Imagine a scenario, we have Pablo Picasso among us and he has planned to create his next masterpiece with spray paint. Without adequate protection, there is a chance that he is going to die from lung cancer due to highly toxic elements of spray paint in the middle of his endeavor. Spray paint contains volatile organic compounds and short-time exposure to these compounds including Acetone, Xylene and Toluene will cause irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat; headache, dizziness, central nervous systems depression, nausea, vomiting, and dermatitis. Besides, multiple organs such as eyes, skin, respiratory systems, central nervous system, gastrointestinal tract, blood, liver, and kidneys will be badly affected, too.
Despite the severe health risk, it’s hard to restrict the utilization of spray paint because of its versatility and compatibility with a wide range of surfaces. You can apply to spray paint over plastic, metal, wood, ceramic, plaster, concrete, canvas, particleboard, laminate, glass, and many more. Besides, pressurized aerosol cans are extremely easy to work with. So, if you can’t avoid them, the next best idea would be to protect yourself.
To protect yourself from toxic chemicals of spray paint, two different categories of masks are procurable and one of them is suitable for indoor utilization and another is for outdoor projects. These masks also have different price tags. So, without studying various offers, analyzing the cost, and comparing the qualities it’s hard to get your hands on the effective mask for the good value of the price.
The 8 Best Respirator & Mask For Spray Painting
Spoiler alert, you are going to like some freak from cheap horror flick but remember, this mask is meant to protect your respiratory system and not to help you to win a beauty contest. The best respirator is selected by considering the performance parameters and efficiency of the filter. Here are some items worth considering.
01. OWSOO Strong ST-S100X-3 Gas Mask Respirator
OWSOO Strong respirator is applicable in a wide range of activities like paint, polish, laboratory, petroleum, mining, metallurgy, environmental technology, agriculture, automotive, construction, general manufacturing, transportation, cleaning, assembly, splash, chipping, chiseling, furnace operations, grinding, machining, masonry, pouring/casting, sanding, sawing, welding, and others. The respirator employs two combination cartridges that offer dual protection against chemical vapor and dust particles.
The filter cartridge consists of multiple layers which include the electrostatic cotton filter to remove dust and active carbon filter to absorb chemical fumes. It has a sound device in front of the face mask to transmit sound without inhaling dust. You can communicate with your partner effortlessly. Spherical anti-fog lens is designed as a 3D curve shape and it’s scratch proof. The lens offers a clear panoramic view and prevents vapor intrusion. To fit properly, a Strong respirator has five points headband made of double-layered silicone straps. The face mask provides good sealing and it can be washed using warm water.
02. EROCK 15 in1 Full Face Respirator
EROCK full-face respirator is a silicone and thermoplastic elastomer made respirator offering solid performance. The respirator is comfortable to wear, easy to clean and it will cover the full face. The filter cartridges can be replaced easily, thanks to standard interfaces. Particulate cotton filters are used along with filter cartridges to remove dust particles. You can use different cartridges if you want. The vibration diaphragm allows uninterrupted vocal communication without removing the mask.
EROCK respirator incorporates head nets to wear the mask quickly and easily. The adjustable straps help to regulate tightness and fit properly without any leakage. You can wear this respirator in different work areas having chemicals, glass, metal, paint, agriculture, formaldehyde and other irritating vapors/gas. It will protect your lungs during welding , paint job, sanding and sawing.
03. 3M™ Full Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6900
The 3M™ Full Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6000 Series helps provide protection against certain airborne contaminant and it’s quite a versatile respirator applicable in the fields such as assembly , chemical clean-up, chemical handling, chemical splash, chipping, chiseling, cleaning, furnace operations, grinding, laboratories, machining, masonry, painting, pouring/casting, sanding, sawing, and welding.
3M™ 6900 respirator features the 3M™ Cool Flow ™ Valve which makes the breathing effortless. The exhaled breath is directed downward by the center adapter. Hence, the interior of the respirator remains cool and dry. This device is economic, comfortable to use and practical which has been tested and approved by NIOSH to reduce some airborne pollutants. It is designed to protect the face and eyes from high impact and this device meets the industry standard for impact requirements of the ANSI Z87.1-2003 standard.
