Fit - you want masks to be tight around the nose, chin, and sides. Aim for no gaps. Many folks find surgical masks better fitting than cloth masks as they typically have an adjustable wire on the nose to seal the mask and hold it in place.
Filtration - More layers stop more droplets. Your mask should have at least 3 layers of material. Surgical masks have 2-4 layers. Many fabric masks have more than one layer. You can combine masks or add a filter to increase layers. If you wear two masks, put the surgical mask closest to your face and the cloth mask over top.
Choose your mask based on type of activity. If you’re outdoors and not near a lot of people, cloth is fine. But for those interactions in indoor environments, particularly if you’re an essential worker with lots of close contact, upgrade your mask.
While gaiter masks and bandanas can be convenient, they are not great at sealing the chin and are often made of one layer of thin material. Also avoid vented masks, as they allow your droplets to escape and do not protect those around you.
Any mask you use consistently and wear over your mouth and nose is much better than one that is uncomfortable or that requires regular adjustment. The best mask is one that fits, is comfortable, and is WORN. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good!
A mask is the last line of defense to reduce your risk. Use more strategies to reduce your risk further such as maintaining distance, limiting time, being outside rather than inside, and avoiding contact with people outside your household.