The winner is the LG “airwasher” KF94 mask
In Post #1236, I described the “mask sampler” that I sent to my daughter. I sent that in response to a fairly bad COVID-19 outbreak at her college. My goal was to offer her a collection of high-filtration masks, hoping she would find one comfortable enough to wear full-time. At present, she wears a good cloth mask most of the time, and only uses the Dad-supplied N95s in higher-risk situations.
It was, in the modern lingo, a curated collection of masks. I only chose high-filtration masks from name-brand manufacturers. N95 respirators, by definition, have straps that fit behind the head. I chose a collection N95s, including several different styles and masks marketed for individuals with smaller faces.
Other types of masks have ear-loops. This makes them more convenient, but can lead to lower filtration due to air leaks. For ear-loop masks, I only included KF94 masks, and within that, I only chose top-dollar, made-in-Korea, famous-name-brand (in Korea) KF94 masks. The whole point was that whatever she chose, my daughter could be reasonably assured that it would provide good particle filtration.
KF94 is a Korean air filtration standard more-or-less identical to N95. But KF94 masks may not provide quite as good a seal against the face as an N95 respirator, so overall mask performance may not be quite as good due to the potential for leaks around the mask.
As a by-product, I highlighted the 3M Aura mask as a high-filtration (N95) reasonably-comfortable lightweight mask that you can buy right off the shelf, at your local Home Depot. I’ve been wearing one off-and-on now for the past few days, and they are, as advertised, very breathable, and they form an excellent seal against the face. Clearly not as durable as a 3M “cup-style” mask, and a bit tricky to put on. But I’ll stick by that recommendation as an N95 respirator that just about anybody should be willing to wear.
At the end of the day, it’s not about finding the best mask, it’s about finding the best mask that a person is willing to wear. An N95 respirator does a really poor job of filtering air if it’s sitting in a drawer somewhere.
And we have a winner, from the mask sampler. This, from my daughter, who is not a “gushy” person by nature. Hence the extra “o”s are significant.
She goes on to say they are comfy, and fit her small face well.
The particular mask in question is the LG, black, adult-sized mask, brand name “Airwasher”.
My comment, now that I’ve seen a picture of her in it, is that they did not stint on anything when they made it. The mask covers the entire lower half of her face, ear to ear, bridge of the nose to the throat. The ear-loops are adjustable to give a snug fit. That combination of large area of contact, and reasonably snug fit, should mean that little air goes around the mask, rather than through it.
She hasn’t gotten all of the KF94 masks that I picked out. So she may yet find one she prefers to the LG Airwasher. But that one is good enough. Here are links to all the KF94s that I included in my sampler:
Face sizes and shapes differ. Skin sensitivity differs. The need for stylishness differs. The desire for high levels of filtration may differ.
I feel most comfortable with a clunky old “cup-style” 3M respirator, because I’ve been using those for years. Others might prefer a lightweight flat-fold or duckbill-style mask. Or a KF94.
You just can’t tell until you try them.
The plan is for my daughter to pass along the rejects, to see if anyone else in her circle of friends finds them to be a good fit. It’s all about getting people into the best mask that they will routinely wear.