Which face mask is best for teachers?
With so many schools returning to in-person teaching, instructors are looking for the perfect face mask to keep themselves and their students safe during long days of learning. In addition to offering comprehensive protection, the best face mask for a teacher needs to be comfortable, layered yet breathable enough so that it won’t muffle their voice.
For a comfortable, reusable mask that offers protection in a stylish package, Brave New Look’s Face Mask With PM 2.5 Filter is the top pick.
What teachers should know when buying a face mask
Reusable face masks can be made from a wide variety of materials, including cotton, silk, flannel and polyester. For maximum protection, look for a mask with the tightest weave. Cotton is a popular choice since the thread count is easily identifiable, and the cloth is breathable. Silk is commonly used because it’s naturally water-resistant and therefore well-suited for blocking droplets found in the air. Whenever possible, avoid masks that are made of porous material like polyester or cotton muslin.
Reusable vs. disposable
Many consumers choose to purchase disposable masks in bulk, but there are several reasons why cloth masks are considered superior by most health experts. Reusable masks are more environmentally friendly than disposable masks, and the materials used typically offer better protection. Reusable masks also come with additional features like filter pockets and will often boast fun designs. For more information about the benefits of reusable masks, see the complete cloth face mask buying guide from BestReviews.
Masks vs. shields
Some teachers may wish to forgo the mask completely, opting for a face shield instead. While it may prevent voice muffling and provide students with a better look at your facial expressions, the CDC does not recommend using a shield as a substitute for a mask. Face shields have large gaps below and alongside the face, leaving you exposed to infected respiratory droplets. Instead, look for a mask that features a window so students can see your mouth.
What to look for in a quality face mask
Cloth masks are usually fastened with loops or ties. Loops go over the ears and are easy to put on and take off, but some people experience sore ears after wearing these for a while. Ties take longer to fasten but are typically more comfortable during long days of teaching.
No-fog metal strips
If you wear glasses, look for a mask with an embedded metal strip. This piece can be used to bend the mask to the shape of your nose, creating a seal that prevents breath from fogging up your lenses.
Some cloth masks have built-in filter pockets that can be used for an additional layer of protection. These masks will typically come with extra filters too.
Some masks feature clear, plastic windows that make your mouth visible. These are ideal for speech therapists and teachers with hearing-impaired students, but make sure the seal is tight around the window so respiratory droplets can’t find their way in.
To make young students more comfortable, many teachers are seeking masks with approachable and friendly designs. Colorful patterned masks are also a fun way to express yourself at work.
How much you can expect to spend on a face mask
The price of a cloth face mask will vary depending on the material, design and features included. Most teachers can expect to spend $5-$20 on a reusable mask.
Teacher’s face mask FAQ
How often should I wash my face mask?
A. The CDC recommends washing your face mask after every use.
Do face masks help with allergies?
A. In addition to preventing the spread of respiratory illness, studies have shown that wearing a mask can also reduce allergy symptoms caused by pollen, pet dander and mold!
Do face masks work with facial hair?
A. Large amounts of facial hair may reduce the effectiveness of your mask. Keep your facial hair trimmed, tidy and close to your face to get the best protection.
What’s the best face mask for teachers to buy?
Top face mask for teachers
What you need to know: This versatile face mask is available in 10 different color options and includes an extra protective filter.
What you’ll love: The mask’s super soft cotton and spandex blend means you’ll be comfortable wearing it all day long. Breathable and cool, the mask also includes a 5-layer PM2.5 bonus filter and an embedded nose wire to prevent foggy glasses.
What you should consider: The ear loops used for fastening can be uncomfortable for some users, while others report that they break easily.
Where to buy: Sold by Brave New Look
Top face mask for the money
What you need to know: Technically designed for athletes, this lightweight and ultra-breathable mask is also well-suited for teachers.
What you’ll love: This affordable face mask is form-fitting and adjustable, providing extra comfort and protection in crowded classroom settings. Blue Bear uses patented silver ion technology to keep the mask smelling fresh, and they also offer a 30-day money-back guarantee on all mask purchases.
What you should consider: Some users felt the mask was too small, and no nose wire means that foggy glasses could be an issue.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top face mask for design
What you need to know: These fun and artsy masks are available in over a dozen designs inspired by fine art masterpieces.
What you’ll love: Featuring the same protective technology as the top pick, these full-color masks are a particularly fun choice for art teachers. The included 5-layer PM2.5 filter offers protection for up to a week and is completely recyclable.
What you should consider: Like the top pick, some users report fastening loops that break easily.
Where to buy: Sold by Brave New Look
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Patrick Farmer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.