When you need the best gas mask or air-purifying respirator, you want to be sure that it can protect you in a worst-case scenario. Pretty much everyone can benefit from owning a mask in case of a survival situation. All of us need clean air in order to live and gas masks can offer that even when you are in a situation where the air is riddled with toxins.
There are many different gas masks out there to choose from, which can make purchasing one complicated. It can be time-intensive to research each of them to ensure they meet your needs. That’s why we’re providing a guide that will walk you through the top gas masks for 2020. We’ll also be sharing insight into the features that matter most when choosing a mask.
Our guide will go over some frequently asked questions about a gas mask and fill in your knowledge. This will ensure you know everything you need before you purchase a gas mask. First, though, take a look at the top masks and their basics so you can have an idea of your choices.
Best Gas Mask Respirators and Filters
|Name||Filtration System||Special Features|
|3M 7162 Full-Facepiece Spray Paint Respirator – Organic Vapor Comes with four P95 filters Includes reusable facepiece, two vapor cartridges, four filters, and two face shield covers||Comes with four P95 filters||Includes reusable facepiece, two vapor cartridges, four filters, and two face shield covers||CHECK LATEST PRICE|
Mira Safety CM-6M Tactical Gas Mask – Full Face Respirator for CBRN Defense
|Comes with two 40mm NATO filter cartridges||Offers a 20-year shelf life and a full-face panoramic design|
|Mestel Safety Full Face Gas Mask, Anti-Gas Respirator Mask SGE 400/3 BB||Uses standard NATO 40mm filters||Oral-nasal area is made of soft, medical-grade silicone rubber for comfort||CHECK LATEST PRICE|
|PD-100 Full Face Organic Vapor Respirator Eye Protection Industrial Grade Quality||Comes with two activated carbon air filters||Offers a head belt design for a comfortable, firm tightness||CHECK LATEST PRICE|
|3M Ultimate FX Full Facepiece Reusable Respirator FF-402||Uses 3M particulate filters or chemical cartridges||Created for use in occupational and industrial situations rather than the home||CHECK LATEST PRICE|
|Israeli Rubber Respirator Mask NBC Protection with Drinking Straw/Tube||Includes a single standard 40mm filter||NBC protection with high-quality materials including polycarbonate lenses||CHECK LATEST PRICE|
|Russian Rubber Mask for Respiratory Protection||Includes two standard 40mm filters||Authentic 1970s Soviet gas mask in a gray, size large configuration||CHECK LATEST PRICE|
Mira Safety CM-2M Child Gas Mask full Face Protective Respirator for CBRN Defense
|Uses the same filters as a larger gas mask for convenience||Offers a 10-year shelf life and includes a special children’s hose and backpack system|
KZD-6 Protective Enclosure / Infant Gas Mask for Small Children & Pets
|Filters out airborne contaminants, radioactive fallout, and toxic gases||Enclosure type system offers two filtration ports for infants, small children, and pets|
3M 7162 Full-Facepiece Spray Paint Respirator – Organic Vapor
This gas mask is a modern option that has a great seal through a full-face gas mask. This ensures you have the maximum level of visibility while you have it on and that it provides a high level of protection at the same time. It is designed to offer protection from particles in the air when painting, cleaning, sanding, or polishing. You can breathe in the fresh air no matter what you are doing.
If you have ever experienced issues with coughing and having trouble breathing when spray painting or doing other projects, this 3M spray paint respirator could be the perfect solution to the problem. The same applies to sanding, which can send up lots of tiny particles that can get into your eyes. This can lead to irritation and make them burn. The device will prevent that situation from occurring.
After you put on the mask and get an airtight seal, you aren’t going to have anything unwanted in your eyes, nose, or mouth. Beyond that, this device was created to be comfortable and is lightweight even when in use for a long time period. However, keep in mind that the item doesn’t work with glasses, so you will need corrective lenses if you have vision issues.
In addition to the mask, the package includes a reusable facepiece, four P95 filters, two organic vapor cartridges, two face shield covers, and two filter retainers. The reusable design means you won’t need to invest in additional components each time the mask is used.
