Happy Masks is a U.S.-based company that appeared on my radar while I was researching nanofibre masks. Soon after, a few readers contacted me asking if I could do a review as they were interested in purchasing the mask. Today, after using the masks for a few years, I am happy to present my review of the Happy Masks Pro and Happy Masks Ultra series.
Happy Masks advertise some quite exciting features. The most important of these features is the very lightweight and highly breathable nanofibre filter that retains efficiency even after being washed. The mask also has a beak design, so it doesn’t interfere with speaking and has very good test filtration results.
With these features, I quickly became interested in the mask and wanted to try it myself. I initially tried the Happy Masks Pro in 2021, and in that review, I discovered some issues with the mask models at the time. Since then, I’ve used a range of different masks from Happy Masks as they’ve been improved and built upon.
Where Happy Masks originally began with the Pro and Base series of masks, the Base has been replaced with the Ultra, and the Pro has also seen significant improvements. If, like me, you have tried masks from Happy Masks previously, there’s a good chance that the recently updated models perform better – especially regarding fit.
If you’ve tried these masks, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. I always value other opinions and would be interested to see what others have experienced with Happy Masks. With that being said, let’s jump into this Happy Masks review!
Please note: There is some confusion as there are two mask brands – Happy Masks and Happy Mask (no plural). This review is for Happy Masks, found at HappyMasks.com. I have NOT reviewed masks from happy-mask.com.
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 genuinely 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, and information is subject to change without notice. Devices mentioned on this website are not medical devices and do not guarantee protection.
Fit and filtration are the two most important factors of any mask, and they both go hand in hand. Filtration testing is essential to see how effective a filter actually is, and a good fit is required to make sure that air actually passes through the filter.
In this section, I will discuss the lab results that Happy Masks provided me. I will have a look into what they mean and how they can be interpreted. If you’re interested in taking a look at the test results for yourself, you can do so on Happy Masks technology page.
It’s important to note that this testing applies only to the filter, not the mask itself. Further, as previously mentioned, it’s vital to make sure that the mask is fitted as well as possible to minimise leaks – leaks indicate that not all of the air is being filtered, meaning that you are breathing unfiltered air.
Happy Masks have one significant advantage when it comes to filtration, and that is because the masks use a nanofibre membrane filter. Nanofibre filters can be found in some reusable cloth masks, but they are still much less common than cheaper-to-produce melt-blown filters.
Meltblown filters are cheaper to produce and easier to make, and that is why the majority of masks on the market rely on them. However, they also rely very heavily on electrostatic attraction – something that can be lost due to various factors, such as moisture in exhaled air.
On top of this, Meltblown filters can’t be washed using traditional methods and require very specific cleaning to retain filtration efficacy. Even then, they drop in efficacy far more quickly than nanofibre filters which rely much more on mechanical filtration mechanisms.
I recently interviewed Revolution Fibres on the benefits of nanofibre filters, and I recommend reading that article if you would like to learn more. In brief, nanofibre filters typically are usable for longer, have much lower breathing resistance, can be washed more easily, and retain more filtering efficacy through washes. Due to these benefits, the use of a nanofibre filter in Happy Masks is very advantageous.
In fact, I was shown test results from OSH, a Taiwanese respirator testing laboratory. In the tests, unwashed (new) filters were compared to filters that had undergone 50 wash cycles per the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions – the masks were washed for 3 minutes in water with a drop of dish detergent.
The masks were then removed from the water, rinsed, and left to air dry. 5 masks were tested this way, and each was exposed to this process 50 times. These five masks were then tested against five masks that had not been washed. The results showed no difference in filtration efficacy between the unwashed masks and those washed 50 times.
This is a very impressive result, and it aligns with what I expect from nanofibre filters. Since the filter is built into Happy Masks (and can’t be removed or replaced), this is especially important. The filter is suitable for around 250 hours of wear and can be washed in detergent when needed.
Where I generally recommend against washing masks whenever possible, both the Happy Masks Pro and Ultra series are safe to wash following the recommended procedure.
When it comes to filtration testing, the Happy Masks Pro and Ultra have undergone a range of testing. The masks have been tested for NaCI (a particle filtration efficiency test), BFE (bacteria filtration efficiency), and VFE (viral filtration efficiency). Nelson Labs carried out BFE and VFE testing, and NaCI testing was done by both Nelson Labs and TTRI (Taiwan Textile Research Institute).
