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Cambridge Mask Review – The Best Reusable Mask?

When I first moved to Korea, the Cambridge Mask Pro was my mask of choice for years. At that point, I didn’t know much about masks, and Cambridge Mask is one of the most beginner-friendly masks on the market. It’s also one of the most well-known.

However, despite wearing the mask for years, I’ve never actually made a full review of the mask. While I have compared Cambridge Mask, Vogmask, and Airinum, I never got around to reviewing the mask itself. 

In this post today, I want to take an in-depth look at Cambridge Mask and see if it is deserving of its reputation as one of the most popular reusable masks on the market. Are Cambridge Masks a good way to begin protecting yourself, or are you better off looking elsewhere? Today, I will answer this question.

I will focus on what I believe to be the most essential aspects in order – filtration, fit, design, and models. I will then conclude the post by mentioning for whom the mask might be a good choice and vice versa.

Please note that there are two models of Cambridge Mask – the Cambridge Mask (valveless) and the Cambridge Mask Pro. This review will focus on the Pro model. Both masks are largely similar, except the Pro has a longer lifespan and makes use of a valve.

For this reason, the Cambridge Mask Pro is my recommendation for most wearers unless source control is important for your usage. Generally, source control is most important when dealing with viruses, as you want two-way filtration to protect both yourself and others around you.

When it comes to air pollution and one-way protection, masks with valves tend to be a better choice as they not only have lower exhalation resistance (and therefore better breathability), but they are also better at expelling heat and humidity. Overall, these two factors generally lead to a more comfortable experience.

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please refer to my affiliate disclaimer. I was NOT sent a product for review; I purchased this monitor myself. All opinions expressed in this post are my honest thoughts. I only recommend products that I 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 the information, which is subject to change without notice. Devices mentioned on this website are not medical devices and do not guarantee protection.


Cambridge Mask Filter

The most important aspect of any mask is the filter. The same goes for the Cambridge Mask. Luckily, it offers quite strong filtration qualities and is comparable to some of the better-performing masks on the market.

Before going any further in this section, there are some crucial points to remember. Firstly, the Cambridge Mask does NOT hold a NIOSH (N95/N99/N100) rating. There has been a lot of confusion around this fact in the past, leading to many people believing that Cambridge Mask was N99.

The confusion came because Cambridge Mask claimed that they had N99-level filtration. While this may seem true on the surface level, as the Cambridge Mask Pro does sport > 99% filtration indeed, there’s more to the matter than simple filtration percentages. All you need to know is that Cambridge Mask is not NIOSH-approved, and it does not compare with an N99 device.

Interestingly, masks such as Cambridge Mask can’t even hold a NIOSH certification. There are certain requirements in the standard that ‘typical’ cloth masks such as Cambridge Maks simply don’t meet. For example, N95s, N99s, and N100s all require headbands and a mask with earloops can’t be approved by NIOSH.

While reusable cloth masks such as Cambridge Mask can’t hold NIOSH certifications, there are other certifications they can hold. FFP ratings are given by the EU, KN ratings are given by China and KF ratings are given by Korea. Cambridge Mask Pro holds an FFP2 RD rating. In regards to filtration, this is roughly similar to the N95 rating. You can learn more about European EN certifications here. If you don’t want to dive into that article, let’s take a quick look at what FFP2 RD means:

  • FFP2 – Meets EN149:2001 and has ≥ 94% filtration and internal leakage ≤ 8%, among other requirements.
  • R – The mask is designated as reusable.
  • D – Indicates the mask has undergone the Dolomite Dust Test showing it resists clogging and can be used for a longer period.

Since this confusion, Cambridge Mask has become much more transparent about its certifications and lab tests. In the past, they were never displayed publicly, and I had to reach out to the company in order to write my initial review. Since then, they have now made everything public. Please feel free to refer to their certifications page for more information.

On top of the aforementioned rating, Cambridge Masks have also undergone filtration testing by Nelson Labs. These tests indicate the exact filtration efficacy of the filter media under certain conditions against different particles. Cambridge Mask Pro underwent three filtration tests – particle filtration efficiency, bacterial filtration efficiency and viral filtration efficiency.

The specific filtration efficiencies of Cambridge Mask are as follows: PFE (latex particle) ≥ 98.9%, VFE (viral particle) ≥ 99.8%, and BFE (bacterial particle) ≥ 99.0%. For each test, 5 samples were used, and these were the lowest results from the samples. It is worth noting that, on average, the samples provided higher filtration, as the table below shows.

Lowest Filtration Result vs Average

Particle TypeLowest ResultAverage
PFE as per ASTM F2299, BFE as per ASTM F2101-19, and VFE as per modified ASTM F2101-19.

