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Personal Protective Equipment Respirators

Best Dust Masks for Mowing (2021): Complete Review and Buyer’s Guide

Spring brings with it a whirlwind of dust and pollen that are just waiting to lodge in your nose and mouth to trigger your allergies. Sadly, spring is also the time to mow your lawn, so tough luck if you’ve got allergies. Be it seasonal rhinitis or asthma, side effects are guaranteed if you take on mowing without the right gear.

We’ve definitely made that mistake before, thinking we could just inhale all that dust without facing repercussions only to be sorely mistaken when we were stuck with breathing issues, itchy eyes, and runny noses. If you’re reading this, chances are you too know how bad it can get when you undertake this strenuous task without a mask.

This is why we took the time to test a bunch of masks so we didn’t have to repeat the same mistake again. We picked five of the most effective, form-fitting, comfortable, breathable, and reusable masks so you can stay healthy when mowing your lawn with ease. Read ahead to breathe freely while staying protected. Your lungs will thank you later!

Best Dust Mask for Mowing-Our Top 5 Reviews

01 Achiou Neck Gaiter Face Mask Scarf  (Best Overall)

Achiou Neck Gaiter Face Mask Scarf

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Achiou is a brilliant neck gaiter that doubles as a dust mask for mowing. Not only is it adept at protecting users from dust and pollen, but it is also highly comfortable and breathable. Along with that, it is also a super inexpensive option for anyone who wants to mow their yard in style and simultaneously prevent allergic reactions.

Our Experience with the Achiou Neck Gaiter

  • This mask was highly breathable, soft, durable, washable, comfortable, and overall a great choice for mowing.
  • It was great at keeping dust, pollen, and grass away from our faces. The fabric is thin but it can be layered to provide increased protection. It kept our allergies at bay so we were pretty satisfied with the Achiou’s performance.
  • It also provided adequate sun protection. Since it covered our necks along with half the face, it had a large coverage area and protected us from harsh UV rays.
  • We could mow our yards without experiencing excessive sweating. The comfortable fabric prevented our skin from overheating even on warm days.
  • Our breathing did not feel restricted while wearing this as a mask. We could freely breathe and go about our tasks for long periods without feeling worn down or fatigued.
  • Even when we sweat, the fabric could wick the moisture quickly so we didn’t have any uncomfortable sweat dripping down our faces.
  • The gaiter was also versatile enough to be used for activities other than mowing. For example, it’s also perfectly suitable for hiking, fishing, and even cycling.
  • We could simply put it in the washing machine and it was ready to be used again. Due to the sturdy material, the fabric didn’t wear out despite frequent use. We appreciated this feature quite a lot as we could keep using this mask several times and didn’t have to waste money on purchasing replacements.
  • It was also easy to slip the mask on and off. When not in use, we could just keep it on our necks until we needed to use it again.
  • The brand offers a variety of colors and patterns to choose from. We appreciated the diversity as it gave us plenty of choices and improved our overall sales experience. While the purpose of a mask for mowing is effectively filtering out dust particles, it’s also nice to be able to pair up a fashionable mask with our outfits.
  • The gaiter was inexpensive and came with plenty of handy features for those of us who have to strive under the hot sun to mow large areas of land. We could complete our tasks without our allergies acting up, and that’s all we can really ask for in a dust mask.

What We Didn’t Like

  • It has universal sizing, so it fits the average user but not every user.

What Could be Improved

  • More sizes could be available to cater to users that don’t have average-sized heads.

