- "What's the difference between N95 and KN95?"
They are similar. They both stop 95% of particles greater than 0.3 microns in size. The COVID-19 virus is approximately 0.125 Micron or 125 nanometers in diameter. (Source: National Library of Medicine)
However, it often travels in biological aerosols from coughing and sneezing which range in size from 0.5-3 Micron.
According to mask manufacturer 3M, “it is reasonable to consider” China’s KN95s “equivalent” to US N95s. Mask standards for Europe (FFP2), Australia (P2), Korea (KMOEL), and Japan (DS) are also highly similar.
The N95 is the USA Code.
The KN95 is the Chinese code.
The DS is the Japanese code.
The KF94/KMOEL is Korean code.
The FFP2 is the European Union & United Kingdom code.
Lots of users care most about what percentage of particles the masks capture. On this metric, N95 and KN95 respirator masks are the same. Both masks are rated to capture 95% of tiny particles (0.3 micron particles, to be exact). (Source: Smart Air Filters)
Both ratings require masks to be tested for filtration efficiency at capturing salt particles (NaCl). Both are tested at a flow rate of 85 L/minute. However, there are some differences between N95 and KN95.
Most of these differences are small and would be uninteresting to the average mask user. However, here are the key differences:
- To be labeled as a KN95 mask, the Chinese government requires the manufacturer to run mask fit tests on real humans with ≤ 8% leakage. The N95 mask standard does not require manufacturers to run fit tests.
This does not mean that fit tests aren’t helpful. Many hospitals and companies require their workers to be fit-tested. However, those are requirements of companies themselves, not for the US NIOSH certification on the mask.
- N95 masks have slightly stricter requirements for pressure drop while inhaling. That means they’re required to be slightly more breathable than KN95 masks.
N95s also have slightly stricter requirements for pressure drop while exhaling, which should help with breathability.
Bottomline: Difference between N95 and KN95 Masks
N95s and KN95s are both rated to capture 95% of particles, although only KN95 masks are required to pass fit tests. N95 masks have slightly stronger requirements for breathability. (Source: Smart Air Filters)
"What's the difference between KN95 FDA CE and KN95 Everyday Use*?"
Great question! KN95 FDA CE are the masks that we have documentation and lab results stating they are registered with the FDA & CE. We can email these to you at any time to verify or even show you how to verify them on the FDA.gov website. Just ask!
KN95 Everyday Use* are the KN95 we have in stock that we do not have FDA and CE certifications or registrations on hand but they are still acceptable for everyday things such as going to the grocery store, heading to the beach or the park, strolling through the malls and etc. These are lower priced due to the inability to verify certifications or registrations but still effective for everyday civilian use.
These are not recommended for medical use. We only carry these for our customers who do not use KN95 masks in toxic environments and prefer paying lower prices for their KN95s.
Heading over to the grocery store?
Want to take a stroll through the park?
KN95 Everyday Use* masks are perfect for that and other "everyday" activities. They offer more protection than the Disposable 3-PLY masks.
We will always be honest with what you are buying.
- "Why do the KN95 seem to have holes in them?"
Those aren't holes. That's where the layers of fabric come together and are compressed by heat to stick. They also enable breathability while wearing the masks. Try pouring some water in the masks and notice how the water does not seep through the masks.
"Tell me more about the thickness level for the masks?"
Sometimes thicker may seem better, but that's not necessarily the case with masks. Our masks are able to achieve high levels of filtration (95%+ according to lab results) with less thickness. Thickness of the masks can also make it harder to breathe while wearing it. Also, some of our customers wear it all day so the heaviness of the masks can become irritating to your ears and face after long use time.
We try to find a perfect balance of thickness, weight and filtration.
"Do your KN95 masks really have 95% filtration?"
According to the lab results we receive from our manufacturers, our KN95 masks have filtration above 95%. We are happy to share these results with you as well.
"How long do you recommend wearing the KN95 masks?"
We have to tell you that they are one-time use and disposable. But that really adds up and starts to become really expensive.
We personally use them for up to 12-16 hours, from the moment we rise to the moment we sleep. We caveat this by saying we are also not around toxic environments or actively doing open heart surgery. If you are around those environments or doing things that put you at a higher risk of breathing toxic air, please abide by the 1 time use recommendation.
"My first order I received a different type of mask than my second or third order. Why is that?"
That is very normal, not to worry! Let us explain.
We work with 2-3 manufacturers for each product for a variety of reasons. Some include to spread out risk in case shipping carriers and/or customs agents decide to delay our orders (this happens more often than not) or even to make sure that we aren't overly reliant on one manufacturer in case something drastic happens.
This mixed in with the fact that manufacturers are constantly changing and updating their products due to new weekly regulations from the governments. As well as also taking time to improve the products based on our constant feedback to them results in micro changes to the products frequently.
“Why do some your masks say it’s for 'non-medical use'?"
For FDA registered manufacturers, in order to pass customs and import their products into the US they cannot claim "for medical use" on the packaging until they are approved by the FDA. Again, there are only 14 factories on the "approved" list which are all backed up, highly expensive and do not offer low quantities for ordering.
If you see KN95 boxes that say "for non-medical use," this is because the government of China does not allow the exports of KN95 (all KN95 are made in China) with "for medical use" on the boxes unless they are on the list of CDC Appendix A list of factories. If you look around you will see that 99.5% of the KN95 masks will say "for non-medical use" on the boxes. This is because they have to say this, there is no other way around it.
If you see any boxes of KN95 from other vendors that have the FDA or CE logos on them and say "for medical use," please be cautious. These are likely to be fakes.
With that being said we still have many medical professionals, dentists, first responders and others in higher risk situations use our masks. We have all the documents and lab results to show these are legitimate masks from legitimate factories. They've even come back and order multiple times!