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Top 5 Best Respirators Reviewed (Pesticides, Asbestos, & Mold)

Looking for the best respirators money can buy?

From pesticides, to spray painting, woodworking, and even mold, we picked the top respirator to get your job done!

In this article you'll learn:

  • Our #1 respirator pick
  • What the differences are between each type
  • How respirators works to keep you safe
  • Some common questions people ask about respirators
  • And much more!
best respirators for pesticides mold paint and woodworking

If you're short on time, click here to see our highest rated respirator recommendation!

Otherwise, continue reading for the full reviews and information regarding respirator masks and the specific models we reviewed.

Image Product  
pest-table__image
NASUM Half Face Cover
  • Comfortable fit
  • Longer service life
  • Ideal for all work applications
  • Comfortable fit
  • Longer service life
  • Ideal for all work applications
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pest-table__image
3M Full Facepiece Reusable Respirator
  • Wide viewing full face respirator
  • Non-fogging design
  • Various size availability
  • Wide viewing full face respirator
  • Non-fogging design
  • Various size availability
View on Amazon
pest-table__image
PD-100 Full Face Organic Vapor Respirator & Gas Mask
  • Wide viewing full face respirator
  • Dual Activated Charcoal filters & full-face impact-resistant lens
  • Multipurpose protection
  • ​Wide viewing full face respirator
  • Dual Activated Charcoal filters & full-face impact-resistant lens
  • Multipurpose protection
View on Amazon
pest-table__image
HXMY Respirator
  • Flexible device
  • ​Full mask
  • Made of high-quality silica
  • Flexible device
  • ​Full mask
  • Made of high-quality silica
View on Amazon
pest-table__image
NASUM 8200
  • Comfortable
  • Free earplugs
  • Can be used in most conditions/span>
  • Comfortable
  • Free earplugs
  • Can be used in most conditions
View on Amazon

Our Overall #1 Rated Pick

(updated as of 7/20/2019)

  • Comfortable fit
  • Longer service life
  • Ideal for all work applications

Our #1 all around respirator goes to the NASUM Half Face Cover respirator.

You really can't beat the quality, backing of the strong NASUM brand,  and the affordable price point.

Why is it our #1 pick?

While it is slightly heavier than some of the other options it comes with more customization, a better range of view due to the clear goggles, and reusable filters to keep your respirator working smoothly.

Today, we are faced with a wide variety of activities at home and beyond that simultaneously expose us from a spectrum of hazardous pollutants in the air. 

From spraying pesticides and paint to removing mold and asbestos, a good and functional respirator is all we need to protect us from all types of air contaminants. And even better, an overall respirator significantly eliminates the hassles and disadvantages of utilizing single-use equipment for specific activities.

This article will guide you through the twists and turns of finding the best overall respirator in the market today.

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Rating: 95.70

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Top 5 Best Respirators

Short on time? Check out the below list for the products we looked at in this review. If you have more time, keep on going for more information on each.

  1. NASUM Half Face Cover (best overall respirator)
  2. 3M Full Facepiece Reusable Respirator (best full face respirator)
  3. PD-100 Full Face Organic Vapor Respirator & Gas Mask 
  4. HXMY Respirator
  5. NASUM 8200

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What are respirators?

Respirators are a special type of apparatus designed to provide protection for the wearer. Either worn over the nose and mouth (i.e., half mask) or completely covering your eyes, nose, and mouth (i.e., full face mask).  The respirator's main role is to prevent the wearer from inhaling any type of particulate matter or contaminant present in the surrounding air. 

Examples of hazardous substances blocked by respirators are fumes, chemical gases, vapors, mists, smoke, dusts, and sprays.

There are two types of respirators:

  • The basic air purifying types
  • The atmosphere supplying types

Through the help of respirators, we are able to do certain complex tasks without compromising our respiratory health. 

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How do respirators work?

The main function of respirators is to filter the air that we breathe and prevent all types of hazardous elements that are present in the air from entering into our respiratory tract. 

In order to perform efficiently, respirators are equipped with multiple layers of filtering materials in order to trap both particle and gas based contaminants.

