In April, the The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that all citizens wear non-medical masks to slow the spread of Covid-19. Earlier this year, we wrote about how to make your own mask. But months after the start of the pandemic, a number of new studies have shown that simple t-shirts or bandanas may not be the most effective masks in reducing the spread.
Here are some of the masks that I and other WIRED staff have used and recommended. I also highlighted sustainable options, those from various manufacturers and small, as well as companies that donate to good causes. Try a few and stay safe! And don’t forget to keep wash one’s hands regularly, staying home when possible and maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from other people in public (preferably outdoors).
How we rate masks
Make sure any mask you wear adheres to the recommended CDC guidelines. A good mask should completely cover your nose and mouth, use at least two layers of fabric, and be washable without damage. When evaluating masks, we actually wear them in our daily life. I also used the light test and the candle test. For optimum effectiveness, the weave of a mask should be tight enough not to let light show through and thick enough to prevent you from blowing out a candle while you are wearing it.
Update December 2020: We’ve removed and downgraded the old picks and added a few more masks that we love. We have also included more information on mask accessories.