Best Face Mask of 2021
|Price||$32 List||$21 List|
$18.95 at Amazon
$9.99 at Amazon
|$13.00 List||$10.00 List|
$8.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Comfortable, multiple layers, adjustable, nose wire, fun colors||Lightweight, multilayered, adjustable ear straps, breathable, fun and neutral colors||Comfortable, nose bridge wire, disposable filters sold separately||Super soft, great for exercising, very breathable||Nose wire, sleek versatile design, durable|
|Cons||Multiple layers can get hot, stiff||Excess fabric for smaller faces, some glasses fog||Too small for larger faces, sucks into mouth when inhaling||Non-adjustable ear straps, very thin,||Ear straps are not adjustable, too small for larger faces|
|Bottom Line||An ergonomic mask built to fit all faces and look good while doing it||A reusable 3-pack with adjustable ear straps and a nose bridge wire for optimal comfort||A perfect blend of fashion, fit, and function, this high-quality mask is also adjustable and filter-compatible||A form fitting mask that won't irritate your skin and is great for sports and exercise||A simple breathable black mask complete with a nose wire to aid with a customized fit|
|Rating Categories||BAGGU 3-Pack Fabric...||Perry Ellis Reusabl...||WeddingStar Washabl...||Backcountry Spruces...||BeatBasic Cotton Fa...|
|Specs||BAGGU 3-Pack Fabric...||Perry Ellis Reusabl...||WeddingStar Washabl...||Backcountry Spruces...||BeatBasic Cotton Fa...|
|Material||100% organic cotton||Cotton||Cotton and rayon||Merino wool||Cotton|
|Number of Masks||3||3||1||1||2|
|Reusable or Disposable||Reusable||Reusable||Reusable||Reusable||Reusable|
|Different Color Options?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Strap Type||Elastic ear straps||Elastic ear straps||Elastic ear straps||Elastic ear straps||Elastic ear straps|
The BAGGU 3-Pack is a fashionable and functional mask set. From barbecues to professional work settings to the gym, this mask fits the bill. The fold-out nose and chin tabs paired with the adjustable ear straps make this set a great option for faces of all shapes and sizes. The nose wire is thin and malleable and works wonders to mitigate glasses fog. The chin and nose flaps also help keep the mask in place, making it an excellent option for exercising, although the thick material can get a little hot. The main panel, which spans from cheek to cheek, is stiff and sits far off the face, aiding in breathability. The multiple layers of quilted cotton help prevent respiratory droplets from escaping and permeating, and the built-in pocket allows for the option to add a disposable filter — sold separately. Not only do the BAGGU masks fit most faces perfectly, but they also offer a variety of sets from loud leopard print to muted earth tones, so it's sure to fit your style too.
Overall, we don't have many negative things to say about these masks, but there are a few things worth noting. The mask is rather thick, and, while it is breathable, it tends to get a little warm in direct sunlight. There is plenty of room between your mouth and the main panel, but if you are wearing makeup that melts easily under heat, it may be best to go with a lighter mask. That being said, thickness and number of layers directly equate to the level of protection you are receiving, so consider where you are going to be wearing this mask and how exposed you are to others before opting for a lighter option. Bottom line, the BAGGU 3-Pack is a versatile, fun-looking, and form-fitting mask that will easily carry you from your day job to the gym and out for cocktails.
It is one thing to wear a mask, but it's another to wear it right. Making sure that your mask fits snug to your face and over your nose are just two requirements that the CDC emphasizes. It is important to wear your mask correctly to ensure that you and those around you are properly protected.
The Perry Ellis is a set of three lightweight, reusable masks. They are 100% cotton, which helps with their breathability, comfort, and versatility. The multiple layers help protect you and those around you, and the built-in pocket offers the option to add a disposable filter. The lightweight cotton also helps keep the face from sweating, which renders them great for exercising, and the fun color options are sure to match any outfit. The half-inch triple pleats and fully adjustable ear straps help the mask fit a wide variety of faces, and the adjustable nose wire helps keep it in place while mitigating glasses fog. These masks are durable and machine washable, but it is best to air dry them on a flat surface. This ensures that the pleats remain pleated and the mask itself does not shrink in the dryer.
While the Perry Ellis masks are a good fit for most, we did find that people with particularly small faces felt as though there was an excess of fabric. This can affect comfort and fit. The nose wire helps a lot with glasses fog, however, it does not completely absolve you of this issue. It is also worth noting that the small beads that make the ear straps adjustable can fall off in the wash, so it is best to tie a small knot to ensure they don't slip off. Overall the Perry Ellis is a very versatile option at a great price.
The WeddingStar Cloth Mask is a well-constructed, comfortable fashion mask that can be worn to the gym, work, or even to a wedding, hence the name. The ear straps and nose bridge wire are easily adjustable and do not deteriorate with washing. This mask comes in many fun patterns like cheetah print and more subdued ones like plain charcoal grey. Weddingstar offers their own disposable filters made specifically for this mask as well as 3-packs if you are looking to stock up. This is a great option for those who wear glasses, as the fit encourages air to escape the bottom of the mask rather than the top, leaving your glasses fog-free.
