5 Best Firefighter Particulate Hoods (2020) – for Firemen & Welders

About the Author: Hi, I’m Chris I run this website! This information is stated as personal opinion for our circumstances and does not constitute advice, professional or otherwise, to you and your circumstances, or guarantee quality or fit for purpose of the following products. By visiting and using this website, you accept and agree to be bound by our Disclaimer along with our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy posted on the website. As an Amazon associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Our top Pick:
Innotex Gray Fire Resistant & Particulate Hood


This is a comfortable well fitted hood designed to protect firefighters from sparks. But it also keeps out carcinogens from smoke – so it’s great for firefighters.

Some welders might not need the particulate layer, so they might choose to go for a cheaper fabric design such as in the National Safety Apparel Flame Resistant Balaclava.

Popping sparks and rogue embers can get in under a helmet and cause severe discomfort. When an ember catches in under your clothes, it can be a real nightmare. A hood under the helmet helps to minimize this danger.

Whether you’re a firefighter or welder, an undergarment hood can be an easy solution.

But firefighters might need the additional features of a ‘particulate hood’ – a hood designed to keep out common carcinogens that are in the smoky air of a fire ground.

The following review represents a sample of firefighter hoods based on our personal research. We cannot offer personalized professional advice, so seeking professional advice for your situation is important.

In our opinion, the best firefighter hoods are:

  1. Innotex Gray Hood – Best Particulate Hood for Firefighters
  2. GORE Particulate Hood GEN 2
  3. Caterpillar Flame Resistant Balaclava
  4. National Safety Apparel Flame Resistant Balaclava – Best for Welders
  5. Magid Glove & Safety Balaclava

Best Hoods for Firefighters and Welders

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Best Fire Resistant Hoods

Quick Review

Our Rating

1. Innotex Gray Hood In our opinion, this is the best particulate hood for firefighters. We think this hood provides a high-quality layer that can keep out both embers and smoke carcinogens. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)

9/10

2. GORE Particulate GEN 2 – White This is a high quality particulate hood for firefighting from the top brand in this space. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)

9/10

3. Caterpillar Flame Resistant Balaclava This balaclava has a wool blend hood with decent fire resistant properties. It does not have a particulate layer, so may not be the best for some firefighters. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)

8/10

4. National Safety Apparel Flame Resistant Balaclava In our opinion this is the best hood for welders. We like that this hood has a long drape to protect the neck and a thin, comfortable cotton feel. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)

8/10

5. Magid Glove & Safety Balaclava This is a thin hood meaning it may not generate as much internal heat as others. It covers the forehead well and covers the neck, but doesn’t form a drape over the chest area as well as others. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)

7/10

1. Innotex Gray Hood – Best for Firefighters

Quick Review: In our opinion, this is the best particulate hood for firefighters. We think this hood provides a high-quality layer that can keep out both embers and smoke carcinogens.


The Innotex Gray Hood is designed specifically as a particulate hood for firefighters to fit under a helmet. It act as both a FR layer over vulnerable skin and particulate shield. The fabric is designed keep out carcinogen particulates as little as 0.1 microns thick. The hood’s particulate layer is tested for up to 100 washes.

The focus on keeping out carcinogens makes this one a class above many other models that are primarily designed for welders, not firefighters.

The true independent test of quality, though, is how well the fabric meets NFPA standards. This model adheres to NFPA 1971:2018 standard for fire resistant materials.

Above and beyond its ‘specifications’ is the design and fit. The hood’s long drape over the shoulders again places it a class above many competitors whose drapes stop at the base of the neck. Overall, this is one of the more impressive firefighter hoods on the market today.

Why This One

Keep in Mind

Designed Specifically for Firefighters: This one’s designed to protect firefighters from both burning embers and carcinogenic smoke particles.

Light and Breathable: While it helps keep out carcinogens, it’s still designed to breathe to keep you cool.

Long Drape: The long drape can protects users from getting embers down between their shirt and skin.

Overkill for Welders: Welders often don’t need a particulate layer, which adds to the overall cost.

2. GORE Particulate Hood GEN 2

Quick Review: This is a high quality particulate hood for firefighting from the top brand in this space.


