6 Best Gas Masks (& Filters) Picked By A Survival Expert

By Will Brendza | Updated: 09/25/2023

Today I’ve got something extremely important to share…

A Complete Guide On Buying and Using A Gas Mask For Survival

Because there’s so much confusion and hysteria around this safety device.

It tends to conjure up images of mass death and doomsday scenarios…

But the truth is:

It’s an important tool to protect your lungs from all sorts of harms, for example:

  • Hazardous Wildfire smoke
  • Dangerous chemical agents (due to attacks or spills)
  • Out of control pandemics
  • Wide spread nuclear fallout
  • Etc.

That’s why I’ve made it my mission to find the most affordable, high-quality gas masks on the market today:

TOPICS IN THIS GUIDE…    ↓(click to jump)
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Best Gas Masks On The Market Today

Oftentimes in life, you get what you pay for.

But sometimes, you overpay for what you get.

Our mission is to show you the best and most affordable ones today.

NOTE: Gas masks vanish as soon as a crisis hits.

So if you WAIT to order – you’ll be out of luck…

1 Our Top Choice
MIRA Safety CM-7M Military Grade Gas Mask

With a MIRA Safety CM-7M Military gas mask, you'll protect your eyes, face, and breathing organs against:

  • Nuclear Fallout
  • Biological Threats
  • Radiological Agents
  • Chemical Gases
  • Etc.

This mask also includes a drinking tube system with a free canister.

Unlike other gas masks made of regular Butyl, this emergency mask is crafted from high-quality bromobutyl rubber.

Using Butyl rubber makes it suitable for wider temperature ranges from -30°C to 70°C.

This premium MIRA mask is ergonomically designed and has a wide 180° wide-view visor.

The head harness is adjustable and will cinch down to fit any adult-sized head.

It also includes a sweat drainage system and a built-in speech diaphragm.

You can use the drinking apparatus while wearing your glasses or even a helmet.

This affordable high-end gas mask includes features you'd normally pay over $400 for. Making this one of the best affordable masks, period.

This is the Gas Mask I own and bought for myself, and I love it!

I put my money where my mouth is, and that's the real reason why it's our #1 choice.

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↓ MIRA Safety Gas Mask CM-7M


Here's another excellent gas mask from MIRA Safety - The CM-6M Tactical.

The biggest difference between the CM-7M and this CM-6M is the face shield design.

The 7M has dedicated eye holes while the CM-6M Tactical is a fully open face shield for maximum field of view.

The full-face panoramic design allows for a wider viewing angle!

And allows you to wear prescription eyeglasses under the mask (if necessary).

It also comes with a pre-installed hydration system, along with a canteen.

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↓ Prepared For A Pandemic? | CM-6M Mira Safety Mask

3 Our Budget Pick
PD-100 N95 Gas Mask

The PD-100 N95 Particulate Respirator prevents 95 percent of harmful particulates from getting in when properly worn.

This gas mask is ideal for disaster relief, emergencies, and exposure to chemical agents or industrial vapors.

The bottom line is:

It's a highly effective shield against strong odors and dangerous gases.

It's made with high-quality silicone to ensure a clean, airtight seal on your face.

Finally, it comes with Free shipping in the United States, a 100% Money-Back Guarantee & 1 Year Limited Warranty.

I also own this gas mask as a backup to my primary one. It's a bit more affordable, but it's also not quite as top-notch as my MIRA one.

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↓ PARCIL Safety Full Face Respirators (High-Value Option)

Real Gas Masks For Kids

When it comes to fitting your children, your options are extremely limited.

However, over the past few years, a renewed focus has been on protecting children.

A few new baby gas masks have recently been brought to the market.

Your first choice (and best choice IMO) is the:

CM-2M KIDS Tactical Gas Mask

The CM-2M KIDS Tactical Gas Mask is one of the only full-faced CBRN rating defense gas masks for kids.

It fits kids from 1.5 years to 15 years old - after that, they usually fit adult-sized gas masks.

The CM-2M Children’s Mask is available in 2 sizes:

  • Size 1: Kids 1.5 to 6 years-old
  • Size 2: Kids 6 to 15 years-old

It even comes with a standard speech diaphragm and is made for CBRN defense and emergency preparedness.

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↓ Real Gas Mask For Children

CM-3M CBRN Child Escape Respirator

Here we have the CM-3M CBRN Child Escape Respirator.

This expandable hood respirator deploys in a matter of seconds and can provide hours of protection for some of the youngest members of your family.

