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Comparing Fuel Filters and Micron ... A finer micron filter can from the fuel and reach its dirt holding capacity more quickly. It may need replacing more often than a larger micron

Jul 13, 2020





    Tech Talk No. 13TT001 (02/13) © 2012 Donaldson Company, Inc. All rights reserved. Donaldson Company, Inc reserves the right to change or discontinue any model or specification at any time and without notice. It applies for the Australian & New Zealand markets only.

    Donaldson Australasia Pty Ltd Donaldson New Zealand

    PO Box 153, Wyong NSW 2259 PO Box 14-770, Panmure 1741 Auckland

    Free call: 1800 345 837

    Ph: +61 2 4350 2000 Ph: +64 9 579 2790 Fax: +61 2 4351 2036 Fax: +64 9 579 0322

    Comparing Fuel Filters and Micron Ratings

    A finer mi cron filter


    collect mo re contam


    from the fuel and r

    each its

    dirt holding capacity


    quickly. It may need


    more ofte n than a


    micron filt er.

    A good filt er is low c


    protection for expen


    engine com ponents.


    Fluid in

    100 particles > 5 microns (upstream of filter)

    1 particle > 5 microns (downstream of filter)

    Filter A

    99% @ 5 micron

    Fluid in

    100 particles > 5 microns (upstream of filter)

    50 particles > 5 microns (downstream of filter)

    Filter B

    50% @ 5 micronThe technologies being used in fuel systems on vehicles are advancing at an unprecedented rate with modern systems providing new levels of operational efficiency and reliability. The higher pressures used, with reduced tolerances, require exceptionally clean fuel.

    We are frequently asked by customers concerned about their fuel cleanliness “what micron rating is my current filter” and “do you have a finer micron filter I can use”?

    The published micron rating, (or particle size that a filter captures), does not provide an understanding of the performance of the filter unless you also know the efficiency at which it is measured. The efficiency of a liquid filter on a given particle size is frequently described as either a Beta ratio (ß), or as a percentage (%).

    Two filters that both claim to capture the same size particles or have the same micron rating may provide vastly different performance results.

    For example, when comparing two filters that are both rated at 5 micron, if filter A has an efficiency of 99% it will remove 99% of contaminant 5 micron and larger from the fluid. If filter B has an efficiency of 50% it will only remove 50%, or half, of the same contaminant from your fuel. Filter B may allow up to 50 times more contamination to pass than filter A, a very different level of performance!

    The higher levels of contamination in your fluid may result in accelerated wear, and ultimately, the premature failures of components.

    Commonly used fuel filters may have multiple efficiency ratings describing their performance.

    For example, a filter may be described as being 50% efficient on 2 micron particles, 75% efficient on 12 micron particles and 98% on 23 micron particles.

    You cannot guess the efficiency of a liquid filter.

    Particle or micron sizing means little without a measure of efficiency. Efficiency does not describe a filter without a micron size.

    Both the Beta ratio and percentages of efficiency compare the amount of contamination before and after the filter.

    The table below provides the efficiency percentages of the commonly used Beta Ratios.

    Generally, efficiencies are not provided for micron ratings or particle sizes smaller than 3 micron.

    When looking at the different fuel filters, it is important to compare apples with apples when considering filtration performance.

    Beta Ratio (ß) How Many Particles of a Given Size Will Pass Through the Filter? Actual Filter


    2 1 out of every 2 particles 50%

    10 1 out of every 10 particles 90%

    20 1 out of every 20 particles 95%

    75 1 out of every 75 particles 98.67%

    100 1 out of every 100 particles 99%

    200 1 out of every 200 particles 99.5%

    1000 1 out of every 1000 particles 99.9%

    2000 1 out of every 2000 particles 99.95%

    Always consult your Donaldson representative for specialist advice.

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