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Tailgate Tip Sheet: Respirator Types and Protection
Tailgate Tip Sheet: Respirator Types and Protection
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Tailgate Tip Sheet: Respirator Types and Protection

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Choosing the right type of respirator is crucial to the health and safety of you and your crew on the job. The right respirator can be the difference between safe and sorry when performing tasks that put you in contact with dust, mold, paint, pesticides or a combination. Here’s an overview of the different types of respirators, common uses for each and the level of protection each provides.

Respirator types

All of these respirators are available at along with a full assortment of PPE and safety gear for you and your hard-working crew.

Filtering facepiece (also known as half-mask respirator, particulate or disposable respirator)

These types of respirators are used to protect the wearer from dust, pollen, mists, welding fumes and certain pesticides applied in solid form. They are disposable and look like they’re made of paper. They may have one or two elastic straps. With the proper fit, filtering facepiece respirators provide sufficient protection against some particulate hazards. However, it can be more challenging to achieve a snug, safe, leak-proof fit with these disposable respirators versus other types of respirators.

Dual cartridge, half-mask respirators (reusable)

The main advantage of reusable types of respirators are longevity and flexibility. They have cartridges and filters that can be changed to match different contaminants. Dual-cartridge, half-mask reusable respirators are commonly used for protection against pesticides, anhydrous ammonia, acid, gases, dust or welding fumes. You can also add combination filters in which a cartridge and a pre-filter work together to protect you from both particulate and vapor hazards. Because they only cover half of your face, they provide no protection from eye irritants and less coverage for skin irritants than a full-face respirator.

Full-face dual-cartridge respirators (reusable)

The full-face, dual-cartridge, reusable respirator offers more protection than a half-mask in terms of coverage. When working with irritants and contaminants that can irritate the face, eyes or skin, you’ll need a full-face, dual-cartridge respirator that protects these as well as your respiratory system.

Powered air-purifying respirator

These offer comfortable breathing from a battery-powered fan, which pulls air through the filters and circulates the air through the helmet. They are a good option for spraying pesticides or working with chemicals where air quality will be compromised. They can also be more comfortable for the user than other types of respirators, but they’re also more expensive. These types of respirators are NOT to be used in conditions which are immediately dangerous to life or health.

If you’re still unsure which respirator you need, contact Gemplers by phone or email. offers respirators, respirator accessories, as well as a full selection of PPE and safety gear to help you and your crew work safely. When you’re ready to work safely, you’re ready to work.


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