The above results were found using a particle size of 0.1μm (for PFE) and 2.8μm (BFE & VFE). All of these tests were carried out in July/August 2020, and they should still be up to date as the masks haven’t undergone any significant changes for the past few years.

These filtration results are impressive at first glance, and they show that the Cambridge Mask Pro’s filter is more than capable of filtering the vast majority of latex, bacterial, and viral particles. However, there is one caveat to keep in mind that many people overlook.

The test conditions to which the Cambridge Mask Pro were tested (ASTM F2299 and ASTM F2101) are both less challenging than the test conditions to which N95s are tested. A lot of people see the results of Cambridge Mask (and other similar masks) and assume they are better performing than respirators with a lower filtration efficiency.

Are you interested in learning about the differences between particle filtration efficiency tests?

While the filtration results show a high level of performance, a mask such as Cambridge Mask, Vogmask, or Airinum is not a replacement for a head-band respirator tested to more stringent testing conditions. With that said, the Cambridge Mask does perform well, provided it is fitted correctly with minimal leakage.

With that out of the way, I also wanted to see how Cambridge Mask compares to the competition. I picked some other popular reusable masks to compare test results under the same standard.

Particle Filtration

Filtration TypeParticle (0.3μm)Particle (0.1μm)
Cambridge Mask≥ 99.47% (old results)≥ 98.9%
MeoAir≥ 96%≥ 99.74%
Vogmask≥ 95.38%NA
Totobobo (F94)NA≥ 99.7%
Metamask≥ 98.7%≥ 99%
Tests were carried out under ASTM F2299 conditions.

As the table above shows, Cambridge Mask provides competitive filtration at 0.3μm (albeit using older test results). In fact, compared to the masks in the table above, it performs the best at 0.3μm. At 0.1μm, Cambridge Mask falls slightly behind when considering the worst-performing sample results. However, the filtration still falls within 1% of the other masks.

With filtration results this high, it is best to use whichever mask fits you best. A well-fitted FFP2 or equivalent mask will provide better protection than a loosely-fitted FFP3 or equivalent mask with leaks. With this in mind, it’s important to choose the mask that fits you best.

Viral & Bacterial Filtration

Filtration TypeViral (2.8μm)Bacterial(2.8μm)
Cambridge Mask≥ 99.8%> 99.0%
MeoAirNA> 99.99%
Vogmask> 99.9%> 99.9%
Totobobo> 99.9%> 99.9%
Tests were carried out under ASTM F2101 conditions.

Viral and bacterial filtration with Cambridge Mask equals or exceeds 99% in both cases. While the results are lower than some of the competition, they are the worst-case results out of the samples tested. In reality, all masks should perform similarly, and the best-fitting mask is the best choice.

Cambridge Mask also features a carbon filter. This filter is very heavily advertised and is a big attraction for many buyers. Where the primary filter is designed to filter particles, activated carbon filters are designed to adsorb volatile organic compounds. Carbon filters are also effective against odours.

The addition of a carbon filter is welcome, and I always appreciate some odour filtration. However, no cloth mask should be relied upon when it comes to the filtration of toxic organic compounds. You’ll want a half-face respirator with specific filter cartridges in these cases.

The breathability of the Cambridge Mask Pro is good but not the best. Some masks, such as those using wool (AusAir AirWeave), microfibre (NarooMask) and nanofibre (Happy Masks and Craft Cadence Mask) filters, have significantly better breathability. Cambridge Mask is comparable in breathability to Vogmask and standard KF94/KN95 respirators.

Overall, the Cambridge Mask Pro features a capable filter. The particle filtration provided is some of the best among reusable cloth masks; however, it does fall slightly behind the competition in regard to viral and bacterial particle filtration. With this in mind, however, it’s important to remember that no mask is effective unless fitted correctly.

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Cambridge Mask Blue

Although we spend a lot of time discussing filtration, the fit is as important for determining the performance of a mask or respirator. A good fit is vital for the best protection. If a mask does not create a seal on your face, particles such as fine dust, bacteria, and viruses can avoid the filter altogether and enter around the edges. 

This means that the air (that comes through the sides) is not actually being filtered. While you may receive some protection, you will not receive it to the full extent that the mask can offer. For this reason, it’s very important to ensure you purchase the correctly sized mask.

If you need to know how to fit a mask correctly, please refer to official resources such as this guide from CCOHS. While the guide is designed for respirators, many of the same steps and processes still apply to cloth masks. It’s also good to know how to perform a seal check to ensure no air is escaping.

Cambridge Mask follows the standard reusable mask formula. This means it uses ear-straps and a wire nose-piece for adjustments and fitting. However, Cambridge Mask Pro also has one bonus that is one of its greatest appeals to me.

