March 29, 2020

It’s a frightening time to be breathing. With one of the deadliest flu seasons, the rapid spread of Coronavirus, and with the warning from the Centers for Disease Control that everyone should prepare for an outbreak here, it’s a smart time to get the best N95 mask or respirator so you can breathe more easily.

These masks and respirators can protect you from up to 95% of airborne vapors and particulates and some offer even greater protection than that. While we’re not suggesting you panic, it’s never too early to prepare yourself and your family in case of a pandemic, whether medical, natural or human-caused. These face masks are a good first step in that direction, as is a regular regimen of immunity boosters. Also, smartphones, devices, and car keys are serious germ carriers, so consider getting a UV light sterilizer to safely clean them every day.

Editor’s note: We are doing our very best to ensure that all N95 masks and respirators, as well as some additional options, are in stock and available for purchase, but things are changing by the minute. In the past, we have not included KN95 face masks, N90 masks or surgical masks because we don’t have evidence of their efficacy. Now that all N95 masks are being limited to purchase by medical professionals, we do want to give you as many options as we can, so we’ll include brief reviews of those options that look to offer some level of protection.

You’ll find that many are on backorder, not coming in for a month or more. We’re keeping a vigilant watch on these recommendations to ensure you can get the products you need to stay safe. We’ve included a news section at the end of our reviews so you can quickly find out the most current information on COVID-19.

What Are the Best N95 Masks and Respirators?


Bluefringe KN95 Mask (50 Pack)

  • Breathable
  • Skin friendly fabric
  • Adjustable nose piece

$88.79


Anti Pollution KN95 Mask (20 Pack)

  • N95 protection
  • Adjustable nose piece
  • Dual straps

$89.99


KN95 Respirator Mask (10 Pack)

  • NIOSH Approved
  • N95 protection
  • Easy to breathe

$42.99


N99 Activated Carbon Dustproof Mask

  • Good breathability
  • Fits well to the face
  • Activated carbon filters

$19


Organic Vapor Respirator with Carbon Air Filter

  • Meets ASTM E2952-14 standards
  • Resists fogging
  • Voice device

$75


DISKIN Tactical Protective Respirator Mask

  • CBRN certified
  • Full face coverage
  • High quality

$180


Professional Respirator Mask

  • Blocks 96% of airborne vapors
  • Comes with replacement filters
  • Eye protection included

$39.99


Hospitals Only: 3M 8511 N95 Respirator (10 Pack)

  • Cool Flow Valve
  • NIOSH approved
  • Comfortable

$11.36


Hospitals Only: 3M 8577 P95 Respirator (2 Pack)

  • Easy to breathe
  • P95 protection
  • NIOSH approved

$5.24


Hospitals Only: 3M Half Face Respirator

  • Comfortable
  • Compatible with 3M filters
  • Virus protection

$14.19


Hospitals Only: 3M 6800 Full Face Respirator & Filters

  • Comfort fit system
  • Wide visual field
  • Full face protection

$112.19


Hospitals Only: North by Honeywell Full Face Respirator

  • Full face coverage
  • Silicone seal
  • NIOSH approved

$182.88


Our Unbiased Reviews


Bluefringe KN95 Mask (50 Pack)

Pros:

  • Soft skin friendly fabric
  • More breathable than some
  • Big 50 pack

Cons:

  • No information available
  • No information available
  • No information available

This KN95 mask offers five layers of filtration in a comfortable, cotton-like fabric mask that’s easy to breathe in. It claims to filter up to 95% of particulates up to 2.5PM. The skin-friendly fabric is soft and breathable, to reduce heat build up. An adjustable nose piece and over the ear straps allow for a better fit than a standard dust mask.

We do want to stress that these masks are not NIOSH certified, but if you’re looking for some level of protection, this pack of 50 masks would be good for offices and public spaces, and they’re affordable compared to many.

Find more Bluefringe KN95 Mask (50 Pack) information and reviews here.


