the extreme wear and tear. The mask should not deteriorate over time and still be as effective for protection as when you first purchased it.
There are certain types of materials that are commonly used for making these masks as they are reliable. Commonly used materials are butyl rubber and silicone for the crux of the mask. The lens is typically made from polycarbonate materials.
One of your requirements for your gas mask may be that it cannot hinder your speech. You may need to communicate with your team whilst wearing one, so a gas mask that muffles your voice would be ineffective.
A gas mask with voice amplifiers is a good choice in this case. These allow you to communicate effectively with others around you whilst still being protected. Removing your mask in dangerous conditions to communicate can be detrimental to you!
What About Owning a Mask with an Oxygen Supply?
A gas mask with a separate supply of oxygen may be necessary if you anticipate being in oxygen deficient surroundings.
CBRN gas masks are not able to be used in surroundings where the oxygen levels are less than 19.5%. CBNR and NBC masks are specifically for purifying air, however these do not give you a supply of oxygen.
If you are in need of oxygen, then the type of gas mask you are looking for is a SCBA - Self Contained Breathing Apparatus.
Self Contained Breathing Apparatus Mask
The Self Contained Breathing Apparatus Mask is the most comprehensive and protective type of gas mask available.
It requires you to carry an oxygen tank around with you at all times. This tank is usually carried on your back. These types of masks are commonly used by first responders and firefighters when responding to emergencies with low oxygen like fires. They are also now commonly used by medical doctors in treating patients with diseases like ebola.
The oxygen filled tanks pump oxygen through the mask at a constant rate. These apparatus have enough oxygen to up to 60 minutes of constant oxygen flow.
Downsides of a self contained breathing apparatus is that it is large and bulky. It is pretty difficult to store in small places. It is also pretty heavy and bulky to wear.
Best Type of Gas Mask for Nuclear Attack
When preparing for the event of a nuclear attack, both NBC and CBNR gas masks will do the trick. It is worth looking into purchasing other protective gear however that can protect the rest of your body.
In a nuclear attack, radiation can easily be absorbed through your skin to cause radiation poisoning. Check out our interesting read on other must-have NBC gear to protect the rest of your body.
Best Gas Masks for Children
Manufacturers make masks specifically that can be fitted to children. They will come in two different sizes. The sizes are ages 1-6 years old and ages 6 to 15. Any older can use adult masks.
Other than Gas Masks, What other person protection should I have?
Gas masks are great to own for protection, but it is also very important to protect the skin on the rest of your body. The mask will ensure you can filter clean air in a contaminated environment, but the toxic materials can still get inside you through your skin, or linger on your clothes.
Other important gear you should purchase include hazmat suits, sturdy boots and gloves.
If you are preparing for a nuclear fall-out then we would also recommend a radiation detector. This helps significantly as radiation has no odor and is invisible.
Tips for Wearing Your Gas Mask
How to Put Your Gas Mask On?
Ensuring that your mask is properly put on is imperative as gaps or spaces between you and the mask can let in gas. Here are the steps for properly putting it on:
- Loosen the mask before putting it on and make sure the straps are at the front
- Fit you chin to the chin cup and roll the mask on upwards ensuring put your nose in the nose cup
- Pull the straps to the back of your head
- Properly tighten and tie the straps (mid, top and neck straps)
- Make certain that the mask is fully sealed. If you notice any gaps or can feel air getting in, then take the mask off and repeat steps.
To test if the mask is fully sealed place your hands over the mask filter and inhale quickly. The mask should tighten around your face and no air will get inside. If this does not happen, take off the mask and repeat the steps above.
Important Information for Your Mask
To take your mask off, start from the bottom up and loosen the bottom straps and take it up over your head.
It is important to practise taking the gas mask on and off. In an emergency it is vital to be able to quickly put the mask on, so make sure you have this down to an art.
Always keep spare filters on hand. You can never have too many filters on hand, so it is ideal to have an array of different kinds and spares to be equipped for any situation.
It is advisable when storing your mask to store it with the straps tucked inside. This way they won’t stretch. If you are storing it with the intention of grabbing it quickly to put it on, store with the straps
Facial Hair and Gas Mask Seals
It is necessary for you to be cleanly shaven when putting on a gas mask. Facial hair will prevent your gas mask from forming a tight and secure seal against your skin. This will inevitably lead the gas mask to be ineffective as there will be leakage and the toxic/hazardous materials will be able to get in.
How to Maintain Your Gas Mask So it Lasts for Years
Proper maintenance and upkeep is vital to the lifespan of your gas mask. Neglecting to take good care of your mask will prevent it from working properly but also shorter the lifespan.
There are 2 main parts of the gas mask which you should pay extra attention to the maintenance of.
Number 1 is the filter and number 2 being the respirator.
