What is the difference between N95 and KN95 masks?

Wearing a face mask has become a way of life yet again as the Delta variant continues to surge across the United States.

The Delta variant now accounts for more than 93% of all cases in the U.S., mostly among the unvaccinated population. It prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reverse course and change its mask guidance.

The CDC now recommends people in areas with “high” or “substantial” COVID-19 transmission wear masks indoors again.

Many big-retailers have also returned to requiring employees and/or customers to wear a face mask, including Kohl’s, Home Depot, Lowe’s and Wegmans, to name a few.

“Masks are a simple barrier to help prevent your respiratory droplets from reaching others,” the CDC says. “Studies show that masks reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth.”

Duke University also published a study last year that says the three most effective types of face masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus are N95, three-layer disposable and cotton. There were 14 types of face masks used in the study.

What is the difference between N95 and KN95 masks?

An N95 mask “is a respiratory protective device designed to achieve a very close facial fit and very efficient filtration of airborne particles,” according to the FDA. Fit testing is also recommended to ensure a secure fit.

N95 masks were once difficult to find since they were in high-demand at the start of the pandemic, but plenty of N95 masks are now currently available.

The main difference between the two is KN95 masks are typically regulated by the Chinese government, while N95 masks are regulated by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in the U.S., according to a report by Men’s Health.

Several reputable merchants specialize in certified N95 mask and KN95 mask sales with reasonably fast shipping, notably companies like N95 Medical Supplies, N95MaskCo and Well Before.

Here are N95 and KN95 face masks currently available online.

Best KN95 face masks and where to buy them online

Where to buy N95 face masks in bulk online:

Where to buy single N95 face masks online:

Where to buy KN95 face masks in bulk online:

Where to buy single KN95 face masks online:


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