What is the difference between FFP2 and N95 masks?

Emanuele Mortarotti in
03 February 2022

Welcome back to the Dispotech blog! Today we will be discussing masks and we’ll delineate a definitive difference between FFP2s and N95s, the two types of masks that are definitely the most well-known and commonly w

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Welcome back to the Dispotech blog! Today we will be discussing masks and we’ll delineate a definitive difference between FFP2s and N95s, the two types of masks that are definitely the most well-known and commonly worn by people all over the world.

Many erroneously believe that these are two identical models, but actually there are differences. Let’s find out more with the support of an article published on wired.co.uk.


The emergency caused by the Covid-19 pandemic shows no signs of stopping. The recent months have been very problematic due to the emergence of a new variant, called Omicron, which has caused a surge in infections worldwide - as with the Delta variant.

Due to the increase in virus variants and mutations, the attention of science (but also of the world population) has again turned to masks, in particular the N95 and FFP2. Many of the world’s governments again mandated the use of FFP2 masks outdoors and in crowded places.

Many people are still confused and believe that FFP2 and N95 masks are the same personal protective equipment with two different names. In reality, this is not true. Given this statement, what are the differences between the two types and which one would be better to use as protection against Coronavirus?


What are N95 and FFP2 masks?

FFP2 and N95 are two similar types of respiratory masks which theoretically should protect both the wearer and those around them. After several scientific studies, the WHO has established that FFP2 and N95 have a filtration rate of 94% and 95% respectively.

In terms of protection efficiency, FFP2 and N95 masks are second only to FFP3 masks, considered the most protective of all PPEs today. Then there are surgical masks and, finally, fabric masks.


What are N95 and FFP2 masks composed of?

What is it that makes these types better than surgical or fabric masks? First of all, the structure: FFP2 and N95 consist of several layers (3 in FFP2) of materials with different types of filtration and thickness.

Many tests have been carried out on the level of air and particle filtration in FFP2 and N95 masks. One of the tests called for exposing the masks to sodium chloride and paraffin oil particles: what emerged was that FFP2 masks filter up to 0.075 micrometres of solid particles, while standard medical masks are only able to filter out three micrometres of droplets.


N95 masks are very good PPEs but are not certified for the European market. The best alternative - and one that meets certified European standards - is the FFP2 mask. FFP literally stands for filtering facepiece and the numeral after this acronym is the percentage of protection offered by this type of mask. Often you will find the letters “NR”, which stand for non-reusable.


FFP2 and N95 masks are not exactly the same thing, but considerable research shows that they are both effective.


Did you know the differences between FFP2 and N95 masks? For further information, don’t hesitate to contact the Dispotech team.

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