Most modern gas masks are designed for military use. But the CM-3M Child Escape Respirator is designed for small children and young teenagers.

Because children have substantially less lung capacity than adults due to their smaller size. Meaning they can struggle to draw enough air through the complex filters in today’s gas masks.

So instead of wrestling with ill-fitting kids' face masks and straps, this unit can simply be expanded and placed over the child’s head.

Once the blower is activated, the mask will overpressurize—simultaneously ensuring the child can breathe easily and providing a natural protective barrier to keep out aerosols and dangerous threats like mustard gas.

The solution is as simple as it is robust: powered by household CR123 batteries and using standard 40 mm NATO filter cartridges.

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KZD6 Enclosure / Infant Gas Mask

This KZD6 Enclosure / Infant Gas Mask is the only solution I know of for children too young for a child’s gas mask (under 18 months) or small pets.

This protective enclosure seals hermetically. Thus it provides life-saving protection from toxic contaminants, bacterial agents, and dangerous radioactive exposures.

The KZD6 is the only protective solution of its kind and is designed to protect babies and small animals:

  • Children – Up to 18 months
  • Pets – Less than 30 lb

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Why Everyone Should Own One

Oh, the iconic gas mask.

The piece of survival gear that’s always associated with chaos, war, terror, and mass destruction.

Its image conjures up thoughts and feelings of spine-chilling events.

Disasters where the very air we breathe is not safe.

And that’s exactly why everyone should own at least one.

In my opinion, too many survival articles begin by pointing out that water is the number one survival priority, but it’s not.

I’m NOT saying that clean water isn’t essential for survival (it is), but it’s secondary to air.

Access to clean, abundant, breathable air trumps water every single time.

Why? Because while it’s well-established, you can only survive 3 days without water (less time in intense heat).

And you can only survive a few MINUTES without oxygen (and you’ll go unconscious well before that).

Most of us take clean, breathable air for granted…which can be a deadly mistake.

But you might argue that “air won’t just vanish,” and you’d be right.

Our entire atmosphere won’t instantly vanish.

However, just because air is breathable doesn’t mean it’s not deadly.

It’s possible to breathe highly toxic chemically infused air.

The sort of air where even a few small gulps and you’re headed for an early grave.

Of course, this depends on the toxin involved and its intensity.

But your ultimate fate will be set in stone for the worst-case scenarios.

What sucks in this situation is knowingly being forced to breathe the toxins in.

Because you can only hold your breath for so long.

But each breath brings you closer to your premature demise.

In other words, “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

So if this horrible scenario frightens you (it does for me), you should be highly motivated to invest in a high-quality gas mask.

There are reasons why the military, police departments, and firefighters all have them.

They prepare and practice rushing headlong into the worst disasters to assist their communities, even if it’s a chemical or nuclear attack.

They’re equipped to survive even if the air is deadly breath.

So if you’re like me, and you’re serious about preparing, then you must invest in one.

How Gas Masks Work

CM-7M MILITARY GAS MASKIt’s simply a small, portable, personal air-purifying device.

It’s an invention with one exceptionally important task – providing detoxified “clean” air.

Similar in concept to a portable water filter that cleans water before drinking.

The key difference being you can avoid drinking water for longer than 3 minutes!

And they’ve been around a lot longer than you realize.

The ancient Greeks made the first ones.

They were crude versions using sponges.

A few centuries later, Iraqi brothers produced a rough prototype of a 19th-century version.

Soldiers have used them, miners, doctors, and civilians.

But always to achieve the same end goal: clean air.

But these were very primitive.

They didn’t work well, at least not enough to ensure survival.

But to be fair, chemical and nuclear warfare was still yet to be invented.

The first practical gas mask was created by a Brit named Edward Harrison in 1916, shortly after the invention of chemical warfare during WWI.

Since then, it has morphed into a symbol of the apocalyptic.

But as menacing as they may look, they save lives.

That is why you should add one to your survival gear in your home or your bug-out bag.

But they do require research, preparation, and upkeep.

And a little bit of know-how to buy the right one.

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Gas Mask Half Vs Full

2 Types | Pros & Cons

The first step to purchasing is to determine which style of mask is right for you.

And you do this by deciding what level of personal protection you desire.

Let’s start with the style first; you have 2 options:

1. Air Purifying Respirator

You could buy an air-purifying respirator if you want a down-n-dirty, quick-n-easy, cheap solution.