Mira Safety CM-6M Tactical Gas Mask – Full Face Respirator for CBRN Defense
This device by Mira Safety features a comfortable fit and is compatible with NBC filters. The mask offers military-grade construction and can protect your respiratory system, face, and internal organs from chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals including noxious fumes, radioactive dust, vaporized pollutants, and more. It can stay on the shelf for up to 10 years so you can keep it stored until you need it.
When using this mask, you can pop in standard filter cartridges offered by a large number of brands. This mask is used by police and government entities in countries like Chile, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Latvia, Norway, and several others. It is manufactured from bromobutyl rubber to meet protection standards and has a full-face design for a panoramic view. The inner mask is made of a hypoallergenic material to prevent fogging.
If you aren’t sure about the protection offered by this mask, it’s backed by testing in mustard gas for almost 30 hours. It is compatible with helmets and comes with a hydration system and canteen. It can be used for painting, law enforcement, welding, industrial, and construction applications. This device also offers a five-year manufacturer warranty, so you know it’s durable and long-lasting.
Mestel Safety Full Face Gas Mask, Anti-Gas Respirator Mask SGE 400/3 BB
The Mestel SGE is one of the best options for a gas mask you could hope to find. It offers a scratch and solvent proof one-piece full visor for durability and a long life. The main piece is the facial component, which is a round, large surface in front of the eyes. This is set back from the rest of the mask to reduce scratching risk. It has a rubber seal to meet CBRN requirements.
This mask has a polycarbonate body that offers full protection to your eyes and face. That means the mask is not only good for fumes and small debris but also large impacts. Testing shows that the body can protect you against a 6.35 caliber bullet going at more than 150 meters per second. It offers full protection of your face while you are using it.
The filter ports of this item take a standard filter which many manufacturers sell. The nasal and oral area of the mask is made from medical grade silicon rubber, which is designed to contact the body for extended periods without causing allergic reactions or irritation. The rest of the sturdy mask offers great sealing when inhaling and is soft enough to open when you exhale.
PD-100 Full Face Organic Vapor Respirator Eye Protection Industrial Grade Quality
This respirator is a high-quality device that is available for a reasonable price. It has many of the same features as the top brands but without a premium for having those things. To show how durable and trustworthy this item is, the company offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so if you find it doesn’t meet your needs, you can get a full refund of the money you spent. It comes with respirators along with two activated carbon air filters and an instruction manual.
There are many situations where this gas mask can be used, including environments with paint, chemicals, and polishes in the air. It can also be used for mining, firefighting, and metallurgy environments. The mask is a professional protective device made of non-toxic materials. It meets ASTM E2952-14 standards and is certified by NIOSH.
The design of this gas mask uses a head belt that will keep the mask steady while protecting you without being uncomfortable. It offers anti-scratch lenses for great visibility and anti-fogging features so you can do what you need to do in any environment. It also features a voice device that lets you communicate clearly and at a reasonable volume.
3M Ultimate FX Full Facepiece Reusable Respirator FF-402
This is one of the best 3M gas masks, and it is designed for industrial and occupation use, rather than use by the average homeowner. This item has a secure fit through a head harness with six straps for a secure fit. It has a comfortable cradle to ensure it stays in a comfortable area on your head while in use. It comes with 3M cool flow valves for comfort while keeping you cool.
The nose cup and face seal of this gas mask are made from a soft silicone material that adds to the comfort of the device. This also is a durable material that you can easily clean after use. It’s made to be resistant to stains and paint, so these items will bead up, and you can easily wipe them away. The large lens gives you great visibility while the product is in use.
There is a speaking component in this mask, so you can talk to others near you clearly and simply. The mask is simple to use with cartridge attachments and respirator filters that twist off and off. It also has bonded silicone gaskets, so they won’t come loose and be lost during use.
Israeli Rubber Respirator Mask NBC Protection with Drinking Straw/Tube
This item is another that comes with a drinking straw to make life a little easier when you need to use it. It also comes with a standard 40mm filter that will fit the gas mask, so you don’t need to make an additional purchase. The mask features several straps that go around your head to promise an airtight seal with an NBC filter.
