Totobobo is one of the most requested mask reviews that I have had. It was a mask that I had never heard of before, but after looking into it, it was a mask that I quickly became interested in.
The first thing that stands out about this mask is the very unique look – it’s transparent with the exception of the filters. Some people love this look as it is more natural, however, there are also those who prefer the more traditional mask look.
What makes Totobobo stand out though, are the other unique features that it has. It’s made to fix one of the most common issues that reusable respirators have. That is the fit.
No mask is effective if it doesn’t fit properly. Not only is mask that leaks only partially (or not at all) protecting you, but it can even be detrimental in the sense of security that it provides.
This is where Totobobo shines. It is a mask that is made for the common user, someone who can’t get professionally fitted masks and doesn’t have training. It’s a mask that lets you perform your own fit testing.
In this full review of the Totobobo mask I will cover everything from the filtration specifications to the unique fitting aspects that Totobobo offers. If you read this review and have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me at [email protected].
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.
Purchase Totobobo masks here! Use the code ‘BREATHESAFEAIR‘ for a discount!
F94 filters and Totobobo with Pro99 filter.
Totobobo masks have been laboratory tested and they offer the certifications for public viewing on their homepage. The mask has been tested by Nelson Labs (the standard for most respirators you will find), Centre Testing International, and the Prince of Wales Hospital.
The testing by CTI is done to check the safety of materials used in the mask. For filtration, results, these certificates can be overlooked. The testing done by the Prince of Wales Hospital found that while Totobobo (as with any mask) performs better with fit testing, and that fit testing is recommended, also found that the Totobobo masks provided an adequate fit on a far larger number of test subjects (than an N95 respirator).
I will discuss more on the fit of the mask later, as it is a vital aspect of wearing any mask or respirator. The filtration efficacy of a mask is greatly impacted by fit, and an incorrectly fitted or leaking respirator will allow unfiltered air to pass through.
Totobobo is the only mask that I have come across that allows for self fit-testing. Where it’s often difficult to tell if another mask has a seal and if it’s filtering the air, Totobobo allows you to be certain.
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F94 filters (left), Pro99 filter (right).
As of the time of writing there are four different filter types available for your Totobobo mask. These filters can all be purchased separately and they all meet different filtration specifications and are priced differently.
The filters available are the F92, F94, F96 and Pro99. For typical use, the F filters are the best choice. The Pro99 filter is aimed more at users who require more air – therefore, these filters are aimed at people looking for a mask to use while doing sports or exercise.
|Filtration Efficacy||Particle Filtration (0.1μm)||Viral (2.9μm)||Bacterial (2.9μm)|
Filtration efficacy of Totobobo filters. Data from Totobobo Nelson Lab results.
The table above shows the filtration efficacy of the four different filter types. Some of the data is missing, and this due to a lack of testing of the specified filter with the particle type mentioned.
As can be seen, all filters provide ≥99.6% filtration of particulate matter at 0.1μm. To put this in perspective, the most commonly referred to types of pollution are PM1, PM2.5 and PM10. 0.1μm is 10x smaller than PM1, 25x smaller than PM2.5 and 100x smaller than PM10.
The F94 and F96 filters also provide ≥99.9% bacterial and viral filtration on particles at 2.9μm in size. While the Pro99 and F92 don’t have viral and bacterial filtration results at the time of writing, they would likely perform similarly. However, if you require these types of protection, stay with the proven F94 and F96 filters.
Nelson Labs F96 filter results. Source.
For the majority of users, the F92 – F96 filters will be the better option. While the Pro filters offer more ease of breathing, they are also far large and significantly more expensive.
Finally, it’s always vital to remember that masks and respirators are only effective while they maintain a seal. Only air that goes through the filter will be filtered to the above specifications, and it is always important to fit-test your mask following the instructions in the manual and on the website.
The Totobobo mask does not use a valve. Therefore, the air that is passing through the mask both ways will be filtered. More about valves and how they impact filtration.
