Buying advice protective masks

The face mask market is confusing. Choosing the right product with the right properties can be essential for your own health and the health of others. Here you will find an overview of the most important products.

 mask-types

MNS masks with main focus protecting third parties

Mouth and nose protection (MNS) masks are available with no filter effect. However, since these masks were not primarily designed to protect the wearer of the mask, but instead to protect third parties (e.g. a patient or guests in a restaurant), the protection of the wearer is limited.

There are three main types of MNS masks, two of which we offer here:

1. Simplest face mask, made of paper or fabric, usually one layer

These, often self-made, masks have no filter and are therefore particularly intended to protect third parties from droplet infection, for example when coughing and sneezing.

2. MNS hygiene masks with filter

These mostly three-layer protective masks have a filter built in, which also promises a certain protection against infection of the wearer. However, since viruses could theoretically penetrate to the side of the mouth and nose, these masks are primarily intended for the protection of third parties.

maskalia product : M05 - 3-layer MNS protective mask . Our M05 protective masks are sold as simple MNS masks, but have processed the professional "melt-blown" filter.

maskalia MNS Maske

3. Surgical masks or medical protective masks

These are similar to (2), but have a protective effect confirmed by an official EU test (there are surgical masks with 95 and 99% filter effect). Since these CE-certified products are medical devices, sales in and from Austria are only reserved for special medical device retailers.

Particle protection masks with main focus on protecting the wearer

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, these masks were mainly used as single-use protective masks, but can be used for several days if handled and stored carefully. There are various protection guidelines and degrees of protection for these masks:

European Union

The EU has defined the protection standard "FFP". There are three categories, with FFP1 being insufficient for virus protection. These masks are mainly used as dust masks in applications without significant health risks

4. FFP2 anti virus protection mask

These masks are the most important protective masks recommended for protection against infection with the SARS-COV-2 virus, which triggers the disease COVID-19. All FFP2 masks have a low permeability "melt-blown" filter as one of their layers. These masks are regulated by EU Directive 2016/425 of March 9, 2016. For distribution in Europe, these masks must have the "CE" mark and their protective effect must be certified by an official certification body.

maskalia products : FFP2 protective mask without valve (M01) and FFP2 protective mask with valve (M04) .

 maskalia FFP2 protective maskmaskalia FFP2 Schutzmaske mit Filter

We recommend the version without valve (M01) for normal use and the version with valve (M04) if the mask is worn during intensive physical activity (sports, physical work).

5. FFP3 anti virus protection mask

FFP3 promises the highest EU-certified anti-virus protection. There is currently very little FFP3 protective mask available on the market. The main area of application for these masks are hospitals and other areas of application with intensive care for COVID-19 patients.

United States of America

The products equivalent to the EU standard and certified by the FDA are masks according to the N95 (FFP2) and N99 (FFP3) standards. 

As a European company with the main focus on sales in the EU, we do not particularly check whether our products meet US standards. However, we assume that most FFP2 products do.

China

Much of the world's protective mask production has been relocated to China over the past 10-20 years. It is estimated that China's market share is currently over 50% of world production. Since most countries outside of China have imposed export restrictions on their own mask manufacture, the overwhelming majority of all masks available on the free market currently come from China. 

Fortunately, due to the explosion in demand, many companies have started to manufacture protective masks. However, only a few of these companies have had their masks tested in accordance with European guidelines. That is why protective masks according to Chinese standards also reach Europe

6. KN95 - FFP2 equivalent - protective masks

The FFP2 equivalent Chinese protection standard is called KN95. Some of these masks are significantly cheaper than the FFP2 masks tested according to European standards, but often on a par with the European masks in their protective effect. 

maskalia product : KN95 protective mask M03 : This mask has been successfully tested according to European standards, but has not yet received an official FFP2 award.

maskalia KN95 Schutzmaske

Half masks

Although the best half masks (those with a particle protection of category P2 (FFP2 equivalent, or even better: P3: FFP3 equivalent) are reusable (because they are washable), the filters last significantly longer than the protective masks mentioned above, which are actually designed for single use half masks have so far hardly prevailed in public and also in hospitals during the COVID-19, probably for two reasons: firstly, they were sold out very soon and an expansion of production is more difficult than with the product due to the complexity of the product other masks and secondly, their appearance is somewhat "marzial".

7. P3 half masks

If you decide on a half mask, you should choose the almost complete virus protection promising P3 category.

maskalia product : Half mask from 3M , one of the leading international producers

3m Halbmaske bei maskalia

Gas masks or full face protective masks

Since eyes also contain mucous membranes (similar to the nose and mouth), perfect COVID-19 protection is only given if the eyes are also protected by airtight glasses or a full-face protective mask. However, since these masks make communication very difficult, they are not very suitable for COVID-19 prevention.