When your health is at risk from certain chemicals and paint, you need to be protected.
Terms such as full face, half face mask, respirators and masks get thrown around commonly when painting. I am here to help you find the best respirator mask for clear air when painting your next DIY job.
When it comes to safety, these are the best painting respiratory masks on the market.
6 Best Respirator Masks for Safety When painting
1. 3M Safety 142-6100 6000 Series
- Head harness cradle suspension is designed...
- Lightweight elastomeric material for comfort...
- Low profile design minimizes interference...
- Twin filter design provides lower breathing...
The 3M Company have plenty of experience in the DIY world, and have poured it all into creating this good respirator mask.
It comes in a variety of sizes, which are all adjustable, putting your comfort first.
The mask is lightweight, which is crucial when you’re working for long periods of time, either on a personal project or in the workplace – anything too heavy and you’ll spend your time stretching your neck instead of working!
What Is This Mask Best For?
The mask is perfect for all DIY jobs, including soldering, welding and spray painting– it protects from physical obstructions, and is the best dust mask out there.
In terms of gases and fumes, this is the best spray painting mask, protecting you from all the chemicals involved in close up spray-painting outdoors. The mask is well-balanced as everything has its own place, allowing you to breathe easy, however hard you’re working.
Need Safety Goggles too? I recommend this pair of Dewalt Safety Goggles.
Pros and Cons
I’ve already listed my criteria for the perfect respirator mask, so let’s see how the 3M measures up…
3M use high-quality filters to ensure you’re kept safe while wearing this mask. It’s ideal for soldering, torch-work and welding. It’s also a great spray paint respirator mask as the filters protect against toxic fumes and gases. Offering complete protection, there’s nothing you can’t do while wearing this mask.
The mask is also fully adjustable, meaning you can wear it as loose or tight as you see fit. It’s made of light-weight material so your head and face stay comfortable and don’t feel squashed or heavy, no matter how long you’re wearing it for.
This 3M mask also comes with a NIOSH stamp of approval – a regulation company who obviously see the worth of this product. I like knowing that a product or brand is recognized by the authorities as genuine and safe, you can’t scrimp when it comes to your personal health.
Whatever task you’re finally getting round to (let’s be honest, you’ve been putting it off for a few months!), this mask will work hard so that you can, too.
The cons? I’m yet to find any. No, really.
2. 3M 7162 Full Facepiece Spray Paint Respirator – Organic Vapor Cartridges
- Leading Manufacturer Of High-Quality Products
- International Renown For Our Diverse Range Of...
- Fully Equipped With State-Of-The-Art...
- All Products Have Been Designed With The...
This mask is versatile, in many ways. It’s reusable design, makes it worth the money.
It has changeable filters and cartridges, so you can use it again and again. This mask has no problems when it comes to fogging up.
This comfortable mask, provides both eye and breathing protection.
This works for use in woodworking, and painting. Making it a great choice for painting.
What Is This Mask Best For?
This mask will work for a variety of DIY’s. It works great when you’re doing wood work. It handles great for spray painting. This mask can be used when your applying lacquer.
If you need to apply enamel based products, it will give you great protection. For your yard and garden, pesticides are always being used. This would work well indoors or outdoors.
Pros & Cons
This mask has a lot of great features. The fact that it is reusable makes it worth the money. It doesn’t have any problems fogging up. What more could you ask for in a mask? Comfort and worth the money, and with the versatility.
Using this mask makes sense, whether you’re doing wood work, or Painting. You can count on this mask for spray painting lacquer, enamel, and your pesticides.
The only drawback of this product, is you won’t be able to use safety glasses. If you’re like me, you need safety glasses to see.
3. 3M 8577CA1-C-PS Chemical Odor Valved Respirator – Mouth Mask Only
- NIOSH-APPROVED P95 for at least 95 percent...
- 3MCOOL FLOW VALVE helps reduce heat build-up...
- ADVANCED FILTER MEDIA for easy breathing
- CARBON LAYER helps reduce nuisance levels of...
One of the best features of this mask are it has a 95% filtration efficiency against solid and liquid aerosols. Despite being lightweight, this mask is resistant to oils.
It also has cool valve technology for heat reduction and aids in easier breathing. This includes a carbon layer for odor reduction, with advanced filter system for easier breathing.
What Is This Mask Best For?
This mask is best for DIY’s. You can use this mask for all you do it yourself projects. It can be used for spray painting latex paint and stain.
It comes in handy for the clean-up of any project, especially solvent odors. If you use ammonia, bleach, or heavy cleaning solvent, this is the mask for you.
Pros & Cons
There are tons of great features with this mask. With it being comfortable, and easy to use for a variety of projects, it’s well worth the reasonable price tag. The filtration on this mask, is top notch. With the advanced filtration, makes breathing easier.
Efficiency of 95% against solid and liquid aerosols, make it a top pick. Other added benefits, carbon layer, and cool valve technology for heat reduction.
One of the drawbacks I found, was the reusability of the mask. It lasts about a week, 40 hours. But after that, it’s time to get a new one.