But take note; these respirators only cover your nose and your mouth.

While they technically purify the air, they expose your eyes.

And yes, eyeballs are extremely vulnerable to chemical damage and biological infection.

And to be blunt, you need your eyesight if you want any chance to survive a real chemical attack.

Stumbling around in the dark during an attack is a recipe for failure.

2. Full Face Mask Mask

The second option is a full-face mask.

As you probably already guessed, this version includes eye protection. 

You normally think of these when someone says “gas mask.”

They include a large filter below the mouth area and cover the entire face.

Your eyes are inside this mask, and you can see out of glass or plastic plates.

My advice?

You only have one option.

Go with the full-face option.

Here’s a video showing you these different levels of respiratory protection:

↓ Levels Of Respirator Protection

Man with Full Faced Gas Mask In Hoody Standing In Front Of Barbed Wire Fence

Important Full-Face Options

The next most important decision is what type of respirator you want with your full-face gas mask.

Here we have 2 basic options to choose from:

1. Air Purifying Respirator

The first option is called an “air-purifying respirator.”

These are the most affordable and simple full-face options.

The filter canisters on these units are replaceable and screwed directly into the mask.

It uses the power of your lungs to pull and push air through the filter.

If you can get and keep a good seal, this setup works fairly well.

You see, air pressure always takes the path of least resistance.

You are creating air pressure as you pull air in and out with your lungs.

Now, if you have a good seal around the outside, the path of least resistance is the filter itself, which you want.

However, if the seal breaks or fails for any reason, the path of least resistance is no longer through the filter; it’s through the breach.

The breach route will have less resistance than the filtered route (hence the “path of least resistance).

And that’s the one big disadvantage to this type: any prolonged leak makes it 100% ineffective.

If there is a gap between your chin and the mask, outside air will bypass the filter and enter through the leak.

And you may die.

So make sure that seal is airtight, and you’ll be fine.

Two notes of caution here:

1) If you have a beard, you’ll have to shave it off because facial hair makes these masks difficult to seal.

Or, you can try what this guy in the video below did with his beard.

He uses Vaseline to create a seal without saving off his beard.

↓ Beard Versus…Gas Mask!!!

2) Be careful what tasks you perform while in the mask.

You don’t want to accidentally run into anything that could break the air seal.

So try not to be clumsy or perform unnecessary acrobatics.

The bottom line is:

Even if you initially establish a good seal, you must diligently KEEP a good seal.

2. SCBA Masks

The second variety of masks is the most effective and the heaviest.

It is the type of mask firefighters use to breathe in smoke-filled rooms.

It is called the “self-contained breathing apparatus system” (SCBA).

These masks require carrying around a tank full of air (usually strapped to your back).

But they provide the highest level of protection and security of any respirators on the market.

The tanks contain air and keep pumping it into the mask constantly.

This design always keeps a positive pressure in the mask, eliminating the need for a perfect seal.

Why? Because of physics.

Air moves in one direction only, from high pressure to low pressure.

One simple way to understand this concept is by thinking about a flat tire.

An inflated tire contains pressurized air.

Or another way to explain it; it has more pressure in the tire than the surrounding atmosphere.

Hence, when you get a flat tire, the air moves from its higher-pressure environment (in the tire) to the lower-pressure atmosphere (out of the tire), never the other way around.

So a gas mask filled with pressurized air will leak out, never in.

A leak is not dangerous as long as it maintains a relatively higher air pressure than the surrounding atmosphere.

Ok, enough science for one day…

But the SCBA setup is not without its trade-offs: for one, it’s bulky, heavy, and unwieldy in all circumstances.

SCBA equipment is also a challenge to store in small spaces.

It takes up serious square footage in a regular-sized closet.

Also, most tanks only contain about 30-60 minutes of fresh oxygen anyway, and you can only refill them using special equipment.

So as you can see, there are upsides and downsides to each of your options.

You must determine what kind of chemical or biological threat you plan to face, how much you are willing to spend, and how protected you want to be.

The Bottom line:

Not all setups are equal.

Some are glorified surgical masks, while others are only used by serious professionals in dangerous circumstances.

Now, I could cop out and leave it at “Just do your own research.

But that’s why you’re here, looking for advice.

So here’s my advice:

Invest in a full-face air-purifying respirator, practice putting it on, and get a good seal.

And if you have a large and gnarly beard and refuse to part ways with it, good luck with that…

Here’s a short video covering the basics of using a full-faced gas mask.