You get a gas mask that fits anyone thanks to the adjustable straps so you can be prepared in an emergency. In addition to that, the device is created using professional-grade materials for durability. It has a lens made of scratch-resistant polycarbonate, so it will hold up longer when in use. It’s also a mask that has enough room that you should be able to wear glasses when using it.
It is recommended that this gas mask be used in industrial and commercial environments. It can offer protection while painting, dusting, sanding, and grinding. It also has fume protection and can resist smoke and tear gas. Since it comes in a single size and fits everyone, you don’t have to worry about getting the right fit for every member of your family.
Russian Rubber Mask for Respiratory Protection
If you’re looking at the best military gas masks, this Russian mask is going to offer the protection you need for your respiratory system. This is a vintage gas mask that is from the 1970s, and it has aged just fine to offer protection when you need it. Even though it’s an older device, it still fits with 40mm NATO filters, so you have a selection of options.
When you purchase this gas mask, you get it as well as a carry bag, a box for the lenses, and filters. Each of the filters has all its factory seals and comes in a paper wrapping. Unlike most of the masks we have looked at, this one is largely manufactured from rubber but has two areas where you can look out of it. It has an authentic look and is made from a GP-5M grey rubber.
Unfortunately, this gas mask doesn’t work well with glasses, so contact lenses are needed if you have vision deficits. However, it does seal tight without any issues. It can get warm inside if you wear it for an extended period, but there are vents under the eyepieces to prevent fogging from happening.
Mira Safety CM-2M Child Gas Mask full Face Protective Respirator for CBRN Defense
This is one of the best military gas masks for children that uses an NBC filter. It comes in two sizes, one of which is appropriate for children under six, and the other of which will fit up to teenagers. It uses NBC filters to keep out toxic agents and can help protect your child in a disaster. It protects against poison, biologicals, radioactive dust, aerosols, and iodine radionuclides.
Each of these masks was created in 2019, and they offer a 10-year shelf life. The masks are created using PMK-S rubber and feature 40mm NBC filters. These are the same filters used for larger gas masks so there is no need to buy special filters. The mask itself has a film to prevent fogging when it’s being used for long periods of time. This is a special issue product to ensure children are as protected as adults when needed.
This mask is based on Russian mask designs and has been tested to work in even the worst disasters. It offers proper protection of the respiratory system for children, who are more susceptible to damage and adverse health effects.
KZD-6 Protective Enclosure / Infant Gas Mask for Small Children & Pets
If you have a child that is smaller than 18 months in age, the best fit for them isn’t going to be a gas mask that goes over their head to seal. This is an enclosure that people can order to keep young children and pets safe from everything from aerosol fumes to radioactive dust and iodine radionuclides. If you are going to be using it for a pet, keep in mind that its design is for pets under 30 pounds of weight.
This enclosure offers a dual-layer rubberized fabric to create the highest durability while ensuring the product is light and portable. There are two filtration ports on it to ensure easy breathing and less resistance. Two small windows are also in the item, so you can easily look inside to see how the child or animal is doing. The frame with this enclosure is made of metal for a longer life.
Inside the enclosure are interior pockets that you can use to store food or bottles. There is also a mitten insert so you can reach the child to feed and care for it. It has a shoulder strap so you can carry it easily, and it’s made to allow mounting to a sled, stroller, or wagon. The item has a 10-year shelf life and can offer six hours of protection.
A Buyer’s Guide to Gas Masks
The best gas mask you can buy today is a far cry from the original gas masks designed with chromium in the filter, something we know now is hazardous for human health. With improvements to comfort, filtration, and seals, there are many options for gas masks on the market today.
However, it’s still important to consider many factors when choosing an air-purifying respirator, which is why you need information to make the best purchase decision. That’s why we researched the top options to shield from chemical, biological, and radiological toxins. We’ll share what you need to know about visibility, protection, and hydration compatibility.
