There is a clear difference between a mask and a respirator. Check out this technical bulletin, “Respirators and Surgical Masks: A Comparison” or hear more about it from the products themselves as an N95 Respirator walks into a bar to meet his old friend, Dust Mask (DM) and they compare and contrast their uses to each other.
N95: Dust Mask, so good to see you; you haven’t changed a bit.
DM: Yep, still thin, and single band—simplicity is my game. How about you?
N95: I’ve been working out [flexes]. Ahh. I’m still NIOSH-approved and double-banded to fit tightly across a wide range of faces… How’s work been going?