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. Click below to quickly shop for N95 and K95 respirator masks, or visit our information section to learn more about the different kinds of respiratory protection and how they work.
N95 Mask and KN95 Mask Information
Frequently Asked Questions about filtering facepiece respirators. Here's everything you need to know!
- 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?
- Are N95 masks only for use by medical professionals, or can anyone buy a respirator?
- Can wearing an N95 mask indoors help protect me and others from the Delta variant?
- 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?
- What does medical research say about N95 mask effectiveness?
- N95 masks vs. cloth masks: which is better?
- What is the best N95 mask?
- Are 3M N95 masks better than other brands?
- How do I know if N95 respirators for sale are genuine?
- Why was it so hard to buy N95 masks online?
- N95 Masks for Sale – In Stock
- Protectly – 3M N95 Masks + USA-Made Respirators with Fast Shipping
- Well Before – 3M N95 Masks with Fast Shipping
- Protect Life — NIOSH N95 Face Masks With Fast, Free Shipping
- CovCare — NIOSH N95 Masks
- N95 Medical Supplies – Made in the USA Masks with Same-Day Shipping
- Amazon and eBay — KN95 Masks and N95 Masks for Sale
- 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) have basically the same level of filtration. The biggest difference between an N95 mask and a KN95 mask or KF94 mask is that NIOSH requires respirators to have head straps, while respirators from other countries can use ear loops. Head straps ensure a tighter fit and better seal, which makes N95 respirators more effective. That said, you can add a head strap to ear loop masks to make them tighter, or wear a headband with buttons.
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 and aerosols 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. The respiratory protection provided by N95 filtering facepiece respirators can help protect the wearer from infection.
Are N95 masks only for use by medical professionals, or can anyone buy a respirator?
N95 respirators are not complex medical devices — they are a simple and highly effective form of PPE that was widely available before the pandemic. They are used in construction, crafting, and many other non-medical settings to prevent people from inhaling toxins.
Early in the pandemic, we were told to use cloth masks because of an N95 mask shortage. That supposed personal protective equipment shortage was really a supply chain problem that has now largely been resolved.
N95 masks are available to the general public and have been throughout the pandemic, if you knew where to look. We created Pandemic Pal because many people didn't know where to look. Many people still don't know they can buy N95 mask online and there is no shortage.
Can wearing an N95 mask indoors help protect me and others from the Delta variant?
Due to the increased infectiousness of the Delta variant, even vaccinated people with underlying health conditions such as diabetes, autoimmune disorders, organ transplant recipients, and other chronic illnesses and physical disabilities remain 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.
A study released in July 2021 by the CDC shows the Delta COVID-19 variant produced similar amounts of virus in vaccinated and unvaccinated people if they get infected. Vaccination makes it less likely that you'll get infected, but this recent data suggests vaccinated people can still spread the virus. Therefore, the CDC is now recommending most fully vaccinated Americans wear masks indoors.
To be clear: If you are not vaccinated, GET THE SHOT. Vaccines work and they are preventing nearly all severe illness and death. But breakthrough infections are more likely with the Delta variant, and even a fairly mild infection can be miserable. Why get sick at all if you don't have to?
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. It is clear that giving the public access to medical grade respirators, not just cloth masks, 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 by getting vaccinated and wearing masks, you can protect yourself from them with a KN95 or N95 mask for sale.
If I have had the COVID-19 vaccine, do I still need to wear an N95 mask?
Yes, in many circumstances, because of individual health and the Delta variant.
All the major vaccines approved worldwide are highly effective. The vast majority of infections, especially serious ones, are among unvaccinated people. According to the CDC, 97% of COVID hospitalizations and 99% of deaths in the United States are people who are not fully vaccinated. They are calling it a “pandemic of the unvaccinated” — and that's true, up to a point. Those who refuse to get vaccinated are causing the spread of the far more infectious Delta variant, but they are also putting innocent people at risk — children who are too young for the vaccine, immunosuppressed people for whom the vaccine does not work well, and those with chronic illnesses and disabilities who could be seriously harmed by even a mild COVID infection.
Preliminary data suggests that the currently-circulating Delta strain is far more likely to cause breakthrough infections in vaccinated people. A study out of Israel found that the Pfizer vaccine was only 64% effective at preventing infections of the Delta variant, compared to 95% for the original strain. However, the vaccine still provides 94% protection from hospitalization and death.
If nearly everyone got vaccinated, breakthrough infections would be rare because those vulnerable to them would be highly unlikely to be exposed to an infectious unvaccinated person. But with less than half of the U.S. population vaccinated (as of July 2021) and some areas at only 30%, most vaccinated people will be exposed to many unvaccinated people, greatly increasing their chances of developing a breakthrough infection. So vaccinated people, especially those with chronic conditions, still have to protect themselves from the unvaccinated.
