12 Best Gas Masks, Face Masks, Respirators, & Filters [Hands-On]

From wood dust to viruses, smoke, and even nuclear fallout… we’ve got you covered.

Hands-On Tested Gas Masks
Hands-On Tested Gas Masks

We’ve researched, asked experts, and hand-selected the best gas masks and respirators for a variety of safety and prepping scenarios.

Then we tested them for fit, function, and value.

And for the extreme ones… we even gassed ourselves and tested rifle shooting ability.

Pew Pew Tactical Shooting with MIRA Safety Gas Masks
Pew Pew Tactical Shooting with MIRA Safety Gas Masks

So get ready for lots of pics and even some videos.

By the end you’ll know the best protection for your purpose.

*May 2020 Update* Lots more info on CDC/FDA guidelines, supplies, KN95 alternatives, and making your own mask during the current COVID-19 outbreak.

Best Gas Masks & Respirators

I go over N95 masks further down the list which are the gold standard but are currently reserved for health professionals.

Wearing N95
Wearing N95

So I’m prioritizing the list based on what you can actually get right now.

1. Surgical & Cloth Masks

Your current best bets for affordable and timely masks…

Wearing Surgical Mask
Wearing Surgical Mask

According to the CDC on April 3…cloth masks can help.

CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

Check out in-stock:

The CDC also released a video of the US Surgeon General showing how to make a cloth mask from a t-shirt.

2. KN95 Masks

Background

You probably heard of KN95 masks instead of the regular N95 masks…so what’s the difference?

Respirators, (clockwise from top right) KN95, KN95 (fake), N95, P100
Respirators, (clockwise from top right) KN95, KN95 (fake), N95, P100

The N95 metric is for the United States while the KN95 metric is for China.

Both are rated to filter 95% of particulates down to .3 microns.

On March 24, 2020 the FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) that allowed masks (and different metrics) from countries that did not include China because of an abundance of fraudulent masks.

KN95, Fake Labeling
KN95, Fake Labeling (N95 on one side & KN95 on the other side)

However, on April 3, they issued a new EUA that allowed KN95 respirators for health professionals if it met certain standards. They also released a list of a few dozen FDA certified KN95 manufacturers (updated May 7).

Now that we got that out of the way…

Where to Buy KN95 Masks

I’ve ordered several KN95 masks from Aliexpress and half never made it here in over 6 weeks. And the others were fake like the picture above.

Wearing Fake KN95
Wearing Fake KN95

So I don’t recommend Aliexpress.

I had one sent over from relatives in HK that looks to be real since they verified with the manufacturer list.

Wearing KN95
Wearing KN95

Compared to the fake one…the real one doesn’t smell like chemicals, were individually packaged, had a better fit, and much nicer ear straps.

I’ve started my research of US-based companies that are importing from the FDA approved list.

1. Wear a Mask Now

I’ve talked with Wear a Mask Now and they said that they are importing from an FDA certified manufacturer.

Masks are in stock in Indianapolis and shipping out same day. I ordered on 4/29/2020 to test it out so stay tuned.

*Update*: Got it in about a week in a nice resealable bag.

Wear a Mask Now, 5-Pack
Wear a Mask Now, 5-Pack

Masks look good and also come with a little triangle of authentication.

Wear a Mask Now Insert
Wear a Mask Now Insert

I reached out to the company and they said that they are on the US CDC qualified enterprise list.

And what matters…it fits well with a good seal!

Wearing Wear a Mask Now
Wearing Wear a Mask Now

Plus they have a special 10% off coupon for our readers with code PEW10.

35
at Wear a Mask Now

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

2. Safelife Defense

We’ve found some 25-pack KN95 masks from a Safelife Defense…a company whose flexible body armor we really dig.

Safe Life FRAS
Safe Life FRAS

They’ve listed their FDA owner/operator number of 10062984 and have several thousand in stock (as of 5/15/2020).

Currently the best deal for a large number of masks!

75
at Safelife Defense

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

3. O2 Canada Curve 1.2

The Curve 1.2 ($69) is a mask that we’re currently testing that protects against particulate matter down to .1 microns (remember N95 was .3 microns).

