Which Face Masks Are Best?
The amount of protection you need from a face mask depends upon the intended use. To help you better understand what face masks are best for the use you have in mind, here is a simple guide to selecting face masks and respirators.
Disposable Surgical Face Masks Type I
These loose-fitting disposable face masks are suitable for stopping the spread of respiratory diseases and to stop the wearer from inhaling secretions from others. They are ideal for socially distanced environments. These face masks have 95% efficiency in filtering harmful bacteria and they come in two variations Type I and Type IR – the R stands for resistant against liquids.
Disposable Surgical Face Masks Type II & IIR
These are the masks that are used in hospitals and the minimum recommended grade of face mask to be used when working in COVID environments. Type IIR face masks are simply a water-resistant version of the type II face mask. This gives extra protection to liquids like saliva and sneezes and blood. These face masks have a 98% efficiency in filtering harmful bacteria. These are medical-grade face masks.
Respirator Face Masks
Respirator face masks have a nozzle on the site that filters the air as the wearer inhales. They give added protection preventing the wearer from inhaling harmful particles which include anything from fumes and dust particles to COVID. These masks consist of KN95 respirator face masks and N95 respirator face masks. These respirator face masks provide 99.9% efficiency in filtering harmful bacteria. Our selection of 3M masks fall into this category. 3M are best known for their quality and comfort, 3M face masks are ideal for all-day wear.
FFP2 Face Masks & N95 Face Masks
FFP2 face masks are basically the same as N95 face masks – FFP2 is the European standard. FFP2 face masks are 94% effective in filtering out bacteria whereas N95 face masks are 95% efficient. Both face mask types don’t fit tight to the face allowing breathability.
FFP3 Face Masks
FFP3 face masks have the most effective offering a minimum of 99% filtration. These masks fit snug to the face to prevent air from getting in. Most FFP3 face masks have a valve to help reduce the buildup of moisture from inside the mask making these masks more comfortable for long durations of wear.
3M Face Masks
3M Face masks are scientifically created and used widely across many industries including medical, construction, textile manufacturing and agriculture. They are constructed to be highly efficient as well as comfortable for all-day wear. There is a huge range of 3M face masks each uniquely designed for a specific use with everything from medical grade surgical face masks to face masks for dust and fumes. The 3M 9332a face mask is a good all-rounder with FFP3 protection.
Face visors can provide added protection when used with surgical masks in hospitals and care homes for example. In addition, many industries including beauty and hairdressers may need to wear a face visor with a type IIR face mask for COVID protection. Alternatively, a face visor is classed as a face covering so can be used solo in the place of a fashion face mask or face covering. It’s ideal for comfort as it doesn’t have contact with the face, it’s also a good choice for asthmatics that can not wear a face mask.
Fashion Face Masks & Face Coverings
Fashion face masks are fine to wear in shops and in the street as the official requirement is just a face covering. The face mask in this case is to protect others from any germs you may be carrying, rather than to protect yourself from others. If are in the ‘at risk’ category (for example you are asthmatic or you have an underlying condition) you might want to consider getting a respirator mask so you also protect yourself, they are also much easier to breathe in. The benefit of fashion face masks are that they are washable and reusable. Transparent mouthed face masks also fall into this category – these masks are particularly helpful for communicating with anyone that needs to see your mouth when you speak (lip readers for example).
Now that you have a better idea of which face masks are best for your needs, you can browse our wide range of face masks, respirators and visors.