AusAir is a company that has been attempting to create the perfect mask for over three years. Later last year, the AirFlex Mask was launched by AusAir. I have heard a lot about this mask and it’s my current most requested mask to review.
With this in mind, I have been attempting to try the mask for months. I am happy to say that I have finally had such a chance and I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts. AirFlex is a unique mask with some unique features that are hard to find elsewhere.
The first impressions of the mask are very strong, and the unboxing experience feels very Apple esque. It’s one of the cleanest unboxing experiences I have had with a mask and it also comes with very clear instructions for putting the mask together.
When opening the mask for the first time, it reminded me a lot of the Airinum Urban Air 2. While these masks are very different in many ways, the two masks also share some similarities. Specifically, the masks are both premium masks that use a similar filter design. They both have amazing unboxing experiences also!
I’ve now been wearing the AirFlex Mask daily for around one week and I would like to share my thoughts with the mask. In this review, I will start with the science behind the mask – what are the filters even capable of? After that, I will move to factors such as fit, design and lifespan.
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please refer to my affiliate disclaimer. I was sent a product for review, but the article is not sponsored. All opinions expressed in this post are my honest thoughts. I only recommend products that I truly believe in.
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 most important aspect of any mask is the filtration. However, it’s also essential to remember that filtration is two-part, filtration and fit. Filtration ratings are theoretical and assume that both the mask and filter are fitted correctly. Please keep in mind that these filtration ratings apply to the filter, and only air passing through the filter will be filtered.
AusAir filters have been tested by Nelson Laboratories which is the most well-known filtration testing lab in the world. The filters have undergone three tests – PFE (particle filtration efficiency), VFE (viral filtration efficiency) and BFE (bacterial filtration efficiency).
These tests are designed to test the filtration efficacy of filter media under the US FDA good manufacturing process. Further, these tests are carried out under ‘worst case’ scenarios. The testing conditions take place in a humid environment (85% ±5% relative humidity for BFE and VFE tests), under strong airflows and generally using the MPPS (most penetrating particle size).
AirFlex’s filter was tested against 0.1μm particles in three separate tests. In these tests, the filtration results were 99.53%, 99.28% and 99.68%. This means that the average filtration across the three tests was 99.50%. This shows that the filters are capable and among the best performers I’ve reviewed on this website.
Viral and bacterial testing was carried out using particles with a mean particle size of 2.9μm. In the VFE tests, the filter performed with a filtration rate of >99.9% (with no detected plaques downstream). In regards to BFE, the AirFlex filter media achieved 99.8% and 99.9% with the two tested samples.
All information in this section was found on the AusAir certifications page. I believe that all companies should publicly display their lab results and I appreciate the fact that this page is easy to find and provides the most up to date test results.
Also worth mentioning about the AirFlex filters is that they have a carbon layer and make use of a valve. The carbon layer is commonly found on mask filters and is used to adsorb some organic compounds, particularly odours.
The filters have a valve slot built-in. While you can’t remove the valve, each AirFlex comes with two valve stoppers, meaning that you can choose to either open the valve or seal it. Valves are useful for increasing comfort as they decrease breathing resistance and prevent excess build-up of carbon dioxide in the mask. However, they don’t filter exhaled air meaning that they should not be used when two-way filtration is required.
Overall, the AirFlex from AusAir has a capable filter. All tested particles have filtration ratings of > 99% and this puts the filter among the more capable filters on reusable cloth masks. Again, please keep in mind that these results apply only to the filter and the filter and mask must be fitted correctly for the best results.
The AirFlex Mask uses a two-piece design, with the filter and the mask being totally separate pieces. This means that the filter can easily be removed from the mask when a replacement is needed.
The outer layer of the mask is made of 50% Foam, 40% Nylon, and 10% Spandex. The ear-loops are attached to this layer and are made from the same materials – out of all of the ear-loops that I have tried these are some of the most comfortable due to their thickness and soft material.
The mask also has two holes for the valves and two pieces of soft plastic near the ear-loops. The filter connects to the mask via the valve holes and the two pieces of plastic (which have hoops that the filter sits under). This system means that the filter is always connected to the mask in 6 locations.
This system is very similar to that used by the Airinum Urban Air 2.0. I’ve always liked this system as it leaves minimal unfiltered surface area. Further, the filters are easy to change and have a large surface area which decreases breathing resistance.
An issue that can arise from using such a system is filter collapse. This is when the user inhales and the mask collapses, often interfering with breathing. In the worst cases, you can even breathe the filter into your mouth. I’ve seen this occur on some masks but that has never happened with the AusAir mask – the filter is firmly attached to the mask and the mask is quite sturdy.
While the mask will move when breathing – it will come up against my cheeks, I’ve never had the filter get too close to my mouth so as to make breathing difficult. The outer skin isn’t as sturdy as masks such as StyleSeal, but it is sturdy enough.
