KN95 vs N95 vs FFP2 & more

KN95 vs N95 vs FFP2 & more

International codes for respirator following Health and Safety Executive advice.

It is widely accepted by industry that the N95 (USA Code) and KN95 (China Code) although tested against different standards are broadly equivalent to a FFP2. 

In a recent HSE Rapid Evidence Review, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) references a 3M technical bulletin ‘Comparison of FFP2, KN95, and N95 and other filtering facepiece respirator classes’ which suggests that it is reasonable to consider N95 and FFP2 masks as being equivalent for filtering non-oil based articles including bioaerosols (e.g. viruses).

Summary of International Codes

The below is a summary of international codes for respirators:

 FFP2 – EU code, including UK

 N95 – USA Code

 KN95 – China Code

 Korea 1st class – Korea Code

 P2 – Australia/ New Zealand  Code

 DS2 – Japan Code

Respirators certified as meeting these standards can be expected to function very similarly to one another, based on the performance requirements stated in the standards and confirmed during conformity testing. 

Let’s see how all the different standards compare:

Respirator Standard Filter Capacity (removes x% of of all particles that are 0.3 microns in diameter or larger)
FFP2 & P2
At least 94%
N95
At least 95%
KN95
At least 95%
P2
At least 94%
Korea 1st class
At least 94%
DS2
At least 95%

Detailed Respirator Comparison

Below is a summary table which compares different respirators performance compiled by 3M. The respirators certified as meeting these standards can be expected to function very similarly to one another, based on the performance requirements stated in the standards and confirmed during conformity testing.

3M stated in their report:

“Based on this comparison, it is reasonable to consider China KN95, AS/NZ P2, Korea 1st Class, and Japan DS2 FFRs as
“equivalent” to US NIOSH N95 and European FFP2 respirators, for filtering non-oil-based particles such as those resulting
from wildfires, PM 2.5 air pollution, volcanic eruptions, or bioaerosols (e.g. viruses). However, prior to selecting a respirator,
users should consult their local respiratory protection regulations and requirements or check with their local public health
authorities for selection guidance”

Certification/ Class N95 FFP2 KN95 P2 Korea 1st Class DS2
Standard
NIOSH-42C FR84
EN 149-2001
GB2626-20 06
AS/NZ 1716:2012
KMOEL - 2017-64
Japan JMHLW Notification 214, 2018
Filter performance – (must be ≥ X% efficient)
≥ 95%
≥ 94%
≥ 95%
≥ 94%
≥ 94%
≥ 95%
Test agent
NaCl
NaCl & paraffin oil
NaCl
NaCl
NaCl & paraffin oil
NaCl
Flow rate
85 L/min
95 L/min
85 L/min
95 L/min
95 L/min
85 L/min
Total inward leakage (TIL)* – tested on human subjects each performing exercises
N/A
≤ 8% leakage (arithmetic mean)
≤ 8% leakage (arithmetic mean)
≤ 8% leakage (individual and arithmetic mean)
≤ 8% leakage (arithmetic mean)
Inward Leakage measured and included in User Instructions
Inhalation resistance – max pressure drop
≤ 343 Pa
≤ 70 Pa (at 30 L/min) ≤ 240 Pa (at 95 L/min) ≤ 500 Pa (clogging)
≤ 350 Pa
≤ 70 Pa (at 30 L/min) ≤ 240 Pa (at 95 L/min)
≤ 70 Pa (at 30 L/min) ≤ 240 Pa (at 95 L/min)
≤ 70 Pa (w/valve) ≤ 50 Pa (no valve)
Flow rate
85 L/min
Varied – see above
85 L/min
Varied – see above
Varied – see above
40 L/min
Exhalation resistance - max pressure drop
≤ 245 Pa
≤ 300 Pa
≤ 250 Pa
≤ 120 Pa
≤ 300 Pa
≤ 70 Pa (w/valve) ≤ 50 Pa (no valve)
Flow rate
85 L/min
160 L/min
85 L/min
85 L/min
160 L/min
40 L/min
Exhalation valve leakage requirement
Leak rate ≤ 30 mL/min
N/A
Depressurization to 0 Pa ≥ 20 sec
Leak rate ≤ 30 mL/min
Visual inspection after 300 L /min for 30 sec
Depressurization to 0 Pa ≥ 15 sec
Force applied
-245 Pa
N/A
-1180 Pa
-250 Pa
N/A
-1,470 Pa
CO2 clearance requirement
N/A
≤ 1%
≤ 1%
≤ 1%
≤ 1%
≤ 1%

*Japan JMHLW-Notification 214 requires an Inward Leakage test rather than a TIL test.

Definitions

Filter performance – the filter is evaluated to measure the reduction in concentrations of specific aerosols in air that passes
through the filter.

Test agent – the aerosol that is generated during the filter performance test.

Total inward leakage (TIL) – the amount of a specific aerosol that enters the tested respirator facepiece via both filter
penetration and faceseal leakage, while a wearer performs a series of exercises in a test chamber.

Inward leakage (IL) – the amount of a specific aerosol that enters the tested respirator facepiece, while a wearer performs a
normal breathing for 3 minutes in a test chamber. The test aerosol size (count median diameter) is about 0.5 micro meter.

Pressure drop – the resistance air is subjected to as it moves through a medium, such as a respirator filter.

IMPORTANT: Always read and follow respirator user instructions