Having to wear N95 masks for long periods day in and day out (in a non-medical setting), we prefer valved masks. It is much easier to breath and the valve lets the exhaled breath out of the mask and keeps the user cooler and more comfortable.
At first glance, the workhorse mask appears to be constructed well and the mask materials and finish are both high quality.
When selecting a brand of mask to wear, the most important factor is fit. For the mask to be effective, the mask has to fit the face and provide a proper seal.
For myself, this mask didn’t fit my face as well as the 3M 8511 Coolflow or the Degil Odyssey N95 Mask with Valve. This is not bad for the Workhorse mask, it is just the shape and size of my face doesn’t match with this mask well. I would say that this mask is a little bit smaller than the above two masks. So if you have a smaller face, this mask might be a good choice for you.
The mask material itself seems sturdy and thick, it gives us confidence that it will do a good job of filtering out the unwanted particles. It seems a little more stiff than the 3M 8511 and the Degil Odyssey N95 Mask with Valve and didn’t mold to my face as well on the first use. It did soften up after a few uses though.
Straps. The straps on this mask are the standard issue rubber band style straps. We wish more high end masks would use the fabric braided style bands that come on the 3M 8511, 8210Plus and Rok masks. They last much longer and allow for more re-use of the mask.
That said, there are lots of good ways to replace the bands if they break or wear out.
Valve. The valve worked well and reliably and it was on par with the 3M 8511. Similarly, when resting and breathing softly the valve does not open easily. But when breathing a little harder for example when walking, the valve opens reliably and does a good job.
Here is a video of the valve in action.
Overall, this is a great quality mask for those that prefer a valved N95 mask. We wish it had better straps but those can be easily replaced if necessary. The fit of this mask is a little smaller than the other masks we have tested and would be a good choice if you have a smaller face.
The Degil Odyssey 74006B N95 Mask with exhaust valve is a premium respirator. We had to try it out for you.
When you first see the mask, you can’t help to think that is is cool or sleek. It differs from other masks in that it is moulded or shaped into a more vertical / slim shape than the typical round shaped masks.
Points for looks for sure!
The test We wore the mask for 2 days in a work environment where we wanted to protect ourselves from the Coronavirus. I was in contact with people 4-5 hours per day during a 10 hour shift. The mask was carefully taken off and put back on, several times per day.
The material of the mask is a little thinner and also stiffer than some other masks. It doesn’t detract from the comfort at all, it is just a different approach and probably a by-product of having such a moulded shape.
The Degil uses it’s contours as a concept to seal over the nose area. It is shaped narrow at the top to fit your nose. Inside at the top of the nose area, there is a light and thin foam flap that also helps to better seal around your nose.
The mask was pulled to my face and sealed well on the sides and bottom as well.
The straps on the Degil are pretty standard and similar to most masks. They are a rubber band type of material. I don’t have anything bad to say about the Degil straps, they are effective. That said, I would have preferred a fabric braided elastic strap like both the 3M 8510Plus and the 3M 8511 have.
Now onto the main feature, the Degil’s exhalation valve. The purpose of the exhalation valve is to let the exhaled breath escape the mask. This keeps the user cool and allows much more comfortable wear for longer periods of time.
How is the valve on the Degil 74006B?
In a word, it is fantastic. This is the killer feature of this mask. Degil has done a brilliant job of designing this valve. It is very thin and responsive allowing the valve to open and let the hot air out even with the smallest of breaths.
Here is a video of the Degil Odyssey 7400B exhalation valve in action. In the video, I am resting and breathing normally and the valve is opening every single time. Just want you want and expect.
This mask is NIOSH N95 certified so it will provide the protection needed against airborne particles. It filters out non oil based particles down to 0.3 μm including virus such as the coronavirus.
In addition to looking sleek and cool, this is a great N95 mask for someone that needs to wear a mask for longer periods of time. While we think they could have put a higher quality strap on the mask, the straps do the job of keeping the mask to your face. For comfort, this mask is top notch and you will stay cool with one of the best valves on the market.
The test The purpose of wearing the mask was to protect against virus, bacteria and sickness, primary to guard against the Coronavirus / Covid-19. The mask was worn for 16 days in a row during a work environment (non-medical) where contact with people was necessary about 4-5 hours out of a 10 hour day. The 8511 mask was worn for those 4-5 hours each day.
Comfort The 8511 Coolflow mask fit our face well initially and moulded to the shape of our face even better after the first day. The mask is made of a soft material but it’s dual outer and inner material construction stayed in shape until the end of the 16 days and fit my face perfectly.
Shapable nose piece The nose piece has a soft metal strip that allows you to shape the mask around the bridge of your nose. It worked well.
Coolflow Valve Next, the main feature of this mask is the Coolflow exhalation valve. This is the plastic bit on the front of the mask which covers a diaphragm that lets exhaled breath escape from the mask to make breathing easier and keep things cooler and more comfortable inside the mask.
The valve did work well and keep things inside the mask cooler. I could feel the valve open as breath was exhaled most of the time. It was much appreciated when I had to wear the mask for longer periods and when walking, lifting, climbing stairs or doing any activity where you breathe a little bit harder than normal. The Coolflow valve was also great when in rooms that were warm already.
When just resting and breathing lightly however, I felt that the valve did not always open. This made things a little warmer than when the valve is opening. Not uncomfortable or anything but I do wish the valve opened all the time, even for the lightest breathing.
You can see this in the video we made below. In the beginning I am breathing normally and the valve is not opening. Then afterwards, I am breathing a little heavier and the valve is opening.
Durability The mask kept it’s structure for the length of the trial and is of high quality material and construction. No complaints at all.
Straps I didn’t thing the straps were a big deal but they were, especially when re-using the mask for many days as well as taking the mask off and putting it on several times per day.
The straps are a high quality ribbed fabric elastic. They kept their elasticity throughout the whole period and kept the mask sealed tight to my face.
Wear How long you can wear these masks will depend on the environment you are in. For example, if you are in a very dusty / dirty environment, the pores of the mask will get clogged up faster and it will eventually become difficult to breathe.
I did drop the mask a couple times and got the front a bit dirty but other than that the mask is still wearable.
I also wore goggles / eye protection and I put the goggles on over the mask so the goggles were resting on the top of the mask on the bridge of the nose. This pushed in the mask a bit but didn’t cause any damage.
I expected the inside of the mask to be a bit dirtier but it isn’t too bad at all. Around the edges of the mask howvever, you can see some dirtiness from where it is touching your skin.
Conclusion The 3M 85100 N95 mask is a very good respirator that has helped keep me safe and comfortable for long periods of time. I highly recommend this mask and will wear it again myself.
Here are some pictures of the mask after the 16 days of use.