A paint respirator is a necessary investment.
Many paints contain harmful vapors that can enter your lungs. When you paint, atomized molecules can enter your airway. Some vapors may cause asthma-like symptoms when they are inhaled.
You need a spray paint mask before you start spraying.
Top-Rated Paint Respirator Chart
Paint respirator masks come in a variety of sizes and styles because every project has unique characteristics that must be considered. Frankly, we just don’t trust the products or certifications that are coming from brands we don’t recognize i.e. random Chinese Products. This is your health and you should go with a tried and true brand.
These options are the best respirators for spray painting.
Best Paint Respirator
- DIRECTS EXHALED BREATH DOWNWARD
- Meets requirements of ANSI Z87.1 2010 for high impact (Z87+)
- For paint vapors, dust, mold, and chemicals
- Buy your own filters
The 3M 6800 is a workhorse. You can use it for paint vapors, dust, mold, and chemicals.
Grab filters while your at it so you don’t have to worry about the stock being sold out at a later date.
It’s lightweight so you won’t get a sore neck or upper back while wearing it. During testing we loved the 3M cool flow valve paired with the center adapter that directs your breath downwards. The lens didn’t fog up at all.
We found that the distortion from the lens was minimal as we moved around our project and that’s due to the optical correction that 3M built into this model. We weren’t limited by the field of vision, which can happen with some masks.
The silicone face seal provided us with a tight barrier against the fumes and was comfortable at the same time. We found that a medium fits most men and a small is perfect for a woman’s face.
When changing out your filters, keep an eye out for the pink rubber gasket that goes under the filter: it can stick to your old filters and you will throw it out by mistake.
Buy your own filters to customize this mask. The facepiece works with these approved 3M filters and accessories: 2071, 2076HF, 2078, 2091/07000, 2096, 2097/07184, 2291, 2296, 2297, 7093, 7093C/37173, 603, 5N11, 5P71/07194, 501, and 502. It also works with the following 3M Cartridges 6000 Series: 6001, 6001i, 6002, 6003, 6004, 6005, 6006, 6009, 60921, 60921i, 60922, 60923, 60924, 60925, 60926, 60928, and 60929S.
Best Selling Full Face Paint Mask
- Includes 1 reusable respirator/facepiece, 2 organic vapor cartridges, 4 P95 oil proof filters, 2 filter retainers and 2 face shield covers
- Reusable design
- Changeable filters and cartridges
- Rated for Paint Fumes
If you’re looking for a complete level of protection that doesn’t involve safety glasses, then this 3M respirator is a premium option to consider. Fogging is non existent with this 3M paint respirator.
In the box, you’ll receive 4 P95 filters (rated for oil based particulates), 2 organic vapor cartridges, and two face shield covers. There are two filter retainers shipped as well. In return, you will receive the specific protection you need for your painting and spraying project. Buy more filters HERE.
This mask only comes in one size. As long as your hat size is smaller than 8 ¼, you’ll be able to wear this respirator comfortably. Please note that this mask doesn’t accommodate folks that have to wear glasses.
There’s even enough space to wear your prescription glasses and still have the mask seal properly. That gives it the final nudge into the best respirator for painting category. This mask may be expensive, but if you’re a DIYer, hardcore renovator, or a professional painter, this mask will last for years and perform above most others.
Paint Respirator: Editor’s Reviews
- P-95 Cartridges included
- Up to 8 hours protection
- NIOSH Approved
- Solvent and Particulate respirator
- Good for Auto Paint Applications
This NIOSH approved model is for particulates and solvents, so it can handle just about any environment you can throw at it. Please note that this unit is disposable. You can’t replace the vapor filter, only the thin particulate filter.
Replaceable filters do not work with this mask. If you need a paint mask for 1 time use, this would be perfect. This half facepiece respirator is an ideal choice for intermittent use. For repeated use, pick another paint mask from our list.
Comes with P-95 cartridges rated for oil based particulates and covers as shown in the image above. NIOSH Approved. Use for a variety of applications including spray painting, pesticides, construction.