Blue Cambridge Mask

Please note: the mask in the image above is not fitted correctly as the mask is too large for her. However, it shows a good side profile of the product.

This unique feature is the chin strap design that the Cambridge Mask Pro uses. Unlike other ear-strap masks, the Cambridge Mask features two adjustable straps on either cheek. These straps are elastic and help create a strong seal around the chin.

This feature alone means I prefer the fit of the Cambridge Mask Pro over other similar masks, such as Vogmask and Airinum. I feel far more confident in the chin seal of this mask because I can adjust each side individually and ensure there is no gap under my chin or the edges of my jaw.

The Cambridge Mask also features the standard wire nose-piece found in most masks and respirators. The wire nosepiece is firm and maintains a steady seal, even when I’m moving or otherwise active. While the lack of adjustable earloops or headbands means it’s difficult to seal the mask around my nose fully, the wire used in the nosepiece is a strength of the Cambridge Mask Pro.

The lack of adjustable earloops is this mask’s biggest flaw when it comes to fit. With so many different face shapes and sizes, I believe every mask should have adjustable mounting mechanisms. While the medium Cambridge Mask Pro fits me quite well, many people will struggle to get a fit due to the lack of adjustability.

Cambridge Mask Headband

While the chin straps can adjust the nose gap somewhat, it would be far better to have the second dimension of adjustment that adjustable earloops allow. Without adjustable earloops, I sometimes find myself struggling to seal the mask around the bridge of my nose fully.

I do have to note that all Cambridge Mask Pros come with an adjustable headband attachment. This elastic band can be attached to the earloops and allows for a slightly better fit while also taking some of the pressure off the wearer’s ears. However, it’s no replacement for a proper headband design, and I feel like adjustable earloops would improve the fit significantly.

The Cambridge Mask Pro is available in a wide range of sizes. It’s rare to see five different sizes, and mask brands typically offer one to three sizing options. I believe the need for five different sizes largely stems from the fixed earloops.

Cambridge Mask Fitting

Cambridge Mask size guide. From Cambridge Mask.

When purchasing a Cambridge Mask Pro for the first time, make sure to follow the official sizing guide to ensure your mask fits as best it can. I have always purchased the M size and find it to fit better than the L size (even though I weigh around 66kg).

Overall, while the Cambridge Mask won’t provide as good of a fit as masks such as the Gill Mask, which uses a silicone face seal, it is one of the better-fitting cloth masks I have tried. Cloth masks are often hard to fit correctly, but I found Cambridge Mask to be one of the best.

However, I can’t overlook the lack of adjustable earloops. While other competing masks, such as Vogmask, also don’t include such a toggle, Vogmask is a mask that generally doesn’t fit me very well. On the other hand, I find myself able to achieve a great fit with adjustable masks such as Happy Masks.

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Cambridge Mask Features

The unfortunate truth is that no mask is comfortable. If there is a comfortable respirator, I have not found it yet, and I would guess that I have tried over 100 so far. While some are more comfortable than others, the reality is that they all provide some discomfort. Cambridge Mask is right in the middle of this spectrum.

Although not the most uncomfortable mask, it is also not the most comfortable. The mask is quite heavy, and (even with the valve) it can get hot and humid inside. This is especially true during the summer in South Korea, where temperatures can reach higher than 35 degrees Celsius. I struggle to wear my Cambridge Mask Pro during the warmer months because it’s just too hot.

Some other masks remedy this using lighter materials or dual-valve designs. While masks will always have different air conditions inside than outside, the Cambridge Mask performs very poorly in this regard, and lighter/more breathable masks provide much more comfort during warm months.

Blue Cambridge Mask Pro

The second issue I have with Cambridge Mask’s comfort is the ear straps. While the earloops are quite thick and more comfortable than many masks, I find they still make wearing the mask for long periods uncomfortable. Again, the lack of adjustable earloops doesn’t help because there’s only one way to wear the mask – you can’t loosen the bands when they begin to come uncomfortable.

Other than these two points, I don’t have much to say about the comfort of the Cambridge Mask Pro. The mask is not uncomfortable, but these two issues prevent me from saying it is comfortable. With the included headband, I found the ear issue was mostly alleviated, but the heat and humidity issue was not avoidable.

That leads me to this conclusion regarding the Cambridge Mask Pro’s comfort: during colder months and months when the temperature is not hot, Cambridge Mask is generally a comfortable mask to wear – especially if you utilise the headband attachment. However, during warm months I would recommend looking for a different mask.

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Cambridge Mask Models

Cambridge Mask comes in many different colours and designs, and new designs are being released over time. Whether you want a simple black mask or something that stands out, you can find it from Cambridge Mask.

