The Best N95 And KN95 Face Masks To Wear For COVID Variants

COVID cases are on the rise again, just in time for back-to-school. If you're out of face masks, it might be time to grab a few.
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For a while, many people in the U.S. haven’t been worried too much about COVID. The coronavirus looks like it might have other ideas. 

Recently, a new subvariant called EG.5 has been circulating right as back-to-school season begins. The strain, also called Eris, is part of the XBB types that stem from the original omicron variant; EG.5, along with the XBB subvariants, has been responsible for an increase in cases around the country. Depending on your situation, it may be important to protect yourself in as many ways as possible, including having tests on hand, avoiding crowds, getting a vaccination booster, considering using or building an air purifier and wearing the best mask you can when you’re in higher-risk situations.

This might include styles like snug-fitting surgical masks or KN95, KF94 and N95 masks, which are no longer prioritized for health workers. Studies have shown that N95 masks filter out small particles in the air most effectively, followed by surgical masks, and both are better than cloth. KN95s are the Chinese version of the American N95 while the KF94 is the Republic of Korea’s equivalent, and both have at times been more available to buy during the pandemic than N95s.

It’s important to know how to spot a counterfeit face mask while you’re shopping. Meanwhile, check out these solid options that are either highly recommended by reviewers or carry specific agency approvals. 

HuffPost may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Every item is independently selected. Prices and availability are subject to change.

An N95 with an antiviral and antibacterial layer
These N95 masks were tested and certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health for filtering out at least 95% of airborne particles (you can verify this in the NIOSH database, where they are listed under the name of parent company Innonix). They also have a layer with antiviral technology that reportedly inactivates particles like flu viruses within minutes. Amazon is one of the company's official distributors, and they offer the masks in both medium and large sizes — the latter being a great option for people with beards.
An N95 from a trusted U.S. brand
3M's Aura model is a lightweight, comfortable three-paneled NIOSH-approved N95. It has two secure head straps and a clever chin tab that helps you get it into the right position and keep it there.
Powecom KN95 masks in black or white
These KN95 masks carry a 4.5 rating on Amazon, with thousands of customers weighing in across a variety of sellers (here we picked the seller Bona Fide Masks, an official distributor of many important KN95 and KF95 masks). They have elastic ear loops and an adjustable nose bridge, and, according the manufacturer, fit small and medium adult faces.
The same mask, but with headband-style loops
Sometimes your ears can use a break. If yours are too tender or floppy to keep a mask snug against your face, try this style that wraps around your head for a secure fit. They're available from Amazon via Bona Fide Masks, which is the brand's official importer and distributor, according to the New York Times.
And the same mask, again, but sized for kids
These child-sized masks come with an anti-fake sticker that can be used to verify authenticity. They're 15% smaller than the standard Powecom masks to fit small faces and are sold in white, blue, pink, yellow and black.
A soft KN95 with adjustable ear straps or head straps (and in three sizes, too!)
WellBefore's KN95 comes in three sizes for most types of faces, as well as with adjustable ear straps or adjustable head straps and in many colors or patterns. So many options! This 5-layer mask has a smooth texture for comfort. You can order as many as you like, with a minimum of 10.
5-ply KN95 masks in white, black and assorted colors
These disposable KN95 masks have more than 52,000 five-star reviews on Amazon and come in black, white and color options including blue, green, yellow and red. The bendable nose piece helps fit the mask securely against your face.
The same comfy foldable mask in a pack of mixed colors
This 50-piece bundle of KN95 masks has all the same features as the mask above, but comes with 10 each in pink, blue, grey, red and purple or 10 each in grey, red, purple, black and white. (Could make a great gift for teachers!)
Surgical masks with ASTM level 3 filtration
Prefer the style of procedural masks or like using them as filters under cloth? This pack of 50 three-layer masks from Demetech are ASTM level 3, the highest filtration level for surgical-style masks.
Duck-style N95 masks from Kimberly-Clark
If you feel better buying from a brand you're familiar with, these Kimberly-Clark pouch-style masks are available on Amazon in both regular and small sizes. Although they aren't intended for medical use, they are NIOSH-approved N95 masks with a 95% filtration efficiency.
Bona Fide Masks
Harley's KN95 mask in black
Harley promises this mask is made for "better breathability" while still offering filtration efficiency better than 95%.
A NIOSH-Approved N99 with adjustable head straps
These four-layer cup-style N99s fit regular and large faces best, and come with adjustable head straps for a great fit in white or black. You can order as many as you like, with a minimum of 10.