Anti Pollution KN95 Mask (20 Pack)

Pros:

  • N95 protection
  • Adjustable nose piece
  • Priced right

Cons:

  • Metal side staples may be uncomfortable
  • Ear straps are too long for some
  • Not as breathable as many


While our goal here is to provide you with the best N95 masks, we also realize that they are becoming more and more difficult to find. That’s why we’ve opted to include this mask. The top material of this face mask claims to filter 95% of airborne particles. The mask is made with skin-friendly materials and an adjustable nose bridge design for a more comfortable wearing experience. It does offer KN95 protection, an adjustable nose piece, and dual elastic straps to offer a secure fit.

The price point is approachable and for a package of 20, these masks may be a good purchase for an office environment. If you’re concerned about virus transfer to your smartphones, and other personal items, UV sterilizers for the office wouldn’t be a bad idea as well.

Find more Andake N95 Respirator Face Mask (20 Pack) information and reviews here.


KN95 Respirator Mask (10 Pack)

Pros:

  • NIOSH Approved
  • N95 protection from viruses
  • Material is easily breathable
  • Individually sterilzed packaging

Cons:

  • Still expensive
  • Strap configuration more difficult to adjust
  • A little wimpier feeling than some

When you’re looking for an N95 mask you may consider, during this shortage, an FFP2 or KN95 mask instead. This KN95 mask doesn’t have a lot of the information you’d expect to see, so we’d suggest you purchase at your own rist. It is, however, similar to many of the approved and certified masks we’ve seen and the price is right. Over the nose, molding makes sure you have a secure fit and it’s cushioned with foam to make it even more comfortable. If you wonder about the designation of FFP2 versus KN95, this breakdown from 3M shows that FFP2 is the European designation for similar filtration.

Proprietary advanced electrostatically charged filter media makes for easier breathing and this mask protects you from particulates including viruses, which is even more important as the spread of Coronavirus is on the increase. This pack of 4 masks, each individually sealed and sterilized to prevent cross-contamination, is a good option for workplaces that might risk more exposure than most.

Find more SAS Safety NIOSH Approved N95 Mask information and reviews here.


N99 Activated Carbon Dustproof Mask

Pros:

  • N99 protection with activated carbon filters
  • Easy to fit securely to face
  • Dual one-way discharge valves make breathing easy
  • Comes with replacement filters

Cons:

  • Masks run small
  • Tends to make your ears stick out
  • Short ear straps make them uncomfortable more quickly than others

When you’re after a mask that offers protection from airborne particulates as small as 2.5 microns, this mask is a good option. This mask relies on activated carbon filters secured in a lightweight mask with dual one-way discharge valves and a stretch nylon exterior material. The mask is designed to make air resistance smaller without sacrificing filtration.

The mask loops over your ears and secures with velcro in back to ensure you get a good seal. The nose piece also helps keep the mask in close proximity to your skin, and the stretchy edge binding keeps it in place even during strenuous activity. We especially like that this mask comes with extra filters, so you can use it for a substantial amount of time without ordering replacements.

Find more BASE CAMP N99 Activated Carbon Dustproof Mask information and reviews here.


Organic Vapor Respirator with Activated Carbon Air Filter

Pros:

  • Applicable for health and work safety
  • NIOSH approved
  • Voice device allows for clear communication in emergencies
  • Anti-fogging layer
  • Activated carbon filter

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Difficult to adjust straps to acheive a tight seal
  • Not suited for children

Whether you’re concerned about coronavirus, the flu or air quality issues for travel or work, the Organic Vapor respirator is a full face mask that meets strict safety standards to keep you safe. This mask delivers professional-level protection that meets ASTM E2952-14 standards and is certified by the National Institutes for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Head belts keep this mask safely secured to avoid contamination from seeping in, and the anti-scratch lenses feature an anti-fog layer to make visibility safe and consistent. The airflow design inside the mask also minimizes fogging. This mask also has a voice device that allows for clear communication in emergency situations.

This mask is applicable for many work and health safety environments and protects against organic gases and vapors, such as benzene, aniline, carbon tetrachloride, nitrobenzene, chloropicrin, chlorine, acetone, alcohol, carbon disulfide, carbon trichloride, bromomethane, nitroalkane, etc.

