Everyone loves a good craft project, especially when it’s something you can use around the house. Whether it is a painting on the wall, a garden out back, or the family quilt to enjoy together, there is a homely touch about making something with your own two hands that one does not often find in the modern era of mass production.
Despite the relative ease with which nearly any item can be store-bought, people around the world still look to satisfy their creative urges with crafts of all kinds and many of them do indeed decide to put their talents to use customizing their home in some way.
One of the best ways to put your creativity to the test in your household is with woodworking or carpentry of some kind. Unlike such things as paintings or sculptures, a sturdy piece of handmade furniture serves an enormously practical purpose in your house, but still gives it the homemade and rustic touch that is so endearing to many.
Handmade furniture and many other woodworking projects are simpler to repair or replicate than factory bought items, and are often cheaper as well. Additionally, they are one-of-a-kind pieces that only your house will have, making them a talking point and something in which you can take personal pride.
Best Dust Mask For Woodworking Comparison Table
|5. 3M 6300
|10. NASUM 8200
There is a considerable amount of skill required to make a useful piece of furniture: choosing the right wood, finding a design, and nailing it together are only the very tip of the iceberg that you will need to navigate to make a finished woodworking project. In addition to the many more steps that are required before you are ready to display your finished project, each of these steps is practically a science unto itself. Choosing the appropriate wood for example can be influenced by a myriad of factors, and you will often wind up with several possible options from what you will need to select the best one.
They say that it is a poor craftsman who blames his tools, but there is no denying that your tools are at least as much a part of this project as you are. Your song, hammer, and paintbrushes are not planning the project and putting it together, but you wouldn’t have much luck working without them. Towards this end, it is necessary to choose the very best tools you can. Subpar tools do end up with questionable work whatever the old adages might say about it.
A common example of this is when power tools are under discussion – an ever more frequent occurrence – as the technology for building and charging the batteries for them advances. Nearly any tool can now be run on a relatively small electric motor and a heavy-duty battery, allowing you to “ cheat” at handcrafting things by using small machines to almost exactly replicate the results of larger factory equipment.
That is not to say, of course, that some people do not still prefer the small petrol engines that power larger hands tools, such as chainsaws – especially for the initial rough stages of a project, these engines are still quite common. However, for the more delicate later stages, the overwhelming preference of most Woodworkers is for an electric-powered tool of some kind.
Whether you choose to use fossil fuels or electric power in your project, you will rapidly see many advantages over the use of ordinary unpowered tools. What could take hours of work with a simple bow saw is a matter of minutes with a proper reciprocating saw. This process repeats itself in many different ways with the full range of power tools available. No matter what the job is, if a person can do it by hand, the chances are that a machine has been invented to do the task faster and more reliably.
For many in the woodworking field, these tools are a categorical improvement over the hand-powered models that preceded them. Saving time and effort is almost always deemed to be well worth the expense of a power tool. As useful as these devices are, though, they are not without their downsides. Primary among them is safety, as the same saw that can make short work of a thick pipe can shear off a limb just as easily.
Even when used properly, the operator is not necessarily safe from all the side effects of using power tools. A power tool creates sawdust many thousands of times faster than its manual counterpart, and the force of the moving parts can kick it into the air as opposed to allowing it to float harmlessly to the shop floor. Depending on what material is being worked with, and with what tool, this can leave your workshop filled with a haze of particulate matter that is far more dangerous than one might think at first glance.
Wood dust can accumulate on mucous membranes inside the body, such as the throat or nose, and form blockages that can choke a person as they work. Even if they do not stick at the entrances to the body, these particles can make their way to the lungs and accumulate there instead, causing significant damage to the body’s systems and almost impossible to remove without a significant amount of medical attention.
The solution to this, as has been found out by woodworkers over the years, is a simple breath mask fitted over the mouth and nose while one operates a power saw, drill, or any other tool that will create quantities of sawdust. The importance of these masks has risen and a number of them developed over the years, and it can be hard to choose the one that is best suited for keeping you safe without interrupting your job. To help you along, we’ve collected the best dust masks you can use to keep yourself safe when you next head out to your workbench or hobby shop.
Our Best Dust Mask For Woodworking Reviews and Comparisons
This mask uses two integrated air filters to ensure a clean influx of air without the residual particles that can accumulate on the mask surface.
