You can survive 2 weeks without food, around 4 days without water, and only minutes without air.
So if you're looking for reasons to have the best gas mask on hand to save your life or just need one for home projects, you only really need one, and that's your life my friend.
But where are you going to find these masks with the best quality and also for the best price? Also how will you know that what you've paid is really buying the best? After all, you've probably never bought gas masks before, so we've done the research for you and polled buyers who shared the good the bad and the ugly to tell us which gas masks were the best!
Quick list of what we'll be looking at
Why would you need a gas mask?
That might be a naive question, but it's one you should ask yourself if you're willing to spend the money on one, right? So why do you need one, are you preparing for biological warfare, volcanic ash covering the earth, wildfires polluting the air? You need to know these things in order to make the best buying decision.
We forget that us humans can do a lot of stuff to mess up our breathing quality. Whether that's woodworking in a not so ventilated area, doing inspections in places that are less than sanitary, or painting the inside/outside of the house with a spray gun.
Having a gas mask can come in handy if you're a handy man ;)
This is the most pressing of all the possibilities of needing a gas mask. With the invention of mustard gas in the first world war, the deadliness of man made gases hasn't subsided much.
And with the development of technology there are some pretty nasty things that can be done with a gas canister. From planting diseases, causing blindness, and a host of other unpleasantries, a gas mask would be a handy thing to have just in case.
Among all the natural disasters that loom over our heads on a daily basis, the threat of a volcanic explosion or sulfuric geyser going off in certain parts of the world are a threat to the air we breathe. Literally.
Just the explosion from one of these natural forces would be enough to decimate a population surrounding it, but it's the after effects that the majority of the world needs to be ready for. Because these forces will spout all sorts of noxious fumes into the atmosphere, the winds will carry them far and wide, and before we know it the air is so thick with soot or gas that we can't breathe to save our lives.
Not to mention that it will bring on almost permanent night-time darkness, making proper vision hard to come by.
If you're a firefighter of any kind (thank you for your service first and foremost!), you know the dangers of smoke inhalation. The masks the firefighters wear aren't to keep their faces cool or just to complete the outfit, their masks supply life giving oxygen because the air has been sucked out by the fire or the smoke is too thick to breathe.
Yes it is attached to an air tank, but for a brief time you'll be able to survive with a mask filled with condensed air.
And since our planet is starving for water more and more each year, the threat of wildfires is increasing exponentially.
What makes a gas mask the best?
There's a lot to consider when buying your mask, and the fact that movies and tv have made them almost comical and a parody makes it hard to find one that actually works and isn't just a prop. However, there are a few things that are easily distinguishable when surveying the best ones.
Make sure it's NBC marked/approved
NBC (Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical) approval is paramount when buying your mask. As we said earlier, most masks are just props now so make sure yours meets these requirements. If it is truly NBC approved there should be designated spots for WORKING respirators.
If there's just a solid case, then you know you don't have the real thing.
Ease of use to use a gas mask
This sounds basic, but it's important. There are parents in the gulf war who killed their children because they didn't realize they had to remove the cover on the carbon filter of the mask.
You don't just strap it on when you think one of the kids are sick, even though we've all been there, but you keep it safe and decontaminated so it's ready for when it really counts. Like when it's been broadcasted that a natural disaster has happened miles away and you have time to prepare.
One thing to keep in mind is that the gas mask won't work if you're already exposed before you put it on in a chemical warfare situation.
Does your mask have a one use filter?
To keep masks from becoming contaminated after use, some producers make these masks for one use and that's it. While that's smart it might not be that cost efficient for the consumer. So when you're shopping around make sure you find masks that are reusable.
Obviously all the masks that we will be recommending are for multiple uses.
SAS Safety 7650-61 Opti-Fit Full-face APR Respirator
For most people, the silicone finish on the sides of the face piece sealed the deal for comfort when wearing the mask for long periods of time. The nose guard helps to reduce the fogging in the face mask. This is an extremely popular choice if you're doing some DIY stuff around the house, when it comes to saving your life in a natural disaster, there's been no real tests done.
The debate on if this mask is truly a comfortable fit while wearing glasses rages on, but from what we've seen from those who've bought it, the overwhelming majority haven't had a problem with the fit while wearing glasses. Click here to get yours
3M Full Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6700, Respiratory Protection
When it comes to reusability and an increased field of view, no one does it better than 3M! The wrapped shape of the mask surrounds your face and makes peripheral vision a possibility when wearing a gas mask. Also the facets for air filters on either side allow you to just switch filters when needed, and not replace the whole mask.
While the shape contours to your face, the mask itself can be rather stiff. Not so stiff that it's meant to fit only one person, but stiff enough to cause some discomfort and make the seal around the face compromised. Wearing glasses with this mask is not recommended with the stiffness. Click here to get yours.
SGP Israeli Style Civilian Protective Gas Mask
The israeli style gas mask is usually what people think of when they think disaster preparedness. For one it's one of the most popular because of the price. At under $20, whereas most useful masks are over $100, the israeli gas mask is the bare bones in functional gas masks. And if you're goal is to terrify the neighbors then this should do the trick!
One problem people have been having when they buy these masks from amazon is that the air filters are expired. Which isn't good business, but also doesn't render the mask useless, all you have to do is go buy a new air filter which should cost less than the mask itself. Click here to get yours