What’s the Difference between N95 masks and P2 Masks?

Before the notorious coronavirus started hitting major countries of the world, the public had only vague knowledge about the usage and disposal of various masks and respirators. A person’s knowledge about respirator/masks and their functions was limited, the recent events this year however have greatly contributed to people’s expansion of knowledge about this particular Personal protective equipment. And even now people are trying their best to stay updated and acquire more knowledge about them as this will also help them figure out which respirator or mask will be best suited for them.

Masks and respirators come in different sizes and are designed for various purposes. Some of the most common types of masks are surgical masks, dust and cloth masks, and the very well-known N95 mask. An N95 is a respirator that is concerned with the filtration of airborne particulates such as dust, viruses (including COVId-19) fluids, and droplets as well. But there isn’t just one N95 respirator, although all the models have the same objective-to give protection against airborne particulates. But N95’s models are designed differently than their predecessors although all of them are equally capable and efficient.

Coming on to the P2 masks, these are the masks that are used in the construction and industrial sectors. They are designed specifically to be used by the workers of these sectors and are manufactured accordingly. The P2 mask is sort of a variant of the N95 respirator and is labeled P2 because of the mask’s ability to filter out the finest of particles that entails smoke particles, also making it suitable to be worn during bushfires. As bushfires are quite prevalent in America, this mask will keep the wearer protected from the harmful smoke that could have a dire effect on their health as well.

To be effective, a P2 mask must be worn with a tight seal that in some cases could also be rather difficult for people to achieve who have facial hair or maybe younger. So the most important point to keep in mind while purchasing a P2 mask would be to make sure the size is the best fit for you. If a P2 mask is not correctly donned or is left unsealed over the bridge of the nose and mouth or there are gaps between the mask face, then the mask will not be effective at all

The P2 masks are manufactured according to the Australian standards to ensure the best safety for workers and everyone who wears this mask. The N95 however, does not follow these standards making it entirely different from the P2 mask as N95 is a NIOSH and CDC approved mask that follows the standard of American Jurisdictions. Now the difference of standard between these two masks is their key difference which separates them from one another.

How similar is the N95 mask to the P2 mask?

Many people are confused about the difference between these two masks because they seem quite similar but then are again different. How so? Because they are both certified to different standards. Both masks are reliable in their way and are efficient as well but can one of them serve as a substitute for the other? Well, it could actually. Most of the features of N95 and P2 are alike, yes they are certified under different standards of different countries but they work pretty much the same and have similar functions too.

In addition, one could rule that they are in-fact replaceable with each other as both of them serve the same purpose and provide the same level of protection, with a few exceptions of course. People are wary about their safety and many of us are also scared of being handed a counterfeit or a sub-average mask instead of a legitimate one against the price of an effective and capable respirator. And in addition, people trust NIOSH and CDC whereas they don’t have much knowledge about Australian standards, which further contributes to people not preferring this mask over the N95, which is fathomable. Aside from this, there are also some minor differences between these two masks which are as following:

Filter efficiency

The P2 mask has a filtering efficiency of 94% where-as the N95, as the name notifies, filters out 95% of airborne particulates.

Aerosol flow rate

P2 mask has an aerosol flow rate of 95 liters per minute and the N95’s mask has a flow rate of 85 liters per minute.

Aerosol particle size

The N95 mask can filter particulates up-to-the size of 0.3 microns and the P2 mask can filter particulates up to the size of 0.3 to 0.6 microns.

Conclusion

The N95 mask and the P2 mask are not that different as their name makes them sound. Aside from a few differences, the two masks are not quite indistinguishable from each other. The key difference between these two masks is that of their certification standards. The difference of standard is the deal-breaker for many potential buyers since NIOSH and CDC are well-known and thus a buyer may prefer a mask that’s certified by them instead of P2.

Other than the key difference, there isn’t much of a reason to discriminate between these two masks as they both serve the same purpose and have the same capabilities. There are a few minor differences too but those are rather negligible and insignificant

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