O2 Canada Curve 1.2
O2 Canada Curve 1.2

Once you get past the fact that it looks like a sports cup…it’s SUPER comfy.

There’s a thoughtfully designed rubber earpiece that won’t leave your ear all red after a few hours.

Curve 1.2 Earpiece
Curve 1.2 Earpiece

And an easy to self put on neck strap.

Curve 1.2 Neck Strap
Curve 1.2 Neck Strap

But my favorite part is the silicone seal that can work with a little bit of facial hair.

Curve 1.2 Rubber Seal
Curve 1.2 Rubber Seal

I ordered mine during the middle of the craze and it still came in around 2-3 weeks. Check their site for the most current shipping estimates.

It arrived in a nice box and came with 3 filters and a surprisingly helpful manual.

O2 Canada Curve 1.2 Package
O2 Canada Curve 1.2 Package

Another thing I love…they don’t try to make all their money on filter replacements.

It’s a nice 5 extra filters for $8.

Curve 1.2, Filter Installed
Curve 1.2, Filter Installed

And of course vanity eventually comes into play and there’s some replacement shells with different colors, lol.

Curve 1.2, Accessories
Curve 1.2, Accessories

I really think these replaceable filter type of masks are here to stay in the post-Covid world.

The Curve 1.2 is more comfortable and more protective than cloth, surgical, or even N95 masks.

It’s not much harder to breathe although you will have to work a little more to talk compared to a surgical mask.

Curve 1.2, Shell Off
Curve 1.2, Shell Off

And despite it being named O2 Canada… we called and their shipping warehouse is out of Chicago.

It might look a little goofy but so far the Curve 1.2 is comfy and has a great seal.

69
at O2 Canada

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

4. PD-100 and T-60 Respirators

Want to step it up a little with full-face protection or a comfy half-face respirator?

T-60 and PD-100 Respirators
T-60 and PD-100 Respirators

Let’s check out the full-face PD-100 first that comes with a set of N95 filters.

PD-100 Full Face Respirator with Filters
PD-100 Full Face Respirator with Filters

Installation of the filters is really easy…just twist them on.

PD-100 with Filters
PD-100 with Filters

The first thing that struck me was that it was actually really comfortable with a wide view.

Plus there wasn’t any fogging (although I was only standing and writing at my desk for a few hours).

Wearing the PD-100
Wearing the PD-100

The name of the game is fit and the PD-100 has adjustment straps that auto-lock for a snug seal by yourself.

PD-100 Straps
PD-100 Straps

And a view inside shows the soft rubber.

Inside the PD-100
Inside the PD-100

A very nice mask that gives a good seal and comes with a set of N95 filters already.

And one that came in a few days (during May).

99
at Parcil Distribution

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Don’t need full-face protection? Check out the T-60 half-face respirator.

T-60 Half-Face Respirator
T-60 Half-Face Respirator

It comes with and utilizes the same twist on/off N95 filters as the PD-100.

T-60 with Filters Installed
T-60 with Filters Installed

The T-60 has a softer feeling rubber seal that’s even more comfortable than the PD-100.

Inside the T-60
Inside the T-60

However, with the filters on I felt a little droopiness until I really tightened down the straps.

Wearing the T-60
Wearing the T-60

There’s a top plastic strap part that conforms to your head and can be easily cinched down.

T-60 Head Straps
T-60 Head Straps

Then a neck attachment that’s easy by yourself.

T-60 Neck Strap
T-60 Neck Strap

The T-60 is a more comfortable respirator if you’re not looking to fully cover your eyes.

69
at Parcil Distribution

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

But if you go the T-60 or PD-100 route…be sure to get the correct kind of twist on/off filters (PA1 Dual Filters) and not “bayonet” style ones.

49
at Parcil Distribution

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

5. MIRA Safety CM-6M

MIRA makes gas masks, safety equipment, and tactical gear in Texas…used by the US DoD and plenty of other countries.

MIRA Safety CM-6M Gas Mask
MIRA Safety CM-6M Gas Mask

Kind of looks the same as the Mestel right?

