N100 vs N95

N100 vs N95 – Differences and Comparison

Face masks are personal protective equipment that has become a necessity in the present times. The world is facing a huge pandemic right now (the Coronavirus outbreak). Given the situation, there is a great need for face masks and other personal protective equipment. Also, you have to know the differences between the types of masks and learn about their functions. In this article, you will learn about the differences between the N100 mask and the N95 mask. 

The major difference in N100 and N95 is the filter’s efficiency level. The letter rating N simply means that the mask is not resistant to oil-based particles. The numbers represent the filtering out percentage of the particulate matter. Let’s try and understand the differences in detail.

N95 respirators

N95 respirators

N95 respirators can filter out about 95% of the very small (0.3 micron) particles. It is fine for short term exposure but not efficient if the wearer spends a long time in a contaminated environment. You can use it for protection from normal dust and debris but it is not suitable for wearing in highly contaminated zones. It is not resistant to oil and you can use these only for protection from aerosol particles that do not have oil. Moreover, if you wear this mask, you are not going to comfortably breathe in air.

N100 respirators

N95 respirators

N100 respirators can filter out about 99.97% of the particulate matter from the air. This is considerably higher than what is offered by N95 respirators. You should wear them when you are working in an environment where even a tiny trace of the toxic particles can cause fatality. You can use these for protection against non-oil based particles. Just like the N95 mask, this one makes it difficult for the wearer to breathe in air.


One important thing to note is that N-series respirators do not come with specific service life. You can use these masks for as long as the masks do not get damaged and breathing resistances are not detected.

The regulation of these masks is undertaken by NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health). It is this organization that sets the standards for each classification. 

Another thing that you have to keep in mind when buying these masks is that they are not fit to be worn by everyone. Although these are suitable for protection from respiratory diseases like the coronavirus (COVID-19), these masks restrict the free movement of air. If you are considering these for older people or for people with breathing problems, you might consider rethinking.

There are three very important factors that you should know about these masks:

  1. These masks are tested for filtration efficiency, fluid resistance, biocompatibility and flammability.
  2. These masks are not designed to be reused.
  3. These masks are not designed to be shared with other users.

Now that you know the differences between N100 and N95, you can consider checking out the differences between P100 and N95. And, if you are interested in knowing about homemade masks, you can read this article.

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