People have to learn how to purchase a "safety" mask in a short time. But the lack of people knows how to finish the mission. The good news is we got a standard from the European Union. FFP1, FFP2, FFP3. I bet you already knew it. So the next step is easy, we come to FFP3. If we can't find it, then get FFP2. A more significant number means better performance, right? Yes, it is. But maybe it is not what you want. Don't rush to refute me. Let's check the data of them. FFP is the classes of filter efficiency of the protective mask (also called respirator). It is certified by the European Union according to EN149 standards. A brief table is shown below.
Before explaining the number. I want to show you two photos.
Here has a face mask and a respirator for you, which one you will choose? I believe lots of you will agree a respirator looks more reliable. Because it looks thicker, more secure, high-tech. But what if I told you the filter performance of the face mask is 99%, and the respirator is 80%? You doubt somethings going wrong? Then you get the point. Filter performance is related to airflow rate. In the European Union Standard, a face mask test in airflow 30L/min and a respirator test in airflow 90L/min. Triple airflow rate means triple particle will pass the filter in the same period. So, in theory, even the lowest class of respirator (FFP1) will get better filter performance than the highest class of face mask (Type III). Now you understand there do have some tricks hide in numbers. So back to the table, let's check the 4th row, total Inward Leakage. What does it mean? Sure, it is about leakage. But how it affects the user? One simple word, TIGHTNESS. Higher leakage means more tight, that will make you feel uncomfortable. If you think, ok, for safety, I will bear that. Then the next problem is coming, breath resistance. FFP3 respirator increase 66% inhalation resistance than the FFP1 respirator. For the people who got a breath problem, it will be a big issue.
So maybe next time, you choose a mask you need, more than a mask you want.