Types of Face Masks and How Effective They Are in 2021

Types of Face Masks and How Effective They Are in 2021

In Response to the outbreak of Covid-19 throughout the world and its declaration as a global pandemic doctors throughout the world have advised people to wear face masks as it reduces the chances of exposure to the viruses. World Health Organization (WHO), Center of Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and public health officials have emphasized for the use of masks as it is seen that people who used masks were safe from getting infected. There is a debate going on throughout the world about which types of mask are effective and some even want to know the types of masks that exist. This article is for you guys to get to know the types and their effectiveness. Following are some types of face masks available and their usefulness is explained for you to better understand which types of masks you should use: 

Disposable Surgical Face Masks

These masks are the most used and most easily accessible throughout the world. They were in use publicly even before the outbreak of coronavirus, so people are familiar with it. These masks are flat, paper like and thin in their structure and are found in blue and white colors mostly. Black colored masks are also available in the market but are rare. These masks are also reliable as they are found to filter 60-70% of the air we inhale from the small and otherwise inhaled particles. They are primarily used for the protection from the splatters, dust, sprays and other particles but they are helpful against the viruses too. Using these masks outside the house can reduce the respiratory issues significantly. Now the most important thing is that they are not designed for repeated usage. If you have used them once, discard it. Moreover, usage of such masks for a period exceeding 4-5 hours is not advisable.

Cone-Style Masks

These are the masks that are designed to cover mouth and nose completely in the form of a cone and they are a bit stylish as compared to the surgical face masks. They are relatively better too because they fit over the nose as they are having a metal strip on them which the wearer can bridge over the nose and fit it. They are not preferable against the droplets and sprays for which surgical masks are recommended. They are made up of the quilted cotton and are very effective against the dust.

N95 & KN95

These masks are the most recommended ones by all health forums against the coronavirus and other infections. They are rated high by the doctors because they are experimented to filter almost 95% of the particles in the air including the droplets and sprays. Some more masks like N95 and KN95 are N99 (provides 99% filtration), N100 (provides 99.97% filtration), P95 (95% filtration and strong oil resistance), P99 (99% filtration and strong oil resistance), P100 (99.97 filtration and strong oil resistance). These are some respirators which are most efficient but due to their scarcity CDC and WHO advise only medical services facilitators to use them. Of all the types of face masks, these masks are most protective and people who are infected by Covid-19 or having other diseases (which are contagious) should use them.

Neck Gaiters & Balaclavas

People who are keen to keep their outlook vogue often use neck gaiter instead of the face masks. Neck gaiters is a tube-like piece of cloth woven to fit around your neck but it is wider at the upper end which can be used to cover your face up to your nose. Using them as a protection against the coronavirus is a decent option, yet not very effective, as it is covering your mouth and nose. These are usually made up of synthetic fiber which is not very effective in protecting against the small parties of dust and sprays etc.

Cloth-Made masks

These masks are quite similar to the disposable surgical masks but they are not disposable and are made up of cloth. The cloth can be washed, disinfected and used again multiple times. They are also not as effective as surgical masks because they are just for fashionist as and not much protective. If you are wearing a mask for the purpose if safety only then you are recommended to use surgical masks instead. But if you are willing to use a cloth mask then as per the researchers and experts of public health it is advised that mask should’ve more than one layers of cloth, a polypropylene filter (which can hold and electrostatic charge in the cloth and trap the particles trying to enter it) and a metal strip at nose area so it can fit around the nose.


Bandanas have been a fashion symbol in last decade and were quite in use by people for covering neck or head. It would be a time-honored way if they are being used to cover mouth and nose instead. They are square in shape but are folded to make a triangle and then tied at the back of neck. It makes it two layered piece of cloth which can play the protective role too. Often cowboys are seen to use them as horses lift up the dirt in the air when they run and it can cause respiratory infections to the riders. They can be helpful to protect against the dust, droplets and sneeze sprays. Above are the types of face masks that are available for your use but as you can read above, surgical masks are most recommended for routine use as they are cheaper, easily accessible and provide good protection against the infectious particles in the air. Face masks are vital these days as the outbreak of coronavirus and effected every country and region throughout the world due to its contagiousness. If just wearing a face mask can keep you and your loved ones safe from such deadly diseases, then surely it’s not much to ask for.