That's where the N95 mask comes in. If you are going out in public or spending time with unvaccinated people, especially if you're at high risk, you should continue wearing a mask. And you need a mask that protects you from other people, which only an N95 mask (and its close relatives KN95 and KF94) can do effectively.
Information on vaccines and variants changes as data is collected and strategies for fighting the virus evolve — but 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.
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.
N95 masks vs. cloth masks: which is better?
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 refuse the vaccine 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.
What is the best N95 mask?
The simplest answer is that the best N95 mask is the one that works for your individual needs. Humans are diverse and so are our faces! So the best N95 mask for you may not be the best N95 mask for someone else. With that said, we've tested more than two dozen different varieties of respirators, and some have emerged as clear winners. We can also offer some general advice for N95 mask shopping online.
The best N95 mask for you is probably a flat-fold respirator. They are more comfortable than cup-style masks and fit a wide variety of face shapes and sizes. If you're buying PPE for a health care facility, home health workers, or even just for multiple members of your family, a folding mask will fit most adults. We do recommend trying 2 or 3 different N95 mask brands to find the best option(s) and have a variety on hand for visitors, fill-in workers etc. Here are our favorites.
This respirator rocks! It has received raves from our community for its comfort. It seals by covering a large area of the face, rather than pressing tightly against narrow areas. Best of all, unlike other brands of N95 mask, it has adjustable head straps. The 3PE N95 mask fits a variety of adult faces and is a good choice if you need to provide respirators for several people (health care workers, household staff etc.)
Best Mask for Immunocompromised / High-Risk People
If you are at extremely high risk due to the Delta variant — for example, if you are immune compromised due to medication for an autoimmune disease, or you take anti-rejection drugs after an organ transplant — you may want extra protection. Enter the Respokare N95 mask, which features a patented, FDA-approved anti-viral technology called Innonix. The Innonix technology features an outer hydrophilic layer, which absorbs viruses into the anti-viral layer, and an inner layer of copper and zinc ions that actually destroys the viruses. In testing against SARS and MERS, the mask inactivates 99.9% of viral particles within one minute. It also kills 15 strains of influenza. This mask does have a citrus scent that not everyone likes, but it's a necessary component of the anti-viral coating.
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.
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.
Why was it so hard to buy N95 masks online?
During this public health crisis, some retailers such as Amazon.com restricted purchases of N95 face masks to hospitals and government agencies. While this may have seemed like a good idea in theory, it had 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 N95 respirator 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.
N95 Masks for Sale – In Stock
These vendors 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. They sell our favorite N95 mask, the USA-made 3PE, as well as 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!
Well Before (formerly known as Honest PPE) has the largest variety of NIOSH-approved respirator masks listed on our site, including 3M N95 masks. They carry the 3M 1860 respirator, which is rated for surgical use and fluid-resistant, as well as 3M 8210, 3M 8200, 3M 9205+, 3M 8511, and other 3M models. Other NIOSH-approved respirator choices include AOK 20180016-L, Harley L-188, Harley L-288, Makrite SEKURA-321, Makrite N95 9500 and Makrite N95 9600. They also have KN95 masks for sale, and other medical supplies such as face shields, hand sanitizers, wipes, and gloves. N95 mask orders ship within 2 business days. Check them out!
Protect Life sells their own line of NIOSH certified N95 face masks in a range of styles and sizes. They have both flat-folding and cup-style respirators, so you'll find the right PPE for you at a fair price. They offer free 2-day shipping within the USA.
CovCare offers a wide variety of N95 respirator masks for sale to the public. They have several brands of US-based, NIOSH-approved N95 masks available that are hard to find elsewhere. They sell Makrite 9500 N95, UniAir SH9550, Harley L288, Alpha Pro Tech, and 3Q brands among others. They also sell KN95 masks, hospital gowns for health care workers, face shields, and other personal protective equipment. They ship within the USA and internationally.
Buying American-made products is a great way to make sure you have genuine, effective PPE and avoid counterfeit masks. Visit N95 Medical Supplies to buy ALG respirators, which are made in Ohio, USA and NIOSH-approved! They offer folding masks and two sizes of cup-style masks to fit a variety of faces. They also offer Harley N95s and a few 3M models. Orders placed before 4 pm EST ship the same day.
Amazon and eBay — KN95 Masks and N95 Masks for Sale
Amazon and eBay initially made it difficult for sellers to offer N95 respirators to the public. However, they now have a good N95 mask selection.
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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.