A mask is supposed to save you from outside germs, especially during a pandemic. But what kind of mask is supposed to save you from which kind of disease?
There are different types of masks. All of them have different types of mechanisms that save you from different types of diseases in different types of environments. In this article, our focus will be gas masks and the filters used for them.
Buying the right type of gas mask filter is as important as buying the mask itself, if not more. Consideration needs to be given while choosing these filters. Otherwise you will be wasting your money on a product that you can’t use or a mask that does not provide the required functionality for you.
Gas masks are usually used in environments that have high concentrations of chemicals, hazardous gases or contagions that can be inhaled through breathing. The filters of these gas masks make sure that these harmful substances do not pass through, otherwise the implications can be as bad as death.
Because there is such versatility in these harmful gases, the filters of gas masks need to be of numerous types as well. However, the most commonly used ones can be formulated into a list of 6. Let’s look into these 6 types in detail.

1. Mestel Safety 40mm CBRN gas mask filter

This gas mask filter provides protection against all biological and chemical agents. But more importantly, it is also effective against chemical warfare gases and toxins like sarin gas, arsine, radioactive particles and viruses. Hence, it comes under the category of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear defense (CBRN).

CBRN gas mask filter
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This filter is said to be 99.99% efficient against particles/aerosols outside and has a shelf life of five years. Not only that, this gas filter protects against industrial, organic and inorganic gases and vapors such as hydrogen fluoride, chlorine, sulfur dioxide and hydrogen chloride. Terrorism agents such as mustard, anthrax, sarin and smallpox are also prevented from reaching the lungs by this filter.

2. Draeger 40mm CBRN gas mask filter

This is another one of the 40 mm filters but this is in a class of its own when it comes to quality. That’s why we mention it in a separate heading.
This high-quality gas mask protects you against all known biological and chemical agents. As such, it offers users protection against a wide range of hazardous gases. It has a rated 99.95% effectiveness in filtering out dust and particulates. Furthermore, it has a shelf life of 6 years so you won’t have to worry about it expiring any time soon. As far as reliability is concerned, this mask is CE and SAI Global approved.

Draeger 40mm CBRN
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3. Israeli manufactured NBC filters

Originally developed for the Israel Defense Force (IDF), these filters provide protection against all NBC agents that are in the form of vapors and aerosols. This is a robust durable canister for military and civil defense use.

NBC filters
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This low weighted mask can be used at a minimal psychological load and provides comfort to users. It is not hard to breathe with this gas mask. It ensures optimal performance and is compatible with almost all military and industrial respirators. This type of filter comes with sealed and leak proof plastic caps. However, the most astonishing feature of the filter is its shelf life of 15 years.

4. Avon M61 Filter for US military mask

These high-quality filters provide protection against chemical and biological agents and radioactive particles for up to 24 hours. Made usually for the military of the US, these do not fit any other gas masks except the specific military ones.

Avon M61 Filter
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These twin filter systems sit close to the face. As such, they provide high protection and very less breathing resistance. Protecting against toxic materials, these filters fit under the CBRN. When sealed and packaged, these filters have an expected shelf life of 5 years.

5. Mira NBC-77 multi-gas 40mm cartridge

Filtering all NBC and CBRN agents, this filter comes with a shelf life of 20 years. Having a CBRN reactor, this filter is capable of neutralizing harmful radiation particles such as iodine. This is a wonderful filter considering that radioactive particles can penetrate the skin when in open environment.

Mira NBC-77
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6. Particles and chemical protection mask filters

Depending on what the situation you are facing is, there is a whole variety of filter types for gas masks to choose from. This includes the particle protection filters – these absorb particles but only hold them for as long as 20-24 hours before you feel the need to replace the filter.
Then there is a chemical filter that filters all the toxic chemicals and hazardous gases such as activated charcoal. However, for most people this mask might be ineffective, since one cannot predict what kind of chemical will be present around them and where. Moreover, they have a limited shelf life.
However, some of these filters neutralize the chemicals before they reach the lungs. A good example here would be the MIRA masks. These may have a shelf life of about 25 years depending on the type of agents and particles they must neutralize.


If anything, it is clear that there is a different filter for every scenario, and they exist because it is important to have one for that specific scenario. Even the tiniest factors lead to the need of an entirely new filter and each filter can be lifesaving.

There are a lot more filter types you can find in the market but it’s like finding a needle in a haystack if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Thereby, before deciding on any filter, be sure about the kind of environment you’re dealing with.