The mask uses a dual-valve system with the valve caps being made of stainless steel. The quality of these caps is fantastic, but they do add some weight to the mask. I have no issue with the extra weight and haven’t noticed it, but it may bother some people. The mask also comes with valve-stoppers, so while the valves can’t be removed they can be covered.
The filter itself is very large and fits almost perfectly in the mask, meaning that there is very little unfiltered mask surface. The large size of the filter also leads to the mask being quite breathable. This is especially true when the valves are open.
In regards to aesthetics, I personally like the design of the AirFlex two. It comes in a range of simple colours – black, light grey, and light pink. The masks currently have no patterns or designs but these may well be added in the future.
The designs are sleek and the mask has a simple look. The masks are a single colour with no highlights. In many ways, the look reminds me of a basic polyurethane mask – albeit a much more capable mask.
Picking a mask that fits well is vital for ensuring the best protection. While filtration is important, the fit is equally as important and this is something that is often overlooked. Luckily, AusAir provides a sizing guide on their website that can suggest the best mask size for each customer based on their facial dimensions.
Once you enter the two lengths (chin to the bottom of the eye and nose ridge to the ear canal) in either centimetres or inches the website will let you know which size will best fit you (kids, medium or large). For my dimensions, I entered 11 and 12cm, and I was recommended the large size. I noticed, however, that when putting in 10cm and 12cm the recommended size came down to a medium.
Due to this, I was a bit confused as to what mask size to choose. With most brands I choose a medium mask, and these almost always fit me better. While I did choose medium for the AirFlex Mask, I actually ended up recieving both a medium-size and large-size mask. This lead to some interesting findings.
When comparing the medium and large-size masks, I actually found the large size much better in regards to leakage than the medium mask. With the medium-sized mask, I had a regular leak on one of my cheeks and despite adjusting and trying the mask many times I was unable to remove the leak entirely.
On the other hand, the large mask sealed far better and I believe this is due to the slightly longer piece of memory foam. For this reason, I would recommend getting the bigger size if you are between the medium and large size like me. It seems that AusAir is aware of this, and the system seems to bias larger sizes for anyone in the middle.
The AirFlex Mask is quite a large mask – it is one of the larger cloth masks that I have tried and it also sits quite high above my nose due to the large memory foam layer and the fact that the mask and filter are separated. Because of this, the mask feels a bit bigger than most other cloth masks that I have tried.
Also, since the mask uses stainless steel metal valves, it is also quite weighty. Despite being relatively heavy and large, the mask feels comfortable and is easy to wear due to its comfortable, elastic ear-loops which feel very cushiony.
The worst area in regards to leakage in my experience is under the chin. When using the ear-loops without sliders attached I can feel some leakage when active (such as when walking). At times, there was also some leakage on the top area in the locations that the memory foam doesn’t cover.
Interestingly, I was able to remove almost all of these leaks by using the adjustable ear-loop sliders included in the box. At first I didn’t even realise these two small pieces of plastic were included but I am very happy that they are as they removed nearly all of the leaks.
There are still some minor leaks at times (primarily along the top of the mask where the memory foam ends) but I have not found a cloth mask yet that doesn’t have leaks at times. Comparatively, the AirFlex Mask from AusAir is one of the best fitting masks that I have tried.
I am a big fan of memory foam in masks and I believe that fit is one of the biggest strengths of the AusAir AirFlex Mask. The foam layer is longer than on most masks I have tried, and this leads to a better seal. Very little air escaped from anywhere near my nose, even though this is generally the point with the most leakage on other masks.
One factor that I need to test more is the leakage with the valves opened. I’ve only used the mask with valve-stoppers in place while outdoors due to the laws that ban the use of masks with valves. I believe that using the valves may decrease leakage even further as the air will have an easier route of exiting the mask.
I’ve tried the mask with opened-valves indoors and it does seem like the leakage has decreased further. However, it’s hard to tell how that would translate to real-world use involving day to day activities. Once masks with valves are allowed outside again (or when I can visit the country) I will test this further!
Overall, the fit on the AusAir mask left me feeling impressed. The fit is decent without the included beads for adjusting the ear-loops. With them, there is minimal leakage and the main potential issue from my testing is along the top on the edges of the filter where the memory foam ends.
The one issue that I did notice is with the adjustable plastic beads. While they worked fine for shorter periods of time, I would notice them moving over longer periods of wear. Eventually, I would need to re-tighten the mask behind my ears as the beads would gradually slide loose. This isn’t a big issue, but I do hope that this design can be improved upon.