Purchase Totobobo filters here! Use the code ‘BREATHESAFEAIR‘ for a discount!
Fit & Seal
One of the most unique aspects of the Totobobo mask is that it offers ways for the user to reshape the mask to fit their face. They also offer a printable template that you can print and fit before purchasing a mask. This seems like such a simple idea in theory, but it’s something that I have never seen before. It’s extremely useful.
There are two different types of mask models currently offered. Both models are identical except that one offers the addition of a nose-clip. This nose-clip isn’t essential, but it will allow you to seal the mask more easily around the bridge of your nose.
Learn more about mask filtration & MPPS.
Masks for children are also offered by Totobobo.
It is important to note that for any mask to be totally effective, professional fit testing is required. However, that isn’t accessible for the majority of people. Totobobo luckily offers a user fit-test that can be carried out by anyone.
To fit test the mask, first wet your face around where the seal will be created. This means your chin, cheeks, and nose. Once your face is damp, don the mask. Make sure that every point where the mask touches your face is damp.
Due to the transparent nature of the mask, you should be able to see where the mask is tight. The areas where the mask is sealed will turn more transparent, whereas the areas with a weaker seal (or no seal) will be more opaque.
If you notice a leak, try to adjust the mask until it is gone. Make sure that other leaks don’t occur while you do this. If you can’t remove all leaks, you may need to adjust the mask – something that I will cover in the next section.
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Adjusting the Mask
Totobobo masks offer three unique methods of adjustment. Namely, you can cut the mask down to size (if you require a smaller mask) without sacrificing filtration capability, you can adjust the plastic mold shape, and you can change the straps to fit.
If you find the mask too big, the manual recommends cutting it down to size. This can be done with any pair of scissors, and allows you to customise the fit of the plastic. If you want to resizing the mask before making commitments on your own mask, you can print a paper mask template on the Totobobo website.
Secondly, the mask can actually be re-fitted using either hot water or a hair dryer at 70 degrees celsius. The plastic will then become more malleable and allow you to reshape the mask as needed. When you are done, place it in cooler water to fix the shape.
When doing this, make sure to exaggerate the changes that you want. I found that the mask would usually loosen a bit when cooling, and I needed a few attempts to get the mask in the right shape.
Finally, more minor than the other adjustments, Totobobo also offers on more adjustment option that is useful. That is the ability to change the straps to either be ear-straps or head-straps. While many masks include optional headbands, it’s nice to have this feature included by default.
Although I do prefer the head-band option, the ear-bands are also quite comfortable. I found that the straps could be left relatively loose compared to other masks while not compromising on fit. The ear straps are comfortable enough to wear for a morning or afternoon without pain.
Purchase Totobobo masks here! Use the code ‘BREATHESAFEAIR‘ for a discount!
The design of Totobobo masks is one of the most unusual parts of the mask. Some people love the transparent look, while others aren’t so fond of it. However, there is no denying that transparency offers some benefits. If you are looking for a fashionable mask, check out my recent Mau Mask Review.
Most other reusable respirators such as Re-Mask and Cambridge Mask are made from cloth and make it impossible to see the wearers face. Totobobo follows a different design philosophy and the masks are made with transparent plastic.
This plastic allows for easy adaptability and allows the wearer to easily fit-test and seal-check the mask. On top of this, the design also allows for easy filter changing and strap adjustments.
A further benefit that many people may not realise initially is that having housing the filters externally allows the wearer to easily see when they need changing. Over time, the filters will be exposed to pollution and will gradually change from white to grey and then black.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of the plastic design though is that it allows for easy washing. While many reusable respirators can be washed, they often take hours to dry. Further, each wash comprises the quality of the filter, and eventually they must be replaced.
Totobobo allows you to remove the filters while you wash the mask. This means that you don’t need to worry about damaging them. On top of this, since the exterior is plastic, it can easily be dried with a paper towel. If you do wash your mask, make sure to use proven disinfection methods.
