Lowest price ever: These hard-to-get FDA-approved KN95 masks are in stock at Amazon—and on sale for more than half off

·6 min read

Yahoo Life is committed to finding you the best products at the best prices. We may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Pricing and availability are subject to change.

This is the lowest price we've seen for these high-quality masks—ever. (Photo: Amazon)
This is the lowest price we've seen for these high-quality masks—ever. (Photo: Amazon)

We’ve got some good news and some bad news. The good news is face masks are working well to keep COVID-19 from spreading. The bad news is that the most effective masks are hard to get.

We’re not talking about the cute fabric masks emblazoned with the name of your favorite band. We’re talking about KN95 masks—the masks the FDA specifically recommends you wear in high-risk situations (say, on public transportation) to protect from possible transmission.

Shop it: Powecom KN95 Masks (10-pack), $20 (was $45), amazon.com

“N95s?” you ask. Close, but not exactly. N95 masks are the next level up and are meant to be reserved for healthcare workers. When the pandemic first hit and people were madly purchasing masks, our hospitals were left short on this essential PPE. Now we know to leave them for the pros.

The particular mask we’re talking about—the one singled out by the FDA for the rest of us—is the Powecom KN95 mask—an Amazon’s Choice product. And it’s on sale on Amazon at this very moment. A pack of 10 is just $20, down from $45. That’s just $2 per mask. This means a 56 percent savings on top-notch masks, now available at the lowest price we’ve ever seen!

Does the brand matter? Yes, according to the FDA, it does. Read more on this below.

Understanding the N95 / KN95 connection

KN95 masks are very similar to N-95 masks, Dr. William Schaffner, infectious disease specialist and professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, tells Yahoo Life. In fact, during the early days of the pandemic when medical-grade masks were in particularly short supply, the FDA granted what’s known as ‘emergency use authorization’ for KN95 masks—meaning they could be used in hospitals.

But not all brands of KN95 masks are created equal. Recently, after researching effectiveness, the FDA removed its emergency use authorization for several manufacturers of KN95 masks. Powecom masks made it through the tests. They’re approved by the FDA and officially included on the FDA Emergency Use Authorization List. Like the others on the list, the Powecom KN95 mask is confirmed to filter out 95 percent of particles or more.

A face mask that's both comfortable and FDA approved.  (Photo: Amazon)
A face mask that's both comfortable and FDA approved. (Photo: Amazon)

Shop it: Powecom KN95 Masks (10-pack), $20 (was $45), amazon.com

Explains Dr. Schaffner. “If your source for a KN95 mask is reliable, you should be fine.” The good ones are “comparable to the N95 masks that we use,” he says.

“The basic difference [between N95 and KN95 masks] is regulatory,” explains Dr. Kavita Patel, managing director of clinical transformation at The Brookings Institution’s Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform. “KN95 masks are approved by Chinese regulators, and in theory they are similar to N95 masks, which are approved by the FDA— but are also likely to be manufactured in China.”

Do you need to wear a Powecom KN95 mask all the time?

Our experts tell Yahoo Lifestyle that three-ply disposable masks or cloth masks should do the job when you’re keeping at least six feet away from others. But KN95 masks by Powecom offer more protection and are protective in riskier situations—if you’re flying, for example, or taking a bus or train.

These masks, as we said, filter out more than 95 percent of particles. The three-dimensional design makes it easier to breathe if you need to keep your mask on for long periods. The material is non-woven, soft cotton. And of course there are elastic ear loops and a metal piece to help customize fit over the nose.

Powecom KN95 masks are available right now, so scoop them up. (Photo: Amazon)
Powecom KN95 masks are available right now, so scoop them up. (Photo: Amazon)

Shop it: Powecom KN95 Masks (10-pack), $20 (was $45), amazon.com

Keep in mind that wearing any mask doesn’t mean you should stop practicing known methods of prevention of the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing and frequent thorough hand-washing are critical. Explains Dr. Schaffner, “We do these things in combination, not in isolation.”

KN95 masks that are approved with the FDA’s emergency use authorization are actually hard to find these days. So stick with best practices—and secure some Powecom KN95 masks for higher-risk settings. You’ll be taking great care of yourself and others.

Shop it: Powecom KN95 Masks (10-pack), $20 (was $45), amazon.com

Want to check out your options? Here are other excellent KN95 masks available on Amazon:

SupplyAID KN95 Masks, 5-Pack

SupplyAID KN95 Masks, 5-Pack (Photo: Amazon)
SupplyAID KN95 Masks, 5-Pack (Photo: Amazon)

We scoured Amazon for reliable KN95 masks. These three-dimensional versions are thick and durable, and you get five for just $16 (was $17). Plus, more than 6,900 reviewers gave them a perfect five-star rating.

“I feel so much safer with this over a basic cloth face mask,” says a shopper. “My intended purpose was to wear these exclusively when I go grocery shopping and run other errands where I know I will be in close proximity to other people but have found myself just wearing it everywhere I go. Happy with this purchase.”

Shop it: SupplyAID KN95 Masks, 5-Pack, $15 (was $17), amazon.com

Feradyne KN95 Masks, 10-Pack

Feradyne KN95 Masks, 10-Pack (Photo: Amazon)
Feradyne KN95 Masks, 10-Pack (Photo: Amazon)

These five-layer masks have an adjustable nose bridge for a customizable fit.

“Skip the others—this is your product,” writes a five-star reviewer. “As far as masks are concerned, these have been the best investment thus far. As long as you follow the directions, they’re primo. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to breathe properly, but I’m happy to report that I can breathe just fine since I can adjust the nasal strip while still covering my entire nose and mouth area. I will be purchasing more.”

Shop it: Feradyne KN95 Masks, 10-Pack, $31, amazon.com

COVAFLU KN95 Masks, 10-Pack

COVAFLU KN95 Masks, 10-Pack (Photo: Amazon)
COVAFLU KN95 Masks, 10-Pack (Photo: Amazon)

With a soft and flexible four-ply polypropelyne fabric, these disposable masks have a perfect 5-star rating from more than 1,970 reviewers.

“Comfortable, reduces fogging in glasses, individually wrapped,” writes a satisfied shopper. “I bought these due to the reported similar standard to N95s. Overall, better than most products on the market.”

Shop it: COVAFLU KN95 Masks, 10-Pack, $26, amazon.com

The Unknown Store KN95 Face Mask, 5-Pack

The Unkown Store KN95 Face Mask, Pack of 5 (Photo: Amazon)
The Unkown Store KN95 Face Mask, Pack of 5 (Photo: Amazon)

With five layers of protection, these masks are a safe bet.

“I have lots of different mask types. This one is a good size, easy to breathe in, comfortable fit,” writes a five-star reviewer. “My new favorite mask. I have to wear it on construction sites so breathability and comfort weigh in heavy on my review. Thicker than the blue surgical but not as thick as my old N95 from 3M that I can't get any longer.”

Shop it: The Unknown Store KN95 Face Mask, 5-pack, $14 (was $15), amazon.com

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

Read More from Yahoo Life:

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for nonstop inspiration delivered fresh to your feed, every day.

Want daily pop culture news delivered to your inbox? Sign up here for Yahoo Entertainment & Life's newsletter.