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What is the difference between N95 and KN95 masks?

GB2626 is the Chinese standard, and NIOSH is the US standard. With that said, the GB2626 standard applies to the KN95 (China), and the NIOSH standard applies to the N95 (US). Due to the mask shortage, both masks are approved for use in the US and recognized by the CDC and FDA as such. Since the N95 is much more expensive with very limited production capacity, customers are typically opting for the KN95.


Why are N95 masks more difficult to obtain than KN95 masks and why are they more expensive?

Although there are a few factories making N95 masks in China, the majority of Chinese factories are producing only the GB2626 KN95, as that is the Chinese standard mask. Because the supply of N95 masks coming from China is so limited, the price for these masks is higher.

Are there counterfeit N95 and KN95 masks that are being manufactured and shipped from China or somewhere else? If so, how can they be identified as such?

Yes, there are counterfeit N95/KN95 that are without the needed NIOSH/GB2626 certifications. Please make sure you order the masks from the suppliers that you trust and will provide you the required proof of certification.

With so many manufacturers and distributors beginning to emerge in the marketplace, how do we know who to trust and what type of vetting process can we implement to establish trustworthy sources?

Chinese plants need to pass a three to four-day owner/operator US FDA audit. Manufacturing plants should be able to provide you with this documentation.

Why are manufacturers and distributors requiring some form of payment in advance?

Because of the high demand and increased cost of materials, many manufacturers only requiring 50-100% payment in advance in order to fund the manufacturing process.

Why are KN95 and N95 masks as well as all other PPE so expensive at the moment?

Due to a tremendous increase in the international demand for masks and other PPE supplies; there is a massive shortage in materials and equipment to produce. This supply/demand disparity is driving an increase in product price.

What are standard product shipping times that we should expect during this crisis period?

Depending on the specific product, the shipping times vary from 7-14 days. Due to increased demand, customs clearance, and fewer flights, expected lead time can vary.

Please describe the current PPE Chinese manufacturing climate (i.e. human resources / worker supply, materials availability, etc.)

Due to the worldwide pandemic, the demand and subsequent requests for masks from China has skyrocketed. As an example, read the article below that highlights LVMH’s order of 10 million masks from China for France. This type of scenario has become extremely common and has created an immense urgency and unprecedented growth in the PPE marketplace.