KN95 mask recommendations?

Hello all, if you are like me you are both overwhelmed and a bit suspicious of all the KN95 masks on the market.  And every time one seems to be proven legit, it sells out quickly and is never found again.  Is there any consensus on which KN95 masks are good?  And where are you finding your information?


  • Comments (13)

    • 3

      To me, prepping means already having the things one might need, prior to a huge demand.  I buy my ammo by the cases when it is readily available and cheap.  Now is not the time to be buying ammo.  I purchased cases of n95 masks and other protective gear years ago, when once again they were readily available and cheap.

      I know that doesn’t help you now but all I can suggest is buying from reputable sites that were in business prior to this pandemic.  If possible, get on their notify list.  But be prepared to pay out the nose.  Supply and demand determine the price of goods and as you know, supply is low & demand is high… the wrong time to purchase.  Personally, I’d be somewhat concerned with any product out there today.  Too many people in the supply chain are making a killing off the high price & will do anything to keep selling at these prices… even source inferior raw material.  Human greed can be a nasty thing.

      • 9

        Indeed, I had over 100 of 3M’s N95 respirators before this all went down, I gave about half of them to family and close friends and milked the rest until just recently.  While I certainly wish I had more, I also don’t want to be that guy who is hoarding vital PPE while medical personnel are going without.  

      • 10

        What makes the masks wear out? Do they just break down over time, or do you throw them away because they may be contaminated? 

        Can you place them in the sun and sanitize them to make them last longer?

      • 6

        There is a more complicated science to it that I can’t really speak to, but it’s a combination of the filter getting clogged up and the mask otherwise just wearing out from use – and that is of course on top of the possibility of contamination.  They are designed for single use, though these days I suspect most people use them a few times before tossing them.  Unfortunately there isn’t a really good way to clean them.

      • 6

        I can see why people need to store so many then if they are meant to be a single use item.

        I hope that a reusable or washable one can be designed and created out of this whole pandemic. I think that would be incredibly successful, save a lot of waste, and get more masks into the hands of more people. I’m sure they have tried it though and it is harder to make than i’m thinking of.

        Anyways, thanks for the reply matthew. 

      • 4

        Doesn’t bother me in the least that I have N95s & other PPE while medical personnel are going without.  I bought mine when supply was heavy & prices cheap.  These hospitals could have done the same.  It won’t bother me if one day food is not available but I have lots in storage.  That is the nature of the world we live in.  Preppers are made to look silly… until they don’t.  Too many people go on with their lives and don’t prepare for disaster.  As opposed to having stockpiles of goods, they spend every dollar on expensive cars, toys & vacations.  I drive an old pickup, haven’t been on a trip in years and don’t drink or smoke.  With my extra money, I spend to be better prepared.

        IMO, a prepper has to be mentally prepared for the day when you have plenty and others have nothing.  We all make choices and have to live with those choices.

      • 6

        While I do agree with you that hospitals and other organizations should have stocked more masks and other PPE (I hope they learn from this experience and improve in the future), it is the employees, the doctors and nurses that are suffering. A random nurse couldn’t have told their hospital to stock more masks, they would have brushed her off. Hey, i’ve told some of my previous jobs on how they could improve redundancies and prep a little more, but they didn’t listen. But those doctors and nurses are the ones that are now having to work without masks at times and risking their own safety. All because of their hospital not thinking ahead. I feel for them.

        Individuals on the other hand, that’s another story. Sure people could have been going through a hard time and not have had the money to spend towards prepping before a disaster hits, or any number of scenarios that truly kept them from prepping how they would have liked, we can’t judge that. But I think many could have done a little more than they did.

        I agree that more people should prep. People shouldn’t be going on thousands of dollar trips and buying a $70,000 new tesla when they don’t have enough food for more than 2 weeks in their pantry and then complain when there is a food shortage. But then again, many people aren’t preppers, they weren’t raise or taught this way, and it just may not even be on their radar.

        I admire that you have put off some of the ‘luxuries’ of life in order to protect the future of your family. I’ve seen some of the pics of your little ranch/homestead and think that you are very blessed and all of the sacrifices you have made have gotten you to have quite a sweet little setup. 

      • 6

        Unless your intent is to give away all your preps because you feel sorry for someone doing without, then IMO it is something all preppers have to come to grips with.  Maybe this is just the first time we have actually had to deal with such a situation, where we have something in stock and the general population does without.   

        IMO, all preppers have to consider what happens when you actually need your preps to survive and how do you handle folks that are doing without?  Will you let others starve when you have food? Will you give it away & put your own family at risk?  These are hard questions that require answers that will be uncomfortable in the least.  You may have to decide if the unprepared die.

        That is why I sound heartless when I say what I say about the n95 masks.  I’m not prepared to give up my stores to others less prepared… no matter who is at fault.  We still don’t know how this pandemic is going to end… if it ever does.  Does it mutate into something where we start all over again?  I can’t answer so I’ll stay prepared.

    • 8

      I was really concerned about receiving fake KN95s; I read what the CDC said on their site about how to detect the fakes, and what to look for. I ended up buying these masks, which are made by a FDA emergency authorized manufacturer for KN95’s:

      My whole family has tried them, and they really do feel like quality masks; they came with the certifications that the CDC said to look for.

    • 9
    • 6


      Spend some time reading https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/personal-protective-equipment-infection-control/n95-respirators-surgical-masks-and-face-masks.  Spend some time at “comparing surgical masks and surgical N95 respirators”.

      I’m not overwhelmed because already loaded up with 3M N95s and P100s – but not allowed to wear in private citizen role. As an emergency responder and activated reservist; yes, OK,..but the public still can be dangerous to deal with.

      I get my information from 3 sources: 1. some Federal agency websites, like above, 2. from emergency responder meetings and 3. from a private subscription to insurance institute clearing house link.

      I am not answering about any consensus re KN95s. I do not know. Virginia allows them. From my meetings and other volunteer work, my understanding is that the KN95s were approved for import for the non-professional health care providers’ market. The – problem – was … probably still is … the fake / knockoff imports labeled as approved KN95s.  

      Depending on your area’s specifics, consider arranging a visit to your health department’s community outreach section. There are some people who are knowledgeable and willing to provide guidance.

      I am a strong proponent of group membership where this and other material can be learned well prior to needing the information.  Plus, my homestead group (NOT my prepper groups or one in formation now) has a co-op.  I’m the business manager and can say our costs are very good.

      Meanwhile, back to the copper coated fabric that kills the corona virus ………..

    • 10

      As others have mentioned, you can definitely try to pick masks that are on the FDA approved list and look for warning signs of fakes (ie: masks that don’t have serial numbers etc). 

      We’ve been using the SupplyAid kn95s sold through Sunjoe and are happy with them for our needs. I’d recommend buying a pack and trying them out to see how they work for you before stocking up. How a mask fits your unique face is an important feature. I have a small face with a high nose bridge which makes it hard for most masks to fit properly, but these work quite well for me.  I can get a tight fit by using a hair elastic to make a modified  head loop to pull the mask tight to my face, which is more in line with how US n95s are designed. Double masking is also an option to explore if you find a kn95 you like but want to be extra safe and add another layer to them.

    • 10

      chicknhens taught me about KN95’s yesterday! Check out this forum post where she talks about it.

      Also, i’ve noticed people talking about KN95’s and N95’s in the comments to this blog.