Masks ranked by COVID-19 effectiveness
View our selection of Masks
N95 masks have been the gold standard for protection since day one and are the preferred choice of US Health-care workers. When the pandemic started there was a severe shortage of these masks. However due to increased production many brands of N95 such as BYD and ALG Health are readily available. The masks forms a tight seal over the users mouth/nose and filters the air at a minimum of 95%. N95 have long been worn to combat poor air quality in both health-care and industrial settings. They are the United States standard filtration mask and are certified by NIOSH.
Maverick Medical -ALG Health American made N95
Maverick Medical- BYD N95
KN95 masks are the Chinese standard respirator or N95 equivalent. Their filtration efficiency is very close to an N95 and is the more cost effective solution. Due to the shortage of N95 during the Coronavirus the FDA has now approved certain KN95 for use by USA Health-care workers. This list is known as Appendix a (EUA) and can be found online on the FDA's website. While they do filter similar to the N95 they form a slightly looser seal causing minor leakage. However it should be noted that leakage is inherent with most coverings and the KN95 still performs extremely well. Nations such as China and South korea benefited greatly from widespread usage of KN95/KP94's helping them decrease the spread of COVID-19.
3. ASTM Rated (Surgical) mask
Surgical face masks come in ASTM ratings of 1-3 with 1 being the lowest and 3 the highest. Surgical masks are great at forming a barrier and a liquid shield for doctors while they perform procedures to prevent contamination. Most level 3 masks also perform as a filter similar to N95 and KN95. However with a lower filtration rate then both it ranks third.
4. 3-ply Mask
The traditional blue disposable mask you have been seeing some many people wearing sine the pandemic started. These masks are made of 2 ply of Non-woven fabric and middle layer of polypropylene. This layer of polypropylene acts as a barrier to prevent water droplets IE coughs/sneeze liquids form soaking through the mask.
Your standard cotton/wool mask has a filtration efficiency of about 50%, this means particles can freely flow between the wearer and the environment around them. They also provide no liquid barrier with water droplets easily soaking through the mask. It's for this reason the CDC has conceded that cloth mask filtration efficacy cannot compete with N95/KN95 and shouldn't be worn by any healthcare worker during the pandemic. However the cloth mask is still much better than no mask at all.
6. Neck gaiter
Neck gaiters are very thin and offer the user minimal protection at best, however still better than no mask.
7. No Mask
Goes without saying.