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By Mike Joubert 11 May 2021

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FULL DISCLOSURE: The Airpop Active masked was received as a seeding unit and not returned. 

In the world of masks, some masks are more equal than others. If you are getting serious about the type of mask to use when going out, then the Airpop Active needs to be on your shortlist.

The mask consists of two layers. First the outside Airknit shell, which does not offer protection, rather playing host to the AirPop filter on the inside that does. This former hardened Airknit shell is still flexible but acts as the way to structure the filter away from your face. On the inside you’ll find little hooks to pop on the provided filter, which, according to Airpop, provides 99.3% particle filtration (PFE) and 99.9% bacterial filtration (BFE).

Four of these filters are provided per pack, which is claimed to offer 40 hours of protection each. The filters are a bit of a nuisance to clip on, but once on they stay firmly in place. At the back of the filter, facing your nose, a plastic membrane seals off the mouth and nose area, further functioning as a way to prevent that smothering feeling when wearing a mask.

Fit is provided by two stretchy, adjustable ear loops and overall the Airpop stays on and does not move around. What I liked is that it completely seals off your nose and mouth area but does not prevent comfortable breathing. Its durable construction, however, makes it heavier than other masks and this will be felt after wearing it for an hour or so. The Airpop Active is also much larger than other masks and sometimes draws attention because of this.

There’s no metal lining to help sculpt the mask around the bridge of your nose. For those wearing spectacles this means you still get foggy glasses, although it can be minimised by finding the sweet spot between mask and spectacles. That said, the Airpop’s nose area also pushes up quite high so your spectacles are sometimes in the way when putting it on.

At R1 499 the Airpop Active mask is more expensive than other solutions, but with the added filters it makes it a much more serious mask if you are concerned about infection. One concern would be the 40 hour duration of the Airpop filters. These cannot be reused, with replacements costing R399 for a pack of four, which can be expensive over the long run. The Airpop Active is available from a number of shops locally online. 

PROS
Good fit that keeps the mask away from your mouth, Filters make it a serious option
CONS
Quite large, price of filters that are not reusable, heavy
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