If you have been following news coverage of the pandemic, you’ve probably heard of NIOSH-approved N95 masks. But what are they exactly? What the heck is NIOSH? Are KN95 masks any good? Can an N95 mask help with pollution from wildfire smoke? Should you still wear N95 respirators after receiving the vaccine? Whether you are an essential worker, home health aide, family caregiver, or a person with a disability or chronic illness who is immunosuppressed and at high risk, we have N95 masks for sale and the information you need to choose the personal protective equipment that is right for your situation. Read on to learn more about the different kinds of respiratory protection and how they work, or click below to quickly shop for N95 and K95 respirator masks.
N95 Mask and KN95 Mask Information
- What are N95 masks?
- What are the different types of N95 masks?
- What is the difference between an N95 mask and a KN95 mask?
- Who should wear N95 face masks?
- What does medical research say about N95 mask effectiveness?
- If I have had the COVID-19 vaccine, do I still need to wear an N95 mask?
- Can an N95 mask help with smoke from wildfires?
- Why is it so hard to buy N95 masks online?
- How do I know if N95 respirators for sale are genuine?
- Are 3M N95 masks better than other brands?
- N95 Masks for Sale – In Stock
- Do you sell N95 masks and other personal protective equipment? We’d love to partner with you. Click here to email us.
What are N95 masks?
Respirator face masks are named based on the percentage of particulates they filter from the air. N95 masks are so named because they filter at least 95% of airborne particles, enough to help stop virus molecules from entering your nose and mouth. If the person wearing a filtering facepiece respirator mask has the virus, it will reduce the likelihood of them passing it to others because respiratory droplets will be contained within the mask. N95 masks are made of a non-woven, meltblown polymer (synthetic) fabric and have two elastic or cloth straps that go all the way around your head, not just behind your ears. Head straps are important because they help ensure a tight fit and keep the mask in place better than ear loops.
What are the different types of N95 masks?
There are two basic styles of N95 respirator: cup and flat-fold.
Cup-style respirators are probably what you imagined when you thought of N95 masks before the pandemic. They are hard masks that look like a clamshell or cone. Folding N95 respirators, on the other hand, are nearly flat when packaged. Both types of hi-fi respirator are highly effective, but studies show that a folding-style N95 respirator is easier to fit, and the same model tends to fit more people. To learn more, check out our dedicated page about flat-fold N95 masks.
What is the difference between an N95 mask and a KN95 mask?
In the United States, N95 respirator masks are certified for filtration efficiency by NIOSH, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Other countries have their own, similar requirements and testing procedures, so FFP2 masks (Europe), KN95 masks (China), and KF94 masks (Korea) are basically the same. Due to the pandemic, the FDA has created an Emergency Use Authorization list which allows the use of certified respirator masks from other countries in healthcare settings when NIOSH-approved N95 respirators are unavailable. The National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL), a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been testing imported surgical filtering facepiece respirators, including KN95 masks, to ensure they perform as advertised.
This video explains some of the similarities and differences between N95 and KN95 certified respirators:
Who should wear N95 face masks?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that health care workers wear N95 face masks with NIOSH approval as protection in settings where they are at high risk of being exposed to airborne particles that could carry the coronavirus (COVID-19) and other respiratory illnesses such as influenza. These viruses are primarily spread by respiratory droplets that enter the air and contaminate hands and surfaces when an infected person coughs, sneezes, spits or otherwise exhales bits of liquid containing the virus. Anyone who is working in public settings right now is at risk of becoming infected without the respiratory protection provided by N95 filtering facepiece respirators.
People with underlying health conditions such as diabetes, autoimmune disorders, organ transplant recipients, and other chronic illnesses and physical disabilities are also at high risk if they are leaving their homes or if home health care workers assist them with daily tasks. The World Health Organization recommends that people with underlying conditions wear medical masks with high filtration efficiency to protect them from airborne particles when they cannot maintain social distancing.
