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How Are KF94 and N95 Masks Different

korean woman wearing a korean kf94 mask outside with mountain backdrop

Compared to the N95 masks used in many countries, the KF94 masks are the South Korean government equivalent to the N95 mask and are nearly identical. The KF stands for "Korean Filter" standard, like the US N95 mask rating, is known as KF94. The N95 and KF94 masks are practically the same, with similar filtration rates—95% vs. 94%. The differences between the N95 and KF94 Korean masks are explained in the below-mentioned table.




Filter Performance



Test Agent


NaCl and paraffin oil

Flow Rate

85 L/min

95 L/min

Total Inward Leakage



Inhalation Resistance

343 Pa

70 Pa

Exhalation Resistance

245 Pa

300 Pa

Force Applied

-245 Pa



On the most crucial metric (filtration effectiveness), they're very comparable. Most mask wearers will not be concerned by a 1% variance in filtration and the experts agree that 1% filtration is not a sufficient difference factor.

Borrowing more from Europe than the United States: KF94 Masks

However, the different standards are more similar to one other than they are to the US standards. US certification companies compare filtering efficacy using salt particles, whereas Korean and European authorities evaluate filtering effectiveness using paraffin oil and salt.

On the other hand, the US tests filtration at a rate of 85 liters per minute, whereas South Korea and the EU test at a flow rate of 95 liters per minute. These variances are minor, though. 

Other Differences

Aside from the 1% difference in filtration, there are certain minor variations in other aspects.

  • N95 masks may be slightly easier to breathe out of, according to the standards ("exhalation resistance").
  • S. Korean masks are required to check for "CO2 clearance," preventing CO2 from building up within the mask. In contrast, N95 masks do not have this requirement.

CO2 buildup, on the other hand, maybe overstated. For example, one research discovered that females wearing N95 masks had no variations in blood oxygen levels even during moderate exercise.

KF94 vs. N95: Which one is Better?

Because the filtration efficiency of both masks is very similar, fit and comfort are crucial elements to consider when choosing between them. They are both easy to breath through. There are minor differences in breathing resistance.  Depending on the face type, each grade and model of a mask will suit differently. 

Our team of experts recommend that you test a few different masks to see which one feels most natural on your face. Because, in the end, a mask is useless if it is not worn correctly.