N95 vs KN95 Face Masks. What's the difference?

When shopping for face masks, you’ll notice that many are labeled either N95 or KN95, but what’s the difference? In this guide, we’re covering N95 vs KN95 face pieces to help you understand what similarities they bear.

Non-medical, general use N95 and KN95 masks are now widely popular among the general public because they can help slow the spread of viral illnesses and they cost less than NIOSH-Approved N95 respirators.

N95 Face mask

What's in the name?

The “N” stands for “Non-Oil,” meaning that it offers protection against solid and non-oil-based particles. The “95” refers to the efficiency rating; in the case of N95, masks should be filtering at least 95% of particles.

KN95 Mask vs N95 Mask

KN95 and N95 Similarities

Non-medical N95 and KN95 masks have more similarities than they do differences.

Both N95 masks and KN95 masks are manufactured with five layers of protection featuring two layers of melt-blown fabric, a center heat-sealed cotton layer and two outer PP non-woven fabric layers. 

They are both designed with behind-the-ear loops for easy on and off wear when making quick trips like grocery shopping or visiting the pharmacy. 

KN95 and N95 Differences

The main difference between these two popular face mask options is that KN95 masks are certified according to the Chinese standard where as N95 masks are certified to the American standard.

The shape of each mask is only slightly different when compared side by side with the KN95 angling up from the chin more. The N95 has a longer nose piece for better shaping and slightly thicker fabric than the KN95.


General-Use KN95 and N95 are not the same as NIOSH

Manufactured to similar standards, some N95 respirators may have an additional approval from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

NIOSH-Approved N95 respirators are easily identified by headbands instead of earloops in addition to the NIOSH stamp on the respirator itself. These masks are suitable for healthcare and people who need extra protection.

KN95 Mask

But are KN95 Masks Good for COVID?

Both the general use KN95 and N95 face mask have the ability to filter out 95% of airborne particles and can do a superb job at minimizing the spread of germs. 

Like the N95 masks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also authorizes the use of KN95 masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19.  Both protective face masks seal out the majority of airborne viruses, pollutants and contaminants.

If you have any questions about our face masks or any of the products we carry, please reach out to us today. We’ll be glad to answer any of your questions!