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Wearing masks and getting checked for COVID-19 regularly has become part of our daily lives. And as COVID-19 cases are on the rise ahead of summer, many cities and facilities are encouraging the use of masks indoors.
New York City health officials today recommended that people wear surgical masks in indoor public settings, but they will not restore the mandate that was abolished in March. . Philadelphia in April brought back the indoor mask requirement and canceled it less than two weeks later after the number of cases and hospitalizations declined. Several universities — including Columbia University, Georgetown University, and John Hopkins University — recently announced that masks are required in classrooms and some indoor spaces, CNBC reported.
Previously, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that people ditch cloth face coverings and upgrade to medical-grade protective masks for better protection against coronavirus. Surgical masks are still the first line of defense to help prevent the spread of the virus, but KN95, N95, and KF94 masks (also called respirators) are also recommended by the CDC.
The US agency notes that “respirators have better filtering capabilities and, if worn correctly throughout their lifespan, can provide a higher level of protection than cloth or procedural respirators.” They also say that if N95, KN95 or KF94 masks are not available, cloth masks are better than none.
Even as cities no longer require face masks indoors, many people have chosen to continue wearing them to prevent germs and other airborne viruses. Before replenishing your mask supply, you’ll want to know the differences between the three most common masks being used to protect against the coronavirus. Keep reading to know more about where to buy real KN95, N95 and KF94 masks, how to spot fake masks, and more.
KN95 mask vs N95 and KF94: What’s the difference?
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the agency that tests and approves respirators for use in the workplace, has a list of approved particulate respirators, according to CDC. These NIOSH-approved air-purifying respirators protect by filtering particles out of the air while the user is breathing.
There are seven types of filters available for NIOSH-approved respirators. The NIOSH approved minimum filtration level is 95 percent. The symbols N, R and P refer to the oil resistance of the filter.
Here are the key differences between the KN95, N95 and KF94 masks, all of which filter out particles as small as 0.3 microns:
- N95 mask NIOSH approved and filters 95% of airborne particles. They are not oil resistant. The surgical N95 respirator is a NIOSH approved N95 respirator and has also been recognized by the Food and Drug Administration as a surgical mask.
- KN95 The mask is equivalent to China’s N95 mask and meets international safety standards. They are not NIOSH approved, but they filter out 95 percent of particles. Several manufacturers have received FDA emergency use authorization when N95 respirators are difficult to find, but note that some brands have had their approval revoked.
- Mask KF94 Meets Korean safety standards and filters 94 percent of particles. They are designed to give you a snug fit. Some KF94s have been approved by the FDA and it is important to check if the masks are made in Korea.
How to know if your mask is real or not
It’s important to make sure you don’t buy fake masks, especially from online marketplaces that don’t verify authenticity. You can tell N95 masks are authentic if they have a GB number, which tells you when the mask was made. There is no GB mark indicating that it is not a certified medical mask. And, there is no such thing as a children’s N95 mask, as NIOSH approves an adult-only mask. However, brands still make masks that are the right size for children and others to give you more comfort.
Since the KN95 and KF94 masks are not NIOSH approved, a sign they are counterfeit if they are stamped “NIOSH approved”.
Up front, we’ve rounded up the best KN95, N95 and KF94 masks that are guaranteed to be authentic, including options commonly found on Hollywood stars.
Best N95 masks to shop online
1. Kimberly-Clark N95 Professional Pocket Liner Mask
The Kimberly-Clark Professional N95 Respirator Respirator is NIOSH approved and comes with 50 pieces per pack. They are white, have a carrying pouch design, and two blue headbands to hold the mask in place. These respirators are sealed and do not allow internal air filtration.
Kimberly-Clark Professional N95 Masks
2. 3M Aura N95 Particle Mask
The 3M Aura Particle N95 respirator is also NIOSH approved and features a floating top panel to help reduce eyewear fogging caused by warm and humid exhaled air. It also has a soft material inside, a sculpted nose panel, and a custom seal.