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Another area in which I found the Totobobo mask to perform well is comfort. This is because the mask is both very light, and covers a lot less facial area than traditional masks.
In colder weather, a cloth mask is probably going to be more comfortable. However, I found that the Totobobo mask is ideal in summer due to the lighter material it is made out of and the smaller face area that it covers.
The ability to use head-straps rather than ear-straps also help make the mask more comfortable. While some people prefer ear-bands, I always find that over time they cut into my ears and cause a lot of pain and even headaches.
The only complaint that I have about the mask in regards to comfort is that it can feel a bit sharp at times. I found that after wearing the mask for a few hours it would hurt my face around the nose area. However, I haven’t found a single mask that doesn’t cause some pain and discomfort after hours of wear.
I do think that Totobobo is one of the more comfortable masks that I have tested and this is especially true during the summer (and warmer) months. In these times, cloth masks often become very uncomfortable.
Purchase Totobobo masks here! Use the code ‘BREATHESAFEAIR‘ for a discount!
Conclusion – Is Totobobo a Good Mask?
From my experience, I can confidently state that Totobobo is one of the best fitting masks that I have ever used. Even before adjusting the mask, it created an almost perfect seal on my face. After some adjustments, I was able to remove almost all leakage.
Everyone will have different experiences, but my experiences with the mask were positive. Not only does it provide great filtration, but it is indefinitely reusable and even the straps are replaceable.
Compared to more traditional masks with fabric layers, such as Vogmask, Idontcare or the Purely KN95 mask, I felt a lot more confident wearing this mask. With the self fit-testing and strong seal that it created, I felt like it was filtering the air that I was inhaling.
Compared to other reusable respirators I would recommend the Totobobo mask. If possible, I would specifically recommend the model with a nose-piece due to the increased fit.
I am always open to hearing more thoughts and opinions on the products that I review. If you have tried this mask, what were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments. Further, if you have any questions, please feel free to let me know. I will reply as soon as I can.
Purchase Totobobo masks here! Use the code ‘BREATHESAFEAIR‘ for a discount!
Learn everything that you need to know about respirator ratings. N95, KF94, KN95 and more!
What Rating does Totobobo Have?
Totobobo does not hold an NIOSH or equivalent rating. However, it has been tested by Nelson Labs and has been found to provide over 99% filtration (for particulate matter at 0.1μm) on all filter types.
What Alternatives Are There to Totobobo?
There are many alternative options in the reusable respirator market. Some such as Cambridge Mask and the Re-Mask Sports are quite popular. However, Totobobo has a few features that make it unique that none of these other masks have.
How Long Does A Totobobo Mask Last?
The mask itself lasts indefinitely due to its plastic build. The filters are replaceable and can be purchased in large packs. The filters should be replaced every 2 weeks or when the filter becomes grey.
Is Totobobo Officially Tested?
Yes, Totobobo has been officially tested by Nelson Labs. The full results can be found on the Totobobo website.
What Filtration Does Totobobo Have?
Totobobo masks offer the capability to use many different filters. There are F92, F94, F96 and Pro99 filters. You can find the complete specifications here.
I bought one a long time ago and never got it to fit properly due to it using an ear loop like 99% of other non-industrial masks. Totobobo is made to fit small faces (he originally designed it for his kids, then other people’s kids) as well as the majority of adults, but my large face doesn’t seem to work.
However, I noticed in the pictures above the new design that has straps like a traditional respirator with one above the ears and the other around the neck, so perhaps it’s time to look at Totobobo again. I was going to buy a Respro (because I know it fits from having one a very long time ago) but with the valves not being optional and being severely back-ordered to the point that they open online orders for just a few hours every Tuesday (as of July 2020), it seems unlikely I’ll be able to get one and even if I do it won’t comply with the no-valve mandate (they are legally banned at the moment for use in public since they let your own droplets & virions out).
