Winter is coming and with that the inevitable pollution that arrives in a couple of months. November is the perfect month to start thinking about which facemask to purchase. But with some many models of facemask on the market, it can be hard to decide which mask to invest in.
When choosing a mask, there are lots of factors to bear in mind. First, we would suggest that you stay away from the cheap, disposable masks from the convenience stores. These rudimentary masks do very little keep out the toxins in the air and are barely better no mask at all. Second, you have to pay attention to how the mask fits you. If you choose a mask with a filter and air leaks in at the side the filter is made redundant. Third, if the mask filters out the PM2.5 particles then it's a good mask. The PM2.5 microparticles are the smallest and can easily enter the lungs and bloodstream as they're too tiny to be filtered out. Long term exposure can cause health problems in the future.
Here are our suggestions on which facemasks you should be investing in.
3M are probably is probably the best disposable masks on the market. With a range of respirators which filter to varying degrees on cleanliness for the price, you really can't go wrong. A single mask from Taobao will only set you back RMB12.5 and will give you suitable protection for the commute. If you don't mind looking like you've just come out of a disaster zone, you can't go wrong with that price point which is significantly lower than many competitors. We recommend the N95 model, which filters out 95 percent of airborne particulates.
For those fashion conscience, the Vogmask could be for you. Designed with aesthetics in mind as well as safety, Vogmask will set you back slightly more than 3M and won't filter out as much, but you'll look great. The price of looking great will start at RMB200 if you buy via their website. Vogmask claim that their mask will filter out all particles bigger than three micrometers, but this claim is yet to be tested independently.
This Singapore-based company offers their reusable mask for RMB200. While the mask is reusable, it comes with changeable filters which need to be switched out on a regular basis. The filters come in three levels of filtration with the lowest level still filtering 92 percent of the molecules. With the highest level filter equipped (96 percent), you'll certainly be safe from the most dangerous of particles during heavy pollution. The 96 percent filters costs RMB236 for 20.
4. Cambridge Mask
These masks combine military-grade filters with a wide range of patterns and colors. This British company uses a three-layered technology on their masks, with the final layer being a military grade carbon filter. Cambridge masks filter 99.77 percent of microparticles and 99.6 percent of viruses. The mask comes in various sizes from kids to adults and will cost you RMB215 from Taobao. At RMB215 and with the safety features and suitably fashionable designs, the Cambridge ticks all the boxes and would be our recommendation.
Available on cambridgemask.com.
Another British company which offers a high level of protection. Originally designed for cyclists, the Respro offers the user easier breathing and is perfect for outdoor sports with its two way breathing system. While the protection may not be as high as the Totobobo or the Cambridge, the specially designed sports filter offers a unique selling point for the company. However, these masks cost RMB399 on Taobao and will make you look like a Mad Max character, but the price may be worth it for jogging and cycling enthusiasts.
Available on respro.com.
Similar to the Cambridge with a high quality carbon filter. Moldex claims that the mask filters out 99.97 percent of all particles. This American company has designed its face mask to be comfortable and hold its shape in humid and hot conditions. They're also reusable and disposable. It's definitely worth checking out the Moldex masks if you want a change from 3M. At RMB60 the Moldex is cheaper than most high quality masks but doesn't have the best look, and only offers white and black versions. However, with the high quality of the filter, the looks are only minor sticking point.
Available at moldex.com.
idMASK is another mid-range mask which provides good protection. Filtering 95 percent of particles out, the mask has two separate filters on each side which makes breathing easier. At RMB299 for a single mask and RMB60 for filters, idMASK is cheaper than many of the premium masks, yet is more expensive than the slightly superior Moldex. On the other hand, the idMASK comes in a range of colors. If color coordination is important to you and you can't stretch to the Cambridge or Vogmask, then the idMASK could be for you.
Available at idmask.com.cn or on WeChat (ID: idMASK).
Like the 3M mask, the Gangkai is cheap, cheerful and disposable. At RMB2.5 on Taobao it is a steal but it doesn't offer the same quality of protection as the 3M. Like the 3M, the Gangkai looks a bit industrial but is a perfect mask for light pollution if you have allergies and are quite sensitive. We wouldn't recommend this one for heavy pollution.
Available on Taobao.