Patient Knowhow

Better Masks

We need better masks (consumer respirators) for protection from Coronavirus as discussed by Patient Knowhow and our partners in Harvard Business Review. This includes superior filtration and fit, comfort, reusability, and style. At Patient Knowhow we have been on the lookout for better masks with these properties. Below are off-the-shelf options you can purchase online as well as a number of new mask designs that push the envelope in these dimensions. Places such as Nelson Labs do testing, and NIOSH has a certification process. Watch the video below by Minute Physics and read these recent papers (1, 2, 3) to learn why it matters. Which is best? We are not making any recommedations because it seems the right mask for each person is different based on their preferences, but the at minimum they need to promise N95 level filtration and have features to form a seal (fit) with the face. Good news is that several off-the-shelf options are available. Although not yet available, the section on masks to watch are innovative approaches worth taking a closer look at. If you know of any that should be included here please reach out to me at sri at patientknowhow dot com or @sri_srikrishna on Twitter.

Off-the-shelf Options

3M Elastomeric

Reusable N95 mask, NIOSH-approved, with matching P95 filter sold separately


Reusable N95 mask, NIOSH-approved, that uses a silcone gel to form a seal around the face


Consumer mask, not NIOSH-approved, but has test results


Disposable N95 mask, NIOSH-approved, that builds on the traditional N95 design by using silicone to form a seal with the face. Their video does a good job of explaining why in addition to the filter material a proper seal is important.

To Keep an Eye On

Fix The Mask

A way to improve the fit of surgical masks


Clear face mask with HEPA filter


Tight seal with high-efficiency filter


Winner of a competition run by Johnson & Johnson and BARDA

About Patient Knowhow

Disclaimer: These links to resources on masks, peer-reviewed videos, and comments by researchers (the “Content”) are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice. The Content is intended to complement, not substitute, the advice of your doctor. You should seek independent professional advice from a person who is licensed and/or qualified in the applicable area. No action should be taken based upon any information contained in this website. Use of the website is at your own risk. Patient Knowhow, Inc. takes no responsibility and assumes no liability for any Content made available over this website.