KN95 vs PM2.5 Face Masks

KN95 vs PM2.5 Face Masks

Face masks are indispensable items when it comes to protection from harmful particles in the air. From hospitals to other workplaces, homes to public transport, and many other places, face masks are vital in staying safe. The specifics, however, may be challenging when it comes to differentiating one mask form another. For instance, many people find it hard comparing KN95 vs PM2.5 face masks. Here is an in-depth comparison of the two masks to help in decision making.


Before diving into the differences, it is essential to define their names. KN95 is a Chinese standard of a face mask that is equivalent to N95. On the other hand, PM2.5 face masks stand for any mask that can filter out particles larger than 2.5 micrometers. Based on this definition, therefore, a KN95 qualifies as a PM2.5 mask. For this comparison, the KN95 will be pitted against regular PM2.5 masks to identify the differences.


The very first difference lies in the filtered particle size. The KN95 mask filters out 95% of particles greater than 0.3 microns in diameter. On the other hand, the PM2.5 masks filter out particles measuring 2.5 micrometers (2.5 microns) or larger. The KN95, therefore, filters out smaller particles than the other PM2.5 masks.

Types of Particles

A higher filtration capacity allows the KN95 to filter out a large number of particles, including dust, cough droplets, bacteria, pollen, plant spores, animal dander, lung-damaging dust, asbestos dust, pollutants, some smoke, and other ultrafine particles. It also includes some viruses. Now that they filter anything larger than 0.3microns, they can filter out all the PM2.5 particles too.

The PM2.5 masks are designed to filter out fine particulate matter, which is tiny particles in the air, which reduce visibility, making the air appear hazy when their levels are elevated. Their longer suspension in the air does lead to plaque deposits in the nose, throat, lungs and can even be taken up into the circulatory system. These particles are formed during the burning of fuel and other chemical reactions taking place in the atmosphere. The particles include dust, smoke, mist, pollen, and spores in the air.

Level of Health Protection

Both masks are used for the protection of the body from airborne particles. First, PM2.5 particles can cause both short term and long term health problems. Short term health issues include irritation of the throat, nose, and eyes, sneezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. Long term health issues include chronic bronchitis, asthma, and heart diseases. The use of a PM2.5 mask protects one from these health problems.

A KN95 mask offers protection from the above problems, too, and even goes further. Now that it can filter out smaller particles, it is useful in preventing transmission of infectious diseases. A good example is the current use in hospitals and by regular people in combating the COVID19 pandemic. This high level of protection makes the KN95 best suited for use in the medical field and other areas where the risk of contamination is high.


Although the KN95 is technically a PM2.5 mask, it goes further to offer protection from particles that measure way lesser than the 2.5micrometer size of the other masks. The comparison of KN95 vs PM2.5 is; therefore, a question of what does more and the KN95 clearly wins.

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