Nopes.

The CM-6M is rated for CBRN which is NBC with a little extra Radiation protection snuck in.

But doesn’t the “N” already stand for “Nuclear?”

Yes…NBC masks can protect against traditional nuclear fallout from nukes. But now the extra “R” protects against dirty bomb isotope fallout.

Pew Pew Tactical Shooting with MIRA Safety Gas Masks
Pew Pew Tactical Shooting with MIRA Safety Gas Masks

It does that with different materials…in this case…butyl rubber which is much more resistant to fallout, chemical warefare agents, and toxic industrial chemicals.

It’s also very comfy and you get the choice of attaching the filter on either side depending on your rifle hand dominance.

However, the CM-6M was more designed for a full field of view rather than rifle shooting.

Inside the MIRA CM-6M
Inside the MIRA CM-6M

I found I had to tilt my rifle a little to get a good view through my optic. With un-magnified optics it will be a little easier.

Plus you might get thirsty right…but can’t remove your mask?

The mask comes with a drinking straw!

MIRA CM-6M Drinking Straw
MIRA CM-6M Drinking Straw

Which attaches nicely to the canteen.

Attaching MIRA Drinking Straw
Attaching MIRA Drinking Straw

As for filters…you can run the Mestels. Or better yet…check out MIRA’s very own.

MIRA Safety CBRN Filter
MIRA Safety CBRN Filter

They can be stored for up to 20 years instead of 5 years. Which probably turns out to be a better deal if you aren’t likely to use them.

EDITOR'S PICK FILTER
80
at Mira Safety

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

There’s also a new smaller P3 Virus Filter (P100 European equivalent) that come in packs of 6. A good deal if you aren’t looking at radiological or nuclear protection.

150
at Mira Safety

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

As for the CM-6M…they might be the best choice for you if you value extreme protection from almost everything out there…and want a comfy large field of view.

220
at Mira Safety

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

*Update* Currently masks and filters are sold out but I spoke with them and new supplies are slowly rolling in. Available for backorder (see details on their site).

6. MIRA Safety CM-7M

Need something made for shooting?

Wearing the MIRA CM-7M
Wearing the MIRA CM-7M

The CM-7M might fit the bill.

Also ambidextrous in filter attachment. The main change that makes shooting easier is the depression at the cheek.

Unfortunately it means you have to switch to the bug-eye design…but field of view was still very adequate.

It also comes with the drinking straw attachment although in a different area.

CM-7M Drinking Straw
CM-7M Drinking Straw

Check out the inside…

MIRA Safety CM-7M Gas Mask
MIRA Safety CM-7M Gas Mask

And for these…I’d recommend sticking with the MIRA filters.

EDITOR'S PICK FILTER
80
at Mira Safety

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Now…we wanted to do some sort of test.

Amazingly, Amazon sells some Pepper Spray Grenades.

Now don’t get too excited…it was a little underwhelming…

Less grenade…and more upward spray.

But the two MIRAs passed with flying colors. And yes…the pepper spray was in the air and got all over our Tyvek suits.

I found out the hard way when I touched my eyes and lips afterwards.

For when you need CBRN protection AND the ability to more easily shoot a rifle…check out the CM-7M.

230
at Mira Safety

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

7. Project Black TR2

Something new…that’s SUPER tactical.

TR2 with Ear and Eye Pro
TR2 with Ear and Eye Pro

Enter Project Black’s TR2 (tactical respirator).

It’s in pre-order right now and should be available in Summer 2020. We’ve put in our order so we’ll have a review whenever it gets here.

But we’re loving the design, N99 expected protection with easy swap filters….and drum-roll…suitable for facial hair!

Plus you’re GTG for eye protection and it even has an optional mic for Peltor headsets.

TR2 with Filter and Mic Kit
TR2 with Filter and Mic Kit

Check it out for yourself or wait for our review!

Most Tactical Mask
225
at Project Black

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

8. 3M P100/N95 Particulate Respirator

Probably what you think of when you first hear “gas mask.”

