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different mask types

Mask Type: How can We Identify Shape, Use, and Standard of Face Mask?

1. Mask Factory: Complete Guide to Building a Mask Production Line
2. Mask Type: How can We Identify Shape, Use, and Standard of Face Mask?
3. How to Select the Best Mask Manufacturing Machine for the Mask Factory?
4. Mask Effectiveness Test Checklist of EN 14683, EN 149, and ASTM F2100
5. An overview of masks
6. The Common FAQ about the Use of N95 Masks

This post is a consolidated description of the mask type. It focuses on the mask shape, the mask use, and the mask standard. Whether you are a member of the general population who wears masks, or you are a professional involved in mask production or mask testing, there is some valuable information to be found here.

Mask Type 1: Face Mask Shape and Wearing Style

Face mask shape

mask shape mask type

flat mask economical and easy to carry
folding mask easy to carry, large breathing space
cup mask comfortable, large breathing space

Wearing style of face mask

mask type wearing style

earloop mask easy to wear, suitable for taking off at any time
headloop mask comfortable to wear, suitable for long time wear


Mask Type 2: Face Mask Use

According to the use of face masks, it can be divided into 4 mask types: general face mask, disposable medical mask, medical protective mask, and labor protection mask.

cotton mask

General mask type mainly refers to masks made of yarn/cotton and polyurethane fibers, and the homemade DIY masks that you see in various styles online belong to this category, which does not have the ability to protect against particles and viruses, and are mainly used for cold and warmth, protection of privacy, etc.

medical surgical mask

Disposable medical mask type, a type of hospital mask, is mainly used for daily hospital work or surgical suites, and needs to be distinguished as the standards for masks are not exactly the same in each country. Among them, medical surgical masks can block blood and body fluids from contaminating the wearer through the mask, while having a filtration efficiency of more than 95% for bacteria, playing a professional role in preventing cross-infection.

medical protective mask

Medical protective mask type, also a hospital mask, are suitable for medical personnel and related staff for protection against airborne respiratory infections. The medical protective mask has a high level of protection and is particularly suitable for use during medical activities when in contact with patients with airborne or close droplet-borne respiratory infections. The medical protective mask can filter airborne particles, block droplets, blood, body fluids, secretion micro-droplets, etc. The medical protective mask can effectively filter bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens.

medical protective mask

Labor protection mask type, which is usually represented by 3M brand and is functionally divided into two categories: anti-particulate matter mask type and anti-virus mask type. The American masks have N90, N95, and N99 types, the European masks have FFP1, FFP2, and FFP3 types, and the Chinese masks have KN90, KN95, and KN99 types. N90 and below can only be used for daily dust and particulate protection, while N95 and above can be used for virus protection and industrial dust and particulate protection.


Mask Type 3: Mask Standard

1 U.S. standards for face masks: NIOSH Standards (Title 42 CFR Part 84) and ASTM F2100

There are two types of mask standards in the United States: labor protection mask type and medical protection mask type. The following is an overview of the standards.

Levels and requirements of NIOSH Standard mask type

Filter element NaCl Particle Testing Oil Particle Testing
N95 95.0% not applicable
N99 99.0%
N100 99.97%
P95 not applicable 95.0%
P99 99.0%
P100 99.97%

Classes and requirements of ASTM F2100 mask type

Performance indicators Protection level 1 Protection level 2 Protection level 3
BFE % ≥95 ≥98 ≥98
Differential pressure mmH2O/cm² <5.0 <6.0 <6.0
Filtration efficiency for 0.1um particles 1% ≥95 ≥98 ≥98
Synthetic blood penetration,minimum pressure mmHg 80 120 160
flame resistance Class 1 Class 1 Class 1

Note: The test flow rate of the standard NIOSH Standards (Title 42 CFR Part 84) is 85L/min. The index requirement of respiratory resistance is that the inhalation resistance should not exceed 350pa and exhalation resistance should not exceed 250pa.