Receive up to 8 hours of breathing protection, even in an environment where there are concentrated solvents, such as oil-based primer or paint.
The weight of this 3M model is still good at 8 ounces, The medium or large sizing will fit just about everyone. Because this model is disposal, we think some folks may not find this mask useful.
- Med and large sizes
- Particulate Mask: Best for sanding and Dust
- Can wear your safety glasses
- Comes with 2 filters
- P100 – rated for oil based particulates
- Half Mask
Miller Electric gets all the basics right. This particulate mask fits most folks and comes with P100 filters. The filters block 100% of oil based particulate.
This P100 paint respirator mask comes in medium and large sizing. Use this mask when sanding or in a dusty environment rather than for painting.
It is light enough that it doesn’t feel like your sinuses are being compressed. And sturdy enough that a consistent seal is maintained.
You can wear goggles or safety glasses over the respirator comfortably as well. It protects against fumes, debris, and certain types of dust that you may encounter while working on your next painting project.
Two P100 filters come with the respirator out of the box. Once you’ve finished, vacuum out the filters and you’re ready to go again.
- NIOSH approved
- Filters not Included
- Buy any 3M filters you want to suit your jobs
- Exhalation Valve directs breathe downwards
- Silicon Face seal
- Quick Latch Straps to take off mask easier
This 3m respirator is one of the few HEPA half-mask respirators that you’ll find on the market that is both affordable and comfortable.
The filtering efficiency is rated for liquid and solid aerosols, including oils. It is NIOSH approved. This facepiece is compatible with all 3M bayonet-style filters and cartridges to help provide respiratory protection against a variety of gases, vapors, and particulate hazards (i.e., dust, paint aerosols, etc.) according to NIOSH approvals. Buy filters here.
This 3M respirator is oil proof and blocks 99.97% of all particles that are 0.3 microns in diameter or larger. Bonus is that this mask is compatible with a welding shield for those that need this mask for welding.
This mask comes in small, medium and large, so everyone should be able to find the size that fits them best. That being said, most men folk will fit a medium, and ladies should try the small.
You’ll need to replace the cartridges and the filter about once every 6 months for best results. Considering the price and what it can do, this is easily one of the best deals that is on the market today.
- NIOSH Approved
- Filters not included
- Buy any 3M filters you want to suit your jobs
- Exhale valve prevents heat build up from your breath
- Silicone Seal
- 1 touch removal latch
This respirator is designed with painting in mind. It offers a swept-back design that keeps the half-mask away from your spray without compromising how you can breathe. Bayonet style cartridges are not included with this half face respirator: go and buy yourself the correct ones.
This unit can be used with the following cartridges:
- 3M 6000 series
- 2000, 2200 series
- 7000 series
- 5000 series
- 3M Dual Airline Systems
You have high levels of visibility with this 3M mask. It also stays comfortable during long periods of wear and fits quite well due to the silicon seal.
The included exhale valve prevents heat buildup within the mask and your nose doesn’t hurt from the pressure as you wear it. The Cool Flow valve helps keep you cool and makes breathing easier.
- NOISH Approved
- Compatible with all 3M bayonet style cartridges and filters
- Comes with storage bag
This reusable respirator mask provides comfort and convenience for a reasonable price. This unit is great for light use, DIYers, and hobbyists.
One of the advantages of this particular series is that the models can be cleaned, disassembled, and reused so that the value it provides can continue. This unit doesn’t come with the 3M Cool Flow Valve like most of the others on this list, but you’re saving money on this mask.
It is NIOSH approved for negative pressure air purifying. It has supplied air dual airline applications. At the same time, the seal on the face is comfortable and soft.
You can use and attach a wide variety of different filters and respirator cartridges to this spray paint mask. It can be used it as a chemical respirator mask, a particulate respirator or a spray paint respirator. Please note that this mask doesn’t come with any filters. You should also purchase the proper filters for your project at the same time by clicking this link. This unit is compatible with all 3M bayonet style cartridges and filters.
The head straps are adjustable for a maximum level of comfort and protection as well. In return, your exposure to numerous contaminants is instantly reduced. Always do a positive pressure test to ensure a proper seal on your mask before you start any projects.
