A respirator can be the only thing standing between you and possibly severe health issues. And it is paramount that if your job requires a respirator, you try to find the most suitable one from among the best full face respirators.
However, finding the right one for your specific case is not often as easy as it sounds. You have to consider many facts – the materials and filters in use, the ease of usage – the list keeps going on. It can be even more baffling if you are new to these. Let us guide you through the process if that indeed is the case.
Why Do You Need a Full Face Respirator?
There can be several reasons why you might need a full face respirator. Out of those several, the main ones are listed below.
The first and most apparent reason is that your profession might require it. For instance, if you have many harmful chemicals, fumes, and other airborne particles around the workplace, a full face respirator is a must-have component.
You might think that a half face mask should do your job – and it might in some cases. But if that does not suffice, then using a full face respirator makes it more efficient and easier to maintain.
Protection of Other Body Parts
If you are in a work environment with harmful fumes or particles, wearing a full face mask ensures more than one part of your body's safety. It doesn’t only stop you from breathing in the toxic elements; it saves your throat, eyes, and mouth. Furthermore, the need for safety goggles is minimized with these.
Without this protection, the harmful elements can harm the delicate parts of your body. Moreover, the lenses used in high-quality respirators offer you a wide field of vision. Also, they don’t fog up when you’re breathing either. So, if you need this advantage in your workplace, a full face respirator is the better option.
6 Best Full Face Respirators Review
You need to look at the components of this kind of equipment and make sure that they fit your purpose while maintaining quality. We’ve compiled some of the best respirators out there to make that process easier.
1. 3M Full Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6800
A crucial part of a respirator is how you feel while wearing it. And this can be affected by a lot of things. Firstly, the components used need to be lightweight. Otherwise, the product will end up being cumbersome.
And if that happens, you will have a hard time wearing it for a long time. On the other hand, a good quality respirator uses lightweight materials. Using these ensures that you can wear it for an extended period without feeling fatigued.
Of course, the most important thing about these devices is how much protection they provide you. And you can rest assured that this one does its job well. It protects you against particulates like dust and fumes along with any types of vapors like chemicals.
If you have done your research, you probably have read about 3M at least a dozen times. And that is to no one's surprise. They are one of the leading brands that produce this type of safety equipment. One of their signature features is the 3M Cool Flow Valve.
This patented feature allows the respirator to get rid of the exhaled breath very quickly. In turn, this helps keep the inside of it stay dry and cool, avoiding a build-up of heat that can cause inconvenience for the wearer.
The protection of your eyes is paramount as well. To make sure that your eyes don't get in harm's way, the lens used on the front of this product meets the ANSI Z87.1 protection standard's requirements. In Layman's terms, it will protect your eyes from any accidental impact hazards or debris.
2. 3M Ultimate FX Respirator FF-402
A lot of these protective devices might be affordable, but they don't come cheap. That is why the one you choose must be easy to clean and reusable for an extended period. As you can guess from its introduction, the next product does well when it comes to longevity and reusability.
If you have worn a full face respirator before, you probably have realized how inconvenient it is to talk while wearing it. And the ability to speak through these might be vital if you need to talk to others while working.
To alleviate this problem, 3M has positioned its passive speaking diaphragm in a place where it can help you communicate effortlessly and clearly. Not just that, as expected from 3M products, this one also uses the Cool Flow Valve to help you breathe easily and comfortably.
Most users of this kind of equipment complain about another thing. Some of these products don't provide a proper fit for your face without getting too tight and uncomfortable. But, as you already know, ensuring a proper seal is essential when it comes to something like this.
We have got an effective solution for that, thankfully. This respirator uses a nose cup and face seal made with soft silicone. Doing this ensures that you get a proper seal that will not let anything from the outside get to you.
Moreover, it won't make you feel like something is pressing your face ever so tightly. And as expected from a quality product, it provides superb protection from any harmful elements, such as fumes or molds.
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3. 3M Respirator Kit Full Face 6900
A lopsided respirator on your face is probably the last thing that you want. And that can be caused by weight or build quality. At this point, let's talk about the third respirator from 3M on our list. It's very lightweight and fits snug on your face without feeling too tight.
We have already talked about the importance of a high-quality lens in front of a full face respirator. Firstly, these provide you with a broader field of view when compared to safety goggles. It means in case of an emergency or even daily usage, for that matter, this lens is far superior.
