Respirators for Corona Virus: The Difference Between KN95 and N95 and What Masks To Avoid

Shanna Cooper
Fri May 01, 2020

In the times of Covid-19, the awareness of what PPE is is at an all time high. An importance that we don’t foresee going anywhere as our world becomes increasingly more interconnected with new unknown viruses and potential irritants being discovered everyday.

 Knowing that the risk of exposure is more prevalent than ever, it is in yours and your family’s best interest to have a full understanding of what types of masks are actually helpful and how you can prepare for scenarios like COVID-19.

 We decided to break down the difference between the two most widely talked about masks, the N95 and the KN95, as well as explain why you need to not fall victim to the cloth masks you’re seeing pop up all over Instagram, Amazon, and Facebook.


Hospital First Responders in our products in New York


What is the best face mask for COVID-19?

 The ONLY masks suitable for full protection against COVID-19 are certified masks with a KN95, N95 or higher filtration approval. In short, the KN95 and N95 masks are basically the same and the only difference is in their name. They both will protect against 95% of particles greater than .3 microns in size. The KN95 is the Chinese code while the N95 is the USA code. You will also see frequent mention of FFP2 which is the UK equivalent code for N95.

 Here at Peke Safety, all of our masks are rated to an N95 or higher filtration standard but frequently rated on an UK coding system due to European manufacturing, which is why you will see us mention FFP2 so frequently.

 Our Powercap Active is equivalent to an N99 filtration which means that it will filter 99% of particles great than .3 microns in size, providing you with the most comprehensive protection against particles like COVID-19 while you are on the go.

 KN95, N95, and FFP2 masks are thicker than normal medical masks, designed to fit properly to the face and can be used repeatedly until they either get wet or dirty. These types of masks will typically last for at least a week depending on use.

 Can wearing a normal medical mask or fabric mask protect you from COVID-19?

 This is where we all the confusion has been during this pandemic and to clear up any confusion, the short answer is no. Normal medical and fabric masks will not protect you from exposure to particles such as COVID-19.  Standard medical masks and fabric masks you are seeing people (including fashion brands) sell are loose fitting and not designed to provide a tight face seal.

 This means that the only protection occurring is the protection of others around you from your sneezing, coughing and breathing. It is not protecting you from breathing in any particles surrounding you. To word it another way, these masks will not filter any particles that you breathe in and will only help contain the spread (to a small degree) of the particles that you breathe out. These types of masks will need to be disposed of immediately after one use.

 Can a virus face mask shield stop the corona virus?

 A face mask shield will certainly protect you from droplets, fluids and splashes going in your eyes, which is another entry way for particles like COVID-19. These shields are typically made out of plastic, or in our product line up – polycarbonate.

 We recommend pairing a KN95, N95, or FFP2 mask (like our Force 8) with a face shield (check out our Invincible Browguard) , or alternatively buying a respirator with both eye protection and KN95, N95 or FFP2 protection built in. (Check out our Filterspec, Filterspec Pro, or Powercap Active respirators).

While it is certainly better than nothing to wear a cloth mask or scarf, this is not a time to be concerned with how the mask looks over how the mask actually functions.

We recommend investing in a proper mask versus any sort of cloth mask (even those with the valve) that you see on places like Amazon, as COVID-19 does not seem to be going anywhere for the foreseeable future and the risk of future scenarios like COVID-19 is increasingly growing.

It is also a good idea to keep a supply of masks in your home for future use for travel or if in the event that another event like COVID-19 occurs.

Stay safe out there.

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