Skip to main content

Razer Pulls N95 Mentions From Zephyr Face Mask Sites (Update)

Razer Zephyr
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Razer has quietly pulled mentions of "N95 grade" protection from the web page for its Zephyr face mask following online criticism.

As recently as January 5, per the Wayback Machine, Razer's website read that mask used "N95 grade filters with two-way protection." That language is no longer on the site. The current page now reads that "Razer Zephyr is not a certified N95 mask, medical device, respirator, surgical mask or personal protective equipment (PPE) and is not meant to be used on medical or clinical settings."

The change in language comes following disapproval on social media. Over the weekend, YouTuber Naomi Wu led the charge with a series of tweets on the topic. PCMag had previously drawn attention to the labeling, as well. Razer had suggested it was using N95-grade filters while also claiming that the mask was not personal protective equipment, or PPE, suggesting it didn't meet the standard of protection it promised.

"Razer would like to clarify that while the filters used in the Razer Zephyr Wearable Air Purifier have been tested for 95% Particulate Filtration Efficiency (PFE) and 99% Bacterial Filtration Efficiency (BFE), per the statements on the website and documentation for the product, the wearable by itself is not a medical device nor certified as an N95 mask," the company said in a statement to Tom's Hardware. "To avoid any confusion, we are in the process of removing all references to “N95 Grade Filter” from our marketing material. We will also directly reach out shortly to existing customers to clarify. Customers with any further questions about the Razer Zephyr Wearable Air Purifier should contact our Customer Service at https://support.razer.com/ (opens in new tab)."

On social media, Razer highlighted a page (opens in new tab) called "The Science Behind Razer Zephyr," which lists a series of standards that the company claims to have met and the results for its testing. Here, too, the page now carries the fine print that the filters, which are disposable and sold separately from the mask after the initial pack is used up, are neither N95 nor PPE.

In our review of the Razer Zephyr, I complained about problems with fit, including the seal on my face, as well as discomfort, which made me less likely to want to wear the mask. But the lack of protection is another blow to the mask.

That may not affect Razer, however. The company has been releasing the Zephyr in limited-edition "drops," which have been going out of stock immediately and becoming valuable showpieces on Instagram and other social media sites.

At CES 2022, Razer announced its Zephyr Pro mask, which adds voice amplification through a microphone and speaker. It will start at $149.99, which is $50 more than the original Zephyr. Razer's site for that mask also used N95 language, but now reads that (opens in new tab) Razer has "adopted standards" from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which is run under the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC spokesperson Jade Fulce told Tom's Hardware that "NIOSH has not been in contact with Razer."

As the Omicron variant of Covid-19 rages through the United States and the rest of the world, experts have called for people to wear medical masks or N95 or KN95 masks for better protection and to prevent spreading illness. It is now clear that Razer's Zephyr does not meet that kind of standard.

Updated January 11 at 9:13 a.m. ET with comment from Razer and confirmation from the CDC that NIOSH did not reach out about the Zephyr.

Updated January 11, at 9:42 a.m. ET Additionally, Naomi Wu states she contacted NIOSH, and claims NIOSH contacted the FDA. We regret the error. 

Andrew E. Freedman is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming. He also keeps up with the latest news. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Kotaku, PCMag and Complex, among others. Follow him on Twitter: @FreedmanAE

  • tom2u
    To show someone with a beard trying to get a good seal is ludicrous. First rule of masks is no facial hair where its trying to seal. Ever worn a diving mask with a beard? Good luck with that.
    Reply
  • Historical Fidelity
    Shave your beard, then try….might solve your fitment and sealing issues…..
    Reply
  • hotaru251
    i wonder if this will lead to a lawsuit to ppl who claim to of bought it for the protection listed then but now not.

    could be taken to court as a false claim and buyer didnt get what they wanted ;o

    (as in us ppl are lawsuit happy)


    i avoided it as its razor but the concept is good and hope someone else makes a proper version.
    Reply
  • IceQueen0607
    What a ridiculous device. I'd be seriously concerned over a person's mental health if I saw someone wearing such a device.
    Reply
  • TechLurker
    IceQueen0607 said:
    What a ridiculous device. I'd be seriously concerned over a person's mental health if I saw someone wearing such a device.

    RGB aside, it had potential for being a valid intermediate solution to letting the deaf who lip-read better understand the wearer given the clear mouth part, and the voice amplifier would have been perfect for those who already have trouble speaking loudly and clearly through a mask (or two, if they double masked with a basic surgical mask in front of or behind). As well, if the filters and fan system worked properly, it could have also been used to help alleviate some of the "sweaty mouth" issues that a sizable number complain about (either to avoid wearing a mask, or not wanting to wear a mask for long) by forcing in a steady supply of fresher, filtered air while still forcing exhaled air through other filters to inhibit spread (one of the reasons valved respirators were not recommended, even if N95 or better).

    Sure, it's no certified N95 or P100 PAPR unit (many of which start around 800+ USD), but it had a few valid niches it could have been ideal for, and hey, if someone was willing to wear this instead of nothing, that's already a win. Even if the RGB is set to some obnoxious color pattern and their amplified breathing makes them sound like Off-Brand Vader.
    Reply
  • david germain
    we have people walking round with odd bits of fabric. which are not even close to N95. and masks have not been proven to make any difference to the transmission. The science is very much undecided. And it looks like there are no peer reviewed papers as of August 2020.
    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02801-8
    Reply
  • Unolocogringo
    david germain said:
    we have people walking round with odd bits of fabric. which are not even close to N95. and masks have not been proven to make any difference to the transmission.
    Please do not spread incorrect information.Masks DO make a difference in spreading Illnesses.
    A simple cloth covering does not protect you a lot. If it fits properly it helps more.
    But it protects other people around you.
    So that the droplets you exhale do not travel as far. when they escape the mask but many more are caught inside the mask.
    A simple google search can enlighten you.
    Reply
  • david germain
    Unolocogringo said:
    Please do not spread incorrect information.Masks DO make a difference in spreading Illnesses.
    A simple cloth covering does not protect you a lot. If it fits properly it helps more.
    But it protects other people around you.
    So that the droplets you exhale do not travel as far. when they escape the mask but many more are caught inside the mask.
    A simple google search can enlighten you.
    i have updated the post to reflect what seem to be the current testing of masks. article with references. the other study i am reading is currently looking at limited statistical evidence, and that is also not peer reviewed yet. that one is been run by the Dutch.
    Some masks seem to make thing worse. and there is no incorrect info in my post.
    Reply
  • Giroro
    Is there a word for a product, that while it technically exists, is exclusively sold to people with millions of followers?
    For me Razer's mask is in that category of garbage created to squeeze free advertising out of clickbait factories. It became pretty obvious when you needed to prove you were a popular influencer before being allowed to buy the "beta" product.
    It's like the KFC 'console', Philly Station 5, or Nike shoes. .. basically anything that uses the "drop" model to create false buzz around a product that is meant solely to promote brand image, and not actually be mass produced.
    It's like when a company makes a fake product for April Fool's day, but then actually makes a few of them, for all those sweet sweet clicks.

    "Paper launch" doesn't seem quite right, but a "cynical viral marketing stunt" is too broad of a term.
    Reply
  • TJ Hooker
    david germain said:
    we have people walking round with odd bits of fabric. which are not even close to N95. and masks have not been proven to make any difference to the transmission. The science is very much undecided. And it looks like there are no peer reviewed papers as of August 2020.
    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02801-8
    Your own link contains references to multiple peer-reviewed studies on mask-wearing. And of course there have been more studies done in the ~18 months since that article was published.
    Reply