Battle of the Masks: N95 vs Surgical vs Cloth vs :dc Microparticle Stopper
With so many different types of masks in the market, it can get confusing on which is the right mask for you. In this article, we try to break-down the main features of common mask options, while comparing them with our :dc Microparticle Stopper masks.
First, a quick summary in table form:
|:dc Microparticle Stopper Mask||N95 Mask||Surgical Mask||Other Cloth Masks|
|Filter Type||:dc Microparticle Stopper Membrane||Meltblown||Meltblown||Manual Inserts (PM2.5) / None|
|Proper Filtration Certification||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
Very Good (3D)
Very Good (3D)
Additional notes on each mask compared:
- Use of meltblown filter makes this mask non-washable. In cases where the mask is used for non-contagious situations, such as haze, the mask can be reusable.
- N95 masks usually have a tighter fit around the face in order to seal all gaps to prevent foreign particles from entering. This, together with the use of a meltblown filter, is what affects the breathability of the mask.
- Normally used by medical personnel in higher risk situations.
- An added one-way valve helps to make the mask more breathable and keep humidity inside the mask down. However, do note that while the one-way valve helps to keep droplets and foreign particles out of the mask, it doesn't help to keep the user's own droplets contained inside the mask.
- A single-use mask due to the meltblown filter and flat shape of the mask.
- Due to the use of meltblown filter and flat shape of the mask, the breathability of the mask is poor. Can feel smothering, especially in humid conditions or if the mask becomes wet as it tends to stick to the mouth and nose areas.
- Because the mask isn't sealed tightly around the face, it can sometimes feel more breathable than N95 masks.
- Used by most during the current COVID-19 situation due to its economical cost and widespread availability.
- Comes in a variety of materials ranging from natural to synthetic fibers.
- Some options have inserts for users to manual add filters, usually PM2.5.
- Depending on the material used, design, and the use of nose wires, the breathability of the mask varies greatly.
- Cloth masks usually are not tested for their filtration quality.
- A convenient and reusable method for many, where the main purpose is to prevent the spread of droplets. Same as N95 masks, the addition of a one-way valve will decrease the efficiency to contain user's own droplets within the mask.
- A popular choice since a lot of fashionable options are available.
- Uses a proprietary membrane filter that is lightweight, breathable, and tested to filter efficiently.
- The combination of the membrane filter and the 3D shape in the 3D mask option provides for better breathability. A simple test of reduced breathlessness after climbing a flight of steps compared to using an N95 or surgical mask.
- With the added comfort, the urge to remove the mask repeatedly is also reduced. Decreasing hand contact with the mask. Our 3-year-old is able to go through sustained periods of usage without feeling uncomfortable or needing to remove the mask.
- However, since the mask seals properly around the face in order to meet the KF94 certification standards (similar to N95), the mask may trap humidity and leave some pressure marks on the face after prolonged use.
What is a meltblown filter?
A meltblown filter is created using a process that converts a polymer resin into very thin fibers that is blown onto a collector, forming a web-like material.
There we have it. We hope this comparison will help you figure out which mask works best for you.
In low risk situations, any mask will suffice in order to reduce exposure through spread of droplets. If you foresee a prolonged period of an enclosed environment with high human traffic, consider using a mask that has been tested for better protection. Note that your comfort will also contribute significantly to your proper usage of the mask.
Stay safe during these trying times.
Check out our :dc Microparticle Stopper Masks and find out how this mask doesn't take your breath away! CLICK HERE