Best Kids Masks for the New School Year
Face masks are an important back-to-school item during this unusual year. Find the best kid face masks for your little one, tween or teen.
Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.
Choosing a Mask for a Child
The pandemic of 2020 has added new, unexpected items to back-to-school shopping lists — including face masks. It’s so hard to find quality kids’ masks that fit properly, can be adjusted as needed, are easy to put on and comfortable to wear. Oh, and did we mention they need to be washable? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends washable, cloth face masks with at least two layers of fabric.
As school safety takes on yet another new meaning this year, here are our picks for the best masks for kids. Note that our selections were chosen in part because they all have at least two layers of fabric or a pocket for a disposable filter. Lots of face masks are single-layer, so be careful when ordering.
Best Masks for Little Kids
We like these colorful Crayola Kids Face Masks for several reasons. They’re two-ply, per the CDC recommendations, and their drawstring ear straps mean they can be adjusted to fit kids ages three to 11. They’re color-coded for each day of the week, have a name tag and come with a handy mesh laundry bag.
Best Masks for Big Kids
By the time kids reach fourth or fifth grade, they’re not going to want to wear face masks with “babyish” designs on them. These solid-colored masks from Allett are design-free, and their low-key colors mean no one’s going to be self-conscious about wearing them. We like the soft, solid construction and the double-layering. Plus, with every purchase, the company donates two masks to essential workers.
Best Masks for High School Kids
These comfortable cotton masks from Veco are adult-sized for teens, but stretchy enough that they’ll fit smaller faces as well. We like that there’s a range of colors and patterns, from subtle to flashy, so there’s a mask out there for every teen personality. They offer three layers of protection and come in a five-pack, so your teens can always keep an extra in their backpack or locker.
Best Overall Mask Design
We give top points to the Weddingstar Kid’s Washable Cloth Face Mask for its multiple layers of protection, adjustable drawstring ear straps, bendable nose clip and special dimensions just for kids. There’s also a fun assortment of designs that aren’t too cutesy and will appeal to boys and girls alike, and older kids, too. Plus, this face mask is easy to clean.
Best Fitting/Adjustable Masks
We like these colorful, adjustable masks because they offer plenty of ways to get at the best fit, for kids and adults. They’re lightweight and double-layered, and the accordion-fold design means they will adapt to different-sized faces. The adjustable ear straps allow the masks to be custom-fitted without pulling on your ears — our pet peeve about many masks.
Most Comfortable Masks
Your kids may not get excited about these solid-colored masks from Mother Bee, but when it comes to comfort, they won’t complain. The double-layered masks, made of lightweight poly/spandex, have stretchy straps so there’s no messing with adjustable drawstrings. They’ll probably be too big for the littlest kids, but should do the trick for eight- to 11-year-olds.
Best Gaiter-Style Masks
Neck gaiters recently got a bad rap for protecting from coronavirus, but they may not all be bad. For kids who are participating in sports or who are active all day, a gaiter might be a more comfortable option than a mask. These kid-sized gaiters from Meakeize are soft and breathable, come in cool designs and can be double-folded to offer an extra layer of protection in closed or crowded spaces.
Best Disposable Kid-Sized Masks
We’re big fans of reusing and recycling, but leaving the house without a mask and not realizing it until you’re halfway to your destination? Not so much. Keeping a box of kid-sized disposable masks in the car is a smart way to avoid a mask crisis. These are lightweight, three-ply, comfy and, unlike adult masks, won’t slip off the end of your little one’s nose.
Family Handyman Kids’ Mask Pick
After cycling through a bunch of options, the VistaPrint Kids Face Mask has risen to the top of the mask bin. They’re lightweight, comfortable and easy to adjust, and offer a filter pocket, too. (Buy their filters or DIY your own.) Plus, the fabric print options are literally endless — VistaPrint makes it easy to design your own.
“My 10-year-old son loves the look and feel of his camo-print mask so much he’ll actually wear his when masks are optional,” FHM editor Berit Thorkelson says. But there are plenty of places where masks are not optional.