If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Rolling Stone may receive an affiliate commission.
While Americans wait their turn to get their Covid-19 vaccinations, with President Joe Biden’s announcement that “this country will have enough vaccine supply — I’ll say it again — for every adult in America by the end of May,” experts continue to recommend wearing a face mask to help protect everyone, including yourself, during the pandemic.
And though a number of companies now make and sell cloth masks you can wash and reuse, from Everlane to Under Armour, affordable, disposable masks have become a necessary item to also have on hand if you’re planning to double-mask for a second piece of protection, if you have to travel or if you simply want to make sure you’re never in a situation without a mask to wear.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s recommendations for disposable masks on its site: “You may prefer using medical procedure masks in situations where your mask is likely to get wet or dirty.” Meanwhile, the CDC also says to look for layered masks that cover your mouth and nose, and you can even look for ones with nose wires so your mask forms a better fit around your face.
Whether you’re hoping to stock up for when you don’t have a clean, reusable mask ready to go, or you want to double up your disposable mask with a cloth option, here are the best disposable masks to consider, from KN95s and N95s to packs of multi-layer surgical masks.
What Are the Best Disposable Masks?
Ear or Head Straps: Most disposable masks are designed with ear loops or straps that wrap around your head for a tight fit, so you should be able to find a mask that fits your preference.
Multiple Layers: While they won’t be reusable, the top disposable masks should still meet the CDC’s guidelines on face masks and include multiple layers of material to help keep you and everyone you come into contact with protected.
Secure Fit: Disposable masks can fit differently for everyone — one of the main reasons you’re probably searching for the best ones right now. But features like adjustable wires and form-fitting designs can help eliminate extra space near your nose or on the sides of your mask for a more protective fit, close to your skin. Face masks with nose wires can also be a good option for glasses wearers because they can help prevent foggy lenses.
Face Masks With Nose Wires: It’s not uncommon to find wires in reusable face masks now, but you can also get disposable masks with nose wires that help the lightweight fabric stay secure around your nose. We prefer to have masks with some type of nose wire when possible, and most of the masks on this list include them.
Price: The price of disposable masks varies, from more expensive KN95 masks to more affordable bulk boxes of surgical masks. You’ll find both in this buying guide.
1. KN95 Face Mask Protective Respirator
If you want to buy KN95 masks, this pack features five protective layers per mask, along with a nose wire. You’ll get 25 disposable masks that come in a sealed bag.
2. N95 NIOSH ALG Soft Shell Face Masks
These NIOSH-certified N95s, which are available from online retailer N95 Medical Supplies, feature a soft shell build and have a couple loops that sit on the back of your head.
3. Mocacare Level 1 Face Mask
These masks are sold by Mocacare, which is listed on the FDA’s personal protective equipment list for emergency use. You can buy the brand’s Level 1 disposable masks in a 50-pack right now on Amazon. Mocacare designed them with three layers, which is in line with CDC guidelines, and while they only come in one size, built-in nose clips still make them a good choice for anyone.
4. Powecom KN95 Face Masks
These cotton Powecom KN95 masks come in a pack of 10 disposable masks and can fold up when you’re not wearing them. Each KN95 has a flexible wire nose bridge, too, so you can adjust it whether you’re pairing it with a reusable mask for double-masking or wearing it with your glasses.
5. Public Goods KN95 Masks
Public Goods, which sells everything from home and grooming products to CBD oils and pet food, offers these five-layered KN95 single-use masks that contain a convenient nose strip along with cotton and polypropylene material, which the brand notes filters up to 95 percent of airborne particles. Use the discount code RSTONE10 to take 10 percent off your order of $70 or more.
6. WellBefore N95 V1 Medical Respirator Mask
Online shop WellBefore features a large selection of KN95 and N95 masks, including this N95 V1 disposable mask. You can adjust the two head straps to fit tighter or loosen them up when you want to take it off. The brand says the masks are wrapped separately, and you can order them in white, blue and black. The five-ply masks, which can filter out 95 percent of particles, are manufactured by Shandong Haidike Medical Products Co., Ltd., and they’re one of the N95s included on the FDA’s EUA list.
7. 3M N95 Respirator Masks
If your mask tends to slip down below your nose or your ear loops sometimes fall off, test out these NIOSH-approved N95 face masks from 3M, which have two head bands that go around the back of your head. Like most of the other masks on our list, you can mold the mask around your nose, too.
8. evolvetogether Face Masks
If you want to stock up on a variety of mask colors, this pack from brand evolvetogether includes black, green, gray and white options. Twenty-eight total disposable masks are included, and they’re designed with three layers and elastic ear straps. You’ll also get a small case to store your mask, perfect for keeping in a pack or in your car to avoid dropping your mask on the ground when you’re not using it.
9. Nomad Goods KN95 Face Masks
While it also sells 50-pack three-layer surgical masks, Nomad Goods’ KN95 face masks are available in groups of 10 per order, and the brand’s even recognized by the FDA. You can secure the foldable masks with the elastic ear loops, and we like that you can pinch the nose wire for a tighter seal before leaving your house. Meanwhile, Nomad Goods also sells a no-contact thermometer to check your temp, as well as bottles of hand sanitizer.
10. WellBefore KN95 Face Mask
Anyone sticking to a budget who wants to invest in KN95 masks can order these in groups of 10, 20 or more on WellBefore’s site. Each five-layer disposable covering will run you just under $2 each.
11. WeCare Disposable Face Masks
Each mask in this box comes in its own wrap, so you never have to worry about one falling out of the box when grabbing a new one. We like the variety of colors and patterns WeCare gives you with its boxes online. Shop all of the brand’s disposable masks here, and choose from packs of basic colors, tie-dye masks and more.
12. WWDOLL KN95 Face Masks
WWDOLL’s five-ply disposable KN95 masks are designed to fit closer against the bridge of your nose and include an almost duckbill-style design that lifts the mask slightly away from your mouth. Elastic loops go around your ears when you’re wearing it, and you can fold it in half when you’re not.