N95 vs. KN95: Which mask is better? Are these the best respirator masks?
Respirator masks have always been classified as essential items throughout health communities but have recently seen a huge explosion in usage and in popularity as the world comes to grip with the Covid-19 pandemic.
With our health, and sometimes our lives, on the line so choosing the best respirator mask should be a top priority. But with similar sounding names — N95 Masks & KN 95 Masks — it can be confusing to decide which respirator mask is the best.
Difference Between N95 and KN95 Masks
The main difference between N95 and KN-95 masks are their national standards. N95 masks are the US/American standard for respirator masks while KN95 masks are the Chinese standard for respirator masks.
N95 Respirator Masks
Those who manufacture N95 Respirator Masks are only able to use the N95 label if they meet or exceed the requirements set forth by the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
These NIOSH-approved N95 respirator masks, also known as Surgical N95 Respirators, must filter out at least 95% of all airborne particles. Because N95 masks are amazing at combating airborne disease, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) maintains a list of approved N95 respirators.
KN 95 Respirator Masks
Just like the N95 mask must do, the KN95 mask must also filter out at least 95% of all airborne particles. For the most part, KN95 masks are just as good as N95 respirator masks. The main difference is their regulating bodies and the specific tests performed on them.
Whenever you’re looking for a place to purchase KN95 respirator masks from, you need to take precautions to avoid purchasing counterfeit respirator masks. Chinese-made KN95 masks are almost always just as good as the NIOSH-approved N95 masks.
Are KN95 Masks Just As Good As N95 Masks?
Consumers may frequently scoff at the idea of a chinese-made KN 95 mask, especially American consumers. The reality is, however, that YES! The KN95 masks are just as good as N95 masks.
Dangerous airborne particles, such as the Coronavirus which causes Covid-19, are the primary concern when selecting a good respirator mask. Both N95 masks AND KN95 masks filter out 95% of 0.3 micron particles.
American and many other consumers in English-speaking Western countries have been quick to discount KN 95 respirator masks solely because of their association with China. KN95 masks save lives and prevent the spread of disease just as well as N95 surgical masks do.
KN95 Masks Are Better Than N95 Masks in some ways because of what’s called a leakage test. Although both respirator masks must capture at least 95% of 0.3micron airborne particles, the Chinese government requires KN95 mask manufacturers to run fit tests on these masks. These fit and leakage tests will test their efficiency on real, live humans by seeing if any airborne particles are able to creep through in places where the respirator masks may not be fitting properly.
The United States does not require N95 mask manufacturers to perform these fit tests or leakage tests.
Who Should Use Chinese-Made KN 95 Respirator Masks?
We hope so far to have lessened any stigma you may have towards Chinese-made KN95 respirator masks. If you’re still not quite convinced, then maybe this little piece of news will change your mind:
The U.S. FDA is allowing the use of these KN95 masks that were made in China. The FDA understands that the Chinese government has taken necessary precautions that help to ensure these KN95 respirator masks are just as safe as their N95 counterparts.
In fact, not only has the FDA approved the use of KN95 masks, but they also maintain a very thorough list of approved chinese-made respirator masks. That link to the FDA-approved KN95 importers should help you decide on a KN95 manufacturer and importer that can be trusted.
Do KN95 Masks Protect Against Covid-19?
Simply put, YES a KN95 mask will protect you against Covid-19 and Coronavirus.
The FDA and the CDC have both run various independent tests to determine which of the different types of masks are effective in combating and protecting against Covid-19.
There are a bunch of different styles and types of masks, all of which offer various levels of protection against Covid-19 and Coronavirus. Let’s take a look at some of the different types of masks to see how well (or poorly) these masks protect against Covid-19.
Surgical Masks – These may also be referred to as a medical mask. It’s a loose-fitting mask that’s disposable and will protect your mouth and nose from coming in contact with droplets, sprays, or splashes that may be contaminated or may contain germs. Surgical masks also filter out larger air particles, but Covid-19 and Coronavirus particles are pretty miniscule.
Surgical masks may be somewhat beneficial for someone who already has Covid-19 as they will be less likely to spread it to others. With that being said, The U.S. food and Drug administration has not, and likely will not ever, approve surgical masks to be used specifically to combat and protect against Coronavirus and Covid-19.
Cloth Masks – You may have seen people online, at the grocery store, or at your place of work that have handmade or homemade cloth masks. Cloth masks are not nearly as effective at protecting against Covid-19 as N95 and KN95 masks are. However, the reason they’ve grown in popularity is because they do help stop the spread. They don’t fully prevent spreading the disease to others, but wearing a cloth mask is better than not wearing anything at all.
N95/KN95 Masks – Again, these are nearly identical to KN95 respirator masks. These offer ideal protection against Covid-19 and the Coronavirus that causes Covid-19. N95 and KN95 masks both offer protections against large and small particles. As you inhale, any potentially dangerous or harmful airborne particles are filtered out through the respirator mask’s filtering system. And, as we’ve mentioned a few times already, you can expect both N95 and KN95 respirator masks to filter out at least 95% of all harmful airborne particles, more than any of the other mask types above.
