Before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, a face mask was just a face mask with the specifics left to medical professionals. However, times have changed, and understanding types of face masks is crucial as it determines how well you are protected from the virus and other infectious particles. One of the most popular questions is the comparison of KN95 vs KF95. Here is everything you need to know about these masks.
Before comparing the two, it is essential to understand that both of the masks are alternatives to N95. They are equivalent to N95 and function as respiratory face masks where they fit tightly around the nose and mouth, protecting against infectious particles in the air. Before looking at further details, here is what their names mean:
- N95- is the US standard
- KN95- China standard
- KF95- Korean standard
The 95 in the name stands for the percentage of the particles greater than 0.3microns in size filtered. That means that the mask filters 95% of particles measuring >0.3 microns in size. It prevents the passage of particles like dust, bacteria, cough droplets, pollen, plant spores, animal dander, asbestos dust, lung-damaging dust, some smoke, pollutants, and other ultrafine particles.
What about viruses? These masks can prevent transmission of the viruses because they do not exist freely in the air but are bound to droplets. For instance, the coronavirus is found on fine cough droplets and sneeze droplets. The KN95 and KF95 masks prevent the passage of droplets of bodily fluids, therefore, protecting the wearer from exposure to the virus. The wearer too, cannot transmit the virus to others.
Although theKN95 and KF95 face masks are similar in function and most other aspects, there are some minor differences.
The KN95 mask, which is the China standard, uses the same specifications as of those of the American N95. On the other hand, KF95 uses the same specification as FFP2, which is the EU standard, including the UK. That’s the reason behind the technical differences you may encounter when you focus on the fine print.
While the KN95 is tested by NaCl, KF95 is tested by both NaCl and paraffin oil. Okay, in case that looks a little complicated, here is a breakdown. NaCl and paraffin oil are used because they are the worst possible surrogates for the aerosols that can be encountered. The NaCl represents solid aerosols, while paraffin oil represents liquid aerosols that can be met. The statistical difference brought by the addition of paraffin oil as a testing agent in the testing of KF95 is not significant. Therefore both face masks are effective in trapping the particles from breathed air.
The KF95 has a higher flow rate, which is 95L/min as compared to KN95 with 85L/min. The workload determines the flow rate. For instance, a person doing normal activities or light workload breathes at 30L/min while one doing a heavy workload breathes at the rate of 85L/min. A flow rate of an individual being higher than that of the mask will result in rebreathing, which is undesirable. Both masks have a flow rate equal or above the maximum flow rate and are therefore safe.
Pitting KN95 vs KF95 boils down to a couple of differences in their specifications. However, they are functionally similar. Although the KF95 tends to have technical advantages, they are both effective face masks for use in a variety of conditions. They can be used in a hospital, at home, outdoors, workplace, and even polluted environments.