Furthermore, this lens will protect you from any debris or impact hazards, which is of great importance. What improves the experience is that it protects you against any oil and non-oil-based contaminants or odors – be it dust or fumes.
The efficiency of the filter is another thing that you should take note of. And the percentage that you see next to the filter means how much of the outer environment it can keep out.
This one has an awe-inspiring rate of 99.97% efficiency, which is one of the best in class. You don't have to take anyone's word for it either. It meets the NIOSH P100-series test criteria, which should be enough to ensure you of its quality.
There’s a slight problem that some users have faced, however. If you are sweating a lot, it can slightly fog up the lens. But other than that, this lens does an excellent job of keeping itself free from any fogging.
4. PD-101 Full Face Respirator
Let's face it, even a lot of costly full face respirators don't exactly inspire confidence with their build quality. Especially if you are going to buy a product that your life might depend on, then the build quality has to be good.
What we have here is a respirator from PD-101, which is a superb product in terms of durability. First and foremost, the lens used in it is impact resistant. It means that even if it faces a lot of vibration or has debris flying into it, it will protect you.
Now, let's talk about the filters. This product is an N95 filtering respirator. The reason behind the name is simple – it protects you from 95% of any airborne particles (0.3 microns or larger). You might have observed that some of the other products have filters that block out 99% of any particulates.
The caveat with N95 respirators is that they aren’t resistant to solid and liquids that contain oil, while the N99s do. However, if your workplace doesn’t have any of those particles floating around, you can save some bucks with this one, as it is much more affordable.
And don't let yourself think that this one does not do its job well. These are high-quality filters that will block any fumes or dust with ease. Moreover, its durability does not compromise with comfort at all.
This respirator is lightweight and helps you achieve a proper seal without being uncomfortable. Furthermore, the air circulation technology used in it makes sure that the inside of it does not heat up and fog up.
5. Honeywell North 7600 Series (76008A)
Working in a loud environment with a respirator on your face often makes speaking to others harder than ever. Manufacturers have tried to come up with various features to alleviate this.
One of the most impressive ones among them is the speech diaphragm that our fifth product uses. It allows you to speak through the respirator effortlessly. And it achieves all of this while ensuring a remarkable efficiency against any kind of airborne particulates, ranging from dust, fumes to chemicals of any sorts.
As expected from a high-end respirator, this one also ensures a wide field of view of 200 degrees. Additionally, a high-quality lens provides a clean and distortion-free vision. The good things don't stop there; it also meets the ANSI Z87 standards, meaning that the quality is superb.
When it comes to the size, this is a small size respirator, and it uses five straps. While this means that you should achieve a tight seal with this, people with larger faces will have a hard time using it.
However, reusability is crucial in these products, as you are investing a fair amount of money in them. Thankfully, this one does well in terms of cleaning and reusability. Cleaning and maintaining it is simple. And you can use it for quite a while without any worries.
Lastly, this product deserves our praise because of the front and side mounts. You can use it for numerous purposes, thanks to these mounts. Moreover, you can buy a welding adaptor for it, meaning you will not have to keep switching your gears to work on your welding table.
6. Organic Vapor Full Face Dustproof Cover
Let’s move on with the last one of our favorite options. Finding the right balance between price and performance is difficult. A fantastic price to performance ratio helps you get a top-notch performance without breaking the bank.
That is what you get with this respirator. It’s very affordable when compared to the other products in this genre. Even with that, it is one of the few respirators that come with two activated carbon filters in the package.
Given the price, this is a great deal. It's not just the filters that are impressive, however. This product uses high-quality rubber, which will not age quickly. Cleaning is relatively easy, as well. Hence, the durability is outstanding, and so is the reusability.
Furthermore, it uses a dual filtration system (hence, the two filters). Using this makes it easier for you to breathe while wearing it. Moreover, its design ensures that an extended period of usage doesn’t fog up the lens.
Speaking of design, it also uses a curved design that sits well with faces and provides a better seal. And the fact that it uses rubber means that it’s not uncomfortable either. All in all, you get a great experience.
One issue that some people have complained about is that the straps aren't as impressive as the rest of the product. They're not unimpressive, per se, but they could be better. But to sum it up, this is an excellent choice for anyone looking for an affordable full face respirator.
