Best Face Mask of 2021
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. 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 SUDILO 50-Pack is a great option for anyone looking for disposable face masks that won't break the bank. This pack of 50 comes in sleek black, which gives them a more casual look than the medical blue. The nose bridge wire is small and discreet but does a great job of keeping your mask in place. The pleated face and stretchy, albeit not adjustable, ear loops allow this mask to fit a wide variety of faces. The multiple layers offer more protection and provide a little structure as well, helping to keep the mask from expanding or contracting while breathing, and lightweight material contributes to breathability. SUDILO is a disposable mask, but it is durable enough to exercise in and is surprisingly long-lasting — though it is important to ensure you are following the proper protocol for re-wearing non-washable masks.
Adjustable ear straps are pretty standard for reusable masks but less so for disposable ones. Luckily the straps are very thin and stretchy, so it is easy to tie a small knot if you need them to be tighter. The minimal nose wire is very comfortable and assists in the general fit. It also helps mitigate glasses fog, but some air still escapes near the eyes because of the extra pleated material. That said, this is the best disposable mask we have found for glasses wearers. The SUDILO is a great option for those looking to buy durable disposable masks in bulk.
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.
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 Gomust No Fog Clear Mask comes equipped with a clear window leaving the mouth visible but still protected. This is hands down the best mask we have tested with a clear window. It fogs up ever so slightly if you are in a particularly humid area, but the mouth is still easily visible. It is stiff, form-fitting, and sits far enough off your face that your lips will not press up against the plastic. It does not expand or contract while breathing, and even though it is on the larger side of the spectrum, it still fits most faces. The adjustable ear straps and the nose bridge wire help contribute to the fit and comfort as well. The nose wire also helps mitigate glasses fog. The stitches are clean, and the mask proved durable through many wears, although we don't suggest putting it in the washer or dryer. This mask also comes with is a leash so you can easily leave it hanging around your neck when it's not in use.
Plastic simply does not breathe as well as cloth, so while this mask doesn't fog up, it does get warm and humid. It is rather large, so our testers did not feel claustrophobic in it, but it certainly doesn't win any awards for its breathability. Because it has a plastic window, it is best to hand wash it in cold water, as washing it in hot water compromises the shape and anti-fog properties of the plastic window. This mask is a great option for customer service reps who work face-to-face with their clientele or anyone working with hearing-impaired individuals.
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.
The 100% cotton Perry Ellis face mask is a pleated 3-pack with adjustable ear straps and a bendable nose bridge wire. This pack is comfortable for most and comes in both flashy and tame prints. The adjustable elastic ear straps and bendable nose bridge wire make this set a versatile one as the fit range is wide. The pleating also provides a little extra fabric, making the Perry Ellis ideal for medium to large-sized faces. And, if you're looking for a little added protection, there's a pocket on the inside for disposable filters. Our testers experienced a bit of glasses fog, but this was managed by adjusting the fit.
While this set will fit a wide range of differently sized and shaped faces, we did find that the extra fabric between the pleats makes the fit too big for those with more petite facial features. This extra fabric also causes the mask to slide up a bit, but all you have to do to mitigate this is tighten the wire on your nose. The small plastic pieces for ear strap adjustments may come off in the wash, so be sure to tie a small knot to help them stay put and remain adjustable. This face mask set is a great option for those looking for a medium to large fit with adjustable ear straps and nose bridge wire to wear casually around town.
The BeatBasic Cotton Face Cover is a versatile, two-mask-pack at a reasonable price point. This plain black, durably crafted cotton mask will easily take you from the office to your evening workout. It can be dressed up for a night out on the town or dressed down with gym clothes when you're looking to get your sweat on. With comfortable ear straps and a malleable nose bridge wire, this set is a great all-around option. Breathable cotton and an adjustable, ergonomic shape help guide air down and out rather than up, keeping glasses from fogging up. The BeatBasic is also machine washable and durable enough to withstand many washes.
While the simplistic, sleek black offers versatility, we wish there were more colors and patterns available. The BeatBasic is only available in one other design, a fun galaxy print. This mask would also score a few more points if the ear loops were adjustable. It fit most of our testers just fine, but some complained about the tension causing discomfort. It also doesn't have a pocket for a filter. However, this is a great minimalist option for those times when you just need something simple.
The BlackStrap Civil Face Mask is simple and light with fun pattern options. It is great for warm weather, as the soft, breathable material does not get too hot. Even though this mask is lightweight, it still has multiple layers for protection. While we love adjustable ear straps and nose wires, sometimes it is nice to have a simple option with no moving parts. This mask is also great to wear over a disposable one if you are looking to layer your protection. Due to its lack of general structure, this soft mask is easily pinned down at the top by larger glasses. This mitigates glasses fog completely but only works for larger frames. Even though the BlackStrap is both soft and lightweight, it proved durable through many washes.