Protection Using a Respirator Mask
Each gas mask is created to protect against certain agents. While many offer protect people from a wide range of toxins, you need to know what each mask offers protection from before making a purchase. For most of the population, even those who want a general gas mask for defense should consider a military-grade gas mask respirator.
When you are searching through gas masks, there are a few things to look for in terms of the way the gas mask will protect you. As an example, a CBRN gas mask will provide the highest level of protection from nuclear, chemical, radioactive, and biological agents. A respirator mask with this rating is going to be verified and rated to handle all of these toxins.
Unlike a CBRN gas mask, NBC gas masks provide protection for all the above items except for radioactive items. A gas mask with an NBC rating has been rated and verified to handle all of the other agents for up to eight hours. There are other ratings you might see on a gas mask, like RCA, CBA, or specialty ratings that indicate how well the gas masks can filter out a specific toxin.
The National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) also offers rating number classes for respirators. Most of the top gas masks on the market will show the NIOSH rating, so you know how effective they will be. The rating system is as follows:
|Rating Letter Class||Rating Number Class|
|N = Not resistant to oil||95 – Can remove up to 95% of airborne particles|
|R = Offers resistance to oil||99 – Removes up to 99% of particles in the air|
|P = Is completely oil-proof||100 – Can remove up to 99.7% of air particles|
When you see a NIOSH rating, it will be in the gas mark specifications and includes a letter from the left, followed by a number from the right. As an example, if the rating is R95, that means the respirator mask can provide filtering of 95% of particles and is resistant to oil. The lowest rating you should choose on a gas mask is N95, but the closer you get to P100, the better.
Any of the gas masks you see with NIOSH, CBRN, and NBC ratings show credibility. However, there are other decisions to make when choosing an M50 gas mask. For instance, a mask for gas can come in a half-masked or full-face respirator design. The best gas mask will often be a full-face design, which is why you often see security, law enforcement, and military personnel using them.
You also need to consider what filter cartridge is used in the respirators you might be wearing. In general, gas masks that use a 40mm NATO thread are the best option as they are the most common. While wearing this gas mask, you can choose from a large variety of NATO filters. You can select a different thread type, but it will often limit the filters you can choose from.
Related: Best Radiation Detectors
Level of Visibility with Gas Masks
Visibility and field of view matter to everyone, but are especially important when a firefighter, military member, or law enforcement officer is wearing a gas mask. These individuals are placed in situations where the ability to identify objects and risks is crucial since their decisions can lead to heavy consequences or rewards.
The top gas masks will typically use a singular lens since this offers the best visual clarity and minimizes potential obstructions to your peripheral vision. As an example, some people who use gas masks find that goggle masks do not offer the level of freedom needs to survey the things around them in a quick time.
Another concern with a gas mask and visibility is the material used to create the goggles or lenses of the mask. This can affect the clarity while wearing the mask, which is especially important in survival situations. The top of the line respirators often only cover up about an inch of your vision. It’s also important to consider whether the visor of the gas mask is heat resistant to some degree.
Comfort When You Wear a Mask for Gas
In most cases, if you are in a situation where you need a gas mask, you are going to need to wear it for a long time. The agents that a gas mask is made to protect you from aren’t going to disappear in a few minutes time in most cases. Since you risk needing to wear gas masks for hours at a time, it’s best to be sure the gas mask fits you well.
The best comfort when wearing a gas mask relies on two different features that can differ on various respirators. The first is the nose cup of the gas mask, which is going to offer protection to your nose and mouth when wearing it. If you have a gas mask that pinches your cheek or a respirator that presses down on your own, that is going to get uncomfortable as time passes. However, if the gas mask doesn’t offer a snug fit, you could be exposed to dangerous toxins.
You should also consider what kind of straps the gas mask uses when thinking about comfort. In a survival situation, the straps secure the gas mask onto your face, so it fits tight to offer the best seal and level of protection. As with the nose cup, you want to be wearing straps that are adjustable enough to offer freedom in terms of fit. If the straps make the gas mask too tight, it can squeeze your head and get uncomfortable over time.
