Face masks are fast becoming an accepted part of our everyday wear.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to escalate, government and health professionals agree that face coverings are among the best lines of defense in protection from contracting COVID-19.
While there’s a range of face coverings that offer coronavirus protection, from simple homemade cloth versions to designer interpretations in novelty patterns and prints, maximum protection is provided by wearing an N95 or KN95 masks.
According to the CDC, the N95 respirator is the most common of the seven types of particulate filtering face piece respirators. This product filters at least 95% of large and small airborne particles but is not resistant to oil. It meets the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) N95 classification of air filtration.
With demand high for these masks, there are alternatives like the KN95 mask. According to AccuMed, a personal care products supplier that’s been around since 1974, KN95 masks are regulated by the Chinese government and, like the N95 version, are rated to filter 95% of particles. In April, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued guidance authorizing the use of KN95 masks as suitable NIOSH options.
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Although N95 masks were in short supply in the early days of the pandemic, they’re now accessible to the general public from a range of suppliers, both brick-and-mortar and online. But, buyers beware. It’s best to read the fine print before making a purchase to ensure it meets safety standards set by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Note that all FDA-cleared N95 respirators are labeled as single-use, disposable devices. These masks should be discarded when they become damaged or deformed, no longer form an effective seal to the face, become wet or visibly dirty, cause your breathing to become difficult or are contaminated with blood, respiratory or nasal secretions.
And according to the FDA, they’re not designed for children or people with facial hair, since a proper fit cannot be achieved on these individuals and will render the mask not fully protective.
Remember, masks should never be shared, even among family members. To safely discard, place in a plastic bag and put in the trash. Wash your hands after handling the used device.
Here, FN has curated a range of N95 and KN95 masks available for sale to the public. Since they’re meant to be worn short-term, make sure you have an ample supply.
Respokare Niosh N95 Respirator Mask
This patented design by Innonix, a maker of personal protective equipment, features antiviral technology that not only blocks 95% of small (.3 micron) particles, but also inactivates up to 99.9% of them within just minutes. It’s sold in packs of 20.
ToolNut KN95 Face Masks
This disposable KN95 face mask features ear loops and an adjustable nosepiece for a secure fit and seal. It comes as a set of five individually wrapped masks.
Databazaar KN95 Face Mask Regular Size
This set of disposable face masks features a 5-ply non-woven design with a particulate filter that’s at least 95% filtration. Adjustable nose clips reduce the potential for eyewear fogging and ensure a better seal and fit. A two-strap design with welded point attachment helps ensure a more secure seal.
Nomad KN95 Masks 10 Pack
Complete with a 4-layer filtration system, these are shaped to the user’s face for a comfortable fit with an adjustable nose bridge. They offer nearly 95% bacterial filtration efficiency to meet industry standards, however are not recommended as a replacement for an N95 mask in a medical setting. You can buy them in a a pack of 10 masks.
Staples KN95 Face Mask 10 Pack
This 10-pack of masks is made of five layers of protection from airborne particles. Ear loops keep the mask in place. They are not intended for medical use.
MyMedic KN95 Mask
This medical-grade mask is made of three thick layers of needle filter cotton. It features an adjustable nose bridge and elastic ear loops for a more comfortable fit. They’re sold in packs of two.
Adorama RSAS KN95 Protective Face Masks 10-Pack
This design mimics butterfly wings with its snug, V-shaped fit. It’s made of five layers of protective material with soft elastic ear loops to help eliminate ear pressure.
Nations Best Deals KN95 Safety Face Mask
This 20-pack set of face masks filters out at least 95% of airborne particles including large and small particles. The lightweight facial respirator mask features ear loops and an adjustable nose piece for a more precise fit. Bonus: It’s currently 29% off.
All products featured have been independently selected and curated by our editorial team. If you buy something through our retail links, we may earn commission and the retailer may receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes.