While you may not have heard of KF94 masks before, they’re a great option if you can’t find the better known N95 respirators. KF94 masks were actually developed in South Korea during the SARS outbreak of the early aughts. There are many Chinese counterfeits that share the boat-style construction and may even claim to be a KF94, though, so buyer beware.
To ensure you don’t buy a fake KF94 mask, we’ve collected our top picks. But before we review those, you should know a few things about them:
- KF94s are rated to filter out at least 94% of particulates
- KF94 masks offer some breathing room and an adjustable nose wire
- KF94 masks are “boat style” and have ear loops instead of head straps or ties
- An authentic KF94 mask will say Made in (South) Korea and have the KF94 printed on the packaging. Another thing to look for is the Korean government's red, white and blue seal. If the packaging is in English, make sure it says “certified by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, South Korea.”
So how do we determine the relative quality of a KF94 mask? First, our lab-based examination confirms a mask meets its respective filtration goal. Then we assess its breathability, known as its airflow resistance. Generally, we want something that measures no higher than 150-pascal units but is ideally closer to 100 pascals, which is more comfortable.
Lastly, we give the ear loops a firm tug and conduct a sniff test to assess the construction and odor of the mask. While this doesn’t impact the rating we give a mask during an independent review, we still feel like it's worth noting.
To date, we’ve tested over 30 KF94 masks and can strongly recommend these five:
This black MediShield Fashion KF94 Yellow Dust Protective Shield passed our particulate filtration efficiency machine test with a score of 97.58%. It also offers some of the best breathability we’ve seen from a KF94 mask, with an insanely low airflow resistance of 53.2 pascals. The only downside is a slight burning smell reminiscent of a campfire. Available for purchase from Amazon.
The Flexmon / You & I KF94-certified kids mask passed our particulate filtration efficiency machine test with a score of 99.60%. The airflow resistance of this mask is 113. This four-layer mask is extremely small (best for toddlers) and does not have strong ear loops. The breathability is pretty good, but the overall construction could be better. We found this mask on Amazon.
Hand Health Care Co. manufactures the Good Manner KF94 mask. It came from Amazon and contained individually packed masks. Our tests show a 99.37% filtration rate, great construction with very strong earloops, and a pleasant flowery smell. The airflow resistance of this mask is 108.8, so the breathability is good as well.
The Wellkeeps Premium KF94 mask passed our filtration test with flying colors, blocking 99.85% of particulates. This one is another high scorer on the breathability front, with a score of 60.3 pascals. The odor is slight. We’d describe it as a campfire inside a paper factory. This mask is also well-constructed. It took us some effort to snap the earloops.
The Nepure KF94 pink mask passed our particulate filtration efficiency machine test with an incredible score of 99.91%. The airflow resistance of this mask is 94.2. While it has a papery smell, its ear loops are adjustable, which we found to be a very attractive feature for people who can’t seem to find the right fit to create a seal around the mouth and nose.
There you have it, the top five KF94 masks you can feel good about wearing. However, if you can’t find any of the picks listed above, check out our comprehensive mask testing database, which has hundreds of reviews.