Thank you for another comment! It’s interesting to hear the history of the company, I was actually unaware of how it was started.
The strap design can be chosen by the wearer now, and that is definitely a big benefit. Especially since ear-loop masks are often extremely uncomfortable after long periods of wear. In regards to size, I think you will find the masks much better now – the masks were significantly too big for me before I cut them down to size (although I do have a small face). I have definitely enjoyed my time with the Totobobo masks, and they are some of the best designs that I have seen.
Thank you for the review. Based on your comments I went ahead and purchased one. I agree it is fairly comfortable to wear. I’m curious to know what your thoughts are about the fit around the chin and whether you had to make any adjustments. Mine feels loose there and I’ve thought about cutting it down so it rests above my chin. However in the online pics and videos I’ve watched they all seem to hang below the chin. Were you able to get a proper seal there and if so, how?
Thank you for the comment Jason!
I understand your issue – the area around the chin definitely seems to be the hardest to get a seal. When I wore the mask, it always had an overhang under my chin that wasn’t properly sealed. The actual seal was around my jawline. However, actually achieving that seal around the bottom was quite difficult and I did have to reshape the mask a bit. I also cut it down a few centimetres.
I would recommend trying these things: Firstly, make sure that the headbands are adequately tight. Sometimes just making the headband tighter can help with seal issues. Secondly, if that doesn’t work you can try reshaping the mask using a hairdryer or hot water. While this doesn’t work for everyone, I was able to shape it a bit and get a better seal after a few attempts. Finally, if that doesn’t work then you can attempt to cut it down. Just make sure that you can still achieve a seal with the smaller mask.
I hope this helps!
Hi Jason, you are right. some users get a better seal by resting the mask on the chin. (cut the mask smaller to achieve that).
I have a narrow nose and a small chin. I have been trying to get a good seal but I cannot get it to seal at my nose or my chin. I have tried making the elastic tighter and I tried reshaping with a hair dryer and with hot water. So far not working. Advice?
Which model do you have? Do you have the small size and wire nosepiece? If you let me know I will try my best to help.
I just notice your comment. Would you mind to send us a mail (totobobomask @ gmail.com)
I should be able to guide you through the process to optimize the mask to fit your face.
I can’t get the mask to fit. It’s still too stiff even after a hot water soak. I have deep set eyes…
We have recently posted a new video showing how to shape the mask to suit different face shapes.
Perhaps useful to check this out?
Thank you for all the in depth mask reviews. My question mirrors one above that I may not have seen the answer for – it’s about the valves. Currently valved masks are not allowed in my workplace (and many other places I’ve found) due to them allowing the exhaled breath of the wearer to be released unfiltered to the outside, and possibly infect others. For everyone except the wearer, this is almost like not wearing a mask at all. This mask is designed to protect the wearer, but not anyone else. It’s almost a false sense of security for those who see someone wearing a valved mask. I would love to read reviews on masks that not only protect the wearer (with good fit and filtration), but do not allow unfiltered breath to be released outside of the mask.
Hello LAS, Sorry for not seeing your comment earlier. The Totobobo mask does not have valves. The above comment is about another brand. Air has to go through the filters when you exhale and inhale. For more detail please check this link: https://totobobo.com/blog/filter-not-air-vent/
I originally started using my TOTOBOBO mask in the spring of 2020 for bike rides as protection against breathing in the fine particulates from all the wildfire smoke here in Colorado that spring. (TOTOBOBO filters offer no protection against the ozone from wildfires or from normal fossil fuel drilling and burning so check local conditions before heavy outdoor exercise.) I had been using cloth masks at the time for COVID but switched over when I saw TOTOBOBO had much better protection; similar to N95s but with a better face seal and was more comfortable to wear. At first I used filters similar to the PRO99 but found the big filters blocked a little bit of my field of vision and I eventually concluded that I got adequate air flow through the regular smaller filters for what I consider heavy exercise. (Olympic level athletes may need the PRO99 to get adequate air flow.) These days I just order the “logs” of 40 pairs of F96 filters and change them every 1-2 weeks.
