Best Face Masks For Coronavirus Protection in 2021

Everyone’s trying to cash in on the increased demand for the best face masks and other protective gear, but some of the products on offer don’t even meet the basic standards for protection.

The pandemic caused huge face mask shortages, and we were forced to buy whatever we could find. Since then, the manufacturers have adapted to new demands, and now we have a large selection to choose from.

But do we know how to choose the right one?

We’ll take a look at some of the face masks currently available on the market and help you choose the right one for you.

How to Choose the Best Face Masks for You and Your Family?

Masks are a way to protect ourselves and the people around us, which makes them very important.

Here are some of the essential features to consider when choosing one.

  • Protection – A mask should be multi-layered. It’s like an obstacle course for the virus, and each layer will make a difference. There are plenty of cloth masks for sale with pockets for additional filters, which can come in handy on some occasions.
  • Size – Contrary to what the box says, one size does not fit all. Keep in mind that pleated and elastic masks can expand a lot, so it’s best to double-check user reviews to see if the mask fits your face shape.
  • Comfort – You should choose a comfortable mask, but don’t confuse comfortable with loose. It should provide a tight air seal while staying in place while you talk and move.
  • Price – Most of the time, masks for coronavirus for sale are not on sale. The demand is high, and some sellers are trying to cash on it. Check the prices before you decide to buy.
  • Special requirements – You should consider your needs. For instance, if you have sensitive skin, you should choose a mask with moisture-wicking fibers. If you need a mask for outdoor exercise, you should choose a breathable material.

Top-Rated Face Masks For Sale

Let’s take a look at some of the most common mask types you can find on the market, their unique features, and pros and cons. But, whichever mask you decide on, don’t forget to check its effectiveness.

One of the best ways to test if the material is dense enough is the light test. Hold the mask up to the light. The more visible gaps you see in the material structure, the less effective it will be at filtering particles.

Also, try to blow out a candle while wearing it. If the candle goes out, the mask isn’t very good.

Reusable Face Masks

Reusable masks have one or more fabric layers and can be washed, which comes with significant advantages. The first is that you don’t have to go to the store to buy disposable masks, and the second is that they are eco-friendly. We don’t throw them away after a single use, which reduces the amount of waste.

A good mask should have at least two fabric layers and can be washed without losing its shape or protective properties. If you want more protection, you should choose a face mask with filter pockets.

  • Typical size: 3.5 x 7 inches (not expanded), up to 5 x 12 inches
  • Typical materials: Cotton, polyester, spandex, and their combination
  • Features:
    – One or more layers
    – Additional filters
    – 3D shape
  • Pros:
    – Reusable
    – Offer good protection
    – Some of them have additional filters
  • Cons:
    – Pricier than the disposable type
    – Need to be washed regularly

Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing the Best Reusable Face Mask

The more layers the mask has, the harder it is to breathe through it. Still, that also means it offers more protection.

What to Look For

The flexible nose piece should be long and cover the cheeks to provide a good seal. The mask should have pockets for additional filters.

A Selection of the Top-Rated and Best-Selling Masks on Amazon

Disposable Face Masks

Disposable masks are generally divided into two categories: medical-grade and non-medical masks. Experts recommend that the general population buys the second type, as medical-grade masks should be reserved for medical workers.

The ideal disposable mask should have several layers (minimum two) and an inner lining with wicking and anti-bacterial properties.

Another essential element is the adjustable nose piece. It minimizes the gaps that let the unfiltered air out and is also quite effective in preventing your glasses from fogging up.

The most significant advantage is that you don’t have to wonder where to buy disposable face masks as they are available everywhere now. Another advantage is that you don’t have to wash and dry them, but the disadvantage is that they are not very eco-friendly as they are single-use only.

  • Typical size: 3.75 x 6.75 inches, up to 3.95 x 7.95 inches (not expanded)
  • Typical materials: Melt-blown polypropylene, soft non-woven fabric, water-resistant materials, cotton, and their combination
  • Features:
    – Three or more layers
    – Pleated, extendable
  • Pros:
    – Easy to use
    – You can find disposable face masks for sale everywhere
    – They provide solid protection
    – No need to wash and dry them
  • Cons:
    – Single-use only
    – Not eco-friendly

Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing

These masks tend to leave significant gaps on the side of your face. If they are really comfortable and it’s easy to breathe in them, it usually means they are not doing a good job.