Here at Pandemic Pal, we believe that everyone who needs an N95 mask or KN95 mask to stay safe during this unprecedented public health emergency should be able to purchase them. With over 465,000 deaths in the US alone (we have to keep updating this number and get tears in our eyes every time), it is clear that giving the public access to medical grade respirators, not just cloth masks, could help turn the tide — especially because non-medical face masks protect others from the wearer more than they protect the wearer. If people around you refuse to do their part and wear masks, you can protect yourself from them with a KN95 or N95 mask for sale.
What does medical research say about N95 mask effectiveness?
N95 respirators are far more effective than any other type of face mask because of their tight fit and filtering capacity. According to a study published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a division of the National Institutes of Health, SARS-CoV-2 ranges in size from 60 to 140 nm. The virus is smaller than pollen, bacteria, and dust — although it is also often carried in much larger particles. Therefore, masks made of cotton and synthetic fabric will not protect you as much as materials with smaller pores and better filtering, like surgical and N95 masks.
Early in the pandemic, we were told to use cloth masks because of an N95 mask shortage. That supposed shortage was really a supply chain problem that has now largely been resolved. But cloth masks have always been an imperfect solution. In a 2015 study of cloth vs. medical masks to reduce the transmission of influenza among health care workers, particle penetration into cloth masks was almost 97%, compared to 44% for surgical masks. Cloth masks protect others from the wearer far more than they protect the wearer — a huge problem when too many people refuse to wear any mask at all.
Sadly, people with chronic conditions have learned during this pandemic that many people do not care about us, and put their own selfish desires to throw parties and go out without a mask above protecting the lives of others. We must wear PPE that protects us to the fullest possible extent, regardless of what other people do. That’s why, although any mask is better than no mask, if you’re a home health worker, a person with a disability or chronic illness, or at high risk for any reason, the data is clear. Cloth masks are not good enough. You need to wear an N95 mask.
If I have had the COVID-19 vaccine, do I still need to wear an N95 mask?
Yes — for now. These vaccines are new, and we still don’t know several key pieces of information about them, including exactly how they work and how long they last. Does a coronavirus vaccine prevent you from being infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, or does it just stop you from getting sick? Do the available vaccines prevent all currently circulating strains of the virus?
If a vaccine only stops you from becoming ill, that means you could still be infected and transmit the disease to others who are not yet vaccinated. Based on studies of other highly infectious viruses like chicken pox (varicella), most vaccines do prevent transmission and not just illness. As Dr. Joshua Schiffer, an infectious disease researcher at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, explains, “You’d rather have a vaccine that completely blocks infection rather than preventing symptoms. It could save the lives of many people who have yet to get the vaccine, by protecting them indirectly.”
With a disease as deadly as COVID-19, we need specific data about infection prevention vs. symptom prevention before moving forward with unmasking and resuming gatherings. That’s why scientists are still researching this, and they’ll have answers as people get the vaccine and we learn more about exactly how it works. In the meantime, better safe than sorry. If you are going out in public or spending time with unvaccinated people, especially those at high risk, you should continue wearing a mask.
This could change at any time — and we will be sure to keep you updated with the latest scientifically validated information available!
Can an N95 mask help with smoke from wildfires?
Forest fires release smoke containing carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, volatile organic compounds, and other harmful chemicals. If you are exposed to air pollution from brush fires and burning manmade structures, you may experience shortness of breath, coughing, a sore throat, headaches, and burning eyes. N95 masks can help protect your lungs if you are living in an area affected by a wildfire, including parts of California and Oregon. It is best to stay indoors when air quality is poor due to wildfires, but if you must spend time outside on a smoky day, wear an N95 face mask to protect yourself.
Why is it so hard to buy N95 masks online?
During this public health crisis, some retailers such as Amazon.com have restricted purchases of N95 face masks to hospitals and government agencies. While this may seem like a good idea in theory, it has the unintended effect of blocking some of the highest-risk people from purchasing genuine N95 masks — including home health workers, individuals with disabilities or underlying conditions, family members caring for high-risk loved ones, and essential workers at grocery stores, delivery drivers, etc. We want to make sure everyone who needs an N95 face mask can buy one, even if you don’t work at a hospital. That’s why we started this site!
