I've been using these super cheap, 10 in a pack for a couple pound ones, like you see Asians wearing on airplanes. Now that I have my disc and belt sander, the dust is much finer and it gets in my mask and lungs! What should I be using?
You need a proper half-face respirator - one with soft rubber/plastic edges that seals properly around your mouth and nose. I use one of the 3M maintenance-free respirators ("maintenance-free" because the filters aren't replaceable). Got it from Screwfix. They cost around £20 +pp; that may seem expensive, but they last quite a while and above all they WORK! Very effectively. Can get a little hot in the summer, but a lot less uncomfortable than a lung-full of MDF dust! You can get more expensive ones with replaceable filters, but they looked a bit bulky to me.
By the way, these have the added advantage that your safety glasses/goggles won't steam up, because when the mask is seated properly your exhaled breath doesn't escape upwards beside your nose, as it does with those useless 'Asian' jobies.
The other thing to consider - have you got a decent vacuum with a fine filter for connecting to the sanders to stop the dust getting air-borne in the first place?
I was using my sanders with the built-in dust box/filter and from the amount of dust my face mask was picking up they weren't doing a very good job, after getting them set-up to work with a vac with a fine filter the face mask is picking up a lot less dust.
Thanks! I'll get one of those masks from Screwfix, we have one in town.
Our vacuum cleaner is a Dyson, and the end of the hose is awkward shaped and doesn't fit onto the dust extraction thing on the sander. I only do it outside on our balcony, now that I've decided the vacuum just doesn't work with it (I was using it in the living room!! Bad, I know.)
3M stuff is really good. I have the 7500 series which takes replaceable filers. It's also very comfortable.
Axminster do stepped adaptors for connecting odd hoses so you could also try that, it's preferable to catch dust at the source