Filter materials of this type of breathing apparatus are also equipped with an electrostatic charge that allows the device to filter out particles without negatively affecting the breathing resistance that will be experienced by the wearer.

In supplied air respirators, the device is equipped with a battery powered canister that extracts the surrounding air into the filter supplying the wearer with clean and safe air through a hose that is connected to the mask.

What's the difference between respirator types?

Again, there are two main types of respirators. (1) Air purifying respirators, which are used to purify the surrounding air before being inhaled. (2) Atmosphere-supplying respirator, which are used to provide clean air from a storage tank worn by the user.

For the purposes of this article, we'll be focusing on air purifying respirators, which use cartridges to detoxify the air. It's important to understand these pieces as they dictate what kind of air you can breathe in.

Cartridge Ratings

When it comes to cartridges, what you should be paying attention to is the rating and letters next to the product description. These letterings are classes and are assigned and approved by The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

The letters "N", "R", or "P" indicates how resistant the respirator is to oil. This is important because oil can reduce the effectiveness of your unit.

The following are the assigned classes:

  • N95: Filters at least 95% of airborne particles, no resistance to oil.
  • Surgical N95: Filters at least 95% of airborne particles, no resistance to oil, but is also cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a surgical mask.
  • N99: Filters at least 99% of airborne particles, no resistance to oil.
  • N100: Filters at least 99.97% of airborne particles, no resistance to oil.
  • R95: Filters at least 95% of airborne particles, has a somewhat resistance to oil.
  • P95: Filters at least 95% of airborne particles, strongly resistant to oil.
  • P99: Filters at least 99% of airborne particles, strongly resistant to oil.
  • P100: Filters at least 99.97% of airborne particles, strongly resistant to oil.

There are other letterings you might see on respirators are as follows:

  • AG: Approved for acid gas filtration
  • OS: Approved for organic vapor filtration

Material

A good respirator should be tight-fitting to ensure no leakage. These features directly depend on the type of materials used in making the device.

Canisters are usually made of styrene plastic which has undergone high pressure molding. The material is a special type of thermoplastic resin which is critical in the ensuring the durability of the component.

The facepiece of a respirator can be made by a variety of materials. Depending on the type and brand of the respirator, the facepiece is either made of silicone, neoprene, and natural rubber. 

Durability

Durability is a critical factor to consider when trying to secure a reliable overall respirator.

The overall durability of the device directly depends on the type of material used to manufacture the respirator. Majority of high end respirators are typically made of silicon rubber that can deliver a sealed fit and dependable durability.

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When would you use a respirator?

Air quality varies from place to place with the volume of possible contaminants getting directly affected by surrounding circumstances. Specific complex tasks can also significantly disrupt the breathability of the surrounding air. 

Here's a list of some activities or circumstances that count as viable reasons to wear a respirator:

For pesticides use

Considering the harsh chemical components that are present in pesticide solutions, wearing a respirator is imperative in order to thwart any level of respiratory hazard while performing pest control tasks. 

In fact, majority of pesticides strictly require the use of a specific respirator which is often emphasized in the product label. 

In applying and/or mixing pesticide chemicals, a chemical cartridge respirator is often used. These respirators are designed to prevent hazardous vapors and gases from being breathed in by the wearer.

For asbestos removal

Have you ever heard of mesothelioma?

Well, it's just a certain type of cancer caused by asbestos exposure.

If you are living in a house built before 1980, there's a good chance that you are surrounded by asbestos particularly in your old floor tiles, in your pipe cement, siding, and insulation.

In fact, even newer homes can have traces of asbestos in various sections of the structure. And whether or not your house is under renovation, you and everyone in the family is in constant exposure to the hazardous mineral.

Asbestos is a fibrous mineral and a pretty scary one.

Why?

Small quantities of airborne asbestos can inflict serious damage in your respiratory tract particularly the lungs. Whether you are removing the asbestos yourself or just supervising the progress of the job, it is vital to put on a full face respirator that can offer protection not just to your lungs but your eyes as well.

When using a respirator for asbestos removal, it is critical that your device is equipped with a P100 (HEPA) filter. These filters are designed to efficiently block 99.9% of particles or contaminants in the air. 