This face mask is nicely fitted and seals to the face as it should, but the fabric seems to expand and contract with each breath — when inhaling, the fabric may touch your lips or nose. This didn't bother our testers as the fabric is quite breathable, but it is worth noting for those who might be less inclined to purchase a mask that does not remain completely off the face. It is also on the smaller side of the spectrum, so if you are looking for a larger fit, you will want to consider another option. Overall, this is a great choice for anyone looking for aesthetic options without sacrificing comfort.
The Backcountry Spruces Merino is a very comfortable, albeit not adjustable, mask. The middle seam helps hold its shape while keeping it from crowding your lips. It is made of 91% Merino wool which lends to its softness and breathability. Our sensitive skin testers adore this mask for this very reason. Not only is it gentle on the skin, but Merino wool is also moisture-wicking, so it stays mostly dry and does not absorb any weird smells — a great option for outdoor sports like skiing. It does not come with disposable filters, but it does come with a filter pocket, so you can double down on protective layers. It withstood many washes during our hands-on testing period without popping a stitch, which speaks to its durability. For the right-sized face, this mask fits snug around the chin and the nose, which according to the CDC, offers optimal protection without crowding the mouth.
Our biggest gripe with the Spruces mask is that it simply does not fit everyone. It is a very comfortable option for those it does fit, but the lack of adjustability takes this mask off the table for anyone with larger features. We also wish it offered a nose bridge wire. Still, this is a great option for those with sensitive skin or those looking for a great mask to wear during outdoor activities.
The Outdoor Research Face Mask Kit comes with one washable mask and three disposable filters. Multiple layers are a great way to provide additional protection, and, in this case, they don't inhibit the wearer's ability to breathe. The mask itself is very comfortable — the nose bridge wire and middle seam provide structure, and the mask fits a wide array of faces. Because of the form-fitting upper half of the mask, this is a great choice for those who wear glasses. Once the fit is adjusted properly, the mask stays put, ideal for both indoor and outdoor exercise. On top of all that, it's very durable and withstood multiple washes without any sign of wear.
While this mask fits nicely on the cheeks and nose, the bottom half is rather large, so it's baggy on anyone with smaller facial features. This in no way affects the comfort level, but according to the CDC, a snug-fitting mask offers more protection. Speaking of comfort, the mask itself is light as a feather and breathable, but our sensitive skin testers reported that the disposable filters are a little scratchy, so keep that in mind.
The Hotodeal is a pack of 20 disposable KN95 masks. With its adjustable nose wire and structured build, this mask is surprisingly comfortable. The middle seam and stiff, thick cotton keep the mask from expanding and contracting when you breathe, allowing for plenty of room and improved breathability. The snug fit also helps keep moisture particles from escaping. Even though the Hotodeal is disposable, they are very durable, great for days where you need to stay protected for an extended period.
A tight seal, which provides the proper protection, is not always the most comfortable. The ear straps on the Hotodeal are not adjustable, which makes this mask a smidge too tight for larger faces. Even when adjusted perfectly, the nose wire is still the mask's loosest part, causing air to flow up and out towards your eyes when exhaling and contributing to glasses fog. The thick multilayered cotton, while breathable, also gets warm if you are breathing heavily, so it's not the best option for exercise. The last bone we have to pick with the Hotodeal Kn95 is rather trivial, but the mask is not versatile in its appearance. It is a little awkward looking and protrudes far out from the mouth. However, this is a great option for anyone looking for a structured and sturdy disposable mask.
While cloth masks are generally more fun, fashionable, and comfortable, it's important to keep in mind that they aren't as effective as an N95, KN95, or FFP2 mask. So, depending on what you are doing and where you are going, it's preferable to keep some of these on hand. But what is the difference? Turns out, not much. An N95 mask is manufactured in the U.S. and differs from a surgical mask in that the edges create a tight seal around the face. They are considered the gold standard in both the medical world and in construction fields. KN95 masks are very similar, though because they are manufactured in China, they aren't approved for medical settings in the U.S. - which is why there have been shortages of N95s. KN95 masks are also foldable down the middle, while N95 masks are not. Both have been tested to filter out 95% of small particulates. An FFP2 mask is simply the European version of an N95.
Why You Should Trust Us
The person in charge of this review is Hayley Thomas from Denver, Colorado. She is active in her travels and enjoys everything from the busy city to the quiet outdoors. From climbing to coffee shops, Hayley is adamant about staying healthy and out of harm's way.
Nothing is more important than keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe, but you don't have to sacrifice comfort and style to do so! Our review process goes far beyond just testing these items. In the weeks before ordering our face mask test suite, we took our time doing plenty of research. We dove deeply into verified customer experiences and spent many hours researching what people, like you, look for in a good mask. Once we decide on what to buy, we determine our testing criteria and compare everything side-by-side. We wore each mask to the grocery store, the gym, inside, outside, and more. We washed the washable options and re-wore the disposable ones. We were sure to test the masks out on different sized and shaped faces for comfort, breathability, fit, versatility, and durability.
