N95 and KN95 Masks You Can Order Online to Replace Your Cloth Face Covers

Experts agree: It’s time for a more serious mask.

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n95 and kn95 face mask
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It's been nearly two years since the pandemic upended just about every part of daily life. However, we've come a long way since March 2020: Vaccines and booster shots are widely accessible in the U.S., new treatments have been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and effective face masks are available to order online.

As COVID-19 cases increase nationwide due to the newly dominant Omicron variant, you might be rethinking your go-to face masks for running errands, going to work, and traveling. And according to some experts and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it's about time to retire your cloth face coverings and switch to disposable masks, including N95 or KN95 masks.

Face masks with at least three layers of material, surgical masks, N95 masks, and KN95 masks "all offer good protection provided that they fit well," according to Amira Roess, PhD, MPH, professor of global health and epidemiology at George Mason University College of Health and Human Services. "The data have shown that the risk of infection decreases when wearing high quality masks correctly and frequently."

While cloth face masks were once the only option for people outside of the health care field, that's no longer the case. "Currently, we have a better supply of disposable surgical masks, KN95s, and N95s, and the need for a cloth alternative is no longer as strong," Roess says.

N95 vs. KN95 Face Masks

The main distinction between N95 and KN95 masks is that N95 masks are the gold standard in airborne particle filtration in the U.S., while KN95 masks offer the Chinese equivalent of this. Both types of medical-grade masks meet certain international standards, according to the CDC.

When shopping for N95 masks, you'll want to make sure you find options that are approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). In order to get this certification, a mask has to be able to filter out at least 95 percent of airborne particles. (There's even a list of approved manufacturers you can browse on the CDC site to make sure the mask you buy is legitimate.) KN95 masks are not approved by NIOSH, and you'll have to keep an eye out for counterfeits, as this has become a problem with increased demand.

No matter which type of face mask you choose, Roess emphasizes the importance of finding one that fits well and following instructions for wear. Ahead, take a look at five KN95 and N95 masks available to purchase online now; they all include at least three layers of material, have adjustable nose bridges, and block out no less than 95 percent of airborne particles. Plus, the N95 face masks are NIOSH-approved.

Vida Face Masks with KN95 Protection

Vida HIGH PROTECTION RECYCLABLE MASKS FDA Listed Adult Mask with KN95 Protection
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Made in San Diego, California, these face masks from Vida efficiently filter 95 to 99 percent of particles, according to the brand's lab testing. They each have elastic ear loops, five layers of material, and a flexible nose bridge. A pack of 10 adult KN95 masks costs $25, and shoppers can choose from eight colors and take advantage of the brand's recycling program. They're even available in kids' sizes. "Out of all the mask[s] we have tried, by far the KN95 from Vida has been the best," one reviewer said.

Kimberly-Clark Professional N95 Face Masks

Amazon Kimberly-Clark PROFESSIONAL N95 Pouch Respirator
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These face masks have a flat pouch design that allows for easy breathing and room to speak comfortably. With a minimum filtration efficiency of 95 percent, the masks have two straps and an adjustable nose piece to provide a snug, sealed fit. Multiple Amazon reviewers said the masks work well with glasses, and others noted that while the large breathing chamber may look silly, it makes the masks comfortable to wear. A pack of 50 masks costs $55 right now.

Evolvetogether KN95 Face Masks

evolvetogether rio de janeiro - 5 black KN95 masks
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Six breathable layers filter more than 95 percent of airborne particles from these KN95 face masks. They also feature activated charcoal to reduce odors and have a flat profile that's minimal yet leaves enough room for comfortable breathing. Finally, soft ear loops and an adjustable nose bridge offer a snug fit. It's no wonder this celebrity-loved style is known for selling out quickly.

Vida N95 Face Masks

Vida HIGH PROTECTION RECYCLABLE MASKS NIOSH and FDA Authorized N95 Mask
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You can stock up on 10 NIOSH-approved N95 face masks from Vida for $38. Each mask has four layers of material and provides at least a 95 percent filtration efficiency from solid and liquid aerosols. You can ensure they'll fit snug thanks to two elastic head straps and an adjustable nose bridge.

Maskc KN95 Face Masks

Maskc BLACK KN95 FACE MASKS - 10 PACK
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Maskc's KN95 face masks offer five layers of protection with a soft inner layer to keep skin comfortable. A pack of 10 costs $36, and each comes with an adjustable nose bridge and ear loops. Hundreds of users left five-star reviews for the masks, including a healthcare worker who wrote, "These masks provide comfort, ease of breathing, and very little fogging of safety glasses when used."

Demetech N95 Face Masks

Amazon DemeTECH NIOSH N95 Respirator Face Mask
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For $65, you can order a pack of 20 Demetech NIOSH-approved N95 face masks on Amazon. Made with six layers of materials, the masks can filter out 98 percent (or more) of airborne particles, according to the brand. Plus, a bendable nose bridge and two head straps will keep each mask sealed tightly around the face. Hundreds of Amazon shoppers gave them five-star ratings, including one reviewer who said, "Last week, I wore the mask for an entire day because I was flying. Couldn't believe that it was comfortable for the entire time. Now, I wear one whenever I'm out in public."

Maxboost N95 Face Masks

Amazon NIOSH Approved N95 Mask Particulate Respirator
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At $40 for a pack of 20, these N95 face masks come out to just $2 each. The NIOSH-approved masks protect against at least 95 percent of non-oil based particles, and they each come with double head straps and a bendable nose clip that allows for a tight fit. With more than 2,100 five-star ratings from shoppers, the masks have also earned the number one spot on Amazon's best-seller list of reusable respirators. Reviewers say they're comfortable to wear for long periods of time, especially thanks to the built-in foam strip inside the mask that rests across the nose.

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