As the owner of a painting company, I have to be aware of dust protection for me and my crew. We use a variety of solvents, paints, and do a lot of sanding—so protecting our lungs is a serious matter in my world. The crew and I have full-size cartridge respirators for when we are spraying primers and paint in the interiors of new-construction homes, but have been without a good solution for sanding and millwork prep. Usually we have some paper throwaways on site, but they don’t get worn much because they really don’t do much. So when I saw the Elipse “half-mask” respirator recently, I was instantly intrigued.

Giovanni Gori

The first thing that I noticed was the company name: GVS. I’m familiar with most respirators sold at paint and hardware stores, typically dominated by 3M, but this was a company that I had not yet come across. I’ve since learned that they have been in Europe for years, and in 2011 achieved NIOSH ratings. I tried out the GVS elipse for the first time recently—not sanding wood filler in nail holes or paint, but at my own house cutting cement board with an angle grinder for a tiled tub surround.

Right away, I was impressed. It’s super lightweight and has a very comfortable fit, which will lend itself well to wearing for extended amounts of time. The low profile of the filters was great for looking down and being able to see what I was working on. As I was working and looking around, it occurred to me that it is basically the size of a paper mask with much more filtration.

The mask kept out all odor and dust from cement board as I cut at high rpms, so I am confident it will work great while hand-sanding millwork in homes. It comes with a storage bag, which is convenient, so you can keep dust out of the inside of the mask when it’s not in use. The price (approx. $25) is fair enough that I can provide them to my employees. The one design feature that I would like to see added would be a latch system in the head band elastic. Having such a system would provide a way to drop down the respirator to hang around your neck, to easily pull up and strap again. This way you wouldn’t have to fully remove it and find a clean place to set it down between tasks—which is currently the case. Replacement filters run about $10 for a two-pack.