If you live in New York, you probably experienced some déjà vu as you pulled out your N95 and KN95 masks for the first time in a while. Except this time, it wasn't because of a surge in COVID-19 cases but due to wildfires burning in Canada. As a result, smoke and haze have seriously brought down the air quality across the Northeast, the Midwest and as far south as the Carolinas, according to the New York Times.
Because of the smoke, New York currently ranks among cities with the worst air quality in the world per air monitoring company IQAir, so countless advisories have recommended limiting outside activity until air quality improves. But for many people, that isn't an option. In that case, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says respirators—specifically an N95 mask—can help you brave the outdoors, but KN95 masks can also be helpful, per health officials.
Don't have any on hand? It's not a bad idea to be proactive and stock up on them now because, if recent events have taught us anything, it's to always be prepared. Whatever the case, we've got you covered with 19 of the best masks on the market that are just as practical as they are protective against wildfire smoke and COVID-19.