For both the BFE and VFE tests (with five samples tested), the filter achieved > 99.9% filtration. This was carried out using particles with a mean particle size of either 2.8μm or 3.1μm at a flow rate of 28.3 litres/minute. In all of the VFE tests, there were no detected plaques downstream of the mask.
This is an impressive result, and it places Happy Mask above other reusable cloth masks, such as the Cambridge Mask Pro. However, it’s important to note that both BFE and VFE tests are significantly less challenging than most NaCI test standards. Not only are the particles far larger, but the flow rate is also significantly lower.
On top of this, since bacterial and viral particles cannot move unassisted, worst-case PFE testing is more important. If a mask, respirator or filter performs well in particle filtration efficiency tests, these results will also apply to bacterial and viral particles, and therefore, these more stringent tests are far more important. Let’s take a look at Happy Masks PFE test results!
Four samples were tested in the NaCI testing carried out by TTRI, achieving an average filtration rate of 99.24%. The lowest recorded result out of the tested samples was 98.92%. This testing was conducted at a flow rate of 28l/min with a particle size of 0.1μm.
|NaCI (TTRI)||≥ 98.92%|
However, this particle filtration efficiency testing was carried out as per ASTM F2299-2017, which keeps the same flow rate as the previous BFE and VFE standards. They show the Happy Masks Pro and Happy Masks Ultra are capable of a high level of filtration at lower flow rates, but what about under the more challenging conditions I mentioned previously?
Nelson Labs conducted further PFE testing at a higher flow rate of 85l/min with a median particle diameter of 0.075μm. Five samples were tested under these conditions, and the worst-performing mask had a filtration of 96.18%. Interestingly, two of the five samples had no detected downstream particles, demonstrating a filtration efficiency of > 99.999%.
What does this mean? Happy Masks Pro and Ultra filter > 95% of particles at worst. However, there is a significant variance between each Happy Mask, and some can filter a far higher percentage of particles under the same test conditions.
It’s important to note that masks such as Happy Masks can not replace respirators, and the test results should not be directly compared. Respirators such as N95s undergo more stringent tests, and their testing tends to be far more conservative. While Happy Masks are capable of a high level of filtration, they can not replace respirators.
Due to the nanofibre construction of the filter, the mask is also exceptionally light and provides relatively low breathing resistance. The only other masks I have tried with such low breathing resistance are the Bloo Mask and Airgami, which are incredibly breathable.
While filtration is often the aspect that many customers focus on when purchasing a mask, the fit is just as important, if not more so. A mask that isn’t fitted correctly will not filter the air; in that case, the actual filtration specifications of a mask are useless.
Happy Masks rely on the wire nose-piece and adjustable earloops for a good fit. No foam around the nose area exists, and a secure seal relies entirely on the wire. The ear loops are adjustable and allow for some degree of fitting the mask. While the fitting mechanisms of the mask are very simple, they generally work quite well, from my experience.
If you’ve browsed the Happy Masks store, you will already know that Happy Masks has two mask lines – the Pro and Ultra. While the two masks are largely the same, one of the key differences is in the rigidity and size of the wire nosepiece. The Pro has a rigid piece of wire in the mask’s upper trim. The Ultra, on the other hand, has a thicker, flat piece of wire that I actually found to be less rigid, located just under the upper trim.
Based on the naming of the masks, you would naturally expect the Ultra to be the better-fitting mask. However, I’ve had a better experience with the Happy Masks Pro due to the more rigid nose wire. While I like the flat design of the Ultra mask, and it should seemingly fit better, the Pro’s design provides a more secure seal for me.
With the Happy Masks Ultra, I have to readjust the nose seal of the mask regularly. This is less than ideal, and I always find myself reaching for the Happy Masks Pro instead. I was curious if this experience was limited to me, so I asked my girlfriend to try both masks and see which fit better. She has a flatter nose and found the less rigid Happy Masks Ultra to fit better.
It’s hard to make broad assumptions based on only two situations – especially when everyone’s face varies so greatly – but this would lead me to think the Ultra is better for people with less distinct facial features. Conversely, the Pro may be the better choice for those with sharper facial features and taller noses.