What to Look for Before You Buy?
The type of respirator you buy primarily relies on where you are going to use it. To make things easier for you, let’s find out what you need to look out for before buying one.
Types of Respirators
Primarily, you need to figure out what kind of toxins are going to be around you. Depending on where you will use it, you might have various sorts of particulates and chemicals. To make it easier to fathom, you can divide them into two categories – chemical cartridges and particulate filters.
Chemical Cartridge Filters
These cartridges use carbon filtering materials that can protect you from the gases in the air. You can insert these in both half and full face respirators. Moreover, these come in a few categories as well.
Firstly, the bare-bones ones do an excellent job of blocking out most vapors. But if you want better protection, you can use a dual cartridge filter. These give you protection from both particulates and vapors. You can also find respirators that run on a battery to blow air through the filters and help you breathe.
If there are chemicals such as acid gases, ammonia, etc., around you, a chemical cartridge filter is the way to go. The other filter type is a particulate filter, which isn't effective against this kind of vapors and chemicals.
These are suitable for any particulates, such as allergens or wood dust. The most common ones are N95s, which can protect you from up to 95% of non-oil-based particulates around you. However, there are distinctions in this area as well:
Relying on your end use, you need to choose the type of filter that suits you. For instance, if you work in a woodshop, then a typical N95 filter should be enough for you. That’s because these can block the dust around you with ease when you work with your spokeshave or sander. Especially when you will cut woods with saw on a roller stand, this N95 filter can be very helpful for you to protect your eyes from wood dust.
On the other hand, if your workplace consists of products such as oil-based paints, you need something that can handle oil. In that case, you should opt for filters that can withstand them.
Lastly, the numbers at the end of these letters refer to the percentage of particles they can remove. For instance, an N95 will block out 95% of airborne particulates, 97 blocks 97% of them, and so on.
Choosing Between Particulate and Chemical Filters
If you are still not certain about what you need, here’s a little help. Firstly, let’s talk about the usage of particulate filters. In case there are particulates like allergens, bleach, dust, or fibers around you, an N95 rated filter should fulfill your needs.
However, if you work around elements like paint or pesticides, an N95 rated filter won't do. You should at least go for an R95 filter, as they can protect you against oil-based particulates. Of course, you can go for P rated filters, too, as they provide extended protection compared to the R rated ones.
Lastly, dangerous particulates like asbestos or lead require the highest protection. That is why you need an N100 particulate filter to protect yourself. And as we have already said, organic vapor, acid gases require chemical cartridges instead of particulate filters.
How to Clean and Maintain?
Given that you are not using a disposable one, reusability is an essential factor for full face respirators. Maintenance is vital to ensure that you can use yours for a reasonable amount of time.
Before we move on to cleaning, it is paramount that you don’t keep using a defective or cracked respirator. Hence, the first thing about maintenance is knowing when to dispose of it. Moreover, trying to reuse disposable respirators isn’t a wise decision.
Your respirator can be the only thing guarding you against severe damages. Always make sure that it is working correctly and that you are not trying to reuse/wash something that isn’t supposed to be reused or washed.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Should I choose a half face or full face respirator?
A half face respirator doesn’t protect your whole face, which a full face one does. However, you can’t wear glasses or other protective equipment with a full face respirator. Choose whichever suits you the most.
2. How often should I clean my respirator?
It depends on how and where you used it. You might even need to clean them every time after usage if the environment you were in makes it unsanitary to use again.
3. Can I use my N95 masks for painting?
We do not recommend it since paint can have oil-based particles in it. You should opt for at least an R95 rated respirator for that purpose.
4. Is it okay to clean my respirator’s lens with soap and detergent?
Do not use any cleaning agent that isn’t approved by the manufacturer of your respirator. Usually, you can buy pre-packed OSHA approved solutions intended for cleaning. You can, however, use detergents if the manufacturer recommends it.
5. Will a respirator help me if there’s a lack of oxygen?
A respirator doesn’t provide you oxygen; it blocks harmful elements from outside from getting into your body. So, if there’s a lack of oxygen, respirators won’t help you.
Finding the right one from our list of best full face respirators should be easy now. Make sure you know what you require, choose the one that suits your purpose the most, and stay safe.
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