Stock up on KN95s: These FDA-cleared masks are on sale for $1 a pop at Amazon

We may receive commission for purchases made through links on this page. Prices and availability are subject to change.

These high-quality masks are now only $2.50 each. (Photo: Amazon)

Masks are as important as ever to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. But it is difficult to know which masks are the most effective.

We’re not talking about the cute cloth masks decorated with the name of your favorite band. we talk about KN95 masks-the masks that the CDC specifically recommends you wear in high-risk situations (e.g., on public transportation) to protect against potential transmission. Powecom is one of the few KN95 mask brands recommended by the FDA, and they retail for $11 (was $19) for 10 at Amazon.

And if you have Amazon Prime, of course you get free shipping. not a member yet? No problem. You can sign up for your 30 day free trial here. (And by the way, those without Prime still get free shipping on orders of $25 or more.)

Buy it: Powecom KN95 Masks (10 Pack), $11 (was $19), amazon.com

“N95s?” you ask. Close, but not exactly. N-95 masks are the next level up than KN95s, but they should still be reserved for health professionals. Therefore, buying KN95 masks is the smart move.

Does the brand matter? Yes, according to the FDA it is. Read more about this below.

Understanding the N95 / KN95 Connection

A face mask that's both comfortable and FDA-approved.  (Photo: Amazon)

A face mask that is both comfortable and FDA-approved. (Photo: Amazon)

KN95 masks are very similar to N-95 masks, Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist and professor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, told Yahoo Life. In fact, during the early days of the pandemic, when medical-grade masks were particularly scarce, the FDA granted what is known as “emergency use authorization” for KN95 masks– meaning they can be used in hospitals.

But not all brands of KN95 masks are created equal. Recently, after researching its effectiveness, the FDA emergency use authorization removed for various manufacturers of KN95 masks. Powecom masks passed the tests. They are FDA approved and officially listed on the FDA Emergency Use Authorization List. Like the others on the list, the Powecom KN95 mask has been confirmed to filter out 95 percent of particulate matter or more.

Buy it: Powecom KN95 Masks (10 Pack), $11 (was $19), amazon.com

Not sure where to look? “If your source for a KN95 mask is reliable, you should be fine,” explains Dr. Schaffner out. The good ones are “similar to the N95 masks we use,” he says.

“The Fundamental Difference [between N95 and KN95 masks] is regulatory,” says Dr. Kavita Patel, director of clinical transformation at The Brookings Institution’s Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform. “kN95 masks are approved by Chinese regulators, and in theory are similar to N95 masks, which are FDA-approved, but are also likely to be manufactured in China.

Do you always have to wear a Powecom KN95 mask?

Powecom KN95 masks are now available, so scoop them up.  (Photo: Amazon)

Powecom KN95 masks are now available, so scoop them up. (Photo: Amazon)

Our experts tell Yahoo Life that: three-layer disposable masks or cloth masks should do the job if you keep at least six feet away from others. But Powecom KN95 masks offer more protection and are more protective in riskier situations, such as when you are flying or taking a bus or train.

These masks have a three-dimensional design that makes it easier to breathe if you have to wear your mask for extended periods of time. The masks are made of soft cotton and have elastic ear loops and a metal piece for a good fit over the nose.

Please note that wearing a mask does not mean that you have to stop using known methods to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing and frequent, thorough hand washing are critical. dr. Schaffner explains, “We do these things in combination, not separately.”

KN95 masks those approved with FDA emergency use authorization are hard to find these days. So stick to the best practices – and secure a few Powecom KN95 masks for higher risk institutions. You take good care of yourself and others.

Buy it: Powecom KN95 Masks (10 Pack), $11 (was $19), amazon.com

Amazon shoppers love it too

Score a set for just $13. (Photo: Amazon)

Score a set for just $13. (Photo: Amazon)

A diligent shopper personally checked the efficacy of the masks and wrote:

“These masks passed all three tests for effectiveness. I did the water test and it didn’t leak. I did the candle blowout test and I couldn’t blow out the flame. Finally, I did the light test. I kept the mask against the light, and the mask was uniform thickness, not blotchy. According to the CDC, if a mask passes these tests it is effective. I also feel there is a good seal around the edges of the mask It is more comfortable than an N95. I can wear this mask all day at work.”

Another shared: “I was in a car with someone I didn’t know was COVID positive at the time, for 3 hours (family emergency),” she writes. “I was wearing this mask and he was wearing a typical thinner blue mask. He had been exposed a few days before and tested positive a few days later. All my tests were negative.”

Even teachers swear by it:

“Once we became a COVID hot zone, I got this for my job as a teacher,” one shared. “These are literally the only masks that don’t fall down when I speak or muffle my voice.”

Buy it: Powecom KN95 Masks (10 Pack), $11 (was $19), amazon.com

Want to see your options? Here are other excellent KN95 masks available from Amazon:

SupplyAID KN95 Masks, 5 Pack (Photo: Amazon)

SupplyAID KN95 Masks, 5 Pack (Photo: Amazon)

These three-dimensional versions are thick and durable, and you can get five for just $15.

“I feel so much safer with this than a standard cloth face mask”, says one shopper. “My intended goal was to wear these exclusively when I am running errands and other errands that I know will be around other people, but I find myself wearing it everywhere I go. Happy with this purchase.”

N95 Mask Co.  KN95 Face Mask, 50 Pack (Photo: N95 Mask Co.)

N95 Mask Co. KN95 Face Mask, 50 Pack (Photo: N95 Mask Co.)

Want to buy in bulk and eliminate the stress of restocking? This pack of 50 is for you. Each mask has a spacious breathing area, a metal nose bridge for a snug fit and can be folded for easy storage.

“Respirators tested in heavy smoke from CA fires – they don’t let in any smoke odor, which is a great test because smoke is the smallest particle and only N95s work for it. At the same time, they allow easy breathing,” says one satisfied shopper.

Buy it: N95 Mask Co. KN95 Face Mask, 50 Pack, $130 (was $150), n95maskco.com

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:

follow us on Instagram, facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for non-stop inspiration, fresh in your feed every day.

Want to get daily pop culture news delivered to your inbox? Register here for the Yahoo Entertainment & Life newsletter.