If you have followed this blog then you probably know by now that as of now, the Cambridge Mask Pro is my personal fine dust mask of choice.
However, I’ve never actually done a full review of the mask. While I have done a comparison between Cambridge Mask and Vogmask, I never got around to reviewing the mask itself.
In this post today I want to give my thoughts on Cambridge Mask as well as its strengths and weaknesses. This is my review of the Cambridge mask.
I will focus on what I believe to be the most important aspects in order – technology (filtration), sizing & adjustability, design, and models.
Please note that there are two models of Cambridge Mask – the Cambridge Mask and the Cambridge Mask Pro. This review will focus on the pro model.
Check out my review of one of the most unique masks on the market – the Xiaomi fan-powered KN95 mask.
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The most important aspect of any respirator is the filter, and the same goes for the Cambridge Mask. Luckily, it offers strong filtration qualities.
- American National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) N99 filter requirements under 42 CFR Part 48 (tested by Nelson Labs USA)
- Certified as child-safe under 14 U.S.C 1278a and CFR Parts 1370 1501 1500.53 and 1500.44 (Certified by Bay Area Testing Labs)
- EN149 standards for CE in the European Union (Certified by SAI Global and Apave Labs FR)
- 99.6% viral filtration efficiency and 99.7% bacterial filtration efficiency (tested by Nelson Labs USA).
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.
N99 requires that a respirator filters at least 99% of particles at 3 micrometres, whereas N100 requires a 99.97% filtration. Therefore, with filtration of 99.7%, Cambridge Mask Pro performs well above the minimum filtration requirements of the N99 standard.
Compared to most other reusable respirators on the market, Cambridge Mask offers one of the higher filtration specifications. Many other popular masks offer only 95% filtration.
The Cambridge Mask also features 99.6% and 99.7% filtration for viral particles and bacterial particles respectively. These particles were tested at 3 and 3.2 micrometres, as is the standard for respirators.
In viral and bacterial filtration, there are other masks that offer higher filtration (99.9%). However, it is a close comparison.
However, the filtration qualities of Cambridge Mask for viral and bacterial particles are still very high. Further, the fine dust filtration is some of the best in class for a reusable respirator.
Fit is perhaps the second most important aspect of any respirator. It might not seem like it initially, but a perfect fit is vital. Let me explain.
If a respirator does not create a seal on your face particles such as fine dust, bacteria, and viruses can avoid the filter 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 the full extent that the mask can offer.
For this reason, achieving a good fit is essential. Luckily, this is one of Cambridge Mask’s strengths.
If you need to know how to fit a respirator correctly, please refer to official resources such as this guide from CCOHS.
Cambridge Mask follows the standard reusable mask formula, a filter with a valve and ear straps. However, it also has one bonus that is one of its greatest appeals for me.
That is the chin straps that the Cambridge Mask Pro has. Unlike other ear-strap respirators, the Cambridge Mask features two adjustable straps on either cheek.
These straps are elastic and create a strong seal around the chin. With the current global situation, I also noticed that these straps are extremely handy.
In times such as this, it’s vital not to touch your mask. However, the adjustable straps give you an easy way to adjust the mask without touching the filter or ear-straps.
The Cambridge Mask also features the wire nose-piece that is standard in most respirators. The wire nose piece has rather surprisingly always stayed in place during my wear (two masks, each of which were worn at least 100 times).
However, this mask runs into the same issue that all other ear-strap masks do. That is very strong pain behind the ears after long periods of wear.
If you see yourself wearing your mask for long periods of time, make sure to purchase the optional headband accessory. This is a cheap addition and will remove the pain from your ears.
One thing to keep in mind is that the Cambridge Mask is a bit heavier than some other competing masks. Although this doesn’t make an impact initially, you may notice the extra weight (and the heat that it creates) over long periods.
Therefore, while the Cambridge Mask won’t provide as good of a fit as masks such as the Gill Mask which use a silicone face seal, it is one of the best fitting cloth masks that I have tried.
The unfortunate truth is that no respirator is comfortable. If there is a comfortable respirator, I have not found it yet, and I would guess that I have tried over 50.
However, some respirators are more comfortable than others. 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 very hot and humid inside the mask.
Some other masks remedy this by using lighter materials, or by using dual-valve designs. While masks will always have different air conditions inside compared to out, the Cambridge Mask can get very hot inside – especially in summer.
The second issue that I have with comfort is the use of ear-straps. Ear-straps are just, by nature, far less comfortable compared to head-bands. Luckily, this can be remedied using an optional accessory.
Cambridge Mask comes in many different colours and designs, and there are new designs being released over time.
If you want a mask that blends in, I recommend getting the Churchill or another plain-coloured mask. The mask is almost totally black and can work with nearly any outfit.
The biggest standout feature of the mask from the exterior are 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.
As I mentioned earlier in this article, I appreciate these chin straps. They provide a far easier fit, and make it easy to adjust the mask without touching the filter.
I would have appreciated the addition of some kind of microfibre inner layer, to prevent contact with the carbon filter. However, this is a very minor issue.
As mentioned earlier, the mask is a bit heavier and warmer than some competing masks. However, when considering that the Cambridge Mask provides N99 filtration levels, this is a minor downside.
Cambridge Mask is a reusable mask, and therefore it can be used for extended periods of time. The masks do not feature a replaceable filter, so the mask must be replaced once breathing becomes difficult.
However, the mask 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.
The mask can be hand washed, but this will not increase the lifespan of the mask. Having the option to wash the mask can be very useful in certain situations though.
Learn more about mask filtration mechanisms.
The Cambridge Mask has been my go-to mask basically since I moved to South Korea. While I have tried a lot of different masks in the past few years, I always come back to the Cambridge mask.
Personally, I come back to the mask because it is one that I trust. It fits me well (I have a very small face and use the medium size), and the masks last for a long period of time.
My biggest issue with the mask is that it is warmer than other masks. While this is no issue in the colder months, it can be very uncomfortable in the warmer months.
Also, the head strap is essential for long periods of wear. Without the head strap, the mask starts to give me headaches after 4 hours or so of wear.
However, despite these small issues I have no hesitation in recommending the Cambridge Mask for anyone looking for a fine dust mask. It’s a great option and that company makes a great product.
Should You Buy a Cambridge Mask?
With all of that being said, this brings my Cambridge Mask review to a close. So, would I recommend the mask?
Well, as you may have guessed after reading my personal thoughts on the mask, yes, I would recommend it.
The Cambridge Mask is a great reusable respirator and the one that I usually turn to for my own use.
If you are looking for a respirator that provides good filtration against fine dust, and viral and bacteria particles, this is a great mask and definitely one that you should consider.
It’s purchasable almost all over the world, and many countries have authorized resellers.
- Passed N99 filtration requirements.
- Proven to be child-safe.
- Very adjustable, allowing for a good fit.
- 99.6% and 99.7% viral and bacterial filtration.
- Long life-span.
- Warmer/heavier than some other masks.
- Ear-bands can cause pain after long periods of wear. This can be avoided with the head-band accessory.
Cambridge Mask FAQ
What Rating Does Cambridge Mask Have?
Cambridge Mask has a European FFP2 rating. This translates into at least 94% filtration for fine dust particles at 0.3 micrometres. Cambridge Mask also adheres to the N99 filtration standard of 99% filtration. However, the mask does NOT officially hold an N99 rating.
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?
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 99.6% viral filtration as well as 99.7% bacterial filtration.