Face Masks Explained - What Are Most People Choosing to Wear?

If you've been outside lately, you would have noticed that most people are wearing Face Masks.

In this brief article, we will provide you with the best information on which ones are available on the UK face masks market, the different protective strengths as well as the styles that are most comfortable.

Have heard of any of the below?

  • KN95
  • N95 
  • FFP1
  • FFP2
  • FFP3
  • Surgical face mask
  • Homemade 
  • Valved 
  • Unvalved
  • Respirator
  • Fold-flat
  • Cup

KN95 Face mask:

KN95 face masks are the Asian certification and the equivalent of the FFP2 European classification and also the N95 mark from the USA.

These protective face masks are usually a " fold-flat " design which makes them very hand to use for everyday life including commuting and the times when you are unable to social distance.

N95 Face mask:

N95 is a classification for American face masks. Due to the global shortages of PPE equipment and face masks, the KN95 is now more widely available.

On April 3rd the newspaper NY times announced that the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the US that it will allow the use of the more widely available mask that meets Chinese standards called KN95.

You can read the article about the KN95 face masks here.

FFP1 facemasks:

The FFP1 face mask is considered to offer the lowest level of protection that a face mask can offer.

For this reason, it is obvious why they are the cheapest to manufacture and the most affordable. 

FFP2 facemasks:

FFP2 is the European standard, these protective face masks offer the second-highest level of protection, being regarded as equivalent to the N95 respirator used throughout Europe and the US.

The masks meet the who guidelines for effective protection against the coronavirus as they stop the inhalation of microscopic particles.

FFP3 facemasks:

FFP3 face masks are said to offer the highest level of protection amongst the five, filtering out most materials in concentrations of up to 50x OEL or 20x APF. FFP3 face masks are therefore the most expensive.

These masks have been effectively used against Asbestos as well as within the NHS for substances with viral and bacterial properties. You can find all three kinds of Face masks on our website, maskscoronavirus.co.uk.



Surgical Face Masks:

Surgical face masks are often blue in colour and are often manufactured using 3- ply. 

The design of these masks is largely to prevent infected bodily fluid droplets or discharge entering into the wearer's respiratory system of either a patient or health care worker.

These Type IIR masks are manufactured to a European standard. The R signifies that the 3 ply surgical masks are manufactured to a specific standard is fluid-resistant. 

Many surgical masks should have EN certificates and meet EU standards. 

Homemade face masks:

The CDC ( Centre for Disease Control ) recommends that we should be at least wearing a cloth face mask.

You can read the entire article by clicking here.

Though homemade and not manufactured to any specific standard apart from your own high standards, of course, these homemade face masks are cheap easy to make, alternative to medical face masks.

There are many youtube videos and how-to guides available online.

Valved Face Masks

A valved face mask offers the same level of protection as an unvalved face mask. Available online are a range of face masks that include this valve.

What this valve does is to offer the wearer an increased level of comfort.

Having a valve integrated onto a face mask does not improve or contribute towards the level of protection that the face mask offers.

However, it does control how much air escapes from the mask when breathing and how quickly the mask can expel air.

Unvalved face mask:

The term unvalved face mask is literally as it sounds. It is a face mask that simply does not have a valve attached. 

Unvalved face masks are usually lower in price than their valved counterparts.

On our website you can find unvalved face masks:

  • N95 face masks
  • KN95 face masks
  • FFP2 face mask 

 Respirator face masks:

The dictionary definition of respirator is:

respirator face mask N95 KN95 FFP2


This again is a literal terminology. What is great about fold flat face masks is that they are easy to carry with you and store until you use them again.



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