↓ How Do They Work?

Before you pull the trigger on a purchase, we still have some more technical groundwork to cover. So stay with me…

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How A Gas Mask Filters Work

The common full-face air-purifying respirator uses filter canisters to keep the air you breathe poison and disease-free.

There are three general types of filter designs:

  1. Particle Filtration
  2. Chemical absorption
  3. A chemical reaction to neutralize other chemicals

Particle Filtration

Particle filtration is the most common and the simplest of these three options (and it’s also the oldest).

Like the ancient Greeks who held sponges up to their faces, particle filters block foreign substances from entering your lungs.

Recall when you’ve pulled your shirt over your nose to block a particularly repulsive smell.

You were employing a crude version of particle filtration.

Very fine particulate filters are helpful against biological threats like anthrax.

However, these filters have a limited life.

They can only hold so much particulate matter before they clog, so you have to replace them after every 20-24 hours of use (always verify these numbers on any filter you intend to purchase).

If you are trying to prepare for a chemical threat, then you will have to take a different approach.

While particle filtration is an effective system, it does little to purify the air of chemical agents.

You will need to use an activated charcoal system for chemical absorption.

Most deadly chemical warfare agents come in the form of gaseous vapors (not particulates) and will slip straight through your particle filtration filter system and kill you.

If you’re looking for a filter for nuclear fallout, read the fine print and make sure the filter specifically lists radioactive particles.

Not if you’re trying not to breathe household chemicals or a neurotoxin, your best bet is activated charcoal.

Activated Charcoal

Charcoal is a highly porous form of carbon.

So porous that it chemically attracts gaseous or liquid substances strongly enough to trap harmful organic vapors.

But it doesn’t catch everything.

Certain chemical agents aren’t chemically attracted to carbon and will pass straight through (such as sodium and nitrates).

This is to say that activated charcoal absorbs some chemical agents while ignoring others.

Chemicals that could be as equally dangerous.

The final type of filter option uses chemical reactions to neutralize.

This is a very effective way of defending against one specific chemical agent.

Still, you must know exactly what you are up against so the respirator is loaded with the right counteractive chemical.

For instance, during chlorine attacks in WWI, soldiers would be fitted with masks containing sodium thiosulfate, which would react with and neutralize the chlorine in the air.

When you buy these filters, they are color-coded to indicate which type of gas or acid they work to diffuse.

Unfortunately, this type of gas mask is ineffective for most people because it’s impossible to predict what kind of chemical will be present in any attack.

Filters Have A Shelf Life

No matter what filter you choose, you must invest time and money to maintain them.

No filter lasts forever; most only last about 20-24 hours of use.

CBRN GAS MASK FILTER NBC-77So every time you use your mask, you will probably have to replace the filter afterward.

Filters usually cost about $80 each, and it is highly advised to keep several on hand for each mask you own.

They also have a limited shelf life, so you will have to check up on them occasionally and replace them once they expire (even if you did not get the chance to use them yet).

To avoid immediate shelf-life concerns – these high-quality MIRA Filters have a 20-year shelf life!

↓ How Long Do Gas Mask Filters Last?

A final note of caution:

Don’t use any filters that were made during WWII or early.

Back then, asbestos was considered the ideal filter medium.

We all know that breathing asbestos is highly dangerous and will lead to asbestosis and lung cancer.

You’ve been warned.

↓ Which Filters Are Safe Or Dangerous?

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Gas Mask On A Man With A Rifle

Final Thoughts

Here’s the rub: when it comes to any gas mask, a little late can be too late

Even the most expensive, advanced, top-of-the-line ones won’t save you if you can’t deploy them fast.

If you put your mask on after realizing a life-threatening chemical is in the air, you’re probably already dead.

Real life doesn’t happen like in the movies.

Every second of respiratory exposure, biological or chemical, is closer to death.

It’s also impossible to tell when or where you’ll need it.

Sure, soldiers and police often get a heads-up.

That way, they can deploy their masks quickly.

Civilians don’t get such notice.

We are at work, in our cars, or often hanging out with friends.

And should word of a chemical/biological attack reach you while you’re away from home, you’re going to wish you’d taken it with you.

The best way to avoid this is to buy several and a set of filters for each.

Then store them in various places where you often spend time.

Keep one in your car, one at the office, one at the house, one in your get-home bag, and one in your bug-out bag.

If there is a place you spend a lot of time, stash a gas mask nearby.

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