Beginning next week, Americans will be able to get free N95 masks at pharmacies and health centers across the country. Experts say N95 face masks are far more effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19, especially compared to regular cloth counterparts.

The Biden administration announced Wednesday that the masks will come from the government's Strategic National Stockpile, which has more than 750 million of the masks already on hand. The N95s will be available for pickup at pharmacies and other community health centers throughout the U.S. and will be shipping for distribution starting late next week. The administration hopes to have the new mask program fully functional and operational next month.

Dr. Tom Inglesby, the administration's Covid testing coordinator, recently said in an interview, "We know that these masks provide better protection than cloth masks." Per NBC News, Inglesby is "confident that people who want to access them will be able to access them," but it was not immediately clear how many masks a person could receive at one time.

The free N95 masks are the latest development in the Biden administration's new Covid mitigation efforts. On Tuesday, the federal website where Americans can order free at-home Covid tests went live. According to the website, "Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order 4 free at-home COVID-19 tests. The tests are completely free. Orders will usually ship in 7-12 days."

Public health experts have been urging President Biden to encourage people to wear N95 or KN95 masks over cloth masks as the highly contagious omicron variant has caused hospitalization numbers to soar.

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance on masks , saying people "may choose" to wear N95 and KN95 masks because they offer the best protection against Covid. But so far, the CDC isn't recommending that people seek out certain masks over others.

This push for 400 million free N95 masks will be the largest distribution of free masks by the federal government to the public since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

If you still need to stock up for your kiddos though, we've rounded up some of the best places to find high-quality masks right now. Shop them below!

KN95 face masks for kids

KN95 Face masks for kids: EvolveTogether Mount Fuji mask



Mount Fuji - 5 kids white KN95 masks

The 3D style of these KN95s mean more breathing room for little faces.

best face masks for kids VIDA kids face masks kn95



FDA Listed Kids Mask X-Small

The FDA-listed kids’ masks from VIDA are specially designed to fit kids under 6 and have been shown to offer 95% to 99% particle efficiency. Every order includes a prepaid label to return used masks for recycling.

KN95 Face Masks for kids: Bona Fide Masks

Bona Fide Masks


Smaller or Children's Sized Powecom® KN95-SM ™ Respirator Mask - 10 masks per pack

At 15% the size of the Powecom adult model, the small version of these KN95 respirators is best for kids under 8, reviewers say.

Surgical face masks for kids

DemeTech Kids Face Mask



Kids Disposable Mask ASTM Level 3 (Box of 50)

These 3-ply surgical masks come in a range of colors and feature a bendable nose strip for a better fit.

McKesson Kids Surgical face mask



McKesson Kids Procedure Mask, Level 1 (Box of 75)

It’s hard to beat the price on this box of 75 surgical procedure masks. Ideal for kids age 4 to 12, these offer bacterial filtration efficiency of 95%.