Gas Mask Comparison: How to Choose?
When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission at no added cost to you. Thanks for supporting us and this small business!
When shopping for a gas mask, it’s helpful to review a ‘best gas mask comparison’ article to differentiate some of the best gas masks on the market. A typical web search for “best gas mask” will bring up thousands of options, ranging from very inexpensive to over $1000. Wading through the technical language and product specifications can be mind numbing. Fortunately, Mira Safety makes high quality respirators with product features that are easy to understand and see the real world application for.
While most gas masks on the market seem like overkill for your average prepper, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health sets respirator standards for civilians. Included in these standards is the requirement for respirators to be rated for threats from CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) sources. Any mask that is rated for CBRN situations, will protect you in almost any emergency where a mask would be required, including the CM-7M and CM-8M respirators masks.
How These Gas Masks are Similar
As you browse the product specifications for these two masks, you may notice that the CM-7M and CM-8M don’t seem all that different. They share many very important features that you should be looking for when shopping for a respirator. If you’re looking for a high quality, professional level respirator that is made with a civilian in mind, the following features make the CM-7M and CM-8M models the best gas masks available:
- Rated to withstand CBRN agents (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear)
- Compatible with widely available NATO 40mm filters
- Built-in Speech Diaphragm allows for 95% intelligible speech
- Drinking System that is compatible with the included canteen or Camelbak hydration systems
- Comfortable Head Harness allowing for easy on and off, a large range of adjustability and a mesh backing that prevents hair from getting caught in the straps
- Bromobutyl Rubber that is highly resistant to toxic chemicals and chemical warfare agents (TICs and CWAs)
- Does not fog due to the inner mask that is made from a high quality hypoallergenic compound, ensuring a good fit around eyes and nose/mouth
- Designed for use with a rifle with when using a single filter, which can be installed on either the right or left side of the mask to accommodate right and left-handed shooters
- Compatible with helmets and breathing apparatuses
- 20 year shelf life
How These Gas Masks are Different
Small, Medium, Large
Field of View
Dual Recessed Visor
Panoramic 180° Visor
Compatible with Miravision Spectacle Kit?
Mask Comparison: Important Details to Note
The CM-7M Military Gas Mask is very similar to the CM-8M Full Face Respirator from a product feature standpoint. The major differences that should determine your choice of mask that is best for you, will be the size and visor shape. Let’s get into the details of why these two factors are the most important considerations when comparing the CM-7M and the CM-8M.
Major Difference Factor: Size
A gas mask will do nothing if it doesn’t fit you well; It needs to be airtight. Those shopping for masks for children or for adults with larger-than-average heads, the CM-7M will be a better choice because it comes in multiple sizes. According to Mira Safety, the Medium size in the CM-7M will fit 95% of the population. This does seem accurate because the Medium fits both myself and my husband Greg, and we have very different head sizes. Mira Safety recommends that if you are smaller than the average person (less than 130 pounds) with a small face, you should purchase the Small, and if you are a larger than average person (over 250 pounds) you should purchase the Large. The adjustable harness system allows for a huge range of fit, which is nice if you are trying to stock your bunker without knowing the specific people who might need to use the masks.
Since the CM-8M is a one-size-fits-all mask, it will likely not fit people that are smaller or larger than average, meaning you would have to purchase the CM-7M regardless of any other feature that you prefer between these two masks. But for those of us who are within that average 95% of the population, the next consideration factor is also incredibly important.
Major Difference Factor: Shape of Visor
For example, the CM-7M Military Mask has a dual recessed visor, which is a two-piece visor that offers a recessed binocular view. The benefit of this design is that it helps prevent eye strain and allows for a closer cheek weld when using firearms and optics. That is to say, because the CM-7M Military Mask has a viewing window for each eye, it doesn’t distort your vision and it allows for better compatibility with defense tools. On the other hand, a dual recessed visor design also limits your field of view to about 71% of what you can normally see without a mask on.
The CM-8M has a full-face, 180-degree panoramic visor, which hardly inhibits the user’s field of view at all. When wearing the mask, you barely lose any of your peripheral vision, which is a really nice feature that is hard to find in a gas mask. In many situations, having a full view of your surroundings is critical. However, the slight curve in the polycarbonate that allows for the single-piece visor does cause a slight distortion for the user. It’s slightly noticeable, and something that you might get used to over time. Conversely, someone who is predisposed to motion sickness or depth perception problems may not like the slight distortion and prefer the CM-7M instead.
Best Gas Mask Comparison Summary
All in all, you really can’t go wrong with either of these masks from Mira Safety. They are both high quality masks that are rated to meet 99% of any emergency you might run into when considering situations where a gas mask might be necessary. It was a hard decision, but Greg and I decided that if we had to choose, our preference would be the CM-8M. Since the CM-8M has such a clear, unobstructed field of view and the one-size fits us both, it’s the mask we would feel confident walking into the apocalypse with.
For a more in-depth review of the CM-7M, check out our recent clog here!