A hazmat suit is the last line of defense between your family and a nightmare scenario. It’s the kind of survival gear you absolutely need, but really, really hope you never have to use. They give you the protection you need against chemical, biological, and radiological threats so you can get your family out of dodge.
We did our research and picked out ten of the best hazmat suits money can buy. All of these suits have been subjected to serious certification and testing to ensure they provide the level of protection they claim.
1. MIRA Safety Haz-Suit CBRN Hazmat Suit
The MIRA Safety Haz-Suit CBRN provides you with comprehensive protection from likely threats without sacrificing durability and mobility. It’s used by governments and militaries around the world and provides an exceptional level of defense against some of the nastiest stuff out there.
Why we like it: MIRA is one of the only companies that offers hazmat suits that fit the whole family. Their CBRN hazmat suits can fit large adults all the way down to four year olds.
Flaws: Doesn’t have built-in boot inserts. Unlike some other hazmat suits, the MIRA has open cuffs on the bottom. This isn’t a huge issue, you just have to make sure to carefully seal the cuff to approved boots with tape.
2. DuPont Tychem 6000 Hazmat Coverall
Dupont is widely known for its chemical expertise. The Tychem 6000 is one of the most protective hazmat suits they offer. It’s made from an impermeable barrier film laminated to their ultra-durable Tyvek substrate.
Why we like it: The Tychem 6000 has been thoroughly tested with over 180 of the deadliest biological and chemical warfare agents. It provides a minimum of 30 minutes protection even against significant exposure to highly corrosive industrial chemicals.
Flaws: A limited range of sizes means it’s likely you’ll end up with either a slightly too tight or slightly too baggy fit. This can impact your comfort level and ability to move and work efficiently.
3. 3M 4570 Protective Coveralls
The 3M 4570 Protective Coveralls some of the best and most protective hazmat suits available. They’ve been tested on some of the most dangerous chemical, nuclear, and biological hazards out there and are proven to provide reliable protection.
Why we like it: This suit is thick, durable, and extremely protective. It’s rated at a Type 3 protection level, perfect for use by the average prepper, and incorporates features like a thumb loop and chin flap to ensure a better fit and great ease of use.
Flaws: 3M only recommends a three-year shelf life. This is substantially lower than some other manufacturers Type 3/Level B hazmat suits, but may just represent an abundance of caution on their part. Either way, you’ll need to rotate this hazmat suit more frequently within your preps.
4. Lakeland ChemMax 3 Hazmat Suit
The ChemMax 3 is a Type 3 chemical protective coverall rated to protect against a significant number of chemical warfare, industrial agents, and biological threats. It’s made using a specialized lamination process to create a quieter and softer hazmat suit.
Why we like it: The barrier film used to provide the actual protection in the ChemMax 3 is noticeably more supple than many of its competitors. It’s still quite thick and stiff, but it does allow you to move a little easier than some other hazmat suits.
Flaws: The ChemMax 3 only offers a recommended shelf life of five years. They recommend you perform a full visual inspection before every use and periodically while in storage.
5. DuPont Tyvek 400 TY122S Disposable Protective Coverall
If you want a protective hazmat suit but don’t face a threat environment that includes chemical warfare agents the Tyvek 400 is a good option. It’s lighter and more comfortable to wear than some other hazmat suits but still provides adequate protection against a range of nonliquid threats.
Why we like it: The Tyvek 400 is a lightweight and semi-breathable protective coverall. It offers substantial protection against fibers, particles, and other physical damage such as you might see after an earthquake or other natural disaster.
Flaws: Not rated to protect against liquid chemical spills and vapor threats. It doesn’t offer protection from chemical warfare agents or other liquid or gaseous threats that can cause damage through the skin.
6. 3M 4520 Disposable Protective Coverall
The 3M 4520 is a lighter and more moveable hazmat coverall designed for a less dangerous threat environment. It can give you some limited protection against liquid spills and especially particulates.
Why we like it: The 4520 is breathable, lightweight, and easy to move in. It doesn’t require a complicated donning and seal process and allows you much greater freedom of movement than some other hazmat suits.