Changing the filter is necessary. If you have used your gas mask in a contaminated area, dispose of your filter immediately and replace with a new one.
Check the filter for other signs that it is time to replace. This includes difficulty inhaling, the filter having solidified or if it is damaged. If the filter is still operating well, it is recommended that you change it after 30 days or after approximately 40 hours of wear.
Now onto the respirator. The respirator needs to be cleaned after each use. Pollutants or solids can get stuck so must be cleaned out. When you purchase a gas mask it will usually come with a cleaning cloth, so you can use this. Alternately, you can use a cleaning solution and a brush to scrub it clean.
Some other tips for maintenance include storing it away in a dark, cool place away from direct sunlight.
Cleaning Your Gas Mask
We have simplified the steps to make sure your gas mask gets a good clean in between uses.
Detach the Parts
Ideally if you are giving it a full clean, it is necessary to detach the parts of the mask so you can clean them separately.
Start with removing and replacing the dirty filter cartridge. This is an easy first step and should only take a minute or two.
Then take apart the main exterior part of the mask - either one or two pieces.
Next take off the straps to clean these.
Now all the parts are detached and separate you can begin the cleaning process.
Use a cleaning cloth or cotton pads to clean with rubbing alcohol or a cleaning solution. Clean all the separate parts thoroughly. When finished cleaning the mask wipe it dry with a separate cloth.
How can I ensure my mask fits?
To make sure the mask fits properly perform the negative pressure test. Place the mask on your face, take a deep breath outwards and covering the inhalation, take a deep breath. If the mask sucks to your face tightly, then the mask will fit properly. If air is able to escape then this is not the right size.
Can I wear my gas mask with glasses?
You are able to find that certain masks have glasses inserts. These inserts require special lenses to fit inside these. The reason for this is that when wearing regular glasses the seal may break between the mask and your face.
We recommend the best idea is to wear contact lenses if possible.
What is the lifespan of my mask?
A good quality mask can work for up to 20 years. This is the main part of the mask. The filters (detachable canister) will need to be changed after 24 hours in regions of air contaminated by chemicals, nuclear or biological materials.
Are gas masks able to be worn by everyone?
Elderly and people with asthma may struggle wearing a gas mask as breathing regularly is harder with a mask on, and so may find difficulty wearing it.
What Size of Face Mask should be worn?
Masks come in the standard sizes small, medium and large. An average sized person should go with a medium mask. In the absence of a mask made especially for children, size small is your best option.
Will my Mask protect me in a fire?
The gas mask will only protect you in a fire if the filter is made to protect against carbon monoxide and smoke.
If oxygen levels are low, will the Gas Mask still
Types of masks to avoid
Cheap Chinese Masks
Avoid purchasing from sites like Aliexpress and Alibaba as these are notorious for producing low quality, cheaply made masks. They are not America certified, and easily identified through instructions written in Chinese.
Is the mask safe against fumes from a volcanic eruption?
Volcanic eruptions obviously produce a lot of heat. So as long as your mask isn't exposed to any very hot ash, it will work with the appropriate filters. These filters that we would recommend for protection against volcanic ash and gases would be multi gas filters such as the NBC-77 SOF or the VK-450 for their wide range of contamination protection.
What kind of gas mask is the best for fires/wildfires?
The type of mask we recommend for fires is any mask with a filter that is effective in filtering carbon monoxide and/or smoke.
Our Conclusion on the Best Gas Masks
Never has it been a better time to invest in a top quality gas mask. Not only is the world getting more unsafe and personal protection equipment is selling at record rates, but these equipment can also be used in everyday life.
As well as the obvious instances of nuclear fall-out, or chemical or biological attacks - gas masks can also be used in other instances.
Wildfires and earthquakes are also common occurrences where smoke, fumes and debris fill the air and significantly reduce air quality.
You can also get decadent use out of your mask for home improvement or DIY activities such as painting or renovating!
Finding a suitable gas mask can easily be assumed to be a difficult process, but we have aimed to simplify this process in our guide.
In summary here are the following factors that will narrow down the best gas mask for you.
- Deciding what you want protection from e.g. chemical, biological threats
- What is your price range?
- Are you after a full-face or half face mask (We recommend full face for the most protection)
- Is the mask you are purchasing for an adult or a child
Ultimately once you have answered these questions for yourself, the mask best suited for you should stand out.
Given our vast experience and extensive research and testing of these masks we have concluded the best gas masks are Mira Safety.
They are top quality, highly protective, reliable and made in the USA. Made with military operations in mind, they are crafted with bromobutyl rubber for CBRN rated protection.
Mira Safety masks are compatible with the universal 40mm filters and can be fitted with CBRN filters for the utmost protection.
Along with this they also have an extremely long shelf-life of 20 years and are sold at an affordable and competitive price! Plus they sell filters too.
Good Luck in finding your gas mask!