As N95 face masks continue to be in short supply, KN95 face masks serve as a suitable replacement. So, what is the difference between KN95 and N95 face masks?
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, N95 face masks are extraordinarily difficult to find and should be reserved for frontline health care workers. There are other alternatives more readily available like the KN95 face mask.
The KN95 is China’s equivalent of the N95 face mask that is used both in the United States and Canada. The N95 is certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the KN95 meets the Chinese government performance standards for respiratory protection. While supplies last, you can purchase KN95 face masks certified by the Chinese government from Conney Safety.
Assuming they are tight-fitting and worn properly, studies have consistently shown that both N95 and KN95 masks perform significantly better than either surgical masks or cloth masks at preventing the spread of COVID-19. According to the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, the time it takes to transmit an infectious dose of COVID-19 is correlated to what type of mask or lack thereof both the infected person and the non-infected person in a shared space or in close contact are wearing.
What is the Difference Between KN95 and N95?
Both the N95 and KN95 filter 95 percent of tiny airborne particles (0.3 microns), meaning that they are both effective at protecting the wearer against the virus that causes COVID-19. The two masks perform similarly in other areas as well, but there are some differences that you should be aware of when asking “What is the Difference Between KN95 and N95 Face Masks?”
Besides the N95 being made to meet US standards and the KN95 being made to meet Chinese standards, data obtained from the performance testing of both masks show that there is a lower pressure drop on inhalation and exhalation for the N95 facemask. This signifies that the N95 is slightly more breathable than the KN95 face mask. This should be taken into consideration for intended wearers who may have existing breathing conditions as their breathing may become more restricted.
Another difference is that the KN95 features ear loops as the means to attach to the wearer’s head, versus the head straps utilized on the N95 face mask. While many wearers find the ear loops to be more comfortable, it could impact the effectiveness of the mask if not sized correctly.
By the Numbers: What is the Difference Between KN95 and N95?
Double masking was previously recommended when the delta variant of COVID-19 was the dominant variant, but that is no longer the case. The CDC and several other organizations suggest that even those that have received the COVID-19 vaccines wear NIOSH-approved N95 respirators or KN95 face masks. Fit testing is not required to wear masks like the N95 or KN95, however, it does increase the protection rating by 100x.
Still not sure what the difference is between KN95 and N95 face masks?
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IMPORTANT: Always read and follow respirator mask user instructions.