Before You Go

Small Home Products That Will Instantly Change Your Life
An outlet extender that has everything you need(01 of19)
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Tired of the rodeo that results from never having enough wall outlets and USB ports? Plug this highly rated surge-protected extender into an existing outlet to create so many more opportunities to power up your life -- neatly. You'll appreciate that the five outlets are spaced widely enough that you can actually use them all at the same time, and it has a nightlight you can turn on or off. It's so helpful and handy it has a whopping 4.7 Amazon rating.

Promising review: "Wow, this is really a great value, especially when one considers the surge protector. I have costly appliances (e.g. CPAP machine) that are connected to this outlet extender. This one feature is worth lots, especially if there's a power surge. The USB charging ports is great for my smartphone (or other devices). Unlike other outlet extenders, this one requires two wall outlets which provides great stability... There's a ON/OFF switch for the night LED lamp. Kudos to the manufacturer/suppliers for a well designed and well featured product." — B. Lee
(credit:Amazon)
A dish brush with an integrated sink rest(02 of19)
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You don't have to clunk up your sink with a whole supply station when you can just rest this scrub brush on the rim by its little nonslip nub. The integrated pan scraper at the top will help you tackle crusty cleaning jobs.

Promising review: "Sometimes it's the little things that make you happy - like the fact that the dish brush can sit up out of the sink, not get gross when you accidentally throw greasy dishes on top, and it's attractive and matches the other Joseph Joseph kitchen tools like the dish drainer! I actually store it above the sink hanging off the window ledge, because I find it is more out of the way, and less likely to slip into the sink. My husband splashes water everywhere, and then it does slide off the edge if it's on the sink itself, but this problem was solved completely by moving it to the window ledge." — Jazzmine
(credit:Amazon)
A pair of easy, reliable smart plugs(03 of19)
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Insert these smart plugs right into your existing outlets and make your life so much easier. You can set timers to turn electronics or lights on and off, say simple commands to control appliances plugged into hard-to-reach places, and more. Each smart plug can be operated via Alexa, Google Assistant or the handy, very easy-to-use Kasa app. Their compact design means you can fit two in a single wall outlet.

Promising review: "I have had good experiences with TP-Link devices in the past, so I had high hopes for these little WiFi outlets, and they didn't disappoint. 1) Setup was a piece of cake: Just plug them in and use the Kasa app to configure them... 2) They are small and unobtrusive, projecting about an inch and a half from the outlet. And because they are so compact, you CAN plug two of them in at the same receptacle, one above the other. 3) They require NO HUB, since they connect via WiFi -- this is a huge plus! 4) They are very easy to control with the Kasa app, which is well designed and fairly intuitive. You can use the app not only to turn the plugs on and off but also to set schedules so lamps or other appliances turn on and off at designated times. I have had no connectivity issues with these, and I would certainly buy them again. (In fact, I will almost certainly purchase more because I keep finding new places where these can be useful!)" — Frederick
(credit:Amazon)
A whisper-quiet Blueair purifier(04 of19)
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This cool cylindrical HEPA air purifier is the perfect size for a bedroom or smaller space like a nursery. It captures 99% of common airborne annoyances like smoke, mold, dust, allergens and even virus particles. It comes with two washable pre-filters in black and blue, and you can purchase even more colors for ultimate customization.

Promising review: "The proof is in the picture. I just moved into a new apartment and noticed how incredibly dusty my room was. I bought this air purifier and have had it running non-stop since I got it which is about a week now. You can see how much the pre-filter has caught. The inside filter definitely has changed color since I first set it up. Air quality definitely has improved and there is noticeably less dust on my furniture. Very happy with this unit for a bedroom of about 130 square feet." — Rowrowrowyourboat
(credit:Amazon)
Or a highly-rated Coway purifier for larger spaces(05 of19)
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If you want to use a HEPA air purifier in an even larger space, the sleek Coway Airmega 200M is a great choice (Wirecutter named it one of the best air purifiers you can buy). It will work in spaces up to 361 square feet, and its auto mode will kick into higher gear when it senses that your air quality is compromised. There's also an eco mode for power-conserving operation, and it it will let you know when it's time to replace its non-washable filters.