- 2.5 picometer filter
- Multilayer design
- 13.5 cm headband
- 15 cm face shield
What We Like About Colbiz
This mask’s multiple layers allow it to keep different pollutants away based on particle size, with separate filters to catch gaseous, liquid, or solid waste. Fresh air flows through a pair of activated charcoal filters that remove impurities without allowing them to build up in any one layer.
What We Don’t Like About Colbiz
The mask has a seam down the middle that makes it a semi-rigid surface and difficult to properly align with differently shaped faces. The chin in particular can sag deeper than the rest and is hard to fit snugly to the face.
- Sturdy headband
- Dual filters
- Multilayer construction
- Machine washable
- Uncomfortable middle seam
- Headband slips easily
A stiff metal band keeps this mask firmly fitted to the nose and centered on the face.
- Activated carbon filters
- Velcro headband
- .3 micron filter grid
- Machine washable outer shell
What We Like About Ruring
This mask uses removable and disposable filter pads to ensure that no harmful agents accumulate between the filter layers. The air vents are easy to open and close, making it a matter of moments to switch filters and lock the new one in place.
What We Don’t Like About Ruring
The strap design calls for a strap both around the head and over the ears, which is more uncomfortable than most models. The metal nasal bridge can cause significant irritation if you will be doing any work with repetitive body motion, such as sawing or sanding.
- Multiple straps
- Replaceable filters
- Spandex shell for comfortable skin contact
- Two to a pack
- Air vent prevent heat buildup inside the mask
- Uncomfortable nasal bridge
- Awkward strap design
Getting this mask provides you with everything you need for long term use and maintenance.
- .03 microns filter mesh
- Five distinct filtration layers
- Nylon mask shell
- Two-piece filters
What We Like About C&Xanadu
What We Like About C&Xanadu
This mask includes three changes each for filter pads and vents, so you don’t need to worry about getting more or finding a new mask. The filter layers are in the hundredths of microns, so you can rest assured that there is minimal penetration.
What We Don’t Like About C&Xanadu
Unlike some models of a mask, this one does not come with spares or enough units to share around. The nylon outer shell is less elastic than spandex models, so it may be harder to properly adjust.
- Maintenance supplies included
- Two-piece vents that are easy to disassemble, service, and replace
- Less expensive than other models
- CPST certified
- Smaller filters clean air better
- No extra masks, even without pads
- Nylon covering instead of elastic or spandex
Designed for an added measure of comfort while wearing an otherwise restrictive article of clothing, this mask includes padding on the nose and straps that reduce unnecessary friction and chaffing.
- Four filtration layers
- Two ventilation ports
- Nylon outer shell
- Activated charcoal filters
What We Like About AstroAI
One of the chief complaints from those wearing masks is that they press uncomfortably on the relatively soft skin of the face. These masks prevent that with a smooth nylon liner and added padding in areas of high friction.
What We Don’t Like About AstroAI
This mask uses fewer filtration layers than others, making it offer less protection against smaller particles or gasses. The added pads absorb more heat, which can be its own kind of uncomfortable over long periods of time.
- Sub-micron filter
- Weighs less than other masks
- More freely adjustable Velcro straps
- One year warranty
- Removable nose clip
- Fewer filter layers
- Traps heat near the user’s face
5. 3M 6300
3M is perhaps the most recognized brand in safety equipment and is back again with another superb face mask to add to its long line of successful gear.
- Bifurcated plastic head straps
- Thick rubber face seat
- Accepts different grades of filters
- A rigid plastic outer shell
What We Like About 3M 6300
This mask is made for long jobs or dangerous chemicals, both of which can come up in the woodworking process. It features dual bayonet connections for all 3M filtration pads so you can adjust it to the task at hand.
What We Don’t Like About 3M 6300
The added straps can make this model harder to get properly into place than simpler masks, which can be hazardous to someone relying on it to keep their breath clear as they work. It is also far heavier than most masks and will be harder to wear for extended projects.
- Rigid shell gives increased durability
- Easily interchanged filtration pads
- Latex face seat prevents particles slipping in around the mask’s edge
- Straps fitted to the shape of the skull
- Trusted manufacturer
- Less comfortable to wear
- Harder to use properly
Most masks are meant to hide the user; these give you a new way to express yourself while you’re at work.
- Metal nasal bridge
- Five layer filtration pad
- Elastic and silk blended shell
What We Like About KOOLTI
These masks can be used to make a fashion statement as well as keep you safe from the hazards of your workplace. The silk shell serves as an added layer that makes the pads last longer by delivering air that has already been filtered to at least some extent.