Flaws: As a Type 5 hazmat suit the 4520 cannot be relied on for situations with significant chemical spills or vapor risks. Its permeable design would allow them through far, far faster than other heavier and more durable options.
7. KleenGuard A70 Chemical Protection Coveralls
The KleenGuard A70 provides a high level of liquid and particulate protection from chemical, biological, and radiological threats. It’s made using a tear-resistant film laminate with sewn and sealed seams to offer a durable barrier that’s impermeable to liquids.
Why we like it: The design of the A70 offers a greater range of motion and more general mobility than do similar Type 3 hazmat suits. This allows you to move and work in a chemically contaminated environment much easier than with some similar suits.
Flaws: Only available in a high visibility yellow. This is great if you’re looking for rescue, but not so great if you’re trying to move across dangerous country without being seen.
8. DuPont Tychem 2000 Chemical Protection Coveralls
The Tychem 2000 is designed to protect against some of the most commonly encountered industrial chemical agents. It’s a good middle ground between a lighter semi-permeable hazmat suit and the more comprehensive CBRN suits at the top of our list.
Why we like it: The Tychem 2000 offers a lighter and more flexible alternative to some of Dupont’s other Tychem offerings. This lets you adjust your chemical protection posture to reflect the threats and time to rescue you’re most likely to face.
Flaws: While its design is effective against light spills of chemicals, it won’t protect you against vapor. If there are any especially corrosive or penetrating chemicals they’ll get through the 2000 relatively quickly.
9. Lakeland ChemMax 1 Coveralls
The Lakeland ChemMax 1 hazmat coveralls are a less robust version of the ChemMax 3. It’s still made with a nonpermeable barrier film and nonwoven base but is slightly thinner and less durable. Still a great product and excellent in its own right.
Why we like it: Lighter and easier to move around in than other Type 3 suits, this hazmat suit still offers impressive protection against chemical, biological, and nuclear threats.
Flaws: The bright yellow color makes it extremely visible even from a distance. This is great if you’re seeking rescue during a disaster, but not good at all if you’re looking to move through potentially hostile ground undetected.
10. Ansell Microchem by AlphaTec Series 2000
The Ansell Microchem Series 2000 hazmat suit offers lightweight and breathable protection against nonchemical threats. It’s designed to offer greater comfort and breathability in warmer climates while still keeping you safe from particulate and biological contaminants.
Why we like it: Great for use in a dangerous pandemic situation where chemical threats aren’t an issue. The woven body is designed to block biological contaminants while preventing you from experiencing heat stress or even heatstroke in hot weather.
Flaws: You shouldn’t buy this if you have any fear of a chemical agent attack or chemical spill. It simply isn’t made to provide protection against those types of threats.
What’s new with hazmat suits
Who should buy a hazmat suit?
Many people think that hazmat suits aren’t an essential prep for everyone. While the threat environment you face does affect your immediate need for one, just about every serious prepper out there should consider adding hazmat suits and other PPE to their preps.
Serious preppers – Nuclear, chemical, and biological attacks are some of the most insidious and frightening threats out there. They’re invisible killers that can travel with the wind itself and threaten you and your family. Terrorist groups and other non-state actors have used nerve gas, chemical weapons, and biological attacks successfully before (1).
The biggest threat from nuclear means isn’t the traditional fear of a nuclear attack, but rather an easy to assemble ‘dirty bomb’. Dirty bombs are regular explosives that have been packed around dangerous radioactive materials. When they’re detonated the explosion does some damage, but the released radioactive material causes far greater panic and potentially lethal radiation sickness (2).
Adding comprehensive Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) protective gear, including a high-quality hazmat suit, gives you a fighting chance. It allows you to get your family out of the hot zones without suffering the fate of those not prepared.
People who live near nuclear power plants, chemical plants, or other potentially dangerous manufacturing or processing plants – Millions of Americans live within a few miles of large scale chemical, petroleum, or nuclear threats and don’t even know it. History has shown that major industrial disasters can happen in an instant and kill or maim thousands in the surrounding areas (3).
One of the worst such disasters happened in Bhopal, India. A Union Carbide pesticide plant accidentally released 40 tons of Methyl Isocyanate gas, exposing nearly half a million people. It’s estimated that over ten thousand people died within a few weeks, with tens of thousands more suffering long-lasting respiratory damage and corrosive burns (4).