For mold removal

Mold exposure can easily lead to a variety of allergic reactions such as runny nose, coughing, wheezing, rash, and itchy eyes.

Furthermore, individuals currently suffering from asthma and certain respiratory diseases will experience worse effects when exposed to this type of household fungus.

For responsible homeowners, mold remediation is the only best solution for such problems. And in order to significantly reduce potential health risks, it is encouraged to utilize at least an N95 respirator.

This special type of personal protective equipment is often used in a construction setting to protect workers from dust and various small particulates. N95 masks are also used in the healthcare sector preventing the wearer from being exposed to both liquid and airborne matter in the form of microorganisms and body fluids.

For spray painting

When doing some painting work, you need to maintain the optimum condition of yourself in order to yield the best results. And wearing a mask should be at the top of your list to effectively and safely accomplish the task at hand.

Selecting a respirator for the job depends on the surrounding circumstances. Spray painting in an open space requires a particulate mask. On the other hand, getting the job done in an enclosed area needs a respirator with disposable cartridges.

For smoke

Unfortunately, we're living in an era where smoke is a normal part of daily life. However, it doesn't mean that there's nothing you can do to protect your lungs from the serious effects of prolonged exposure to smoke. 

Typically, N95 and N100 types of masks do well in protecting the wearer from harmful particulates present in different types of smoke. Just be sure to choose a two-strap mask to secure a sealed fit.

We'll also mention that the smoke prevention is limited to small bouts of smoke and not full fires (e.g., firefighter type masks are specially designed).

For various dusts

The dust mask serves as our first line of defense against a wide spectrum of dusts present in our surrounding air. You can either go for the disposable type for single-use or the reusable mask that goes with replaceable filters.

Particulate filters or dust masks are effective in blocking different types of dusts such as wood, concrete/silica, chalk, and rubber. These masks are classified with different ratings depending on their efficiency in blocking dust type particulates. Bigger number means greater efficiency.

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What Should You Know About Respirator Filters?

Here are some essential things you need to know about respirator filters:

Do Respirators Expire?

Yes, respirators do expire. The facemask itself should be fine, but it's the cartridges you should be aware of. Always check the expiration date on your cartridges before use.

Can The Elderly Wear Respirators?

Possibly, but breathing through a respirator is more difficult than normal breathing, therefore it may be difficult for an older person to make use of a respirator.

Will Respirators Work In A Fire Type Situation?

No, most respirators are not built to filter out the thick smoke from a fire as well as provide the needed oxygen to prevent asphyxiation. This is why firefighters wear dedicated oxygen tanks. 

Difference Between Full Face and Half Face Respirators? Which is better?

As their names imply, half face masks are worn to cover the nose and mouth areas whereas full face respirators provides protection to the entire face especially the wearer's eyes which are also quite sensitive.

But which type is better?

Actually, the efficiency of the respirator does not depend on whether or not it provides full face coverage. As discussed earlier, respirator efficiency directly depends on the filters used.

Deciding when to use a full face or half face respirator depends on the type of task you are planning to accomplish or the severity of the air environment which includes the types of contaminants present (particulates, vapor/gas, or both) and the volume of involved pollutants. 

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Best Overall Respirators Reviewed

In the below section we break down each of our product recommendations in a little more detail.

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  • Comfortable fit
  • Longer service life
  • Ideal for all work applications

When it comes to protection, the Nasum is the definition of form meeting function. This half-face respirator also comes with goggles to protect the eyes, it's straps are adjustable to make it a comfortable fit for the majority of customers, and it's filtering containers allow for a quick swap when it is time to make the change, letting you get more done with fewer interruptions. 

Because of the customizable nature of these air filters, you can set it up for whatever kind of protection you need. It's perfect for pesticides, spray painting, woodworking, mold removal, and just about any other job that requires air filtration.

In addition to the filters, clear eye protection gives you a much wider range of vision while you're working, which will reduce the number of accidents in the workplace.


