If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Rolling Stone may receive an affiliate commission.
While mask mandates are starting to relax in some states, don’t put down that Covid covering just yet — you’ll still need to wear a face mask for flights and travel for the time being, and many offices and large venues (think movie theaters and concert halls) are still requiring masks (for now) as well.
What Is a KF94 Mask?
A KF94 mask is similar to an N95 or KN95 mask, providing multiple levels of filtration to help block out dust, dirt and potentially harmful particles in the air.
The “K” in “KF94” refers to the country of origin for these masks: Korea. The “94” meantime, denotes that the mask is able to guarantee a minimum of 94% filtration (whereas the “95” in N95 and KN95, for comparison, means those masks can filter out a minimum of 95% of particles).
Traditionally worn by Koreans to block out dust, germs and debris, say for everyday errands or on flights, the latest KF94 masks are now being used as a form of protection against Covid-19 and the Delta and omicron variants.
How Do KF94 Masks Work?
The best KF94 masks (sometimes referred to as KF94 respirators) function similar to the popular KN95 masks and N95 masks, with four layers of protection from a synthetic, cloth-like material.
The best KF94 masks can help block out dust, debris, smoke, and potentially harmful particles, to help keep you safe.
Similar to other face masks, you wear a KF94 mask over your mouth and nose, using straps that go around your ears to keep the mask fitted and secured.
KN95 Masks vs. KF94 Masks
There are a couple of differences between KN95 masks and KF94 masks, most notably in the fit. Most KN95 masks have a V-shaped or “duckbill-style” design, that protrudes from the nose and is rounded over the cheeks.
The best KF94 masks, meantime, feature more of a “3D-style” design, with a layered front section that cups over your mouth and nose, along with side flaps that help the mask seal more easily to your face’s contours.
Both KN95 masks and KF94 masks should have an adjustable nose seal or nose band to help the mask stay put. And both KN95 masks and KF94 masks come with adjustable ear loops that let you tighten the mask for a more secure fit.
Many people fit the KF94 masks to be more comfortable and lightweight, since the side of the mask is “wrapped” around your face rather than sitting directly on it. It also has a sleeker and flatter design for people who aren’t fans of the KN95’s beak-style shape. The KF94 mask’s three-fold design is also great for people who wear glasses, as there is a small section up top for you to rest your frames on.
Of course, this is just a matter of personal preference. Overall, the EPA says both “KF94 and KN95 masks tend to fit better ‘out of the package’ and likely represent an upgrade compared to what people might be using.”
Note that neither KN95 and KH94 face masks are approved for use in medical settings in the United States. You should not wear these masks if you are going to be in a surgical setting. And these are considered disposable masks, so you should toss them out after each wearing — they are not meant to be washed and re-used.
Are KF94 Masks Effective Against Covid?
An EPA document categorizes KF94 masks as a “higher efficiency” mask, with the agency noting that while “N95 respirators do offer the best protection, [they] are not available in sufficient quantities to supply the entire population. KF94 [masks] can also offer good protection and are widely available.”
A study last year, meantime, found that KF94 masks were comparable to N95 masks in blocking SARS-CoV-2 particles. When comparing a KF94 masks to a regular surgical mask, researchers found that, “While viral particles were detected in both the inner and outer surfaces of the surgical masks, those were detected only in the inner surfaces of the N95 and K94 masks.”
The EPA says a KF94 mask’s “shorter profile also makes it ideal to wear under a face shield,” say, if you are double masking. The agency also found a KF94 mask to be “more robust” and protective to people with beard hair overall than the KN95.
Of course, no mask can completely protect you from Covid or the omicron variant, but wearing a KF94 mask will be a much better option to a traditional paper face mask or cloth face covering — and potentially much more comfortable too.
What Are the Best KF94 Masks?
A number of sites are selling highly-rated KF94 masks online, with large quantities of KF94 masks in stock. With N95 masks and KN95 masks continuing to sell out, it may be a good time to stock up on the similar filtration properties of the KF94 masks.
1. VIDA KF94 Masks
ShopVida.com has a number of KF94 masks in stock right now, available in your choice of six colors. Right now you can get a 20-pack of KF94 masks for just $41. These are authentic KF94 masks that are made in Korea.
According to company founder Umaimah Mendhro, “The VIDA High Protection Recyclable KF94 masks feature a filtration efficiency of 94%+, and is FDA Listed and CE-certified. Moreover, these masks are manufactured in an FDA registered facility that is also ISO certified.”
VIDA’s KF94 masks are recyclable too and your order includes a prepaid return label to send back your used masks for recycling.
2. Amazon KF94 Masks
You can find a number of KF94 masks on Amazon and this set currently boasts a 4.5-star (out of five) rating from reviewers online. Made in Korea, the company says the KF94 masks block more than 94% of the average particle size of 0.4μm. The eco-friendly fabric is lightweight and gentle on the skin, making this a great KF94 mask for flights and long commutes.
3. WellBefore KF94-Style 3D Masks
WellBefore.com has a number of KF94-style masks in stock, but with the 95% filtration efficacy of a KN95 mask. In other words, it’s the best of both worlds, combining the comfort and style of a KF94 mask with the filtration level of a KN95 mask.
Says WellBefore founder Shaz Amin, “Our WellBefore N95, KN95 and KF94 all exceed 95% filtration, so it really all comes down to fit and personal preference as everything else is basically similar.”
Choose from seven different colors and regular adult sizes or a smaller KF94 mask for children and those with smaller faces. Note: these are KN95 masks from China but with a KF94-style silhouette.
4. Airwasher KF94 Disposable Face Mask
These face masks come from the Korean brand LG and are designed with the traditional three-dimensional, three-fold design, that gives you plenty of space around your nose and mouth to breathe comfortably. It also has a flexible nose strip that you can adjust to fit around your nose, and adjustable ear loops so it doesn’t tug at your ears.
Get a 40-pack of LG KF94 masks right now; each mask is individually-wrapped for hygiene and convenience.