What to Look For

The mask should have a broad and flexible nose piece to create a good seal around the nose and strong earloops because they tend to snap easily.

A Selection of the Top-Rated and Best-Selling Masks on Amazon

Breathable Face Masks

They usually consist of one or two thin layers of material, which compromises their protection properties but makes them more comfortable to wear during activities that require deep and quick breathing, such as exercising and doing physically demanding jobs.

They can be reusable and disposable. The first type often comes with pockets for additional filters. You should choose them because they allow you to wear a breathable face mask without a filter when exercising and with a filter when you need additional protection.

  • Typical size: 3.75 x 6.90 inches, up to 5.3 x 12.6 inches (not expanded)
  • Typical materials: Cotton, polyester, spandex, melt-blown polypropylene, non-woven fabrics, and their combination
  • Features:
    – One or more layers
    – Pleated, extendable
  • Pros:
    – Breathable, light
    – Large selection of reusable and disposable masks
    – Great for activities
    – Many of them have filter pockets, and the possibility of equipping your cloth face mask with a filter comes in handy
  • Cons:
    – They are usually thin and don’t provide much protection
    – The reusable type has to be washed frequently
    – Very often, these masks aren’t equipped with the flexible nose piece

Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing

Most of these masks are made from flexible materials and expand quite a lot, which compromises the air seal by creating significant gaps around the nose and cheeks.

What to Look For

Look for masks that don’t expand much, have large nose pieces, and added stitches around the chin to prevent the mask from moving. Also, it would be great if the mask had pockets for additional filters.

A Selection of the Top-Rated and Best-Selling Masks on Amazon

Face Masks for Glasses Wearers

Some studies showed that people who wear glasses are less likely to contract COVID-19. That’s mainly because glasses protect their eyes, and they are less likely to touch them. But the downside is that it makes wearing a mask more difficult.

Glasses wearers have trouble finding appropriate masks that won’t keep their glasses fogged up.

Luckily for them, there are plenty of top face masks to choose from now, as many manufacturers consider glasses wearers an important target audience. So, there are several solutions on the market.

The first one is a mask with long metal nose pieces that allow the whole width of the mask to be molded, not only the part around the nose. The other solution is a mask with a special outlet that directs the exhaled air downwards.

  • Typical size: A comfortable face mask usually measures 3.7 x 6.9 up to 5.5 x 13 inches. (not expanded)
  • Typical materials: Spandex, polyester, cotton, melt-blown polypropylene, non-woven fabrics, and their combination
  • Features:
    – Directed exhale
    – One-way valves
    – Tight air seal
  • Pros:
    – Great for glasses wearers
    – Wide selection of disposable and reusable ones
    – Most of them are breathable
  • Cons:
    – Depending on the directed exhale valve design, they can be strange-looking
    – Filters on the exhale valves have to be removed before washing

Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing the Best Face Masks for Glasses Wearers

One of the most important things to consider if you’re a glasses wearer looking to buy a face mask is adjustable straps. The tighter the mask is around your nose and eyes, the less likely it is for the air to escape, causing your glasses to fog up.

What to Look For

Look for masks with multi-layered filters. By making the filter thin, manufacturers try to find a cheap solution to directing the air because it will always follow the path of least resistance.

Unfortunately, this reduces the mask’s protection properties.

A Selection of the Top-Rated and Best-Selling Masks on Amazon

Bandana Face Masks

Bandanas are one of the more stylish options out there, but studies suggest that they provide little protection. If you insist on wearing one, most experts recommend wearing a surgical mask underneath.

If you are into bandanas’ lively colors and patterns but worry about the protection they offer, you’ll be happy to know that there are cloth masks that resemble them but provide more protection. These stylish face masks are traditionally shaped but have patterns and colors we usually see in bandanas.

