The N95 mask is the specially-designed, approved mask for the United States, with a performance standard number NOISH-42CFR84. On the other hand, the KN95 face mask is the recommended product by China, with the standard number GB2626-2006. They both have similar designs, considering the application to the COVID19 virus. However, these two face masks also have their slight differences, according to their performance level and expectations.
Both the KN95 and the N95 face masks fall under the category of Filtering Facepiece respirators (FFR). Other items in the group include the FFP2 for Europe, P2 for Australia and New Zealand, and DS2 for Japan. Due to the requirements of the approving standards, these respirators may have similar properties. Besides, there are basic requirements that filtering respirators should have, which makes them useful in combating the COVID19 pandemic.
Mainly, the comparison of the masks is usually based on the flow rates for the inhalation and exhalation resistance tests. The expected range for the inhalation resistance testing is between 40 and 160L/min, while the exhalation resistance flow rate is between 30 and 95L/min. Then, each country will decide the kind of flow rate testing that is most suitable for them. It may be a multiple flow rate testing or the high or low ends of the standard limits.
KN95 versus N95
Considering three standard properties, the following are the differences between the KN95 masks from the N95 masks:
- Inhalation Resistance: the N95 face mask has a maximum pressure drop of less than or equal to 343 Pascal. On the other hand, the KN95 counterpart has a maximum pressure drop of not more than 350 Pascal. This relatively more significant pressure drop implies that both filters are tested at a high flow rate. Besides, this is important for the sake of the prevalence of the COVID29 virus in both China and the US.
- Exhalation resistance: the exhalation resistance for the N95 face mask is less than or equal to 245 Pascal. However, the KN95 face mask model is not more than 250 Pascal, which is the average rate when compared with other face mask models. This property is contrary to the Inhalation resistance but pushes for the same condition of testing.
- Force Applied: the force applied for the two masks vary, according to the specific needs of these countries. For instance, N95 applies a force of -245 Pa while the KN95 pushes for a force of -1180 Pa. These two face masks are quite far apart using this property, but they both are appropriate for respective countries.
In conclusion, there is a possibility that the KN95 model of masks will get more prominence in the international market. This development is due to the shortage of the N95 face mask, especially across the US. Recently, the family Robert Kraft donated 1 million masks to the New York and Massachusetts workers. But the local doctors discovered that most of these facemasks are the KN95 model rather than the N95 model.
Moreover, the approved model for Australia and New Zealand is the P2 face mask, with Inhalation and Exhalation resistance of ≤70 and ≤120 Pa, respectively. Also, the standard approved number for the P2 face mask model is AS/NZ 1716:2012.