What is a KF94 mask and where can you buy one?

Posted: 14 January 2022 11:28 am
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Have you heard of the KF94 mask? This Korean-designed mask may offer greater protection than a cloth mask.

With mask mandates back in place in several states, it may be time to reconsider the protective benefits of the masks you're using.

What is a KF94 mask?

The KF stands for "Korean filter", as these masks were originally manufactured in South Korea (though you will find some made in China), and 94 refers to a 94% filtration efficacy.

The KF94 mask features a tent-like shape that creates a little bit of extra space between the mask and your mouth. It combines the features of cloth and N95 masks.

KF94s are made of 4 layers of non-woven material. The outer layers create a barrier to capture large and small particles, while the innermost layer sits soft against the skin. Each mask includes a bendable nose strip to ensure a tight fit.

How is a KF94 mask different to a KN95 mask or similar masks?

The main difference between KF94, KN95 and P2 masks is their shape. KN95 and N95 masks typically look a little like a bird beak, sticking out from the face. A KF94 looks more like a regular cloth or surgical mask.

KN95 masks are rated with a 95% filtration efficacy, although the 1% difference between a KF94 and a N95 or KN95 hasn't been put head-to-head in many studies. Both offer a high degree of protection from particles.

What kind of mask is recommended by authorities?

Comprised of all state and territory chief health officers, the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) suggested in its most recent guideline published in November that "individuals choosing to wear masks in the community may use any type of well-fitted mask" and that "the AHPPC considers cloth masks appropriate in most circumstances".

But health bodies overseas, including the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are reportedly assessing their guidance to suggest N95 and KN95 masks rather than regular cloth masks, as reported by The Washington Post earlier this week.

Medical experts are suggesting that cloth masks don't have enough layers to filter out viral particles, and surgical masks that do have 3 layers are designed to minimise particles from the person wearing the mask, not from others around them.

Where can I buy KF94 masks?

As demand for higher-quality masks increases, you might find more availability for the lesser-know KF94 mask.

They're currently available for purchase from:

  • Amazon from $18.99 ($4.75 each) for a pack of 4.
  • eBay from $47.90 ($4.79 each) for a pack of 10.
  • Fishpond from $54.66 ($5.46 each) for a pack of 10.

Looking for other types of masks? See our guide for where to buy P2, N95 and KN95 face masks online.

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