Difference Between a Filter and a Strainer

Home Difference Between a Filter and a Strainer

Two types of equipment are employed in the filtration industry to separate unwanted particles from liquids and gasses. But a person working outside of it can have a tough time understanding the difference between these two. Although both of the equipment help prevent particulates from fouling dispensers or fillers, affecting the consistency and flavor of the finished product, they still have some features which set one apart from the other.

A person working in the industrial field as a maintenance manager and practitioner knows that strainers and filters are used in many operations and butterfly valve application in industry. But not everyone understands the difference between them. Since it can be challenging for an average person to comprehend, we are here to help them.

The critical difference between filter and strainer is primarily the size of the particles they can remove, which one cannot see with a naked eye. So, let’s learn about these in detail!

A Quick Table to Understand the Difference Between a Filter and a Strainer:

Industrial Filter
Source: DepositPhotos

Here is a table to give a quick overview of the key differences between a filter and a stainer:


It traps debris and allows the valuable liquid to flow through the system.It traps the valuable substance and lets the waste flow through the system.
NUMBER OF SCREENSIt incorporates various screens.It incorporates a single screen.

The screens can be cleaned and used again.The screen can be used until it is clogged, which must then be changed.
TYPE OF OPERATIONIt is considered a coarse operation.It is referred to as a more delicate removal process.

It is employed to catch large chunks in the valve industry.It is used to remove small particles down to the size of microbes.

Liquid or gas passing through a strainer does not experience a pressure drop.Liquid or gas passing through a filter experience a pressure drop.

A strainer is used to remove particles larger than 40 microns.A filter is used to remove particles smaller than 40 microns.

Quick cleaning of a strainer requires less downtime.Quickly cleaning a filer is impossible as it consumes a considerable amount of time.

How is a Strainer Different From a Filter?

Y type Strainer
Source: Dombor

On the surface, a strainer and a filter are pretty alike. But a thorough and detailed study can help see the differences between them.

As stated in the table above, the purpose of a strainer is to remove large and unwanted particles from liquids or gasses to protect the downstream equipment, such as pumps, from damage. It is available in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on the application in the industry. However, one feature common in every strainer is its design, built for easy removal and cleaning.

Since this equipment is designed to offer convenience during cleaning, it requires less downtime to ensure optional functionality.

While strainers are ideal for removing larger unwanted particles from liquids and gasses, filters are suitable for smaller ones. Filters are ideal when the medium passing through the system is free from contaminants, even the ones as small as a grain of sand. Besides, most filters are reusable, but some should be replaced periodically.

Filters are perfect for removing unwanted particles smaller than 40 microns, typically too small for a naked eye to see. On the other hand, strainers can remove particles even more significant than 40 microns, a size easily visible to the naked eye. An essential point to note is that for removing particles in an industrial ball valve, sizing between 38 and 177 microns, one may use either a strainer or a filter.

Another vital difference between filter and strainer is the gas and liquid pressure as it passes through a medium. The liquid substance passing through a strainer does not witness a drop in pressure as it passes. But if it shows a drop in the pressure, it is most likely because the equipment needs a thorough cleaning or removal. Contrary to this, a substance passing through a filter can experience a noticeable pressure drop, whether it requires cleaning or removal.

How are a Strainer and a Filter Similar?

Although there exist several differences between the two industrial equipment, they also share a few commonalities, making it challenging for an amateur to separate one from the other. Since both are designed to remove suspended particles from gasses and liquids during an industrial operation, people often get confused while purchasing.

Since a strainer and a filter are suitable for removing fine particles, they protect the downstream equipment from contaminants that can cause damage to the quality of the final product. Thus, to ensure the product manufactured by the industry is of high quality and free from contaminants, it is vital to use this equipment in the manufacturing process.

In addition to the above similarity between the two items, there is one more. Both strainer and a filter are configured in a duplex design, allowing one to get clean while the other is still under operation.

Although many similarities exist between a strainer and a filter, it does not mean the two are interchangeable when removing contaminants from a 3 way ball valve stainless steel. Each piece of equipment serves a particular purpose that the other can never perform.

Essential Factors to Consider When Buying a Strainer or a Filter:

Industrial Filter Products
Source: DepositPhotos

Here are some essential factors to take into consideration when purchasing a strainer or a filter:

  • The type of gas or liquid passing through the equipment.
  • The size and shape of the contaminants to be separated.
  • The rate of flow and pressure employed in the processes.
  • If it is possible to shut down the system for maintenance.
  • The size of the industrial pipeline and also its configuration.

Size of the Contaminants

If considering the size and shape of particulates that must be removed, choose a mesh having a slightly smaller size than the requirement. Doing so will remove the broken down contaminants and even the ones likely to deform and slip through the mesh. It might make more sense to pick a strainer or a filter with a finer mesh, but the more refined it is, the more frequent cleaning it will require.

Frequency of Maintenance

A system should be able to handle frequent shutdowns for cleaning and maintenance purposes. If it cannot do so, it is essential to consider duplex housing. This configuration helps remove, clean, and replace a filter or a strainer while the other continues to function. The entire system must be shut down and depressurized in a single configuration before maintenance.

The Flow Rate and Pressure

The pressure and flow rate are crucial factors influencing the decision to purchase a strainer or a filter for cleaning an industrial ball float valve. As stated above, filters may considerably impact these characteristics when set at a higher rate than the strainers. But those employing a high flow system may face more setbacks with a filter.

Thankfully, high-flow liquid filtration systems can be a good alternative for the system. Moreover, the size and configuration of the pipeline are also essential as some strainers or filters can be installed only horizontally. In contrast, others may function at their best only in vertical housing.

Since the high operating pressure and speed of modern hydraulic systems make them susceptible to damage, it is vital to invest in a filter or a strainer. Damages may include internal leaking of the system, resulting in decreased performance or particulates accumulating in the critical areas of the hydraulic system, causing stalling, sticking, or sometimes component failure.

Parting Words

Photo Production Clean Room
Source: DepositPhotos

Hydraulic systems are made up of multiple parts that should be protected from contamination if they remain operational for the years to come. If they also don’t want to replace these systems frequently, it is advisable to invest in a contamination control system comprising both strainers and filters.

Since both the equipment are famous for removing contaminants, it all boils down to which one to use so that the hydraulic system continues to function at its best. For purchasing high-quality and reliable filter or strainer, from a trustable supplier, please contact us anytime.

We hope this article helps amateur buyers make an informed decision by exploring both options thoroughly. After going through the whole blog, a buyer can decide on the most cost-effective and beneficial option available to them.

animated Logo of dombor

Generating high-quality valve solutions requires a deep insight into market needs. DomBor Valve, as a reliable valve manufacturer, relies on a trusted supply network, the latest production, and assembly machinery, along with digital design capabilities and 20 years of industry experience.

Quick Inquiry