Paint Respirator Mask Buyer’s Guide
Should I wear a Mask While Painting?
Do you need a respirator for painting? Yes! No matter what method you’re using to apply your paint: brush, roller, or paint sprayer, paint gives off fumes. Even the low VOC paints give off fumes.
When spraying paint, the paint is atomized, which means your sprayer mixes the paint with air into fine droplets. Your sprayer then sprays the paint into the air and onto your surface.
This paint mist gets into the air around you. What happens if you spray paint without a mask? If you’re not wearing a paint respirator mask, you will breathe in the paint mist and it will get into your lungs. This can cause all sorts of health problems. Protect your health and invest in a paint mask.
How Does a Paint Mask Work?
Paint masks protect you by using various types of filters to remove harmful vapors and airborne paint mist from the air that you breathe. The filters trap the nasty crap flying around in the air. This ensures that the air you’re breathing while painting is safe and free of any harmful substances.
Remember that a paint mask works to specifically filter out nasty paint fumes, vapors, and mist so a mask made for sanding or dust won’t do the job.
Mask Ratings and What They Mean
Make sure that your mask and your filters provide you with the protection you need for the paint medium that you’ll be using. There are a few categories of filters that are labelled with N, R, and P.
N: Not oil-proof (Not for use with paint and paint vapors)
R: Oil resistant
P: Oil proof
The number on filters are 95, 97 or 100, which means the percentage of one-micrometer particles removed during research and testing by certification bodies. A 95 rating means that the filter removes 95% of particles, for example an N95 mask removes 95% of non oil-based particulates from the air.
What Type of Paint Respirator Do I Need?
The goal of a paint respirator or mask is to make sure you can still keep breathing easily. Even if there are vapors, paint molecules, or chemical contaminants in your immediate vicinity.
A paint mask guards against the nuisance contaminants that are in your environment. For example, dust, pollen, and other non-toxic particles.
Paint respirators are required to provide protection against vapors and harmful chemicals. Some models may even protect against mold spores and other small contaminants.
You need a specific type of respirator filter, such as a vapor-resistant model, for specific results. Here are the common types of breathing masks that are available and the reasons why you may wish to consider them.
Dust Breathing Mask
This type of breathing protection is effective against solid particles, such as pollen or dust. However, it will not protect against vapors or chemicals. Bare minimum is an N95 rating.
Do not choose this option as a respirator for spray painting. It isn’t a mask for paint fumes.
It is considered a particulate respirator which means it only provides protection to block sawdust and fiberglass strands from entering air passageways. Again, N95 will work here.
What Respirator Should I Use for Painting?
Here are a few types of respirators that are made specifically for protecting yourself from paint fumes. Always choose a paint respirator filter, cartridge or mask that is rated at least R95.
Combination Respirator Mask
This option will protect against vapors, gases, and solid particles. It can be used in multiple configurations.
They tend to be heavy and can produce neck strain for prolonged wearing periods. But they are the best option for solvent and paint vapors.
Latex Paint Respirator
A latex paint mask may be called a “mask,” but it functions like a respirator. It protects against nuisance odors and is effective against solid particles and latex paint. It is lightweight and comfortable.
This is not the type of spray mask for environments where noxious vapors are present.
Gas and Vapor Respirator for Fumes
This type of respirator mask protects against harmful vapors and gases. But doesn’t filter particles like dust or pollen. It uses chemical cartridges and filters to provide protection. However, these filters will need to be replaced.
Therefore, regular inspections are necessary to ensure the equipment, including your respirator cartridges are working properly. If you need a gas mask for painting, this is the type you will be looking for.
Full Face Vs. Half Face Vs. Disposable: Which Respirator Should You Buy
Mostly, this is about personal preference. If you wear glasses, you are typically having to chose a half face mask. Most full face masks don’t accommodate people wearing glasses under the mask.
Half face mask may be lighter than a full face mask, so if you have neck problems, this may also be another reason to choose this style.
Disposable masks come in full and half face. This may be a good choice for you if you only need to use the mask a few times and then never again. But, it can also be considered throwing money away when you can get a reusable half face for around the same price.