2 EU standards for face mask type: EN 149: 2001+A1-2009 and EN 14683: 2019

EN149:2001+A1 with three levels: FFP1, FFP2, and FFP3 corresponding to filter efficiencies of 80%, 94%, and 99%.

Class level requirements for mask type according to EN149.

Grade NaCl Particle Testing Oil Particle Testing
Penetration % Efficiency % Penetration % Efficiency %
FFP1 20 ≥80% 20 ≥80%
FFP2 6 ≥94% 6 ≥94%
FFP3 1 ≥99% 1 ≥99%

Note: The test flow rate for this standard is 95L/min. FFP is Filtering Face Piece, which meets the European standard EN149 but does not necessarily mean FFP2 level, it may be FFP1 level.

Classes and Requirements for mask type according to EN 14683

Classify Type Ⅰα Type Ⅱ Type ⅡR
BFE % ≥95 ≥98 ≥98
Differential pressure Pa/cm² <40 <40 <40
Splash resistance kPa No requirement No requirement ≥16.0
Microbial cleanliness cfu/g ≤30 ≤30 ≤30

Note: TYPE I medical masks should only be used on patients and others to reduce the risk of transmission of infectious diseases, especially in epidemiological situations. TYPE I masks are not intended for use by medical personnel in operating theatres or other medical environments with similar requirements.

3 Chinese standards for face mask type: GB 2626 and GB 19083

According to China’s standards for mask type, it can be divided into three categories: medical mask type and protective mask type.

Filter efficiency levels and requirements for face mask type in GB 2626

Filter element NaCl Particle Testing Oil Particle Testing
KN90 90.0% Not applicable
KN95 95.5%
KN100 99.97%
KP90 Not applicable 90.0%
KP95 95.5%
KP100 99.97%

Note: The test flow rate of this standard is 85L/min. The index requirement for respiratory resistance is that inhalation resistance does not exceed 350Pa and exhalation resistance does not exceed 250Pa.

GB19083-2010 filter efficiency levels and requirements for face mask

Grade Filtration efficiency (%)
Level 1 ≥95
Level 2 ≥99
Level 3 ≥99.97

Note: The test flow rate for this standard is (85±2)L/min and the inspiratory resistance of the mask does not exceed 343.2Pa (35mmH20). Synthetic blood penetration requirements: spray 2mL of synthetic blood into the mask at 10.7KPa (80mmHg), there should be no penetration on the inside of the mask.

4 Japanese and Korean standards for face mask type

Japan DS2 mask type

Japanese mask standard “DS2” is a national standard of the Japanese Ministry of Labor, which is equivalent to the Chinese standard “KN95” and the American standard “N95”. Printed on the package: ウィルスカット99% (virus blocking 99%), which refers to the efficiency of the filter exceeds the domestic standard of 99%. Medical masks.

Korea KF mask type

Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (the mainstream Korean standard for masks issued by Korea’s Food and Drug Administration). KF mask type are divided into KF 80, KF 94, KF 99.

Series filtration efficiency leakage rate resistance
KF80 ≥80% ≤25% 60pa
KF94 ≥94% ≤11% 70pa
KF99 ≥99% ≤5% 100pa


What are the N, FFP, KN, and KF on the top of the mask? What do the next numbers represent?

  • N stands for the labeling symbol of NIOSH certified masks of the American standard
  • FFP indicates the labeling symbol of European standard EN certified masks
  • KN indicates the labeling symbol of Chinese standard GB certified masks
  • KF indicates the labeling symbol of Korean standard KF certified masks

The number next, such as N95, FFP3, KF94, indicates the filtration level of the mask, and the specific filtration effect represented by the above mask standard description.

Finally, a brief summary in one paragraph is as follows, FFP3>FFP2=N95=KN95>KN90. Generally, it is used to resist Viruses and flu, the N95 series is adequate, and the 90 series is also 90% resistant.

surgical mask making machine
surgical mask making machine
KN95 Mask Manufacturing Machine
KN95 Mask Manufacturing Machine


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