What’s The Difference Between KN95 Masks And N95 Masks?

A common question we get here at Buy Masks Direct is what the difference is between N95 and KN95 Masks.

N95 Masks get a lot of mention in the news and media, because people recognize it as the supreme solution to protect those at highest risk of contracting the Coronavirus due to caring for those who are ill with the disease.

This includes people who are in self-quarantine and are caring for loved ones since there aren’t enough testing kits for them to be tested yet. 

The short answer is the N95 is a specification created by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), specifically for use for respirators and masks for use in the USA.

KN95 is the name of the specification for the same N95 standard, applied to most countries outside of the USA.

The masks are therefore produced to just as exacting standards as standard N95 NIOSH approved masks, just they’re made for retail in a different geographic retail market.

The CDC has a page here dedicated confirming what we have said here:


CDC: “All of these respirators have protection factors of at least 10 in the countries listed below, as outlined in the standards and guidance documents specified.”

CountryPerformance StandardAcceptable product classificationsStandards/Guidance DocumentsProtection Factor ≥ 10
AustraliaAS/NZS 1716:2012P3 P2 AS/NZS 1715:2009YES
BrazilABNT/NBR 13698:2011PFF3 PFF2 Fundacentro CDU 614.894YES
ChinaGB 2626-2006KN 100 KP100 KN95 KP95 GB/T 18664—2002YES
EuropeEN 149-2001FFP3 FFP2 EN 529:2005YES
JapanJMHLW-2000DS/DL3 DS/DL2 JIS T8150: 2006YES
KoreaKMOEL-2017-64Special 1st KOSHA GUIDE H-82-2015YES
MexicoNOM-116-2009N100, P100, R100 N99, P99, R99 N95, P95, R95 NOM-116YES
US NIOSH RequirementsNIOSH approved
42 CFR 84
N100, P100, R100
N99, P99, R99
N95, P95, R95
OSHA 29CFR1910.134YES

3M also has a document confirming this fact here:


“Based on this comparison, it is reasonable to consider China KN95, AS/NZ P2, Korea 1st Class, and Japan DS FFRs as “equivalent” to US NIOSH N95 and European FFP2 respirators, for filtering non-oil-based particles such as those resulting from wildfires, PM 2.5 air pollution, volcanic eruptions, or bioaerosols (e.g. viruses).”

Chart Comparing N95 To KN95 and other Equivalent Respirators

Certification/ Class (Standard) N95 (NIOSH-42C FR84) FFP2 (EN 149-2001) KN95 (GB2626-20 06) P2 (AS/NZ 1716:2012) Korea 1st Class (KMOEL – 2017-64) DS (Japan JMHLW- Notification 214, 2018)
Filter performance – (must be ≥ X% efficient) ≥ 95% ≥ 94% ≥ 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)* – tested on human subjects each performing exercises N/A ≤ 8% leakage (arithmetic mean) ≤ 8% leakage (arithmetic mean) ≤ 8% leakage (individual and arithmetic mean) ≤ 8% leakage (arithmetic mean) Inward Leakage measured and included in User Instructions
Inhalation resistance – max pressure drop ≤ 343 Pa ≤ 70 Pa (at 30 L/min)
≤ 240 Pa (at 95 L/min) ≤ 500 Pa (clogging)
≤ 350 Pa ≤ 70 Pa (at 30 L/min)
≤ 240 Pa (at 95 L/min)
≤ 70 Pa (at 30 L/min)
≤ 240 Pa (at 95 L/min)
≤ 70 Pa (w/valve) ≤ 50 Pa (no valve)
Flow rate 85 L/min Varied – see above 85 L/min Varied – see above Varied – see above 40 L/min
Exhalation resistance – max pressure drop ≤ 245 Pa ≤ 300 Pa ≤ 250 Pa ≤ 120 Pa ≤ 300 Pa ≤ 70 Pa (w/valve) ≤ 50 Pa (no valve)
Flow rate 85 L/min 160 L/min 85 L/min 85 L/min 160 L/min 40 L/min
Exhalation valve leakage requirement Leak rate ≤ 30 mL/min N/A Depressurizatio n to 0 Pa ≥ 20 sec Leak rate ≤ 30 mL/min visual inspection after 300 L /min for 30 sec Depressurizatio n to 0 Pa ≥ 15 sec
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%

You can find our assortment of N95 equivalent respirators by click on the link below:

Get Your N95 Equivalent Respirator Masks

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