Thinking About Durability of Respirators
Another thing that you want to keep in mind when you want a gas mask to use is how it will handle long-term use. A gas mask is going to be used mostly in very extreme situations, so the best gas mask will handle the situation and be ready to go for the next.
When you’re considering the durability of gas masks, the best thing to know is what materials were used to create it. The best options are going to be butyl rubber and silicone. These are the most commonly used materials in the best masks to keep out toxins. You also should consider the material used for the lens. Polycarbonate is largely considered the best option since it offers the highest level of protection and visibility.
Communication and Hydrations Options with a Gas Mask
When you are looking for the best masks, you also want to consider convenience when it comes to communicating with others and staying hydrated. Some masks don’t take this into consideration and may not offer a speech diaphragm or a means to drink. This won’t cut it in a situation where you are focused on survival and need to keep things like tear gas away from your body. That’s why choosing a gas mask with a way to connect an approved drinking tube is a good idea.
Military, law enforcement, and security workers are often part of a team, so the best gas mask is going to make it easy to communicate with others. Even if you are choosing a mask as defense in the case of a survival situation, choosing a gas mask with a speech diaphragm is the best option. If you work in a team, this is important to have for communication purposes.
Frequently Asked Questions About Gas Masks
Now, you have an idea of what to look for when you want the best mask possible for your needs. However, you may still have a few questions to ask. We’ll be answering some common questions below so you have all the information you need and can make the best purchase for your needs.
What is the best gas mask to buy?
The best gas mask for you may not be the same as the best mask for someone else. If you read over the information above, you can determine what to prioritize in your search. However, a rated and verified mask with a good fit, a high level of protection, and oil resistance is going to be the top option for most. Beyond that, consider what will meet your needs in the situation you will use the gas mask in.
What will a gas mask protect you from?
This depends entirely on the gas mask that you decide to purchase. For instance, many budget devices can offer protection from pepper spray, but may not hold up against chemical and nuclear agents. There are other options that can stand up to all sorts of agents, including the most destructive. Make sure you know what protection the gas mask you choose offers before you make a purchase decision.
Which gas mask does the U.S. military use?
There are several gas masks that have been in use by the United States military, all of which are CRBN masks of a military-grade. The M50 gas mask is the currently used gas mask for the military, which speaks to the quality of this sort of mask, even if you aren’t in a serious situation.
Would a gas mask help in a nuclear attack?
Determining whether your gas mask will help in a nuclear attack involves a bit of research. You want a mask with a great seal and a long life while stored since you never know when you are going to need it. The top masks for nuclear situations are CBRN, or NBC approved with an appropriate seal and filters. Facial hair can cause problems with the seal so avoiding a beard can be a good idea.
How does a gas mask work?
When you put on a gas mask, it filters the air that gets to you so it can be safely inhaled without letting in toxic air particles. A gas mask is capable of protecting you from both gas and particulate materials, which can cause lung issues when inhaled. The air can be purified through absorption, particle filtration, and/or chemical reaction.
How long do gas mask filters work?
The filter you choose has an effect on how long it will work when using the gas mask. While a gas mask itself might have a long life when in use, the same doesn’t apply to filters. In general, the life on a shelf can be anywhere from five to 10 years, but the filter itself in use will only last around 12 to 24 hours.
Where can you buy gas masks?
There are many places where you can buy a gas mask of your own. Amazon offers a wide selection of these devices to choose from. There are also specialty online shops that offer a variety of gas masks for you to use. If you prefer to purchase a gas mask in person, look at places like military supply stores and big box stores.
The reality is that the best gas mask is going to be based on your preferences and needs. This guide should have walked you through determining which of the gas masks are the best for your situation. Once you know that, you can go through the available masks and compare the ones that appeal to you. No matter your budget, there is likely to be a gas mask that will work for you.
Each of the masks we’ve mentioned is one of the best out there, so you can depend on them. Many of them are inexpensive and offer top protection when you need it the most. Let us know which one you chose and how it worked out for you below!