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Airpop Light SE Mask 4pcs

7
£29.99

VERDICT:

7
10
Superlight, comfortable to wear and seems effective, but still some issues with fogging and sweat build-up
Affordable
Light and minimalist
Washable
Comfortable
Some fogging of glasses
Warm to wear
Weight: 
7g

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The Airpop Light SE Mask is a lightweight, low-key, anti-fog filtration option that seems to work and is comfortable – if a little warm – to wear, though I did have some issues with fogging of glasses.

The mask certainly lives up to its 'light' moniker, weighing just 7g per mask according to the road.cc scales. It's also one of the more comfortable masks I've tried, sitting securely, not too high up near the eyes but still covering a good portion of the face, as required.

> Buy this online here

Though it only comes in one size, the lightweight material contours nicely to the shape of the face and the securing straps are easy to use and adjust. It's as close to a 'barely there'-feeling mask as you're likely to get.

With a helmet, it doesn't cause any issues at all in terms of fit or interaction with helmet straps, and slips nicely over the ears.

According to Airpop, the mask is made from a two-layer synthetic material – 'spun-bond' and 'non-woven' – with a single-layer 'meltblown electrostatic nonwoven filter'. The outer is also water resistant.

The mask is designed to sit just a little away from the face, with a cushioned TPU nose seal at the top keeping it secure, allowing for comfortable breathing and also helping to clear fogging.

> Cycle commuting: 14 hassles to avoid so you get to work easily

Worn when not cycling, the mask did cause my glasses to steam up with every exhale, but it also cleared with every inhale, leaving it largely clear. When working hard on the bike this was more pronounced, and depending on airflow – uphill it was more prone to fogging, on the flat it cleared pretty quickly. How much it fogs and how quickly it clears will also be determined by the shape of your face, nose and glasses.

By the end of a ride my face was a touch damp around the area of the mask, but not horrendously so.

Filtering

Airpop claims particle filtration of 99.3% and bacterial filtration of 99.9%, and it exceeds the CWA 17553:2020 Community Face Covering guidelines.

The filtration effect is certainly noticeable. It reduces the smell from exhaust fumes and pollen; as a sufferer from hayfever I can usually smell pollen on high count days, and that was much less discernible when wearing the mask, and meant less irritation.

Although the mask is designed to filter optimally for up to 40 consecutive hours, or a week of cumulative hours of wear, it can be machine washed on a gentle cycle at 40 (and air dried) up to 10 times, and it'll retain more than 70% of its filtering abilities. I popped it in the wash and it came out fine, drying really quickly and retaining its structure nicely, which I was moderately surprised by given the lightweight nature of the materials. This is a nice feature if you're looking for something for occasional use, and is much more environmentally friendly than simply binning it after the initial wear period.

In terms of value for money, it's significantly less expensive than the more activity-focused Airpop Active Mask at £69.99, which comes with four filters (replacement filters cost £24.99 for four), and is also cheaper than the Respro Ultralight Mask at £46.99 (recommended replacement filters are £22.99 for two).

Personally, I'm impressed with how this mask straddles cost/comfort and efficacy while being light and small enough to pop into a jersey pocket, and useful for a supermarket run too. At about the same price as many non-cycling-specific reusable masks, it does a decent job on the bike too.

Verdict

Superlight, comfortable to wear and seems effective, but still some issues with fogging and sweat build-up

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Airpop Light SE Black 4pcs

Size tested: One Size

Tell us what the product is for

Airpop says, 'Engineered for long-wearing comfort, exceptional fitted filtration and unparalleled breathability.'

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Airpop lists:

Cushioned TPU nose seal supports easy positioning and anti-fogging with eyewear.

Ergonomic wing design and adjustable ear loops deliver a custom fit for every face and comfortable feel for every activity.

Materials: Nylon, polyester, ABS

99.3% particle filtration (PFE) and 99.9% bacterial filtration (BFE) plus fluid resistance. Exceeds Community face coverings CWA 17553:2020 guidelines.

3D structure creates a canopy of air that keeping the mask off the face for breathability. Paired with low resistance materials the Light SE Mask delivers unrestricted airflow for easy breathing.

40 Hr. Wear Time- Designed for cumulative use of one week or no more than 40 hours. Washable on gentle machine cycle at 40 up to 10 times for performance of greater than 70%

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Very well made and confidence-inspiring quality.

Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10

Light and easy to wear. Did its job as a mask very well and better than many for not fogging up glasses, though still not perfect.

Rate the product for durability:
 
6/10

Has a reasonable lifespan at full efficacy, but the fact that it can be washed up to 10 times and still have greater than 70% performance is a nice feature.

Rate the product for fit:
 
9/10

Very comfortable and easy to adjust.

Rate the product for sizing:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight:
 
10/10

Exceptionally light and easy to pop in a pocket.

Rate the product for comfort:
 
7/10

Very comfortable apart from the usual mask problem of a slightly sweaty face.

Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

Not a bad price, and comparable to many reusable masks of lesser quality.

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Washed very easily and dried super fast.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Performed very well as an all-purpose filtration face mask.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Affordable, light and minimalist, good filtration (claims), comfortable, washable.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Some fogging of glasses, warm to wear.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

It's significantly less expensive than the more activity-focused Airpop Active Mask at £69.99, and the Respro Ultralight Mask at £46.99.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes. As much as you can enjoy using a mask.

Would you consider buying the product? Probably, particularly for urban jaunts where a mask is useful on and off the bike.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

A very light mask that allows for easy breathing but seems to offer good filtration. There are still some issues with glasses fogging but this mask is better than many for that, even when riding hard. It does still result in a slightly sweaty face, though.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 48  Height: 1.65m  Weight: 77kg

I usually ride: Liv Invite  My best bike is: Specialized Ruby Elite

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,

Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling. 

Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other. 

She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting. 

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