If you want a mask that blends in, I recommend getting the Churchill or another plain-coloured mask. The mask is entirely black and can work with nearly any outfit. 

The biggest standout feature of the mask from the exterior is the dual chin straps. Cambridge Mask is the only mask that I know of that features these straps, and they are the only standout feature from the outside.

The Cambridge Mask generally doesn’t stand out due to the use of a relatively standard mask design. While some of the colour options are more eye-catching, there is a good balance of subtle and noticeable colours. I appreciate the choice, as I prefer masks that blend in.

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Price & Lifespan Air quality

Cambridge Mask is a reusable mask that can be used for extended periods. The masks do not feature a replaceable filter, so the mask must be replaced once breathing becomes difficult or the mask becomes otherwise damaged.

Each Cambridge Mask Pro costs £25 or $32 (USD), depending on the store from which you purchase your mask. The mask’s lifespan ranges from about 200-350 hours, depending on the level of air pollution. Even for days of very high pollution (such as an AQI over 300), the mask has an expected lifespan of over 200 hours.

This means that, on average, you are looking at around $1 per 10 hours of wear. Compared to disposable respirators and masks, Cambridge Mask will come out cheaper in the long run – assuming you use disposable respirators for only a few days each.

While there is no definite way to tell when the mask needs replacing, the general advice is to replace the mask once breathing becomes significantly more difficult. If you wear the mask regularly, it should last a few months.

The mask can be hand-washed, but this should be avoided where possible. Cambridge Mask provides a washing guide and recommends washing the mask with washing soda and warm water. While the mask can be washed when needed, I recommend avoiding this whenever possible.

Washing a mask can degrade the filter and lead to decreased filtration efficacy. While some filters can maintain their performance or have minimal degradation, I haven’t found test results for Cambridge Mask. Without these results, I recommend avoiding washing the mask if possible because we don’t know how each wash cycle will impact the filter.

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Should You Buy a Cambridge Mask?

Cambridge Mask Churchill

With all that being said, this brings my Cambridge Mask review to a close. So, would I recommend the mask? Well, it depends on a few factors. If you’re looking for a reusable cloth mask and are not interested in a reusable elastomeric device, the Cambridge Mask Pro may be a good choice.

If you need the best protection, you will want to move to an approved respirator such as an N95. However, for situations where you want to have a good level of protection and don’t want to keep relying on disposable masks, Cambridge Mask is a good choice.

Compared to Vogmask, I find the Cambridge Mask to perform better. While it’s less comfortable due to higher breathing resistance and heavier materials, it also fits better as it has one dimension of adjustment. While this should be two (yes, I will keep coming back to the omission of adjustable earloops!), it’s an improvement over none.

The biggest issue I have with Cambridge Mask is the hot and heavy materials used. I can’t wear the mask in summer without feeling uncomfortable and almost claustrophobic. Thankfully, this isn’t an issue in winter or in cooler climates but it is something to be aware of.

If you’re interested in reading about other reusable masks, please feel free to refer to this post on reusable masks. In it, I compare a range of alternatives in various different price and performance categories. If you want to see what other options are available, make sure to check it out!

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Cambridge Mask FAQ

Cambridge Mask

What Rating Does Cambridge Mask Have?

Cambridge Mask holds the FFP2 RD certification. On top of this, it has over 99% filtration for all particle types (PFE, BFE, and VFE).

Is the Cambridge Mask N99?

The Cambridge Mask adheres to the NIOSH N99 filtration requirements. However, the mask does not hold an official NIOSH N99 rating.

What are the Best Cambridge Mask Alternatives?

There are many Cambridge Mask alternatives out there. Vogmask, Mau Mask, and Totobobo are all popular options. You can find a full Cambridge Mask vs Vogmask article here. Another mask that offers similar capabilities but for cheaper is Re-Mask Sports.

How Long Can I Use Cambridge Mask For?

Usually, you can use a Cambridge mask for around 300 hours or until breathing becomes difficult. However, this depends upon the levels of pollution that you are wearing the mask in and the AQI.

Can Cambridge Mask Filter Viruses?

Cambridge Mask offers 99.8% viral filtration as well as 99.0% bacterial filtration.

Does Cambridge Mask Use a Valve?

Yes. Cambridge Masks make use of a valve. However, this valve can be covered using the optional valve stopper.

Cambridge Mask
Cambridge Mask Review

Cambridge Masks are some of the most well-known reusable cloth masks on the market. With a long lifespan, high filtration efficiency, and an adjustable fit, many people have come to rely on Cambridge Masks.

