Looking for a great mask for your kids? Before purchasing the top 12 masks for hands-on testing, we researched various types and styles. In an age where masks are preferred or even mandatory for everyday living, you'll need a well-fitting mask that is comfortable enough for your child to tolerate wearing for extended periods. We purchased each kid's mask in this review and had real children wear them for extended periods offering their opinions on the fit, comfort, quality, and overall wearability. We assessed the designs for comfort, fit, breathability, and filtering properties. Our exhaustive review provides the information you need to purchase the best mask for your goals and child.
Editor's Note: We updated this kids' mask review with 5 new KN95 products and 2 N95 masks to align better with the CDC recommendations for effective masking. Advantages include better filtration, lower cost, and less stress about losing masks or getting them dirty. Our update occurred on August 31, 2022.
The Kimberly-Clark N95 Pouch is a unique duck bill-shaped pouch with fabric elastic head straps, nose clip, and soft fabric. This N95 mask offers impressive filtration recommended by the CDC, a design that allows for open breathing with no "suck in" of the mask, and has ultra-soft fabric that feels good on the skin all day long. We like the fabric style straps that don't snag in hair and the comfortable design that doesn't need chronic adjustment.
The shape of this pouch is weird, and some kids might be self-conscious about how it looks. It also has a funny dryer sheet scent when fresh from the package (we recommend airing this out), which can be offensive and caused a headache in at least one tester if not aired out. This mask is one of our all-time favorites after 2 years of testing and is a made-in-the-USA N95 option by a company we've heard of, making it a shoo-in for an award.
The HALIDODO KN95 Face Masks is a pack of masks that come in a sturdy sealed box. The masks come 4 in a package and are stamped with the GB2626-2019 label, indicating it meets the standards of a KN95 filter. we love the fit features of the moldable nose clips, adjustable ear straps, and contoured cone shapes.
This mask is smaller than the competition, with less chin coverage than some competitors. It can also suck in with heavy breathing if you wear it while being active. Despite these minor flaws, which honestly we've seen in almost every mask, we love this straightforward, adjustable, and easy-to-use mask with rest-assured GB stamps right on the mask.
The Dropskip Kids Face Masks is hands down the most comfortable mask in this review, especially if you want a maskless feel. This silky smooth mask is two layers and has a bendable nose piece, a small chin shelf, and a filter pocket. It has adjustable elastic ear straps with a silicone end to prevent the adjustable slide from falling off and getting lost. They feel thin, are 100% cotton, and come with a zipper laundry bag for quick machine wash cleaning and dying. This pack includes five colorful masks good for every day of the week, making them great for kids headed to school. While thin, these appear to be of nice quality with even stitching and no loose threads or stretched elastic. These masks look small but fit everyone during testing, from 5 years old to a smaller adult face. Our testers preferred these masks for outdoor activities where sweating and hot days prevailed (tennis, anyone?).
While this option comes with a filter pocket, it doesn't come with filters. However, you can easily buy filters online for more layers. Also, the fabric is thin and has no structure, so without a filter, the material can suck into your face if you inhale sharply. Despite these minor hiccups, we love these masks. The silky feeling, adjustable features, and filter pocket help ensure that kids will wear them without complaint, even while running and playing.
The WWDOLL Kid KN95 Face Mask pack offers multiple colors and a good fit. Our favorite part is the foam padded nase clip that seals off any potential for air gaps. It has adjustable ear straps, which is nice, even if they are on the shorter side.
These masks do not have the GB2626-2019 stamped on the masks, though they are listed on the box. This gives us pause, and we aren't sure what to make of it, but no stamp is a red flag for potential fake masks, according to some sources. However, they are 5 layers and appear to be what the manufacturer claims at least in the description. We think these are a good option for those with glasses or anyone concerned with air gaps.
The MISSAA KN95 Face Masks are uber soft and skin-friendly, though the outside is softer than the inside. Our kid testers LOVED the tie-dye patterns and never once argued about wearing them. The nose clip and chin shelf created a nice seal, and we didn't experience any air gaps.
This mask is somewhat smaller than the competition and might not fit older kids above 10, so if you aren't sure, only buy one box since they aren't returnable. These masks do not have the GB2626-2019 stamp on the mask, only on the box. This could be a potential red flag that they have not been certified as meeting the standards of an FN95 mask. However, we cannot say for sure and have no way to determine this. Overall, if you want a comfortable mask to avoid complaints from little ones, this might be the one for you.
The Venyss Masks offers an impressive number of layers. The masks (without filters) are three layers, and the included filters are five layers each. This combination makes the overall total an impressive eight layers! The best part is they remain highly breathable and retain their shape without pulling into your face when you inhale. These masks include a bendable nose piece, chin shelf, and adjustable ear straps. The filter pocket is a good size and easy to use. The masks are well-constructed, washable, and have a slight new clothes smell that is not offensive.