One of the biggest complaints I had with the original Happy Masks during my initial review a couple of years ago was the length of the wire nosepiece. At the time, it was simply too short to allow for a good fit. Luckily, after hearing the feedback, the team lengthened the wire on both the Pro and Ultra masks. Nowadays, the wire extends about 5cm on either side of my nose. I have no complaints about this length, and it worked well for me.
Before moving on from the wire nose piece, I want to emphasise the importance of flattening the wire before donning the mask. This goes for all bi-fold masks, but it’s key with the Happy Mask Pro. Before you don the mask, you’ll want to flatten the wire to mould it around your nose effectively. Without this action, there will likely be a gap between your nose and the peak of the wire.
Time to move on to the second fitting mechanism – the earloops. Both the Happy Masks Pro and Happy Masks Ultra have adjustable earloops, which are identical except for an added stopper on the Happy Masks Ultra. This exists purely to prevent the earloop toggle from being accidentally removed and doesn’t impact fit at all.
Both masks use a relatively thin piece of elastic on the earloops. While this doesn’t look or feel particularly secure, it works quite well in this case because Happy Masks are very light masks that require little pressure to keep them in place. With that said, they aren’t particularly comfortable after long periods of wear.
To achieve a secure seal, I had to tighten the earloops significantly. Thankfully, the toggles are surprisingly secure, and even when I tightened the earloops, they didn’t slip and frequently require readjustments. Occasionally, I would have to tighten the loops again, but this was infrequent and, therefore, only a minor issue.
Happy Masks has three different mask sizes for a range of different facial shapes and sizes. I’ve only used the medium masks throughout the years I’ve used Happy Masks, but these have always fit me well. Make sure to follow Happy Masks sizing instructions before purchasing a mask to ensure you get the best possible fit.
Overall, I’ve been able to achieve a good fit with the Happy Masks Pro, and that’s the mask I will stick with. While I can’t remove leaks with the Happy Masks Ultra, I believe people with a flatter nose may be able to achieve a better seal with this model. Since fit varies greatly, I would love to hear from you. If you’ve tried either Happy Masks Pro or Happy Masks Ultra (or both!), what are your experiences?
Happy Masks’ biggest strength is comfort. Both the Pro and Ultra are lightweight masks that are very breathable. They’re masks that can easily be donned and doffed, and wearing these masks feels much more freeing than wearing a larger mask such as the AirFlex Mask or a Cambridge Mask.
At low breathing rates (such as when resting or when lightly active), Happy Masks’ breathing resistance is negligible. At 6l/min, an ICS laboratory test found the breathing resistance to be only 0.6mmH2O. This is incredibly low, and while it’s only at 6l/min, a normal minute volume for humans is 5-8 l/min.
Even when lightly or moderately active, the breathability of both Happy Masks models is exceptional. There is minimal resistance, and I don’t think anyone will have any issues with the breathability of these masks. With that said, I believe the breathing resistance on the Happy Masks Ultra is slightly higher due to the more rigid materials used.
Since the masks are very breathable, they are also great at expelling warm air and humidity. While the interior of the mask will inherently be warmer than ambient temperatures and will naturally retain some humidity, I had a far more comfortable time with the Happy Masks Pro and Ultra than masks such as Cambridge Mask.
Unfortunately, both the Happy Masks Pro and Ultra suffer from some filter collapse, and I regularly find the inner layer of the mask sucked towards my mouth. While it isn’t as severe as some masks (such as the Strapless N95), it’s enough to be annoying. For this reason, despite the great breathability, I would not recommend Happy Masks for exercise.
Regarding the wire nosepiece of the mask, I have no comfort issues to note. The wire does not dig into my cheeks and isn’t otherwise uncomfortable. Both are comfortable whether you opt for the more rigid nose wire of the Pro or the flatter, more malleable wire of the Ultra.
The earloops on both masks are comfortable for shorter periods or when worn loosely. However, they can cause pain behind the ears after long periods of wear. This is somewhat offset by how light the mask is, though, and I found the pain to be less than some other masks that rely on ear loops. However, I still prefer masks that use neckbands and headbands.
Also worth noting is that the materials used don’t appear to have strong scents. While it may sound unusual, I’ve come across many masks that have odd scents when they are new. While these don’t prevent me from wearing masks, they can be uncomfortable when initially donning them. Luckily, Happy Masks don’t appear to have any such issues.