This GORE hood is one of the best firefighter particulate hoods on the market today. Many firefighters prefer particulate models, but it might be slight overkill for welders. It’s one of the few hoods on the market that are NFPA-1971 compliant, which is a higher standard than the other NFPA complance measures.

It’s designed by GORE – the same company that brings you GoreTex. This brand is the industry leader in particulate, waterproof and breathable fabrics. Here, they have produced a nice breathable fire-resistant fabric designed especially for firefighters. The long bib is also significantly better than many others on the market, making this one of our top picks. The one downside is the price point, which is higher due to the quality of the product.

Why This One

Keep in Mind

Top Brand: GORE is one of the best specialist brands for fine fabrics. This is the same brand that brings you GoreTex breathable waterproof fabrics.

Particulate Qualities: Designed to minimize the number of particulates that pass through the material.

Long Bib: The bib is longer than many competitors.

Price Point: Expect to pay more for a top brand and high NFPA 1971 compliance.

3. Caterpillar Flame Resistant Balaclava

Quick Review: This balaclava has a wool blend hood with decent fire resistant properties. It does not have a particulate layer, so may not be the best for some firefighters.


The sheer comfort of this hood is down to the use of Merino Jersey (55%) and Wool 33% in its construction. This gives it a very soft feel. But over and above this is the significantly higher fire resistant rating to many other hoods. This one is one of the few that is both NFPA 2112 and 70E compliant (see official product description via the above link for details).

The neck guard comes down to the collar, but not much farther – but we think the National Safety Apparel Flame Resistant Balaclava (also reviewed in this piece) has a longer collar and big. Overall though, the length of this one is sufficient for our needs to keep the neck protected from many sparks.

People who are irritated by wool on their skin might prefer to go with another option.

Why This One

Keep in Mind

Comfort: The finely woven wool blend fabric would be soft and smooth on the skin.

Strong Compliance to several NFPA standards: This is one of few balaclavas that adheres to both NFPA 70E and NFPA 2112.

Neck Protection isn’t the Longest: While the neck protection does cover the neck, it doesn’t spill down as a bib over the chest like some others.

Wool may be an Irritant: While it feels smooth and soft, people irritated by wool might prefer to go with a cotton  / nylon blend instead.

Not a Particulate Hood: While designed to be spark resistant, this model does not have a particulate that’s desirable for firefighters.

4. National Safety Apparel Flame Resistant Balaclava – Best for Welders

Quick Review: In our opinion this is the best hood for welders. We like that this hood has a long drape to protect the neck and a thin, comfortable cotton feel.


National Safety Apparel has a range of flame resistant balaclavas sorted by fabric thickness. The one linked above is the thinnest in their range, but you can easily toggle between thicknesses in the Amazon sales page – just scroll down to the product comparison section. We chose the thinnest because we don’t like hoods that add to the heat under all your outerwear gear. Instead, our preference is for a thin layer whose main purpose is to keep sparks from getting between clothing and skin.

Across their whole “FR” range, the National Safety Apparel undergarment hoods offer compliance with the major NFPA categories for flame resistant materials. These include the  ASTM F1506-10a, OSHA 29CFR, and NFPA 70E-2015 tests.

Overall we’re impressed by this garment. It’s a one-size-fits-all, lightweight and soft hood with a nice neck length to protect sparks from getting down between your collar and skin.

Why This One

Keep in Mind

Comfortable Cotton Blend: It’s 88% cotton, 12% nylon, giving it a blend of comfort and stretch.

Meets NFPA 70E and NFPA 2112 Tests: This model meets several common NFPA test for flame and spark resistant materials.

Long Neck: The neck is one of the longest when compared to others in this category.

One Size fits Most: The fabric stretches to fit most head sizes.

May be too Thin: Some people may find the fabric of the option we selected too thin. You can toggle through their range on the Amazon product page to select thicker fabrics.

Not a Particulate Hood: While designed to be spark resistant, this model does not have a particulate that’s desirable for many firefighters.

5. Magid Glove & Safety Balaclava

Quick Review: This is a thin hood meaning it may not generate as much internal heat as others. It covers the forehead well and covers the neck, but doesn’t form a drape over the chest area as well as others.


Magid has released a range of thin fabric balaclavas designed to be ATSM F1506 compliant. This is the minimum standard required for a fabric to be considered flame resistant. The fabric on these products is thin as it’s designed to protect users from flames and sparks, but not designed to keep them warm. This, of course, shouldn’t be a problem for many firefighters who will be working under hot turnout gear in hot conditions.

