Masks with valve, better or worse?

You may have noticed (if you don't have one yourself) that many people wear masks, either cloth or PPE, which include a plastic element attached to the front or side. This is not a filter, but an exhalation valve, a very popular accessory among users. However, what exactly is it for? Do you really need a mask with a valve? What does it mean in terms of the coronavirus? We explain it to you.


Exhalation valves are a device designed to make the work of workers exposed to high temperatures in environments loaded with dust or toxic particles more bearable.

As we have all seen during this pandemic, breathing while wearing a mask generates a lot of heat and humidity inside, which can be extremely uncomfortable - imagine having to wear one while working outdoors in June! The exhalation valve allows more air to be expelled, reducing the temperature inside the mask and the feeling of dampness. When we breathe in, the valve closes, ensuring that the air is filtered correctly.

The advantages of the valves make them particularly useful for outdoor sportspeople. Exercising with a mask can cause an extra feeling of suffocation and shortness of breath that the valve can alleviate. Similarly, allergy sufferers and asthmatics can protect themselves from pollen and other harmful particles while overcoming the above-mentioned drawbacks.


You should be very careful when buying masks, especially if you know that you or a loved one is sick with COVID-19 or is infected but has no symptoms. If one of the above two cases fits yours, don't buy masks with an exhalation valve!

As mentioned, when the user exhales, the valve opens to allow more air to escape from the mask. That air that comes out is not filtered by the mask, so if the user is infected with coronavirus, he could infect the people around him. This applies to any type of mask, whether hygienic or IPE.

If you are buying a mask for someone who is sick or asymptomatic, follow the health recommendations and buy surgical masks or, if you prefer, FFP without a valve.