The 6900 model is compatible with a variety of 3M™ filters and accessories. Due to the large lens, you will get excellent visibility. The four point harness secures this well balanced and lightweight respirator around your head. The 3M™ 6900 respirator features silicone and thermoplastic elastomers as primary material.
04. SAS Safety 7650-61 Opti-Fit Full-face APR Respirator, Medium
To make the workplace safer and ensure the workers’ well being, the SAS Safety Corporation has been manufacturing specially designed products. Customer reviews and feedback are taken into account during the design phase of these products. Every product is extensively tested and packed by experienced workers to ensure quality and accuracy.
SAS Safety 7650-61 full-face respirator is composed of highly durable silicone and silicone skirts also offer comfort along with durability. The nose cup of the respirator prevents fogging and visual impairment of the lens. This scratch-proof polycarbonate lens provides a wide viewing area along with optical clarity and distortionless visibility. If damaged, the lens is replaceable. The SAS 7650-61 respirator is designed to be converted into a supplied-air respirator quite easily. The respirator features a 5 point head strap to attach the respirator comfortably.
NIOSH approved (TC-84A-1420) SAS Safety 7650-61 respirator offers 3 years limited warranty.
05. 3M™ Full Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6800
The 3M™ 6800 respirator can be utilized to protect the worker from harmful dust and chemicals during assembly and mechanical, chemical clean-up, chemical handling, chemical splash, chipping, chiseling, cleaning, composite finishing, final finish, furnace operations, grinding, laboratories, machining, masonry, paint preparation, painting, pouring/casting, sanding, sawing, UV protection, and welding.
This full facepiece respirator is made of silicone, thermoplastic elastomer which is lightweight and comfortable. It is compatible with 3M™ PAPR Systems and 3M™ Supplied Air System. You can wear this reusable respirator comfortably with a 4 point harness and breathe easily through the exhalation valve. The central adaptor let the exhaled breath flow downward to prevent fogging. The lens is large sized and provides excellent visibility along with a wide field of view.
06. 3M 7162 Full-Facepiece Spray Painting Mask & Respirator
This reusable full face respirator includes changeable filters and cartridges and allows an user to wear it multiple times by replacing the filters and cartridges. 3M 7162 is a medium sized respirator which would fit 70% of people or people with a hat size smaller than 8 1/4, with an average face. This breathing apparatus utilizes P95 particulate filter and organic vapor cartridges to provide protection against chemical and dust particles.
3M 7162 features a 4 point harness system to wear around your head and center adaptor which directs the exhaled breath downward. It’s a full facepiece spray painting mask & respirator recommended for 50 OSHA PEL exposure levels. When the exposure level is unknown, a fresh air system is advised. But this respirator can be safely applied for spray painting lacquer, enamel, and pesticides. The user will get a clear and wide field of vision due to the large lens.
07. GVS SPR451 Elipse P100 Dust Half Mask Respirator
GVS is a UK based company who designed and manufactures the Elipse mask ranges which employ innovative design and cutting edge technologies in respiratory systems. The Elipse respirator is a half-face, low profile mask and it is designed anatomically to wear along with safety glasses, headgear, or welding shield. Highly compact shape allows the user to work overhead without getting bumped or snagged when the arms are raised. It weighs only 130 grams.
A latex-free soft thermoplastic elastomer is used to construct the mask which has no odor or allergens. The ergonomically designed mask contours the mouth and nose completely and the 4 point slip-proof straps are adjustable to fit properly. Due to the large central valve, breathing resistance is quite low and less moisture buildup inside the mask. P100 HESPA filters are made of closely pleated water-resistant material which protects airways and lungs of the user from silica dust, wood dust, asbestos, fibers, grain dust, mists, welding fumes, concrete, and some microorganisms.
The pore size of the filter is 0.3 micrometer and the efficiency of the filter is 99.7%. These filters are replaceable and sold separately. The Elipse half-mask respirator is an economic solution for challenging work environments.
