Most companies are still prioritizing getting respirator masks to healthcare and other essential workers, but some are offering small quantities for public sale.
Editor’s note, Oct. 22, 2021: Made in USA mask makers need you to TAKE ACTION! Why is the U.S. government giving an edge to imports of Made in China face masks at the expense of American manufacturers? It’s time to end tariff exclusions for Chinese-made PPE.
Editor’s note, March 5, 2021: Since we originally published this blog, we’ve heard from additional manufacturers who say they are making N95 masks in the United States. They’ve been added to this post.
Earlier this week, the New York Times ran a story looking at the dichotomy happening right now when it comes to N95 masks.
Healthcare workers are still reporting a shortage of N95 masks, which are superior to surgical masks because they provide filtration protection against COVID-19. But at the same time, several American manufacturers of N95 masks – including startup companies that launched specifically to address these shortages – are saying they can’t find buyers.
One of the companies, DemeTech, may even have to lay off 1,300 people if things don’t improve quickly enough.
Part of the problem, as AAM President Scott Paul told the NYT, is that the federal government needs to step up. Officials need to provide better coordination between mask makers and healthcare buyers and also ensure that American companies have a market for their products by doing things like making sure the national stockpile is filled with American-made masks.
Officials are still recommending that healthcare and other essential workers get first priority for N95 masks. But some companies are offering masks for public sale, either in small quantities or bulk orders for businesses and other organizations.
Learn more about 10+ companies making and selling N95 masks in America below. (If you are in the market for a surgical or cloth face masks, check out this previous post.)
Founded in 1916, the Shawmut Corporation makes advanced materials for a variety of industries, from autos to the military and more. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Massachusetts company worked with a Boston-based developer to build a $20 million N95 mask production plant from scratch. The state-of-the-art facility can make 180 million of the masks per year, and Shawmut hopes to employ 400 people there. Its N95 masks are designed to be easier to breathe through compared to others on the market, while still providing protection.
DemeTech sells both N95 and surgical face masks, and is one of a handful that is selling N95s directly to the public (at least while it has stock – the media coverage does appear to have led to an uptick in business). DemeTech is a medical device company, best known before the pandemic for making surgical sutures and hernia mesh.
United States Mask
Like DemeTech, United States Mask ran into walls trying to get its N95 masks to the folks who needed them most. Partners John K. Bielamowicz and David Baillargeon built the Fort Worth, Texas company from the ground up in 2020, hoping to address PPE shortages. When they finally had product, local county officials went with N95 masks manufactured in China. But there’s good news: United States Mask told its story to the Dallas Morning News, leading to a surge in public interest. The company now offers limited quantities of its masks for sale each day on its website.
The USA Mask Company
The USA Mask Company is headquartered in North Carolina and manufactures its KN95-style masks in Tulsa, Oklahoma. You can buy small quantities of the company’s masks here (at the time of publication, prices started at $19.95 for a box of 10) or contact the company to obtain a quote for larger orders.
Protective Health Gear
This New Jersey manufacturer has been featured by media outlets like CNN, NBC, and the Wall Street Journal for its efforts to ramp N95 mask production; the company says it now is making more than 1 million of the respirator each month. While it prioritizes sales for frontline workers, Protective Health Gear does offer a small percentage of its products for sale on its website.
Texas company Prestige Ameritech was the last major mask manufacturer in the United States when COVID-19 struck in early 2020. Founder Mike Bowen, inundated with orders, offered to ramp up production at his 220,000 square foot facility to help the U.S. government secure more N95 masks, only to be told no. That led to a whistleblower complaint and a congressional hearing, and it remains one of the more infuriating examples of how ill-prepared the country truly was to respond to COVID. Today, Prestige Ameritech remains a leader in this space, and sells them in bulk quantities on its website.
Honeywell was one of the big corporations that significantly ramped up production of N95 masks at the start of the pandemic. It expanded operations at its facility in Smithfield, Rhode Island, along with additional mask-making efforts at a plant in Arizona. While Honeywell has worked closely with the Department of Health and Human Services to get N95s to frontline workers and supply the national stockpile, it also sells the products on its website. Check the label, though: Honeywell also maintains operations overseas.
This California company was established in 1980, and continues to make disposable respirators, reusable respirators, and a variety of hearing protection products in the United States. It also produces a wide variety of N95 masks that are designed to be durable and comfortable. Moldex doesn’t sell its masks on its website, but you can find a searchable list of distributors and retailers here.
Indiana Personal Protective Equipment (IPPE)
A division of Indiana Face Mask, IPPE makes N95 respirators and surgical masks at a FDA-approved facility in Rensselaer. The company also manufactures hand sanitizer. IPPE doesn’t sell masks directly to consumers, but you can find more about ordering its products via its website.
In business since 1956, Gerson makes a variety of industrial products, including air-purifying respirators, liquid filters for cleaning paints and solvents, and cleaning and tack cloths. The company has manufacturing facilities around the world, but these N95 masks are made in the United States. You can contact the company here.
When COVID-19 struck the United States in early 2020, 3M was among the major U.S. corporations to pivot operations to make PPE, including N95 masks. The company says it made 2 billion of the respirators globally in 2020, and 95 million a month were made at facilities in South Dakota and Nebraska. It continues to prioritize essential workers, but is offering some N95 masks for sale through official distributors.
For more American-made PPE, check out our Made in America Directory.