Which Should You Use – Facemasks vs. Respirators?

These are just a few of the deadly flu strains that have recently spread rapidly across the globe. This has caused panic and widespread panic. Many people are now buying respirators and facemasks to protect themselves from superbugs. 

But do they really know what protection they are getting? This is a quick guide on facemasks, respirators, their differences, and how to dispose of them.


Facemasks, which are disposable pieces that fit loosely around the face and protect the nose and mouth from sprays and splashes, are flexible and removable. These disposable transparent face shields are designed to prevent droplets from spreading, such as from coughing or sneezing. 


Respirators protect the wearer against inhaling small particles. A respirator is more snugly fitted than a loose-fitting mask. This allows the wearer to inhale only through the filter material. Respirators are used primarily in industries that deal with dust hazards and construction because they can filter out small particles. 

The type of protection that the respirator provides is an important factor to consider when choosing one. NIOSH’s filter series letters indicate whether the filter is oil-resistant. R stands for slightly oil-resistant, N for not-oil-resistant, and P stands for strong oil resistance.

The number indicates the percentage of particles that can easily be filtered, 95 for 95%, 99 or 99%, and 100 for 99.97%. N95 to N99, N100, N99 to N100, R95 to R99, R100, and P95 to P99 are is NIOSH’s 9 categories of respirators.