08. NASUM M201 Face Cover
NASUM M201 respirator is made of high-quality food-grade silicone for better comfort and sealing. The face cover of the respirator is flexible to cover faces of any shape. The flow valve drains out an exhaled breath and helps to dissipate heat and moisture. Comfortable head straps’ length can be adjusted and help you to put the mask on without leakage. The user will be able to breathe easily because of the excellent air circulation.
NASUM M201 respirator is reusable and the filter cotton has to be changed after 1-3 weeks. It is applicable in outdoor work, soldering, railway, fabrication, sawfly, shooting, workshop, eye protection DIY, lab, chainsaw worker, cleaning, construction, desert, designer, electricians, infield work, engineers, laser, machining, etc. and high efficient P100 filters along with comprehensive anti-fog splashing prevents harmful particles from entering the lungs.
Key Consideration Before Buying Mask For Spray Painting
It’s often impossible to get every kind of protection from a single mask or respirator. This is because these devices are designed to serve different purposes. You have to consider some general aspects and features to select the correct respirator for your project.
A filter is the most vital feature of a respirator as the primary function of the respirator is performed by the built-in filter of the respirator. It removes the dust particle, allergen, chemical substances, and other impurities from the air to protect your lungs and airways. There are different types of filters to serve specific purposes. The most common types are gas & vapor filter, combination cartridge, and particulate filter.
In order to filter out chemical vapor of ammonia, acetone, and other volatile organic compounds, you will need a special type of gas and vapor filter which contains activated carbon material. This filter won’t eliminate particles.
Combination cartridges offer protection against chemicals as well as particles suspended in the air. Particulate filters remove only dust particles and allergens. Disposable masks are one kind of particulate filter designed for domestic use.
National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducts research and suggests procedures to prevent work-related injuries and illness. This organization also certifies the standard of the respirator and ensures whether the products meet specific criteria and industry standards. A NIOSH approved respirator has ratings that indicate the filtering capacity and efficiency of the device. NIOSH approval ensures the authenticity of the respirator.
Different respirators have different capabilities and they are designed for different purposes. So, don’t forget to examine the features of the respirator and filtering capacity before purchase.
Comfort and fit
Since you have to wear a respirator for an extended period during your work, you have to prioritize comfort along with adequate protection. Otherwise, it will be difficult to concentrate on your work. Comfortable lining and smooth breathability are desired qualities of a comfortable respirator.
The exact fit of a respirator is crucial for a respirator to function properly. The contour of the nosepiece should fit properly around your mouth. If there is any gap, the respirator won’t be able to protect from pollutants. Adjustable straps help to fit the respirator properly.
If you are a professional painter and work frequently, you should consider buying a reusable respirator with replaceable filters. It will save you money and provide better protection. For a single project, disposable masks may suffice. A good quality respirator will cost you $50 to $80 which is overkill for a one-time hobby project. So, to save cash, you have to consider the nature of your project.
Care and Maintenance
What makes a good respirator?
Respirators and masks are designed and tailor-made for different purposes. Their efficiency and lifetime also vary. Some of them will filter dust particles and allergens but not chemical compounds and vapors. This type of dust mask is mostly disposable air filters with different ratings. Particulate filters are rated by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) according to the criteria like what, and how much, the mask can filter out. This rating consists of two parts: a letter (N, R, or P) and a number. N stands for non-oil proof, R stands for oil-resistant (up to 8 hours) and P stands for oil-proof (more than 8 hours). The number indicates the percentage of particles removed during clinical trials.
So, an N95 mask rating means the mask is not oil proof and it will remove 95% of particles from the air. A P100 mask will filter 100% of both oil-based and non-oil-based particles and offer better protection. Apart from the rating, some other features have to be considered. Dust masks with adjustable nose pieces and face seal will be more effective, comfortable, and will fit more tightly. An exhalation valve will make breathing easier. If you are dealing with a highly toxic particle, you should choose a non-disposable mask with a sealing gasket.
When you are dealing with toxic chemicals, you will need a chemical cartridge respirator which contains special carbon-filtering material that absorbs gases and vapors from the air.
Safety Tips When Spray Painting
Proper fit is of primary concern for a respirator to function properly. A loosely fitted respirator will not be able to protect you from hazardous chemicals and dust particles. Facial hair can be troublesome. After wearing the respirator, if you taste or smell anything abnormal, immediately change the filter of the respirator if it’s reusable or discard it if it’s disposable.
