Ever since the novel coronavirus outbreak happened in Wuhan, China, the shortage of facial masks has been happening for a while now. The huge demand and scarcity supply have driven the price of the masks through the roof.
For example, on Amazon, a single N95 mask is on sale for somewhere between $3 to $20 now, depending on the brand and make. Most of those masks are disposable or only have short service hours.
Reasons for this Article
When I started to look for buying masks in Canada, I realized it is impossible to find reasonably priced masks everywhere, so I began to look for alternatives. Unfortunately, 3M’s website and product description is not the best place to learn how to equip yourself for this pandemic as their products are mostly industrial.
After spending some time learning the protective product from 3M, I decide to compose a list of things I have found and purchased, which will be as protective as the overpriced masks you can hardly find anywhere now.
In this article, we will look at some alternatives, which may seem a bit exaggerated, but I found it is more cost-effective, and you can still get it at an affordable price at the moment. It also comes with a performance advantage for people who wear eyeglasses, aka—no more foggy glasses.
Option 1: All-in-one
To begin with, I would like to suggest:
It comes with everything you need (e.g. the mask, the cartridge, the filter retainer and the P95 filter), and it only costs around $40 CAD.
With this option, you would only need to replace the filters with 3M 5N11 after every 8 hours. Amazon also carries these overpriced the 3M 5N11 filter ($31 for ten pieces).
I was able to find an alternative, which is ($6, including shipping). Though for this alternative, I am still waiting for it to be shipped so I can make sure the material used is on par with the official 3M ones. One last note, you can order as many of those cotton filters, and the shipping fee will remain as $0.99)
Option 2: À la carte
In case you have already had some components of the all-in-one kit, you can find the parts separately on Amazon as well.
(Use 70% alcohol (or higher) to disinfect when replacing filters)
Despite the futuristic look, this setup should get you through the whole pandemic, especially for those who will enjoy the wide-open award availability and crazily discounted premium fares for the year 2020.
One last tip: do not forget to use your favourite shopping portals, e.g. Rakutan.ca (formally Ebates.ca) to earn extra cash rebates.