Product Brand: Cambridge Mask

Editor's Rating:


  • > 98.9% filtration
  • Child-safe.
  • Adjustable chin straps
  • 99.8% and 99.0% viral and bacterial filtration
  • Long life-span
  • Affordable
  • Included headband


  • Hot and humid
  • Earloops aren't comfortable
  • No filtration testing after wash cycles
  • No adjustable earloops

Read 31 Comments on 'Cambridge Mask Review – The Best Reusable Mask?'

    1. Hello Laura.

      I have seen the Nelson Labs certificates personally. I reached out to them and asked to see them – I will not write an article on a mask or respirator without official lab results, it’s one of my requirements.

      However, they asked me not to publicly share them. If you want to see the certificates for yourself I recommend contacting the company.

      They are not listed on the CDC site because as I said in my article, the masks do not hold the N99 rating. Rather, they meet the requirements in regards to particle filtration. ‘On top of the FFP2 certification, Cambridge Mask also meets the filtration requirements for the NIOSH N99 standard. Although the mask is not officially certified as N99, it does meet the requirements and has been lab-tested’.

      Consumer reusable respirators currently can not hold an NIOSH rating due to some of the requirements.

      I understand that I could have been more clear about the exact details. I will update my article to reflect this and to be more obvious about the lack of N99 certification.

  1. Hi.
    I use a Cambridge mask. I agree with all your comments re wearability and have actually bought quite a few for myself and others since their early introduction. The addition of the adjustable head-band was a vital necessity to give the masks a tight fit. I wear glasses and it is sometimes difficult to get just the right fit to avoid them steaming up, but perseverance does pay!

    However I am unclear about one thing. Should they ever be washed or not? The company seems to imply that it is not necessary and you will know when to discard them when it becomes harder to breathe through them. Would washing (assume hand-only in say just warm water alone?) degrade the mask in any way/make it less easy to identify when it should be discarded? I don’t wear them so frequently that I can almost count the hours – so for me, knowing the answer to this would help a lot. Thanks in advance!

    1. Hello Steve,

      Cambridge Mask’s official advice is:

      The mask can be hand washed with soap and hot water. However, this will not extend the life of the filters as the pollution will be locked into them. As the whole mask is the filter, once it has reached its recommended total hours of use, a new mask is needed. Please do not machine wash or dry the mask. (

      Hand washing should not degrade the lifespan of the mask/filter or make it harder to tell when it should be discarded. However, I would also refrain from washing it unless it is needed (the mask smells or is visibly dirty). I believe that Cambridge Mask implies that they don’t need to be washed as they are intended as pollution masks (in which case washing isn’t that essential). They should definitely be safe to wash though, and the filter lifespan shouldn’t be impacted too greatly. I hope this helps!

    2. Cambridge Mask claims that their masks can be washed without affecting filtration efficiency – however, most people familiar with how their mask filtration works (i.e. through electrostatic filtration) will be able to deduce that this is not the case. Water (and soap, and alcohol) significantly reduces the filtration efficiency of a mask that filters through electrostatic filtration. (The majority of masks utilize electrostatic filtration, although there are some that don’t.) The resources and studies on this are out there (and you can check with scientists / mask manufacturers familiar with this topic) – I will leave it at that.

      Cambridge Mask has been repeatedly asked to comment directly on this issue, and they have demurred / evaded the question with their standard reply without addressing its inherent lack of logic and science-backed evidence.

      To tell consumers that their masks can be safely used after washing (especially during a pandemic, when people are more likely to wash their masks frequently) puts customers at risk and conveys a disregard for customers’ safety and health.

      I am replying to your comment because I empathize with your anxiety and questions – and I know how frustrating it is to be given the run around by that company. Hope this helps.

      1. Hello,

        Thank you for your great reply. You are largely right, I just wanted to add a few things.

        Firstly, electrostatic filtration is not the only method of filtration. While it is a very effective one, there are also filtration mechanisms such as diffusion, inertial impact and interception (usually used in conjunction with electrostatic filtration) these are less impacted by washing. Washing definitely will decrease the efficiency of the filter and this is why it should only be done when essential. I believe the issue is in the wording – the lifespan of the filter won’t be decreased, but the efficiency will be.

        Your comment encouraged me to look up the difference between soap & non-soap washing. Masks can be boiled for around 5 minutes while retaining 90-98% efficiency (Source | Source) and this is probably the easiest method to wash masks at home (dry heat is a good alternative and generally retains more efficiency though). On the other hand, if you wash with soap or medical alcohol the filtration efficiency drops down to 50-70% (source).

        This makes me wonder why they advise washing with soap. As you have mentioned, and as research shows, it lowers filtration efficiency immensely. Boiling seems like a much better alternative and retains far more filtration (but should still only be done when essential).