Specifications

  • Color & Pattern Options: 28
  • Material: 88% Chinlon, 10% Spandex & 2% Nylon
  • Size: One Size Fits All

Pros

  • Durable
  • Soft
  • Comfortable
  • Breathable
  • Washable
  • Moisture-wicking
  • Provides sun protection
  • Reusable
  • Lightweight
  • Stretchy
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Lacks variety in sizes

02  AstroAI Face Mask Reusable Dust Mask 3 Pack with Active Carbon Filters (Most Breathable)

AstroAI Face Mask Reusable Dust Mask 3 Pack with Active Carbon Filters

Why it Stands Out to Us 

If you’re someone who suffers from asthma or dust-induced allergies, this is the mask for you. With its superior construction and sleek design, the Astro AI is proficient at keeping out dust and other non-oil-based substances. The exhaustion valves aid in ventilation and allow the user to feel fresh while remaining protected.

Our Experience with the Astro AI DM3PBN

  • This mask was effective at keeping out dust particles, comfortable, form-fitting, well-ventilated, and washable.
  • We experience seasonal allergies and usually, they’re exacerbated when we expose ourselves to dust, especially while mowing. We put the Astro AI mask on and it made a difference of night and day. When previously we’d get nostrils and mouths full of dirt, now we were protected against all kinds of grass allergens. The filter inside was adept at filtering out all the nasty particles that flew around during mowing, so we had no complaints.
  • The filter itself could be removed and replaced. After we used it a few times, we could simply take the filter out along with the nose clip, hand wash and sanitize the body of the mask, and pop in a new filter! This durability allowed us to keep using the mask for a long time.
  • Another feature we liked was the fit of the mask. We could simply put it on and not have to adjust it as it didn’t slide off or get displaced. This reduced the chances of us having to touch the mask with our dirty hands, which further reduced the chances of dust contamination.
  • The velcro ear straps were adjustable so we could fit the mask on heads with varying sizes. The straps sat behind our heads comfortably and allowed us to go about our tasks without any interruptions. Due to the securely attached straps, we didn’t have to be careful about our movements and felt free to move every which way as we had the assurance the mask wouldn’t move from its place.
  • The product came with extra filters, nose pads, and vent valves. We could keep reusing the body of the mask as we had all the other replaceable parts. If something got damaged, we could simply pop in one of the extra parts and we were good to go.
  • The breathability of this mask was impressive. Most of the time, with other masks, the exhaled air gets trapped on the inside and makes you feel like you’re inhaling humid air after wearing the mask for extended periods of time. However, with the Astro AI, we found the air to be exhausted through the valves, providing us with a fresh feeling inside throughout the day.
  • We’ve encountered the steamy glasses problem way too many times to count. Glasses and masks are just a horrible combination. However, we could simply perch our glasses on the adjustable nose clip. The placement allowed us to breathe freely without getting fogged up. This was highly convenient for us, especially because when we mow we’re essentially doing a physical activity that causes us to breathe heavily. We can’t really take off our glasses and wipe them constantly, so the Astro AI did a great job at making our task easier.
  • The fabric of the mask was soft and comfortable on our faces. It was easy to put on and take off as well.
  • Overall, we got excellent value for our money as the mask was great at filtering out dust while remaining comfortable and snug on our faces. Since it was washable, we got several uses out of it as well.

What We Didn’t Like

  • It took some time to break in the mask.

What Could be Improved

  • The mask tended to slip down when worn for several hours at a time. We assume you won’t need to wear it for 6-7 hours for lawn mowing, however, you may encounter this issue if you’re using it for other activities. It would’ve been better if the mask stayed in place after a full day of use.

Specifications

  • Number of Layers: 4
  • Color: Black
  • Material: Premium Nylon

Pros

  • Durable
  • Sturdy
  • Ventilated
  • Adjustable snap-on nose clip
  • Flexible ear loops
  • Replaceable filter
  • Washable
  • 1-year warranty
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Tends to slip after prolonged use

03 Neck Gaiter Face Mask, Cover & Shield – UV Fishing Bandana Scarf Covering (Easiest to Use)

Neck Gaiter Face Mask, Cover & Shield - UV Fishing Bandana Scarf Covering

Why it Stands Out to Us

With enhanced breathability and versatility, the Tough Headband Neck Gaiter performs remarkably well when it comes to filtering out dust while simultaneously being a source of comfort for the wearer. The soft material and diverse color choices all contribute towards a highly compatible and easy-to-use dust mask for mowing. It’s also quite inexpensive for a product that offers such a wide range of features.

Our Experience with the Tough Headband Neck Gaiter

  • The mask was comfortable, lightweight, breathable, moisture-wicking, and highly easy to use.
  • It was great at protecting us from dust and grass. We could even increase the layers of the gaiter to thicken up the barrier and increase protection against dust. For users who experience sinuses and allergies, this would be a handy feature.
  • It was immediately obvious from the very first use that this neck gaiter was ultra-soft and comfortable. We appreciated that we could experience the utmost comfort while staying well-protected.
  • Due to its 100% microfiber material, the fabric was highly breathable and could keep us dry even in the hottest weather. We could wear it for extended periods without feeling suffocated. It was also thin enough to not overheat our skin.
  • Usually, our glasses tend to fog up with most masks. However, with the Tough Headband, we could wear our glasses with ease.
  • While most masks tend to have ear loops, this neck gaiter could simply be slid up and down our face. The elasticity of the material ensured that it didn’t fall down while we were busy mowing. Also, for users who experience pain in the back of their ears from wearing masks for prolonged periods, they could opt for this neck gaiter as it removes the need for ear loops.
  • Due to the versatility offered by this neck gaiter, we could use it for a wide range of activities aside from mowing, such as hiking, biking, and running. Moreover, once we were done mowing, we could simply drag the fabric down and leave it on our necks. This was quite convenient as we didn’t have to take it off and find a place to store it.
  • We could use it several times. Due to the durability of the material, we could simply put it in the wash after each use and reuse it again without any issue.
  • There were many color options to choose from, which made it easy for us to purchase a mask that was compatible with our style.
  • Overall, we found that for the price, we got way more than we bargained for. It was an inexpensive neck gaiter that could function as the perfect dust mask for mowing.

What We Didn’t Like

  • Since it’s one size fits all, some users on the opposite ends of the size spectrum may not find it to be as form-fitting as the average user.

What Could be Improved

  • The brand could offer more size options for users whose heads are too small or too large. This would improve the comfort of the gaiter for a larger group.

Specifications

  • Color & Pattern Options: 24
  • Material: 100% Microfiber
  • Size: One Size Fits All

Pros

  • Durable
  • Soft
  • Comfortable
  • Breathable
  • Washable
  • Moisture-wicking
  • Provides sun protection
  • Reusable
  • Lightweight
  • Stretchy
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Lacks variety in sizes

04  3M Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6300

3M Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6300

Why it Stands Out to Us

Some might say that wearing a respirator for mowing may be overkill. However, we found that it was just the thing we needed to get through mowing our yards without dissolving into a coughing fit and experiencing headaches, itchy eyes, or even a runny nose. It was an absolute winner in terms of preventing our allergies from rearing their ugly heads, especially when the dust levels were excessive and a neck gaiter or fabric mask would not suffice. The superior seal and replaceable filters were also great additions to the mask’s effectiveness.

Our Experience with the 3M Respirator 6300

  • This was highly effective at filtering out dust, comfortable to wear, and easy to take on and off.
  • The 3M was a NIOSH-approved respirator certified to prevent high levels of dust and fumes. Living in an area that has excessive pollen and dust, we appreciated the construction of this mask. It was highly effective at keeping dust out of our faces when we were mowing. When previously, we’d spend the day coughing our lungs out,  now we could comfortably mow our dust-ridden lawn for hours without any of the usual side effects.
  • The tight seal of the respirator also contributed to its efficiency. It sat on our face securely and prevented dust particles from entering from the sides. This was especially useful for us as we were in an area with a high level of dust contamination. We’re prone to allergies and this mask ensured all the allergens were kept away.
  • Another feature that added to the 3M’s user-friendliness was the speed at which we could change the filters.
  • We used it for painting and none of the odors or fumes reached our nose due to the mask’s adeptness at keeping them all out.
  • We could disassemble the mask, replace the filters, and clean it to our heart’s content. Cleaning it definitely made a difference in its durability – prolonging the lifespan of the respirator and allowing us to use it plenty of times with ease.
  • The fit was comfortable, especially when it came to the bridge of the nose. Due to its adjustability, the respirator could accommodate noses of different shapes and sizes without suffocating the wearer.
  • Moreover, we found that the mask’s performance was unaffected by the presence of beards, glasses, or goggles. It prevented our glasses from getting fogged up too.
  • We got great value for money out of this purchase. We had the opportunity to use this respirator several times with ease. Overall, the durability, effectiveness, and comfort were remarkable.

What We Didn’t Like

  • It did not come with filters.
  • Due to the secure seal, the respirator was not well-ventilated. It was easy to get sweaty if we used it to mow in the summer.

What Could be Improved

  • It would’ve been better if the respirator had come with its own filters. This way, users wouldn’t have to purchase separate filters externally.

Our Recommendations

  • Buying a good quality filter will go a long way. If you’re planning on purchasing a flimsy filter, you can expect subpar performance from the mask. An effective filter makes a world of difference with this mask, especially if you plan to keep all allergens away while mowing.

Specifications

  • Material: Thermoplastic Elastomer
  • Color: Gray
  • Size: Large

Pros

  • NIOSH-approved
  • Durable
  • Comfortable
  • Breathable
  • Washable
  • Reusable
  • Lightweight
  • Soft
  • Adjustable head straps
  • Easy to put on & take off
  • Secure seal

Cons

  • Didn’t come with filters

05  Nextour Face Bandana Mask for Fishing, Hiking, Running, Motorcycling

Nextour Face Bandana Mask for Fishing, Hiking, Running, Motorcycling

Why it Stands Out to Us

One of the best features of this gaiter is that it’s adept at warding off all dust and bugs while being extremely thin and breathable. The fabric is made of soft and stretchy polyester, so it rests comfortably on the face without suffocating or restricting the wearer. The brand also offers 12 gaiters for a highly accessible price, so you’re guaranteed to get the most bang for your buck with this product.

Our Experience with the NEXTOUR Neck Gaiter

  • It was lightweight, breathable, comfortable, soft, and provided adequate protection against dust.
  • Being able to breathe freely while wearing an effective mask is one of the greatest feelings. We could mow our yards without feeling restricted and tired due to the enhanced breathability of the gaiter.
  • Since we mow our lawn during spring, we require something that is effective enough to create a barrier against the dust and pollen while being thin enough to not make our skin overheat. With the Nextour, we could comfortably navigate our lawn even during warm days due to the thin and soft fabric of the gaiter. The material was also brilliant at filtering out dust particles and pollen.
  • The stretchy polyester fabric ensured that the gaiter rested on the contours of the face to create a tight seal against the environment. The form-fitting fabric was great at preventing the mask from sliding down our face so that we didn’t have to adjust it frequently. This also reduced the chances of us having to touch the gaiter with our dust-ridden hands and letting the allergens get into contact with the fabric.
  • Due to the high quality of the fabric, it survived several washes without any of the ends splitting. The gaiter turned out to be highly durable despite its inexpensive price.
  • Another feature we appreciated was the moisture-wicking capabilities of the gaiter. Despite working under the sun and sweating buckets, the enhanced sweat control of the fabric ensured that we stayed dry.
  • With 39 colors and patterns, we had a plethora of options to choose from. We appreciated the diversity in the tones as we could select anything from greys to neutrals to blacks to vibrant colors.
  • Due to the versatility and compatibility of the design, the gaiter could be worn in various styles. The styles and colors made pairing the gaiter up with a diverse range of outfits easy. We could wear it as a mask, a neck cover, and even a headband. It was perfect for multiple occasions aside from mowing, so we ended up getting great value out of it at the end of the day.

What We Didn’t Like

  • There were no seams on the fabric, which made the inside and outside parts hard to distinguish.

What Could be Improved

  • The brand could add some seams to the gaiter to ensure users know which side is inside and outside at first glance.

Specifications

  • Color & Pattern Options: 39
  • Material: Polyester Microfiber
  • Length x Width: 18.8 x 9.4 inches

Pros

  • Durable
  • Soft
  • Comfortable
  • Breathable
  • Washable
  • Moisture-wicking
  • Provides sun protection
  • Reusable
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • No seams

How Do I Know if I Really Need a Dust Mask?

If you suffer from allergies, asthma, and hay fever, wearing a mask while mowing will do absolute wonders for your respiratory passage. Yard work can lead to many allergens being tossed into your breathing space. Dust particles, grass spores, and pollen can lodge themselves into your nose or mouth to afflict you with a slew of health problems. Wearing a proper dust mask while mowing will allow you to comfortably do your chores without the generous helping of sneezes you’d experience without it.

Best Dust Masks for Mowing – Buying Guide

Best Dust Masks for Mowing - Buying Guide

  • Particulate filter

Particulate filters serve as barriers that keep airborne particles such as dust from entering your nose and mouth. However, they don’t provide protection against gases or vapors.

There are two types of filters – disposable and replaceable. The ones that are replaceable are divided into two components; the body of the mask and the filter itself. These masks tend to be more durable as the filter can be removed and replaced. On the other hand, the ones with disposable filters can only be used for a specific period of time before discarding them.

  • Needs

You can select your mask depending on your needs. A disposable mask can provide adequate protection in moderately risky environments whereas a reusable or non-disposable mask is better for high-risk environments with toxic gases and fumes. Moreover, if you need a mask on a temporary basis, you may want to opt for a disposable one. If you need one for long-term use, you could go for a reusable mask as they tend to be more durable.

  • Rating

The National Institute of Occupational Safety rated particulate filters according to the types and quantities of airborne particles they can filter out. Some masks are rated 95, 97, or 100 – these denote the percentage of particles the mask can filter out from the air. A mask with a rating of 100 can filter out 100% of the airborne particles it encounters. These are known as High-Efficiency filters.

There are also three types of approval ratings:

  • N – not resistant to oil
  • R- resistant to oil mist
  • P – oil mist proof
  • Fit

Your dust mask has to fit the contours of your face in order to assure a proper and secure fit. Even the best quality dust mask cannot protect you from airborne particles if there are gaps between your face and the mask. You should go for one that sits on your face comfortably and seals you off from the surrounding air.

  • Fabric layers

For your fabric mask to be effective at filtering out particles, you’ll need to make sure it has at least 2 layers of fabric. Single-layered masks are proven to be not nearly as effective.

  • Washability

Whether it be your socks, masks, shoes, or boots, that need cleaning.  When it comes to cleaning and maintaining your mask, it’s best to put it in the washing machine at 140 degrees. Not only does it sanitize your mask, but it also ensures all the dust and debris are washed away. Buying a mask that can be washed will allow you to reuse it several times.

  • Comfort

  • Lightweight materials allow you to breathe more easily and tend to shift around less.
  • Though they tend to be pricey, some reusable masks have adjustable neck-straps that are more comfortable to wear as they distribute the mask’s weight over a larger area.
  • Exposed rubber straps facilitate more flexibility but they may lead to your hair being pulled.
  • Exhalation valves prevent heat retention. They allow the heat and moisture to escape so the inside of your mask stays feeling fresh.
  • Anti-fog technology reduces steamy glasses.
  • Adjustable nose clips are comfortable and help in securing the seal.
  • Some respirators come with foam face seals and soft nose foams for added comfort.
  • Material

Most disposable dust masks are made of paper or synthetic plastic fibers. These aren’t extremely durable but they are quite affordable and effective at protecting the wearer’s lungs against airborne particles.

Generally, reusable masks are made of durable and lightweight synthetic materials. These are quite convenient as they’re easy to clean and also allow users to breathe normally. Some of them are even made of fabric; they can be hand washed and worn several times.

  • Filter insertion

To increase the effectiveness of your mask, it is best to buy a mask that’s filter insertable. Usually, these masks have an interior pocket where you can insert the filter. This ensures that you remain well-protected against dust and other air particles and reduces the chances of allergies.

Types of Lawn Mowing Masks – Basic Maintenance Tips

Types of Lawn Mowing Masks

  • Chemical Cartridge/ Gas Mask Respirators

If you plan to work in dangerous conditions, it is important to buy respirators that are NIOSH-approved as these are designed to protect the wearer from hazardous environments. They are available as disposable, reusable, and PAPR respirators.

They can also absorb gases and vapors with their unique carbon-filtering material. There are three types of chemical cartridge filters:

  1. Chemical Cartridges: Although they protect against vapors, they lack a prefilter that can remove airborne particles.
  2. Dual Cartridges: They provide double protection as they contain a replaceable prefilter.
  3. Powered Air-Purifying Respirator (PAPR): These go the extra mile with a battery-powered fan designed to help the user breathe more freely by blowing air through the filter.
  • Dust mask

In general, dust masks are single-strapped one-way protection shields against non-hazardous environments. Unlike respirators, they are not NIOSH-approved and cannot protect the wearer against toxic chemicals or fumes. It is recommended to only use them in the absence of lethal or harmful fumes.

  • Surgical mask

Though they protect the user from splashes and large-particle droplets, they are not adept at protecting users from tiny particles such as dust due to the loose fit of the mask.

What are FFP Standards Used in Dust Masks?

  • FFP1

With an Assigned Protection Factor (APF) of 4, masks with this rating provide the most basic amount of protection compared to the other two. They are best at protecting the user against non-toxic substances such as dust or pollen. You would require a mask with a higher rating for toxic substances.

  • FFP2

Equivalent to the N95, masks with the FFP2 rating offer significantly more protection than the FFP1. With an AFP of 10, they can protect users from fumes from aerosols, smoke, and lead dust.

  • FFP3

With an APF of 20, these masks are the most effective and provide the greatest amount of protection against hazardous substances in the air. If you’re working in extremely risk environments, you may want to opt for a mask with an FFP3 rating.

FAQs

  1. Will a dust mask protect from all kinds of airborne particles and pollutants?

Ans: This depends on the type of dust mask you own and its corresponding rating. For example, an N95 mask can filter out 95% of airborne particles. However, if you’re looking for a mask to protect you against toxic fumes, you may want to opt for a respirator.

  1. Does a dust mask for mowing fit heads of all sizes?

Ans: While most dust masks are adjustable with a diverse range of head sizes, there may be some that don’t fit you. However, most masks will fit you without any problems.

  1. Can the filters of a dust mask for mowing be cleaned?

Ans: Only reusable respirators can be cleaned. You can simply remove the filters attached and clean the facepiece by soaking them in warm cleaning solution. Make sure that the temperature of the water doesn’t exceed 120 degrees. You may scrub the mask with a soft brush and add detergent to clean it further if you think it’s necessary. You could also refer to your manufacturer’s directions to get more specific details on how to clean your mask.

It’s important to note that some masks are not made to be washed. Most disposable masks should be thrown away after a single-use.

  1. Does a dust mask for mowing protect against all chemicals?

Ans: That would depend on the rating of the mask. Generally, a dust mask will not protect you against harmful chemicals. However, you can use a NIOSH-approved res pirator as a dust mask. These usually have a higher rating (FFP2 or FFP3) than simple dust masks and can successfully protect you against chemical fumes.

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