  • Typical size: Depending on the type, these masks have a large size range from 5 x 12 inches for traditionally shaped masks to 9.8 x 19.7 inches for full-size bandanas.
  • Typical materials: Silk, cotton, rayon, polyester, melt-blown polypropylene, non-woven fabrics, and their combinations
  • Features:
    – Stylish
    – Unusual
    – Good coverage
  • Pros:
    – Fashion accessories
    – Traditionally shaped bandana masks provide good protection
  • Cons:
    – Classic bandanas are far from being the best face masks for Covid and provide little to no protection
    – They require frequent washing and need more time to dry

Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing

Classic bandanas are made from thin materials and provide little protection, so you should wear a mask underneath.

What to Look For

If you decide on a classic bandana, choose a thicker, multi-layered one. Also, it should be made from moisture-wicking materials and easy to dry after washing.

A Selection of the Top-Rated and Best-Selling Masks on Amazon

Surgical Face Masks

Surgical masks look just like regular disposable masks, but they are approved for medical use.

They usually consist of three or more layers of filtering material, and they have ASTM (American Society of Testing and Materials) grades defining their protective qualities.

For instance, ASTM Level 1 mask provides the least protection, while the Level 3 mask is suitable for surgery and hazardous medical procedures.

When it comes to antiviral protection, the best mask for coronavirus in the category is the Level 3 mask since it has the thickest filters.

But still, keep in mind that these masks are not designed to be complete antiviral protection, and you shouldn’t treat them as such. You can also find surgical face shields marketed as masks, but you should always combine them with a mask.

  • Typical size: 3.75 x 6.75 inches, up to 3.95 x 7.95 inches (not expanded)
  • Typical materials: Non-woven fabric, melt-blown polypropylene, water-resistant materials, cotton, rubber, and their combination
  • Features:
    – Multiple layers
    – Pleated, extendable
    – For medical use
  • Pros:
    – Easy to use
    – FDA approved
    – A large percentage of surgical face masks are made in the USA
    – They provide good protection
  • Cons:
    – Single-use only (excluding face shields)
    – Not eco-friendly
    – They require proper disposal

Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing

Due to their shape, pleated masks tend to leave significant gaps on the side of your face. They are FDA approved for medical use, so medical masks tend to be pricier than regular disposable types.

What to Look for in Best Covid Masks

You should choose Level 3 masks whenever possible. There are also some N95 masks in this category, and they are a good choice when you need extra protection. Always look for the ASTM sign on the box. If there is none, the mask is not approved for medical use.

A Selection of the Top-Rated and Best-Selling Masks on Amazon

KN95 Face Masks

These masks resemble N95 standard masks and have similar protection properties. There are many misconceptions about these masks, mostly because people just look at the numbers alone.

KN95 masks filter out 95% of particles larger than 0.3 microns in diameter, hence the name.

Even though the coronavirus is only about 0.12 microns in diameter, these masks provide a high level of protection. They are one of the best face masks available to the general public. Here’s why.

Coronavirus is mostly attached to something larger, like droplets expelled when we sneeze or cough. Even if the virus is traveling alone, the particles so small move in different directions called the Brownian motion, which increases their chances of getting caught in the filter.

Another important feature is that a KN95 mask is made from the best fabric for a face mask, which uses electrostatic absorption to draw particles and trap them.

There’s one important thing to know about these masks. They rely on a tight seal to provide proper protection, and facial hair prevents the mask from fitting correctly. That’s why men should shave their beards and mustaches if they want to have full protection this mask has to offer.

  • Typical size: 5.2 x 6.6 inches
  • Typical materials: Cotton, melt-blown polypropylene, non-woven fabrics, and their combination
  • Features:
    – Five or more layers
    – Efficient filters
    – Tight seal
    – 3D shaped
  • Pros:
    – Captures coronavirus particles
    – Comfortable
    – Excellent overall protection
  • Cons:
    – Facial hair reduces protection level
    – Pricier than other disposable masks

Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing the Best Face Masks for Covid

Always choose a trusted supplier with good ratings. CDC suggests that about 60% of KN95 masks in the USA are fake or fail to meet the standards. CDC conducts regular tests on KN95 masks’ efficiency. You can check if the mask meets the minimum requirements here.

