FREE Standard shipping on orders >$89* (T&Cs apply). Order before 2pm Mon-Fri for same day dispatch

What’s the Difference between P2 Mask and N95 Mask

What’s the Difference between P2 Mask and N95 Mask

, by Aussie Pharma Direct, 8 min reading time

A mere handful of years ago, the idea of wearing masks in our day-to-day lives seemed confined to medical dramas or distant cultural practices. Fast forward to today, and masks have seamlessly woven themselves into the fabric of our routines, becoming an emblem of caution and a shield against unseen threats. What began as a precautionary measure during the pandemic has now evolved into a broader concept, encompassing protection from a variety of factors beyond the virus. 

Amidst this newfound awareness of respiratory safety, terms like "P2 masks" and "N95 masks" have become household conversation starters, yet their precise distinctions often leave us puzzled, prompting more questions sometimes muddled by the sea of information. 

In this blog, we will explore the key distinctions between P2 masks and N95 masks to help you make informed decisions when choosing the right mask for your needs.

Standards and certifications

While P2 and N95 masks serve a similar purpose, they originate from different regions and have slightly different certification processes and criteria. 

P2 masks: 

P2 masks are primarily used in Australia and New Zealand. The "P2" designation comes from the Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1716:2012, which establishes the requirements for respiratory protective devices.

N95 masks:

N95 masks are widely used in the United States and they are certified by NIOSH, a part of the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Comparing N95 and P2 masks for their filtration capabilities

In comparing the filtration capabilities of P2 masks and N95 masks, it's important to have a clear understanding of their differences and similarities. To aid in this comparison, we highlight the key distinctions in the table below (referenced from 3M).




(NIOSH-42 CFR 84)

P2 (AS/NZS 1716:2012)


performance –

(must be ≥ X %


≥ 95%

≥ 94%

Test agent



Flow rate



95 L/min

Total inward

leakage (TIL)* –

tested on

human subjects





≤ 8% leakage

(individual and




resistance –

max pressure


≤ 343


≤ 70 Pa (at 30

L/min) ≤ 240

Pa (at 95


Flow rate



Varied – see



resistance - max

pressure drop

≤ 245


≤ 120 Pa

Flow rate



85 L/min

Exhalation valve




rate ≤



Leak rate ≤ 30


Force applied

245 Pa

-250 Pa

CO2 clearance



≤ 1%


To help you understand each of the terms above:

  1. Filter performance - Refers to the assessment of a mask's ability to effectively reduce the concentrations of specific aerosols present in the air that passes through its filtering material. This evaluation provides insights into how well the mask captures and retains airborne particles.
  2. Test agent - Aerosol that is generated during the filter performance test to simulate real-world airborne particles. This is to evaluate how efficiently the mask's filtration system can capture and retain particles of a certain size, contributing to the determination of the mask's overall effectiveness.
  3. Total Inward Leakage (TIL) - Quantifies the combined volume of a specific aerosol that enters a tested respirator face piece through both filter penetration and face seal leakage. This evaluation occurs while a wearer undertakes a series of prescribed exercises within a controlled test chamber. 
  4. Inward Leakage (IL) - It is the measured quantity of a specific aerosol that infiltrates the tested respirator face piece when a wearer engages in normal breathing for a period of 3 minutes within a controlled test chamber. This evaluation focuses on evaluating how effectively the mask prevents the ingress of particles during typical breathing activities. 
  5. Pressure drop - Refers to the resistance encountered by air as it flows through a medium, such as the filtering material of a respirator. In the context of face masks, pressure drop measures the force required for air to pass through the mask's filter. A higher pressure drop indicates greater resistance and may impact the wearer's comfort and ease of breathing.

Design and shape

Variations in design and shape:

  • N95 masks often feature a cup-shaped design with an adjustable metal nose clip that helps secure the mask in place and ensure a snug fit. 
  • P2 masks may exhibit a similar cup-shaped design or incorporate a flat-fold structure. The flat-fold design allows for easy storage and portability, making it a practical choice for professionals who need to carry multiple masks.

Fit and comfort:

Both N95 and P2 masks prioritise fit through features like adjustable nose clips and straps. To ensure a well-fitting mask, knowing how to measure your face for a face mask is paramount. Different face shapes call for different mask sizes. A mask that fits snugly along the contours of your face reduces gaps and enhances protection.

For industries that require workers to wear masks, such as healthcare, construction, mining, manufacturing, and other environments where employees are exposed to airborne contaminants, a respiratory fit test may be needed to evaluate how well a mask fits your face and whether it seals securely. Fit testing is particularly essential for healthcare professionals who deal with contagious diseases.

Applications of the face masks: When to choose one over the other

P2 masks and N95 masks have evolved beyond their initial pandemic-driven role into essential tools across various sectors. Their applications extend from industries and healthcare settings to everyday life.

P2 masks:

  • Dust and pollen - For moderate levels of dust and pollen, suitable for gardening or outdoor activities.
  • Wildfire smoke - When smoke from wildfires engulfs the air, P2 masks are effective in filtering out harmful particles, enhancing breathability.
  • Healthcare and medical - In situations where the risk of exposure to highly contagious airborne pathogens is relatively low, P2 masks might provide adequate protection for healthcare professionals.

N95 masks:

  • Healthcare and medical - N95 masks are the preferred choice in healthcare settings, especially in highly contagious situations. 

Depending on your preference as well, N95 can also be used for a range of situations.

Selecting the right mask

The decision between N95 and P2 masks often boils down to individual preferences, workplace requirements, and the intended duration of use. So it’s all about knowing what you should look for in a face mask before you can shop them.

A cup-shaped N95 mask might offer a more secure fit for extended use, whereas a flat-fold P2 mask could be convenient for on-the-go scenarios, which can also be used for extended time. Selecting a face mask goes beyond mere functionality. It's a statement of concern for personal well-being and a demonstration of collective responsibility.

Why choose AMD face masks?

For those seeking top-quality protection, AMD masks are registered as P2 and N95. So, if you're on the lookout for the best P2 respirator or N95 mask in Australia, opt for AMD P2 mask, and you can find them online on Aussie Pharma Direct!


© 2024 Aussie Pharma Direct, Powered by Aussie Pharma Direct

    • American Express
    • Apple Pay
    • Google Pay
    • Mastercard
    • PayPal
    • Shop Pay
    • Union Pay
    • Visa


    Forgot your password?

    Don't have an account yet?
    Create account