Analysis and Test Results
To ensure that our comparisons are accurate, we chose five different metrics to emphasize during our testing phase. Read on to learn about our findings for each metric.
To rate the value of each mask, we took into consideration how well each one performed versus the price. The range is vast, and it is important to note that price does not equate to quality. In this case, we took into account how many masks are included in the package, whether or not they are washable and reusable, and their general durability.
The Perry Ellis stands out in the value department for several reasons. This machine-washable three-pack didn't pop a stitch during our initial testing or the year following that we continued to use these masks, washing them after every use. One might think that a mask this durable would come at a high price, but this pack is actually on the lower end of the price spectrum per mask for a reusable option.
Another honorable mention is the BeatBasic two-pack. This durable option is a crowd-pleaser at a wallet-friendly price. It can be washed and dried and worn repeatedly, although it lasts longer if you do not put it in the dryer.
The EasyEast 25-pack offers a different kind of value. This option consists of 25 single-use masks. Although they are not meant to be reused, some circumstances call for single-use items like this, and the value comes into play when you break down cost-per-wear.
Wearing a mask doesn't have to be uncomfortable — nor should it. We found that stiff nose bridge wires, tight ear loops, and itchy material are the top causes of discomfort.
To ensure a comfortable experience, we tested each mask on multiple people. We also tested each option in various situations, from sitting in coffee shops to exercising, both with and without glasses.
The BAGGU, Backcountry Spruces, and WeddingStar face masks are our top comfort contenders. The BAGGU set offers a unique nose and chin flap, while the Backcountry mask takes a more simple approach with lovely soft merino wool. The soft fabric and adjustable ear straps of the WeddingStar contribute heavily to its comfort.
We also enjoyed the cotton Perry Ellis and BeatBasic. Both are well-shaped, and the pleats on the Perry Ellis are ideal for larger faces. The Outdoor Research Essential Kit has a nose bridge wire and middle seam that help provide structure and keep the mask in place, no matter what you're doing.
When wearing a mask, it can be hard not to become overly aware of your breathing. Too much hot air in the mask can be panic-inducing or just straight-up annoying, so we scored masks higher in this metric when they could move air effectively and efficiently.
Cotton is known for its breathability, and cotton masks are no exception in this department. The BeatBasic face mask is a top contender in this arena. Between its shape and the adjustable nose bridge wire, the air flows down the mask, keeping it from overheating. The Perry Ellis offers a pleated design that helps create extra room for breathability.
We also enjoyed the feel of the Backcountry Spruces Merino. This mask is unique because it's made from merino wool. This helps make it highly breathable and skin-friendly. The organic cotton BAGGU and polyester Outdoor Research Essential were others we could breathe easy in, despite their thicker construction. A win-win.
No matter what you are wearing, fit is important to comfort, but an ill-fitting mask can also affect its ability to protect you and those around you.
If your mask is too large and falls off your nose, its ability to provide protection will be compromised. And if it's too small, the discomfort may lead you to remove it prematurely. Both of these things defeat the purpose of wearing a mask in the first place.
Some masks in our test suite sit a little far off the face, while others are too tight. We found that the best fitting masks have a combination of an adjustable nose bridge wire and ear straps. Our top performers in this category are the WeddingStar and BAGGUU.
The Backcountry Spruces and Outdoor Research score well again here too. Nice materials and quality tailoring are noticeable with both of these masks.
Some of us enjoy a good outfit change, but others prefer one option that works in multiple scenarios. Having a mask that looks professional for work, won't fog up your glasses, and is comfortable enough to exercise in is rather hard to find. That is why versatility is an important metric to consider.
We have two winners in this department. The pleated Perry Ellis is a comfortable set of three differently patterned masks that offer a little added variety. And the BAGGU set, which is also a set of three, offers multiple colors and patterns, works well with glasses, and is breathable enough to work out in.
We also find the Weddingstar and BeatBasic masks to be versatile, though in different ways. The Weddingstar comes in all kinds of fun prints and patterns to help you match any kind of wardrobe, and the BeatBasic is, as the name implies, basic in classic black.
Durability is always an important factor. Not only do we want our reusable masks to last more than one wash, but we want our disposable ones to last through an entire day of work, our evening out, or a gym session. We paid special attention to popped stitches, the elasticity of ear straps, and the fabric quality pre and post-wash.
KN95 masks and other disposable masks are meant for one-time use. Some studies have explored strategies for reuse, but in general, this should be avoided.
We were happy with most of our reusable face masks' durability, but a few stood out. The BAGGU is sturdy and keeps its shape after multiple washes. The Outdoor Research is not only highly durable, but the included filters are quite robust as well.
Whether you're planning a quick trip to the grocery store or you're attending a wedding, it's important in these times to have the right mask for the job. They don't have to be uncomfortable, unfashionable, or difficult to breathe in. Without trying masks on, it can be difficult to tell what's what, which is why we had our experts test out some of the top options on the market. After ample research, weeks of wear, and multiple washes, we landed on the top contenders in this review and hope that all our hard work helps you choose the perfect mask.
— Hayley Thomas