This version from Magid hugs over the forehead and chin tightly to minimize exposure of the face. It’s one size fits most as it stretches significantly to fit the figure. Taller men might find the neck cover reaches the base of the neck, but doesn’t come down over the chest to act as a bib like some others on this list.

Why This One

Keep in Mind

Protects the Forehead: The hood comes down over the forehead significantly, giving additional face protection.

Thin Fabric: When working with hot objects, many people may want a thin fabric that doesn’t make them too hot.

One Size fits Most: The fabric stretches to fit most head sizes.

Neck not the Longest: The neck protection is good, but it doesn’t spill down over the chest like some others.

Not a Particulate Hood: While designed to be spark resistant, this model does not have a particulate that’s desirable for many firefighters.

What we Look for in a Firefighter Particulate Hood

NFPA 2112 & NFPA 70E Compliance

These are the two common standards for fire resistant materials that apply to hood undergarments. NFPA 70E is a lower standard to meet, and focuses more on electrical arc flashes and sparks. It’s commonly used for electricians and other people operating, constructing, maintaining or disposing of electrical appliances.

NFPA 2112 applies to sudden chemical flash fires in industrial settings. The test is designed to check how well the garment helps to minimize second and third degree burns to the skin.

It’s important to note that neither is specifically recommended for technical rescue or firefighting operations. So, these garments are supplemental garments and not to be relied upon as a primary source of fire protection. Always follow the rules and recommendations set out by your fire chief or fire authority on what garments you should be wearing for your specific circumstances.

Particulate Material

Carcinogenic particles in smoke can be absorbed by the skin and serious cause health problems. So, many firefighters seek a specific particulate hood designed to prevent many small dangerous carcinogenic particles from passing through the material.

Most particulate hoods are designed keep out up to 99% of carcinogen particulates as little as 0.1 microns thick. You’ll need to check the particular garment you purchase to see exactly how effective it is as a particulate shield.

In our estimation, the best particulate firefighter hood is the Innotex Gray Hood, but we’re also big fans of the GORE particulate hood GEN 2.

Many welders or electrical workers might decide that they don’t need the extra particulate protection. If you don’t need it, you can save some money by buying a model that doesn’t have the particulate protection. Again, always check the specific requirements of your worksite before making a decisions.

Neck and Drape

Your hood needs to not only cover your face, but also your neck. The neck is a particularly vulnerable area. On top of this, it’s not uncommon that rogue embers get in under your collar. So we prefer a neck drape that comes well down below the neck and over your chest and back. This leaves no room for embers to get in under the hood and sneak by your collar.

Size

Most (but not all) fire resistant hoods come as ‘one size fits all’. They’re designed to hold tight to your skin but not be uncomfortably tight. That said, complaints about hoods being too tight are not that uncommon. If you’re a claustrophobic person, consider getting one where you can buy Large or Xtra Large sizing.

Material

Most hoods are a cotton-nylon blend with some form of chemical coating to minimize fire risk. The material is usually quite soft but also very thin. It’s a common misconception that fire resistant hoods are not supposed to get ‘burn holes’ in them. However, note that holes from sparks and embers are very likely to occur. Usually, fire resistant material limits the spread of the fire and is designed not to melt. But holes do occur – it’s just a fact of life. After a while, you’ll probably want to get another hood.

The alternative to cotton-nylon blends is to get a Merino & wool hood, such as the Caterpillar hood on this list. If you’re a person who finds wool itchy, this might not be a good option for you.

Final Thoughts

It’s really important to make sure you get a fire resistant hood that meets the requirements of your worksite. Research the specific requirements for you, or ask your line manager. This list of the best fire resistant hoods has shared our opinions of a sample of hoods for our circumstances only, and is based on our online research and does not constitute advice, professional or otherwise. Your circumstances or experiences will differ from ours. Make sure you do your own research and due diligence and adhere to the rules laid out in our terms and conditions and disclaimer.

In our opinion, the Innotex Gray Hood is the best particulate hood for firefighters and the National Safety Apparel Flame Resistant Balaclava is the best fire resistant hood for welders.

Good luck!

– Chris