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Differences between a P2, FFP2, KN95 AND N95 facemasks

Depending on your location, different face mask types are more widely used. For example, in the United States and Canada, N95 are common; in Australia and New Zealand you'll see P2 masks more often; in China, KN95 is the standard. Mask manufacturer 3M, which specialises in filtering facepiece respirators (FFR) masks, offers the following explanation of the main differences between each mask type.

 

Certification/Class

N95 

FFP2 

KN95 

P2 

Korea 1st Class 

DS 

Filter performance 

≥ 95%

≥ 95%

≥ 95%

≥ 94%

≥ 94%

≥ 95%

Test agent

NaCl

NaCl and paraffin oil

NaCl

NaCl

NaCl and paraffin oil

NaCl

Flow rate

85 L/min

95 L/min

85 L/min

95 L/min

95 L/min

85 L/min

Total inward leakage (TIL) 

N/A

≤ 8% leakage 

≤ 8% leakage 

≤ 8% leakage 

≤ 8% leakage 

Inward Leakage measured and included in User Instructions

Inhalation resistance 

≤ 343 Pa

≤ 70 Pa (at 30L/min)≤ 240 Pa (at 95 L/min)≤ 500 Pa (clogging)

≤ 350 Pa

≤ 70 Pa (at 30L/min)≤ 240 Pa (at 95L/min)

≤ 70 Pa (at 30L/min)≤ 240 Pa (at 95L/min)

≤ 70 Pa (w/valve)≤ 50 Pa (no valve)

Flow rate

85L/min

Varied – seeabove

85L/min

Varied – seeabove

Varied – seeabove

40L/min

Exhalation resistance 

≤ 245 Pa

≤ 300 Pa

≤ 250 Pa

≤ 120 Pa

≤ 300 Pa

≤ 70 Pa (w/valve) ≤ 50 Pa (no valve)

Flow rate

85L/min

160L/min

85L/min

85L/min

160L/min

40L/min

Exhalation valve leakage requirement

Leak rate ≤ 30mL/min

N/A

Depressurization to 0 Pa ≥ 20 sec

Leak rate ≤ 30mL/min

Visual inspection after 300L /min for 30 sec

Depressurization to 0 Pa ≥ 15sec

Force applied

-245 Pa

N/A

-1180 Pa

-250 Pa

N/A

-1,470 Pa

CO2 clearance requirement

N/A

≤ 1%

≤ 1%

≤ 1%

≤ 1%

≤ 1%

 

When should or shouldn't I use a P2, N95 or KN95 face mask in Australia?

According to the Australian Department of Health and the World Health Organisation, the people who will benefit the most from use of a face mask are those who are already sick and healthcare workers who have close contact with sick people.

Masks are most effective when used in combination with frequent hand washing or use of an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.

You can find out more information on when and how to use masks here on the World Health Organisation's site.

Are P2 masks only good for a single use?

Yes. If you need to use a mask multiple times, most of the sites listed above will sell multi-packs.

Alternatively, you can check out where to bulk buy P2 and N95 masks in the list above if you're in need of multiple masks, say for an essential workplace. 3M also makes mask with replaceable filters.

How long do P2 face masks last?

Generally, a P2 mask works for about 8-10 hours before needing to be replaced as it will become less effective. According to the World Health Organization you should also replace any single-use mask once it gets damp.

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