A mask is a mask is a mask, right? Well, yes, but not technically.
While a cloth mask will suffice and do the job of breaking up and preventing inhalation of particles, it’s efficacy pales in comparison to N95 or KN95 masks.
When you hear N95 and KN95 mask classifications, you are looking at masks with a filter performance of equal to or greater than 95% of tiny particles (0.3 microns). Masks that carry the N95/KN95 stamp have been tested with a NaCI agent, evaluating the flow rate, inhalation resistance, exhalation resistance, CO2 clearance requirement and more.
N95 Masks vs KN95 Masks
In short, there are minimal differences between an N95 Mask and a KN95 mask. Both are required to capture a minimum of 95% of particles, however the breathability standards of the N95 is slightly stronger, while the KN95 masks are required to pass fit tests.