Genuine NIOSH N95 masks, P95 masks, and R95 masks on Amazon are still mostly reserved for hospitals and government agencies only.
Thankfully, there are finally a few listings from top brands available to everyone, including 3M R95 masks and Harley N95 masks that are surprisingly affordable.
We’ll also show you several alternatives to N95 masks that are just as effective at protecting you from the coronavirus, like FDA-authorized Powecom KN95 face masks and BNX A96 masks that are made in the USA.
We’re now almost nine months into the novel coronavirus pandemic, and there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that the United States is still nowhere close to containing COVID-19, and daily case numbers continue to climb all across the country. This is incredibly troubling with flu season right around the corner. Plus, as we head into the cold winter months, people will be even more inclined to spend time indoors around others, thus favoring the spread of this potentially deadly disease.
As we said, there’s good news too: we now know so much more about the novel coronavirus than we did during the early months of the pandemic. Most importantly, we know that face masks do indeed play a tremendous role in protecting us from the spread of COVID-19. And that’s where the second piece of good news comes in. High-quality face masks have been almost impossible to get at decent prices for the first three-quarters of the year, but there are finally some great options in stock at Amazon that aren’t reserved solely for hospitals and government agencies.
Tons of people out there are on the lookout for NIOSH N95 masks, which are considered to be the gold standard in respiratory protection. While some unscrupulous online retailers charge as much as $270 for a single box of N95 masks, there are actually a couple of well-priced listings right now at Amazon. First, you can pick up a box of 20 Harley L-188 N95 masks for $74.95, which makes the per-mask price just $3.75. That’s one of the lowest prices we’ve seen for real NIOSH-approved N95 masks. If you’re willing to pay a little more, you can also pick up 3M 8247 R95 masks for the first time ever right now for $9 each when you buy boxes of 20 masks. Of note for those unaware, R95 masks are just like N95 masks but they’re also resistant to oil-based particles in addition to droplets and aerosols that both R95 and N95 masks filter.
Now, there are two things you should note about these NIOSH-approved N95 and R95 masks. First, they’re definitely going to sell out so you’ll need to hustle if you want some. And second, you can actually get the same level of protection or even better protection from other types of face masks out there. Those basic 3-layer blue face masks you see everyone wearing are fine for low-risk situations like being outdoors or in big open spaces like grocery stores, as long as you practice social distancing. For higher-risk situations like riding public transportation or being anywhere that’s indoors around other people, you should definitely stock up on these masks instead.
The most popular face masks among our readers right now are Powecom KN95 face masks, and it’s easy to see why. These are the only FDA-authorized masks on Amazon right now, and they were tested by NIOSH just like N95 masks. NIOSH found that they filter up to 99.2% of 3-micron airborne particles, and that’s even better than most 3M N95 masks on the market. While 3M masks can cost $15 apiece or even more, these Powecom masks are on sale for just $2.61 each.
If you’re looking for high-quality masks that were made right here in the USA but weren’t tested by NIOSH, we’ve got two fantastic options on that front as well. Bluegrass Masks BGM-1001 face masks were tested by an independant lab and found to filter 97.4% of 3-micron particles, and they’re just $1.80 each when you buy a 10-pack. That makes them the most affordable masks on all of Amazon that filter more than 95% of particles. You can also pick up 5-packs of BNX A96 masks right now for $16.99, which makes them $3.40 each. Independant lab tests found that they filter about 99% of small airborne particles.
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