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Features to Look for In a Paint Respirator Mask
No fog lens
Having your lens fog up while working sucks. Find a mask that has anti or no fog protection built into the lens. Some 3M masks have exhalation vents that draw warm breathe downwards to prevent fog on your lens. We love that feature.
Make sure the straps are adjustable so that your mask forms a good seal on your face. Otherwise, you won’t be getting the level of protection you think you are.
Can Attach a Variety of Filters
Some masks like 3M models, allow you to attach many different types of filters, so you can customize your reusable mask for each job you encounter.
We should warn you that having a beard of any considerable length will mean that you can’t form a decent seal between your face and your paint mask.
Make sure that the silicone of whatever is sealing your mask is in good shape and really seals up when you tighten your paint mask. Do a positive pressure test to be 100% sure of the seal.
NIOSH and HEPA certified
These 2 certifications ensure a level of protection that will keep you safe. Make sure that your protected by double checking the certifications of the paint mask that you plan on buying.
Doesn’t get too Hot
Make sure your paint mask respirator comes equipped with proper ventilation so that you don’t get hot while working. Wearing a paint mask all day and getting hot, is not the ideal situation.
Fits Safety Goggles or Glasses
Honestly, most full face paint masks don’t allow you to wear glasses under the mask. That is definitely a downside. If you really need your glasses to see, invest in a half face paint mask and some safety goggles.
The lighter the paint respirator mask, the easy it will be to wear on your face for long periods of time.
Correct Filters are Included
If the paint mask respirator that you buy comes with filers, double check that they are the right ones for your job.
If you need to use a mask on a consistent basis, make sure the paint mask you buy is reusable. Some of them are 1 use only and you can’t replace the filters.
What Paint Respirator Mask Should You Choose?
We recommend choosing a paint mask that fits a ton of different filters rather than one that is only good for blocking one type of vapor, fume or air borne particulate. Conquer latex projects with one filter, oil based paint fumes with another, and then slap on a dust filter for sanding.
You’ll be able to tackle a ton of different DIY projects with the one mask. This will save you time and money in the long run.
What Mask Protects Against Paint Fumes?
It’s not the mask itself that protects against paint fumes, its the cartridge or filter that you choose. You need a specific type of respirator filter, such as a vapor-resistant model, to protect against paint fumes.
P100 filters are perfect for protecting you from both oil and latex based paint fumes and airborne paint mist. Along with n100 filters, they filter out 99.7% of airborne particles.
How Do I Know What Filters or Cartridges I Have?
Many of the best spray paint masks that protect against painting vapors and chemicals use cartridges or filters. They are used to block the potentially harmful substance.
If it is enclosed within a metal shell, it is called a “canister” instead. Most respirators for spray painting offer a system where a cartridge or canister is available on both sides of the mask.
To avoid confusion about what filters, cartridges, or canisters can protect against, in the United States, OSHA has required a system of color coding for these products.
That means you know what type of spray painting respirator you have, based on the color of the cartridge.
- Black cartridges provide protection against organic vapors.
- Blue cartridges offer protection against carbon monoxide.
- Orange cartridges indicate protection against mists, fumes, and dust.
- Yellow cartridges are rated to protect against organic vapors and acidic gas.
Some filters, respirator cartridges, or canisters are designated as a HEPA product. This designation indicates that it will protect air passageways from particles that are as small as 0.3 microns.
You must be careful when reading the manufacturer’s description of HEPA mask products.
Many manufacturers describe non-HEPA filters as being “HEPA-like” in quality. However, this is not an official HEPA designation. You will not receive the particle support in a HEPA-like cartridge as you would with an actual HEPA filter mask product.
If you need this type of particulate respirator protection, seek out a genuine HEPA mask.
Paint Respirator Safety Tips
Here are two quick list of safety items to check before using your paint mask and how to care and maintain it.
What to Check When Using Your Mask or Paint Respirator the First Time
Even the best respirator in the world will not work properly if they are not fitted correctly. To receive an effective filtration experience, a proper fit is 100% necessary.
