It is a known fact that masks like the N95 mask have taken over the world by storm. Prior to the pandemic, the N95 mask’s demand had skyrocketed due to various natural phenomena that took place in some parts of the world. Now that the pandemic is here, the demand for medical-grade masks like the N95 mask had gotten out of hand. The N95 mask gained popularity across the fields, to name a few: Medicine, Engineering, and Construction. Some of you might be wondering as to why there are N95 mask types that have valves and the other types do not have valves. This is because both types of N95 masks have distinct benefits and functions they carry.

Differences between the valved and the unvalved N95 masks

One thing is for sure, the only difference these N95 mask types have is the valve. But aside from the valve, there are differences between these N95 mask types. The Valved N95 mask can aid in breathing, especially in exhaling. Also, this N95 mask type does not contribute to mist formation to any wearer who wears any sort of eyewear. The Unvalved N95 mask may not aid in breathing but it guarantees protection from any form of bacterial contamination better than the valved type. In terms of price, the unvalved N95 mask type is way cheaper.

Another way to look into the differences between these N95 mask types is through their style. 3M, the world’s leading and trusting brand for medical-grade N95 masks, had a guide uploaded on their website. This guide will allow the consumers as to which N95 mask type should they buy for themselves.

As discussed in the earlier parts, there are distinct uses for both N95 mask types. The Unvalved N95 mask is frequently used in the medical field. It is because this mask does not have any exhalation valve. The exhalation valve may filter the inhaled air flowing in but the exhaled air that is going out is not filtered. The exhaled air is contaminated with bacteria. Medical establishments like hospitals are sanitary areas. And in these sanitary areas, there are even more sanitary areas that do not permit any strain of bacteria to enter. The unvalved N95 mask also is better protection than the valved one. 95% of free-floating aerosols with unknown viruses and bacteria are filtered by this N95 mask. Although the valved N95 mask can also perform the way the unvalved does, the triggering part is the valve. This is why the valved N95 mask model is rarely used in hospitals.

But that does not mean, using the valved N95 mask is invalidated. In fact, there are other fields that use the valved N95 mask more often than hospitals. Aside from filtering up to 95% of strains of viruses and bacteria, the N95 mask also can filter dust, smoke, smog, and other tiny particles in the air. The valve is responsible for aiding the breathing of the wearer of the N95 mask. It lessens the struggle of exhaling, giving convenience to breathing. Also, this N95 mask does not contribute to the accumulation of humidity on the inside.

Which fields use the valved N95 mask?


Construction obviously needs the valved N95 mask. It prevents the workers from accumulating a great amount of dust and dirt while working. Carpenters and Masons need the valved N95 mask to prevent themselves from inhaling too much powder from cement, sawdust, and other forms of dust. The valve is perfect for them to ease breathing.


Welding deals more with toxic and volatile gases. Also, welders wear eyepieces for them to be protected from the light that is emitted from the soldering rod. The valved N95 mask is a big help for welders for it does not only aid breathing, it also helps eliminate the moisture that is accumulated. This makes the N95 mask even more comfortable. Moreover, the exhaled air is removed so that mist does not build up in their eyewear.


Engineers are probably the supervisors in the project. They visit sites as to how far the project is going. While visiting, they are susceptible to dust and smoke that can trigger an allergy. The valve N95 mask can help in filtering dust and smoke. Thus, alleviating the danger of an allergy attack.


Mining is one of the most strenuous jobs on the planet. They do not deal with big boulders and machines, they also deal with dust, smoke, fine particles of sand, and rocks that carry unknown substances. These unknown substances can carry toxic elements and compounds that can trigger the miners’ health. Models of the valved N95 mask for this particular work are created to filter even finer pieces of sand and rock. Also, this allows miners to breathe easily and comfortably.

Oil Industry

In the oil industry, they deal with not only oil and fuel; workers also deal with the vapor that comes out of the drilled oil and fuel. There are models of the valved N95 mask that helps in aiding relief from the natural vapor. This is because the natural vapor that is exuded by oil is extremely harmful to the lungs. Thus, models of the valved N95 mask specific for this one are created against natural vapor.

Both of the N95 mask types have specific uses and functions. Although the unvalved N95 mask type works better than the other one, does not mean that the work that the valved N95 mask does is invalid. It simply means both of the N95 mask types work on different occasions, in different fields. 

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