3M P100 Particulate Respirator
3M P100 Particulate Respirator

But…these are known as respirators and the 3M P100 above isn’t your regular dust mask or even surgical mask.

*April 2020 Update* P100 and N95 masks are also all sold out and Amazon is restricting sales to medical personnel. Scroll down for alternatives!

There’s a TON of acrynoms and numbers in the respiratory protection game.

If you’re getting something affordable and compact…get something with a P100 rating.

Wearing the 3M P100 Respirator
Wearing the 3M P100 Respirator

The more normal N95 is not oil resistant and only filters 95% of airborne particles .3 microns in size or larger.

N95 and P100
N95 and P100

While the P100 is oil proof and filters at least 99.97% of airborne particles. If oil isn’t a problem…check out N100 Respirators as well.

The 3M P100 filter is my basic pick since it’s affordable and also has an exhalation valve so it doesn’t get too stuffy after long use.

10
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Easy to keep in your bug out bag or vehicle. Plus, I use them for minor wood-working and renovation touring.

However, the good thing is that the CDC states N95 respirators “are capable of filtering out all types of particles, including bacteria and viruses.”

Wearing N95
Wearing N95

Still…you’re missing 5% protection there.

They are going in and out of stock all the time so use the N95 Respirator Search.

N95 Valve
N95 Valve

Or still try your luck with N100 Respirators.

If you have some of these masks…check out the CDC’s Guide to Decontamination & Reuse.

9. 3M Half-Face Respirator 7502

Boom…let’s amp it up a little.

3M Half Face Respirator with P100 Filters
3M Half Face Respirator with P100 Filters

This 3M Half Face Respirator uses disposable filters so you can keep re-using the “shell.”

20
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

The half face respirator is great for better protection of your nose and mouth since it creates a nice seal.

Wearing the 3M Half Face Respirator
Wearing the 3M Half Face Respirator

However, they are sized and I’m wearing a medium.

The attachments are also pretty comfy and intuitive…and don’t require someone to help you put it on.

3M Half Face Respirator Tabs
3M Half Face Respirator Tabs

For filters…there’s the ones I’m wearing that are P100 plus Organic Vapor Relief.

Which basically means it blocks some smelly stuff.

9
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

There’s also other form factors such as the 7093B P100 filters which are encased in plastic so they protect from water and wetness.

3M Respirator with Particulate Filter 7093B P100
3M Respirator with Particulate Filter 7093B P100

I’d also recommend the 3M 7093 for prepping since you don’t know your situation. But the other ones are good for regular work when you know you won’t get wet.

I have a big stash of the half face respirators to protect against big wildfires and disease outbreaks.

But you’ve still got your eyes and ears to take care of…

3M Respirator Plus Goggles
3M Respirator Plus Goggles

That why I combo it with some simple goggles that give me a nice seal.

10
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

And also some ear plugs. If you’re a shooter those foamy things are all you need. But we also have a guide for the Best Electronic Ear Protection too.

*Update* Since this is a big step up in protection and you’ll look a little too cautious (at least right now)…they are somewhat in stock.

If my above is out of stock or you need more sizes…use our 3M Respirator Search.

And if my main pick for eye protection is out try our Safety Goggles Search. Be sure to get one with a tight seal.

10. Russian Surplus Gas Mask

Ok…this is an example of what NOT to get.

Russian Surplus Gas Mask
Russian Surplus Gas Mask

Unless you’re doing some kind of cosplay…just don’t.

Russian surplus gas masks use a different filter threading so you probably can’t use new Western filters.

But that’s not the worst part.

They also can contain asbestos. And are usually liquidated once they expire. You never know how they were stored…etc.

Russian Gas Mask Filter Bottom
Russian Gas Mask Filter Bottom, Yum!

I put it on without the filter and it definitely was super uncomfortable and claustrophobic.

Sort of Wearing the Russian Surplus Mask
Sort of Wearing the Russian Surplus Mask

I had to take out my contacts and clean them since something in the mask got in my eye.

So even if you are buying for fun…make sure to clean it out. Comes with a nice fabric bag though!

