Buying KN95 masks — typically made in China to Chinese specifications — can be a bit of a gamble. Of all the masks we’ve reviewed during our benchmark testing, KN95 masks fail at the highest rate because there are far more of them available for sale to consumers.
To ensure you don’t buy a dud of a mask, we’ve collected our top picks. But before we get into all that, there are a few things you should know about KN95 masks.
- KN95s are respirator-style masks rated to filter out at least 95% of particulates
- KN95 masks have five layers of fabric
- KN95 masks are flat fold and have ear loops instead of head straps or ties
- Authentic KN95 masks prominently feature the manufacturer name and a technical standard (either "GB 2626-2019" or “GB-2626-2006")
So how do we determine the relative quality of a KN95 mask? First, our lab-based examination confirms that 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. Lastly, we give the ear loops a firm tug and conduct a sniff test to assess the construction and odor of the mask.
To date, we’ve tested over 360 KN95 masks and can heartily recommend these five:
One of the best, most protective masks we sell, the Armbrust American KN95 filters out 98.61% of particulates. It also offers tremendous breathability with a score of 55.14 pascals. This is also one of the only certified KN95 masks made in America by a U.S. manufacturer. We stand by its sturdy construction and odorless smell, providing you with a great way to stay safe. It’s available in both 5- and 20-packs here.
Made in China by Guangzhou Powecom Labor Insurance Supplies Co., this KN95 mask is legit. It filters out 99.83% of particulates and has an acceptable breathability score of 129.92 pascals. Powecom showed us there are actually some good KN95 mask imports. That said, we wouldn't recommend buying this one from Amazon as it's overrun with counterfeit versions. The best place to pick these masks up is through their exclusive US distributor, BonaFideMasks.com.
China’s Jiangsu Feng Ai Medical Technology Co. adheres to the oldest KN95 standard, but its Sckoogh mask offers outstanding filtration. In our test, it captured 99.30% of particulates. It’s also very breathable, with an airflow resistance score of 114.5 pascals. There is a slight odor, but it’s not offensive. Think of new shoes with just a touch of household cleaner. This Sckoogh mask was sent to us for review, but you can purchase it from Lowe’s Home Improvement.
An incredibly well-made mask that comes in a flat-fold-style. Extra-soft spunbond fiber, strong ear loops, and a very malleable aluminum nose strip. The filtration is excellent, too. The Coast mask blocks 99.14% of particulates and has an exceptional breathability score right on the money at 100 pascals. There is an odor, but it’s not unpleasant. It’s akin to the plastic-y smell of a water bottle. Coast is Chinese-made but we’d recommend purchasing from a trusted distributor if possible.
The Ryeziiio mask passed our filtration test with a score of 98.47%. The airflow resistance of this mask is also pretty good at 114 pascals. This mask has a detectable odor comparable to pocket lint. It did, however, receive high marks for its sturdy construction. The Ryeziiio mask’s country of origin is China, so make sure you purchase it directly from the manufacturer if possible or via a trusted distributor of PPE and medical supplies.
There you have it, the top five KN95 masks you can feel good about wearing. However, if you cannot find any of the picks listed above, make sure to check out our comprehensive mask testing database, which has hundreds of reviews.