These rare FDA-approved KN95 masks are back in stock at Amazon

Devon Kelley
·7 mins read

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Powecome KN95 masks are FDA approved. (Photo: Amazon)
Powecome KN95 masks are FDA approved. (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 ones are still hard to find, because the demand is so great.

We’re not talking about the cute fabric masks emblazoned with the name of your favorite band (which, btw, we love). We’re talking about KN95 masks—the coverings that 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) with free BNX Face Masks (five-pack) and one free AccuMed Face Shield, $40, amazon.com

“N95s?” you ask. Close, but not exactly. N95 masks are to be reserved for healthcare workers. When the pandemic first hit and people were madly purchasing masks, our hospitals were left short of this essential protective equipment.

The particular mask brand we’re talking about—the one singled out by the FDA—is the Powecom KN95 mask—Amazon’s Choice for KN95 masks. The highly coveted masks recently sold out, but they’re back in stock for the moment. A 10-pack is now $40. Plus, it comes with an additional five BNX Face Masks and a AccuMed Face Shield for free, which breaks down to $2.66 per mask, plus a free face shield.

Meanwhile, you can also get free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime. Not a member? Sign up for a free 30-day trial. Otherwise, shipping is free on orders of $25 or more.

Does the brand matter? Yes, according to the FDA, it does (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 for the moment 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, however, made it through the tests. They’re approved by the FDA and officially included on the FDA Emergency Use Authorization List. Each KN95 mask on the list is confirmed to filter out 95 percent of particles or more. Powecom masks are top tier.

Powecom KN95 face masks. (Photo: Amazon)
Powecom KN95 face masks. (Photo: Amazon)

Shop it: Powecom KN95 Masks (10-pack) with free BNX Face Masks (five-pack) and one free AccuMed Face Shield, $40, 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 N-95 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.”

Many healthcare professionals are using KN95 masks to this day, especially in clinic settings, because there’s still a shortage of N95 masks.

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 social distancing at least six feet away. But KN95 masks by Powecom offer more protection and are protective in riskier situations—if you’re flying, for example, or even 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 over 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 mask (Photo: Amazon)
Powecom KN95 mask (Photo: Amazon)

Shop it: Powecom KN95 Masks (10-pack) with free BNX Face Masks (five-pack) and one free AccuMed Face Shield, $40, 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.”

Stick with best practices, stay the course—and secure some Powecom KN95 masks for higher-risk settings. You’ll be taking great care of yourself and others.

KN95 masks that are approved with the FDA’s emergency use authorization are actually hard to find these days. In addition to filtering out more than 95 percent of particles, their three-dimensional design makes it easier to breathe while wearing the mask for long periods of time. They’re also made from non-woven, soft cotton and have a melt-blown filter.

The masks feature elastic ear loops, a metal piece to mold the mask to your nose and fluid-resistant technology.

Shop it: Powecom KN95 Masks (10-pack) with free BNX Face Masks (five-pack) and one free AccuMed Face Shield, $40, amazon.com

Want to check out all 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 ones are thick and durable, and you get five for just $18. Plus, more than 5,500 reviewers gave these masks a five-star rating.

A reviewer who bought several types of KN95 masks on Amazon is pleased with the quality. “They seem pretty reliable and good quality compared to another brand I had bought,” said the shopper. “Much better than cloth masks and doctor masks I'm sure.”

Shop it: SupplyAID KN95 Masks, 5-pack, $16 (was $17), amazon.com

Feradyne KN95 Masks, 10-Pack

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

Made from five layers, including filtering polypropylene meltblown cloth and a skin-friendly non-woven fabric, these masks have you covered.

“Skip the others—this is your product,” wrote 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 are a #1 new release at Amazon and already have a 4.4-star rating from more than 1,500 reviewers.

“Comfortable, reduces fogging in glasses, individually wrapped,” wrote 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 (was $30), amazon.com

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

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