        With that being said, I apologise, Steve, for the answer I gave you the other day about washing. I took the information from the Cambridge Mask site, but that advice is obviously not great. If you do want to wash the mask, perhaps look towards boiling them? There are many studies out there that give the exact specifics (how long to boil, how hot, etc).

        The sources aren’t the best but I will do some more research once I get home and see what else I can find.

        Again, thank you for your comment. It’s very insightful and I hope more people can read this.

  2. Worth noting that the valve allows your exhaled breath out without any filtering. This means the mask will not provide much less protection to anyone around you than valveless masks. In some countries, I would think it does not meet the legal requirement for a face mask (as such rules are usually focused on protecting others).

    1. This point about the behaviour of teh filter is an important point with Covid. If the wearer is infected, then the wearer may be protected from breathing in covid (what is the point if they are already infected?) but everyone else could be infected when the wearer breathes out. This point was made repeatedly in the UK as folks were buying expensive masks with filters that were (selfishly?) not protecting those around the wearer.

  3. thanks for the report, ethan. i’ve been using a cambridge mask for a few months now. not sure if i missed this part, but the CDC and many other reports that have been coming out recently have stated to avoid masks with valves or vents as they can result in expelled respiratory droplets that can affect others and doesn’t prevent the person wearing them from transmitting to others. is the cambridge vent superior to others? all the reports have placed masks with vents/valves in the middle of the bunch in terms of protection, with vent-free N95 and surgical masks at the top of the list. i was going to email cambridge about this.

    1. Hello Harley,

      You are exactly right! I did mention this in the article, but I guess you must have missed that part 🙂

      The Cambridge Mask valve unfortunately has the same issues that other valves have. As such, it shouldn’t be used when two-way filtration is needed. Masks with valves will provide the same protection as non-valve variants, but they will provide the protection ONLY to the wearer (and not both ways). This is where the issue is.

      For this reason, the Cambridge Mask is perhaps not the best choice when it comes to masks for viruses.

  4. I bought 4 masks of different sizes. Not one fit. The ear strap is too thick to secure the mask tight to your face; it slips off my ear. Also, all 4 masks were poorly made. The tightening cord was stuck into the material so it doesn’t glide through the fabric – the mask becomes uneven across my face. My wife, brother, and his family have the same problem. We decided that the masks would leak too much given the manufacturing flaws. We bought these masks believing they would fit snug after adjusting the straps but found they’re not as good as N95 and similar.

  5. Hi Ethan

    I was concerned to read the comments about washing affecting the filtration efficiency of the Cambridge mask so significantly. As I have the mask and have been washing it with soap and water, I emailed them to query this. They’ve replied to say washing has no effect on filtration efficiency. Is this something you’d be able to take up with them as it’s potentially misleading and a large number of their customers, like me, will have bought their mask thinking there’d be no no deterioration in filtration efficiency by hand washing with soap and water?


    1. Hello,

      I understand your concern – it’s definitely something that we need clarified. I have reached out to Cambridge Mask and will let you know as soon as I get a reply.

      Thank you,

      1. Hi Ethan, just checking to see if you have received anything back. As mentioned, it is clear that masks washed with soap/alcohol will be impacted signifcantly when it comes to effectiveness ( . I believe Cambridge is misleading customers on this, and doing it for an obvious reason. If consumers knew you can not clean a mask well without signifcantly reducing the filtration efficiency, then they wouldn’t buy cambridge mask. People buy cambridge masks for its N95+ rating and ability to reuse. After washing, the efficiency drops to below that of even a cheap surgical mask which is shown to block around 80% of PM2.5 particles. (

        I am afraid many consumers are washing the masks and wearing them thinking they are getting N95 protection, when they are getting far far worse. This is scary as I know people with compromised immune systems who depend on these masks and are in this exact situation. Their life quite literally depends on this information.

  6. Hi.

    I bought the N99 Pro 65Roses and I noticed some differences with the quality from my previously bought Newton. The inner silicon membrane on the valve is not the same as before. Its kind of thinner and smaller now that when you try to look from the inside of the mask you can see some gaps on the sides of it. The inner lining of my 65Roses is of cloth material whereas my Newton has the carbon filter layer.

    I emailed Cambridge Mask regarding this matter and this was their response “ We would like to share with you that our 65roses is not quite the same as our PRO mask, but we still classify it as a member of our PRO mask range. 65roses is the result of our special collaboration with Jennifer Ronnenberg and it has an additional layer after the carbon filter layer. The valve should allow you to breathe easily while also reducing humidity in your mask. Through the small gaps in the front area of the valve, you may try gently but firmly pushing the inner silicon membrane with a hard, pointed tool such as a pen or a pencil. Then, observe if the valve correctly opens when you exhale and closes when you inhale. The easiest way to see this would be to look in the mirror and see if it now works.”

