Air-Purifying vs. Supplied-Air Respirators

To the surprise of some, there is more than one type of respirator available on the market. In fact, they can function in different ways to achieve the same results. In this post, we discuss two types: air purifying and supplied air respirators. There are several pros and cons to both types of respirators that you should take into account when making your decision.

Does an air purifying respirator supply air?

No. Air-purifying using filters, cartridges, or canisters, respirators may remove toxins from the air before it reaches the wearer’s lungs.

However, because these respirators don’t deliver oxygen, they cannot be used in an environment that is oxygen-deficient or immediately harmful to life or health. The kind of contamination in an area will determine the best respirator to use.

What are three types of supplied-air respirators?

SARs (supplied-air respirators), SCBAs (self-contained breathing equipment), and SAR/SCBA combos are the three main forms of atmosphere-supplying respirators.

Air-purifying respirators work by passing the air you breathe through a filter to cleanse it of contaminants, whereas supplied-air respirators provide you with Clean Air from an Air Supply Unit (ASU).

What is a major disadvantage of supplied-air respirators?

Supplied air respirators have several disadvantages, including requiring battery recharging to keep the right flow rate going into the mask.

What is a disadvantage of using an air purifying respirator?

A seal inspection is difficult for the user to do and the level of security provided by different devices varies substantially. Communication may also be a challenge using an air purifying respirator. Facepiece sizing also necessitates doing a fit test.

Another major drawback is drawing polluted air into the facepiece during inhalation if any leaks form in the system such as from an ill-fitting mask or facepiece.

What is the advantage of an air-supplied respirator?

A cylinder or a pipe linked to an air-line, compressor, air pump, air purifier, or surface supply hose distributes breathing air constantly or on demand. A hood, face mask, or mouthpiece is used to provide air to the worker at ambient pressure.

When should you never use an air-purifying respirator?

When there is not enough oxygen in the air, do not use air-purifying respiratory protection. The presence of certain pollutants, very bad odor, irritating qualities, or bad taste may serve as a warning. Toxicity may be exceedingly high if the wrong substance is present or an unknown contaminant has been found.

Related Questions and Answers

Does air purifying particulate respirators trap aerosols?

Filters, cartridges, or canisters are used in air-purifying respirators (APRs) to remove gases, vapors, aerosols (droplets and solid particles), or a mixture of impurities from the air.

Which type of supplied-air respirator is least protective?

When it comes to respirator types, particulate respirators are the most basic, lowest-cost, and least protective. Only particles are protected by these respirators (e.g., dust). For low-level danger levels, they don’t protect against chemicals or vapors.

What is the most common type of supplied-air respirator?

Two of the most prevalent types of positive pressure respirators are SARs and PAPRs, both of which may be found in many workplaces today.

What are the 4 types of respirators?

In terms of APR facepieces, disposable, quarter, half, and full-face masks are the most frequent. The use of disposable respirators (dust masks) protects the wearer from irritating dust and particles. When using a quarter mask respirator, cartridges or cloth filters may be utilized as filters.

What are two types of air-supplying respirators?

APRs and supplied-air respirators are the two most common varieties (SARs). Particulate matter may be removed from the air you breathe with air-purifying respirators (e.g., dust, metal fumes, mists, etc.)

Are all types of respirators the same OSHA?

It is possible to protect oneself with a variety of respirators. It’s known as the Assigned Protection Factor (APF) since it measures how well a respirator protects its wearer. Each class of respirators has a unique OSHA number given to it.

Which level of PPE utilizes an air purifying respirator?

Protection at the C-level uses air purification.

Which respirator provides the highest level of protection?

When compared to half-face respirators, full-face respirators provide higher protection. For protection against vapors, acid gases, dust, and welding fumes they may also be employed.

Do supplied air respirators have cartridges?

Reusable respirators feature cartridges or filters that may be replaced. With the right cartridge or filter, they shield the nose and mouth from harmful gases, vapors, and particles. Canisters, cartridges, and filters on respirators may be swapped out for new ones.

Is a respirator good for Covid?

The virus that causes COVID-19 may be prevented by using masks and respirators frequently and appropriately. Others masks and respirators provide more protection than others, but some may be more uncomfortable to wear or more difficult to maintain over time.

How often should a respirator be cleaned?

A respirator should be cleaned every time it is worn.

Which respirators are used in the workplace?

This video provides some answers:

What is the difference between SAR and APR?

Combination APRs equipped with both particle filters and gas/vapor cartridges are worn in environments where both particulates and gases are present. SCBA, air-line respirators and combination (supplied-air) respirators are all examples of SARs.

Does P100 protect against radon?

You should expect to breathe less radon decay products if you use the P100 filter, but there are other things to keep in mind.

How long can you wear a P100 respirator?

In general, the P100 filters used in Elastomeric Respirators have a lifetime of at least six months. This increases the long-term ability to provide PPE during a pandemic.

Which type of air purifying respirator uses cartridges?

Respirators for vapor and gases use cartridges.

Should you smell through an N95?

A second sniff or odor test is recommended by health authorities. An odor-producing chemical is sprayed into the air as part of the experiment. Your mask isn’t properly fitted if you can smell or taste anything through it

What type of PPE is used for Ebola?

PPE, such as single-use impermeable gowns or coveralls, double nitrile gloves, masks, face shields, surgical hoods and boot coverings that extend at least to the mid-calf of the patient are all recommended by the CDC when treating patients who may have had contact with infectious diseases such as Ebola.

Is P100 better than N100?

Lead and asbestos need N100, although smoke might benefit from it. When dealing with chemicals, oil-based aerosols must be filtered away, therefore this filter does the same job. Both P100 and N100 filters are equally effective in removing soot.

Does N100 mask protect against coronavirus?

N95, N99, and N100 masks are categorized based on their filtering performance. Particles larger than 0.3 m may pass through N95 masks at a rate of around 95%, whereas N99 filters them at a rate of about 99%. All of these masks are capable of removing coronavirus if there is no air leakage present.

Is it possible to use a respirator if you have any facial hair or wear glasses?

[29 CFR 1910.134(g)(1)[i]] says that respirators cannot be used if the facial seal is compromised. Some examples of this include a beard, sideburns, or a skull cap that extends below the facepiece.


Both air purifying and supplied air respirators are good at protecting users from harmful gases and particles. However, they are both used in separate circumstances. Make sure to follow OSHA and the manufacturer’s guidelines when considering which one to wear.

The “air-purifying respirator” is a type of respiratory system that removes harmful particles from the air. It is typically used in places where the air quality is poor, such as mines and smelters.

NEXT UP: What Are the OSHA Respirator Requirements?

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Rebecca Ross
About Rebecca Ross

Rebecca Ross an Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) consultant who runs her own occupational safety consultancy. She focuses on hazardous materials, warehouse safety, fire safety, lab safety, fall protection, head protection and other workplace safety topics. Learn more about Rebecca here or connect with her on Twitter | LinkedIn | Medium