I was on the market for a mask last year, and while I was researching my options I learned a lot (both online & by directly contacting the companies). I’m here now to break down the differences between the two most popular masks on the market: Vogmask & Cambridge Mask.
Spoiler alert: only one of these actually filters bacteria & viruses
If you’re like me then you’ve likely seen a lot about Vogmasks, and depending on where you live geographically also Cambridge masks. I’ve heard of chronic illness warriors using them to filter smells, pollen, chemicals & germs. However, I was never really sure exactly what they promised to do vs what people used them for. It was important to me to have a guarantee before purchasing. Products can get hyped up big time on social media, and it can be hard to separate fact from fiction.
So guess what? I did all the work for you!
Let’s start with Vogmask..
What does The Vogmask do?
According to the Vogmask official site:
“Vogmask is the world's first stylish filtering dust mask, made from the finest materials and designed to be the most comfortable dust mask ever while providing maximum protection from airborne particles. Our mission has never changed: to give the world a mask that makes you look great while providing the best protection from airborne particles. Vogmask is a no-risk, high-reward method to protect respiratory health..”
- N99 filter layer, carbon filter, exhale valve
- Filtering textile protects from 99% of airborne particles over .3 microns
- Superior protection for PM 2.5 particles in air pollution
Vogmask is widely used in urban environments due to the high levels of air pollution
When I read that description I sort of scratched my head a little. Nowhere does it state that it will specifically filter bacteria/viruses. It does state that it uses a carbon filter and can be used for “traveling” but again only in terms of improving air quality. They speak in very vague terminology such as, “helps reduce exposure to airborne biological particles.” But that’s not giving me facts, that’s talking in uncertain terms.
So I decided to contact the company directly and inquire. I didn’t not use an identifiable email address, because I wanted an honest answer. I asked if their masks can:
1. Filter smells, and if so how well (is it MCS safe for gases/fumes?)
2. Can it be used for a compromised immune system and be guaranteed to filter out bacteria and viruses?
Their response? 1. Sort of 2. No
1. They say that it contains a carbon filter which can dampen smells (such as smoke from a fire). But otherwise no, it won’t stop gases, vapors, oils, or aerosols from coming through. So, sort of? But in summary, it’s useless for MCS.
2. Vogmask states point blank, “Does not eliminate the risk of illness, diseases, or infection.” And no, they can’t guarantee anything in terms of filtering germs.
I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty bummed. And maybe even a little deceived because they do excellent marketing to make it seem like their masks do more than they can actually guarantee. Prior to doing this research I had been sold on Vogmask, and had I not decided to dig a little I would have easily been fooled. You can find this same info on their website as well if you do a bit of digging. After I got this information I decided to change course and keep researching my options.
That's when I moved onto the Cambridge Mask..
The Cambridge Mask also comes in a variety of colors and sizes (children to adults), and visually looks similar. However when I read the description from their website, the differences immediately stood out.
What does The Cambridge Mask do?
According to the Cambridge Mask official site:
“The Cambridge Mask uses military grade filtration technology to filter out nearly 100% of particulate pollution, gases, as well as bacteria and viruses in a fashion friendly mask suitable for the whole family. Cambridge Masks have been independently tested by Nelson Labs, USA which confirmed almost 100% of particulate pollution, bacteria and viruses were successfully filtered when tested. The masks use a triple-layer filter system which will protect from a range of airborne contaminants.”
- 99.6% average filtration of viruses
- 99.77% average filtration of bacteria
- 99.7% average particulate filtration down to 0.3 microns
So what makes the Cambridge Mask different? The way it’s structured.
Again, from their site:
"The mask uses a unique triple filter system. The first layer catches larger pollution particles such as dust and PM10, followed by the Three-Ply Micro Particulate Filter which stops nearly 100% of smaller particulate matter such as PM2.5 and PM0.3. The inner filtration layer is made from a 100% pure activated carbon cloth, which was originally developed by the UK Ministry of Defence for chemical, biological and nuclear warfare protection. The carbon filter is also treated with silver to ensure almost 100% of harmful pathogens are removed and killed. The unique filter system allows the Cambridge Mask to perform better and last longer."
What does the Cambridge Mask filter?
- Almost 100% of Particulate Matter (PM) including PM10, PM2.5 and PM0.3. These are the sort of particles you find in coal dust from power stations, diesel exhaust fumes, factory emissions and from construction works.
- Almost 100% of gas based air pollution, including odours such as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Ozone, Benzathine, and Formaldehyde. These particulates you can find in petrol fumes, chemical emissions and from many industrial processes.
- Almost 100% of harmful pathogens such as viruses and bacteria.
- Other airborne irritants or allergens such as Dust, mould spores, some odours, pet allergens and pollen.
In summary, this mask is pretty darn incredible! I will note that while it does not claim to filter smell it does guarantee to filter VOC’s and other gases. But most importantly, it has military grade filters that guarantee to filter bacteria and viruses. If it’s good enough to be used in the military it’s dang sure good enough for me. I was sold. I bought my Cambridge mask last year and have been very happy with it all flu season long.
Both of these masks cost the same and both are backed by a money back guarantee. I was actually shocked by how difficult it was to find concrete facts on the Vogmask site, and in contrast what a large amount of information is available about the Cambridge Mask. The independent 3rd party testing was also crucial in my eyes, because it shows that an unbiased source was able to confirm their claims.
The purpose of this post is to do some fact checking and take the guess work out of it for you. Also, I wanted to share the info I learned with those of you who depend on Vogmask. I don’t want anyone being fooled into thinking their mask can do more than it really does and risk getting the flu, which is very severe this year. The more you know the better you can protect yourself. I want to help.
I’m aware that Vogmask has a bit of a cult following in the community, and I’m probably going to get some heat from this. That’s fine. Please know I don’t have anything against Vogmask what so ever. I think it’s great for doing what it can realistically do. But for my needs (and often many chronic illness patients needs) a mask like this must filter germs & it must guarantee it for the sake of my health. On top of that, with my severe MCS I need to know exactly what I am or am not protected from since many gases/fumes/chemicals can make me very ill.
I hope this was informative & I hope that you can find the mask/protection that you need.