If you want to make the right choice on protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic, this article will help you learn more about the differences between KN95 and N95 respirators/face masks.
KN95 masks and N95 are essentially the same. They have some slight differences, with the main one being the national standard of manufacturing that is followed in their production.
Both these masks provide excellent respiratory protection when worn tightly over the nose and mouth, and their purpose is to reduce the chances of inhaling viral aerosol particles, including dangerous bacteria and viruses such as the novel coronavirus.
Most wearers care primarily about the rate of protection that KN95 and N95 provide. On that front, the two masks are the same.
Both N95 and KN95 are disposable face masks and are considered safe to wear for up to 8 hours. Their air filters are not washable, and masks should not be worn more than once.
In reality, the differences between these masks are small and are usually unimportant to the average mask wearer. Let’s take a look at their main differences:
- The KN95 mask is the standard Chinese model of the N95 mask.
It’s available for sale in the US through authorized medical and construction protective equipment wholesalers. To be certified as a KN95 mask, the Chinese government puts requirements on the manufacturers to run mask fit tests on real people. The N95 mask, on the other hand, does not require manufacturers to run these fit tests.
This, however, doesn’t mean that fit tests aren’t effective. Many health facilities and private corporations require these fit tests, but those are the requirements of the company itself, not the requirements of the official certifiers of the mask – the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH.)
- N95 respirators have stricter requirements when it comes to pressure drop while inhaling. They are required to be slightly more breathable than KN95 respirators.
With KN95, you may also need a bit more energy to draw a deep breath while you’re wearing your mask. This is because the KN95 must filter all of your respiration for it to work efficiently. You’re breathing through the tightly-woven material, and this can cause an unfamiliar sensation if you’re not used to it.
- N95 respirators also have rigorous requirements for pressure drop while inhaling, also aiding their breathability.
Other than that, N95 and KN95 respirators are essentially the same.
Do we need an N95 or KN95 respirator?
Medical-grade, seal-tested respirator masks are the most effective form of protection you can get. These masks feature tangled fibers that allow them to filter pathogens from the air you’re breathing in, and they fit very close to the face, covering the edges around the mouth and nose.
These layers of material create a strong air filter capable of removing a minimum of 95 percent of airborne particles. Even though the effectiveness of the respirator depends on the quality of your fit, they remain an indispensable tool for all medical workers and people who want to protect themselves of the novel coronavirus.
Protective face wear has been scientifically proven to reduce the absorption of viral particles in the air, making them ideal to wear during the coronavirus pandemic.
Wearing an N95 or KN95 mask will protect you both (1) against contracting new illnesses and (2) minimizing the effects of pollutants which may aggravate respiratory issues.
In times of critical shortage, these should generally only be used by medical workers or people in high risk of exposure.
These respirators are perfect for crowded social environments such as public transport, shopping centers, and your routine visit to the doctor’s office.
But because the KN95 mask relies on achieving the perfect fit, it’s important that you find the right type of face mask for you. If you have a child under the age of 16 or you have a lot of facial hair, you may not be able to maintain the tight fit you need for the mask to remain effective.
Remember: Respirators are effective for protecting yourself against the coronavirus, but they are not the only measure should be taking. Remember to maintain excellent hygiene and follow social distancing norms.
Where to buy N95 respirators and face masks?
If you’re looking to buy N-95 respirator face masks:
Browse Clinical Supplies USA’s collection of N95 respirators in our store here.
If you’re looking to purchase wholesale face masks for sale/distribution to your local community:
Reach out to us and inquire for any purchase above 2,000 units here.
Clinical Supplies USA is an American co-owned and run company specializing in providing quality protective supplies such as KN95 and 3ply masks, hand sanitizers, face shields, gloves, and more.