Airinum makes some of the most elegant-looking cloth face masks on the market, and their Urban Air Mask 2.0 is one that I have always wanted to experience. The Urban Air Mask 2.0 builds upon their previous design (Urban Air Mask) released a few years ago.
The mask stands out with its simple dual exhalation valve design. On top of this, it also has some other unique factors for fitting such as a chin-wrap design and an included adjustable headband.
The mask does sit in the premium end of the cloth mask market. Other masks such as those offered by Cambridge Mask and Vogmask are significantly cheaper (often less than half the price). Airinum does have other benefits though, and I will discuss those in more detail in this post.
I will begin my Urban Air Mask 2.0 review by covering the important aspects of the mask – the fit and filtration. Once these are covered, I will move on to discussing other factors such as the filter and mask lifespan, design, and my personal experiences with the mask.
However, before moving on to the main content of this article, there are a few things that should be mentioned first. The most important of these is the valve design that the Urban Air Mask 2.0 uses.
The Airinum Urban Air Mask 2.0 uses a dual-valve design. This design is ideal for situations in which one-way filtration is needed (such as with air pollution). However, it should NOT be used for situations in which two-way filtration is required. For this reason, the Urban Air Mask 2.0 should not be used to prevent the spread of viruses.
However, Airinum does offer valve stoppers on its website. I have been told that these valve stoppers will be included with all mask purchases going forward. Therefore, for people looking to purchase the Urban Air Mask you should not need to make an additional purchase.
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Information on this blog is for informational purposes only. Readers are encouraged to confirm the information herein with other sources. Furthermore, this information is not intended to replace medical advice from professionals. This website assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of information and information is subject to change without notice. Devices mentioned on this website are not medical devices and do not guarantee protection.
The filter used in Airinum masks has been tested by the Taiwan Textile Research Institute, RISE (Research Institutes of Sweden, Jiangsu Quality Supervision and Inspection Center for Special Safety Protection Products and CNTAC Testing Service Co. in Foshan.
Most of the testing carried out was done in laboratories based in China as the Urban Air Mask 2.0 complies with the KN95 standard. If you are unfamiliar with this standard, I wrote an article comparing global respirator standards (N95, FFP2, KF94, KN95 and more).
Before we go any further though, it’s important to remember that the filtration results are not a guarantee that the mask will protect the wearer. Further, the filter and mask both have to be fitted correctly with no leaks for best protection. For this reason, it’s always important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for fitting the mask correctly.
Airinum provides the full test results and certificates on their website. I believe it’s important for mask companies to publicly display these results and I am happy to see that Airinum has done so. If you want to see the test results for yourself, you can find them here.
The first test, carried out by RISE showed the filtration capabilities of the filter media used in the Urban Air Mask 2.0. This testing does not apply to the mask itself, as a larger filter was used. However, it’s an indication of how the filter can perform.
At 200% nominal velocity, the filter was 93.9% efficient against particles between 0.1μm and 0.12μm. Testing continued on particles all the way up to 3.0μm. Particles from 1.0μm to 3.0μm were filtered with 100% efficiency, particles 0.25μm to 1.0μm were filtered with > 99% efficiency, and particles from 0.12μm to 0.25μm were filtered with 95-99% efficiency.
At 100% nominal velocity (just over 1 litre per second) the filter obtained higher results. 100% filtering efficiency was observed from 3.0μm to 0.6μm. 99.99% efficiency from 0.6μm to 0.25μm, >99% efficiency from 0.15μm to 0.25 μm, and >97% efficiency all the way down to 0.1μm.
Further testing by the Taiwan Textile Institute shows > 98% filtration on (salt/dry particle) tests from 0.3μm to 3.0μm. On oil particles in the same test range, the mask performed with > 94% filtration efficiency. Inhalation and exhalation testing was also carried out, showing an average resistance of 84.1pa on inhalation and 69.4pa on exhalation.
While this is more breathing resistance than seen on other masks such as the MeoAir Lite and Bloo Mask (both of which focus on having a low breathing resistance), it is comparable to many other popular reusable masks and I haven’t noticed an obvious difference while breathing through this.
The two other tests carried out by CNTAC and Jiangsu Quality Supervision and Inspection Center show the masks adherence to other requirements of the KN95 standard. These tests include TIL (total inward leakage) tests, quality (of product) tests, safety of materials tests and more. For full results of the tests undergone, please refer to the resource page here.