Find more Organic Vapor Respirator with Carbon Air Filter information and reviews here.


DISKIN Tactical Protective Respirator Mask

Pros:

  • Provides chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear protection
  • Full face coverage with excellent visibility
  • Fits most adults
  • Five point head harness keeps it secure

Cons:

  • Somewhat pricey
  • Comes with only one cartridge
  • Not suitable for use with glasses

This mask is CBRN approved. What is CBRN? This article from the Department of Homeland Security explains it well, but to put it simply that acronym stands for Chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear. While that might sound a little doomsday to you, it should also sound very reassuring. This mask is one size fits all adults and it can be snuggly secured to keep gasses out. It’s compatible with MIRA CBRN 40mm filters, and while one is included with the mask, you’ll definitely want to buy backups.

You can trust the design and visibility of this mask which also has a speech device to make clear communication easy.

Find more DISKIN Full Face Respirator information and reviews here.


Professional Respirator Mask

Pros:

  • Dual filtration system blocks 96% of airborne vapors and particulates
  • Optimum airflow makes breathing easy
  • Comes with replacement particulate filters
  • Package includes high quality polycarbonate goggles

Cons:

  • Harder than some to get a good seal
  • Plastic filters break too easily
  • Goggles fog up too easily

An N95 mask protects you from 96% of airborne vapors, but if you want to give yourself even more protection, this half mask respirator is a good step up in safety. The respirator features a dual filtration system to effectively block 96% of organic vapors/gases, fumes, pollen, dust and other particles in the air.

Made of food-grade silicone, this mask fits comfortably on your face and it has two-fold elastic headbands to ensure a comfortable fit. You’ll breathe easy in this mask thanks to good air circulation. It comes with two replaceable filter cartridges which generally last up to 200 hours, two caps, and six particulate filters. Because this is a half face mask, you might be worried about eye protection. Put those worries aside.

You can easily order goggles right now to keep your peepers protected as well.

Find more Zelbuck Professional Respirator Mask & Safety Glasses information and reviews here.


Hospitals Only: 3M 8511 N95 Respirator (10 Pack)

Pros:

  • NIOSH approved
  • N95 protection
  • Cool Flow Valve makes it easy to breathe
  • Comfortable and adjustable nose piece

Cons:

  • Nose piece seems a bit tight
  • Runs a bit small
  • Metal staples can be uncomfortable on cheekbones

Prioritized for hospitals and government organizations: When you care about the brand and you value the quality from a brand you know and trust, the 3M 8511 N95 mask is an option that’s worth the price. This NIOSH approved respirator features soft inner material and the 3M Cool Flow Valve to help provide comfortable, reliable respiratory protection without heat buildup. It provides up to 95% protection from non-oil-based particulates.

Soft nose foam and an adjustable nose clip give you a comfortable and secure fit. Braided dual headbands minimize hair pulling and the mask shape makes it easy to wear protective eyewear. This price is for a 10 pack.

Find more NIOSH Approved 3M Aura N95 Respirator (20 Pack) information and reviews here.


Hospitals Only: 3M 8577 P95 Particulate Respirator (2 Pack)

Pros:

  • NIOSH Approved P95 protection
  • Filter media is electrostatically charged to make breathing easier
  • Fairly reasonable price
  • Cool Flow Valve reduces heat build up

Cons:

  • Available ONLY for Medical and Government essential workers
  • Only a two pack
  • More stiff filter material

Prioritized for hospitals and government organizations: If you’re looking for a NIOSH approved N95 mask, you can be assured of the quality when you purchase this P95 mask from 3M. While these masks feature the signature 3M Cool Flow Valve, they are built for comfort in other ways too thanks to the adjustable nose piece. Patented filter media with advanced electrostatically charged microfibers helps to make breathing easier for enhanced user comfort. The P95 designation means this mask is 95% effective at filtering both oil-based particulates and non-oil based particulates.