Chernobyl is another example of the dangers of living near a nuclear power plant should the worst happen. Dozens died directly from the radioactive material and thousands more suffered long term damage (5).
In all of these situations, having a well thought out disaster plan and prepared hazmat suits and other protective gear could have allowed a dedicated prepper to escape to safety with their family.
Preppers living within the fallout zone of a tier-one target during a major nuclear attack – While the threat of nuclear annihilation has fallen since the height of the Cold War, there are still plenty of potentially hostile nuclear powers. As recent events have shown, North Korea is well on its way to developing nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles (6). Both China and Russia are also still fully nuclear-capable and have the infrastructure to launch large scale attacks (7).
People who live directly in the targeted areas would die almost instantly. Those who lived farther away could survive the initial attack but would be faced with a more insidious threat: Nuclear fallout. If you and your family live in an area that’s in the predicted path of the fallout from a nuclear attack, adding hazmat suits to your preps is a very good idea (8).
How we ranked
When putting together our list we considered six key factors. These were level of protection, ease of use, comfort, mobility, durability, and storage and shelf life.
Level of protection – The most important part of our ranking system was the level of protection offered. The very nature of hazmat suits means that you’re only wearing them when absolutely essential. Even a slight compromise of protection for other factors can lead to serious injury or death.
Level A/Type 1 hazmat suits provide the highest level of protection against threats. They’re rated to protect your respiratory system, skin, eye and mucous membranes against the most severe environments. A Level A or Type 1 suit is required only when there is a significant danger of exposure to contaminants that have known skin toxicity or carcinogenicity.
The requirements for Level A certification are extensive. They include a fully encapsulated positive pressure environment with a fully self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), both an inner and outer pair of chemical resistant gloves, two-way radio, and chemical resistant steel-toed and shanked boots.
For most situations a prepper is likely to encounter (and survive) a Level A/Type 1 suit isn’t necessary.
Level B/Type 2 hazmat suits offer similar levels of protection to Level A/Type 2 but aren’t fully encapsulated. They’re still effective against the majority of threats other than vapor based dangers.
Level B requirements include SCBA, both an inner and outer pair of chemical resistant gloves, two-way radio, and chemical resistant steel-toed and shanked boots.
That list is basically the same as the Level A requirements, and notably still requires a powered SCBA. That means you cannot use a passive gas mask or respirator and achieve Level B/Type 2 safety standards.
As with the Level A/Type 2, most preppers don’t require an SCBA for their threat environment.
Level C/Type 3/4 is where we really start to look at viable options. A Level C hazmat suit offers the same level of physical protection from droplets, particles, and splashes as Level B does but allows you to use a passive respirator or gas mask. Level B hazmat suits are basically the same physical gear as a Level B without the SCBA.
For the majority of preppers, a Level C/Type 3/4 hazmat suit combined with a respirator or gas mask is the way to go.
Level D/Type 5/6 We don’t recommend a Level D protective suit. Level D protections don’t actually include a full hazmat suit. They can include anything from a thick coverall to long-sleeve shirts and pants. Some manufacturers offer a Type 5/6 protective coverall, but it doesn’t block liquid chemical spray or other potentially corrosive compounds.
Ease of use – The usability of a hazmat suit includes both donning time and how effectively you can still perform needed tasks. Donning and doffing refer to how quickly and easily you can put on and safely remove your hazmat suit (11). Realistically we only care about how easily you can get into your suit.
If you’re in a situation where your family needs to put on hazmat gear to survive, you won’t be taking it off until you’ve reached a safe harbor with full decontamination facilities.
How effectively you can perform inside a hazmat suit is important. You should purchase a spare set of hazmat gear to try on and practice moving in. This allows you to get used to the restrictions to your vision and movement. The last thing you want is to put on your hazmat when it counts and discover you can’t bend over, drive, or perform essential activities.
Comfort – We’ll level with you here: Hazmat suits are not going to be comfortable. The materials they’re made from are impermeable and stiff by design. There’s no such thing as a breathable hazmat suit.
