3rd Party Reviews on Totobobo Mask

It is important to study a product carefully before buying it, one of the most important things to take note of are the comments made by other consumers who have purchased the same product. To save you the trouble, we have done up a compilation of the different reviews we have gotten over the years from external sources, therefore they are trustworthy and not made up by us!

(Tips: click on the images below to jump to the sources)

Via News

Totobobo mask on Wall Street Journal

Debra Bruno, a freelance journalist and a jogger in Beijing explains her choice of Totobobo mask to the Wall Street Journal during an interview

“This filter was white when I started and it got this nasty grey after only 10km.” Chas Pope – Marathon runner

“The filters show up an astonishing amount of dirt after just a few cycles, which really hits home how dirty the air we breathe in is. It’s easy to attach and I can move my face when wearing it – a bonus.”

“Tipping the scales at 20g, Totobobo is the lightest reusable respiratory mask on the market. “

“The white filter pads make it easy – and incredibly satisfying – to monitor the particulates that have been caught  “



“There was a visible change in the colour of the filters, and I was more aware of the visible dust being kicked up by trucks and was grateful I wasn’t inhaling this. I suffer from hay fever and could imagine the mask would be a huge benefit in reducing the symptoms. “Chris Lima, a member of IoD Oxfordshire

via avid traveller:

“We have started using our Totobobo masks, and changed the filters for the first time after 7 days of usage in Malaysia, plagued by the haze coming from Indonesia. So far we are satisfied, it works well and the filters are getting grey as expected!” Davide Vadalà and Oti from Nomad Travellers

“it is a well-designed, super lightweight mask that allows me to freely breathe as I wheel around town.” Sahn

via cyclist:

“Totobobo mask has a good feature where you can customize the mask (and the ear loop) by reshaping it with hot water / hair dryer. This is a very crucial feature, a mask that do not fit your face is not an effective mask at all.”

“Given how dirty the pads get, I can only assume this mask is blocking out plenty of pollution. The mask itself is soft and doesn’t rub, even when sweaty.”

via Runner:


“Totobobo mask is also comfortable to wear and easy to breathe with. So it is commonly used by cyclists, motorcyclists and artists when navigating around in polluted environments.” Pris Chew, runner blogger

via artist:

via health sites:

“Aside from an amazing name, this mask is interesting for its design – it gets moulded to your face (using warm water) for a good fit, and when worn, is transparent where it’s in contact with your skin, and translucent otherwise. This means that you can just stand in front of the mirror and ensure that you’ve gotten a good seal on the mask.”

Clean Living Blog

“In other masks, there is no way to find out if it is tightly fitted on the face. Totobobo has solved this problem using an innovative ‘water-mark’ technique in which the frosted surface of the mask becomes transparent where there is good skin contact and remains translucent where there is a leakage.”

“the mask itself is more environmentally friendly. You only throw the filters away – not the entire mask. “

“This is the only mask I’ve been able to get used to. “

“As soon as I take it off, I’m aware of how much pastel is on and around me by just breathing (it’s scary to think I was breathing all that dust before!)”

More related links:

3 months air pollution captured on Totobobo filters & cost of air pollution (World Bank)

Totobobo filter lungs

“Totobobo filter lungs” showing air pollution captured in 3 months of cycling and taking Underground.

“Whatever is on the filters, glad that stuff is not in my lungs!”
John from London, U.K.

John sent us his used filters after 3 months of using Totobobo mask for cycling and taking the Underground in London. He was shocked to see the dirty filters, much in the same way as Claire’s account of her experience of using our mask. At an individual level, increased level of fine particles, or PM2.5, was found to be responsible for triggering heart attack and respiratory diseases.

In hindsight, both John and Claire were smart to do something to reduce their exposure to air pollution. A recent study, jointly conducted by the World Bank and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, estimated that 5.5. million lives were lost in 2013 to diseases associated with outdoor and household air pollution, which has emerged as the deadliest form of pollution and the fourth leading risk factor for premature deaths worldwide. While pollution-related deaths mainly strike young children and the elderly, these deaths also result in lost labor income for working-age men and women. The cost to the economy is substantial. Through the lens of “welfare losses” across age groups, the aggregate cost of premature deaths was more than US$5 trillion worldwide in 2013.

The infographic below is from the World Bank site. It shows the substantial burden of air pollution, strengthening the economic case for action. As you read the infographic, think about what will you do to reduce air pollution.

Air pollution costs money and lives, World Bank and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

Air pollution costs money lives, World Bank and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (image credit: World Bank)

How is it possible to filter out sub-micron particles?

This question is repeatedly asked:

How is it possible for Totobobo filters to filter out sub-micron particles?

This is an important question because sub-micron particles ( eg.PM2.5 ) contained in polluted air is the major health concern. The secret of Totobobo filters is the high intensity static charges on each fiber which made up the filter matrix. When you breathe in, airborne particles follow the air and pass through the filter matrix. Fine particles are very susceptive to the static charges and therefore most of them eventually are attracted onto the filter fibers. In fact, Nelson Lab test shows Totobobo F96 filter is able to cut down 99.86% of 0.1 microns particles. Under a microscope it shows how small particles are attached to the filter fibers.


Fig. 1  Fine particles, size range from tenths of microns down to 0.1 microns are attracted to the fibers as they pass through the complex matrix of the Totobobo filter.


Fig. 2 100X magnification view of a needle (0.6mm thickness) and filter fiber.