I noticed some reviews that stated it didn’t work on ammonia, maybe it depends on the person using it. If you have facial hair, you could have trouble getting a tight fit.
4. Safety Works SWX00318 Paint & Pesticide Respirator
- Flexible face piece Material provides an...
- Long-life pre-filters are approved to the...
- Hygiene cover helps keep dirt out of mask...
- This respirator is certified by NIOSH as an...
This Safety Works model has a flexible facepiece to offer a better seal for users.
The low profile cartridges allow users to receive an unobstructed view. This makes it easy to use while working. It provides a soft and comfortable fit. The facepiece offers superior protection and built-in exhalation valve.
The unit comes in its own re-closeable packaging to offer easy and safe storage.
What Is This Mask Best For?
This mask provides exceptional protection for a multitude of projects. The respirator traps more than 99.97% of toxic dust as well as Hantavirus, asbestos and lead.
You’ll find that it’s a great option for protecting against paint fumes, lead fumes, asbestos, ammonia and pesticides.
Pros & Cons
There’s a lot of good to say about this mask. First, it provides a flexible and comfortable fit, so you can wear it without feeling annoyed. It also comes with a re-closable package that makes it easy to transport to multiple locations.
This unit does come slightly on the higher price of things but comes complete with a warranty.
Some of the downsides to this option includes that it doesn’t protect from urethane paints. You might also have trouble finding the cartridges for it, as many customers seem to struggle to find them for sale.
5. Breath Buddy Respirator Mask
This mask is latex-free and features a non-allergenic silicone and elastomer blend.
With the sealing flange that’s contoured, there’s less chance of pressure points on the face, making it more comfortable than many other options.
The precisely engineered valve placement allows users to receive more breath which makes the mask cooler and more comfortable to wear.
What Is This Mask Best For?
This mask is excellent for most DIY projects as well as for the professional contractor. It offers NIOSH-approved OV/R95 protection.
This keeps you safe from oil plus non-oil solid particulates as well as liquid. If you are working with oil mists, you can expect protection for up to eight hours.
Pros & Cons
This respirator fits nicely and features rolled edges to displace pressure. That makes the unit itself quite comfortable.
In addition, the harness that comes with it is effective. The straps remain secure and don’t slip even after long hours. There are even adjusters on the straps so you can customize your seal.
The facepiece itself is relatively light, but when the cartridges are added in, it becomes heavier. This is fine if you’re only wearing it for an hour or so, but any longer might become uncomfortable.
This mask does cost more than many others, but if you need a latex-free version, you won’t mind paying for it. It isn’t always easy to find something that won’t irritate you when you’re allergic.
6. PM2.5 Activated Carbon Filter Mask Insert Replaceable
This mask uses replaceable filters so it can be reused numerous times.
The multi-layer protection is constructed from five different layers. These contain non-woven fabric, melt-blown cotton and activated carbon to keep you protected.
The one-size-fits-all design is great for people of all ages. The adjustable straps make it easy to conform to your face.
What Is This Mask Best For?
This reusable respirator mask is excellent for people of all ages, even kids. That’s because it’s fully adjustable. They are washed by hand and excellent to use before or after illness, while outdoors or on a motorcycle.
It’s also a great solution when traveling, or if you need to be out in public with a compromised immune system.
Pros & Cons
This option is budget-friendly and great for use by the entire family. The N95 particulate respirator blocks pollen, dust, bacteria, germs and pollution, so you remain safe.
Overall it seems to fit well and offers plenty of adjustments for customization. It’s simple to wash and has replacement filters so you can use it again.
With that said, some people found the filters slightly tricky to install, so that’s something to keep in mind. In addition, because it’s a lower cost item, the durability isn’t the same as your more expensive options.
If you need something for occasional use, but not industrial strength, you might as well save your money and go with this option instead.
Spray Painting Respirator Masks Compared
3M Safety 142-6100 6000 Series
3M 7162 Full-Facepiece Spray Paint Respirator
3M 8577CA1-C-PS Chemical Odor Valved Respirator
Safety Works 817663 Multi-Purpose Respirator
Stanley Paint Spray & Pesticide OV/R95 Respirator Mask
N95 Pollution Respirator Dust Mask
How Does a Quality Paint Respirator Mask Work?
Respirator masks filter the air you breathe and remove harmful particles before they can enter your lungs or bloodstream. There are many different styles and filtration methods involved with respirator for spray painting.
Still, the general forms are air-purifying (they filter the air you are in), and air-supplying (the provide air to breathe, think above water SCUBA gear).
The filter elements can be pads, paper, canisters, or other devices that allow the air to pass through respirator for spray painting while capturing small dust particles that pose dangers to your health.
What To Look For In a Quality Spray Paint Mask?
After you have decided on the type of respirator for spray painting you want, and the type of filtration to use with spray paint masks...
- How do you know you are getting a quality respirator?
- What about the filtration?
- Will it block everything you need it to block?
Find out below.
