Masks (respirators) are extremely effective against airborne viruses such as COVID-19. If you choose one "tool" to carry, among the physical ones listed below, make it a respirator.

Studies and Considerations:

  • Efficacy of face masks, neck gaiters and face shields for reducing the expulsion of simulated cough-generated aerosols (Study, 2021)
  • Why upgrade from cloth/surgical masks to respirators? (helpful article)
  • Largest Study on COVID-19 and Face Masks (article, 2021)
  • Yes, even outside
    • SARS-CoV-2 outbreak affecting 131 people at outdoor night market (Study, July 2023)

Additional Considerations and Resources

  • Fit Test My Planet - Ongoing fit-tests to find the BEST respirators (Twitter)
  • Free or cheap resources for obtaining masks:
    • Search for your local MASK BLOC or other advocacy groups providing free masks, tests, and other tools in their community!
      • Directory of COVID Advocacy Groups (US) (Google Doc)

Types of recommended masks/links to buy:

  • Powecom KN95s
    • Ear loops or head straps, some colors available, +kids masks
    • Inexpensive (cheaper in bulk, sales, coupon codes)
    • As low as $1.07/PER MASK!
    • Comfortable, fits smaller faces better than most KN95s
  • 3M AURA N95s
    • Great fit even for smaller faces
    • Only comes in white, head straps, 3-panel design makes it easy to wear for a long time/talk without it budging
    • Pricing: around $2.30/mask depending (Home Depot 10pk)
  • 3M VFLEX N95
    • Comes in 2 sizes
    • "Regular size" is a better fit for larger faces than the Aura
    • Both have more surface area to breath through, which can be more comfortable / "breathable" for some
    • $1.28/mask (ProjectN95 50pk)

Reusable Respirators

  • ElastoMaskPro N95
    • Reusable mask with replaceable N95 "puck" filters
    • $89.99 (mask with 2 filters) + pack of 2 additional filter pucks $19.99
    • All silicone elastomeric mask (aside from the filters/straps)
    • 2 sizes - small, or medium/large. Shape fits maany different nose/face shapes, good breathability, designed for healthcare workers. Easy to sanitize because it is all one material.
  • envo N95 Respirator
    • Reusable mask with replaceable N95 filter
    • $69.99 (mask with 3 filters) + pack of 10 filters $30.00
    • No options for different nose/face shape. Easy to replace filter. Maybe more breathable than Flo?

  • Flo Mask KN95
    • Reusable silicon mask with changeable filters
    • Tested to achieve FFP2 and KN95 standards (not certified?)
    • Adult and kid sizes available
    • Adult size is $89.99 (mask w/ 2 filters) + $59.99 for pack of 50 replacement filters
    • Less surface area/may not be comfortable for every face. type of filter may lead to additional condensation. Options for different size/type of nose bridge and some helpful advice for determining which size you need.