Given the sheer number of layers, these masks are somewhat warm and potentially not the best for summertime or exercise. Using them without the disposable filter could make them cooler and still provide three layers of fabric. These masks are on the larger side and would probably be best for children over 8. Also, we couldn't find any information on how to wash them, so you should probably hand wash and line dry to be safe. Because we had trouble finding great kids' masks with lots of layers, we were super excited by this product and think parents looking for the most layers possible will love these quality masks.
The 3M Aura is an N95 mask from a company you know. It has a 3 part design that holds the mask away from your lips and includes two head straps like all N95 masks. This mask has N95 filtration, is NIOSH approved, and each mask is individually wrapped. You almost can't ask for more.
These masks smell awful. No joking, we almost didn't get them off in time to avoid vomiting. Some testers got headaches when wearing them straight out of the package. The head strap design includes very large, industrial staples that secure the straps to the mask. The staples easily scratch faces when putting the masks on. The head straps also smell strongly of rubber bands, and the strap materials snag hair in a way that could easily lead little ones to refuse to put them on. All of these issues aside, it has proven difficult to find a good quality N95 mask from a company name we know, making the 3M Aura a hard mask to ignore. In our experience, if you allow the masks to air out for at least 24 hours and use great care when putting them on (to avoid hair snags and face scratches), they offer a comfortable and functional mask you can feel secure wearing.
The Crayola Kids Face Mask is a fun pack of 5 masks that includes a washable mask for every school day. The pack is designed to help little ones avoid using the same mask every day without washing for better mask hygiene. The pack comes with a zippered wash bag that should help prolong the life of your masks, so the ear loops and moldable nose pieces don't get damaged during washing. We like the nose piece, chin self, and adjustable ear loops that all help to provide a more custom, leak-free fit for little ones.
These masks are smaller and barely fit our 8-year-old testers, so they are probably best for younger children. Also, they smelled so bad when we opened them that our testers wouldn't even wear them for photos until we washed them, so we recommend a pre-wash (multiple times) before wearing one for a prolonged time. Overall, we think this is a potential multi-pack for younger children attending in-person school who need a new mask each day.
The plain Easy @ Home Reusable Cloth Mask might be dull looking, but it is better quality than some of the cloth competition and well-constructed. It has a moldable nose piece, a chin shelf, and adjustable ear straps, which come together to create a snug-fitting mask with no gaps. This mask is larger than some competitors, making it an excellent option for older kids or kids who don't want something cutesy. It is comfortable and has a filter pocket that is easy to access.
These masks are larger than much of the competition we tested but are still small enough for most kids and teens. They are not an adult size but could be too big for those under seven as the mask could ride up and into their eyes. It is also somewhat boring compared to the competition, but this could be a good thing if your child is too "cool" for kid-centric products. Overall, this mask has a lot going for it, but our testers weren't thrilled with the boring design. Alternatively, parents love the form-fitting features and the filter pocket for added layers.
The WAVE Disposable Face Masks are basic disposable masks you typically find in hospitals or doctor's offices. These masks offer three layers of protection, a pleated design for customization, a bendable nose clip, and latex-free elastic ear straps. The box of masks includes 50, making them an economical mask solution you can easily toss when the day is done.
These masks don't compare to the competition with fewer layers, no filter, and more significant air gaps. The ear straps are also somewhat long and will likely require knotting for a good fit for younger children. While we don't think these are the best long-term solutions for kids to wear daily or regularly, we believe they are good to have on hand to give to guests or friends who may show up for events sans masks. We feel these inexpensive masks are a less confrontational way of enforcing a mandatory mask policy around your family and home without spending much money or fighting with friends and family.
The Spellow Kids KN95 Face Masks pack was impressive to testers at first, with a nice comfort level and many fit features that create a snug, gap-free fit. However, given further research, we worry about some red flags indicated by reputable sources that this mask could be a fake. First, it has no date for when it was made or expires. Second, nowhere on the box or on the masks themselves does it mention the GB2626-2019 label indicating it meets the current standards for the KN95 masks. According to our sources, the GB label should be stamped on the masks themselves. While we saw many that only indicated the GB standard on the box, this brand didn't mention it anywhere. These masks might be totally fine and not fake (we can't say for sure), but given the information we have and the flags raised, we don't recommend them to our readers.
