Whats the Difference Between N95 Face Mask KN95 Face Masks & FFP Personal Protection Equipment

whats the difference between N95 KN95 FFP2 FFP3 PPE protective face masks
We have received a few emails from customers asking what the differences are between the different types of PPE face masks and what the acronyms mean.

This article is to help you understand the differences between the different names and classifications.

At a quick glance the classification largely depends on the country:

• N95 - This is a classification for & from the United States (NIOSH-42CFR84)
• FFP2 - This is a classification from Europe (EN 149-2001)
• KN95 - This is a classification from China (GB2626-2006)
• P2 - This a a classifications from Australia/New Zealand (AS/NZA 1716:2012)
• Korea - This is a classification from Korea 1st class (Korea KMOEL - 2017-64)
• DS - This is a classification from Japan (JMHLW-Notification 214, 2018)


The table below shows the filter efficiency compared between the different types of masks available:

Mask Type 0.1 size particles 0.3 size particles 3.0 size particles Standards
Single-use face masks 95%
Surgical mask 30% 95% China: YY 0469
Surgical mask – level 1 95% 95% USA: ASTM F2100
Surgical mask – level 2 98% 98% USA: ASTM F2100
Surgical mask – level 3 98% 98% USA: ASTM F2100
Surgical mask – Type 1 95% EU: EN 14683
Surgical mask – Type 2 98% EU: EN 14683
Surgical mask – Type 3 98% EU: EN 14683
N95 respirator mask / KN95 Face mask 95% USA: NIOSH (42 CFR 84) / China GB2626
N99 respirator mask (KN98) 99% USA: NIOSH (42 CFR 84) / China GB2626
N100 respirator mask (KN100) 99.97% USA: NIOSH (42 CFR 84) / China GB2626
FFP1 respirator mask (P1) 80% EU: 149:2001
FFP2 respirator mask (P2) 94% EU: 149:2001
FFP3 respirator mask 95% EU: 149:2001

Source: Smart Air

What's the difference between a FFP2, KN95 and N95 face mask?

This largely depends on which country you currently live in and the supply chain of these protective face masks.
In the explantation above we laid out that dependent on which country you live in depends of the classification of the masks.
Typically for the UK we see FFP2 but are increasingly seeing the use of N95 & KN95 face masks.
United States and Canada - N95
Australia and New Zealand - P2 masks more often
China - KN95 is the standard.
3M, the manufacturer best known for protective face masks along with other things specialises in a filtering facepiece respirators also known as FFR masks.
The table below give a breakdown of the differences between these protective face masks. 
Korea 1st Class
Filter performance ≥ 95% ≥ 95% ≥ 95% ≥ 94% ≥ 94% ≥ 95%
Test agent NaCl NaCl and paraffin oil NaCl NaCl NaCl and paraffin oil NaCl
Flow rate 85 L/min 95 L/min 85 L/min 95 L/min 95 L/min 85 L/min
Total inward leakage (TIL) N/A ≤ 8% leakage ≤ 8% leakage ≤ 8% leakage ≤ 8% leakage Inward Leakage measured and included in User Instructions
Inhalation resistance ≤ 343 Pa ≤ 70 Pa (at 30L/min)≤ 240 Pa (at 95 L/min)≤ 500 Pa (clogging) ≤ 350 Pa ≤ 70 Pa (at 30L/min)≤ 240 Pa (at 95L/min) ≤ 70 Pa (at 30L/min)≤ 240 Pa (at 95L/min) ≤ 70 Pa (w/valve)≤ 50 Pa (no valve)
Flow rate 85L/min Varied – see above 85L/min Varied – see above Varied – see above 40L/min
Exhalation resistance ≤ 245 Pa ≤ 300 Pa ≤ 250 Pa ≤ 120 Pa ≤ 300 Pa ≤ 70 Pa (w/valve) ≤ 50 Pa (no valve)
Flow rate 85L/min 160L/min 85L/min 85L/min 160L/min 40L/min
Exhalation valve leakage requirement Leak rate ≤ 30mL/min N/A Depressurization to 0 Pa ≥ 20 sec Leak rate ≤ 30mL/min Visual inspection after 300L /min for 30 sec Depressurization to 0 Pa ≥ 15sec
Force applied -245 Pa N/A -1180 Pa -250 Pa N/A -1,470 Pa
CO2 clearance requirement N/A ≤ 1% ≤ 1% ≤ 1% ≤ 1% ≤ 1%
Source: 3M

Each of the above classifications & certifications for these protective face masks meet very similar and stringent government classifications and are expected to perform a very similar level.

Part of the testing of these protective face masks is about the flow rates. A flow rate is a test of inhalation paired with the exhalation resistance of the individual masks. Each country has slightly different flow rate requirements but that does not affect the performance of protection that the masks offer merely a measurement of breathing resistance from country to country.

We recommend if you or a family member does have any respiratory issues that you contact your local GP and seek a consultation before selecting any respirator face mask.

A protective face mask should not negatively affect your breathing so please ensure when using a respirator face mask that it is from a legitimate source and has the required CE or FDA approval clearly displayed on the packaging or mask.

KN95 face masks, N95 face masks & FFP2 masks all perform similarly and are almost identical.