Promising review: "I bought this to keep the air clean during California wildfire season. It does the job handily in my room, which is about 300 sq ft. (and also very dusty because it is an old house and my room is a converted porch.) Each of my roommates also has one of these air purifiers, so we are all now fans (no pun intended). The setup directions were clear and the setup itself was not challenging. It is extremely easy to see how to operate the device and to understand what it is telling you about air quality." -- Heather
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An ultrasonic pest repeller that'll help you kick that roach problem(06 of19)
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If you Google this type of device, you'll find a lot of pest control companies saying it doesn't work — but it did work for me, and for a lot of Amazon reviewers as well. Hmmm. All you have to do is plug it into an outlet and turn it on.

Promising review: "This product is absolutely amazing!!! I will admit, I was a little skeptical at first but within the first week, the product proved that it worked. Over the last few months, due to nasty, dirty neighbors, our apartment seemed to come under attack by these filthy disgusting roaches. The number just seemed to keep growing and didn’t look like it would stop. My roommate and I tried absolutely everything from traps, bait stations, sprays and even foggers with little to no improvement. I began to research products on Amazon and this one came highly recommended. We purchased it and what a huge difference!!! The amount has been greatly reduced and I’m hoping as time goes on, the amount will ultimately go down to ZERO!! If you are skeptical like I was, just buy it!!" -- Sarah
(credit:Amazon)
A labor-saving onion and garlic chopper(07 of19)
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If you've got chef-level knife skills, well, I'm jealous. For the rest of us, this Prepworks chopper saves tons of frustration by turning out onion and garlic in a delightfully consistent dice in mere seconds. The integrated cleaning grid and dishwasher-safe materials save time after cooking, too. I've bought three over the years, for myself and for gifts, and it's a hit every time.

Promising review: "I've bought so many kinds of chopper but this chopper is so far the very best! Where it takes me almost an hour to make salsa or pico de gallo, it takes 15 minutes with this chopper. It is also very easy to use and clean. It comes with a small tool that will comb out the fruit or vegetable stuck in between the grid. Highly recommended." — SalF
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A pair of super-helpful adhesive shower caddies(08 of19)
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Sick of suction cups that don't stay put? Can't drill into your bathroom tile to install the shower shelf of your dreams? This pair of caddies will take care of you, as it did me. The super-strong adhesive holds fast and the stainless steel is rust-proof, too. Mine have been holding strong in my shower for more than three years now, and they are loaded with bottles.

Promising review: "The baskets are perfect for in shower use. They are sturdy enough to hold over-sized containers. The hooks provide an extra convenience. Application instructions are simple and easy to follow. They have been used daily since the installation and there are no signs of the adhesive failing." — PH
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A compact but powerful drill for home chores(09 of19)
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If you're used to thinking bigger is better when it comes to power tools, you may be distrustful of all the recommendations for this smaller-sized drill. But there's a full-size punch in this handy little workhorse, which also has a hammer function for tough jobs like concrete. (Don't forget to grab a drill bit set if you don't already have one!) I can speak from experience that it can handle just about any home job.

Promising review: "This DeWalt 12v extreme fits your hand really nice. Big improvement over the old style. Has really nice power for a 12v. Super light and compact. With having a wood shop it will be [my] go-to drill. I would recommend it [to] everyone. DeWalt has done a great job with this drill. The light is bright and you will be able to see in the dark the screws heads with no shadows. No wobble in the chuck." — Gregwoodshop
(credit:Amazon)
A workhorse Frigidaire dehumidifier(10 of19)
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Damp basement? Humid weather? Just hate that musty smell? Grab this handy apartment-sized dehumidifier, which can pull 22 pints of water from the air in a day and comes with a washable filter so you don't have to keep ordering replacement parts in the future. It's also on wheels, making it easy to move around. My bathroom doesn't have a window or an exhaust fan, and this clears all the moisture from showers, preventing mold, steamy mirrors and sticky towels without taking up too much space.

