- KF94 are the Korean - manufactured alternative and equivalent of the US-manufactured N95 masks.
- N95 = USA Code, KF94 = Korea code, KN95 = China code, and FFP2 = EU code (including the UK). Health agencies in the US have confirmed they can be used interchangeably as both give a similarly high level of protection for the wearer.
- KN95 blocks 95% of particles >0.3 microns in size.
There is debate about how long they can be used for and recommendations for cleaning:
- NIOSH in the US recommends use up to five times without cleaning them, as long as aerosol-generating procedures are not performed, and masks are not contaminated with other’s bodily fluids.
- There is no agreed straightforward way to clean/decontaminate so we recommend a maximum use of 5 days, which can be extended if a second method to reduce contamination is used (e.g. a face shield).
- Ensure the mask makes a good seal around the mouth and nose for it to be effective.
- Masks are only effective when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol based hand rub or soap and water.
Different countries use different codes and numbers to name their respiratory face masks.
- N95 is the USA standard
- KF94 is the Korean standard
- KN95 is the China standard
- FFP2 is the EU standard. This includes the UK.
The most commonly known respirator rating is the NIOSH system, which rates masks as N95, N99, and N100.
These masks are rated by the American National Institute for Occupational Safety and health, which is part of the CDC.
Number on a NIOSH rated masks signifies the filtration effectiveness of the filter.
For example, an N95 mask is required to stop AT LEAST 95% of particles of 0.3 microns in size. An R95 mask
will also filter out at least 95% of 0.3-micron particles. Only difference comes in with N100 and P100 rated masks. Complete filtration is at this point impossible, and a 100 rated mask is effective at stopping 99.97% of 0.3-micron particles.
Next most common masks that you will find are those rated by the European Union.
These masks come in three different ratings, FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3. Although the numbers on these masks
don’t follow the same system as the NIOSH masks, the higher numbers are still better.
FFP1 mask has 80% filtration, FFP2 has 94% and acts very similarly to an N95 mask, and FFP3 has 99% and performs similarly to an N99 mask.
In short, other than the FFP1 rating, which performs significantly worse than any NIOSH rated mask,
European EN rated masks perform similarly to their NIOSH equivalents.
KN95 masks are the standard masks that are intended for the vast majority of wearers. They are the same as N95 in the USA.
Korean KF rated masks come in three different levels, KF80 and KF94 and Kf99 Like the NIOSH system, the number represents the filtration rate of particles, and this makes the masks very easy to compare.
The KF system is based on the European FFP rating system and as such, it performs almost identically. A KF80 mask performs the same as an FFP1 mask, and KF94 will perform the same as an FFP2 mask.⁶
If possible, use KF94 masks where possible, as they have significantly more protection than KF80 masks.
In Korea, KF80 masks are often aimed at children and KF94 at adults."