N95 vs N100 Respirator Masks - Which One To Buy For Covid-19 Coronavirus Protection

Know what you are buying
N100 vs N95 Respiratory Masks
With Coronavirus fears running rampant in the USA there is no shortage of disinformation regarding respiratory masks. Not an hour goes by when I don't read some headline from a major news outlet talking about N95 respirator masks and that they are either out of stock or ineffective. Ironically I am not even sure why news outlets are talking about N95 masks at all. People should be buying N100 / P100 masks and passing on N95 / P95 ones.

As an uber-geeky professional triathlete who has had respiratory issues since he was a young kid I find it bit a baffling. While every news outlet is talking about N95 masks and their lack of availability, they are neglecting to mention that N95 masks, when properly fitted, only capture 95% of the particles down to a size of 0.3 microns. Which means that 5% of the particles are let thru.

What these news organizations also fail to mention is that N100 masks are a much better solution in the first place. N100 masks, when there isn't mass hysteria clearing out all inventory, are only ~10% more expensive than N95 masks and yet they filter out 99.97% of all particles down to a size of 0.3 microns. Why on earth anyone would buy a N95 mask when you could buy a N100 mask is beyond me.The difference between 5% and .03% is huge.

When I first heard about a shortage of masks a month ago I was curious so I went online to try to find some masks, and sure enough, N95 masks were sold out. However I have been using a P100 mask for many years and that I replace about twice a year. I was delighted to find out that my 3M P100 Respiratory Mask was still in-stock and I got it shipped free from Amazon in a few days time.

For those that are curious I get masks designated with "P" and not an "N". A P100 mask is essentially another step up and filters what an N100 masks filters + oil-based particulates.

I bought one mask and only one as not to be greedy and leave plenty for other people. It is a mask I use on a regular basis while doing yard work, home improvement projects, painting and even regular cleaning and vacuuming. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and you only have one set of lungs. Unfortunately you probably aren't going to be able to find P100/N100 masks either at this point, but here is a link to the listing of my favorite respirator mask.

Take this opportunity to change out your HVAC Filter
3M Filtrete 2800 are some of the best filters
for BASIC HVAC systems.
Important, also know that you have to have a good seal in order to make it truly effective. There are simple tests you can do with 3M respirator masks to make sure that seal is tight and that it is fitted properly to your face. Read the directions that come with your mask or search for Youtube videos. Yes masks are ineffective if worn incorrectly. The linked respirator masks are great at creating a tight seal and offer highly adjustable tension on your face. The disposable masks you buy at the store typically don't have a great seal in the first place and are meant to be disposable.

I am sure in the coming days or hours you will read another article and it will mention N95 masks. Why these are of discussion is beyond me. N100 / P100 masks are really what people should be buying anyway. Share this and help others make a more informed buying decision for their health. You could save someone's life!

Lastly use this opportunity to purchase a new home air filter for your HVAC systems as well. Indoor air is some of the dirtiest air most people breathe. While some top HVAC systems today use even higher quality HEPA filters. The best filter you can buy for most HVAC systems is going to be the 3m Filtrete 2800 filter. Just make sure you buy the right size. You can pull out your current HVAC filter to get the size info you need. They are only a few dollars more expensive than less expensive filters. How can you put a price on your lungs buy one today!!!

Relevant Discussed Links

- 3M Filtrete 2800 Air Filters on Amazon
- 3M P100 Respiratory Masks on Amazon
- N95 Respirator Masks on Amazon