Here are the steps you can take to ensure your paint respirator mask levels remain consistently safe.
- Make sure that your spray mask or respirator covers your mouth and nose at all times.
- Do a positive pressure test to ensure a proper seal has been achieved before you start on your projects.
- If your mask or respirator is loose, then a proper seal cannot be achieved. Tighten the straps or indicated adjustment items until the safety product is no longer loose.
- Replace a cartridge, canister, or filter if it appears damaged in any way.
- Regularly inspect your spraying mask for wear and tear.
- Routinely check the filters, respirator cartridges or canisters to make sure they are in working order. Most filters become more and more difficult to breathe through when they need to be changed.
Care and Maintenance of Your Paint Respirator Mask
There is a checklist of things you should look for each time you use your paint respirator.
- Inspect it each time for cracked, torn, broken, missing or worn parts, including the straps and valves
- Check the face piece for holes and tears
- Look out for loose fitting lenses and missing gaskets, valves and broken O rings
- Make sure it fits snugly and the edges are not rippled
- Make sure you have all your mounting clips for a full facepiece respirator
- Ensure the harness is still elastic and will not break
- Clean off all dust that would keep the mask from forming a tight seal
- Double check that the filter is screwed on properly and that the threads aren’t worn
Repair, Cleaning and Storage
Always follow the manufacturers instructions for what to use to clean your mask. Usually, you would wash it with a mild detergent and warm water. Rinse it really well and dry it on a rack.
Make sure that the rubber on the face piece isn’t resting on something; this will cause it to set crooked when it dries, making your mask useless.
Store it in a place that is free from dust, sunlight and extreme heat/cold/moisture. Clean it after each use and don’t mix parts between different manufacturers.
Can a Full Face Paint Respirator be Used for Long Hours?
Full time painters use these masks for hours every day. That’s why its important to take into consideration the comfort level of a mask before you buy it. It should be lightweight, form a good seal, not fog up, and the straps shouldn’t give you a headache from needing to be on tightly.
How Long do Organic Vapor Cartridges and Filters Last?
It depends on how often you’re using your paint mask as to how fast your cartridges/filters need to be changed. A DIYer or hobbyist will find that their filters last a long time: commercial painters will need to check and replace their filters a ton to ensure their safety.
If you’ve left your filters sitting for a period of time, the carbon within the filters degrades and the filters do need to be replaced. 3M recommends doing this 6 months after you’ve opened up the filters. I recommend that DIYers write the expiry date directly onto the filters with a Sharpie pen.
Are There Different Sizes for Paint Masks?
Most paint respirators come in small, medium and large sizing. Typically, a medium fits most people, and large is for people with bigger heads. Read the reviews to get an idea of the sizing from other painters.
Do People get Headaches from Wearing Paint Masks?
Yes, people can get headaches from wearing paint masks and its for one of two reasons, or both. Usually the straps are just too tight on the paint respirator you’re using. Try loosening up the straps without breaking the seal of the mask and see if that helps. The second cause is because the mask is too heavy, creating tension on your head and neck. You may need to invest in a smaller half face mask or a lightweight full face paint respirator to stop the headaches.
Paint Respirator Ratings
One of the easiest ways to ensure that you’re receiving a top-quality painting mask or respirator is to purchase an item that has been given an Assigned Protection Factor rating by OSHA.
For instance, most dust masks have an APF rating of 10. Some half-mask respirators have the same APF rating. In comparison, a full face paint mask or respirator may have an APF rating of 50.
Do N95 Masks Work for Painting?
Are painters masks the same as N95? N95 is made for filtering airborne particles that are not oil based. This covers dust, sanding, allergens, etc. A true painters mask will be rated R95; the R means the mask is rated to handle all of the above plus oil based particles.
What is a Positive Pressure Test and Paint Respirator?
A positive pressure respirator maintains positive air pressure inside the facepiece of the mask while you’re wearing it. A positive pressure test should be performed each time you use your paint respirator.
