Cellulose vs glass fibre media: What’s the difference?

When looking for replacement filters, there are lots of options to suit different applications. It is important that you choose the best type for your system, or you risk poor performance and unplanned maintenance.
The majority of elements are made using either cellulose (paper), glass fibre or wire mesh media. But what are the features and the benefits of each type?

Cellulose (paper) filters

Manufactured from organic plant material, cellulose filters have a beta rating of 2 (β2) and are most commonly used on the return side of a hydraulic system. Cellulose filters have the advantage of being a lower cost than glass fibre or wire mesh, but they are far less efficient.
Cellulose filters offer a thick layer of fibre cloth that is pleated and then wrapped around a core. The particles are then trapped close to the media’s leading edge, where they accumulate and create a resistance to the flow.
Given there is just a small number of advantages to using cellulose elements, it is easy to wonder why people use them. Simply put, it is worth considering the machinery that they are used in and, as previously mentioned, they are generally used on the return side where having a filter in place is not as critical as it would be on the pressure side for example.

Glass fibre filters

Boasting a beta rating of 1000 (β1000), glass fibre filters offer a far superior efficiency rating than that of a cellulose element, they also have a much greater dirt holding capacity and offer much finer filtration in the range of 3 – 10µ where cellulose can’t.
The reason behind the superior performance of a glass fibre filter is due to the way in which they are manufactured. Glass media yarn creates rolls of cloth. The consistent nature of the fibre layers, combined with the multiple layers, traps particles through their entire thickness, not just on the surface.

Wire mesh filters 

A third option is wire mesh filters. These are popular with many as they have a longer lifespan due to their ability to be cleaned however, they can be more costly due to their metallic construction
Wire mesh elements generally have a micron rating of 40µ and above as their main advantage is their longer lifespans and so they cannot offer as fine filtration as that of glass fibre which can capture much smaller particles. One of the biggest advantages of this type of filter is its ability to deliver an adequate flow rate. This is due to the wire diameter and mesh opening being customisable to perfectly match the contaminants that are to be filtered out.


Ultimately, not having the right type of filters in the right places can be a costly mistake and greatly reduce the reliability and lifespan of your system. Let Filter Finder help you get it right by getting in contact here.   

Source: Filter Finder

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