Promising review: "LOVE this dehumidifier! Only had for about a month. Every evening and every morning the bucket is full and needs emptied so you know it's working! I live in northern IL and during our summers you can cut the humidity outside with a knife for about 3 months of the year! This has brought my home humidity from abut 80% to 60%. Makes all the difference in the world." — Faith71
(credit:Walmart)
A super quiet Levoit WiFi humidifier(11 of19)
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It's not hard to find a decent humidifier, but this one's large water capacity and app and Alexa integration earns it brownie points for sure -- you can adjust it without even getting up from the couch. It's also got a nozzle you can point in two directions at once, providing targeted and customizable coverage.

Promising review: "I've had this humidifier for over a year now and I use it regularly. I have not had any issues and it does its job. It is easy to clean, I can stick my whole hand in the tank, and the unit is nicely sized and fits about anywhere. It runs quietly and I enjoy the cool mist and the ability to add essential oil for aromatherapy. The scent is faint, but enjoyable. I follow the directions and do not add oils into the humidifier; I only add oil to the aroma pad. The unit also has a long run cycle; it will run all day and into the night before shutting off. The biggest issue I’ve had with past humidifiers is leaking. This has not been a problem with this humidifier. I have not experienced any leaks! The tank cap locks securely, so when you flip it over to put it on the base, you do not have any water leaking out and the chamber in the base does not overfill. This is a great purchase and I highly recommend!" — Amazon customer
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An indoor Bluetooth humidity and temperature monitor(12 of19)
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How do you know if your house is too humid or dry? Well, this small gadget will tell you, and will even connect with your smartphone so you can check the temp and moisture levels from anywhere nearby. It comes with a strip of double-sided tape in case you'd like to stick it in one location permanently, and stores two years' worth of data so you can monitor any trends in your home's environment.

Promising review: "We moved my infant to his nursery and we weren’t sure how hot it gets in his room at night. This has given me peace of mind knowing he isn’t overheating and can give alerts on my phone when the temp gets too high or low. Definitely recommend!" — Kami F

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An inexpensive portable white noise machine(13 of19)
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Sometimes you don't need too many bells and whistles; you or your child just need the sound of the ocean (or rain, or heartbeat, or white noise, or... you get the idea). You can leave this little sound machine plugged in or take it on the go with a charge that lasts 10 hours. I use it at home to mask noise from the street and I've taken it camping, too.

Promising review: "I was in search of the perfect sound machine and this is it!! I needed both the shush sound AND the white noise. Other sound machines had either or, not both. Also, this doesn't take any batteries. So you don't have to deal with the headache of buying batteries all the time. Best part is that the charge lasts hours, mine lasted over 10+ hours on one charge. So I take it with me in his stroller, in the car, anywhere. I even use it for myself, the rain sound and ocean is so soothing. I will be buying another one in case they run out!" — Nrona84
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A Roborock vacuum with laser navigation(14 of19)
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Basic robot vacuums are great, but it can be maddening to watch one randomly bonk around your home. Not so with this super-smart little Roborock Q5, which uses laser navigation to map your house (even up to multiple levels) and then sucks up dirt on an organized path. You can use the maps it creates in the app to set boundaries, schedule specific areas for cleaning, and send it out to tackle spills or spot-cleaning. It can run for 180 minutes on a single charge.

Promising review: "Highly recommend! Best robot vacuum ever! Love it! I got this robot vacuum to replace my ecovacs that is no longer supported by the manufacturer. I tried out a roomba and a shark before this and the Roborock is by far the best! ❤️ I thought I loved my old robot vacuum but that pales in comparison to how much I love this one! This may sound clique, but you will not be disappointed! This robot vac has an easy to use app, good mapping function, efficiently and methodically vacuums an area (in 1/4 the time my old one did), can run perfectly fine in the dark (don't need to turn on a light for it to see what it is doing), doesn't run into things (at most a gentle tap), notifications for when complete/stuck/needs anything, auto empties, minimal cleaning needed (need to clean out main brush once a month or so), long battery life, large dust tray. I have been using the same dust bag for 2 1/2 months and I run it on all the of my floors 3-5 times a week. This little guy auto maps the place for multiple floors, will identify which floor he is on in a matter of minutes, and you can portion off areas of the house as separate 'rooms' to clean or no-go zones. Can also select portion that you want it to vacuum. I have some tables with thin (~.5-1") round legs that lay horizontal to the floor (think under the couch edges) that it occasionally will get stuck on, but mostly it does fine traversing. Works on carpet and tile/wood. Does great picking up the dirt/debris. I absolutely love my Roborock (name's Marvin) and highly recommend it to anyone interested in a robot vacuum!!!!!!" — Jenn V
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A three-pack of Blumat watering stakes(15 of19)
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Vacation is dicey for plant parents. You either entrust your plants to someone who may accidentally kill them, or just hope they’re still alive when you get back. Thankfully, here's a third option: These ceramic watering stakes. Just soak them, insert the "carrot" end into your plant's potting soil, then place the end of the tube in a container of water and let each plant suck up as much moisture as it wants while you’re away. Safe travels!