Steps to perform a positive pressure test:
- Place palm of your hand over the exhalation valve cover and exhale gently
- Facepiece should bulge slightly
- If air leaks between the face and the face seal, reposition the mask for a more secure seal
- Repeat the above tests until there are no air leaks, that means you’ve achieved a proper seal and can start painting
NIOSH Certification and Paint Respirators
Here is a link to a CDC searchable data base to verify that the paint respirator you’re buying is verified true NIOSH certified. We aren’t the experts in NIOSH certification but encourage you to check out this link for details.
Is p100 Filter Good For Painting?
Yes, p100 filters are perfect for protecting you from both oil and latex based paint fumes and airborne paint mist. Along with n100 filters, they filter out 99.7% of airborne particles.
If you’re going to be using your breathing protection a ton, you should think about buying replacement filters and cartridges up front. Here is a quick list of some options you can get online:
- Organic Vapor
- Multi Purpose Cartridges
- Multi Gas Vapor
- Particulate Filters P100, Fits 3M 6000 series and 7500 series half and full face respirators
What to Budget for a Paint Respirator Mask
Painting masks and respirators operate on a “what you pay for is what you get” principle. In other words, you could purchase dust masks for under $10 and receive zero vapor prevention support.
The danger in this category is that you could feel protected when you really were unprotected against the most harmful vapors of the paint.
If you plan on painting a small project, then a disposable respirator is an option. These are about $40, sometimes less, and will give you enough vapor and particle resistance to get most jobs finished.
However, for those who have bigger jobs or paint professionally, a full facepiece reusable respirator is the best option. Pricing is generally over $100 for these respirators and replacement cartridges or canisters may be $30-$50.
You will also have the best possible protection with this investment.
What is the Best Mask for Spray Painting?
The Premium Editor’s Choice Paint Mask, 3M Respirator is the best choice available on the market today. It’s a bit pricey, but it’s lightweight, fits well, and can be used for a ton of projects. With this workhorse, you’re never going to have to buy another respirator.
It is important to know what your projects requirements are before purchasing a respirator. A paint respirator will make sure that your lungs stay healthy while you create a happy environment.
3M Respirator Full facepiece with its P95 filters and how it fits almost anyone, even those with glasses.
Pick up a respirator that protects against vapors, gases and solid particles. You would be looking for an R95, P95 rating and higher.
Yes! Even when using a brush or roller, your paint is “off gasing” and paint fumes are entering the air and getting into your lungs!
- Top-Rated Paint Respirator Chart
- Best Paint Respirator
- 3M 6800 Respirator
- Best Selling Full Face Paint Mask
- 3M Paint Respirator
- Paint Respirator: Editor's Reviews
- 3M Dual Cartridge Paint Respirator
- Miller Electric
- 3M Paint Respirator Mask Multipurpose
- 3M Half Face Paint Respirator
- 3M 6000 Series
- Paint Respirator Mask Buyer's Guide
- Should I wear a Mask While Painting?
- How Does a Paint Mask Work?
- Mask Ratings and What They Mean
- What Type of Paint Respirator Do I Need?
- What Respirator Should I Use for Painting?
- Full Face Vs. Half Face Vs. Disposable: Which Respirator Should You Buy
- Join our Email List for more Tips and Info!
- Features to Look for In a Paint Respirator Mask
- What Paint Respirator Mask Should You Choose?
- What Mask Protects Against Paint Fumes?
- How Do I Know What Filters or Cartridges I Have?
- Paint Respirator Safety Tips
- What to Check When Using Your Mask or Paint Respirator the First Time
- Care and Maintenance of Your Paint Respirator Mask
- Can a Full Face Paint Respirator be Used for Long Hours?
- How Long do Organic Vapor Cartridges and Filters Last?
- Are There Different Sizes for Paint Masks?
- Do People get Headaches from Wearing Paint Masks?
- Paint Respirator Ratings
- Do N95 Masks Work for Painting?
- What is a Positive Pressure Test and Paint Respirator?
- NIOSH Certification and Paint Respirators
- Is p100 Filter Good For Painting?
- What to Budget for a Paint Respirator Mask
- What is the Best Mask for Spray Painting?
- Quick FAQs