The LEVENIS Kids KN95 Face Masks is similar to the Spellow pack in that it has some red flags and raises concerns that it could be fake or at least has not passed the tests to claim it is KN95. It does not have a GB2626-2019 stamp on the masks (a requirement) or on the box (which seems like a minimum), and it doesn't really have dates on it about when it was made or might expire. We can't say if these are fake, we don't know. But if we take the advice from other sources, it certainly raises enough flags that we think you are better served with those masks that don't have flags.
Why You Should Trust Us
We researched and tested masks over several months with multiple kids of various ages. We conducted online research concerning the most protective mask types and those that have been shown as "counterfeit" by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Our tests include multiple tests for quality, comfort, fit, breathability, filter properties, and more. We consider tester observations and feedback from kids testers to determine our award winners and the ranking of our lineup. With more than 12 individual in-house tests and extensive real-world wearing, we have all the details to determine which makes are better than the competition. We tested, scored, and ranked metrics like fit, filter, comfort, and more, including smell, design, and other components.
BabyGearLab has been testing products for babies and kids since 2012. This team is led by Senior Review Editor, Wendy Schmitz, a mother of two who has been with the team since 2014. Wendy's boys contributed to testing by graciously wearing each mask for long periods during play, exercise, car rides, camp, and more. They compared each product for comfort, fit, breathability, and movement when talking or being active. Their feedback helped influence ranking and Wendy's expert analysis of mask construction, quality, durability, and potential longevity.
Analysis and Test Results
We purchased each mask and tested them side-by-side and face-on to compare the competition. We considered various metrics designed to help parents find a mask their children will willingly wear without fighting that also provides the protection parents hope for. Our testers included little ones from 3-12 years old.
Fit and Comfort
The overall fit of a mask can impact how effective it can be at doing its job and whether or not your child tolerates or voluntarily wears the mask. Three main features influence a mask's fit and comfort the ear straps, a moldable nose piece, and what we call a chin shelf. After much testing, we think some of the best masks offer all three. Most of the KN95 masks all have a similar shape with similar features, but how well they fit the faces of testers varied. For the most part, these masks fit better than most of the fabric masks we've tested over the years, especially if they lack the 3 components we think are most important a nose clip, adjustable ear straps, and chin shelf. The N95 masks include two straps that go around the head, not the ears, which is different than the competition. However, both of the N95 masks we tested have nose clips and chin coverage.
The most comfortable mask in the group is the DropSkip Mask. These masks are silky smooth and so skin-friendly. They include a bendable nose piece and adjustable ear straps. You almost can't feel them on your face. However, they will suck into your face if you are breathing hard or sharply, and they require the addition of a filter you need to buy. Despite this problem, kids still chose these masks for outdoor activities like tennis camp and hiking, where less filtration felt more appropriate. Other good-fitting masks include the HALIDODO KN95 Face Masks and the Spellow Kids KN95 Face Masks. The Kimberly-Clark N95 Pouches might have a funny look, but we wore them all day with no complaints or problems. The fabric is soft, the straps are hair-friendly, and the pouch design prevents it from rubbing on your face when you breath and talk.
A moldable nose piece is a metal component incorporated into the mask, usually some kind of bendable wire, that allows the wearer to form the mask around their nose to prevent gaps that could let in air. It also creates a somewhat customizable fit and helps prevent glasses fog. We believe moldable nose pieces are essential for preventing masks from moving up on the face and into the eyes, a problem we experienced with some of the larger masks and some without the wire nose piece. Fabric rubbing on your child's eyes is likely to result in mask fiddling and removal.
The WWDOLL KN95 Kids Masks have foam padding inside the mask (see photo above) under the nose clip that helps stop air gaps, increases overall comfort, and prevents glasses fog in our tests. This feature is well worth considering if your child wears glasses or you have concerns about comfort or air leaking. The 3M Aura also has a padded nose clip area, but the wire part is so strong, and wide it was hard to get a comfortable fit that didn't apply too much pressure without some practice and patient finessing.
A chin shelf, a term we believe we coined, is an extra bit of fabric sewn to the bottom of the mask that brings the mask closer to the face and fits under the chin in a more form-fitting way (see photo above) to help limit potential air gaps. While not 100% necessary, we found that the masks that included a chin shelf were largely considered more comfortable by our little testers. They also help prevent gaps for air to get in and stop some of the upward movement that can happen as kids talk, move, and play. In addition, we saw less continuous mask adjustment with the masks that included a chin shelf. Most of the KN95 masks lack a true chin shelf, but their cone shape design tucks under the chin in a similar manner. The downside to this design is if the mask is too small, it will ride up when children talk without any wiggle room for little ones between sizes. The 3M Aura has what the manufacturer calls a "chin tab," and the Kimberly-Clark N95 Pouch tucks under the chin nicely with little movement when talking.