    I did what they advise regarding the small gaps on the valve and yes the small gaps are gone but temporarily only. After washing the mask, the silicon is back to having small gaps again. I think the problem here is that the silicon does not really fit well to the valve because it is smaller now than it is before.

    I just hope that they could maintain the high quality of their mask given that it is expensive.

  7. I just found your site and I love your in-depth reviews, great job!
    I started using masks due to asthma (so that’s a few years before the COVID pandemic) and I’ve always alternated between Cambridge Mask and Vogmask, as they offer the best protection against viruses and bacteria (my main concern, as I used to get ill really fast and with asthma, that gets dangerous) along with best design too – wearing masks from these brands didn’t make me feel like some weirdo / freak and otherwise I would have been to self-aware to wear a mask, even if I needed one. So the best in terms of filtering germs and also in terms of looks/design.
    I liked the silver in Cambridge Mask and also the adjustable strings.

    My favourite of the Cambridge masks was The General (the camouflage pattern), it’s one of the best patterns I’ve ever seen. However, I tried to restock on it when my mask expired, but they were sold out and then the pandemic started, so Cambridge only sold masks in black or in navy blue. At the time, they told me this was because of all the problems that mask industries faced (mask restrictions, no mask availability, etc.), which was understandable. But I’ve now been waiting for over 1 year and a half to buy again The General mask and it’s still not in stock, which is not understandable, as now there are many masks everywhere. Cambridge used to have a lot of patterns for masks, but now it’s become a dull company with just plain solid colours and just a couple of patterns, none of which being the camouflage one. Big disappointment, honestly, as for me efficiency is my main concern, but I also want style. I still will buy a Cambridge mask every now and then (not often), but now I mostly use Vogmasks. It’s a pity, though, so I hope they start selling pattern masks again, obviously including The General mask.

    1. Hello Lys, thank you for your comment and kind words!

      I am in a similar situation with asthma, it’s hard to find a mask that has both high filtration and a design that actually looks good. In fact, this balance seems to be very hard to come by. Have you tried Airinum? They have some very nice designs and great filtration too. They are much more expensive, but they do offer replaceable filters which may be worth it in the long run. I mention it because these are some of my favourite day-to-day masks.

      That’s very odd regarding the Cambridge Mask production. I know that they are still in very high demand (reusable masks and disposable masks require quite different manufacturing processes) but I didn’t realise how hard it was to get a non-standard design. I hope that they bring those back soon! I’ve also been looking to pick up a new Cambridge Mask but they seem near impossible to find these days! Are Vogmasks significantly easier to come by where you live?

  8. Hi Ethan

    Just wondered if you got a response and are able to provide an update on the washing/filtration efficiency point?


    1. Hello,

      I did contact Cambridge Mask about it and they sent the following statement: ‘extensive research and testing we have done suggests filter efficiency will not be negatively impacted by light hand washing with warm water and a small amount of major brands of soap/detergent’.

      However, I have not been able to test this myself and have not seen any test results or proof.

  9. Hi, thank you for your work on all the reviews, they have been super helpful!
    I have a question, have you ever heard of the Cambridge masks practically disintegrating into the wearer’s face? I wore a Cambridge mask (Watson Pro) for hours recently, and when I removed it, I had small black fibers all over my nose, mouth, and cheeks. I even had them in my nose, as seen on a tissue after blowing my nose. I complained about it to Cambridge Masks and they sent me a new one. Then it happened again with another Cambridge mask I already owned (Admiral Pro, not the replacement mask!), and I just about had it. I again complained to Cambridge, and wanted a refund, since I already have sensitive airways due to illness, and do not wish to breathe in black mystery fibers. They sent back a lot of empty words, tried to offload the problem on me and said they couldn’t do anything, their hands were tied. Only after many many emails and some choice words on my part did they refund two of four masks I bought. Of course, I am not using their masks again, the trust in them keeping my airways safe is gone. Both masks were washed as instructed, and had been worn by me before. Have you ever heard of something similar? I haven’t, but I find it hard to believe I am the only one, and it happened to me twice with two different Cambridge masks.
    Thank you! Nina

    1. Hello Nina,

      I’ve never heard of that issue! I’ve had my masks for years now (they are past their expiry, but I keep them so that I have some on hand in case I need to compare them to other masks). Even after such a long period of time I haven’t experienced disintegrating on any of them. However, it seems like they may have made some changes to their filters more recently, I wonder if this could be an issue caused by that.

      I’m trying to get my hands on new masks so that I can test for these things. I’m having a lot of trouble sourcing any though due to the very high demand they are in. If I can get some new masks I will update you on what happens.

