Respirator Resource Center

Respirator Resource Center

Proper respiratory protection equipment can protect your health while working with hazardous materials.

Here you'll find tips and tools to help you choose, use, and care for your respirators, plus keep your crew safe.

3 Key Steps to Choosing Respiratory Protection

Gemplers N95 Respirator 3M half mask respirator Man by a sprayer wearing safety equipment
Step 1: Know Your Hazard

What do you need protection from?Paying attention to material labels is key to staying safe. Common hazards like dust, mold, paint, and pesticides have unique PPE requirements. Labels include NIOSH recommendations to keep you safe.

Step 2: Pick Your Protection

Respirator filters come in different types and brands.The right one for you depends on whether you'll do this job often (reusable) or once in a while (disposable), and what respirator equipment you already have (check compatibility).

Step 3: Choose Your Respirator

Pick disposable, reusable, or air-powered respirator equipment.Disposable respirators, full and half mask respirators and air-powered supply units are all available at Gemplers. Check what combination you need to stay safe on the job. And don't forget to fit test your respirator!

Types of Respirators

Disposable Respirators


Disposable respirators are suitable for protection from particles like dust, pollen, mists, welding fumes, and certain pesticides in solid form. Disposable respirators are great for working outside, in the shop, and on the job. Gemplers carries several top brands, including 3M, Honeywell, Moldex, and Gemplers.

Shop Disposable Respirators

Half-Mask Respirators


Half-Mask respirators are reusable and offer longevity and flexibility for use with replaceable cartridges and filters to keep you safe from different contaminants. Ideal for working with pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides. Shop top brands including Moldex, Honeywell, and 3M.

Shop Half-Mask Respirators

Full-Mask Respirators


Full-mask respirators are also reusable and offer the same longevity as half-mask respirators but offer skin and eye coverage of the face when irritants or contaminants require it. Full-face respiratory protection is ideal when spraying harmful chemicals or working with contaminants that you don't want to touch your skin. Shop top brands, including 3m, Moldex, and Honeywell.

Shop Full-Mask Respirators

Do I need a respirator filter, cartridge, or both?

The answer depends on the hazard from which you need protection, see below.

  • Particulate filters: filter only aerosols - dust, mist, fumes, smoke, mold, bacteria, etc. Some filters also have nuisance-level gas and vapor capabilities.
  • Gas & vapor cartridges: filter only gases and vapors. There are different kinds of cartridges for different kinds of gases and vapors, and filters are specific to the brand of respirator you have. For example, if you have a 3M respirator, you will need 3M filters or cartridges. If you have a Moldex respirator, you will need Moldex filters or cartridges.
  • Combination cartridges/filters: filters particles, gases, and vapors. Different combination particulate/cartridge filters are used depending on the gas or vapor present in the air. You may also hear the combination referred to as using a cartridge with a particulate "pre-filter".

Why Respirators Matter

Your respiratory health matters. Proper respiratory PPE can help prevent common health issues among professionals who work with hazardous materials, including:

  • Farmers: The three main respiratory illnesses associated with production agriculture are farmer’s lung, silo filler’s disease, and organic dust toxicity syndrome (Source: Ag Safety and Health eXtension Community of Practice (CoP)).
  • Construction workers: Construction workers have been shown to have a significantly elevated risk of lung cancer due to work with silica dust and exposure to asbestos and other hazardous materials. (Source: NIOSH)
  • Landscape professionals: Silica dust, pesticides, herbicides, and other hazards put landscape professionals at risk for respiratory health issues.

How to Choose a Respirator

man wearing a half mask respirator N95 mask filters respirator cartridges

Types of Respirators and Uses

Need to know how to tell one respirator from another, understand the differences in applications, and choose one that's right for you? The article below will help you with just that.

Choosing a Filter

When choosing protection from particles like dust, pollen, and mists, you will need the right respirator filter. Learn how to choose the right one with this helpful guide.

Choosing a Cartridge

Choosing the right Cartridge, filter, or combination is critical in making sure you are protected. Get insights on choosing the right cartridge or combination below.

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Selecting the right respirator or cartridge

Picking the right protection can be confusing, but we can help. In this educational video, learn how to select the right respirator cartridge for protection from hazardous gases and vapors or a combination of gases and vapors and particles.

How to Use a Respirator

man wearing particulate respirator working in a wood shop man wearing half mask respirator and coveralls man putting on a half mask respirator

Proper Use of Particulate Respirators

Learn how to use a particulate respirator for on the job protection from small particles in the air, such as dust, mist, pollen, and certain low toxicity pesticides.

Proper Use of Dual-Cartridge Respirators

Learn how to use a dual-cartridge respirator for protection from particles like dusts or mists, gases and vapors, or a combination depending on which cartridge and filter combination you use.

Don and Fit-Checking Dual-Cartridge Respirators

Safety can only happen if your PPE fits correctly. Learn how to don and fit check a half mask and full face reusable respirator with dual cartridges to make sure the respirator is working effectively.

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How to Care for Your Respirator

respirator on counter respirator storage bag close up of a respirator

How to Properly Care for Respirators

Take care of your respirator, and it will take care of you! Learn about proper storage, cleaning, and other tips from the article below.

How to Clean and Store Your Dual-Cartridge Respirator

Make sure your respirator lasts a long time and performs as it is designed by taking care to store and clean it properly. The video below will show you how.

How to Attach Respirator Cartridges

Making sure you properly attach cartridges to your respirator is important so that you stay safe on the job. The video below shows you how.

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Shop respirators from Gemplers. If you have questions about a respirator or need help, please contact us at or call 1-800-382-8473.