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Another tip to the casual rattle-canner: pick up a decent respirator.  Yeah, you can probably “get away” with filling your lungs with chemicals and your nose with paint a few times, but why take a few years off your life when you can pick up the a bare minimum decent respirator for under $30?

We picked up the AO Safety model pictured above at Lowe’s for $29, though they list it online for $28.  Better yet, we found it on Amazon for $25.  It’s not the finest available, but it’s quite reasonable.  We didn’t have any trouble adjusting it for a good fit, and it made a big difference in how we felt after painting for a few hours.

The Froogle search below shows you some of the other options, including full-face models from 3M for around $125 and some higher-end nose/mouth models for more like $50, but the point of this post is to encourage you to use something other than a dust mask alone.

AO Safety Paint & Pesticide Twin Respirator [Lowe’s]
Street Pricing/Other Models [Froogle]
Buy It Now from Amazon [What’s this?]


10 Responses to Finds: An Inexpensive Paint Respirator

  1. Paul says:

    I was wearing a mask once while I was clearcoating a car. As I was spraying it became more and more difficult to breathe. Finally I couldn’t take it and I ran out of the tented off area I was painting in. I thought my mask was ineffective against the paint I was using. But I took my mask off and the filters were just so clogged up with paint I was getting no air.

    Masks are good to wear.

  2. Stuey says:

    I started using a 3M 6000 series respirator when painting – it was only a few dollars more than the AO model.

    I was using a small Duplicolor rattle can last fall, outdoors. I was examining my respirator the other day, and the pre-filter was pink.

    I’ll happily spend the cost for a respirator with replaceable filters. The fabric and charcoal is replaceable, our lungs are not.

    Great post – there’s no such thing as too much of an emphasis on safety.

  3. Stuey says:


    The $30 3M model I bought last year. It looks a bit more durable than the basic AO model, and you can replace the pre-filters if you think the rest of the filter is still good.

    For $40 (at Lowes), there’s an AO Safety quick mask (it slides up and down with greater ease than a typical mask) with P100 filters.

  4. o4tuna says:

    Same one at Harbor Freight for $21.99, frequently on sale for $14.99:

  5. nrChris says:

    I have a similar view about not believing in respirators until I looked at a very blue filter one day and thought “Gee glad that’s not in my lungs”.

    One thing that both my wife and I never understand is why I don’t feel the same way about safety glasses. One day I will see my safety glasses with a big shard of something sticking out and realize the same thing.

  6. Facial hair precludes most respirators, though. Ever notice how, in pictures from the Civil War era, a full beard was the symbol of manliness? Then the World War comes around, and suddenly Johnny’s sporting a clean-shaven look. Whoah! What happened there?

    Nerve gas was invented, that’s what.

    As for glasses, just keep trying different brands until you find some that fit comfortably. I’ve been through AOSafety’s entire product line and been less than enthralled. I picked up some MSA SafetyWorks glasses at an Ace in Milwaukee, and I swear there was a chorus of angels singing in the background when I tried them on. I literally forget I’m wearing them, then the guys at the Murray’s Auto parts counter give me funny looks. The trouble is that most stores only stock one brand, so if your face doesn’t fit that particular brand, you’ll really have to do some digging. Don’t quit digging until you find glasses you’re happy to wear.

  7. Jake says:

    I have a 3M model as well. Its a smart idea to write the date your canisters went in use on them so you don’t over use them. They will tend to degrade with time even when not in use. I also wear them for really fine micron dust, so being able to replace the dust filter seperately is good. I find it more effective than the dust masks even though it is more bulky. I’ll use an old organic cartridge to fill the space rather than speed the process of using up a new one for just dust.

    For those not familiar with respirators, there is a quick check for a good fit. Hold your hand over the exit vent and blow and you should feel it “balloon up” when air can’t escape. Alternatively you can try to cover the filters and breathe in, but its harder to cover those effectively. I remember I had a leak once and could smell it. I repositioned and stopped, but later found a red streak of paint on my face where it was sucking under the mask. Certainly makes a difference.

  8. Riskable says:

    Everyone seems to be using their respirators with paint… I’d just like to add that you should also use them whenever you’re messing around with drywall and concrete. ESPECIALLY Hardi-panel and other concrete-based paneling.

    Besides, I find that wearing a respirator is much more comfortable than wearing a dust mask. For some reason dust masks make my face sweat while the respirator does not (I think the respirator allows the humidity to escape). I’d die if I had to go under a house in the Florida heat wearing a dust mask (again).

    “I believe that no belief has a right to be free from criticism. Even this one.”

  9. Riskable says:

    For reference, the respirator that I use (which is so comfortable) is the MSA half-mask model (“B” on this page):


    I can even wear my glasses over it which is quite convenient.

    “The advantage of a liquid diet is that you don’t have to put up with the same crap as everyone else.”

  10. Scott Newton says:

    I always use the 3M 6000 series respirators http://www.envirosafetyproducts.com/product/3M-6000-Series-Half-Facepiece-Respirator.html
    since they are so cheap I can just throw them away every month. I usually buy 3M paint respirator as a kit to keep things simple http://www.envirosafetyproducts.com/product/3M-6000-Series-Half-Facepiece-Paint-Spray-Pesticide-Respirator-Assembly.html

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