What You Should Know About KN95 Chinese Masks—An Explainer

Since April, America has experienced a shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including N95 respirator masks, which offer the greatest level of filtration protection against contracting or spreading the coronavirus. Because mask manufacturers don’t directly sell their products to regular citizens, finding N95s -- let alone buying them -- is near impossible.

So after countless hours of internet searches, you’re now being inundated with targeted ads to buy something called KN95 masks. The marketing language for these masks suggest they’re essentially an off brand version that are the same as N95s...

Except, they are not at all the same.

KN95 masks were invented by companies in China as a way to take advantage of the demand for N95 respirators. The majority of these KN95 masks are still produced in China and purchased by middle men medical suppliers who resell them to American consumers. Since you aren’t buying them directly from the manufacturer, you can’t verify if they’re actually going to protect you.

But let me get a little more specific on why KN95 masks aren’t the best option:

  • KN95 masks are not regulated by the FDA.
  • In May 2020, the FDA had to remove a large number of KN95 masks from its Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) list after discovering they do not meet quality and safety standards [Source: WSJ]
  • In October, the FDA stated it will no longer be adding KN95s to the EUA list, and advised against them for medical use [Source: FDA]

Look I get it. Plenty of people all over the country are willing to spend a little more to get the highest level of protection, especially heading into the holiday season. But just because a product shares three of the same characters as N95 masks, doesn’t mean it’ll protect you.

Luckily, there is a better option than taking your chances on a Chinese KN95 mask. Specifically, our FDA-listed Surgical Masks are made from the same material as N95 respirators, have a ASTM Level 3 certification (the highest possible quality rating), and are able to filter out 99% of particulate matter.

Stay safe, and buy American.


-- Lloyd Armbrust, Founder & CEO