Last update on 2021-03-02 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
We think we can all agree that in the right circumstances, a reliable gas mask can make the difference between life and death.
Gas masks aren’t worn only in case of nuclear fallout – they have lots of other uses, but many people think they’re expensive accessories they don’t actually need.
As it turns out, the best gas mask out there isn’t anywhere near as expensive as one might think. And moreover, there are plenty of gas masks to choose from in order to pick a budget-friendly product.
If you don’t know how to do research in this respect, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered: in this guide, we’ll answer all the questions you might have in regards to gas masks, as well as provide a few actual products you can take a look at and see if they’d be good for you.
If you’re in a hurry, above we have selected our TOP 5 choices for you to quickly view on Amazon.
If you want a more in-depth review of these gas masks, just scroll down below and view our recommendations and full reviews.
Our Reviews Of The Best Survival Gas Masks
#1 MIRA Safety CM-6M Gas Mask
If you’re angling for a gas mask that is multipurpose but remains cost-effective, this MIRA Safety CM-6M Gas Mask is definitely the way to go. This offers threefold protection: nuclear fallout and chemical and biological warfare.
The best thing about this full-face gas mask is that it’s built using professional-grade materials. So it’s sure to protect you against CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear) threats or contaminated environments.
This premium quality mask has a 180° visor made of high-impact resistant polycarbonate. This panoramic visor offers an unprecedented field of view which is a more-than-welcome feature. The visor is also constructed with proper airflow so misting won’t be a problem.
A common issue with gas masks is that it can be next to impossible to speak while wearing them.
MIRA Safety addressed this problem by constructing this model with a built-in diaphragm for easier communication.
Aside from protection against hazardous materials, the CM-6M also provides optimal support and comfort with its 5-point head harness.
This reliable mask is also made of bromobutyl rubber. This rubber is virtually indestructible, having been treated against aging.
As a bonus, MIRA Safety included an external canteen with this model, for easier hydration.
This is, by excellence, a military-grade gas mask that doesn’t blow a gigantic hole in a buyer’s budget. The MIRA Safety CM-6M Gas Mask is hands-down the best gas mask you’re bound to find at this point in time.
#2 PD-101 Full Face Respirator Mask
The PD-101 Full Face Respirator is a mask constructed with safety and performance in mind.
Aside from being tested against hazardous chemicals, the PD-101 is also equipped with a high-grade filtration system, which consists of a full face impact-resistant lens and dual activated charcoal filters.
The manufacturers also made the formation of fog impossible inside the mask, thanks to its air circulation technology.
Another aspect that should give you a hint of how incredibly tough and reliable this mask is. The field of view that the PD-101 provides is also quite generous.
Also, if you’ve had problems with fastening a mask to your head and it didn’t feel very comfortable, you’ll be happy to know that this mask has high-density elastic straps that allow you to tighten or loosen the mask as you please.
Moreover, the PD-101 allows smooth communication because of its sound repeating diaphragm.
PD-101’s distributor Parcil also provides a 100% Money Back Guarantee so you can be sure of its premium quality.
#3 Honeywell North 7600 Series Respirator Mask
This Honeywell North 7600 Respirator is meant to offer protection against airborne particulates, dust, mists, fumes, organic vapors, acid gases & other contaminants.
This can be used at home, too, when you paint or spray pesticides, for example. It’s also compatible with a full range of cartridges, allowing you to switch into filters and cartridges that suit your needs.
The North 7600 is also equipped with the Kapton Speech Diaphragm option for clearer communication.
It also features front & side mounts for use as a Powered Air Purifying Respirator & Continuous Flow Supplied Air Respirator.
Moving on, the field of view is actually really deep, so you won’t have to take the mask off in order to be able to look left and right.
The mask feels comfortable thanks to the silicone linings. Most masks are very rigid and have no “cushioning”, so to speak, therefore wearing them is awful.
So, the silicone linings are a nice addition to an overall good product that more people should give a chance to.
#4 Phoenix Fly Full Face Gas Mask
Phoenix Fly may not be a popular brand but their gas mask presents promising features at an affordable price!
In spite of the surprisingly low price, this is a military-grade mask that provides steadfast protection against both biological and chemical attacks, as it can remove aerosols and gas vapors.
The Phoenix Fly Mask is also constructed to provide comfort with its anti-fog, anti-friction features. Both its sides are also well-sealed so protection from dust and vapors are guaranteed.
This lightweight mask is also guaranteed to possess anti-aging properties. Now that’s real value for your money!
The thing is if you feel like this mask won’t serve you very well in case of a disaster, you can go with any of the gas masks we’ve reviewed above since pretty much all of them offer protection against biological and/or chemical attacks.
#5 Kischer Full Face Respirator Mask
Kischers’ Full Face Respirator features a dual filtration system that efficiently blocks 97% of multiple hazardous substances, organic vapors/gases, fumes, and other particles in the air.
Its main body is constructed from durable, easy-to-clean, anti-aging silica gel that is designed to fit almost any face shape.
This mask is also equipped with a five-point headband with a quick buckle and a double-layer silicone edge that provides comfort to the face.
In case you’re hunting for a gas mask that offers an unprecedented peripheral vision (most gas masks nowadays don’t have it in the least bit), look no further. Thanks to the wide screen, you’ll be able to see what’s left and right of you without turning your head.
The Kischer Full Face Mask is sure to protect you from any disaster that might befall humanity and does so for a really good price (somewhere around $100).
How Long Is A Gas Mask Filter Good For?
It depends, the filter of a nuclear gas mask, for instance, is built in such a fashion that it can last up to 24 hours. This doesn’t make it less prone to clogging, however.