Pros

  • Comfortable seal
  • Longer service life because of the unique air filters
  • Wide variety of uses, including pest control

Cons

  • Doesn't offer full face coverage
  • Wide viewing full face respirator
  • Design stops mask from fogging up
  • Available in various sizes for ultimate comfort
  • Highly Rated

Some individuals are looking for more functional features that they can count on under extremely challenging environments. The 3M Full Face Respirator packs an arsenal of air filtering solutions at a very reasonable price.


This full face mask offers a spectrum of new features that you'll never find in an ordinary respirator. The 3M cool flow valve helps deliver cool and dry air to you while working, and the downward breathing guides exhaled air and moisture down and out. The super wide lens offers optimal viewing range and clarity for any job. 


With easy to follow instructions provided, adjustable straps, and several sizes to choose from, the Full Facepiece Respirator by 3M is nothing short of clear wide viewing mask matched with superior comfort.


The only downside is that that this model doesn't come with respirator cartridges, so you'll need to pick up a set like this one from 3M as most customers have purchased the combination for best results.


Pros

  • Clear wide viewing optics
  • Highly rated product from a very reputable brand
  • Designed for clearer audio communication

Cons

  • Filtration catriges are sold separately 
  • Wide viewing full face respirator
  • Dual Activated Charcoal filters & full-face impact-resistant lens
  • Multipurpose protection
  • Highly Rated

The PD-100 Full Face respirator is something that looks like it is straight off a Hollywood movie set. Don’t let that deter you because this isn't a prop, but a high-quality respirator.

The filters on the PD-100 are dual activated charcoal, which means that the air this respirator filters has the ability to remove dangerous particles from the air and water. It can also remove the taste and odors that can slip through on other filter systems. Let us be honest; no one likes to endure the smell of sulfides.

The most common applications that this mask is used for are chemical clean up, laboratories, machining, sanding, and sawing. If it can stand up to everything those tasks throw at it, you can bet it will get the job done for you at home!

Pros

  • Wide range of uses
  • The high-quality filter system
  • Sturdy construction

Cons

  • Medium to a high price point
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  • Flexible device
  • Full mask
  • Made of high-quality silica

The HXMY Respirator is a solid piece of protection that not only does the job but comes in at the right price as well. Its lenses are PC lenses, and the frame is of TPU construction.

While this respirator doesn't have all the bells and whistles that a more expensive model might have, it does come with an exceptionally useful feature, and it's lenses are fog-resistant. Anyone who has had to wear a respirator can tell you just how annoying it is to lose your vision in the middle of the job and have to constantly take the respirator on and off again. 

The next feature that comes with the HXMY is the adjustable strap that has three layers of foam to cradle the wearer's head and reduce strain, stress, and discomfort. Combine that with its reasonable price and wide range of work applications and you have yourself a winning combination.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Anti-fogging lens
  • Comfortable head strap

Cons

  • May not be comfortable to wear with glasses
  • Comfortable
  • Free earplugs
  • Can be used in most conditions

The Nasum 8200 is a sleek respirator that is easy to wear, provides maximum vision, and is easy on the wallet. The edge that seals to your face is made of high-quality silicone to ensure a comfortable fit. Like other NASUM models, the filters can be easily replaced, and their housing units are reusable, which means you spend less time changing filters and more time getting the work done. 

The NASUM 8200 is also no slouch when it comes to comfort. While it doesn't weight 14.4 ounces, it has the silicon edging that rests on your face. And with fully adjustable head straps, you can make sure it rests perfectly for any job that you might undertake. 

This respirator's dual filter system provides ample oxygen to the user while removing harmful particles. Alongside the convenient and efficient filters, the head strap is adjustable to make sure that this product can be used by almost everyone, and if that doesn't seal the deal, it also comes with a free set of earplugs just in case you are working in a noisy area.

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Inexpensive
  • Free earplugs
  • Can be used in most conditions

Cons

  • Filters have a short life span and need to be replaced after 200 hours of use

Our Top Pick: NASUM Half Face Cover

A true overall respirator, the NASUM Half Face Cover equipment can effectively block both particulants and vapor contaminants. 

It's low profile and compact design makes it a whole lot easier to be worn even in the most challenging set-ups.

It comes with more customization, a better range of view due to the clear goggles, and reusable filters to keep your respirator working smoothly.

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