Types of masks

We provide three types of mask. For product specifications see our shop.

Masks are covered by different international standards which can be confusing. Masks which are tight-fitting and with a higher degree of filtration are called Respirators.

Respirators are generally for high-risk use (e.g. NHS intensive care) and, when properly fitted, form a facial seal to provide good two-way filtration by filtering both the air breathed in and the air breathed out. They are designed to protect the wearer and those around them.

FFP3 (European standard) respirators filter 99% of particles. The N99 is the American standard respirator equivalent to the FFP3 and also filters 99% of particles. Above these are P3 and N100. We do not supply these.

FFP2 respirators are specified to filter 94% of particles. An N95 respirator is specified to filter 95% of particles and is, therefore, a close equivalent to the FFP2. We have access to a limited supply of these.

All these respirators need to be fitted to the wearer before use.

Masks are loose-fitting, covering your nose and mouth. They generally have three layers with a PP melt brown non-woven fabric as the middle layer which acts as the filter. They are designed to provide one-way protection to capture coughs etc. from the wearer. However, studies have shown that, compared with the N95/FFP2, they do provide an approximately similar level of prevention of transmission of influenza in close contact clinical environments.

The Type IIR (European Standard) fluid-resistant surgical mask is the “regular” surgical mask often used in clinical settings – this is the standard mask you see doctors and nurses wear. It is substantially better than most homemade cloth masks. The fluid resistance is why we suggest the Type IIR masks for most day to day use where you may be in close (under 2 metres) contact with others.

We also offer a protective (non-medical) mask FFP1 EN149 masks. This offers a reasonable level of filtration. We suggest it is suitable for uncrowded public places.