Can You Reuse KN 95 Respirator Masks?
Both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control recommend that you do not re-use your KN95 masks or your N95 masks. Because these masks are not intended to be reused, you should always look for a supplier that sells KN95 Respirator Masks By Packs Of 20 or more so that you can save money.
Again, it is not recommended that you reuse KN95 masks, however we do have some tips below that will help you get the most out of each mask you wear. And, should you need to reuse a mask (again, not recommended) we’ve got a few tips to help limit your chance of becoming infected from reusing your KN95 masks:
- Extended KN95 Mask Use: Try to go as long as possible without taking your KN95 respirator mask off. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, workers throughout dozens of different potentially hazardous industries would regularly wear KN95 and N95 masks for longer periods of time (8-12 hours). For example, if you’re running errands for essentials there’s no need to take your KN95 mask off between stops. Leave it on for as long as possible until you’re done being in public and are no longer at risk of exposure.
- Disinfected and Sterile For Reuse: If you absolutely must reuse your KN95 mask(s) because of drastic circumstances, you must keep you and your mask as sterile as possible. Decontaminate your hands before taking your mask off. Keep your masks in a clean and breathable storage area. Avoid touching the inside of your KN95 mask!
- When To Discard KN95 Masks: If at any time your mask becomes hard to breathe through or is obviously damaged, discard it immediately. Should your mask come in contact with any bodily fluids, do not try to reuse it. If you come in contact with someone that has been exposed to Covid-19 or other airborne illnesses, discard the mask immediately and don’t reuse it.
Are KN95 Masks Better Than 3M N95 Masks?
Minnesota-based 3M Company is one of the largest conglomerates in America (and around the world). Because 3M is such a huge and wildly successful company, the products that they manufacture are often held to a much higher standard than other similar products.
With 3M products being held to a higher standard, and with the world coming to grips with a nationwide pandemic, it begs the question: Are the N95 masks that 3M manufactures better than KN95 masks? Are KN95 masks better than the 3M N95 masks? Or are they nearly identical?
3M themselves have admitted that KN95 masks are equivalent to their 3M N95 counterparts. In fact, you can read 3M’s comparison of N95 masks and the KN95 masks directly from the 3M website.
KN95 Masks: Why you should wear them over N95 masks.
Over the last few months first responders healthcare workers in America and around the world have faced a drastic shortage of N95 masks that are necessary to perform their life-saving jobs. Whenever the general public starts to buy up all of these N95 masks in bulk, that puts our most essential workers at risk and it puts all of their coworkers and patients at risk.
KN95 masks are approved for the protection against Covid-19, but they are not certified for healthcare workers and first responders in the U.S. This means that our essential life-saving workers can only use N95 masks.
By everyday citizens wearing KN95 masks, a strain will not be put on the N95 respirator mask supply. If you’re going about your daily life — working, going to the grocery store, checking on loved ones, etc. — you don’t need an N95 mask, you simply need a mask that will protect you. And KN95 masks will protect you just as well as any NIOSH certified N95 mask.
Remember, KN95 and N95 do not necessarily describe certain types of materials used to make masks. They are a rating. There can be many different types of KN95 masks made by various manufacturers. However, to be able to legally call them KN95 masks, these manufacturers must undergo strict government testing to properly measure the efficiency of these masks.
KN95 is not simply a name brand made by one company. Similarly, N95 is not just a name brand made by some company, like 3M. N95 masks can be made all over the world, as long as they pass the stringent guidelines by American regulatory authorities. This rating is why N95 masks must be used by healthcare professionals and first responders, because it is the rating that the U.S. has decided is needed. KN95 masks are just as effective at protecting against Covid-19 and Coronavirus.
Are KN 95 Masks Better Than FFP2, P2 Masks, and Korean 1st Class?
N95 is the American standard and KN95 is the Chinese standard, but what are FFP2, P2 and Korean 1st Class masks? Are these two kinds of respirator masks better or worse than KN95 masks?
FFP2 Respirator Masks – These masks are regulated by various European regulating bodies. This class of masks also includes FFP1 and FFP3, but the primary focus during Coronavirus and Covid-19 is on the FFP2 Model. KN95 masks are better than FFP2 masks. FFP2 masks must have a minimum of 94% filtration whereas KN95 masks must have at least 95% filtration. Yes, that 1% filtration difference can mean the difference between safety or contamination.
P2 Masks – Regulated by Australian authorities, the P2 masks seem very similar to the KN95, but they are not quite the same. Like the FFP2 masks a P2 mask only needs to be rated for a filtration rate of 94%. Again, this 1% may not seem like much to you, but for microscopic airborne microbes that 1% is a huge difference! KN95 masks are better than P2 masks.
