Stocking up on PPE has become the norm over the last year. While it's a little more straightforward to find a pair of safety glasses that offer protection and hand sanitizer that meets the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendation of using a formula with 60 to 95% alcohol concentration, when it comes to choosing a face mask, the choices can feel overwhelming. N95 masks are still the gold standard, but since the CDC recommends saving them for healthcare workers, many people have turned to the Chinese equivalent, KN95 masks, instead.
According to Julie Chen, MD, an integrative medicine physician who is board-certified in internal medicine, that's because 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."
While KN95 masks may provide a high level of protection, there are a few things to consider when shopping for one. Only a few Chinese manufactures have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use, so if you choose to wear one of these masks, be sure to select an option from this list. Plus, you should also be aware there are many counterfeit KN95 masks being sold online, so it's important to do some research before buying any.
Here are 6 FDA-approved KN95 masks that you can buy on Amazon:
Dr. Chen recommends avoiding any KN95 masks with decorative fabric or sequins, as well as options that claim to be approved for children. She also suggests looking for options that have FDA-approved markings on either the mask itself or the packaging. To make the process easier, some brands now include an anti-counterfeit label on the box so you can verify the authenticity on its website.
Ready to add a KN95 mask to your PPE collection? With Dr. Chen's guidelines in mind, we scoured through hundreds of options online and found six KN95 masks that are listed on the FDA's Emergency Use Authorization List and available to buy on Amazon. Keep reading to shop them all, and just remember to double check the packaging when they arrive to verify their authenticity.
This KN95 mask is a popular option among Amazon customers thanks to its comfortable fit and lightweight design. Along with four protective layers of fabric and durable elastic ear loops, each mask also has an adjustable nose guard that helps you find a custom fit. According to the brand, a test done by the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory proved the mask provides 99.76 percent of filtration efficiency. Even better, the mask’s packaging comes with an anti-counterfeit label for added verification.
This KN95 mask also has a seal of approval from the FDA and thousands of Amazon shoppers alike. 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 that work together to block out more than 95 percent of particles. The foldable mask features a 3D-shaped design that fits snugly to the face while still leaving plenty of breathing room around the nose and mouth.
If you’re looking to stock up on KN95 masks, check out this option that’s manufactured by Dongguan Sengtor Plastics Products Co., Ltd. The masks are available in packs of 10, 20, and 50, so you can easily find a set that suits your needs. Shoppers say the five-layer masks are comfortable enough to wear for long periods of time and are very easy to breathe in. Reviewers also like that they come in three versatile colors: white, grey, and black.
This KN95 mask boasts a form-fitting design, a flexible nose piece, and elastic ear loops that are comfortable on your ears. Each mask has also been tested and proven to block more than 95 percent of particles, according to the brand — it also notes that the masks should fit nicely on most face shapes and sizes, as long as there is a distance of 3.5 inches from the middle of the nose to the chin. “These seem to be very good for the money,” wrote one shopper. “Each box has a tamper-proof seal to make sure the masks haven’t been replaced, and each pack (comes in packs of 10) has a QA certification in each sealed back. Mask fits me and the wife much better and more comfortably than the N95 masks that we had been using.”
According to a test by the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory, this KN95 mask blocks dust, particles, and droplets with a minimum filter efficiency of 99.81 percent. Like many options on this list, there are five layers in total; four of them are made from melt-blown cloth and non-woven fabric while the fifth layer is a filter sponge. The built-in nose guard not only prevents the mask from slipping off while you talk, but it also helps it mold to your face better, preventing air from seeping out the top and fogging up glasses lenses.
While this KN95 face mask is sold in a set of five, each mask is individually sealed within the box for added safekeeping. The five-layer mask blocks both liquid and dust particles, and according to the brand, it offers more protection than a standard three-layer disposable mask. Many shoppers say they are able to breathe comfortably in this mask and they like that it fits securely around their face.
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