15 best disposable face masks to buy: black, 3-ply, patterned and more

The pandemic as we know it could be entering a new phase: mask guidelines are easing again and the wearing of one of the best disposable masks or cloth face coverings in public is trending down, especially for vaccinated people. That being said, face masks remain an essential method of preventing the spread of viruses like COVID-19, and some may continue to wear them regardless of the state of the world.

The best disposable masks are N95s, followed closely by KN95 masks, which have come and gone in short supply for healthcare workers throughout the pandemic (the CDC still recommends that civilians forego N95 in order to reserve their stock). To that end, most disposable masks on the market are 3-ply, similar to traditionally blue surgical masks. Although levels of protection vary, Dharushana Muthulingam, MD, MS, an infectious disease physician and public health researcher at Washington University in St. Louis, told Vogue that “a [3-ply] a surgical or cloth mask alone can produce around 50% effectiveness. In high-risk situations like on public transport, if you don’t have an N95 mask, Muthulingam suggests double masking. “Double masking can produce 70% to 90% effectiveness in preventing transmission of COVID-19. This is closer to the effectiveness of N95 masks.

Here, shop the best disposable face masks on the market to keep on hand and stay prepared.

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