What We Don’t Like About KOOLTI
These masks are not washable, and putting them in the laundry may damage the silk layers. Additionally, there are only a limited number of patterns available, so you will need to decide on one before buying.
- Easy to disassemble and change pads
- Flashy exterior
- Sturdy, intuitive ear loops
- Wider nasal bridge for added support
- Additional filters and vents included
- Not advised for anyone who needs a professional appearance
- Cannot be laundered
This mask not only supplies everything you need, it comes with enough spare parts and extra masks to properly protect your entire workshop.
- Five layer filtration pad
- Nylon outer shell
- Activated carbon vent filters
- 2.5 picometer filter mesh
What We Like About NBDIB
It is a common woe of those using masks that there are never enough replacement parts to properly maintain their masks. This pack solves that with enough masks and parts for five people to stay properly protected while woodworking.
What We Don’t Like About NBDIB
The filtration pads in this model are held in place by only the vent connectors, and can easily become crumpled up inside the mask. The metal nasal bridge can come loose while you work, resulting in the mask sliding out of alignment with the rest of your face.
- Plenty of spare parts
- Extra masks included
- Filtered vents
- Strong velcro straps keep the mask in place
- Softened points of contact at the ear and nose
- Unsteady nasal bridge
- Pads not secured well
These masks come in a variety of sedate colors with malleable filter pads that are more easily conformed to the user’s face.
- Single ventilation port
- No nasal seam or bride
- 2.5 picometer filter mesh
- Cotton outer shell
What We Like About Doset
Most masks are at least semi-rigid and have a metal nasal bridge that digs into the user’s face. These are all fabric, making them comfortable to wear and easy to store once you are done with your project.
What We Don’t Like About Doset
The edge of these masks is not well fitted to the average shape of the face. Additionally, there is only one ventilation port, which means they will tend to heat up far faster than masks with two vents.
- Attractive colors
- Natural fibers
- Softer textile model
- Machine washable
- Adjustable ear bands
- Only one ventilation port
- Mask is smaller than most and can slip off easier
These masks are 10 to a pack and easy to use, making them a simple but effective solution to the need for personal protection.
- Cotton outer shell
- Machine washable
- Fixed filtration pad
- No nasal bridge
What We Like About KOSIMI
The natural cotton fibers make this mask far more breathable than many alternatives. It is machine washable as well, so one is all you’ll ever need to buy.
What We Don’t Like About KOSIMI
Fixed filtration pads make it harder for this mask to be cleaned reliably; it is only as sanitary as the last time it was washed. The pads are not multilayer, making the filtration less effective overall.
- Several to one pack
- Machine washable
- Soft on the skin
- Intuitive ear straps
- No way to change filter pads
- Hard to fit snugly to the face
10. NASUM 8200
Some woodworking projects mean working with table saws or dangerous aerosols and preservatives. This mask protects eyes and airways alike, both from the potential fine particles and gasses and from splinters that can be launched by sanders, saws, and other such machines.
- Bifurcated plastic straps
- Dual filtration pads
- Rigid plastic shell
- One-way valve system
What We Like About NASUM 8200
This product has won the prestigious Amazon’s Choice award for being the best in its class at what it does. It is suitable for a wide range of potentially hazardous materials and activities, from woodworking to chemical handling and medical pursuits.
What We Don’t Like About NASUM 8200
Most woodworking projects do not require this level of protection, making it an unnecessary and cumbersome piece of equipment for the majority of woodworkers. It is also far more complicated than most to use and maintain, and can be ineffective if either one is executed incorrectly.
- Categorically greater degree of protection
- Replaceable filters
- One-way valves reduce contamination risk
- Durable hard plastic shell
- Comfortable plastic and silicone straps
- Complicated to use and maintain
- Overcompensates for most of the dangers of woodworking
Final Verdict: AstroAI
This mask addresses one of the most important things about breath protection – user comfort. Most masks out there are fairly unpleasant to use and can be hard to get properly aligned with your face. This one snugs well to the shape of the jaw and has extra padding and different materials to lower chafing.
Although it is not the most complete protection for a woodworker, it is the best general choice. Naturally, when using something more hazardous than this mask can stop, be sure to switch out for a better piece of protective equipment.