Comfort for this metric comes down to places that can cause chafing and poorly fitted hoods, sleeves, etc, that can increase your discomfort beyond what is required for safety. If you find yourself in a situation where hazmat suits are necessary you might be inside for a while. We wanted to make sure that you’re as comfortable as possible while wearing one.
Mobility – Mobility in a hazmat suit is going to be reduced. You should avoid strenuous activity where possible to prevent yourself from overheating, or worse, damaging the seal on your suit.
When comparing different suits we looked at how they designed the joints and what level of flexibility you retained within the suit. Situations that require hazmat protection are bound to be chaotic. We wanted to make sure you can still move, work, and if worst comes to worst, fight, within your suit.
Durability – Hazmat suits need to be able to go through hell. You have no idea what conditions will be like when escaping from a major chemical or nuclear disaster. Any hazmat suit for use as a preparedness tool needs to be puncture-resistant, abrasion-resistant, and able to stand up to significant use.
Storage and shelf life – Hazmat suits thankfully aren’t pieces of survival gear you’ll often have to call on. For that reason, storage and shelf life are extremely important. You want to know exactly how long your newly purchased hazmat suit retains its efficacy and what kind of storage conditions it requires.
We looked at the packaging hazmat suits came in, what kind of storage conditions they require, and how long they advertise their shelf life to be. Most hazmat suit manufacturers claim about a 10-year shelf life.
We highly recommend you do a visual inspection of your suits every six months or so. This can allow you to identify physical damage, degradation of materials, etc, and replace suits as needed (12).
Brands we trust – Mira is our top choice for prepper hazmat suits. They’re an approved supplier for US military MOPP gear and offer some of the best hazmat protection available. Their suits are designed to allow a full range of activities without compromising protection. Even better, they offer hazmat suits that can fit the entire family all the way down to four-year-olds.
Dupont is another name that frequently comes up. They’re one of the oldest and largest chemical companies in the world and really understand hazardous materials. Their line of hazmat suits includes a common-sense progression of protective levels and is both comfortable and effective.
What we don’t recommend is that you purchase any military surplus MOPP gear. MOPP, or Mission Oriented Protective Posture, gear is used by militaries around the world to protect against CBRN threats. If you could purchase quality MOPP gear it would be great, but you can’t.
Military surplus MOPP gear is almost always expired, used, or damaged in some way. Most will have been used as training tools and almost none of the suits you find in your local Army/Navy store will be complete.
We carefully considered a range of available products and weighted each of these factors before coming up with our final list. We’re extremely confident in the quality and usefulness of each of the hazmat suits on our list.
Hazmat suits protect you from some of the most terrifying threats out there – When used in conjunction with effective respirators or gas masks, a quality hazmat suit can keep you safe from chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats. These are the kinds of threats that can cause serious injury or death within hours or minutes of exposure (13).
They’re also the kind of threats that require foresight and planning. Hazmat suits and gas masks aren’t the kinds of things you can run out and buy when a disaster seems imminent. When you need them, you need them right now on your body.
Hazmat suits allow you and your family to safely evacuate through extremely dangerous conditions – Hazmat suits aren’t a prep you get for long-term use. Even the best suits out there won’t last forever under extreme conditions. A hazmat suit allows you to keep your family alive long enough to escape from a hot zone.
When properly used with a respirator and chemical-resistant boots and gloves a hazmat suit gives you a small window of safety. You won’t be living your life in an area contaminated with chemical, nuclear, or biological agents until it’s been thoroughly decontaminated. The goal with hazmat suits is to rapidly suit up yourself and your family and flee to safety as quickly as possible.
Remember, in a truly extreme situation like nuclear fallout or a major chemical attack you won’t even be able to safely remove your suit until it’s gone through proper decontamination procedures.
Hazmat suits are a relatively affordable addition to your survival plan – A lot of preppers hesitate to purchase PPE, thinking that their funds would be better spent on more practical preps. Effectively managing your preparedness budget is important, but a lot of people don’t realize just how affordable hazmat suits can be.
Different kinds of hazmat suits are used by contractors, on industrial sites, and in chemical plants every day. This significantly lowers the costs of even highly protective Level B and Level C suits.
With that kind of economy of scale in play, you can pick up a full set of hazmat suits for your family for a lot less than you would expect.
