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IIR vs FFP3: Understanding the Key Differences

IIR vs FFP3: Understanding the Key Differences

Posted by KB on 15th Mar 2023

Type IIR vs FFP3: Understanding the Key Differences.

Wearing masks has become an essential component of our everyday routine. Whether it be that you are in the healthcare industry or a member of the public, protecting yourself and others from harmful bacteria is a crucial move forward for the health and safety of everyone. 

Yet, choosing the right mask can be challenging and confusing considering the huge range of mask types and brands available on the market. 

In this blog post, we'll focus on Type IIR and FFP3 masks, two common types of masks. We'll discuss their characteristics, benefits, drawbacks, and applicability for various uses before helping you choose one based on your requirements.

Similarities & Differences

Both Type IIR and FFP3 masks are made to shield the user from airborne contaminants like dust, bacteria, and viruses. However, these masks offer different forms of protection:.  

Before choosing the the correct mask for you, you should consider a few variabilities between them. 


  • Both Type IIR and FFP3 masks are designed to protect against respiratory infections.
  • They both cover the nose and mouth, forming a seal around the face. 
  • They are both disposable and should be replaced after use.


  • Type IIR masks are surgical masks, while FFP3 masks are respirators. 
  • Type IIR masks protect the wearer and others from droplets, while FFP3 masks filter out fine particles in the air. 
  • Type IIR masks have a lower filtration efficiency than FFP3 masks. 
  • FFP3 masks provide better protection against airborne particles than IIR masks. 
  • FFP3 masks are more expensive than IIR masks.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Type IIR:

The most typical form of masks used within healthcare facilities is a Type IIR mask. Type IIR masks have the following advantages & disadvantages. 


  • Type IIR masks are comfortable to wear and do not cause discomfort. 
  • They are easy to breathe through. 
  • They protect the wearer and others from droplets. 
  • They are affordable and widely available.


  • Lower filtration efficiency than FFP3 masks. 
  • Not protected against airborne particles. 
  • Non-Reusable

Advantages and Disadvantages of FFP3:

FFP3 masks are used in situations where the risk of infection is high, for example, during aerosol-generating procedures. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of FFP3 masks:


  • FFP3 masks have a high filtration efficiency. 
  • They provide better protection against airborne particles than IIR masks. 
  • Some can be disposable some can be reusable 
  • They are effective in high-risk situations.


  • FFP3 masks are more expensive than IIR masks. 
  • They may cause discomfort. 
  • They may not be widely available in some areas.

Here at the face mask store


With a range of colours, these masks are definitely one that are a hit supplying such a high quality and trusted PPE within the healthcare industry. 


Not to forget those little ones too. Coming in both pink and blue, these masks are suitable for ages 2-12 with 3 layered filtration to keep them safe. 

3M AURA 9330+

This is one of our most popular face masks here at The Face Mask Store. With a 4.4 rating on our site, this is one that is bound to come out on top. 


We searched high and low for a FFP3 children's mask but were unsuccessful. 

So we thought, why not create our own?

Designed for ages 7-14 with a 5 layer filtration.

3M Aura 1863+

Not to be confused with the 1863. 

The 3M Aura 1863 + is a mask with both FFP3 and Type IIR protection. This is a mask that is commonly used within the healthcare / dental industry and provides extra protection. 


In conclusion, the choice between Type IIR and FFP3 masks depends on the situation. Type IIR masks are suitable for low-risk situations, while FFP3 masks are best for high-risk situations. FFP3 is designed to protect from infection whereas, Type IIR is intended to protect from surroundings. Both masks have their advantages and disadvantages. It's important to understand them before deciding which is best suitable for you. To stop the spread of bacteria, it's also crucial to wear and dispose of masks according to the right guidelines. Be careful!