Koolmask, the Most Advanced Anti-Pollution Mask

Koolmask with Battery Pack

There are few masks out there that are truly unique. In fact, the vast majority of masks are very similar and differ only in a few small areas. Whatever the differences, I can say for a fact that the Koolmask is the most unique mask I have come across yet.

With the promise of ‘turbo fans’ that can push 150litres of air through the mask per minute, an attached air quality monitor (to be released in the future), and a plastic shell-like design, I instantly realised that the Koolmask is unlike anything else out there currently.

I knew that I wanted to have an in-depth look at the mask and I am happy to announce that after using the mask for around a week, I am ready to present my thoughts on the product.

In this review, I will cover all important aspects of the mask. I will cover my standard points of filtration performance, fit, design, lifespan and cost. However, on top of this, I will also cover some of the more unique aspects of the mask as the Koolmask brings a few unique factors to the table.

While this mask features many unique features, it’s important to not overlook the basics. For that reason, I will discuss the filtration properties and fit of the mask first. From there I will move on to factors such as design and lifespan.

Finally, before continuing, it is worth remembering that no mask is effective unless fitted correctly and handled properly. No mask can provide protection unless it has a tight seal and has no (or minimal) leakage. While the guides out there are generally aimed at NIOSH respirators, they largely apply to other masks too. You can find the CDC donning guide here.

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Filtration

Koolmask Air Purifier Black

Koolmask uses ‘HEXA Air Purifier Disposable Filters’ which I will refer to simply as Hexa Filters for simplicity. These proprietary filters are designed exclusively for the Koolmask and they are designed to fit snugly in the mask without any gaps.

The use of filters designed specifically for the mask, along with the use of plastic materials means that it is much easier to ensure that the filter is fitted properly in the mask. Often with cloth masks that utilize reusable filters, there will be gaps around the edges if the filter isn’t fully in place.

Therefore, provided that there are no leaks around the seal of the mask you will know that the mask is indeed filtering the air that you are breathing. This is a great assurance and something that I have experienced only on a few other plastic/silicone masks such as Gill Mask.

The filter within the Koolmask has been tested by the third-party testing laboratory TTRI (Taiwan Textile Research Institute). TTRI uses industry standard testing procedures and equipment that most respirator labs worldwide use.

The Hexa filter undertook tests for viral, particle, and bacterial penetration. Testing was carried out at the MPPS (most penetrating particle size) of 3.0μm for bacterial and viral tests and 0.26μm for particle tests.

Particle TypeParticleViralBacterial
Filtration Efficacy99.38%> 99.9%> 99.9%

In all of these tests, the Koolmask filter media achieved a filtration rating of > 99%. In both the viral and bacterial particle tests the mask achieved a filtration rating of > 99.9% in all tests conducted. Considering that the highest percentage given is 99.9%, this is a very good result.

In regards to particle filtration, the Hexa filter was able to achieve a lowest filtration rating of 99.0% and highest filtration rating of 99.58%, with an average filtration of 99.38%. This means that the filter will filter at least 99.0% of particles at 0.26μm, but is likely to filter slightly more.

The viral and bacterial filtration results of the Hexa Filter put the Koolmask among the best protective masks for these particle types on the market. The standard particle test also gives it a rating of > 99%, and while there are some masks with higher filtration, this is still a very good result.

Considering that the filter is easy to fit correctly, leaving minimal room for leaks, the Koolmask is one of the better consumer-level masks available. You can easily ensure that your filter is fitted correctly, meaning that all air that you breath will be filtered to the levels mentioned.

Before concluding this section there is one important point that must be mentioned. Koolmask uses a valve to reduce exhalation resistance. This means that air exiting the mask is NOT filtered. Koolmask is intended to be a mask for pollution protection as valves bring many benefits in this scenario. Although this mask will protect you (the wearer), it will not filter exhaled air.

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Fit & Size

Koolmask Anti Pollution Mask

One of the biggest benefits of plastic masks is that they often allow for the best seals. This is due to the fact that plastic designs tend to use a soft plastic, silicone or rubber layer to create the seal. All of these materials perform far better in terms of leakage compared to cloth masks.

If you have never experienced a plastic mask then they can be a bit of an unusual experience. Typically, they feel a lot like a diving mask. You will usually feel the whole mask contract and release as you breath, and it’s a very different feeling compared to wearing a cloth mask.

While this feeling does take some time to get used to, it also comes with benefits. For example, it is far easier to identify leaks with masks using this design philosophy as you will quickly feel locations where the air is escaping. With cloth masks, on the other hand, there are often small leaks around the edges that are very hard to detect.

Wearing Koolmask Anti Pollution Mask

The Koolmask uses two straps to make sure that the mask remains tightly sealed on the wearer’s face. The first of these is designed to go above the ears, while the other should go around the wearers neck. Headbands are superior to ear bands when it comes to keeping a mask in position and on a weighty mask such as this they are essential to remove pressure from the ears.

I have a rather small face and I found the Koolmask to be very big on me (currently there is only one size available). However, despite the large size I was still able to achieve a solid fit with no leaks. I feel confident saying that this is the best fitting mask that I have ever worn. But I do have limited experience with plastic masks.