Overall, Happy Masks are comfortable masks, and I would be happier wearing these masks for long periods than most other masks. While both masks suffer from some filter collapse and can be uncomfortable when the earloops are tightened, they are more comfortable than the competition due to their exceptional breathability.
Lifespan & Cost
Happy Masks do not feature removable filters. As such, the filters can’t be replaced, and the whole mask should be replaced once it gets damaged or reaches the end of its lifespan. Fortunately, due to the filter design, the mask can be washed.
When washing the Happy Masks Pro, make sure to hand wash. These masks should never be machine washed as they are delicate and require soft handling. For the exact washing procedure, Happy Masks has a short one-minute Youtube video explaining the process.
If you purchase the Happy Masks Ultra, you can machine wash the masks on a delicate cycle in a mesh bag. However, you will want to avoid machine washing where possible as it’s more likely to damage this mask. With this in mind, I recommend handwashing the Happy Masks Ultra when possible.
The masks were tested for filtration efficacy after 50 washes, and there was no drop in filtration. This means that provided you are washing the mask, as the video shows, there should be no need to worry about losing efficiency. However, if the mask gets damaged or the filter becomes difficult to breathe through, the mask should be replaced.
Further, Happy Masks should be replaced after 250 hours of wear. If you wear the mask for 2 hours daily, this equates to around four months of wear. While this does depend on local air quality conditions, you should be able to expect to get around this lifespan from each Happy Mask.
The masks cost $24 for the Pro Series, and the Ultra Series cost $27. This means you are looking at around $1 per 10 hours or 10 cents per hour of wear. In the long run, this will be much cheaper than disposable masks. Even better, Happy Masks have significantly better filtration efficacy than most disposable masks.
I believe that nanofibre filters are the way of the future regarding masks and filtration. I am very happy to see this technology being used in Happy Masks, as it’s still much less common in reusable masks than melt-blown technology. Due to this newer technology, Happy Masks have large advantages regarding breathability and reusability.
Happy Masks are also very light and are very easy to wear. This is one of the least intrusive masks I have worn, and it’s easy to put on for a short trip outside, such as when I go shopping. On the other hand, it’s also proven quite comfortable over longer periods of wear.
I am also very happy that Happy Masks was willing to listen to customer feedback and improve their masks based on common complaints. They were quick to act on feedback about the wire nose-piece and to try to solve the issue. While I still encounter leaks around my nose on the Happy Masks Ultra, the fit of the Happy Masks Pro is significantly better than on the previous iteration of the mask.
While the mask suffers from filter collapse, this is an acceptable trade-off for me as I still find Happy Masks among the most comfortable masks for day-to-day wear. With the Pro, I am also confident in the fit and, therefore, the protection I am receiving, making the Happy Masks Pro a good mask choice for me. However, as mentioned previously – you may find the Ultra to fit better, especially if you have a flatter face than me.
Finally, I also want to mention that this mask would be a good choice for children. Realistically, children’s masks are hit and miss because you will never be able to achieve a leak-free seal on children – they are just too active and love to touch/adjust their masks. Happy Masks are relatively loose-fitting but can still achieve a decent seal.
Happy Masks FAQ
Do Happy Masks Have an Official Rating?
Happy Masks have no official certification (N95, KN95, KF94, etc). However, they do have third-party testing from Nelson Labs and TTRI.
Have Happy Masks Been Lab Tested?
Yes. Happy Masks have had NaCI filtration testing done by TTRI, and VFE, and BFE testing has been carried out by Nelson Labs.
Do Happy Masks Use Replaceable Filters?
No. Happy Masks have a nanofibre filter sewn into the mask. As such, the filter can’t be replaced.
What Is the Lifespan of Happy Masks?
Happy Mask’s Pro Series lifespan is around 250 hours of wear.
Can Happy Masks be Washed?
Yes! The masks can be hand-washed and have been shown to retain filtering efficiency after being washed 50 times.
Happy Masks Pro
Happy Masks is an American company producing some of the most breathable masks on the market. Using nanofibre filters, the Happy Masks Pro are not only highly breathable, but also very comfortable. On top of this, they offer good filtration against a range of particle types and are reusable, even after being washed many times.
Product Brand: Happy Masks
- Exceptionally breathable
- High filtration
- Lightweight and easy to wear
- Long lifespan
- Retains filtration after being washed
- Prone to leaks around the top of the mask
- Looses some integrity after being washed
- Lightweight design means the mask can shift easily