I recently got some Respokare N95 respirators from N95 Mask Co, and wanted to write up my thoughts on them.

These were of interest because they are N95 rated, and on the NIOSH approved manufacturer list here (scroll down to “Innonix”, who make them).

Just to clarify, Innonix manufacture the “Respokare” respirator, and N95 Mask Co are retailers who sell them online.

Blue Respokare’s on the left, and white Xiantao Zhong Yi N95’s (review here) on the right.

They arrived to me via UPS International Express and took approximately 5 working days to arrive. Although I can’t comment if that lead time is typical.

Whilst their shipping page only mentions UPS International Express for shipping, I can confirm they all ship out of Hong Kong.

^ Side profile

 

^ Inside – with rubber seal around nose

Interior Layers

I cut one of them open to take a peek at the inner layers. It’s more or less as you’d expect – with an inner and outer layer, that sandwich a meltblown filter. Unlike most respirators, it then adds a (blue) layer that claims anti-viral properties. According to the Respokare site, the layer is made of rayon, with copper and zinc ions.

Face Fit

Weight: The respirators are very lightweight, and don’t feel heavy on the head.

Air Tight Seal: One concern I had initially was that the seal around the face wouldn’t be great, especially around the cheeks and chin.

However, on that front I was pleasantly surprised. Holding on to the respirator and blowing outwards, there doesn’t appear to be leakage.

One issue I did run into though was that the material gets sucked in slightly when breathing in. Under normal breathing conditions, this is manageable, but if for some reason you were breathing heavily (going up a flight of stairs for instance), then you might feel the material pressing against your face.

Whilst it’s a good sign that air isn’t being drawn from around the edges, it could also be irritating. That said, you do get used to it after a while.

You can compare this to the respirators with a cup shaped shell, which prevents the material from moving with the breath.

Elastic Straps – The elastics are strong and look like they’ll last a long time. They fit my head well, but for smaller heads, it’s possible they might be a bit loose. Some respirators have adjustable straps, but these are “one-size fits all”. Of course, often one size does not fit all. One workaround could be to staple a small section of the elastic to shorten it, like below. It’s not an irreversible change, so if it didn’t work, you can just pick the staple out.

On the flip side, whilst I have a reasonably big head (22.5 inch / 57cm) – it’s not the biggest. If you had a larger head it’s possible the straps would be too small. If that’s the case, you’d be better off going for a respirator with adjustable length straps.

Smell: Ideally there would be no discernible smell coming from the respirator, but there is. It smells like chemicals, so is probably leftover from the manufacturing process, or from the type of material used. Your nose adjusts to it after a while, and perhaps it goes with time. At the time I’m reviewing the product I’ve only worn the respirator out once, and so far the smell is still there.

N95 respirators contain an electrostatic charge between layers, which can be damaged by washing. So I’d exercise caution if you thought to “wash the smell out”.

Aesthetics

Overall I’d say that this respirator looks a lot like the blue surgical masks that have become commonplace, therefore it doesn’t stick out too badly. However the “fin” at the front does project forward, and is the most conspicuous aspect.

Not the prettiest of models, but hopefully this gives an idea of how it might look on.

Conclusion

This is just a quick review of the Respokare from N95 Mask Co, but hopefully it sheds some light on what’s an important issue for many (staying healthy during this pandemic).

I’ve summarized the pros and cons below.

Pros Cons

✅ On NIOSH’s approved N95 respirator list

✅ Lightweight, doesn’t weigh on your face and is reasonably comfortable

✅ Fits the face well and appears to form a good seal

✅ Blue color is similar to surgical masks, and thus blends in somewhat

✅ Strong elastics that should last a while

❌ The elastic straps are not (easily) adjustable – which may be an issue for people with large or small heads.

❌ The material can get drawn inwards to the face on the in breath. It’s not so noticeable with regular, shallow breathing. However if heavily breathing due to exertion, it can be irritating

❌ The material has a chemical smell, perhaps from the manufacturing process

If you have any further questions, please leave them below in the comments.

I’ve also reviewed here the other N95 respirator N95MaskCo sell, made by Xiantao Zhong Yi.