This mask does not fit everyone due to the lack of a nose wire and adjustable ear straps. It is very comfortable for folks with smaller faces, but the tighter ear straps pulled too hard on our larger-faced testers. The lack of structure allows the mask to lay flat across your face, so it expands and contracts when you breathe in and out. Since it is rather lightweight, this didn't bother us but could get annoying if you are exercising or wearing makeup that can be easily smudged. Overall, this is a great option for smaller-featured folk who want a simple and soft everyday mask.
The Nathan Run Safe Face Mask is made of a lightweight material perfect for outdoor sports in high traffic areas. Multiple layers offer protection while the breathable polyester blend wicks away moisture, keeping you dry and condensation-free while exercising. The seam over the nose and chin help with the fit and the Run Safe Mask is offered in multiple sizes. One of the more unique features is an overlapping slit for drinking water, so you don't have to remove your mask while biking, hiking, or running to stay hydrated. If you prefer to run at night, then have no fear because the Run Safe also comes equipped with reflective tape across the front. It is well made and easy to keep clean, as it is both machine washable and dryer-safe.
The idea of the Run Safe Mask is great in theory, but there is room for improvement. Regardless of the size you get, there is an excess of fabric. The mask fit some of our testers perfectly, but its lack of adjustability makes it less versatile. It also lacks structure, so it lays tightly across the face. This is not too big of an issue as it is both stretchy and moisture-wicking, but if you prefer a mask that does not make contact with your lips, then there are other options in this review that you will find more comfortable. Overall this mask is for those looking to stay protected and hydrated while active. If you have a group race or a marathon coming up, then the Run Safe is a great option.
The COVAFLU KN95 is a durable and comfortable disposable mask that comes in a set of 10. Unlike many of the standard blue medical masks, this one can withstand multiple wears and small amounts of moisture. The mask is stiff and well-formed, keeping it away from your face to improve comfort and breathability. It folds flat in half and can be stored away in a pocket, bag, or purse easily without worrying about damaging it. This mask is also great for working out, but since it is disposable and non-washable, it will only last a few not-so-sweaty workouts before it begins to lose stiffness and appear dirty.
Unlike the 25 to 50 packs of traditional disposable blue medical masks, this mask set is a little more expensive when you consider the price per mask. That being said, the durability will make the pack last longer if you can wear them more than once safely. These masks only come in one color, and while the fit is stellar, they look a little funky. The nose protrudes out quite far, and they say 'COVAFLU' on one side, which may clash with your fancy black dress or fitted suit in a more formal setting. The nose wire is great, but due to the tight fit around the face, the air is forced up towards your eyes, which makes it a little difficult to keep your glasses fog-free. This face mask set is a great choice for those looking for a sturdy yet comfortable disposable mask to wear to the grocery store or around town or for those who are more into function than fashion.
The EasyEast Face Mask is a 25-pack of pleated, disposable medical masks. These face masks sport stretchy ear loops that are comfortable and fit a wide array of face sizes. The fabric is pleated, which helps with face fit and breathability. The nose wire helps keep the mask on your face without feeling too tight. It also helps with glasses fog but does not mitigate it completely as air still travels up towards your eyes.
These masks are great for a light workout, but since they are disposable, they do not withstand moisture very well, so you'll find that you need a more durable mask if you're a fan of sweaty HIIT cardio sessions. They are also not adjustable, though we found that tying a small knot in the ear loops took care of this issue. This reasonably priced pack of 25 is a great option for people or businesses who need a larger quantity of quality disposable masks.
The Green Atmos is a five-pack of 100% cotton tie-back face masks. They fit very nicely over the nose and the cheeks, even in the absence of a nose bridge wire. The seal created by the fit over the nose and cheeks makes the Green Atmos a great option for those who wear glasses, as little to no air escapes out the top. All five masks are reversible, giving you a total of ten fun colors to choose from. It is important to note that you should always wash your mask before inverting it and wearing the outside on the inside. The long straps are sure to fit most heads, and although the top fits rather snugly, the chin area is very roomy, ensuring a versatile fit. Throw these well-made masks in the wash with your weekly laundry however many times you'd like because these puppies won't pop a stitch.
While the long straps allow these masks to fit a wide array of faces, tying and untying a knot every time you put on or take off your mask is cumbersome. The straps have built-in ear loops meant to hold everything in place, but they seem to be misplaced — most of our testers complained about the loops pulling their ears down. The mask also has zero stretch, which contributes to discomfort and makes it difficult to wear tightly enough to be active in, rendering this set not a great option for the gym. Lastly, the chin is too roomy for folks with smaller facial features. Still, this is a decent option for those with a larger chin looking for a small collection of masks to match every outfit.
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.
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, 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.
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 disposable SUDILO and Perry Ellis offer a pleated design that helps create extra room for breathability.
An ill-fitting mask affects not only comfort but also protection. If the mask is too large and falls off the wearer's nose, the fit compromises its ability to provide protection. And if it's too small, the discomfort may lead you to remove it prematurely. Both of these things defeat the purpose of wearing the 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.
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.
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, evening out, or gym session. We paid special attention to popped stitches, the elasticity of ear straps, and the fabric quality pre and post-wash.
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 another mask worth mentioning — not only is the mask itself durable, but the 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