Best Respirator Masks For Traveling To China

Traveling to China is more complex now than ever before, especially during the pandemic. As China emerges from the shadow of the novel coronavirus, health-conscious travelers need to consider possible ways to protect themselves from infection. To stay safe, one of the most important choices would be picking the right respirator mask. In this article, we’ll look at the pros and cons of some of the best respirator masks for traveling to and exploring China.

Under the Criminal Procedure Law of China, travelers can be legally punished for failing to wear protective masks. As such, wearing the right respirator mask – one that is approved by the Chinese government – can make a world of difference. One of the best respirator masks for traveling to China is the N95 or KN95 mask, as it is approved by the China National Accreditation Service (CNAS).

The N95 and KN95 masks have a filtering efficiency of
95%, meaning they filter out 95% of the droplets and particles in the air. This makes them popular in those areas where several new cases are reported daily. It is also efficient enough to prevent infection from novel coronavirus particles in China. On top of that, the N95 and KN95 respirator masks are quite breathable and can be worn for long periods without discomfort.

Apart from the N95 and KN95 masks, you can also opt for a disposable medical mask. These masks have three layers and are made from non-woven fabrics. The middle layer is equipped with an antibacterial filter that is effective at trapping particles. Disposable medical masks are lighter and more comfortable than the N95 or KN95 masks. They are suitable for short-term activities such as shopping, sight-seeing, or visiting a doctor.

Finally, some travelers prefer to bring along a reusable cloth mask. Cloth masks have proven to be quite capable of preventing infection, and are a better choice in areas where the air quality is good. Moreover, they can be reused and washed in hot water, making them an economical and eco-friendly choice. Cloth masks are typically lightweight, making them suitable for warm-weather destinations such as China.

Level of Protection

The level of protection provided by a respirator mask depends greatly on the type of mask chosen. However, in general, it’s safe to assume that the higher the filtration efficiency, the better the protection. For instance, the N95 and KN95 respirator masks offer 95% filtration efficiency. Disposable medical masks, on the other hand, offer 95-90% filtration efficiency as they are made with non-woven materials. However, when compared to cloth masks, they are more expensive and difficult to wear.

On the other hand, cloth face masks are the least expensive option. However, they offer the least amount of protection, as they have no particulate filters inside. Furthermore, they are not as effective at filtering out smaller particles as the other respirator masks.

In conclusion, there is no definitive answer as to the best respirator mask for traveling to China. Each type of mask has its pros and cons. However, overall, the N95 or KN95 offer the best protection. As such, these are the most ideal masks to consider when traveling around China.


Regardless of the type of mask chosen, travelers must be aware that respirator masks must be handled with care. Disposable masks, for instance, should not be worn longer than eight hours at a time. On the other hand, the N95 and KN95 masks should be replaced after five to seven days of use. It is important to check if the respirator masks are in good condition before using them as they may have deteriorated over time.

Regular maintenance is important for cloth masks, as well. Cloth masks should be laundered after every use and must be air-dried. It is also important to ensure that the cloth material is not faded or stained, and that the elastic straps are in good condition.

Having a spare mask is also important when traveling in China. It is recommended to bring at least three masks to ensure that you will always have a fresh mask to wear.


The cost of respirator masks vary greatly depending on the type, as well as the country of origin. As expected, the N95 and KN95 respirator masks offer the highest level of protection, and come with a higher price tag. Typically, they cost around $10 USD each.

Disposable medical masks are cheaper, averaging around $2 USD each. However, since they are intended for single-use, they will need to be bought in bulk if the duration of the trip is longer than a few days. On the other hand, cloth masks are the most affordable option, costing less than $1 USD each.

Social Impacts

It is important to consider the social implications of wearing respirator masks in China. Many Chinese citizens have developed a newfound appreciation for the protective power of the humble face mask. As such, it is important to be mindful and show respect to locals when wearing a respirator mask.

For instance, avoid wearing a respirator mask in enclosed spaces such as restaurants. This is because the use of face masks reduces the feeling of trust and connection between people. As such, it is more respectful to don the mask after one has seated in the restaurant and is ready to eat.

Moreover, it is also important to think twice before wearing a respirator mask in public places. The use of face masks can make one’s presence appear overwhelming, which may lead to uncomfortable situations. It is therefore important to be sensitive to the feelings of the locals, and be mindful of the reactions of other people.

Things to Consider Before Departure

When traveling to China, it is important to research the local laws and regulations before departure. This includes finding out the local regulations regarding the use of respirator masks. As mentioned above, there are certain areas in China where the wearing of face masks is compulsory due to the prevalence of the novel coronavirus. As such, it would be wise to take the time to research the local laws and be sure to pack the masks that are needed for the trip.

It is also important to take note of the best way to dispose of the respirator masks. Depending on the country one is visiting, there may be different regulations surrounding the disposal of masks. It would be prudent to check if there are designated places to discard disposable masks.

Finally, it is important to remember that respirator masks may have a limited shelf life. The N95 and KN95 masks, for instance, must be replaced every five to seven days. Knowing this, it would be wise to bring extra masks in case of emergencies, and to make sure to replace them when they are no longer effective.

Bernice Sorrells

Bernice A. Sorrells is a freelance journalist and travel writer from the United States. She has written extensively about China, covering topics such as culture, history, politics, and economics. Bernice has traveled extensively throughout China, visiting many of its provinces and cities.

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