20
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

11. Israeli NATO Surplus Gas Mask

Now we’re getting into real “gas mask” territory.

Israeli Gas Mask with Filter
Israeli Gas Mask with Filter

These Israeli gas masks are popular with the prepping crowd since they are still affordable.

Plus they offer NBC protection…which stands for:

  • Nuclear
  • Biological
  • Chemical

They sometimes come with a fresh-ish filter (this one is expired at 2008). And can take regular Western 40mm ones.

Israeli Gas Mask Filter Expiration
Israeli Gas Mask Filter Expiration

And surprisingly…decently comfortable despite the appearance. However, I did experience some fogging after a few minutes.

Wearing the Israeli Gas Mask
Wearing the Israeli Gas Mask

Visibility is also not bad with the two eye holes.

My recommendation if you want to go super budget with a full faced gas mask.

40
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Make sure to pick up some new gas mask filters while you’re at it though.

I’ll cover those combined with the next pick!

12. Mestel Full Face SGE 150

This is my primary pick for most potential users (when it was in stock).

Mestel Full Face SGE 150 Gas Mask with New Filter
Mestel Full Face SGE 150 Gas Mask with New Filter

The Mestel SGE 150 and equivalents gas masks give you NBC protection and the ability to use regular 40mm filters.

Mestel is an Italian company of diving masks so it’s essentially a modified mask to fit NATO filters.

It has a huge field of view and is pretty comfy!

No fogging up. Guessing their background has some advantages.

Wearing the Mestel SGE 150
Wearing the Mestel SGE 150

Check out the inside…simple but to the point.

Inside the Mestel SGE 150 Gas Mask
Inside the Mestel SGE 150 Gas Mask

As for gas mask filters…I like the Mestel version for general preparedness.

38
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

These are made for NATO, are NBC rated, and last up to 5 years.

*Update*: Amazon is taking off gas masks and filters so sometimes the Mestel is gone or not named directly. If it is I’d take a look at Parcil or Mira. Or see the search for CBRN Filter.

It’s possible to go through 1-3 filters a day…so prep accordingly!

Those combo-ed with the Mestel SGE 150 are my favorite general prepping gas mask.

EDITOR'S PICK NBC MASK
112
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

What’s your take on the Mestel?

Readers' Ratings

4.86/5 (183)

Your Rating?

What About Beards & Kids?

A little update for questions in the comment section…

What if you have a beard?

It’s just not going to have that airtight seal you want.

John Headshot
John Headshot

John, our resident social media guy/beard man, wore the CM-7M in our pepper spray grenade test and came out unscathed.

But that’s not the same as something more pervasive or harmful.

The CDC recently published a guide to acceptable beards (PDF). Great use of resources…and yes…the “toothbrush.”

CDC Acceptable Beards
CDC Acceptable Beards

Your best bet would to shave…or go with a hood.

280
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Or a budget pick would be a disposable fire hood…

49
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

How about for children?

The above Firemask will fit children as young as 3. Otherwise there’s one from Mira that totally isn’t scary at all…

165
at Mira Safety

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Conclusion

Hopefully this helped in you choosing the best respiratory protection for your intended use.

Best Gas Masks
Best Gas Masks

For cheap and accessible protection that gets the greenlight from the CDC:

If you want to up it to available KN95 masks…

35
at Wear a Mask Now

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Or you want something with a quick shipping time, nice fitment, and refillable filters…

69
at O2 Canada

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

And for full-face and half-face respirators…

99
at Parcil Distribution

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

69
at Parcil Distribution

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

And if you need all the bells and whistles of protection (and shooting ability)…check out MIRA.

230
at Mira Safety

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Combo-ed with their 20-year shelf-life filter.

EDITOR'S PICK FILTER
80
at Mira Safety

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Or their new P3 Virus Filter.

150
at Mira Safety

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

In a quieter time…

If you’re doing a general prep bag…or want to be 99.97% protected from general contaminants…get the 3M P100 Disposable Respirators.

10
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

If you’d like a little more protection in a re-usable format…get the 3M Half Face Respirator.

20
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Combined with the 7093 P100 filters with smell reduction.

24
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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