Getting a mask should be preceded by measuring your head, both with your mouth open and closed, to get a proper indication of what size of mask you will need to be looking for. The mask should make enough room in front of your mouth and nose to talk comfortably, but not allow space between your skin and the edge. Choose a model with adjustable straps to make sure you can get it properly placed on your head.
Getting a mask with disposable filters is the way to make sure that our filters don’t begin to accumulate harmful particles or debris. Simply note the manufacturer and model of your mask, and you should be able to find filters or vents for that exact mask with relative ease. To make them last longer, take your mask off immediately upon finishing your work and store it away from the workbench.
If you elect to buy a mask with washable filtration pads, make sure they are machine washable and not only hand wash; machine laundering can clear considerably more pollutants off of your filters than anyone can get by hand. Once it’s out of the wash, seal it in a clean and impermeable container or put it back inside the mask as quickly as possible to prevent contamination from the surrounding environment.
Knowing what materials you will be working with is vitally important for buying a mask, and can realistically affect what grade of mask you are shopping for. For woodworking alone, you can probably make do with a fairly coarse filtration pad, or even a single layer or disposable mask. Using paint or a gas-powered tool will necessitate a far more effective filter; working with aerosol of any kind is a similar risk, and requires similar equipment.
Before getting your mask, it is well worth the time to learn how to properly replace the filters and vents. Improperly placing either one can leave you dangerously exposed to the particles against which you are trying to protect yourself, and should be avoided if at all possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
Some of these masks seem far more serious than the others, with attached goggles or more advanced filtration. How do I know how much protection I really need to be wearing?
When your breath is on the line, it can be tempting to seriously overprotect; there are, after all, some things that one does not leave to chance. As important as it is to take care of your airways, though, you don’t need to drive yourself mad over it – properly executed woodworking can be done with relatively light protection.
Masks are rated by the width of the holes in the filter, often measured in nanometers. The smaller the holes, the more protection the mask is affording you.
The main danger in woodworking is the fine sawdust generated by power saws and drills. This dust is far smaller than that created by manual tools and is more likely to hang in the air and be inhaled. Because it is a solid, visible particle, it can be kept out by a relatively simple mask such as the cupped versions seen in medical settings. Such particles will not fit through any but the coarsest filters on the market.
Things get more complicated when working with hazardous gas or aerosol, such as near a generator or with a paint atomizer, which create gaseous particles that are both smaller and more mobile than sawdust. These particles will slide through the gaps between skin and mask more easily than solid particles, and necessitate a mask with an improved rubber face seat or active air filter mouthpiece.
Depending on exactly what you are working with, you may want to select a model that comes with eye protection as well, as some substances can be harmful to eyes as well as airways. Check the labeling of hazardous substances to be sure what to wear while handling them.
I use some of the cheaper masks. Do I need to dispose of them after one use or is it safe to reuse them a number of times?
This is a common misconception when woodworking masks are confused for the medical masks they strongly resemble. In a medical setting, the mask needs to be as sterile as anything else, both inside and out, and so they are changed after every procedure at the absolute least. For woodworkers, the main thing is that particles can’t get through. This can be accomplished by an old or new mask alike.
Whether old or new, it’s worth keeping in mind that the main force drawing pollutants into your mask is the suction from your inhalations. It is far less common for a mask to accumulate pollutants simply by being in the open air. For this reason, make sure to keep your mask off unless you need it, and wash it or replace the filtration pads as soon as possible after significant periods of use or use near large concentrations of contaminants.
Public health concerns or medical procedures can cause people to wear a mask on a daily basis. Are these masks suitable for such needs?
This is heavily dependent on what the health concern in question is; for instance, many people in heavily urban areas have begun to don masks during their daily commute to protect themselves against the increased pollution found in large cities. Because this pollution tends to be made of smoke, dust, and other fine particulates in the air, These masks are likely to be fine enough to filter them out.
Medical concerns, on the other hand, can be dangerous in even the small quantities of air that enter around the edge of the mask, even relatively few malicious microorganisms can cause a serious infection or disease. Additionally, the pathogens in question can easily be transferred from the mask to your hands when you touch the mask, even once you are no longer out in public.
Most medical protective equipment is disposable for just that reason. It assures healthcare professionals a fresh, clean mask each time. If you suspect a medical issue of any kind for which you think a mask might be necessary, consult a healthcare professional immediately and follow only qualified medical advice on how you should handle your affairs until the concern has abated.