The 8 Best COVID-19 Face Masks of 2023

DemeTECH NIOSH N95 filters out more than 98% of airborne particles.

In This Article

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The 8 Best COVID-19 Face Masks of 2022

Health / Amazon

Face masks, particularly high-filtration N95s and KN95s, were once a hot commodity during the pandemic. However, as time passed, manufacturers began to increase production of those masks, allowing the general public to purchase the most protective masks against COVID-19. Now that the flu, COVID-19, and RSV are on the rise, possibly causing a tripledemic, health officials advise people to use face masks again.

Reviewed & Approved

Our overall pick for the best face mask is the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-approved DemeTECH NIOSH N95 Respirator Face Mask as it meets the requirements of high-level protection, it provides comfort for daily use, and it's easily breathable. For traveling, we like the Kimberly-Clark PROFESSIONAL N95 Pouch Respirator because of its lightweight, comfortable design.

With all the different masks to choose from, many factors come into play when choosing a mask, such as when to wear one, the level of protection you want, fit, comfort, and cost-effectiveness.

According to the CDC’s recent guidance, masks should be worn when there is a high level of COVID in your community. And people at higher risk of getting sick (such as the elderly, people with certain medical conditions, or pregnant individuals) should consider wearing masks regardless of the level of COVID in their community.

Monica Gandhi, MD, MPH, Director of UCSF-Bay Area Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), recommends N95, KN95, KF94, FFP2, or double-masking while indoors to block respiratory pathogens. According to Dr. Gandhi, masks work on an individual level as long as the individual is properly wearing the face mask. Experts and the CDC recommend wearing a mask that covers your mouth and nose while fitting under your chin. The mask must be snug on your face while allowing you to breathe easily.

Julie Chen, MD, an integrative medicine physician who is board-certified in internal medicine, says these masks are made from "multiple layers of material that block 95 percent of 0.3 micron particles. Coronavirus is even smaller, at 0.1 microns, but are typically bound to something larger (like droplets), so it's purported to be 95 percent protective."

Keep in mind face masks come in all different shapes and sizes. Again, the type of face mask you choose depends on several factors such as level of protection, cost, comfort, and size. During this point of the pandemic, masks such as N95 are more readily available for the general population and are no longer limited to just healthcare professionals.

Best Overall

DemeTECH NIOSH N95 Respirator Face Mask

DemeTECH NIOSH N95 Respirator Face Mask

Amazon

Why We Like it: It filters out more than 98 percent of airborne particles and is made in the United States. 

It’s Worth Noting: This mask may not be a great option for people with small faces. 

The DemeTECH NIOSH N95 respirator face mask has been highly rated as a protective N95 mask that can be worn daily with comfort and ease. The mask has five layers with 2 filtration layers that filter more than 98 percent of all airborne particles. The mask features double-welded head straps with an adjustable nose piece to provide a strong fit and seal against the wearer’s face. 

Price at time of publication: $65

Product Details:

  • Type of mask: N95
  • Reusable: No
  • Size of pack: 20 pack

Most Comfortable

ApePal 5-Layer Disposable KN95 Safety Face Mask

ApePal 5-Layer Disposable KN95 Wide Elastic Ear Loops Safety Face Mask

Amazon

Why We Like it: This KN95 mask is lightweight and comfortable, plus it comes in multiple colors.

It’s Worth Noting: Newer masks may run larger than previous batches.

With its wide elastic ear loops and five-layer protection, this mask provides a comfortable fit that allows you to breathe easily during prolonged wear. The lightweight mask can be adjusted to fit different face shapes and sizes properly. The wide elastic ear loops provide comfort and do not irritate behind the ears when wearing the mask for a long period.

Price at time of publication: $6

Product Details:

  • Type of mask: KN95
  • Reusable: No
  • Size of pack: 10 pack

Best Budget

Boncare KN95 Face Mask

Face Mask

Boncare

Why We Like It: The shape naturally conforms to the wearer’s face to allow for comfortable talking and facial movement.

It’s Worth Noting: These masks are on the smaller side, so they may not be a good choice for people with large faces.

Each mask features five layers for ample protection. The outer layers are made with a non-woven material that is soft against the skin, while the three inner layers are made from hot air cotton and melt-blown fabric. They work together to block out more than 95 percent of particles. The foldable mask features a triangular design that fits snugly on the face but still leaves plenty of breathing room around the nose and mouth.

Price at time of publication: $13

Product Details:

  • Type of mask: Disposable mask
  • Reusable: No
  • Size of pack: 30

Best for Kids

Happy Masks Pro

Happy Masks Pro

Happy Masks

Why We Like it: These fun, colorful masks feature a unique “parrot design” that makes them comfortable for kids to wear.

It’s Worth Noting: The masks are reusable but need to be hand-washed between uses.

With its unique “parrot-beak” design, the mask leaves space for your nose and mouth to easily breathe while still protecting you with its five layers of protection. Happy Masks come in different sizes however the adjustable nose wire and ear straps help ensure a perfect fit for various face shapes.

Happy Masks are a hit with children because they come in a variety of colors and designs. And the adjustable nose wire and ear straps help avoid irritation on kids’ sensitive skin. Parents will love that the mask has a 95 percent filtration rate and can be reused up to 50 times. 

Price at time of publication: $24

Product Details:

  • Type of mask: N99
  • Reusable: Yes
  • Size of pack: 1 mask

Best Adjustable

Enro Solid Tech Face Mask

Enro Solid Tech Face Mask

Enro

Why We Like it: The mask comes in six different sizes with adjustable nose and ear loops.

