Restock your N95 or KN95 face masks, respirators as COVID
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Restock your N95 or KN95 face masks, respirators as COVID

May 09, 2023

With COVID-19 hospitalizations once again on the rise amid the spread of the more contagious omicron variants BA1 and BA2, we’re reminding our readers once again that it might be a good time to invest in re-upping your home supply of face masks.

In Oregon and nation wide, the N95 and KN95 medical masks that experts have said offer the best protection from the virus are well-stocked and available to the general public in stores and online. With some theatres, venues, schools, businesses, and eateries opting to enact restrictions again due to the rise this "stealth" variant, it's a good idea to stock up on the kind of masks that will help best protect you and your family before event season is fully underway.

Though mask mandate restrictions have been lifted both state and nation wide, coronavirus doesn't seem to be going away any time soon. To keep yourself, your family, and others safe, measures such as frequent hand-washing, social distancing, and wearing effective masks or respirators in public—both indoors and some heavily populated outdoor situations—can continue to help to slow the spread of the virus and give local hospitals adequate time to accommodate incoming patients.


(Graphic by Nicolette Accardi | NJ Advance Media for and PHG

While both masks are considered very effective in protecting wearers from the transfer of aerosol particulates, filtering out up to 95% , KN95 masks are simply considered the foreign equivalent of N95 masks. The difference between the two has to do with which regulating bodies oversee and test the effectiveness of these masks. N95 masks have been tested and approved by the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Because KN95 masks aren't overseen and vetted by NIOSH, they aren't considered as effective as the U.S.-certified N95 masks.

Be wary of N95 masks with valves fixed to the outside. While these masks protect the wearer from inhaling particulates, they do not prevent transmission of the virus out of the mask by the wearer through the valve. It should be noted that most masks or respirators with valves are not recommended options for the general public unless they are certified by NIOSH and/or the FDA as a surgical grade mask. If you are wearing a mask with the valve like the 3M 8511 model respirator, you must cover the valve with tape or a secondary mask.

Another big difference between N95 and KN95 masks is the price point. Sine KN95 aren't actually certified by NIOSH, they usually come at a lower financial cost than high grade N95 masks.

Whether you’re looking for packs of N95 masks, KN95 masks, or both to provide protection during these uncertain times, here are some great options for available masks that can be quickly delivered and are in stock now.


If you have an Amazon Prime account, this is one of the best ways to get masks as fast as possible with free two-day shipping. With various different brands of KN95 and N95 masks in stock online now, there are a couple of different options that combine good ratings, reasonable prices, and effective protection:

• Kimberly-Clark N95 pouch respirator masks are considered one of the better N95 mask options on Amazon right now. With a big "breathing chamber" and bendable front feature to add comfort and avoid that squished-nose feeling, there US made masks go for around $50 for a pack of 50 masks.

• At a steeper price point around $80 for 35 masks, Halyard Fluidshield N95 respirators are rated well by both medical specialists and users. The manufacturer says they have been cleared for use by the FDA and are listed on the CDC website. These are also made in the USA.

• If you’re concerned with mask size, shape, and color, these discreet and simple black AccuMed BNX N95 masks are made in the United States and come in packs of 10 NIOSH approved masks for $20 (that's only $2 per mask) and have 5 layers of filter in each.

• For an ultra-protective mask that is both a little more robust and reusable, 3M's plastic, 6000 series reusable half masks can be purchased from Amazon for under $20 each. P100 filters for use in these masks are sold separately for under $7 for a two-pack, but the upside is that you won't constantly be throwing away used disposable masks.

• MISSAA KN95 Face Masks for Kids, also available on Amazon, are a good way to help encourage children to wear masks at the grocery store, playdates, or at school—especially if they don't want to. They come in kids’ sizes featuring exciting bright patterns like tie dye, starry nights, fish, donuts, and checkers to create some excitement about mask-wearing.


• If you are looking to sift through and find the best N95 or KN95 mask styles to fit your face, or just want a variety of price points to pick from, N95 Medical Supplies has a plethora of styles to choose from in small or large quantities. They are one of the top retailers of N95 masks, so they have a huge inventory and rarely sell out of the masks they carry.

• You can find KN95 masks in almost any big box store right now if you are willing to make a trip. Lowe's has KN95 masks available in a 10-pack for under $20 and these ones come with a thin metal bracket to help better contour the mask around your nose for improved comfort. Home Depot has KN95 masks as well.

If you can't find what you’re looking for from some of these larger online retailers, you can try some smaller retailers that have some different style options at a variety of price points.

• Well Before has a mix of N95 masks available and most cost under $5 each. The Makrite Sekura respirator folding masks are on sale for $1.99 each. N95 Medical Supplies sells a 20-box of N95 masks for $60 and these are NIOSH-certified and USA-made.


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