The biggest downside of the mask that I found was the size. While the mask should fit most adult faces well, I had troubles due to having a smaller face and there only being one size available. I hope that in the future a smaller size can be created for those of us with smaller faces.

Of course, the design of the mask means that it will always be very large. With the intake fans on the side, and the air chamber in the middle, it isn’t possible for such a mask to be small. Due to the motors, fans, large design and use of plastic the mask is also heavy. Luckily this is mostly offset by a good headband design that supports the mask well.

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Fit Factor

Koolmask Air Pollution Mask

One of the Koolmasks top selling points is that it has a fit factor of 200. A typical N95 respirator holds a fit factor of around 100. This means that the Koolmask has half of the air leakage of the NIOSH N95 standard when fitted correctly.

Fit factor tests are carried out by using a test agent and comparing the difference in concentration levels of the test agent between the interior and exterior of the respirator.

‘When quantitative methods are used, the respirator fit is expressed as the ratio of the concentration of the test agent outside the respirator to the concentration of the test agent inside the respirator. This ratio is defined as the “fit factor” of the respirator for a particular wearer (source)’

With a fit factor of 200, the Koolmask promises less leakage than the N95 standard requires. This means that less unfiltered air should be able to enter the mask, and in turn, results in more protection for the wearer.

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Design

Koolmask Hexa Filter

Koolmask is made up of three main parts. The outer shell (shown above in grey) where the filter sits, the mainframe (which houses the fan module) and the silicone seal that allows the mask to seal on the wearer’s face.

The modular design of the mask means that it is very easy to replace the filters. It also means that the mask is very easy to clean and disinfect. The design also means that it is very easy to replace parts if needed. However, currently Koolmask does not sell replacement parts – this is something that I hope they add in the future.

The large size of the mask allows for a large air chamber within the mask. This is where one of Koolmask’s biggest innovations is, as the airflow has been specially designed to keep the wearer breathing in comfort. Air is first pulled in through the sides of the mask, before being expelled into the interior of the mask. It can then be breathed in by the wearer and exhaled through the front valve.

Koolmask USB Powered Fan Mask

On the bottom of the mask there is a magnetic connection port. This is where the power cable meets the mask and powers it. This port is designed for the mask, and doesn’t use a standard USB cable. The magnetic aspect is very useful though, as it means that if the cable is tugged, the cable will disconnect rather than pull on the mask itself.

The two head-straps connect to the front of the mask, which is also an often overlooked but great addition. Having the straps at the front of the mask means that most of the weight of the mask is placed on the straps, meaning that the mask is easier to keep in place on the wearer’s face.

The filter in the mask is also very easy to replace, and it’s easy to ensure that a proper fit has been achieved. The filter itself sits between the outer shell (with the hexagon pattern) and the fan module. The filter uses a proprietary design and will only fit on the Koolmask. While this means that specific filters will need to be used, it also guarantees that they will fit correctly.

The mask is currently available in a few different colours. You can purchase the mask in the more subtle colours of black and grey, and also in blue, green and pink. The colour choices will only change the colour of the hexagon outer-shell.

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Fan Mechanism

Koolmask Fan Module

Masks with active cooling are becoming more and more common these days. A few months ago I reviewed one such option, the Xiaomi Purely KN95 mask. However, this mask was very different as it houses its own battery, is a cloth mask, and is also significantly cheaper.

While the fans on the Xiaomi Purely mask did provide some airflow at the top speed, I found them to be mostly useless at the lower speeds. Even at the top speed, there was a lot less airflow then expected. The one benefit was that air was filtered both ways.

The Koolmask, on the other hand, features a far more complete fan system. The fans are much faster, more powerful, and also louder. The mask requires an external power source which can be connected to the mask via a magnetic adapter. That is to say, the Koolmask requires an external portable battery with a USB port.

Koolmask Fan powered mask

The dual fan design allows air to enter the mask on both sides, which makes breathing far easier as the air inside the mask is evenly distributed. The fans also feature a few different speed levels, with each step significantly increasing the airflow.

The controller for the fans is on the USB cable. Do you remember those media controllers that were often found in wired headphones? That is exactly what the controller on the Koolmask is like. Except instead of volume control you have fan control.

Koolmask Fan Controller

The exact sound level of the fans is 50 to 65 dB depending on which fan speed is in use. The wearer will be able to hear the fans at all levels, but when wearing headphones I noticed that the sound is much less audible. A typical conversational voice is 60-70 dB.

Finally, it is worth mentioning again that the mask makes use of a valve. This decreases breathing resistance and makes the breathing conditions inside the mask more comfortable. However, it also means that the mask should not be used for virus protection. While it will protect the wearer, it will not filter exhaled air.

Purchase Koolmask and save 20% with the code ‘BREATHESAFEAIR’.


Lifespan & Cost

Koolmask Packaging

Since the mask uses a sturdy design that is easy to wash and uses replaceable filters, the lifespan of the mask itself is indefinite. If you look after the mask well, it can easily last for a few years. However, the mask is very new and it’s hard to tell if the fans will lose some performance over time.