Promising review: "I was so happy to open my door to happy and healthy plants after a three-week trip away from home. These stakes work great, and I'm a bit embarrassed to say that they do a better job than I do at keeping my plants consistently watered. Many of my plants looked happier than ever. These are really the best and only solution (other than hiring a service) to take care of your houseplants for extended periods of time... If your plant likes to be damp then your water source should be placed even with the plant pot, if your plant likes to be more dry you will place your water source below the level of your plant pot, and if your plant wants to be very moist then your water source should be above your plant pot." -- Lou Who
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A mopping Samsung Jetbot(16 of19)
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Set this little machine free on hard floors and watch it mop for you. Two water tanks keep the dual mop heads cleaning, and although this won't map your home like smart robot vacuums, it will avoid carpets, furniture and falling down stairs. The mop heads are washable and reusable, and it can also be used in handheld mode for windows, wall tile and more. There's no dock, so it won't even take up floor space when not in use.

Promising review: "I previously bought the iRobot 240 and returned it... so I was looking for for something similar in the market where it takes care of one room at a time and gets the job done thoroughly. Then this bot came up just recently, so I decided to give it a try. Although it doesn't have a virtual wall feature, which I really want, it gets the job done way more thoroughly than the iRobot 240 because if its more advanced sensors and navigation algorithm. In addition, the pad on this robot is its wheels, so it takes care of way more real estate in one run than the iRobot, which has two wheels just for going around. So if you are looking for something small and efficient, give this robot a try." -- Joey Z.
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A set of eco-friendly wall planters(17 of19)
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When you run out of shelf space for your plants, grab a pack of these easy-to-hang, easy-to-water WallyGro vertical planters. They're great for potting trailing plants, making a plant wall, and holding any green babies that you want to keep out of the reach of curious pets. Best of all, they're made from 100% recycled plastic.

Promising review: "Absolutely loving these. They were easy to install, and look beautiful on my wall. Comes with super clear and detailed instructions for mounting. Easy to maintain. I keep buying more and more of them -- my plant wall is a work in progress!" — Gmo
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An espresso upgrade(18 of19)
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Spend less time and money at Starbucks by making your own lattes. The Breville Bambino is a precise, dependable everyday espresso maker for folks who only need the basics but still care a lot about quality and taste (mine blows those tired espresso pods out of the water!). Best of all, it heats up in just three seconds and doesn't take up as much space as larger machines with extra features you won't end up using.

Promising review: "When purchasing the Bambino, I wanted to find a good cost-efficient balance for both espresso and milk steaming quality. The machine has simply blown me away, and I am astonished by the quality this smallest machine from Breville has to offer. The machine produces some of the most quality shots I have ever had, especially when paired with an excellent hand grinder. Overall, I am very happy with this machine and would definitely recommend to anyone looking for a machine in this price range. Job well done!" — Alex C.
(credit:Bed Bath & Beyond)
An amazing solution for those who don't have laundry hookups(19 of19)
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Sometimes you move into a building and the laundry room's on a whole different floor. Sometimes there's no laundry access at all. If that's the case, check out this portable washing machine that can hook up to a kitchen sink and wash a small load of clothes surprisingly well — all without a trip to the laundromat. Mine's been going strong since 2000, and saves me so much effort on smaller loads. (You can get a portable dryer you can use anywhere, too!)

Promising review: "I absolutely love this machine. I live in an apartment with a shared laundromat. It has been a lifesaver. I don’t have to go up and down just to do laundry. It is extremely easy to use! Easy to hook up to my sink and washes my clothes thoroughly. Clothes are almost dry after spin. The two casters are a little small, but I can still roll it to move around. It has plenty of room for clothing. I tried 5-6 pairs of pants, 4-5 towels, and a queen size sheet with 4 pillows. Super satisfied. Well worth the money!" -- Lily
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