Air Filter Media 101

What works for one OEM won’t work for another. OEMs have diverse and highly specific air filtration needs. Many different types of media are available, and even then, there’s more to consider. These factors include the filter’s shape, density, thickness and frame, air flow restrictions, fire safety perimeters, size limitations, particulate arrestance efficiency requirements, environmental concerns and, of course—your budget.

Here’s a roundup of 11 of the most common air filter media, and their unique properties:

foam air filter media

Foam Air Filter Media

Foam is thermally reticulated 15 or 20 pores per inch polyether polyurethane. Resilient and flexible, it is reusable and can be rinsed with water or vacuum cleaned. Charcoal in color, it is available in several thicknesses.

polypropylene air filter media

Polypropylene Air Filter Media

Polypropylene contains an inherent electrostatic charge that won’t wash out or diminish over time. This charge is enhanced by the friction of air flow over the filter’s honeycomb woven surface. Nonporous and mildew resistant, it will not disintegrate like other options, and works well in harsh environments. Black polypropylene is UV protected.  Natural white polypropylene is an FDA approved component and can be used in food processing applications.


PermaCool® Self Supporting Polypropylene Air Filter Media

Corrugated PermaCool has a dense, three-layer, waffle weave configuration. This enhances its filtration ability and creates a rigid and durable electrostatic air filter with the convenience of a cut-to-fit solution. Unlike other media that may compress and restrict air flow, PermaCool retains its low resistance design after installation.


PermaFlo® Rigid Polyester Air Filter Media

PermaFlo is a rigid blue or gray polyester media, self-supporting and needs no frame. In addition, the polyester fiber does not flake, shed or have sharp edges. Fibers are unaffected by moisture, and clean easily with water for long-term use. Permatron’s PermaFlo gray filter media contains an antimicrobial.


Nonwoven polyester

Nonwoven Polyester Air Filter Media

This synthetic air filter material contains fibers that are randomly dispersed in all directions through an air-laid web to form a uniform media of high strength and durability. A high volume of contaminants can be trapped within the complete depth of fiber.

flat aluminum mesh

Flat Aluminum Mesh Air Filter Media

Flat aluminum mesh is a single layer of 20-gauge media. It is the same material as corrugated aluminum air filter media, only in its original flat form. It can also be layered as filter media support in air filters. Industries and applications include aerospace, beverage dispensers, data centers, electronics, food service, injection molding, power generation, telecom and more.

corrugated aluminum

Corrugated Aluminum Air Filter Media

Corrugated aluminum is a single layer of 20-gauge media that has been pleated into various heights. This washable metal mesh is lightweight, resists corrosion and is available in custom-sized pads and rolls. It can also be layered as filter media support in air filters.

bonded aluminum mesh

Bonded Aluminum Mesh Air Filter Media

Bonded aluminum is a three-dimensional media that contains several layers of aluminum slit mesh, bonded together to create different densities, with hundreds of baffle-like surfaces.

activated carbon

Activated Carbon Air Filter Media

Activated carbon effectively removes and prevents odor/fume/gas buildup in recirculated air. Nonwoven polyester or foam can be impregnated with a finely ground coating such as activated carbon, activated aluminum and potassium permanganate to increase the surface area available for absorption.

PVC-coated high abrasion

PVC Coated High Abrasion Air Filter Media

PVC coated high abrasion media is a black 9×9 1000 denier multi-polymer coated polyester mesh. Ideal for oversized air intake applications, it is UV protected and rot and corrosion-resistant for outdoor use. Available in rolls and pads.


HailStop® Rigid Plastic Netting Air Filter Media

Hail can flatten fins and reduce air flow, which can cause serious damage to HVAC equipment. This UV protected rigid black plastic netting is used as a protective barrier against environmental elements, nesting birds and hailstorms. It can also be layered as filter media support in air filters.

Permatron offers a virtually unlimited variety of washable and disposable air filter media in bulk rolls or cut pads to satisfy your exact, made-to-spec requirements. We can also apply our capabilities including slitting, sheeting, die-cutting, sonic welding, sewing, fabricating and assembly. We’re so confident in our 60+ years of expertise designing and manufacturing custom air filters for OEMs, we’ll even build you a free prototype.

Contact us to find the right air filter media for your product.

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