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Wednesday, September 01, 2021

Review: 3M Aura Particulate Respirator 9205+N95

 I have been struggling for ages to get a good masking solution to work with glasses. The lens coating my optometrist recommended sort of worked, but  ultimately what it proved to me was that the surgical masks and KN95 masks that I'd been using were just inadequate and leaky.

Someone on the xooglers mailing list recommended the 3M Aura. These are true N95 masks and I assume that since Amazon has them, I'm not taking them from essential personnel. They're expensive at $2 each, and come in a box with each of them individually sealed. Take them out and you see the huge difference between the true N95 masks and the KN95 masks: instead of ear loops, these have headbands, going all the way around the head. They are a 3 panel construction, with a nose piece that must be moulded by hand to your nose to ensure a perfect seal.

The true test is to take them on a vigorous bike ride, during smoke season. I took them on a one hour bike ride and went as hard as I could. I went so hard that not only was I sweating, after about 30 minutes, I could feel water condensation around my mouth inside the mask. I didn't feel like I could work as hard as without a mask, but at no point did my glasses fog up, and the discomfort was tolerable, at least for an hour.  I didn't smell any smoke through the mask. The mask was wet but not soaked after the ride. I could definitely wear these all day on a plane if I had to, and I wish I could get the kids to wear them in school, but they got used to their cloth masks and (like all kids) think that they're invincible.

These are awesome. I can't see myself going back to KN95 or cloth masks ever again. If you or your loved ones are indoors for any amount of time you owe it to them to get and use them.

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