3M 8511 Review
The 3M 8511 with Coolflow is a high quality valved N95 mask.
It is a disposable mask but we have heard reports of them being used for extended periods of time, even a month or more.
While it is not our recommendation to wear it this long, we wanted to bring you information on different N95 masks and how they perform.
3M 8511 – Coolflow N95 Mask
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.
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.
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.
The mask kept it’s structure for the length of the trial and is of high quality material and construction. No complaints at all.
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.
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.
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.