INFO: Understanding the differences between N95 respirators

imageIf you’re like me, you know wearing a piece of cloth on your face is more than 25% less effective than wearing an N95 mask. Statistically, 25% is a ridiculous difference in effectiveness.  (In Las Vegas, if someone told you that you had a 25% greater chance of losing on one game vs the other, you’d never take the table with the greater odds.  The difference is were talking about people’s lives.)

So the question is, if you’re going to buy N95 disposable respirators, which is the best product for your money?  Which provides the best protection for your dollar?

It turns out that there are many different N95 masks/respirators.  All are NIOSH approved however there are those:

  • With or without respirators (Exhaled air is unfiltered)
  • With or without FDA approval (Surgical qualified)
  • With or without oil particle filtering (“P95”)

And then there’s even N100 class respirators which are designed for 100% filtering instead of 95%.

imageNow it’s kind of hard to tell what masks are designed for medical protection and which are designed for carpenters & inhaling sawdust.  So I found the following resources that helped me… maybe it’ll help you… understand the difference between the different mask types.

(Note: I don’t have anything written on the difference in prices but suffice it to say that the price can vary wildly.  Also note that surgical respirators are often restricted to purchase by medical professionals.)

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