The omicron variant remains the dominant Covid-19 strain in the United States. Although cases appear to be plateauing in certain parts of the country, the highly contagious variant is still surging in other parts of the nation.
Earlier in the year, it led to the CDC advising everyone upgrade to "the most protective mask you can that fits well and that you will wear consistently," according to the CDC website (opens in new tab). It also suggests medical-grade surgical masks and N95 respirators.
These masks provide a tighter seal around your face and are capable of providing up to 95% protection against airborne particles. KN95 masks, China's equivalent to the N95, can also provide similar protection, although these masks are not certified by any U.S. agency. Additionally, there are many counterfeit KN95 masks, so buyers should beware when buying these masks online.
If you're wondering where to buy N95 and KN95 masks — we're here to help. We're rounding up online retailers that offer N95, KN95, and surgical masks. Alternatively, make sure to check out our guide on where to buy rapid Covid tests, how to get a free at-home Covid-19 test, and where to buy baby formula.
Where to buy N95 and KN95 masks right now
- Amazon: shop all KN95 masks (opens in new tab)
- Lowe's: shop N95, KN95, and disposable masks (opens in new tab)
- Office Depot: shop all medical grade masks (opens in new tab)
- Staples: shop all NIOSH-rated N95 masks (opens in new tab)
- Walmart: shop all disposable masks (opens in new tab)
Where to buy N95 and KN95 face masks
LG Airwasher KF94 40-Pack: was $56 now $36 @ Amazon (opens in new tab)
The LG Airwasher KF94 is South Korea's version of the N95. These masks are made with 4 protective layers and feature an adjustable nose clip and ear loops. They tend to sell out rapidly, but Amazon has stock of this 40-pack.
RSA KN95 Face Masks 10-Pack: was $34 now $24 @ Adorama (opens in new tab)
KN95 masks are generally used by healthcare workers in China. (Healthcare workers in the U.S. use the N95 mask, which provides a tighter seal). That said, KN95 masks still provide better protection than cloth masks. Adorama has this 10-pack on sale for $24.
US government to provide free N95 masks
The Biden administration has announced that it will offer 400 million N95 respirators for free. The masks will come from the nation's stockpile and they'll be available through pharmacies and community health centers.
Americans can kept expect to see the free masks at their local pharmacies starting the week of January 24, according to NPR (opens in new tab). Participating stores include CVS, Rite-Aid, Walmart, Walgreens, and more.
What are NIOSH-approved masks?
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has a list of approved N95 masks (opens in new tab) it recommends. These masks filter at least 95% of airborne particles. NIOSH-approved manufacturers include 3M, Ironwear, BYD, and more. The CDC offers tips (opens in new tab) on how to tell if an N95 mask is NIOSH approved.