Face Masks - Comparing Different Standards N95 KN95 FFP2

A lot of people are asking what is the difference between normal face masks, N95, KN95 , KF94, FFP2 respiratory face masks?

Compare N95 vs KN95 vs FFP2 face masks

If you have time, we explain the differences below. 

In summary, They are basically all the same. They stop 95% of particles >0.3 microns in size. The N95 is the USA Code, KN95 is China code, KF94 is Korea code and FFP2 is the EU code, this includes the UK.

KN95, KF95 and FFP2 face masks are N95 face mask alternatives & N95 equivalents. They are all the same.

Can wearing a normal medical face mask protect you from Corona Virus?

A regular loose fitting face mask will not stop the corona virus. They can help you stop spreading sneezes, coughs and fluids to other people. This is how the corona virus spreads. People wearing face masks should dispose of them after every use.

Can a respiratory face mask stop the corona virus? 

Yes, respiratory face masks (they fit tightly around your nose and mouth) , commonly know as N95 face masks can protect against the virus if you wear and use them correctly. You need to fit them correctly so they are tight to face.

These masks are thicker than a normal medical mask. However, they need to be fitted properly, and they are not designed to be used for a long period. 30 minutes is an average time to wear. Some users will have trouble breathing. You can't wear N95, KN95 and FFP2 masks if you have a beard.

N95, KN95, KF95 and FFP2 comparison

In summary, different countries use different codes and numbers to name their respiratory face masks. They are all very similar.

The N95 is the USA standard

The KN95 is the China standard

The KF94 is the Korean standard

and

FFP2 is the EU standard. This includes the UK.

The most commonly known respirator rating is the NIOSH system, which rates masks as N95, N99, and N100. These masks are rated by the American National Institute for Occupational Safety and health, which is part of the CDC.

The number on a NIOSH rated masks signifies the filtration effectiveness of the filter. For example, an N95 mask is required to stop AT LEAST 95% of particles of 0.3 microns in size. An R95 mask will also filter out at least 95% of 0.3-micron particles.

The only difference comes in with N100 and P100 rated masks. Complete filtration is at this point impossible, and a 100 rated mask is effective at stopping 99.97% of 0.3-micron particles.

The next most common masks that you will find are those rated by the European Union. These masks come in three different ratings, FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3. Although the numbers on these masks don’t follow the same system as the NIOSH masks, the higher numbers are still better.

An FFP1 mask has 80% filtration, FFP2 has 94% and acts very similarly to an N95 mask, and FFP3 has 99% and performs similarly to an N99 mask. In short, other than the FFP1 rating, which performs significantly worse than any NIOSH rated mask, European EN rated masks perform similarly to their NIOSH equivalents.

KN95 masks are the standard masks that are intended for the vast majority of wearers. They are the same as N95 in the USA.

Korean KF rated masks come in two different levels, KF80 and KF94. Like the NIOSH system, the number represents the filtration rate of particles, and this makes the masks very easy to compare.

The KF system is based on the European FFP rating system and as such, it performs almost identically. A KF80 mask performs the same as an FFP1 mask, and KF94 will perform the same as an FFP2 mask.

If possible, use KF94 masks where possible, as they have significantly more protection than KF80 masks. In Korea, KF80 masks are often aimed at children and KF94 at adults.

N95 vs KN95 vs FFP2 vs KF94 Respiratory Face Masks

It is worth noting again, that since KF94 respirator face masks use the same specifications as FFP2 respirators face masks , that this comparison is really between N95, KN95 and FFP2 respirators.

Both N95 and KN95 rated masks are effective at filtering out at least 95% of particles. FFP2 masks are rated at 94%. For this reason, N95 and KN95 masks are very slightly more effective than FFP2 and KF94.

However, the difference is minimal and some FFP2 and KF94 masks can filter a significantly higher percentage of particles than 94%.

KN95 masks from China are the same as N95 masks in the USA.