Before March, the idea of shopping for face masks was not on our minds. We only wore a face mask if we were going to be doing some major home renovations that might involve chemicals.

Now, face masks are not only on our minds, but we wear one any time we go to a public place. We actually have quite a few face masks. Some were store bought. Some are homemade. There are so many mask options out there that it can be a little bit overwhelming trying to pick the right one.

While some people intentionally buy face masks that don’t offer any protection against COVID-19, most people are probably looking for the most effective face mask that is affordable and comfortable.

Bill Nye shared a very easy way to know if your face mask is effective and to compare the effectiveness of different face masks. All you do is put on the face mask and then try to blow out a candle. If you’re able to blow out the candle, it’s not an effective face mask. If the flame flickers quite a bit but you can’t  blow out the candle, the face mask could definitely be more effective, but it is better than nothing. If the flame doesn’t even move no matter how hard you to try to blow out the candle, you have a very effective face mask.

If you don’t feel like testing face masks by blowing out candles, there is another even easier way to decide if a face mask is effective or not. All you have to do is look at the chart below.

Yuqing Liu/Insider

We love that this chart not only tells us how effective each type of face mask is, but it also tells us where we can wear each type of face mask. For example, N95 and surgical masks should be reserved for hospitals and doctors offices. 

No matter what type of mask you make or buy, it’s not going to be effective if it doesn’t fit your face correctly. In order to be effective, a face mask needs to cover both your mouth and nose. It should also fit your face snugly so that particles don’t get in or out of the sides of the mask.

What type of face mask do you usually wear? Did you find this chart helpful? Are you going to switch to a different type of face mask?