Hazmat suits provide you with peace of mind – A hazmat suit is one of those preps you buy hoping you’ll end up throwing out. It’s definitely not something you ever want to use in a real survival situation. Taking that time to prepare a hazmat suit, respirator, and the associated gear ensures that you won’t have to worry about it.
You’ll know that your family is prepared should the worst happen.
Q: What are hazmat suits made of?
A: This depends on the level of protection a hazmat suit offers. The Level C suits we’re most concerned with are made from impermeable materials with laminated barrier layers. They’re designed to block liquid chemical spills, nerve agent particles, and other dangerous threats.
Q: Are hazmat suits reusable?
A: While hazmat suits can be reused if properly and thoroughly decontaminated, for the purposes of a prepper they aren’t. There’s a simple reason for this too: Once you escape from a chemical, biological, or nuclear-contaminated environment you absolutely shouldn’t go back. Hazmat suits for the prepper are an emergency protection system meant to allow you and your family to escape safely.
Q: How much radiation can a hazmat suit withstand?
A: Some hazmat suits can protect you from radioactive debris and other particles, but there is no suit that can keep you safe from ionizing radiation. This includes things like gamma rays, X-rays, beta particles, and alpha particles. You need six feet of concrete or over a foot of lead to protect from these threats (14).
Q: How much does a hazmat suit weigh?
A: Hazmat suits themselves are relatively light. They only weigh a little bit more than cloth coveralls of the same size. When you add in a respirator, gloves, and steel-toed boots the weight starts to rise rapidly. Suffice it to say that you’ll definitely notice that you’re wearing one, though probably not from the weight so much as the stuffiness and lack of breathability.
Q: Do hazmat suits protect against nuclear fallout?
A: Higher level hazmat suits can provide protection against radioactive dust and other particles, commonly referred to as nuclear fallout. It’s important to remember that this protection is entirely conditional. There is currently no protective gear that allows for long-term survival in a ‘hot’ zone. You may be able to use a Type A or Type B hazmat suit to flee with your family from such an area though.
Q: Are hazmat suits fireproof?
A: Some hazmat suits are fireproof but many are not. Fireproof hazmat suits are generally used by specialized firefighters when they have to fight a fire that involves dangerous chemicals. Some hazmat suits even act as thermal protection, allowing you to survive temperatures up to 500 degrees.
None of the suits on our list are fireproof.
Q: Are hazmat suits hot?
A: Hazmat suits are made of thick, intrinsically impermeable materials. Unlike modern fabrics they don’t breathe at all. If you’re even a little active in a hazmat suit it’s going to get hot and sweaty inside fast. Keep this in mind if you’re in a warmer climate, as you’ll need a way to stay hydrated while still protecting yourself from the threat. Check and see if your respirator or gas mask has an approved drinking tube and practice using it safely before a disaster.
Q: Do they make hazmat suits for children?
A: Because most hazmat suits are aimed at industrial, scientific, and medical professionals there aren’t a whole lot of them that will fit a child. Thankfully we were able to find a high-quality hazmat suit designed specifically for the needs of a prepper that fits children as young as 4.
That suit is the Mira Safety Haz-Suit.
Q: How do I put on a hazmat suit?
A: Properly donning a hazmat suit can be intimidating the first few times, but it with practice can become second nature. Start by inspecting the suit for any visible tears, rips, or damage. Then you can put first your legs, then arms into the suit. If you’re wearing two pairs of protective gloves make sure you put your first pair on before putting your arms in. Zip up and seal the outside of your suit then pull your hood up snug against your head.
Now you’re ready to put on your boots, outside pair of gloves, and a respirator mask. Once these are all securely in place you need to seal the suit against them using an approved hazmat suit tape. It’s also highly recommended that you check each other’s suits for signs of openings or damage once on (15).
Hazmat suits are the most advanced level of PPE a prepper should consider. When used properly they offer comprehensive protection against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats.
Depending on the level of protection you seek there’s a hazmat suit out there for every prepper. When combined with an appropriate respirator or gas mask, boots, and gloves, your family has a fighting chance of escaping and surviving a major disaster.
For Survival At Home’s #1 Hazmat Suit recommendation, click here.
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