The TOTOBOBO has been comfortable enough for me to wear it for 10 to 12 hour work days in an industrial setting and I feel very good about not becoming infected by the many maskless people around me. I worked this way for almost a year and was never infected. Of course this involved eating lunch outdoors or in my car on cold days to stay safe from COVID.
Regarding the straps:
Back when I was wearing the TOTOBOBO for long bike rides (usually about 2 hours but once on a 100 mile ride which took me about 14 hours because I am old and slow) I needed a more convenient way to drink from my water bottle. So I replaced the lightweight elastic that comes with the TOTOBOBO with a much heavier elastic and I added one of those drawstring adjusters to set the tension for the strap that goes above my ears and around behind my head. I also added a transition piece of heavy leather-working thread at each end of the heavier elastic strap so it could connect to the mask. (The mask elastic connection points will not accommodate the heavier elastic that I used.) Then with more tension on the heavy elastic above my ears and less tension on the lighter elastic that comes with the mask which I used for the lower strap that went around behind my neck, I could use one hand to hold the water bottle and lift under the mask at my chin with the spout of my water bottle. (I also made an extender to make the water bottle spout longer to keep the body of my water bottle from smushing in my mask.) Then I could squirt a drink into my mouth and then pull the water bottle spout out from under my mask; the mask would gently snap back into position restoring mask seal to my face. I also found that using this wider elastic strap above my ears and around my head was more comfortable for extended use than the original thin elastic that comes with the mask.
More Strap modification:
Another modification to the strap made the mask much more convenient to put on quickly before going into stores and then I could carry it around my neck and off my face instead of using my hands or setting it down and losing it while walking outside or driving my car: This modification was the addition of a very small quick-release mechanism that I took from a pair of my gloves that used to keep the pair of gloves together during storage. I just disconnected one end of the lower lightweight elastic that came with the mask (the one that goes around behind my neck when mask is in place on my face) and added a short piece of thread connecting one half of the quick-release mechanism to my mask and tied the other half of the quick-release mechanism to the end of the lightweight elastic. I also added another drawstring adjuster to set the tension on my lower strap. So after I come out of a store, I squeeze the quick release to disconnect my lower strap and slide the heaver upper elastic down over my ears so that the mask hangs from my neck by the heavier elastic. When I go into another store, I reverse the procedure.
Fit and Maintenance:
Getting the TOTOBOBO mask to properly fit and seal to my face took several iterations of the procedure described by the manufacturer using very hot water followed by cool water and checking the visual seal by wetting my mask/face connection. A mirror and preferably a patient second person is helpful with this part of the fitting process. Also I only heated one small problem portion of the mask at a time as I did additional heating to improve sections of imperfect seal to my face so as not to ruin the good shaping of the mask already achieved. Once a proper fit was achieved, I did not need to do much with adjusting it afterwards. It has been easy to wash with soap and water (but not too-hot water) prior to my weekly-ish filter replacements. I purchased masks with the nose clip. This helps with the seal at and near my big nose and keeps my glasses from sliding down the mask and falling off my face.
After over two years of wearing TOTOBOBO masks in temperatures below freezing to above 100°F I am extremely satisfied and like TOTOBOBO (other than the extra shipping costs from Asia) better than any other mask I have tried or seen.
Thanks for sharing your experience with Totobobo. This information is invaluable not just to me but also to future readers. It’s interesting to hear how many times you had to mould the mask before getting the perfect seal. I think this is where many people give up and why many don’t get a great fit with the mask. I hope other readers can read this comment and learn from your experiences!
Wow, Jim, Thank you for your detailed comment!
From the Totobobo team, we are delighted to know that you have enjoyed using our mask for the last two years.
I hope the Totobobo mask will continue to serve you for many more years.