What to Look For

The mask should have five or more layers, a large and very flexible nose piece, and highly elastic earloops.

A Selection of the Best Face Masks for Sale on Amazon

Cloth Face Masks

Cloth face masks are a great and eco-friendly way to protect yourself from the coronavirus. They are reusable and only require a quick wash. It’s important to have as many layers as possible since the mask is like an obstacle course for the virus, and every obstacle counts.

The other essential thing is that the mask should retain its shape and colors after each wash.

Some masks have sensitive nose pieces that can be easily broken, even when hand washed. And when it comes to color quality, you certainly wouldn’t want your most comfortable face mask to leave the dye on your face.

Some masks have pockets for additional filters, which is a great solution because it enables you to adjust the breathability-protection ratio according to your current needs and whereabouts.

  • Typical size: 3.5 x 7 inches up to 5 x 12 inches
  • Typical materials: Spandex, polyester, cotton, melt-blown polypropylene, non-woven fabrics, and their combination are the best fabrics for face masks
  • Features:
    – Multiple layers
    – Pockets for additional filters
    – 3D shaped
    – Adjustable earloops
  • Pros:
    – Reusable
    – Comfortable
    – Provide good protection
  • Cons:
    – Can be pricey
    – Need regular washing and drying

Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing

The masks with more layers will provide better protection. Still, they will make breathing a little bit harder and will make you hot in the summer.

What to Look For

You should choose masks with pockets for additional filters and adjustable earloops. Of course, the nose piece should be as long as possible to provide a good and tight seal.

A Selection of the Best Cloth Face Masks on Amazon

Summary

Masks became part of our everyday lives, and it’s impossible to avoid them. Since we have to wear them, we might as well choose a mask that does a good job and is comfortable. For the moment, the safest options available to the general public are N95 or KN95 masks.

If you want something reusable, you can choose a comfortable cotton face mask. Just make sure it has several layers (three or more), and pockets for additional filters would also be great.

You should keep in mind that the mask, as good as it may be, doesn’t make it impossible to contract coronavirus—it just makes it less likely. You should also follow the official guidelines about physical distancing and hand washing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do face masks provide protection from COVID-19?

Masks do provide protection against COVID-19, and it’s directly related to the number of layers and the mask’s thickness.

The masks are like an obstacle course for the virus, and the more layers the mask has, the harder it is for the virus to get through. But even thin, one-layered masks have their purpose.

For instance, they are useful when people exercise and need more oxygen or spend time in less crowded spaces.

Another advantage is that even the thinnest mask will prevent you from touching your face, which is a common way of contracting coronavirus.

What kind of face mask should I wear during the COVID-19 pandemic?

There are several options, and the best one depends on your needs. If you want the best protection, choose KN95 and N95 masks or cloth masks with several layers (three or more).

When exercising or doing physically demanding activities, you can wear a breathable mask. They are usually thinner and allow more air to go through. The drawback is that they provide less protection.

Masks with additional filters are a good alternative because you can adjust the protection level to your needs.

Are cloth masks as effective as medical masks for protection against COVID-19?

Cloth face masks are not as effective as medical masks when it comes to protection against COVID-19.

They were a stopgap measure at the beginning of the pandemic when medical masks were hard to find and were mostly reserved for medical workers.

But now, with the mask supply situation improving and the new virus strains lurking, more and more countries (France, Austria, the UK) are making medical masks mandatory.

Who shouldn’t wear masks during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Everyone should wear a mask.

People with some respiratory problems avoid masks because they make it more difficult to breathe.

This is a big mistake because respiratory diseases make people even more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection.

Small children are also required to wear masks. Although they are less likely to get sick, they can still spread the virus.

The only time you shouldn’t wear a mask is when you are in your own home or outside, and there are no people around.

Is wearing a mask and practicing social distancing enough to protect myself and others from COVID-19?

Although there are no guarantees that wearing a mask and practicing social distancing will make you completely safe from COVID-19, this will significantly reduce the chances of contracting it. And that’s the best we can do.

The studies have shown that acting responsibly and following official guidelines and recommendations about the best face masks, social distancing, and hygiene is the best way to keep the pandemic under control.

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