Recently I had the opportunity to test out and review the RZ Industries M2 Mask. If you’re an established lawn care service provider, then you already know that your lungs can sometimes take a beating in this industry and you have to do everything you can to protect them for your future health. With that said it will come as no surprise that having a high quality safety mask is an absolute necessity to your tool arsenal.
For me in my past 11 years providing a wide array of services in the green industry, the services that have given me the most difficulty in terms of breathing are lawn mowing in the spring during pollen season. In particular, mowing in a neighbourhood with cottonwood trees can leave my sinuses irritated for a good portion of the remainder of the day. The other service that really creates havoc with my sinuses and lungs is power raking. For the best results, power raking is done when conditions are dry, but mechanically removing all that thatch, and moss can create some pretty severe dust clouds. The other constant irritants are mulching leaves in the fall, spreading lime and fertilizers and even exhaust fumes from some equipment.
The RZ Industries M2 mask is a great solution to this problem. It is essentially a two part system with an outer mesh fabric shell, and an inner replaceable filter element in three different filtration choices. The first is the F1. This is the standard particulate filter with an internal active carbon element for fumes and odours. The second is the F2. It is the HEPA filter (high efficiency particulate air)it features better particulate filtration without the carbon core for fumes. The third is the F3. This is the premium filter offering, with both the HEPA layer for particulate and carbon core for fumes. The mask also features two one way air exhaust valves and a single Velcro adjustment strap behind the neck area. The masks are sold in three sizes. A small/youth for users up to 125lbs, a regular/large for adults up to 215lbs and extra large for 215lbs plus. The mask is also currently available in 12 colors to match your uniform or personality. I opted for the all black mask to match my company uniforms. The mask came with 2 filter elements and a nice zip up envelope type bag for storage all in plastic blister type packaging.
During testing over the past few weeks, I found the mask to be very comfortable over long term usage. It features a built in metal nose clip that can be adjusted easily for a comfortable fit, and to prevent the mask from slipping down on your face. I really like the single velcro neck strap. It makes taking the mask on and off easy with no need to remove hats or hearing protection. The mask did a fantastic job at filtering out dusk while mulching leaves and especially while pouring very dusty dolopril lime into my fertilizer spreader. I look forward to using it during next springs dusty power raking season, as I am confident it will do the job much more thoroughly and comfortably than the alternatives I have been using. The only downside I could see in an effort to be unbiased was that it seemed to cause my safety glasses to fog up a bit as hot air would leak out around the corners of my nose, and this is an issue with all masks and respirators I have tried. I also realize that this is also a issue that is hard to really criticize as very persons facial contours will be different, and some will be effected more than others. Truthfully this is something I might have been able to eliminate with some more adjustment of the nose piece, but I ended up just removing my glasses instead as they were not needed for the task I was trying to accomplish, mulching leaves and spreading lime.
So the big question is after using the RZ Mask for a few weeks, would I recommend it? I would definitely recommend the RZ Mask M2 model to anyone needing a comfortable and effective filtration system. I should also point out that if the look of the fabric outer shell is not you’re thing, RZ industries also has the same basic design available in a neoprene material with cool radical graphic options called the M1 Mask.
For more information on the RZ Mask, you can check them out on the rzmask.com website using my affiliate link. I also did an audio review of the RZ Mask on the Lawn Care Business Success Podcast in episode 078 – RZ Mask Review – plus its my 500 month birthday!