As the world struggles with the second wave of COVID-19, respirator masks have become the public’s first line of defense against the novel coronavirus. The CDC, NIOSH, and OSHA, alongside the World Health organization, all recommend masks as protective equipment against the rapidly increasing COVID-19 virus.

Here is a quick comparison to help understand the similarities and differences between the two top respirator mask contenders – the N95 and KN95:

surgical mask, n95 mask and kn95 mask


— Perhaps the most important factor when choosing a respirator mask, is determining how well the mask will filter and protect from viruses, bacteria, and airborne threats. Both masks filter out 95% of tiny particles (0.3 microns).
— Both masks are made for one-time use to maximize convenience and efficiency


— The masks differ in how they attach to the face. KN95 masks use the ear loop method, while the N95 mask uses two head-strap attachments that go around the back of the head, under the ears and over the crown of the head.
— The price difference. N95 masks tend to be pricier than the KN95 alternative.
— Comfort. Some wearer’s find that the KN95 provides for a more user-friendly experience as the straps make it easier and quicker to put on and remove the mask. Additionally, due to the tightness of the seal, some have found N95 masks cause for greater discomfort.

Both masks are extremely effective in preventing transmission of the coronavirus. Ultimately the decision lies in the wearer’s preferences and conditions for fit, affordability, and comfort.