Currently I'm using conventional blue mask. But there are masks with exhale valve (there are mostly FFP2 ones and they're cheaper, I'm considering to buy one, for COVID protection). I didn't try such and it's hard to find information about this aspect on the Internet.

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    I have several real N95 masks, because I didn't throw them away after doing grinding and sanding for paint prep. Doctors don't want em when they're covered in lead paint dust :) This is an active physical activity and much of the work was on ladders or otherwise in stress positions. Real N95s seal well and are harder to breathe through. As such, the "hard to breathe" argument is not believable to me. You may "feel" unaccustomed to breathing through them, but rest assured, you can. Nov 8, 2020 at 2:50

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Masks with exhalation valves are meant to be used to protect against particulates like sawdust or smoke. They must not be used in a pandemic because a large part of the usefulness of masks is preventing people who are infected and don't know it from spreading the virus. If you have an exhalation valve on your mask you're exposing everyone around you.

Public health guidelines would suggest you continue to use a surgical mask and do not advise using masks with exhalation valves.

  • It is permissible to use a mask with an exhale valve if you also put a surgical mask on top of it. However double-masking would presumably defeat OP's purpose. Nov 8, 2020 at 2:54

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