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Trend Air-Ace

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Darren D

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I was at the ITWE show on Saturday and one of the things high on my shopping list was a Trend Airshield. However the display model on the Trend stand was pretty tatty and the screen was slightly cloudy and scratched. It also wasn’t powered up and when I tried it on, I didn’t like it. I’ve seen lots of positive comments and I’m sure if I bought my own with a nice clean screen, fitted properly with cool flowing air I would have been happy. But at the time doubts crept in. and I decided to plump for an Air-Ace instead. The key selling features were the price (£29.50 + £12.50 for 5 spare filters) and the fact that the Trend rep said that it wouldn’t steam up my safety specs. Up until now I’ve been using cloth face masks and having the option of protecting my lungs or my eyes but not both at the same time.



Before I start the review, let’s take a moment to talk about shop safety. From what I’ve read in the Festool catalogue, the German’s use a letter system for rating their filters. “L class" is good for most dust but “M class" is better and recommended for fine wood dust. Most other extractors work in microns and a 5 micron filter is typical and a 0.3 or 0.5 micron fine filter is recommended for fine dust. The Air-Ace conforms to yet another standard "P2". From the instructions this sounds pretty impressive too (see image below). My guess is that M class and 0.5 micron and P2 are all similar but if anyone has a unified theory of filter standards, it would be interesting to know for sure. Also, how big is a speck of say MDF dust?


Sounds good! Is it me or could this have been wrtten clearer?

The AirAce itself seems a very well made piece of kit. The cover snaps on with a satisfying click and it feels like it will last a long while. The instructions though are pretty poor. They consist of a double sided sheet of paper covering 8 or so languages so there isn’t much there. I found it poorly written and it missed critical parts – eg. it doesn’t cover how to insert or change a filter (but there are instructions with the filter so that’s OK), it doesn’t say how to tell when a filter needs changing (the man from Trend said “when it gets brown and horrible”). It also lists various part numbers with expiration dates – eg. make sure you change part 1234 after 10 years, but there is no description or photo of part 1234. I'll think about that some more in 10 years time. It does say that the rubber membrane needs replacing after 2 years.



The first thing to do is test fit the mask. It comes with a little red cap that you put over the air inlet. Hold the mask to your face (but don’t use the straps) and try to breath in. If the mask tightens on your face and holds itself there, you’ve got a good fit. Take it off before you go blue. Now take the red cap off, install the filter and you’re ready to go. It fitted me fine and the mask is soft and flexible enough that I imagine it will fit pretty much anyone.

My job for Sunday was to cut out and install a bigger loft hatch – a nasty, dusty job and a good test for the filter. I intended to endurance test the mask by wearing it pretty much non stop but it was hot, hard work and after about an hour the mask started slipping so I took a tea break. Up until then though, the mask had performed a treat – surprisingly comfortable to wear and steam free goggles, yes it does work! Also, you can breathe normally, I somehow expected to have to breathe harder to suck the air through the filter but in actual use I didn’t notice it. I wore the mask for the rest of the day, even when I didn’t need to – it was comfortable enough that it didn’t seem worth the trouble of taking it off just to pop downstairs to pick up a tool or something. However, it doesn’t come with a straw attachment so you do need to remove it to drink tea. At the end of the day, my face wasn't marked and I hadn't sneezed - I'm slightly allergic to dust so this is a good sign the filter is doing its job. And the loft hatch was done so some brownie points there.


The filter after 1 days use (it was completely white originally)

I’m very happy with my buy. It does the job, it’s not uncomfortable or unwieldy and it doesn’t steam up my glasses. My wife thinks it looks stupid but I expected nothing less.


Stupid?

Darren
 

Adam

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Good review.

Darren":1pir6xd3 said:
My wife thinks it looks stupid but I expected nothing less.
No worse than mine I don't think. :oops:



Adam
 

Alf

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Darren,

Excellent stuff - thank you. I keep meaning to look into it myself, but always get put off by the Trend stand at every show I've been to - this is much better. :D

Cheers, Alf
 

Philly

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Adam
How do you fit a photographer in your shop while you're working? :wink:
Cheers
CheekyPhilly :lol:
 

Chris Knight

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Darren,
I'm glad you find it comfortable. I have one but found that the bridge of my nose got sore after a while. I prefer the 3M masks for comfort.
 

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