Surgical Masks vs. FFP Masks

Surgical Masks vs. FFP Masks

This page offers a quick and comprehensible overview of the different mask types, the most important differences and the applicable standards.

The differences between FFP mask types

The protective FFP mask (filtering facepiece) must comply with the requirements of DIN EN 149 and can be divided into three classes, depending on their filter performance. The higher the safety classification, the better the filter performance and the greater the protection. Moreover there is a difference between FFP masks for self-protection (with integrated exhale valve) and FFP masks for self- and environmental protection (without valve).

Max. Total Leakage




Exceeding the Workplace Exposure Limit

Max. 4x

Max. 10x

Max. 30x

Required Protection

Min. 80% from particles up to 0.6µm

Min. 94% from particles up to 0.6µm

Min. 99% from particles up to 0.6µm

Frequently asked questions about FFP masks

What is the purpose of an FFP mask?

The FFP mask protects the wearer from inhaling smallest airborne particles, droplets and aerosols.

Who is the FFP mask suitable for?

The mask is suitable for everyone who is exposed to an increased risk of infection through direct contact with demonstrably or potentially infected people. FFP masks should also be worn in treatment situations where aerosol formation is to be expected, e.g. during aspirations.

It should be noted that FFP masks with exhale valve protect the wearer but not the patient. The inhaled air is filtered through various layers, while the exhaled air escapes through the valve and remains unfiltered.

Does the mask seal?

If used correctly, the mask seals well or minimises leakage. The total leakage of the mask must not exceed 11% in FFP2 masks and 5% in FF3 masks.

How long can the mask be worn?

In general, the FFP mask can be worn for up to 8 hours, i.e. the entire shift.

Are there any differences between FFP masks?

Yes, filtering facepieces are divided into three protection levels (FFP1 to FFP3). Additionally, there are masks with and without valve. For comfort, one can also choose between foldable and hard-shell masks.

Which standards must be met?

To sell FFP masks in Europe, the masks must comply with DIN EN 149. They are tested by an independent inspection authority. The CE mark and the identification number of the inspection authority (notified body) confirm that the standard is met.

What are the advantages of FFP masks?

If used correctly, FFP masks offer a high level of protection for the wearer (and the patient, if used without a valve).

FFP masks and related products

FFP masks are half masks that meet the requirements of the DIN EN 149. They are marked with the CE mark and the identification number of the notified body. The filter performance is tested by the inspection authority and documented with the corresponding test report.

The European FFP2 mask complies with the American standard N95 or N95NIOSH, which may also be used in Europe due to the corona pandemic and the high requirements for their certification.

KN95 are masks that have been produced according to the Chinese standard.

Order FFP masks

FFP2 Mask

from € 0,42 net
from € 0,50 gross
Regular Price 0,89 €

FFP3 Mask

from € 1,25 net
from € 1,49 gross

FFP3 Mask with Valve

from € 1,94 net
from € 2,31 gross

FFP2 Respirator Mask

from € 0,48 net
from € 0,57 gross

Honeywell Respirator Mask FFP2 NR D

€ 0,96 net
€ 1,14 gross
Regular Price 0,99 €

Coloured FFP2 Mask

from € 0,60 net
from € 0,71 gross

uvex silv-Air FFP3 Mask

from € 4,49 net
from € 5,34 gross

Features of the different types of surgical masks

The surgical mask, also known as medical face mask and face protection, is a medical product and subject to the medical products law. It has to comply with the standard DIN EN 14683:2019-6 and is available in different versions (types). The differences are presented in the table below.

EN 14683 Type IEN 14683 Type IIEN 14683 Type IIR
Bacteria Filter Performance




Higher Resistance against Liquids and Aerosols




Breathing Resistance




Pressure of the Spray Water Resistance




Frequently asked questions about surgical masks

What is the purpose of a surgical mask?

Surgical mask are primarily used to protect the wearer’s environment by retaining exhaled droplets. If the mask fits correctly and reasonably tightly, it also serves to a small extend to protect the wearer from droplets in the ambient air. Type II R masks also retain splashes of body fluids and contaminated liquids to a certain extend.

Who is the surgical mask suitable for?

The surgical mask can be worn wherever the surroundings must be protected by exhaled emissions. It is also suitable for areas where the risk of infection through droplets is rather low.

Does the mask seal completely?

No, it does not seal completely and does not provide reliable self-protection.

How long can the mask be worn?

Surgical masks are disposable products. When it is worn, the mask becomes wet and no longer provides protection. Surgical masks should therefore be thrown away as soon as they become soaked or after 2 hours at the latest.

Are there differences between surgical masks?

Yes, there are significant differences between Type I, Type II and Type II R surgical masks. The distinguishing features are the filter performance against bacteria (BFE), the pressure of the spray water resistance, the resistance against liquid splashes and the breathing resistance.

Which standards must be met?

The requirements for surgical masks used within the EU can be found in the standard EN 14683, which is certified through the manufacturer and confirmed by the CE mark. Type II and Type IIR masks are also marked accordingly.

Which advantages does the surgical mask offer?

Surgical masks offer a high filter performance and thus protects the wearer’s surroundings. Since the breathing resistance of surgical masks is lower, they are more comfortable to wear than FFP masks and can be worn even during strenuous activities.

Order surgical masks


Surgical Mask, 3-ply

from € 4,99 net
from € 5,94 gross

Type IIR Surgical Mask

from € 4,49 net
from € 5,34 gross
Hôpitaux Robert Schuman

Surgical Masks "Made in Luxembourg"...

from € 17,29 net
from € 20,58 gross

Teqler Surgical Mask, black

from € 2,90 net
from € 3,45 gross
Paul Hartmann

Foliodress Mask Protect senso

€ 6,29 net
€ 7,49 gross

Euronda Monoart® Surgical Mask

from € 8,79 net
from € 10,46 gross

3M Standard Surgical Mask

from € 13,79 net
from € 16,41 gross
Paul Hartmann

Foliodress Mask Protect Perfect

€ 6,49 net
€ 7,72 gross

Please note

This information is intended professional users and does not concern community masks and other makeshift masks without approval or proof of effectiveness.

*All prices subject to VAT
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