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Surgical Face Mask and N95 Face Mask Comparison

Surgical Face Mask and N95 Face Mask Comparison

It is important to know the difference between the two commonly used masks; N95 respirators and surgical masks. These two types of face masks are compared and presented in the table below. N95 respirators and surgical face masks are PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) that are used to protect the wearer from airborne particles and from liquid contaminating the face.


    Surgical Face Mask

  N95 Respirator Face Mask

Single Use Yes. They should not be shared or reused.

Yes. They should not be shared or reused.

Require regulatory approval Yes



Yes



Regulatory Body Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)


Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)


General usage Block large particle droplets, splashes, sprays, or splatter that may contain germs (viruses and bacteria).

Reduces exposure to small particle aerosols and large droplets except for non-oil aerosols.


Face Seal Fitting Loose-fitting


Very close facial fit


User Seal Check Not required


Yes, required. Needed every time the respirator is put on.

Filtration Process Not very efficient for filtering or blocking very small particles in the air that may be transmitted by coughs, sneezes, or certain medical procedures.

Filters out at least 95% of airborne particles including large and small particles, bacterial filtration efficiency.



Testing requirements - Fluid resistance
- Filtration efficiency
     Particulate Filtration Efficiency (PFE)
     Bacterial Filtration Efficiency (BFE)
- Flammability
- Biocompatibility

- Fluid resistance
- Filtration efficiency
     Particulate Filtration Efficiency (PFE)
     Bacterial Filtration Efficiency (BFE)
- Flammability
- Biocompatibility

Leakage The edges of the mask are not designed to form a seal around the nose and mouth and when users inhale. Leakage occurs along the edges of the mask.

When properly fitted and donned, the edges of the respirator are designed to form a seal around the nose and mouth, only minimal leakage occurs around edges of the respirator when the user inhales.

29th Jan 2021

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