Totobobo filter with a needle of 0.6mm thickness

Fig. 3    Totobobo filter with a needle of 0.6mm thickness


Quoted from the NIOSH Science Blog below:

N95 Respirators and Surgical Masks

How do filters collect particles?

These capture, or filtration mechanisms is described as follows:

Diagram illustrating the filtration mechanisms of inertial impaction, interception, diffusion, and electrostatic attraction. In each case, fibers are shown filtering particles.

  • Inertial impaction: With this mechanism, particles having too much inertia due to size or mass cannot follow the airstream as it is diverted around a filter fiber. This mechanism is responsible for collecting larger particles.
  • Interception: As particles pass close to a filter fiber, they may be intercepted by the fiber. Again, this mechanism is responsible for collecting larger particles.
  • Diffusion: Small particles are constantly bombarded by air molecules, which cause them to deviate from the airstream and come into contact with a filter fiber. This mechanism is responsible for collecting smaller particles.
  • Electrostatic attraction: Oppositely charged particles are attracted to a charged fiber. This collection mechanism does not favor a certain particle size.

In all cases, once a particle comes into contact with a filter fiber, it is removed from the airstream and strongly held by molecular attractive forces. It is very difficult for such particles to be removed once they are collected. As seen in Figure 2, there is a particle size at which none of the “mechanical” collection mechanisms (interception, impaction, or diffusion) is particularly effective. This “most penetrating particle size” (MPPS) marks the best point at which to measure filter performance. If the filter demonstrates a high level of performance at the MPPS, then particles both smaller AND larger will be collected with even higher performance.

This is perhaps the most misunderstood aspect of filter performance and bears repeating. Filters do NOT act as sieves. One of the best tests of a filter’s performance involves measuring particle collection at its most penetrating particle size, which ensures better performance for larger and smaller particles. Further, the filter’s collection efficiency is a function of the size of the particles, and is not dependent on whether they are bio aerosols or inert particles.

Graph showing a filter's efficiency on the Y-axis and particle diameter in microns along the X-axis. Efficiency falls in the 'Diffusion and Interception Regime'.

How long does the Totobobo filter last?

How long does Totobobo filter last?

This is a frequently asked question, but there is no standard answer.

The short answer:

Change the filters when the color of the filters changed to 50% grey as shown in the filter package, or

Change the filters after 2 weeks of starting using it, even if the color has not changed so much.

The long answer:

The effective duration of the filter depends on environmental factors and usage patterns. For example:

– Where is the filter being used? Outdoors or indoors?

– Is the air pollution level very high (* footnote) when you use the filter?

– Are you using it all day long, or just during your commute?

– Are you using it for exercising, such as running or cycling, or while you are driving?

– Are you using it for hobbies? such as wood turning?

– Is the user a big man, or a small child?

All these factors affect the effective duration of the filters. If you are a big guy use the filter mask outdoors for exercise, your filters will last a lot shorter than a small boy using the same filter doing deskwork.

Since it is not possible to give an accurate answer for the effective time duration, we suggest the following, for your protection:

1) Change the filters when they change from pure white to 50% grey (as shown in the filter package).

2) Maximum usage duration is 2 weeks, even if they have not reached the 50% grey.

You may ask, why 50% grey and not 40% or 60%? And why 2 weeks, not 4 weeks?

To be honest, we are also not sure! But we’ve done tests and we feel comfortable with the above recommendation, knowing that the filters are still sufficiently effective at 50% grey and after 2 weeks since first use.

Used filter test experiment

Below is an experiment to find out the remaining effectiveness of a pair of filters after two weeks of use, after accumulating enough pollutant to turn it into a 50% grey.

50% grey filter matching the color on the filter package

50% grey filter matching thecolourr on the filter package

Filter preparation:

1) Attach a pair of filters to a box fan, drawing air continuously through the filters until it changes to 50% grey (matching the picture on the filter package).

2) Insert the filter to a Totobobo mask, and ensure the watermark seal check shows the mask fits well on the user’s face.

Respirator test with 50% gray filters:

We then conduct an NIOSH standard fit test for N95 mask.

Test setup with TSI PortaCount Pro 8083 respirator fit tester

Test setup with TSI PortaCount Pro 8083 respirator fit tester

Filter Test result:

The test result is a marginal pass (Fit-factor = 100) for NIOSH N95 standard. Converting this result to filtration efficiency as following:

Filtration Efficiency = (1- 1/Fit-factor)% = (1- 1/100)% = 99%

This is not as impressive as a new pair of filters which is usually able to achieve a Fit-factor of 130+ , but it still provides sufficient protection for pollutant protection purposes.

Test result, Fit-Factor = 100

Test result, Fit-factor = 100

footnote: (source: Wikipedia: Particulates)
The IARC and WHO designate airborne particulates a Group 1 carcinogen. Particulates are the deadliest form of air pollution due to their ability to penetrate deep into the lungs and blood streams unfiltered, causing permanent DNA mutations, heart attacks, and premature death. In 2013, a study involving 312,944 people in nine European countries revealed that there was no safe level of particulates and that for every increase of 10 μg/m3 in PM10, the lung cancer rate rose 22%. The smaller PM2.5 were particularly deadly, with a 36% increase in lung cancer per 10 μg/m3 as it can penetrate deeper into the lungs.


More information:

Official F96 filter test report by Nelson Laboratory

Official DAMPEN F96 filter test report by Nelson Laboratory