Difference Between N95 vs. KN95 Masks
Both ratings require masks to be tested for filtration efficiency at capturing salt particles (NaCl). Both are tested at a flow rate of 85 L/minute. However, there are some differences between N95 and KN95, highlighted here.
KN95 vs. N95 – Differences Highlighted
Most of these differences are small and would be uninteresting to the average mask user. However, here are the key differences:
1. To be certified as a KN95 mask, the Chinese government requires the manufacturer to run mask fit tests on real humans with ≤ 8% leakage. The N95 mask standard does not require manufacturers to run fit tests.
This does not mean that fit tests aren’t helpful. Many hospitals and companies require their workers to be fit-tested. However, those are requirements of companies themselves, not for the US NIOSH certification on the mask.
2. N95 masks have slightly stricter requirements for pressure drop while inhaling. That means they’re required to be slightly more breathable than KN95 masks.
3. N95s also have slightly stricter requirements for pressure drop while exhaling, which should help with breathability.
What’s The Difference Between N95 and KN95 Masks?
An N95 mask is a filtering facepiece respirator (FFR). The Federal Code of Regulations defines a FFR to be a negative pressure particulate respirator with a filter as an integral part of the facepiece or with the entire facepiece composed of the filtering medium. An N95 means the mask has been rated to filter at least 95 percent of airborne particles it encounters. The masks have also been manufactured to form a seal on the wearers face. They can be referenced as a disposable respirator, dust mask, N95, KN95, FFR, etc.
The difference between an N95 and a KN95 mask is where the mask is certified. Much like other industries, respirators/masks have different approval sources and names.
Australia/New Zealand- P2
China- KN95, KP95
Korea- 1st class
US- NIOSH N95, R95, P95
With such similar sounding names, it can be confusing to understand the difference between N95 and KN95 masks. What are KN95 masks, and are they the same as N95 masks? This handy chart explains the differences between N95 and KN95 masks (and all characteristics that are the same).
In short, N95 masks are the US standards for respirator masks; KN95 masks are the Chinese standards for masks. These are the requirements that the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health requires manufacturers to meet in order to label their masks as N95s. Despite the long list of differences, the two masks are equivalent or nearly equivalent on the features that most people care about.
According to mask manufacturer 3M, “it is reasonable to consider” China’s KN95s “equivalent” to US N95s. Mask standards for Europe (FFP2), Australia (P2), Korea (KMOEL), and Japan (DS) are also highly similar.