Korean 1st Class – You can tell by the name where the regulators for this mask are based out of: Korea. While these masks must follow a lot of the same guidelines as the KN95 respirator masks out of China, there is one key difference. I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that the Korean 1st Class masks also have a 94% filtration requirement. Would you take a 1% chance of coming in contact with contaminated airborne particles?
I think it’s safe to say that KN95 masks are better than Korean 1st Class masks.
Filtration Efficiency In Respirator Masks
Whenever you’re using a product that has some sort of filter — a KN95 respirator mask, a HEPA filtered vacuum cleaner. The air filter in a car — one way to test how efficient the filter is can be measured by the product’s Filtration Efficiency. The calculation takes into account the number of particles that are stopped by the filter that’s in place.
In the case of KN95 and N95 respirator masks, the filter must stop at least 95% of test airborne particles or the masks will not receive their certification from their respective governing bodies. KN95 respirator masks are usually tested with NaCl (sodium chloride) aka salt. These sodium chloride particles are the perfect size for labs to do their testing with because it’s an easily accessible compound, and they can easily change the size of NaCl particles to mimic those of many airborne contaminants.
What Are KN95 Filters Made Out Of? Whenever fossil fuels like oil are being refined, they produce various byproducts. Some of these byproducts can be used to make other things from kerosene to asphalt. One of the byproducts produced has an amazing filter efficiency and is the perfect material to use in making a certain type of plastic. This special kind of plastic that is great at filtering out various particles is called Polypropylene.
How Do KN95 Masks Work? KN95 and N95 respirator masks have filters that are made out of this synthetic plastic. The plastic is drawn into fibers, similar to the ones in our clothes. These synthetic fibers are also used to make stretchy fabrics, like those used in yoga pants, and water-resistant clothing, like for us in rain jackets.
The makers of KN95 respirator masks take this polypropylene material and get it an electrostatic charge. Research has shown that this static charge makes the polypropylene filters much more effective. This process was first discovered by 3M and has now been used for making other government-regulated respirator masks. The KN95 masks have been described by 3M as one that has equivalent efficiency to their N95 masks.
Reusable Cloth Masks: A Warning For All To Read
The nationwide and worldwide shortages of respirator masks has caused a surge in popularity of reusable masks. But are they worth the time, effort, and money involved? Sure, some reusable masks may be better than others, but are they overall a good purchase?
Many reusable masks are simply made out of cloth. The National Institutes of Health ran a pretty large study for 4 straight weeks comparing cloth masks to respirator masks, like the KN95 and N95 masks. The results were actually pretty shocking.
For starters, the NIH found that airborne particles were able to penetrate cloth masks by almost 97% — This is almost as bad as not wearing a mask at all as far as particle penetration is concerned.
If you have the choice between reusable cloth masks and a KN95 respirator mask, you should always go with the KN95 or N95 equivalent masks.
The main problem with reusable cloth masks: Moisture Retention. These tiny little droplets and airborne particles are virtually impossible to see with the naked eye, but those same invisible droplets will get absorbed by the cloth masks. These cloth masks then turn into a breeding ground for viruses and bacteria.
If healthcare workers used cloth masks then they would have an increased risk of respiratory illness and viral infections over not simply wearing a mask at all, simply because of the moisture retention we talked about above.
Best Place To Buy KN-95 Masks
Hopefully by now you’re convinced that a KN95 respirator mask is the best option for you. Let’s recap why:
- KN95 masks are equivalent to N95 masks, even the 3M N95 masks.
- N95 masks need to be reserved for healthcare workers and first responders. Buying KN95 masks will protect you just as well, while leaving the N95 masks for essential workers.
- KN95 masks are better than FFP2, P2, and Korean 1st Class masks.
- KN95 masks are better than reusable cloth masks.
Not all KN95 masks have been approved for protective usage in America. The FDA has got a very specific list of KN95 mask manufacturers that are approved. NationsBestDeals.com only uses FDA-approved KN95 masks from FDA-approved KN95 mask manufacturers.
Unfortunately we all know that counterfeit and “knockoff” products are prevalent when coming from China. And, yes, even KN95 masks are being counterfeited. Because of this, both the Chinese government and the US Food and Drug Administration have got a select few manufacturers of KN95 masks that are approved for sale in the U.S.
Because NationsBestDeals only uses FDA-Approved KN95 masks and mask manufacturers, you can rest assured knowing that you will not fall victim to potentially counterfeited or fake KN95 masks.
How Much Do KN95 Masks Cost: KN95 masks should never cost more than a few bucks a piece. Unfortunately many predatory vendors out there have decided to use this pandemic as an opportunity to rip people off. NationsBestDeals has KN95 masks for as low as $2.99ea!
Buying KN95 Masks Online: NationsBestDeals.com is an online-only operation. We do not have a physical brick and mortar storefront and, as a result, we are able to charge much less for our items.
Where To Buy KN95 Masks In America: NationsBestDeals.com is arguably the best place to buy KN95 respirator masks in America. In fact, the main office is in New York.
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