Protector Respirator - Absurd packaging and no instructions

I have been smoked in for 3 of the last 4 weeks and confined to the house unable to work outside due to asthma. There are so many fires around that wind from almost direction fills my valley and waiting for rain seems a forlorn hope. I decided that to keep my garden alive I needed a smoke mask. Some research reveals that a half-face mask with P2 (particulates) filter will deal with bushfire smoke. So it’s off to Bunnings.

I bought a Protector Twin Filter Respirator and a pair of P2 filters, all in the usual heat-sealed clear plastic packets that require a sharp blade to penetrate. Reading the card through the packet says nothing about fitting the mask. Obviously the mask has to fit properly or it is not useful and equally obviously not everybody has the same sized face. I am a small/medium sort of person so I bought size small/medium.

Getting it home and assembling the system I adjusted the stretchy straps that hold the mask on and found that my face is not small/medium, there is no tension that works as the mask will not fit over my nose and mouth. There is an information sheet inside the pack that talks obliquely about making sure the mask fits. It gives no guidance about how to select the right size but simply says if you cannot get it to fit to adjust the straps or get another size. No details are provided about where the mask goes on the face or what a good fit consists of other than it should not leak. Obviously (again) as well as not leaking the mask must be comfortable, if it isn’t you cannot work in it. This is safety equipment not a fashion accessory.

The Protector brand is said on the packet to be sold by “Scott Safety a Tyco business”. The web page provided immediately redirects to 3M. So I have no idea who makes it although it appears 3M may be the ultimate owner. The model in question RQ2000MR is not on the web site I was redirected to so I can find no further instructions.

So as it is you can get no clue about what size you need until you open the sealed pack and then it isn’t much. The only way to get a mask to fit is to guess correctly what size you are or to buy all the sizes and try them one by one.

This combination of sealed packaging and no instructions is not acceptable for any product more complex than a T shirt much less safety equipment. I can complain to Bunnings and probably get my money back but that doesn’t get me a functional mask. Bunnies is a 50 minutes drive. What is the bet that if I ask to try on a larger size I will be refused as this involves breaking the adult-proof packaging?


I will drop my usual cynicism and suggest that under the circumstances they may be more accommodating than usual. There are times when the community does pull together. Why not ring them, explain the situation and at least save yourself the 50 minutes drive if they refuse?

All it costs Bunnings is to have one of each size open and available for trying on but the opened ones not available for sale. Unfortunately you didn’t say how much one of these costs, so I don’t know whether that is reasonable.

#$%^ no.

I don’t know where you are but the internet says that averaged over the last 24 hours the air in Armidale (worst in NSW) is equivalent to smoking 69 cigarettes simultaneously! That aint good for anyone.


As long as you have the receipt, Bunnings will refund or exchange the respirator.

Ask the staff to try it on then and there to see if it will fit. SOME staff are very accommodating, and as @person said, hopefully in these current circumstances they are even more understanding.



I don’t know in ciggies per day but visibility is about 200-250m

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Unless it is from a knowledgeable source, rather than ‘the internet’, I’m inclined not to believe it. I remember reading that smoking about a dozen death sticks at once was enough to kill you… or maybe I missed the news report that everyone in Armidale has died from the smoke? :astonished:

I guess that the lack of nicotine in the bushfire smoke may be a factor, although there may be other substances in the air from the Ebor fire (if you know the reason it was lit)!

If you want to know the air quality in Armidale, where there are a number of monitors due to high winter wood fire pollution levels, and a few other places scattered around the country, check this site out:

2.5 micron particles seem to be the topic of concern these days, but there are an awful lot more smaller particles down to 0.3microns- over 35000/dl as the thick smoke arrived last night on the easterly wind.

I watch the Himawari 8 satellite image animations each day to get an idea of then the smoke might clear, or when thick clouds of it are heading right for me. Today is another stay inside and don’t go cycling day, there have been quite a few lately.

Re masks, I’ve been looking around and might go for a full face mask if I can find a suitable unit at a sensible price, but in the meantime have been using a damp bandana over my nose and mouth. Wetting it makes it function significantly better. Even with that, it is rather unpleasant outside, gloomy yellow light, smoke everywhere with occasional added dust.


Fair 'nuff. The actual data that I used in µg/m3 for PM2.5 comes from the NSW Department of the Environment, Air Quality Index (AQI) monitoring data. Is that acceptable?

:smile: Yes, I do.


We find the cheaper disposable masks effective after you master moulding the nose piece to suit. Providing that when you breath in the mask pulls in to your face you have an effective fit for P2 or P3. I buy a bulk pack once a year of the higher standard P3.

The more expensive replaceable filter masks are better but make me sweat even more and require cleaning each use.

There are much better options than the face masks offered by Bunnings. While you may not need them or see the value it may be worth a future visit to a professional safety equipment supplier. These sell every thing from the cheap disposables to full face masks used in hazardous chemical environments. The staff are more likely to be able to assist you with getting a product with an effective fit and within your budget/needs.


No doubt their staff and product range would be better but the drive there is even longer and all I want is something simple - assuming of course that heavy smoke pollution will not become a permanent way
of life. Getting to a specialist for everything you need isn’t always practical outside the big smoke.

The staff at Bunnies would have a hard time knowing all about their products given the huge range they stock, I am mainly cranky with the manufacturer for making this harder than it need be. What would be wrong with packing the mask in a twist-tied plastic bag so you can take it out, read the instructions (such as they are) and try it on.


An option for the replaceable filters is to get little pre filters that go over the filters and take out much of the larger particulates thus saving the more expensive filters need to be replaced as often.

Perhaps worthwhile reads on filter requirements eg when & where what is used:

The RSEA link may provide the best selection of products to perhaps meet your needs @syncretic. You could also ask if they wouldn’t mind sending you a sample or two of ones that interest you.

Their disposable range is fairly extensive:


I bought a mask/filters from Amazon AU (though it ended up coming from the US.). I have not been smoked in, so to speak, but the smoke in the air had affected me.

buying when you cant get a size first up is difficult but I decided to give it a whirl. Turns out that it fits just fine, the strap across the back of your head is adjustable and the ear loops just sit over your ears. It comes with spare filters. The two vents are exhalation vents so you dont CO2 yourself.


I suspect the reason there are no masks available to try before you buy is the health issue of bacterial or viral contamination by a previous tester. Mask suppliers should provide a template of the mask edge that can be put up against your face to try for size. That would be much less of a health issue.


I didnt want to try, but, for example, like with CPAP masks, they measure from various points on a standard face to various other points and when you measure your own, you can make a decision about size. The one I bought is just slightly too small when in use (when I tried it on first, it seemed good), I must have a long face (altho in CPAP masks I usually take a small or medium). Oh well, lesson learnt.


Possibly, although IIRC another brand that was not what I wanted was not in a sealed packet. Even so they need to provide some way to know if the thing will fit, templates would be a good start. Even measurements would be better than nothing, the distance from (say) the tip of your nose to the tip of your chin would give some idea if the thing would go over the lower half of your face.


For any readers thinking they could get by with a more generic type of face mask