3M Aura N95 Particle Mask
3. Benehal N95 mask
The Benehal N95 respirator offers excellent breathability making it easier to wear for extended periods and allows for a high worker acceptance rate. The nylon and cotton masks are comfortable and feature an adjustable metal nose clip for a custom fit.
Benehal mask N95
4. Mask of happiness
You have to keep an eye out for the Happy Mask, which regularly sells out and was recently added to the California-based company’s website. The brand has a wide variety of unique looks and styles, from bold, solid colors to rainbows, strawberries, and dinosaurs.
Facemasks with five layers, including a three-layer nanofiber filter, have been tested by Nelson Labs to provide more than 99.9% filtration against viruses, bacteria, pollen, air pollution, smoke and other pollutants. It has a parrot beak that is ideal for use and longer wear.
Happy Masks Strawberries Pro
Best KN95 masks to shop online
1. WWDoll KN95 mask, 25 packs
WWDoll’s KN95 respirator features a five-layer design with non-woven fabric, belt blown fabric and hot air cotton as well as an adjustable nose bridge.
WWDoll KN95 mask, 25 packs
2. Simultaneous development of the KN95 . mask
Sustainable brand Evolvetogether’s KN95 mask features a breathable and water-resistant six-layer design. They have soft, non-pulling earlobes. And the company’s sustainability mission is rooted in boxless packaging. They even come with a biodegradable, plant-based bag for travel. (The masks have been seen on stars including Pete Davidson, Rihanna, Anne Hathaway, Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron, Dakota Johnson, Anya Taylor-Joy and Sarah Jessica Parker.)
Developed Together Manu Mask KN95
3. Mask KN95
Maskc’s stylish KN95 respirator features an ergonomic design with multiple colors and a five-layer construction that filters out 95% of particles 0.3 microns or smaller. Breathable masks are great for running or exercising. Plus, they’re 50% off for a limited time when you use code FLASH50.
The Los Angeles-based brand was spotted on Katie Holmes and Naomi Watts, both wearing the brand’s neutral KN95 in New York. Other stars who have worn Maskc include Jenna Dewan, Hilary Duff, Jennifer Garner, Bella Hadid, Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, Blake Lively, Joe Jonas, Sophie Turner and Olivia Wilde.
Maskc Mask KN95, Pack of 10
4. Powercom KN95 mask, 10 packs
Powercom’s KN95 mask comes in 10 packs in denim blue, pink, gray, black, and white. The masks are made from multiple layers of filter polypropylene and electrostatic cotton, and they are available in both earloop and headband styles. Foldable 3D design gives you more comfort, perfect for ergonomic fit.
Powercom KN95 mask, 10 packs
5. Vida mask KN95
Vida offers recyclable, high-protection masks in a variety of sizes, including family, regular, children’s, and children’s mini. They are available in pack sizes from 10 to 1,000. Colors come in black, white, grey, lavender, fuchsia, coral, denim, blush, seafoam and aquamarine. An added bonus is that each purchase is a donation to the VIDA Global Education Scholarship Fund.
Vida KN95 mask, 10 packs
Best KF94 masks to shop online
1. Vida KF94 recycled mask
Vida offers six colors in a recyclable KF94 mask, including white, gray, black, light blue, light pink, and light green. Prices vary by quantity, starting from $25 for a pack of 10 to $1,200 for a set of 1,000. Vida is also donating masks globally, donating medical masks to hospitals in Africa, South America, India and other countries in need. Donations range from $30 to $1,000 and will cover the cost of the mask (at original price).
Vida KF94 Mask, Pack of 10
2. WellBefore 3D KN94-Style KN95 Mask
WellBefore’s masks are “KN94-compliant” which is equivalent to the Korean KN95 and offers the best of both worlds, such as more comfortable adjustments and four layers of filtering.
WellBefore 3D KF94 KN95 mask
3. KF Flax KF94 . Mask
These KF94 nonwoven masks are individually wrapped and come in sets of 20. Made in Korea, each mask has four layers of protection against airborne particles.
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