Lifespan & Cost
The AirFlex Mask costs $60 AUD (Australian Dollar, around $45 USD at the time of writing) for the basic mask. In this basic pack you will find the below included:
- 1 x AirFlex Mask Skin
- 1 x Antimicrobial Copper Carry Bag
- 2 x Blank Filters (no scent)
- 2 x Stainless Steel Exhalation Valves
- 2 x Valve Block-Outs (Optional Use)
- 2 x Ear Loop Adjusters
Although this may seem pricey initially, it’s important to consider the cost relative to other masks. Many masks without replaceable filters (such as Vogmask and Cambridge Mask) go for around $30 typically. These are perhaps the two most famous cloth mask brands on the market currently.
While it is up to you to decide which mask suits your situation best, the AirFlex has more flexibility. Not only can you change filters when needed, but you can also change between valve and valve-less (blocking the valve). The basic package also comes with an antimicrobial copper carrying bag.
Filters can be purchased at $36 AUD (approximately $27.50 USD) for a 4-pack. This means that each filter comes out to around $7 USD. The website mentions that these filters last for up to 28 days each, and when I inquired about the lifespan in hours worn I was told that the filters are rated for 96 hours (of wear).
This means that each filter can last around 28 days if you wear the mask for about 3 hours per day. This is a relatively standard filter lifespan and the price will come out much cheaper in the long run when compared to disposable masks.
Conclusion – Is the AirFlex Worth it?
The AirFlex from AusAir was one of my most requested reviews ever and I can see why. The AusAir mask is a great mask and one that has quickly become one of my personal favourites. The mask is in the more premium market with the higher price tag, but it’s still significantly cheaper than many silicone masks such as the Curve 1.2 from O2 Canada and even some cloth masks such as the Urban Air Mask 2.0.
I do feel, however, that this extra cost over other reusable masks is justified. The quality of the mask is high, and the materials used feel both comfortable and durable. The filter system allows filters to be changed easily while ensuring that there are very few gaps for unfiltered air to pass through.
Of course, as with any mask, the AirFlex Mask is not perfect and there are a few small adjustments that I wish could be made. Firstly, I would prefer a more solid ear-loop adjustment system that can stay in place even after hours of wear. Secondly, I feel like there is some room for improvement along the top of the mask in regards to leakage – perhaps the memory foam could be expanded?
I believe this little bit of extra length is what made the large mask seal so much better than the medium in my case. I felt that the memory foam on the large-size sat tighter on my cheek, preventing gaps for air to escape.
Finally, the mask is quite large for a cloth mask. This isn’t an issue when it comes to fit, as the filter sits inside the mask and can be adjusted separately from the mask skin. However, since the skin is quite thick and sits quite high on the nose, the mask does look large and it’s easy to see the top of the mask in your field of vision (compared to other cloth masks).
Personally, I found these flaws to be minor and I managed to achieve a great fit with the AirFlex Mask. After adjusting the mask I found very few leaks and the mask was one of the most comfortable that I have tried and it also had little mask collapse. Normally I would use a headband to relieve the pressure on my ears, but with this mask, I felt like I didn’t need to.
On top of the fit, the mask offers great filtration capabilities with over 99% filtration with all tested particle types. The addition of a carbon filter to filter VOCs and some odours is also a useful addition that many people will appreciate.
I will be wearing this mask more into the future and I can see it becoming my daily mask. I will be sure to keep updating this article with my findings if anything changes over time. Otherwise, I would love to hear reader’s opinions. Have you tried the AusAir AirFlex Mask? If so, what were your experiences?
If you are interested in purchasing the mask and saving 10%, please feel free to check out the website at the link below. I hope that this article has been helpful in allowing you to choose the best mask for your needs!
AirFlex Mask FAQ
Does the AirFlex Mask Hold an Official Rating?
No, the Airflex mask does not hold an official rating such as KF94, N95, KN95, etc. However, it has been tested by a third-party lab.
Does the AirFlex Mask Have Lab Tests?
Yes, the AirFlex mask has been tested by Nelson Labs and all of the results are available here.
Where Can I Buy the AirFlex Mask?
You can purchase the AirFlex Masks from the AusAir website.
How Long do AirFlex Filters Last?
The filters last 28 days or 96 hours of wear – whichever comes first. If they filters become difficult to breathe through, damaged, or otherwise they should also be replaced.
What Size AirFlex Should I get?
AusAir has a sizing guide. If you are between two sizes, I would recommend getting the larger size as I found the sealing to be better.
How Does AirFlex Compare to the Urban Air Mask 2?
The AirFlex Mask and Urban Air Mask 2.0 have many similarities. The biggest differences are the materials used, the sizes, and the cost. The Urban Air Mask 2.0 has a fabric outer layer and is also smaller at the same size. It’s also significantly more expensive.
How Does AirFlex Compare to Cambridge Mask?
Compared to Cambridge Mask, the AirFlex has many advantages. The mask has a changeable valve system (valves can be opened or closed), replaceable filters, a memory foam nosepiece and more.