Adjustable ear straps help create a more custom fit that allows the mask to fit more faces than a stationary ear strap. In our tests, users liked the adjustable straps because they were thinner, less noticeable, more comfortable, and let them adjust the mask as tight or loose as desired. This feature also prevented the need for a mask with fabric covering from ear to ear and instead only covers the area right around the mouth, which can be cooler and less claustrophobic to some kids. We also like that the adjustability helps provide some distance between the mask and your mouth. As previously stated, N95 masks are required to have straps that go around the head. While we suspect some kids will fight this feature, the straps on the Kimberly-Clark Pouches are soft, easy to put on, and need no adjustment. We loved them. The 3M Aura, on the other hand, had a rubber chemical smell and snagged on hair. They were also secured to the masks with heavy staples, which seems like a design flaw and caused cheek scratches on some testers. If you allow them to air out for more than a day, the smell dissipates, but you'll need to plan ahead.
The DropSkip Masks also includes a silicone end to prevent the plastic adjustment slider from falling off; something we imagine will come in handy for little ones who like to play with their masks and might otherwise pull off the slider or lose it. While this feature is not unique to the DropSkin in our tests, they were the only ones with a silicone end that can't be pulled off. The KN95 maks with adjustable straps include the WWDOLL KN95, and the Halidodo KN95 Kids Masks. Masks with thicker, adjustable cotton straps were not well received by testers.
We recommend looking for masks that include all three of these components and have comfortable materials that feel good on the skin. While you can still find a great mask without these components, it is more challenging without a lot of trial and error, as our testing indicates.
The exception to this rule is the "gaiter" style of mask, which is essentially a tube of fabric that rests around your neck and pulls up over the lower portion of the face going around the back of the head. Traditionally, gaiter-style masks were for winter outdoor activities or riding motorcycles but have seen a rise in popularity as the need for masks has increased. This style is comfortable for most kids and comes in cooling fabrics that are breathable and comfortable. You can also arrange it into various head dressings, which is appealing to some kids. The CDC currently doesn't recommend gaiters as many lack filtration properties and have more air gaps than a well-fitted traditional mask. Kids also mess with them a lot and might feel the pressure on their nose bridge uncomfortable. Some children feel claustrophobic with something around their entire head, and depending on the fabric, they can be hot. While we no longer include a gaiter style mask in our review, if your child absolutely refuses to wear a mask, it might be worth looking for a gaiter with filtering properties to try, as something is better than nothing.
Beyond the features related to fit and comfort, we think there are other features to consider before making a purchase. Without discussing the efficacy of masks or their level of protection, we think it is a good idea to look for N95 or KN95 masks or cloth masks that include the ability to add a filter.
If you can't find a great, well-fitting N95 or KN95 mask, many cloth masks have the ability to add an activated charcoal filter that is PM2.5. These filters potentially provide more protection against airborne particles than going sans filters in a cloth mask. Whether or not they can protect you from specific viruses is still being assessed by researchers.
We prefer N95 or KN95 masks or masks with additional layers of filtration/fabric. The masks in this review that are not N95 or KN95, include a filter pocket, and many came with multiple disposable filters as part of the purchase. The more layers, the better when it comes to masks. While several of the KN95 masks we purchased failed to sport the GB2626-2019 stamp, they all at least have 5 layers, which is considered better than a cloth mask with fewer layers.
Currently, most health organizations recommend an N95, KN95, or KF95 mask type. If you can't find a well-fitted 95 style mask, studies indicate that multiple layers are better, and filters are safer (even if only because they provide more layers). Most external filters are listed as "PM 2.5," which means they can trap Particulate Matter (PM) that is smaller than 2.5 micrometers. While these filters may or may not capture specific viruses, the filters are 3-5 layers, which recent studies show increases your protection from the moisture droplets that carry viruses. The mask with the most layers in this review, including a five-layer filter, is the Venyss Mask. This mask is three layers without the filter and is eight layers using the included filter!
Wearing a mask is now a part of regular life for many kids. Whether picking up groceries or returning to school and other activities, kids often wear masks away from home or on travel. Our tests show that kids prefer comfortable masks for long periods without hindering breathing, talking, or playing. Finding the perfect mask for your child can make the difference between cooperative compliance and repeatedly saying, "Put your mask on." Because kids are generally more active than adults, finding an excellent mask for physical activities is essential. We believe our hands-on, side-by-side testing will help you find the right mask for your child and budget.
BabyGearLab was founded by a Pediatrician Mom with a mission to provide a reliable, independent, source of information to new parents. Our experts have tested thousands of baby and kids products to share key performance, health, and safety findings. We spend tens of thousands of dollars crash testing car seats to inform our ratings. And, we combine our review work with gobs of expert parenting advice. To assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing by people who care.