On April 3rd according to the NY times the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the USA announced on Friday that it will allow use of a more widely available mask that meets Chinese standards instead of American ones.

KN95 Face Masks

Article Below:
credit: Kenneth Chang

With doctors, nurses and other health care workers facing acute shortages of protective masks, the Food and Drug Administration announced on Friday that it will allow use of a more widely available mask that meets Chinese standards instead of American ones.

Hospitals across the United States are running out of N95 masks, which filter at least 95 percent of particles that are 0.3 microns or larger, including the new coronavirus. N95 masks are tested and certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, or NIOSH, a research agency that is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Friday, the F.D.A. issued an emergency use authorization for KN95 masks. Regulated by the Chinese government, they are almost identical in performance to N95 masks. There are slight differences in their specifications, like a variation in the maximum pressure the masks must be able to withstand as a person inhales and exhales.

The C.D.C. lists KN95 masks as a suitable alternative when N95s are not available.

The F.D.A. said KN95 masks were eligible for authorization if they met certain criteria, including documentation that they were authentic.

But many hospitals have not been willing to order KN95 masks because of uncertainty over whether imports would be allowed into the United States, as well as potential liability if they turned out to be counterfeit. But for some institutions, that may be a worthwhile risk if the alternative is no masks.

The F.D.A. had on March 24 issued a similar authorization for non-NIOSH masks that met similar standards in other countries in Europe as well as Australia, Brazil, Japan, Korea and Mexico. But it left off China because of concerns about fraudulent masks.

Many N95 masks are also manufactured in China, and the Trump administration is trying to compel companies like 3M to send more of those to the United States.

One Chicago-based company, iPromo, says it has been in the KN95 importing business for a month. It had previously developed relationships with Chinese supplies for its main business, churning out custom logo-adorned promotional knickknacks like mugs, water bottles, USB flash drives and small containers of hand sanitizer.

More masks are available because coronavirus transmission in China has been reduced. “They have so much stock,” said Leo Friedman, the company’s chief executive, during an interview Thursday. “They ramped up and now it’s a perfect storm of inventory.”

He said that he understood the quandary the F.D.A. faced because of the danger of counterfeits, but that his company obtains safety certificates and lab reports from its suppliers.

“We have an opinion that these are of high enough quality to be used in Chinese hospitals,” he said of the masks his company is importing. “And the public can make their own deductions.”


A typical KN95 mask or N95 mask is a standard for respiratory personal protection equipment. These masks filter around 95% of particulates greater than 0.3 microns.

KN95 masks are a PPE face mask and are almost identical in their performance to an N95 face mask or FFP2 face mask.

The personal protection masks offer much more and improved significant protection over the standard surgical 3 ply surgical masks that are usually blue or green in colour.

3 ply surgical face masks ppe personal protection equipment

Filtering Performance: equal to 95% @ 0.3 Micron or greater.

Q: What is the best way to remove your mask?

To prolong the life of the cup on the face mask remove it from your face using the ear loops or straps. 

Even before you do this ensure that you you've washed your or used a hand sanitiser gel to limit the chances of spreading or germs or virus'.

We have created an in depth guide/best practice of how wash your hands thoroughly to avoid spreading germs.

FAQ's - Frequently asked questions

How do P2, N95, KN95, FFP2 and FFP3 face masks differ?

The difference is that FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3 masks have to meet European testing requirements, while N95 masks must adhere to the US equivalent, P2 masks to the Australian equivalent and the KN95 mask follows Chinese guidelines. The masks offer a comparable level of protection. An FFP3 mask, however, offers the highest level of protection against materials in a smaller concentration, which means they can block both liquid and solid aerosols. See our table above for further information.

Current NHS guidelines for staff stipulate FFP3 face masks for virus and bacterial infection control when the disease is spread through coughing and sneezing (such as with the coronavirus). They are also often used by NHS staff when handling hazardous pharmaceutical chemicals.

Are face masks effective at containing coronavirus?

When COVID-19 coronavirus first broke out, the (WHO) World Health Organization first advice was:

"that unless you are sick and show symptoms, or are caring for people who are suspected to have the coronavirus, the general public should not wear masks. "

Instead, washing your hands and keeping your distance from others was thought to be more effective.

These guidelines came under review by the WHO’s panel of advisers, after research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found that coughs could reach six metres and sneezes up to eight metres – while social distancing guidelines advised keeping only two metres away from others. However, the WHO panel has concluded that its previous advice should stand and that medical masks should be reserved for healthcare workers only, not the general public.

This decision contradicts that taken by the U.S Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which has recommended that Americans wear cloth face masks when out in public. The WHO advises the general public against wearing face masks because it says they can easily be contaminated when you’re putting them on or removing them and because masks are thought to offer a false sense of security.

UK guidance has remained the same throughout the pandemic, advising the British public to focus on hand washing and social distancing.

However, the UK’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance signalled a possible U-turn after explaining official advice on the need for facial protection was being looked at again.

Do you sell your masks on Amazon?

As of April 2020, we are only supplying our customers directly. We do have plans to eventually sell these protective face masks on the platform in the UK and EU countries.

Do you sell your masks on eBay?

We do not sell our PPE or face mask products on eBay. We always recommend to order face masks online from a trusted source like our company that can provide CE & FDA certificates.