We have spent the last few months researching the reasons why some hospitals and clinics do not have the personal protective equipment they need. It actually has very little to do with the number of masks available, and a lot to do with disrupted supply chains and institutions that are bureaucratic and inflexible. In short, some hospitals don’t have enough respirators because their administrations either don’t want to spend the money or refuse to work with new suppliers, even when their products can be verified as genuine. You can learn more in our article here: N95 mask shortage.
How do I know if N95 respirators for sale are genuine?
Unfortunately, a few widely-publicized scammers as well as some sellers on sites like Amazon are selling counterfeit, poor quality masks that claim to be certified N95 masks. Check out our guide to avoiding counterfeit masks before you shop, and buy through our suppliers on this page, who are committed to only selling genuine N95 respirators.
Are 3M N95 masks better than other brands?
No. All NIOSH-approved N95 respirators must pass the same tests to ensure they filter at least 95% of particles and can form a tight seal against the face. There are numerous brands of high-quality filtering facepiece respirators to choose from, including several American companies that developed new products in response to the pandemic. The best mask for you is the mask that fits you, and that you can easily obtain and trust. 3M N95 masks are great, but many other brands are just as good, more readily available, and less likely to be counterfeited.
N95 Masks for Sale – In Stock
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We only promote vendors that deliver genuine N95 masks with fast shipping so you can get your pandemic medical supplies quickly. Stay safe!
Protectly offers a wide selection of NIOSH-approved N95 masks for sale to the public at reasonable prices, including 3M N95 masks and USA-made 3PE, Moldex 4200, Moldex 2200,and more! Plus they have other top, trusted brands of medical masks, such as Innonix Respokare, Fangtian, Gerson 1730, SAS Safety 8610, Medline 24506A N95 respirator mask, 3M 8200, 3M 8210 N95 mask, etc. They also sell made in the USA KN95 masks, face shields, disinfecting wipes, nitrile gloves, and other personal protective equipment. They ship orders within 2 business days from Oregon, USA, so you’ll get the medical supplies you need quickly!
Almond Shield offers cup-style and folding particulate respirators at great prices with fast, free shipping from New Jersey, USA. Their NIOSH-approved N95 masks for sale are latex-free and more comfortable to wear. They also sell KN95 respirators, disinfectants, gloves, infrared thermometers, and more.
N95MASKCO has been supplying masks to the frontlines and the general public since March of 2020. They carry NIOSH-approved Innonix Respokare as well as cup-style and folding Xiantao Zhong Ye respirators, plus KN95 masks, surgical masks, and more.
Concerned about counterfeit masks? Buying American-made products is a great way to make sure you have genuine, effective PPE. Visit N95 Medical Supplies to buy ALG respirators, which are made in Ohio, USA and NIOSH-approved! Their cup-style masks are a close match to the 3M N95 mask 8210 model, and their folding masks have comfortable, soft straps and fit a wide variety of faces. Orders placed before 4 pm EST ship the same day.
Amazon and eBay — N95 and KN95 Masks
Amazon and eBay initially made it difficult for sellers to offer N95 respirators to the public. However, they now have a small N95 and KN95 mask selection. We don’t recommend buying medical masks on Amazon due to the high likelihood of receiving counterfeit items, but if you can’t find what you need through any of our trusted sellers above, you can browse Amazon’s options below.
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Disclaimer: Pandemic Pal does not sell the products listed here, we are simply providing a service to make them easier to find. Certified N95 face masks are proven to reduce the risk of contracting and transmitting respiratory illnesses. We do our best to verify the quality and authenticity of any product or vendor recommended here, but we cannot guarantee that any products listed on our site will mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose or cure any disease or health condition.
Do you sell N95 masks and other personal protective equipment? We’d love to partner with you. Click here to email us.
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