John Alexander

Posted by John Alexander

Note: Not a Medical Doctor or PhD. I'm a researcher and writer, with a focus on the subjects of health and longevity. My intent is to write about scientific research in an accessible, understandable way. If you believe something I've stated needs a reference, and I haven't done so, please let me know in the comments. Follow on: Twitter

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Matt
Matt
21 days ago

Thank you, this post and the comments were super helpful. I ordered 5 days ago and also got an unexpected message from UPS saying something from Maxima was shipping from Hong Kong, though there’s no indication on the site that these masks are manufactured there or under that name.

Johnny S
Johnny S
2 months ago

Buyer beware! I bought a 4 pack and knew it was a rip-off when it arrived ($49.99). The “medium” size is perhaps fine for the average Chinese adult, but not for a 6’2″ man with a large build. The nose and chin are barely covered. Opening the jaw to speak causes the chin covering to rise up exposing the mouth. Save your money and buy something else that fits.

TN Na
TN Na
2 months ago

N95Maskco is NOT an authorized dealer of Respokare masks per the Respokare website. In my investigation, I have found this company to be a scam.

wjt
wjt
Reply to  John Alexander
29 days ago

Hi John. Did you receive any further updates on this? I see that n95maskco.com is still listed as an unauthorized retailer on Respokare’s website. Thanks for your legwork on this!

Molly
Molly
Reply to  John Alexander
14 days ago

Hi, I just saw a post dated in September on the Respokare Facebook page that stated that there is currently no authorized retail channel in the US. So what Coolest Is saying is contrary to the Facebook page. I bought some several months ago and thought they seemed to be legit. I’m less concerned about being scammed than risking my health with fake products. Something doesn’t seem quite right with N95maskco. Did you ever hear back?

R.V. Sonders
R.V. Sonders
Reply to  John Alexander
28 days ago

All: I am the person who brought this apparent discrepancy to 95MASKCO’s attention some weeks ago. The explanation they gave me was the same as you relate above. They immediately offered to cancel my order if I doubted the respirators’ authenticity. The offer gave me comfort that this wasn’t a scam, and the explanation seemed plausible to me. So I let them fill my order for 20 Respokare N95 antiviral respirators. When they arrived, I inspected the markings on the respirators, which did tie back to Innonix on CDC and NIOSH authorization lists. Nevertheless, I will likely wait to buy… Read more »

Jimmy
Jimmy
Reply to  R.V. Sonders
14 days ago

Thank you RV for the update.

Jay
Jay
2 months ago

Great review! What are the white masks in your photo with the shipping package? A bit confusing since the Respokare masks are light blue in the rest of the photos in your review. Thank you!

Last edited 2 months ago by Jay
David
David
2 months ago

The mask probably pretty good. The construction is similar to the Curad antiviral mask with a strong smell of vinegar. The cured cost about $0.65 a piece and this one is $49.95 for 4 !! Thats way too expensive for a mask.

Rose
Rose
2 months ago

I agree that the mask have a smell, fit small, and straps are tight. Hope the glued seams and stitching hold up. However, I will try to remember to always carry a spare mask. My mask also was shipped from Hong Kong to Coolest USA in New York City (opened at post office for inspection) . markings on mask include Innonix Rk200 3041A Do you think these mask are legit?Thanks

Herb
Herb
2 months ago

I bought 20 of the Respokare masks from N95 Mask Co, about a month ago. It took a few days longer than advertised as tracking showed it in Hong Kong awaiting authorization, but they did arrive in about a week. I think the smell and seam splitting issue are both because the seam is glued, and not sewn, and it may be the glue that smells. I opened up the masks and let them sit out open for a few days and the smell dissipated considerably, and has not been a problem for my sensitive nose and throat. The first… Read more »

Jay
Jay
3 months ago

There is definitely a strong chemical smell; after one day use I had slight throat irritation but it eventually went away 😕 … not sure if I should use these masks again

Maritza Borunda
Maritza Borunda
3 months ago

I purchased these masks, and just got notified that they are en route to me from… Hong Kong. The sender is “Maxima Apparel”. This doesn’t sound right; it seems like yours came from New York City. I am worried the product is counterfeit.

Last edited 3 months ago by Maritza Borunda
Peter Nelson
Peter Nelson
3 months ago

I also bought the Respokare N95 mask from the N95 Mask Company and had the same problem as CookieQueen, below. I do not have an unusually large face or chin but I found it to be too small.

Cookiequeen
Cookiequeen
3 months ago

Husband and I just received them and the front seam began to split the first time we tried them on. It does appear to me that they are not designed to fit consumers with prominent chins or those with a longer nose to chin length. Would not buy them again.