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What is the difference between FFP2, FFP3 and N95?

FFP2/3 is the European standard equivalent to N95/N99 (US standard).

For more details:

International standard equivalents:

 Filtering effect Europe USA China*
>= 90% - - KN90 KP90
>= 95%
FFP2 N95 P95 KN95 KP95
>= 99%
FFP3 N99 P99 - -
>= 99.97%
- N100 P100 KN100 KP100

*KN: suitable for filtering non-oily particles such as coal dust, cement dust, acid fog, paint fog.

KP: Suitable for filtering oily and non-oily particles such as soot, asphalt smoke, coke oven smoke, diesel exhaust particles

European standard:

PROTECTION CLASS EN 149:2001+A1: 2009


FFP2 94% 12
FFP3 99% 50


Filtering half masks are approved in the protection classes FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3 and must satisfy requirements such as: how effectively particles are removed, breathing resistance and inward leakage. A higher class also covers the lower classes. Zekler’s filtering half masks are approved in protection classes FFP2 and FFP3.


e.g. Cornavirus, Influenza/Cold/Flu

Bacteria Spores
Biochemical compounds (enzymes, hormones)
Carcinogenic and radioactive substances


No No No No
FFP2 (N95) No* Yes No No Yes
FFP3 (N99) Yes  Yes Yes Yes Yes

Source: Zekler, Sweden

*Masks not made to protect against viruses, however, it acts as a more effective barrier than medical masks. FFP2 is considered approximately equivalent to N95 as of US Standard. See question below.


What is the difference between face masks (medical/surgical) and FFP2/FFP3/N95?

 Medical/Surgical Mask  FFP2/FFP3/N95
Purpose Barrier to splash, droplets, and spit. Protects from exposure to airborne particles. In a healthcare setting, protects from exposure to biological aerosols including viruses and bacteria.
Face Seal Fit Not designed to fit tight to face. Designed to fit tight to face creating a seal around the perimeter of the respirator to improve protection.
Filtration Does not effectively filter small particles from air. Effectively filters large and small particles from air.
Leakage Leakage occurs around the edge of the mask when the user inhales. When properly fitted and donned, minimal leakage around edges of the respirator when the user inhales.
Use Limitations One time use (one patient encounter). Single use. Should be discarded when it becomes damaged or deformed; no longer forms an effective seal to the face; becomes wet or visibly dirty; breathing through it becomes more difficult; or if it becomes contaminated with blood, respiratory or nasal secretions, or other bodily fluids from patients.

Source: CDC (Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention), USA


What is the difference between medical and surgical face masks?

Global standards of face masks:

Regions Certified Standards
EU EN 14683
US ASTM F2100-2011
China, Taiwan CNS 14774:2018
Australia AS 4381-2015


EU standard of face mask requirements:

Bacterial Filtration Efficiency (%)
Differential Pressure (Pa/cm²)
Splash Resistance Pressure (kPa)
Microbial Cleanliness (cfu/g)
Type I (medical mask)
≥ 95
< 29.4
Not required
≤ 30
Type II (surgical mask)
≥ 98
< 29.4
Not required
≤ 30
Type IIR (surgical mask)
≥ 98
< 49.0
≥ 16
≤ 30

Source: Medline

Type IIR is the highest standard of all face masks in EU standard, given that it exceeds 98 bacterial filtration efficiency and is the only standard with fluid resistance among face masks.