3M N95 and KN95 Masks For Covid19 – Major Differences

Due to the tremendous rise in the cases of Covid – 19 across the world has led to the increase of companies manufacturing face masks. As the government officials still continue to keep promoting the usage and wearing of masks as an effective way to help prevent the spread of corona virus. Though there are a variety of different options available from light weight face masks for running purpose to stylish masks and customized masks.

However, the reports suggest that N95 masks are the most effective and protective of them all.

What is a KN95 Mask?

KN95 masks are considered similar in filtration capabilities to N95 technology. One of the major differences between KN95 and N95 is that the KN95s feature ear loops instead of head band protection.

Sometimes, the design is more pleasing for less skilled use, while only surgical quality of N95 masks would be FDA approved.

When we talk about this pandemic, the ear loop design is more pleasing for quick taking off and putting back on. Though, in medical avenues where users are likely to be exposed to high levels of viral load, a tighter fit with less leakage is most useful.

Similarities Between N95 Masks and KN95 Masks

Both N95 masks and KN95 masks are designed using multiple layers of synthetic material and are created to be worn over the mouth and nose. Straps to be put behind the ear, to help and hold the mask in place. Both masks are designed to filter out and capture 95 percent of tiny micron particles in the air (hence 95 is used in the names).

N95 masks offer protection against tiniest of particles, something as small as 0.3 microns in size, and while the corona virus itself is around 0.1 microns in size, it’s mostly attached to something bigger, for example, droplets that are produced by our daily activities such as breathing and talking.

Are the N95 Masks Reusable?

N95 masks are not meant to be reused. However shocking it may sound but the fact remains the same.

Unlike the cloth masks, that can be machine-washed and worn dozens of times, the best N95 masks are only effective when worn once or twice. One should discard these masks immediately after one or two use. They are strictly not meant to be washed and reused.

Meanwhile, KN95 masks are meant for single use as well.

Face coverings have become as essential as underwear.

Most of these differences given above are very small and would be uninteresting to the average mask user. However, here are the key differences:

  1. Primarily, to be certified as a KN95 mask, the Chinese government requires the manufacturer to run a special mask fit test on real humans with ≤ 8% leakage. Though 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, there are certain requirements of companies itself, not for the US NIOSH certification on the mask.

  1. N95 masks have slightly strict requirements for pressure drop while inhaling which means that they are required to be slightly more breathable than the KN95 masks.

Though it sometimes feels difficult to breathe through masks, dying from oxygen inhalation is very unlikely when wearing a mask.

  1. N95s also have slightly stricter requirements for pressure drop while exhalingwhich should help with breathing.

Moreover, the KN95 masks are generally regulated by the Chinese government, while the N95s are regulated by the U.S. government.

Approved KN95 masks will perform almost similar to N95 masks. They have almost the same filtration rate and are therefore equally safe if they are certified. KN95 masks might have ear loops while most N95 masks only attach with the help of head straps. KN95 masks are be more easily available for purchase as the demand for N95 masks continues to rise.

N95 masks and KN95 masks are both rated to capture 95% of particles. Among the little differences, only KN95 masks are required to pass fitting tests, while N95 masks have slightly stronger breathability standards. But as long as the respirator is properly attached, there’s very less reason to worry about choosing a N95 masks or a KN95 mask.

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