Surgical Masks vs Respirators (KN95, N95, FFP2, FFP3)

Surgical Masks vs Respirators (KN95, N95, FFP2, FFP3)

Due to the Coronavirus (Covid-19,SARS-CoV-2),  Many people have asked us what's the difference between masks and respirators. We hope this post answers some of your questions.

Masks vs Respirators

Unbeknownst to many, there is a technical difference between a “mask” and a “respirator”. Today, most people say "mask", when referring to what are technically called respirators.

Uses for Masks:

  • Masks are loose fitting, covering the nose and mouth
  • Designed for one way protection, to capture bodily fluid leaving the wearer
  • Example – worn during surgery to prevent coughing, sneezing, etc on the vulnerable patient
  • Contrary to belief, masks are NOT designed to protect the wearer
  • The vast majority of masks do not have a safety rating assigned to them (e.g. NIOSH or EN)

Uses for Respirators:

  • Respirators are tight fitting masks, designed to create a facial seal
  • Non-valved respirators provide good two way protection, by filtering both inflow and outflow of air
  • These are designed protect the wearer (when worn properly), up to the safety rating of the mask
  • Available as disposable, half face or full face

Surgical style masks are not redundant by any means they aren’t designed to protect the wearer, while respirators are.

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