Mesh vs Micron

By: Travis Scott

Color image of filter mesh in large color coded filter element.

As the Director of Marketing at ISM, I am responsible for managing our advertising programs, one of which is Google AdWords. One of my weekly tasks is to analyze the keywords and phrases people use to find the search ads we have created and look for opportunities to create more targeted ads and keywords we bid on.

Recently I’ve noticed a phrase that shows up time after time - “mesh vs micron” Since this seems to be a common search/question that people have I thought it would be helpful to provide some insight into these two measurements.

Mesh Size and Microns
To start, mesh number, mesh size and micron size can be likened to the imperial system of measurement as it’s compared to the metric system. They measure similar things but have more to do with application or professional preference.

An exploded view of an ISM modular check valve. Click here to go to a landing page where you can get more information about these valves.

Modular Check Valves

We've taken spring-loaded check valves to a whole new level. Mix and match imperial and metric connections. Watch the video.

A play button for a video about ISM's modular check valves. Click here to go to a landing page where you can watch the video.

Since mesh number is the inverse of micron size, it can sometimes be confusing and difficult to remember what size it means. Simply put, if you were to view a list of multiple mesh numbers or multiple micron numbers, one way to know what they mean is to remember that:

  • The larger the mesh number, the smaller the particle size it can filter
  • The larger the micron number, the larger the particle size it can filter.

Mesh number is derived from the number of openings per linear inch; therefore, a 100-mesh screen has 100 openings per linear inch.

The sizes of mesh openings (mesh size) are approximate. This is because the sizes of the openings are affected by the diameter of the metal or plastic mesh strands. Because of this, mesh sizes frequently vary between manufacturers, even when they are using the same mesh number.

Since micron is a unit of measure (μm), a micron rating directly corresponds to the minimum particle size that can be filtered out. For example, 1 μm is equal to 1/1000 of millimeter or 1/25,000 of an inch. Since we’re able to convert millimeters to inches, micron size can be converted to mesh, and vice versa, if you know the strand diameter used in the mesh. For example, a 1.3-micron mesh size, using 37-micron diameter strands, uses 663 mesh or 663 strands per inch. For more information on this, check out our mesh and micron conversion chart and this online mesh calculator.

Still have questions? You can learn more in our blog post How to Choose an In-line Filter – Mesh and Particle Size or you can submit your question via our Contact Us page.

« Go back to the blog homepage