How safe is the air in your woodshop? Even if you’re running a cyclone dust collector you still need to protect your lungs with some extra filtration. As RFeeser puts it at WoodNet: “You cannot go without an effective face mask just because you have dust collection. The air still ends up with a lot of the really fine, invisible sawdust that is the real health problem.” I found a thread at SawmillCreek asking for respirator recommendations. Then I dug around for more threads that recommend respirators AND reviews for specific models.

BUT FIRST, here are some chilling quotes from ‘Creeker Lloyd Morris about air quality:

I was in very good health and at 50 years old was training for a marathon and riding my bike 30 to 40 miles a week. Also no breathing problems at all for the first year of woodworking. I was the last person I thought would have any problems with a reaction to wood dust.

After working on a project for about six hours last spring, I began to have some wheezing and shortness of breath. I took a break and walked out side and felt better. This had happened once before after several hours in the shop and resolved itself within a few minutes of stopping work. A few of days later I went back in the shop. The symptoms reappeared in about an hour and were worse this time. They barely got better when I stopped working.

My wife (who is a physician) came home for dinner took one look at me and said “we are going to the emergency room”…

His words in Taking Wood Dust More Seriously inspired this post!

So now that you’re a little more interested in getting properly respirated here are the results of my tabulations. Note that I count a vote as a unique mention in a forum thread. This is COMPLETELY opinion-based and has nothing to do with the actual quality or ability of the respirators mentioned!

1) 3M Respirators: 16 Votes

6000 series: 4
7500 series: 5
8500 series: 1

2) AO Safety: 6 Votes

AO Safety 95190 “pig snout” respirator: 5
Quicklatch Pro made by AO Safety: 1

Triton Powered Respirator: 5

Triton Respirator Exceeds Expectations from LumberJocks
Triton Power Respirator – Mini Review (by Stu Ablett in Family Woodworking)
Triton Powered Respirator by Bill Esposito

3) Trend AirShield: 5 Votes

Trend Airshield (forum excerpts)

4) Resp-O-Rator Jr: 1 Vote

5) Rockler Power Air Respirator: 1 Vote

Rockler Power Air Respirator Review from LumberJocks

Forum Threads I got my numbers from:
Please recommend respirators
The air challenge/saga continues: Respirators?
Respirator recommendation (from ContractorTalk forum)
full face respirator?
Masks etc

Other Resources:
Respirator Protection an Important Safety Issue
Respirator Fit and Function for Men with Beards