Wearing a mask when you go out in public has basically become a given for most of us ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began a couple of years ago. And, while you probably have your lineup of go-to face masks you’ve been wearing for a while now, the rapid spread of the new and highly contagious Omicron variant and a massive jump in COVID-19 cases in the U.S. has more than a few people taking a closer look at the quality of their masks.
One type of mask that’s gotten a lot of attention lately is the FFP2 mask. An FFP2—the FFP stands for “filtering facepiece respirator”—is a type of respirator that is in the same performance category as N95 masks, according to the World Health Organization. (It’s a European standard, similar to how China has the KN95 and Korea has the KF94.) FFP2 masks filter out at least 94 percent of aerosols, giving you a lot of protection from airborne germs while you’re out and about.
Interested in FFP2s but prefer to stick with American standards? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has softened its recommendation on N95 masks, which filter out at least 95 percent of aerosols and used to be restricted for healthcare workers. The CDC now says that anyone can use an N95 mask “when supplies are available,” opening this up to the general public, too.
Of course, everyone and their mom want highly protective masks right now, making FFP2s, N95s, and similar, higher-protection face masks somewhat tricky to find. Here are a few options that are currently in stock—grab them while you can.
RANTO 50 Pack FFP2 Mask Face Masks
Down from $29
Want to stock up? Ranto has a 50-pack of FFP2 masks that’ll last you for months. These masks meet the WHO’s requirements for FFP2 respirators and have stretchy headband straps for a comfortable-yet-secure fit. You’ll get two layers of melt-blown fabric, one layer of non-woven fabric, and one layer of soft fabric that rests against your skin for maximum protection against aerosols. A metal nose wire allows you to easily mold the mask to your face.
3M Aura Particulate Respirator 9205+
This N95 respirator doesn’t just filter out aerosols—it also has something called advanced electrostatic media that helps enhance the mask’s ability to capture particles while making it easier for you to breathe. The 3M Aura masks have durable welded straps, soft nose foam, and an adjustable nose clip so you can get that just-right fit. They’re also approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), so you know you’re getting a quality product.
FFP2 Mask 20Pcs, 5 Layer Cup Dust Safety Masks
This FFP2 mask has headband-style straps to help save your ears. These masks offer up to 95 percent filtration, with an adjustable metal nose piece to help you get a tight fit. A double-layered electrostatic filter absorbs the maximum amount of particles while an overall lightweight feel doesn’t make this mask uncomfortable after a full day’s wear.
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