A dust mask that works and fits
RZ M3 dust mask kit

The RZ M3 mask comes in a kit with three mounting systems — head, neck, or ears — a spare filter and a carry bag.

Dust masks have always been problematic for me. I wear a beard and glasses and have a prominent nose that challenges sealing strategies. Let’s face it, the one-size-fits-all solution doesn’t.

So, I was very interested to try the new M3 dust mask system from RZ Industries. The mask comes with three different attachment systems to help ensure the best fit, and it also includes a replaceable carbon filter.

Three ways to fit
Most standard dust masks use some kind of elastic strap system, often with one strap behind your neck, and the other over your head. The RZ mask offers a head strap mounting system, too, but it also includes in the kit a neck strap system and an ear strap system.

When I use standard masks, with my nose and glasses, no matter how I adjust the over-nose portion of those masks, I can’t get a good seal, and my glasses fog right up. The RZ mask head strap system is better than most, but I still couldn’t get a perfect seal, even with the extra sealing foam in the nose portion of the mask. But when I unhooked the head straps and replaced them with the padded neck strap system, what a difference!

Will Sampson wearing RZ M3 dust mask
The author found the neck strap mounting system for the M3 dust mask from RZ Industries worked best to seal with his beard, nose shape, and glasses, exhibiting no fogging.

The mask not only sealed against my nose, eliminating fogged glasses, but also it held firmly in place against my beard. Yes, I know I’m never going to get a perfect seal with a big beard, but this was a remarkable improvement on anything I tried before.

Ear straps and carbon filter
With the success of the neck strap, I almost didn’t want to bother trying the third option, the ear straps. After wearing lots of ear strap masks during the COVID era, I was not enthusiastic about this option. My ears just don’t like being strapped. I have to say the RZ M3 mask ear straps work better than most other ear straps I’ve tried, but for me, the neck strap was the way to go.

I’m sure it all depends on your face shape and individual comfort preference. RZ listed testing showing the best seal with the head straps, but not for me. That’s why it’s nice to have the options to try out yourself. And they all fit in the included carry bag along with a spare filter.

About that filter, RZ claims the high-airflow active carbon filter filters up to 99 percent of particles down to 0.1 micron. Even with that high filter number, breathability was great. RZ claims 50 percent better breathability. It recommends the mask for dust, odors, smoke, allergens, and organic material. Learn more at rzmask.com

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About the author
William Sampson

William Sampson is a lifelong woodworker, and he has been an advocate for small-scale entrepreneurs and lean manufacturing since the 1980s. He was the editor of Fine Woodworking magazine in the early 1990s and founded WoodshopBusiness magazine, which he eventually sold and merged with CabinetMaker magazine. He helped found the Cabinet Makers Association in 1998 and was its first executive director. Today, as editorial director of Woodworking Network and FDMC magazine he has more than 20 years experience covering the professional woodworking industry. His popular "In the Shop" tool reviews and videos appear monthly in FDMC.