This mask comes in a 2 pack, making it a good choice, especially if you have contact via medical situations. According to recent estimates, experts indicate Coronavirus will still be affecting the world through the summer months.

Find more 3M NIOSH Approved Particulate Respirator 8200 (2 Packs of 10) information and reviews here.


Hospitals Only: 3M Half Face Respirator

Pros:

  • Compatible with all 3M filters and cartridges for up to P100 protection
  • Comfortable silicone construction
  • Easy to breath and speak while wearing
  • Doesn’t overheat

Cons:

  • You have to buy cartridges and filters separately
  • Head straps are less comfortable than some
  • Breath condensation drips out

Prioritized for hospitals and government organizations: If you’re looking for a more permanent option for virus protection rather than a disposable N95 mask, this 3M half face mask is ideal as well as affordable. We like that it’s compatible with all 3M filters and cartridges, which you’ll need to buy separately. We’d recommend the 3M multi-gas and vapor cartridge for complete protection against Coronavirus along with the advanced P100 particulate filter.

The mask itself is made from an advanced silicone material which makes it more comfortable than hard face mask options. A Cool Flow valve makes for easy breathing and speaking while the exhalation valve directs beath and moisture out for even more comfort. The dual-mode head harness adjusts easily for either standard or drop-down mode.

Find more 3M Medium Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator information and reviews here.


Hospitals Only: 3M 6800 Full Face Respirator & Filters

$112.19

Pros:

  • Comfortable with easy adjustability
  • Silicone face mask seals well
  • Protects agains airborne contaminants

Cons:

  • Fit runs a bit small
  • Straps can loosen over time
  • Nose cone can be uncomfortable

Prioritized for hospitals and government organizations: When you opt for a full face respirator, you need to count on comfort and the 3M full face respirator features a six strap configuration that will keep you from constantly adjusting which increases contamination susceptibility. It features a unique comfort cradle that hugs your head. Cool flow valves keep you from feeling overheated, and the large silicone facepiece provides a wide range of visibility during emergency situations or for daily use in professional environments.

This mask has a unique center adaptor that directs exhaled breaths and moisture down and out for much greater comfort. The respirator filter and cartridge attachments are simple to install as they twist on and off easily. Bonded silicone gaskets eliminate loose or lost fittings. This respirator offers easy instructions to ensure a proper and secure fit as well as comfort and protection against airborne contaminants.

We’d recommend if you’re looking for N95 protection, you consider these 3M N95 filters, although this respirator mask comes with four included. For even greater protection, 3M Multi Gas/Vapor Cartridges as an essential element for safety. To learn more about the NIOSH color coding system for these cartridges, this list will help.

Find more 3M Ultimate FX Full Facepiece Reusable Respirator information and reviews here.


NIOSH Certified N95 Mask (20 Pack)

$182.88

Pros:

  • Silicone seal ensures leak free performance
  • P100 filtration capability
  • NIOSH approved
  • Hard-coated polycarbonate lens has a wide range of view

Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • Filters and cartridges must be purchases separately
  • Not suitable for those who wear glasses

Prioritized for hospitals and government organizations: If you’re shopping for a NIOSH approved full face respirator, you know you can count on this model from Honeywell to be among the best. The lens meets ANSI standards for high impact and penetration resistance. The hard-coated polycarbonate lens provides more than a 200 degree field-of-vision and protects your eyes and face against irritating gases, vapors, and flying particles.

While this is the mask only, you’ll want to buy the P100 gas and vapor cartridges along with the P100 particulate filters which will give you complete safety from viruses, pollutants, and other environmental hazards. The silicone seal on the facepiece ensures a leak-free fit that’s comfortable meaning you’ll get high performance guaranteed.

The extensive system of head straps will ensure this mask stays where it belongs, even if you’re doing something strenuous like running from a dangerous situation.

Find more North by Honeywell NIOSH Approved Full Face Respirator information and reviews here.


What’s the Latest Information on the Coronavirus Outbreak?