Don’t attempt to reuse a disposable filter. If you feel suffocated, change the filter. You have to store your respirator in a dry place when you are not using it because many masks won’t work if they are wet. You have to follow the instructions on the user manual to correctly use the device and dispose of it when necessary.
Perform a fit test first time after you purchase a respirator to verify the level of protection around chemicals. A special fit test kit can be found online to perform the test.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
What type of respirator or mask should I use for spray painting?
There are varieties of respirator you will find in hardware stores such as the disposable, half face, and full-face type respirator. To protect your respiratory tract from harmful dust, particles, chemical vapor, and gases, the respirator covers your nose and mouth. For a spray painting job, a half-face mask is recommended. Although full-face respirator offers better protection, steam tends to gather inside and impair visibility which can be problematic for a paint job. So, half face respirator along with safety glasses will provide better protection and functionality.
How often to replace the filters?
In general, it is estimated that you have to replace the filter of your respirator after 40 hours of use. Actually, it depends on the workload. Rather than a time period, you should rely on signs as an indicator of your respirator’s filter replacement. As the filter of your respirator becomes clogged, it will be difficult to breathe through and it’s a strong indication of filter changing. Besides, if you notice any visible damage, puncture, or soiling, replace that filter immediately. When you put on your respirator, check for strong smell and lung or nose irritation immediately. If you feel uncomfortable, it’s time to change the filter.
How should I take care of the filters?
Moisture is the main culprit that will damage your respirator’s filter and render it useless. Whether it’s a disposable or replaceable filter, once it’s wet it’s worthless and you have to dispose of it. Another important issue is to follow the instructions written on the user manual exactly. Otherwise, you might damage the brand new filter cartridge while inserting it inside your respirator. If you properly maintain the filters, you will be able to use them for an extended period safely.
How to wear a respirator for spray painting?
To get the most of your respirator you must have used properly. Consult the user manual and pictorial diagram to do so. Before wearing the respirator, familiarize yourself with the device and special instruction if applicable. Inspect for any irregularity and defects. When you are wearing a half-face respirator, put it underneath your chin and the nose piece should be facing up. The top strap and the bottom strap should be over the head and around your neck respectively. These straps are adjustable for better fit and comfort. To tighten the straps, pull the ends, and push the buckle tab to lose them.
How to choose the right size?
If the respirator doesn’t fit properly, it won’t get any protection from it. It’s unlike buying any other garment item and sizing is rather crucial for a respirator. You will find respirators of different sizes. But generally, there are small, medium, and large respirators. You have to take a tape measurement of your head. Medium-sized respirators would fit for most of the people.
Is it bad to spray painting without a mask?
Without sufficient protection, you have to inhale the vapor of volatile organic compounds and atomized molecules found in the spray paint. These chemicals will penetrate your lungs and airways and it will trigger asthma along with other symptoms. They will also affect your vital organs once they mix with your blood after penetrating your lungs. As a result, you may get severe breathing problems, even cancer if you are exposed to such chemicals for a long time.
Is n95 mask good for spray painting?
No, the n95 mask is not suitable for a paint job. The n95 mask is not oil proof and the mask is able to filter out the 95% of particles from the air and it’s adequate for most woodshop dust, allergen, and airborne diseases. But if you are seeking a mask for spray painting, you will need an r95 or higher rated mask to filter oil-based particles.
How long can an n95 mask be used?
The maximum recommended life period of the n95 mask would be 8 to 12 hours of active use and it should be replaced after that.
If there is one thing invaluable and you can’t put a price tag on, it’s your health and well being. Besides, spray painting respirator & mask is versatile in nature and it can be used in other projects like sanding and dusting. Follow the technical data sheet and safety data sheet to find out any other safety concerns other than respirators.
It’s very important to safeguard your receipt when you are buying your respirator online. Because it is quite common for a customer to receive a different model or wrong product. Even the best online retailers make this mistake quite often. So, when you checkout, look for an option to save and print your order page. An electronic version such as screenshot will suffice, too. With this document, you will be able to claim your product right away, if you receive an unwanted item.