The average filter (the one found on commercial gas masks) can last about 3 or 4 hours and then it will have to be replaced.
The vast majority of gas masks that are sold on the market have “shelf-life” filters – they offer only a couple of hours of protection and then they are rendered unusable. Keep in mind that there are 10 types of filters.
Each of these protects the wearer against a particular toxic compound.
To give you an example:
A gas mask that has a B-class filter will protect against inorganic gases like chlorine and hydrogen cyanide and sulfate.
A gas mask with an Hg-class filter will filter out mercury and one with a K-class filter will protect against amines and ammonia.
It is absolutely crucial to know what you need protection against so that you don’t end up buying a gas mask that doesn’t have the proper filter.
Here’s the complete list of filters:
- Reactor: protection against radioactive compounds/materials
- A: for organic compounds that start to boil at over 650.
- AX: for organic compounds that start to boil at temperatures under 650.
- P: protection against particles
- E: protection against gases that contain acids (volcanic sulfur dioxide, for instance).
- CO: protection against carbon monoxide
- ABEK–Class: ABEK-Class filters are multipurpose, as they feature a combination of multiple filters, thus ensuring protection against a larger and more different array of compounds and gases.
- B: used for protection against certain types of inorganic gases.
- Hg: useful against mercury.
- K: protecting the user against amines and ammonia.
Another aspect you should not overlook is that a filter, no matter how efficient it is, won’t protect your entire body. This is pretty obvious. In certain cases, you’ll need a hazmat suit.
How Do Gas Mask Filters Work?
Talking about this will let you know why exactly one has to change filters so often. A filter customarily has 3 components: an aerosol filter, an ASZ charcoal filter, and a charcoal dust filter.
When you inhale, the air is passed through these 3 mini-filters and is therefore purified. The aerosol filter is used to remove the dangerous particles in the air. If you’ve ever used bug spray, you’ve probably covered your mouth with an old t-shirt or a cloth.
That’s the most common form of aerosol filter. As you might expect, the aerosol filter of a gas mask is extremely “delicate”, for lack of a better word, as it can filter out particles that are less than 1 micron in size (and 1 micron is really small).
Particle filtration is effective, sure, but it falls short of providing protection against chemicals. When chemicals are involved, the gas mask should have an activated charcoal filter. This is basically oxygen-treated carbon. Such a filter works on the adsorption principle.
Adsorption is fundamentally a chemical attachment. Let’s assume that you’re in the situation in which you need protection against chemicals (vaporous or liquid): when those hit the mask, their compounds get stuck in the charcoal.
The oxygen in that charcoal creates “pores” in it and that’s where the compounds in the chemicals are trapped.
Filters can also work on the chemical neutralization principle. This is neither hard to explain nor to understand:
Let’s assume that you’re subjected to a chlorine attack.
The aforementioned filter is treated with a particular chemical that counteracts with the chlorine and eventually neutralizes it.
The filters with activated charcoal are very effective but they need frequent replacement since the pores get clogged fairly quickly.
You’re the only one in the position of answering this question because it’s all about your personal needs. If possible (and needed), try to get all sorts of filters, just to make sure you’re all stocked up.
Can A Respirator Be Used As A Gas Mask?
A gas mask can protect against airborne viruses (in case of biological warfare) but it has to be coupled with a few different things, like a hazmat suit.
Virus masks differ from the common ones in terms of size – they usually offer full-coverage, in the sense that they protect one’s face completely.
Viruses are tricky bastards that can get in one’s body in plenty of ways, thus full-body protection is warranted. Virus gas masks are among the most expensive ones. It kind of makes sense.
One of the worst things about virus gas masks and hazmat suits is that you can still get infected upon the removal of those pieces of protection by getting the viruses and bacteria from their surface.
This is why people go through a neutralizing shower with their hazmat suits on in hundreds of movies.
If you’re ever in a situation that warrants protection against viruses – god forbid – do not remove the gas mask and the hazmat suit unless they’ve been cleaned up with a solution that has been shown to neutralize all bacteria and viruses that might pose a threat to your health.
How Long Do 3M Filters Last?
There are 3 types of 3M filters: combination, gas & vapor and particulate. The combination-type filters protect against vapors and particulates. The other 2 are quite self-explanatory.
3m filters are known for having a longer life than the average filters. They are more commonly used on respirators instead of gas masks. 3m filters can last up to 6 months from the date they’ve been unpackaged.
Most people agree that you should replace your 3M filter when breathing becomes difficult. This happens when the activated charcoal pores become clogged or the sorbent material is fully soaked with gas and vapor compounds.
Specialists recommend the replacement of a 3M filter within 6 months even if you didn’t use it at all (a.k.a. when you tore up the package).
How Long Can You Wear a Disposable Mask For?
Difficult question to provide an answer to:
There are a couple of manufacturers that don’t even specify how long their disposable masks last for. The longevity of a disposable mask depends on a lot of factors: type, the environment it’s used in and filtering technology, among others.
If we’re talking about a disposable mask meant for protection against viruses (for workers in a TB hospital, for example), it should be worn for approximately 3 days and then it has to be replaced.
It all boils down to how contaminated the air actually is. In a TB hospital, doctors can replace their masks even thrice a day. The very fact that a particular mask is “disposable” is conversant of its longevity.
If there’s no information concerning how often you should replace it, wear it until it’s difficult to breathe and throw it out. The thing is that disposable masks aren’t supposed to last for a long time, so don’t expect huge longevity from them.
Also, if you’ve purchased relatively cheap masks, they might actually get soiled after a while. That’s a clear sign that you should replace the mask you’re using.