Best Disposable Face Masks

Updated November 2019
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

32 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
345 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best disposable face masks

Last Updated November 2019

Whether you’re concerned about getting sick, need to clean a dusty room, or plan to work on a construction project, there are times when it can be dangerous to breathe in particulates in the air around you. With a disposable face mask, you can protect yourself from inhaling anything you don’t want to, and you can protect others from being exposed to any germs.

A disposable face mask covers your nose and mouth and is thrown away after each use. It’s made of several layers of flexible material and features straps to hold it in place. Some disposable face masks are suitable for medical use and prevent you from breathing in or exhaling airborne germs, while others are designed for use in cleaning and construction settings and can keep you from inhaling smaller, non-infectious particles.

To make sure that you’re adequately protected, you need to choose the best disposable face mask. That means selecting the right type, closure style, and other features that ensure the utmost protection and safety. Our buying guide has all the details to consider when shopping for disposable face masks. You’ll find our top five products in the matrix above.

Disposable respirator face masks are rated for the percentage of particles they can remove from the air. For example, an N95 respirator face mask can remove 95% of airborne particles.

Key considerations

Type

There are several types of disposable face masks to choose from.

  • Dust face masks are usually fairly lightweight and protect you from breathing in household dust, paint mist, and other larger particles. They can be used when you’re painting around the house or cleaning a dusty room.
  • Surgical face masks are meant to protect your surrounding environment from any germs or bacteria that you might expel. They’re usually used by medical professionals to create a sterile work environment, but you can wear one when you’re sick to prevent those around you from getting ill. They’re not designed to protect you from inhaling airborne bacteria and germs, though.
  • Respirator face masks are tight-fitting masks that usually feature a flexible area over the bridge of the nose that can be adjusted. They’re able to protect you from very small airborne particles, so they work well for construction jobs. There are also disposable surgical respirator face masks that can protect you from exposure to small, infectious airborne particles, including germs and bacteria.

Closure

All disposable face masks have a closure to hold the mask securely in place on your head. While all closure types can work well, some are easier to use than others.

  • Earloop closures feature two elastic loops on either end of the face mask. You place the mask over your nose and mouth and then secure a loop over each ear to keep it in place. These types of masks are easy to put on but may shift around more than other options.
  • Headband closures feature a single piece of elastic that stretches from one end of the mask to the other. You slip the elastic band over the back of your head to hold the face mask in place. These types of masks are extremely easy to put on and don’t move around much when you’re wearing them.
  • Tie closures feature one to two ties on each end of the face mask. You tie the ends together at the back of your head to secure the mask in place. These masks are the most difficult type to put on, but they tend to stay in place during use.
EXPERT TIP

If a disposable face mask doesn’t fit properly, it won’t be able to protect you from inhaling or exhaling airborne particles.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Adjustable nose piece

Some disposable face masks feature a bar over the nose, which gives the mask a snug fit to ensure you’re protected from airborne particles. Opt for masks with an adjustable nose piece so you can be sure that the fit is not only snug but comfortable, too.

Quantity

Because they’re meant to be thrown away after each use, disposable face masks come in packs with multiple masks. Some boxes have as few as 12 masks, while others have up to 125.

Disposable respirator masks are usually sold in smaller packs because they’re more expensive and they prevent the inhalation of finer particles than other face masks. They typically come in boxes of 12 to 20 masks. Dust masks and surgical masks are usually available in larger packs of 50 to 125 masks. If you only use a face mask for occasional painting or cleaning jobs or when you’re sick, a smaller quantity is usually sufficient. If you paint and clean regularly or suffer from chronic allergies, a larger pack is a better value.

Comfortable, effective face masks

The ATH Medical Supplies Disposable Surgical Face Masks don’t just effectively block contaminants like germs, allergens, and pollution, they’re also extremely comfortable. Made of high-grade microfiber, they have a soft feel against the skin, so they’re not likely to cause any irritation. We also love that the masks are individually wrapped to keep them sterile even if you need to toss one in your bag.