It’s Worth Noting: Sizes may run larger than the measurements indicated on the website. 

The Enro Solid Tech Face Mask gives a customized fit for each wearer. The masks come in six different sizes that range from XXS to XL. They also include an adjustable nose bridge and adjustable ear loops.

This face mask can also be washed up to 100 times in the washing machine, which makes it one of the most sustainable face masks. Enro masks feature a 99% virus, bacteria, and particle filtration efficiency rate. The ultra-lightweight mask also provides comfort that helps wearers breathe easier, even while running and exercising.

Price at time of publication: $17

Product Details:

  • Type of mask: Cloth mask
  • Reusable: Yes
  • Size of pack: 1 mask

Best for Travel

Kimberly-Clark Professional N95 Pouch Respirator (53358)

Kimberly-Clark Professional N95 Pouch Respirator (53358)

Amazon

Why We Like it: The unique design makes the mask comfortable to wear for long periods of time (like on a flight). 

It’s Worth Noting: It might not be suitable for smaller faces.

The softer pouch style of this NIOSH-approved N95 mask provides a lighter and more comfortable wear than the traditional cup-shaped N95 masks, which makes it great for traveling, The design of the mask makes it easier to breathe while still forming a seal around the nose and mouth to help protect the wearer. The mask also features headbands that go over the head versus around the ears to add more comfort for long-term wear. Many shoppers have noted how well the mask can be molded to properly fit their faces.

Price at time of publication: $48

Product Details:

  • Type of mask: N95
  • Reusable: No
  • Size of pack: 50 pack

Best Recyclable

VIDA NIOSH and FDA Approved N95 Mask

VIDA NIOSH and FDA Approved N95 Mask

Vida

Why We Like It: These masks can be sent back to the company when you’re done using them and the company will recycle them.

It’s Worth Noting: VIDA masks are non-washable and should be replaced on a daily basis.

VIDA’s N95 masks are NIOSH- and FDA-approved and are environmentally friendly. The N95 respirator mask provides a 95 percent+ filtration rate against solid and liquid aerosols. It has four protective layers, two headbands, and an adjustable nose bridge wire. The masks come in three different sizes: regular, kids XS, and kids, alongside a family pack option where both kids and regular sizes can be purchased together.

VIDA has a sustainability program to help ensure the masks get properly recycled. They provide customers with a shipping label so used masks can be sent back to their facility.

Price at time of publication: $30

Product Details:

  • Type of mask: N95
  • Reusable: No
  • Size of pack: Varies from 10 to 1,000 pack

Best Surgical Masks

MagiCare Medical Grade Disposable Face Masks

MagiCare Medical Grade Disposable Face Masks

Amazon

Why We Like it: These disposable surgical masks are made in the United States. 

It’s Worth Noting: The masks are not individually wrapped, so they may be hard to carry as spares when out and about. 

This disposable face mask has a three-layer protection made of soft breathable material. The soft inner lining is designed for comfort and to keep your face cool and moisture free. The strong but pliable nose wire allows this mask to contour to the face for a snug fit. The ear loop of this mask is made of a highly stretchable soft material that is latex-free. The strong ear loop won’t break as easily as other disposable face masks.

Price at time of publication: $13

Product Details:

  • Type of mask: Disposable surgical mask
  • Reusable: No
  • Size of pack: 50 pack

How We Selected

To determine the best face masks for COVID-19 protection, we ask experts for their recommendations and why. We took the experts' recommendations into consideration alongside the recommendations of the CDC when picking each face mask listed.

While reviewing the various face masks on the market, we took into account whether the mask is NIOSH- and FDA-approved, the level of protection, the cost-effectiveness, the comfort, and the ease of use and breathing. We offer a range of different types of face masks that fit various budgets and various levels of protection.

What to Know About Face Masks

High-filtration N95 masks approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) are still the gold standard as they provide more robust protection (95% filtration rate against small and large particles). Since they sell out quickly and can be hard to come by, many people have turned to the Chinese equivalent, KN95 masks, instead. 

If you don’t have an N95 or KN95 mask, a surgical mask is the next best option. Surgical masks can protect you from large viral droplets, but they don’t filter out the smallest particles. Surgical masks also don’t fit as snugly as N95 or KN95 masks, so their protection is not as strong. 

When purchasing face masks, it’s also important to consider the size, shape, and whether it has an ear loop or nose wire to help you get the most secure fit.

How Much to Expect to Pay for N95 Face Mask

The cost of N95 face masks can vary depending on where the masks are purchased, the quality of the masks, and if it’s being purchased as a singular mask or a pack of masks. Our best overall mask DemeTECH NIOSH N95 Respirator Face Mask comes in a pack of 20 for $65, while our budget choice Boncare KN95 Face Mask costs $13 for a pack of 30.

Your Questions, Answered

What is a Medical-Grade Face Mask and When Do We Need to Use Them?

Medical-grade face masks are loose-fitting, disposable masks that create a physical barrier between the mouth and nose of the wearer and potential contaminants in the immediate environment. They can be worn on a day-to-day basis in any environment.

How effective are N95 face masks against COVID-19?

N95 face masks are recommended by experts and the CDC for protection against COVID-19. With a 95 percent filtration rate, N95 masks reduce the wearer's exposure to particles including small particle aerosols and large droplets. A well-fitted N95 face mask will help reduce the transmission of the virus.

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