The filters themselves are intended for 40 hours of use, or 7 days from opening the filter. Koolmask recommends replacing the filter after whichever of these comes first. Currently, the filters sell for $10 for 3, meaning that you can expect 120 hours of usage for $10.

The mask itself costs $159 USD. This is by far the most expensive mask that I have ever tested. At the same time though, it is also the only mask that I have tested with such capabilities. Other plastic/silicone masks often go for $50-$70, and these don’t feature the fans that Koolmask has.

Koolmask is definitely a mask that is intended to be used in the long run. It is designed for people who know that they will regularly be needing a high quality mask. If you use the mask regularly, and use the filters for around 40 hours each, then the mask actually comes out cheaper over the long run than disposable masks.

Finally, Koolmask also comes with a high-quality case. The case is quite large, but it’s a great way to store the mask when you aren’t using it. It includes a lot of padding to protect the mask, and it also features a place to store the USB cable and extra filters. This also means that it will be protected while shipping!

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Conclusion – Is Koolmask Worth it?

Koolmask Outdoors with Battery

Koolmask has some of the strongest filtration qualities on the market and the fans are the first that I have tried that I found to be more than adequate. You will most definitely feel the impact of the fans on breathing difficulty when they are in use – breathing is much easier.

However, the mask is quite loud, heavy, and large. For that reason, I see this mask as more of a heavy-duty mask and in the future I intend to use it on days of very high pollution or when doing heavy exercise. While it is definitely possible to wear the mask for standard day to day pollution, it gets a lot of stares (due to its size) and it is hard to quickly don when heading out (especially since you need to get a battery/cable set up).

In saying that, I can see this mask being a fantastic choice in a few situations. Firstly, for anyone that regularly does exercise in strong air pollution (such as an AQI above 125). Exercising requires a large air intake, and the fans are rated as in-taking 150 litres per minute. Considering that elite athletes use around 160 litres per minute, this mask can intake enough air for almost anyone no matter the level of exercise.

Secondly, it’s a good choice for anyone that needs very high levels of protection. For example, people who have very sensitive asthma or allergies. There are few consumer-grade masks on the market that offer as strong protection as the Koolmask and Hexa Filter.

Thirdly, for anyone that requires very strong particle protection. If you live in a fire-prone area such as Australia, the Koolmask makes for a good choice as it filters over 99% of particles. Alternatively, this is a good mask choice for anyone working with fine particles – just make sure that you do research on the particle types and make sure that the Koolmask is a suitable choice.

Finally, if you live in an area that consistently has high AQI values the Koolmask may be worth the investment. In Seoul, the AQI typically sits around 50-75. I generally don’t worry about wearing a mask until the AQI is over 100, and I will usually only wear heavier-duty mask (such as the Gill Mask) when the AQI gets about 150.

However, some areas in the world have AQI values that are either consistently or very regularly above 150. If this is the case, a mask such as the Koolmask might be the perfect choice for you. It’s not worth risking the possible damages of air pollution.

In conclusion, Koolmask is one best masks that I have tried for heavy duty uses. Anyone who wants to best protection against fine dust and other particle pollution will find the Koolmask a great choice.

Purchase Koolmask and save 20% with the code ‘BREATHESAFEAIR’.


Koolmask FAQ

Does Koolmask Hold an Official Rating?

Koolmask does not hold an official rating. However, it does have third party testing and has been shown to have > 99% particle filtration and > 99.9% viral and bacterial filtration.

Does Koolmask Have Replaceable Filters?

Yes. Koolmask filters can be replaced and more can be purchased on their website.

Does Koolmask Have a Battery?

No, the mask does not have a battery included. An external power source is required, and the mask can be powered by any USB portable battery.

Do the Fans on Koolmask Help Airflow?

Yes. Unlike many other fan-powered masks, the Koolmask is the first mask that I have tried where the fans make a significant difference. With a flow rate of up to 150 litres/minute, the fans are very powerful.

How Long Do Koolmask Filters last?

Koolmask Filters last for either 40 hours of use or for 7 days after opening, whichever comes first.

Can Koolmask be Cleaned/Washed?

Yes. In fact, it is very easy to clean! Once you remove the filter, the outer shell of the mask can easily be washed. The inner module can also be cleaned, but make sure to not get the fans wet.

Does Koolmask Have a Valve?

Yes, Koolmask uses a valve. This means that it will reduce breathing resistance when exhaling, but it should not be used for viral protection as it only protects the wearer and not others.

Are the Fans Loud?

The fans are audible at all levels and get quite loud. They range from 50 to 65 dBA.

How Does Koolmask Compare to Other Masks?

Compared to most other reusable respirators & masks, the Koolmask offers either comparable or better filtration. However, Koolmask also features a strong fit-factor and has minimal leakage when donned properly, meaning that the Koolmask is more likely to achieve its specified filtration levels.

Is Koolmask Heavy?

Compared to other masks the Koolmask is quite heavy. However, this is largely offset by the fact that the Koolmask uses a double head-strap design that distributes the weight evenly.

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