Material

Disposable face masks are usually made from paper or non-woven fabrics. Some masks are made of polypropylene, which is a plastic. To make sure that your masks are hypoallergenic, opt for an option made with a material that’s 100% latex-free to avoid any possible irritation.

Odor

Some disposable face masks have an odor that many users find unpleasant. If you’re concerned about the scent, opt for paper or fabric masks, which usually don’t have a strong latex or plastic smell.

Don’t attempt to wash a disposable face mask in order to reuse it. Once the mask gets wet, it’s no longer able to filter out particles.

Disposable face mask prices

Disposable face masks vary in price based on the type and the number of masks in a pack. Most boxes cost between $6 and $32.

Disposable dust face masks are usually the most affordable option. Boxes of 50 to 125 masks typically range from $6 to $18.

Disposable surgical face masks are usually a mid-range option. Boxes of 50 to 125 masks typically cost between $7 and $20.

Disposable respirator face masks are generally the most expensive option. Boxes of 12 to 25 masks usually range from $13 to $32.

EXPERT TIP

Disposable surgical face masks are one of the few options that are resistant to fluid penetration.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • If a disposable face mask becomes moist, you should remove it and throw it away. Most masks aren’t resistant to fluids, so they’re no longer effective when wet.
  • Always examine a disposable face mask before you put it on to be sure there aren’t any holes or tears in it.
  • Be sure to place a disposable mask on your face right side up. The top edge of the mask is usually bendable so that it can conform to the shape of your nose.
  • Wash your hands with antibacterial soap or hand sanitizer before you put on a disposable face mask and after you take it off to make sure that you don’t contaminate the mask or your surroundings with particulates.

Sharp-looking, high-filtration face masks

If you’re self-conscious about wearing disposable face masks that look like they belong in a doctor’s office, the Yamde Disposable Face Masks are for you. They feature three-ply non-woven fabric and single-ply activated carbon, so they’re solid black in color for a more stylish look. They effectively filter out dust, smoke, pollen, and other contaminants as well. We also love that they can comfortably fit both adults and children.

Other products we considered

When it comes to disposable face masks, there are so many options to choose from that you shouldn’t have any problem finding a mask that’s suitable for your needs. The Solasta Prime Professional Disposable Face Masks are a versatile option that can be used in medical settings or for house cleaning, gardening, pet grooming, and other activities. They feature three-ply filter layers that can protect you from dust, germs, pollen, and other allergens. We also love the Medpride Disposable Surgical Earloop Face Masks if you prefer masks with earloop closures. The loops provide a snug fit but aren’t uncomfortable on the ears, so the masks work well for daily use.

Disposable dust face masks and surgical face masks can usually be used by children six years or older. However, disposable respirator face masks aren’t meant for use by children.

FAQ

Q. Can a disposable face mask prevent me from getting the flu?
A.
Respirator-style disposable face masks can help protect you from some airborne flu germs. General surgical or dust face masks, on the other hand, don’t offer much protection from the flu. However, even a respirator mask can’t filter out all the airborne microorganisms that could give you the flu, so you might still become sick. A flu shot is your best bet for preventing the flu.

Q. Can I reuse a disposable face mask?
A.
A disposable face mask is meant to be thrown away after one use, so you shouldn’t reuse it. Once it’s been used, the mask is contaminated, so it can actually pass germs, dust, and other potential irritants on to you if you use it a second time.

Q. How should I throw away a disposable face mask?
A.
To keep any airborne particles that may have found their way onto the mask from contaminating the environment further, place the mask in a plastic bag. Tie off the end of the bag, and throw it out in a garbage can. Make sure to wash your hands afterward, too.

The team that worked on this review
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Katherine
    Katherine
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

BestReviews wants to be better. Please take our 3-minute survey,
and give us feedback about your visit today.

Take Survey