Since most masks have been tested by Nelson Labs (which measures particle, viral and bacterial filtration efficiencies – PFE, VFE and BFE respectively) it’s hard to directly compare the Urban Air Mask 2.0 lab results. This is due to the fact that the testing was carried out in largely different manners. However, we can try to compare the particle filtration results.
Since most masks are only tested at the MPPS (most penetrating particle size, usually 0.2 – 0.3μm), I will compare only the filtration results closest to those dimensions with other masks.
|Urban Air Mask 2.0
While the above results aren’t directly comparable, they are the closest comparison I could make. The results for the other three masks (excluding the Urban Air Mask) were all carried out my Nelson Labs at 0.26μm and at a flow rate of 85L/m. However, the Urban Air Mask results listed above were tested at 0.25μm to 0.35μm with a 0.30μm average) at 1.03L/s.
The filter also contains an activated carbon layer. These layers are a common addition to masks as they can filter certain VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and they are also effective against filtering many smells and odours. Since the usually don’t add much to breathing resistance, an activated carbon layer is a good addition.
The Airinum Urban Air Mask 2 uses a two-piece design, with the filter and shell of the mask attaching via velcro on both ends of the mask. This design reminds me a lot of the Conceptar mask, except that I believe Airinum pulls off the design better as the filter is more rigid and stays in shape more easily.
The Urban Air Mask has a few welcome design elements that have quickly made it one of my favourite cloth masks. The factors that make this mask easier to fit are the inclusion of a headband, a chin-wrap design, and a thick and sturdy foam nose-piece.
When donning the mask for the first time, I found nearly no air leaked through the top. This area (around the nose) is often where the largest leaks occur with cloth masks, and I was very impressed to see how well this mask sealed around my nose.
However, there were some leaks around the bottom of my chin and it took some adjustment to minimise the air leaking there. I believe that I may have purchased a size slightly too small for me, as the chin wrap doesn’t perfectly sit. I think that this issue would be largely solved with a correctly-sized mask.
As anyone who reads this blog already knows, I am not a fan of ear-band designs. Not only do they provide a weaker fit than head-band designs, but they are also very uncomfortable over long periods as they place a lot of pressure on the wearer’s ears.
Luckily, Urban Air masks include a head-strap that can be attached to the ear-bands. While this design doesn’t create as good of a fit as a dual-headband design does, it does alleviate some pressure from the ears and I am happy to see that this head-strap is included by default – usually it is an additional purchase for other masks.
Both the ear-straps and the head-strap are adjustable, meaning that it’s relatively easy to achieve a good fit. Although some reusable cloth masks feature adjustable ear-straps, there are also many that still don’t.
Finally, the Urban Air Mask also features a chin-wrap design. I have only seen this design a few times, on masks such as the Bloo Mask and Metamask. This design sits under the wearer’s chin and allows for a superior fit as there is a better seal on the bottom of the mask.
Overall, I found that the Airinum mask was one of the best fitting cloth masks that I have tried. No cloth mask will perform as well as a correctly fitted silicone/plastic respirator such as the O2 Canada Curve, however, compared to other cloth masks I found this mask to fit me very well.
As I mentioned in the previous section, the Urban Air Mask uses a two-part design, The filter and shell of the mask are two separate pieces that are combined via two velcro straps on the left and right-hand side of the mask. The valves also serve to hold the filter in place in the centre of the mask.
The filter covers the whole interior of the mask and I found that the filter almost perfectly fit the mask. Often, filters are slightly smaller than the outer shell of masks so that they fit within the mask completely. However, the Airinum mask filter seems to fit well and the larger filter reduces breathing resistance as there is a larger surface area.
Built into the filter are two valves. These valves greatly decrease breathing resistance and can also decrease the temperature and humidity within the mask. These valves also join the filter and shell together, meaning that the filter shouldn’t be sucked in when the wearer breathes. Valves provide one-way filtration and should not be used when two-way filtration is needed.
The straps and headband of the mask are also well-made, however, they are not exceptional. The headband is made out of elastic and both bands are also fully adjustable using plastic clasps. The headband comes included with the basic mask.
The mask shell is extremely light and it uses only a thin material layer. This assists in making the mask more breathable and also with keeping the interior of the mask cooler. Most interesting about this layer, though, is that it is coated with Polygiene’s Stay Fresh technology.
This coating is designed to minimise odor-causing bacteria that can grow on the mask over time. Since the mask is designed to be reused, this can come in useful as the mask gets older. It’s very common for reusable cloth masks to begin to smell, and Stay Fresh means that the mask should stay fresh for longer. It also means that the mask can be washed less regularly.
Overall, the design of the Urban Air Mask 2 is solid. While the mask does still rely on ear-straps, the inclusion of a headband is a good addition. On top of this, the way that the filter connects to the outer shell means that I never found myself breathing in the filter – something which I can’t say for many other masks. On of all of this, the masks are clean looking and I appreciate the simple design.
Lifespan & Cost
When you purchase an Urban Air Mask you will receive two filters with the mask. Further filters can be purchased at a price of 3 filters for $24. Due to the design of the mask (specifically, the valves), you will not be able to use other filters with Airinum Masks.
The filters have a lifespan of around 100 hours of usage each. However, Airinum also recommends that for hygiene reasons the filters should be replaced every two weeks. If you are using the mask for pollution protection, you can use each filter for the 100 intended hours.
The filters for this mask are more expensive than other masks. However, I can understand this as the filters are generally larger and more complex than other common cloth mask filters. Since the valve is built into the filter (rather than the mask) you will be replacing the valves every time you replace the mask.
Overall, the cost of the Urban Air Mask 2 is higher than other cloth masks on the market. This is definitely designed to be a higher-end mask and the initial cost is much higher than many competitors. However, the benefits that the Airinum mask brings to the table will be worth this extra cost for some people.
Airinum makes some of the most well-known and (from what I have heard) well-liked cloth masks on the market. From the positive reviews that I have heard, I have always wanted to try the mask for myself to see what exactly makes them so great.
After using the mask for myself, I can confidently say that it is one of my favourite cloth masks. It fits me very well and it also features some unique elements that are on few other masks – primarily Polygiene’s Stay Fresh technology.
The biggest downside with the mask from my experience is the cost. This mask is definitely more expensive than nearly all other cloth masks on the market. For this reason, I don’t think that the Urban Air Mask 2 is the best choice for everybody.
However, if you are willing and able to spend the extra money than this mask is a a great choice. From this review, I hope that you have been able to gather the information that you need to decide which choice is best for you. If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to comment below.
Alternatively, you can find my other mask reviews here. I have covered many different masks from many different designs and price ranges.
Airinum Urban Air Mask 2 FAQ
How Long Do Urban Air Mask Filters Last?
The filters on the Urban Air Mask 2 last for around 100 hours. However, Airinum recommends changing the filter every two weeks for hygiene reasons.
Does the Urban Air Mask 2 Have an Official Rating?
Yes, the Urban Air Mask 2.0 adheres to the KN95 standard.
Is the Urban Air Mask 2 NIOSH Rated?
No, the Urban Air Mask 2 has no official NIOSH rating.
What Are Some Urban Air Mask 2 Alternatives?
Is Urban Air Mask or Cambridge Mask Better?
Both masks are very comparable and it comes down to personal preference. The biggest difference that I found is that Urban Air Mask 2 fits me better and also makes use of user-replaceable filters.
Is Urban Air Mask or Vogmask Better?
Both masks are very comparable and it comes down to personal preference. While Vogmask is cheaper, the Urban Air 2 has many unique benefits such as Polygiene’s Stay Fresh technology, a better fitting (from my experience) design, and features an included headband.
Where Can I Purchase the Urban Air Mask 2?
You can purchase the Urban Air Mask 2 from the Airinum website.
Does the Urban Air Mask 2 Have a Valve?
Yes, the mask features two valves. However, these can be blocked with an optional accessory from the Airinum store. This accessory will also be included with all Urban Air 2 purchase in the future.
Does the Urban Air Mask 2 Have Third-Party Testing?
Yes. The Urban Air Mask 2 has been tested by the Taiwan Textile Research Institute, RISE (Research Institutes of Sweden, Jiangsu Quality Supervision and Inspection Center for Special Safety Protection Products and CNTAC Testing Service Co. in Foshan.