We want to keep you up to date on all the latest information about the spread of Coronavirus. safemask.best is keeping a running update live on our site so you can find the latest on the outbreak in the U.S. and around the world.

How We Can Flatten the Curve and What That Means

For those wondering why everyone is up in arms about the COVID-19 Pandemic, you’ve probably heard the term “flatten the curve.” That means social distancing to keep the outbreak from generating huge hot spots. This video from PBS is an excellent eight minute primer on what that means and why it’s important.

More Recent News About COVID-19

The New York Times has a free daily update on COVID-19 and the effects on the U.S. from a variety of perspectives. This service is free.

4/1/2020: In an op-ed in The Washington Post, Bill Gates talks about how as a nation we can mitigate the COVID-19 crisis, but we’ll have to buckle down.

3/29/2020: According to the New York Times, as of Sunday afternoon, the number of COVID-19 cases now stands at 153,738.

3/23/2020: Many hospitals are now asking for communities to step in and make face masks. If you’re a sewer, my local hospital has provided these instructions, so reach out to your local facility and see if you can help.

3/22/2020: If you want a more current history on how the virus got out into the world, this article from The New York Times will give you a complete perspective.

3/18/2020: Per The Washinton Post, the U.S. government is preparing to send up to $2,000 to many Americans while pumping $300 billion in funds to support small businesses.

3/17/2020: Per The Washington Post, the U.S. Treasury is set to deliver $1,000 Coronavirus relief checks to all Americans in the next few weeks with more relief potentially on the horizon.

3/17/2020: The New York Times has a free daily update on COVID-19 and the effects on the U.S. from a variety of perspectives. This service is free.

3/16/2020: NPR reports U.S. stocks plunge in the wake of new restrictions due to the Novel Coronavirus.

3/16/2020: Americans wake up to mass closures of schools, restaurants, sports, and recreational facilities. CNN reports on the new reality.

3/15/2020: As the world responds to an uptick in the cases of diagnosed COVID-19, social distancing is putting a pinch on many small businesses according to the Wall Street Journal.

If you’re not watching the CDC Website, you can easily access daily updates on their website. They are somewhat behind most of the media outlets at this point in time, however, and some information has been removed from the site with no explanation.

As news develops around the world, we’ll keep you updated right here with the latest articles and information as we find it.

Why Do I Need an N95 Mask?

Whether you’re in a danger zone for Coronavirus or not, an N95 mask can protect you from lots of environmental hazards beyond viral illnesses, including smoke, pollution, and gasses.

Surprisingly, these masks even offer health protection from mold and other harmful particulates during food prep and cleanup. If you’re curious about how to use them in that application, check out these instructions from the New York State Department of Health.

How Long Can an N95 Mask Be Used?

If you follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, an N95 mask should be able to operate at maximum functionality for at least eight hours of continuous use.

Many of the masks we’ve features offer that, while a few have replaceable filters to give you even more protection. The full face respirators are meant to last for the long haul and so they all feature replacement filters for different applications.

What Does “NIOSH Approved” N95 Mask Mean?

NIOSH, or the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, has particular guidelines for approved N95 masks. They have an extensive list of requirements and approved manufacturers if you’d like to do additional research.

How Do N95 Masks Work With Facial Hair?

While we’re not saying you should shave, we do need to let you know that sporting a beard or mustache might compromise the effectiveness of N95 masks and respirators. The fact simply is that your facial fur can impede your ability to get a good seal on your mask, which means particulates including Coronavirus can get in.

Since you’re serious about the threat, the CDC has created this handy chart that will tell you if you should consider a bit of a trim, although we’ve discovered that this was a bit of a lighthearted take from the DCD during No Shave November. Still, it’s worth considering.

How Else Can I Protect Myself During a Crisis?

Think of the basics for weeks or months when you could be quarantined at home. Should the Coronavirus impact become more critical, you’ll want to plan for emergency food provisions sooner than later.

Do you have an alternate power source? Outages are often a possibility during times of crisis. These portable power stations are good for any emergency and you can always use them for camping getaways as well.

Virus Pandemic Preparedness Guide

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