Size & Fit
A respirator is only as effective as the fit it has. Any breach in the seal will drastically decrease the effectiveness of the mask. This includes hair. Half face mask or half mask and full-face masks are designed to create a seal around your face.
If you have long hair, a beard, or mustache, the hairs need to be out of the way. This may mean shaving to get a good, quality fit.
The size of the mask is also important. Most will have adjustable straps to keep the mask tight and sealed around your face. However, they can be too big or even too small and tight. Neither is ideal.
Make sure your respirator not only seals well buy is comfortable to wear without cutting off circulation or letting air in from anywhere but the filter area.
Types of Respirator Filters Explained
Since you have a choice in the style of respirator, it only makes sense that you also have a choice in the type of filter the respirators use. Let’s see the various options.
Gas & Vapor Filter
Depending on what you are spraying paint, you may not need to worry about particles in the air.
Gases and vapors, though, are another thing. Most home HVAC filters cannot prevent odors, gasses, and vapors from passing through. A gas respirator & vapor filter does.
These block out harmful vapors and gasses like chlorine, sulfur, hydrogen chloride, methane, etc. Because the filtration is so fine, they will also block some air-borne particles, but their primary design is for gasses, odors, and vapor.
A combination cartridge is designed to block harmful fumes particles as well as gasses and vapors.
Like the gas and vapor filters mentioned above, they block a wide variety of household, industrial, and commercial gasses, odors, and filters. They also have a secondary filter that will capture particles from paint, pet dander, mold, and mildew spores and pollen.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have the particulate filter. As you would have surmised by now, they do not protect against odors, gasses, or vapors and, instead, are only effective against particles in the air.
NIOSH & HEPA Approval
NIOSH and HEPA ratings mean your filters have been regulated, tested, and approved to filter out the contaminants they claim to contain.
You can save a lot of money by purchasing filters that are not HEPA or NIOSH certified, but that isn’t something you want to sacrifice.
Paper masks are one-time use and must be discarded after they are worn. As we stated previously, though, they aren’t ideal for spraying paint. A quality respirator will last you several years, only needing the filter cartridges replaced.
Along with the size and fit mentioned above, comfort is crucial. Full-face masks can fog up, preventing you from seeing clearly, the rubber and build materials can get hot, causing you to sweat, which can break the seal.
Not only should the mask be adjustable, but it also needs to be comfortable all around, as well.
Types of Respirators for Painting
As with anything else involving painting, you are not without choices when it comes to respirators.
Depending on where you are painting, what you are painting, and if it is a DIY project or a commercial application, there are options. Let’s look at those options now.
Why It’s Important to Wear a Respirator When Spray Painting
Paint sprayers work so well because they take the liquid paint and turn it into a fine mist or spray. The particles in the paint are atomized and fly out of the spray gun at high speeds.
Even if you forget about overspray, the force that the paint spray hits the object will cause blow-back.
We can’t forget about overspray, though, and with an airless system, overspray gets everywhere. By everywhere, we mean on the surfaces, hanging in the air and in your face, mouth, and nose.
Paint fumes are toxic fumes and stay in the body for long enough; you don’t need to also breathe in the paint itself. Atomized paint can linger in the air, suspended, for hours. When you are spraying paint, even outdoors, these harmful chemicals mustn’t enter your lungs. A respirator is the only prevention that is regulated, studied, and found to work.
If your job involves organic vapors, ammonia, or acid gasses, then you will need to use a chemical cartridge, then get a disposable mask. NIOSH approves the product for best respirator protection and you can safely work with organic vapors while using paint sprays.
However, if you plan to use it frequently, disposable masks will be an expensive option as you will have to keep buying the entire mask.
You can buy face shield covers for full-face protective mask, but you still need to replace face shield covers at an additional cost, or continually wipe the paint off from shield covers or plastic covers while you're spraying paint overhead- otherwise, you lose visibility.
If you already have other personal protection equipment or PPE, then half face cover can be worn along with other personal protection equipment. You can wear safety glasses or safety goggles along with the half face cover i.e. best respirator mask correctly.
When you buy personal protective equipment like full or half face cover at reasonable price, always check the mask. If detect a leak in the mask or half face cover you need to readjust the face piece to make sure it seals properly against your face Performing a Positive Pressure Test:
Spray Paint Respirator FAQs
Can respirators for spray painting be used for woodworking and sanding?
Yes, you can use spray painting respirators for woodworking and sanding. The only caveat is that you need to ensure you have the proper filters attached for the task at hand.
What does NIOSH mean?
NIOSH is the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. This organization is a US-based group that does research and development and makes recommendations to the federal government about the prevention of work-related injuries and sickness.
How often should I replace the filters?
Sealed filters will have a shelf-life that averages about 5-years. Once the package is open, the filter must be changed at least every 6 months. For those that use the filters daily or in extreme conditions, the filters will need to be changed more frequently.
Overall, this respirator mask ticks all the boxes you could think of. For anything from a mask for spray painting to welding in the garage, look no further.
Good value for money, great quality and genuinely safe. What more could you ask for?