      In the meantime, if any other readers have had this issue, please share what happened! It would be greatly appreciated 🙂

      1. Hello Ethan,

        thank you for the reply! The slightly longer version of the story would be that I wore the mask for a few hours during my move (just standing around watching the movers) a few days after I had lost my Dad to COVID, so I was stressed out to the max and needing to rely on my masks to keep the movers’ unavoidable aerosols (they were so good about wearing masks though after I explained why that was so important to me at that moment, so no complaints!) at a distance. That was before vaccines were available. So I was pretty upset when I took off the mask to put on a fresh one and my face was grey from all the little black fibers. I took pictures of the situation then, and also when it happened again, which I sent to Cambridge Masks along with the complaint. Cambridge Masks were very accomodating the first time around and sent me a new mask immediately. However, as it happened again, I did not want to put my trust in any Cambridge Mask any more. I originally wanted a refund for all four masks I bought, since I don’t trust any of them with protecting my airways now, but customer service only offered to refund the two faulty ones. Fine. Emailing back and forth lasting for weeks started. Eventually, they tried to get me to get the money back myself via Paypal, and when Paypal declined, Cambridge Masks told me there was nothing they could do, very sorry. I am not one to easily give up, so I wrote back that I will not let this issue go until the refund for the two faulty masks is back in my account! And, oh wonder, the money arrived in my account the very next day. All in all, the mails from Cambridge Mask were full of empty words like “we hear you” and “we are as concerned about this as you are”, but nothing more happened. I am a psychologist, so I know a thing or two about communication strategy, and I am a postdoctoral researcher in medical science, so I of course offered to send the faulty masks so that Cambridge Masks could investigate. I offered that at least twice, but they were not interested. Another catch is, I also work with patients with allergy issues among which many are dependent on masks due to common airway irrtants (even outside the pandemic) and was looking for masks to recommend to my patients. Well – not Cambridge Masks! Long story, but that is what happened. If anyone else had this experience, I would be glad to know about it. It feels very weird that this happened to me twice and apparently to no one else.

  10. I bought the Cambridge Mask based on your review. I have a small face but their small size suggested it was for children, so I bought a medium. I’m a little disappointed with the mask. The mask covers my face well, but the ear loops are too loose and not adjustable. I need to wear the head strap in order to use the mask at all. I don’t understand the design of the headstrap because, even after adjusting the size, it will just loosen when under tension. I need to constantly re-tighten the strap over the course of a few hours. It won’t stay on. I also don’t find the mask breathable at all. I chose a mask without the valve because valves push my breath out into the air where it could endanger others. I can’t imagine this mask becoming less breathable than it is now (which is when they suggest the mask should be retired.) I also question the filtration of the mask. Mine has a distinct off-gassing smell. Maybe it is from the silver added to the carbon filter? I’m not sure, but it bothers me. I bought this mask for the carbon filter because I am allergic to fragrances. If I hold the mask with my hands, I can barely smell perfume in beauty stores, but this constant off-gassing smell seems to bother me. I’m disappointed and the mask was expensive to ship. 🙁 Mostly just wish it fit right. I don’t need any chin adjustment, I need ear adjustments.

    1. Hello,

      Thank you for sharing your experiences. I agree in regards to the earloops – they need to be worked on to be both more adjustable and move less when under tension. I am surprised about the smell, I got my masks a few years ago but I can’t remember there being such a smell. Perhaps they’ve changed something in the filter recently? Either way, that would definitely be off-putting.

      I am curious to hear if others have had similar experiences. If so, I will have to update the article to address it.

    2. Hi,
      I have exactly the same problem as you. I recently got my first one, Kris Kringle size M mask. Ear loop doesn’t work and I have to use headstrap. When I wear it breathing is really hard and afterwards whole mask is wet (droplets on the inside and outside near the chin). And that weird smell – like some burned plastic, it’s really irritating. My biggest concern though is whether that mask works or not – what does the smell means? It’s frustrating cause I really wanted to be safe and comfortable…

  11. I paid in advance for 4 Cambridge masks ordered from a Cambridge mask website. When they failed to arrive I contacted Cambridge masks who said they had no record of my order and said their website had been hijacked. I could not get my money back and I had no masks.

  12. I’ve been wearing Cambridge Masks for years, starting pre-covid. I always thought they were certified n99 but I‘m surprised to read here they are not. They are the only mask I found that filters scent. They work wonderfully for my allergies, filtering perfumes and smoke. If I can smell something through it I know my mask needs adjusting. They did change their sizing during Covid which was very frustrating but they made it up to me by sending multiple replacements for the wrong sizes. I love these masks and haven’t found anything comparable. Great customer service, great product.

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