Why M95i is better than N95 or KN95 for everyday use

What do mask numbers mean? Find out the difference between a M95i mask, an N95 or a KN95 standard mask.

Main in stripped t-shirt wearing black M95i mask face

Please note that Lutema's M95i masks are not approved by the CDC or NIOSH approved.

Mask Manufacturing

All masks are manufactured the same way including Lutema's M95i, and masks that conform to N95 and KN95 standards. Heated polypropylene is squeezed through hundreds of small nozzles into a conveyor belt and binding together as it quickly cools to create a lightweight, high filtration material. This material is then layered and ultrasonically welded together. A nose strip with wire is added, ear loops or head bands inserted and after being stamped, the mask is sterilized and sealed. What changes the quality and effectiveness of the masks are when materials are substituted and the manufacturing procedure not followed correctly.

Made in the USA vs Made in China

So, if the process is the same, what’s the difference between the all these masks? Differences between N95 and KN95 masks are mostly to do with how they are are certified. N95 uses the American Standard while KN95 uses the Chinese standard. This has nothing to do with where the masks are manufactured and most N95 masks are made in China.

N95: The Gold standard

Honeywell N95 medical grade mask white

The N95 standard masks are approved for health care professionals by CDC/NIOSH. You can easily spot them by the two elastic bands that fit over the head rather than over the ears. Masks like the ones pictured above are regulated by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) which uses a rigorous testing process to ensure each mask is filtering 95 percent of particles that are 0.3 microns in size or larger. The CDC publishes a list of approved N95 masks.

Because these masks are designed to have the edges form a seal around the nose and mouth they require a fit test to evaluate leakage. The test also measures the pressure drop where the air meets as it flows through the respirator filter and into the mask.

NOTE: Lutema's M95i Masks Made in the USA are not approved by CDC or NIOSH. 

These masks are gaining in popularity with the general public but the CDC asks the public to reserve supplies for health care front line workers. They are not designed for children or people with a lot of facial hair.

The FDA has released a list of approved KN95, and the CDC also publishes an updated list of approved N95 masks.

KN95: Plagued by counterfeits

Chinese KN95 mask sample

KN95 masks are not approved by the FDA and follow the Chinese standards and regulations. Due to the pandemic, the FDA created an Emergency Use Authorization to allow KN95 masks into the country.  Chinese manufacturers must prove their KN95 masks offer the 95% filtration requirement with a tight seal  and provide documentation proving the materials used are authentic including good quality elastic. 

While these masks are not considered medical grade, KN95s do offer good protection if they are manufactured correctly using the proper materials.

Unfortunately, millions of counterfeit KN95 masks have flooded the USA markets making it especially difficult to buy online. Some telltale signs of counterfeit masks include:

  • Poor quality elastic bands that are loose or break easily
  • The FDA logo on the box. FDA does not allow any vendor to put its logo on any masks
  • Any claims to be FDA approved. The FDA doesn’t approve KN95 masks
  • Not 100% waterproof

The FDA publishes a list of all approved companies importing KN95 masks as well as those companies who have been banned for selling counterfeits. Always check this FDA list before purchasing any KN95 masks.

Lutema M95i: Made in America

Since Lutema masks are manufactured in North America, MI Technologies Inc realized a new classification was needed.

All Lutema masks, including the M95i masks are manufactured in an ISO 9001:2015 environment. Our spun bound polypropylene has a 90 grams per square meter making it an extremely lightweight material with a high filtration. The Lutema M95 series of masks capture over 95 percent of tiny 0.3-micron particles and block 99% of all dust & air pollution. All masks have undergone the comprehensive tests offered by Nelson Labs and Eurofins labs including Exhalation Resistance, Bacterial Filtration Efficiency and Particulate Filtration Efficiency.

The M95 series offers five layers of lightweight protection and a firm face fit so double masking is not necessary. These masks are also produced with ultra-soft elastic for comfortable and secure fits and come  in a variety of colors.

Watch how are Lutema masks are manufactured: