is more important To stock up on better masks than ever before and wear them whenever you’re out in public or spending time with people outside your home. As the Omron version of COVID-19 cases rise, there is a renewed focus on which masks to buy and where to get them. We’ve investigated it, and here’s what we found.
- N95 Respirator Mask
- KN95 Mask
- Surgical Mask (3-ply)
- children’s masks
- Wait, what kind of mask should I get?
- Does Omicron change mask requirements?
- How do I Avoid Fake Masks?
- Can I reuse disposable masks?
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Since the surge in cases of Omicron, there has been additional confusion about which masks are effective. For example, while some health experts It is advised not to use cloth masks, Disease Guidance Center on Masks Still includes them in his recommendations.
The best types of disposable face masks to wear haven’t changed much:
- N95 masks are your best bet. The N95s were sold in US-based . is controlled by NIOSH Agency To meet a certain standard of quality. N95s are sometimes called “respirators”.
- KN95 and KF94 masks are also effective and potentially comfy. KN95s are governed by a different set of standards specific to China and are sometimes easy to get, KF94 masks are similar to KN95, but are controlled by a korean standard, These are sometimes called “respirators”.
- A surgical-style mask (3-ply) is the next best thing you can wear. They are not as effective as the others above, but they can still be effective in low-risk settings if they have a good tight fit.
- Cloth masks are not as effective. At least wear a cloth mask if you can’t get your hands on them, but they are much less effective depending on their physical makeup.
You can also double-mask with N95 and cloth masks if you want to for aesthetic reasons, but the built-in disposable N95 mask is going to provide the bulk of your protection.
Getting a mask that fits your face is incredibly important. Cloth or surgical masks may also be less effective because of the gap between the mask and your face. These areas can allow unfiltered air to pass through and enter your nose and mouth. N95 masks are generally designed to fit snugly on your face, therefore, they will be safe again.
The CDC Has a Huge List of Approved N95 Masks, Unfortunately, the supply of many models of masks is constantly fluctuating, so you may need to check regularly to see which masks are in stock. Many stores also have regional stock based on in-store supplies, so be sure to check your local zip code on various sites where applicable.
This model is one of several CDC approved N95 masks, and it uses two separate straps to secure comfortably around your face. Our team members have used these masks and found that they seal snugly around the face but still stay far enough away from the nose and mouth so that they can breathe comfortably. This distance also helps keep the mask dry, unlike other types of masks, which can become moist from exhalation throughout the day. Sadly they don’t turn up.
This fold-style mask uses two over-the-head straps to keep the mask snugly on your face, while still allowing for a fair amount of breathing in front of your mouth and nose. These are among the most expensive masks on our list, but our team members have used them and found them to be comfortable and sturdy.
On Amazon, click “See All Buying Options” to see if it’s available.
If you need cheap N95s, this pack from Kimberly-Clark is one of your best bets. Although these are NIOSH-approved N95 respirators, they are not intended for medical use. If that’s not a problem for you, the horizontal-fold pouch and bendable nose piece should provide a solid seal to your face, while still costing less than a dollar per mask.
3M’s NIOSH-approved N95 respirator is individually wrapped and has two horizontal folds that form a decent-sized cup in front of your nose and mouth. The masks come with two straps that go on your head and neck to keep a tight seal. This is one of the smallest packs on our list, but you may have an easier time finding it in stock at some stores.
On Amazon, click “See All Buying Options.” It is sold by the manufacturer.
These KN95 masks come in black and come individually wrapped. They are significantly cheaper than the N95 masks listed above, at less than a dollar per mask. They also happen to be our top choice for face masks.