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Filtering vs. Filtration: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Updated on October 5, 2023
Filtering is the process of removing or separating unwanted elements, while Filtration is the technique or action used for achieving this separation.

Key Differences

Filtering and Filtration, though related, have nuanced differences. Filtering is an active process wherein unwanted elements are removed or separated from a substance, such as filtering light or separating impurities from water. It represents the action or the process of achieving purity or separation. In contrast, Filtration represents the technique, method, or action that enables the removal or separation of contaminants or impurities, emphasizing the mechanism or approach used.
Filtering is integral to various domains like computing, photography, and science, where it involves selectively allowing certain elements while excluding others, like filtering emails or light rays. Filtration, on the other hand, is more prevalent in scientific and industrial applications where the focus is on the system or method used to separate solids from liquids or gases, highlighting the apparatus or the strategy used.
In the context of water purification, filtering is the act of passing water through a medium to remove impurities, contaminants, or particulates. Here, it denotes the activity of cleansing water to make it potable or pure. Meanwhile, Filtration is the utilization of a filter or a membrane to achieve this purification, indicating the overall technique or procedure adopted.
In the digital realm, filtering refers to the process of selectively allowing or blocking information, such as emails or data, based on specific criteria. It emphasizes the action of scrutinizing and allowing or disallowing the passage of information. Conversely, Filtration implies the systems or methods used for screening and sorting digital information, emphasizing the algorithm or the protocol implemented.
To summarize, Filtering pertains to the ongoing action or process of selectively removing or allowing elements, while Filtration encompasses the methods, techniques, or systems that facilitate such removal or separation, emphasizing the operational aspect or mechanism involved.

Comparison Chart


The process of removing or separating elements.
The technique or action used for such separation.


Computing, photography, science.
Scientific, industrial applications.


Process or action.
Technique, method, or system.


Action of allowing or removing.
Method or apparatus used.


Digital information, light, water.
Water purification, air quality, oil refining.

Filtering and Filtration Definitions


Selectively allowing certain elements while blocking others.
Email filtering helps in organizing the inbox.


The action or process of filtering something.
Water filtration is essential for obtaining clean water.


The manipulation of light or sound to modify the output.
Filtering the audio removed the background noise.


A system or method used for separating components.
Oil filtration enhances the quality of the oil.


The scrutiny of information based on specific criteria.
Data filtering is crucial in analytics.


The operation of removing impurities or contaminants.
Efficient filtration is crucial in chemical experiments.


The act of removing unwanted elements.
Filtering sunlight can protect the skin.


The technique used to separate solids from liquids or gases.
The filtration method is efficient in separating impurities.


The process of separating solids from liquids or gases.
The lab is filtering the solution to isolate the crystals.


The utilization of a filter to purify substances.
Air filtration improves indoor air quality.


A porous material through which a liquid or gas is passed in order to separate the fluid from suspended particulate matter.


The act or process of filtering.


A device containing such a material, especially one used to extract impurities from air or water.


The act or process of filtering; the mechanical separation of a liquid from the undissolved particles floating in it.


Any of various electric, electronic, acoustic, or optical devices used to reject signals, vibrations, or radiations of certain frequencies while allowing others to pass.


A totally ordered collection of subsets.


A colored glass or other transparent material used to select the wavelengths of light allowed to reach a photosensitive material.


The act or process of filtering; the mechanical separation of a liquid from the undissolved particles floating in it.


(Computers) A program or device that blocks email or restricts website access when specific criteria are met.


The process whereby fluids pass through a filter or a filtering medium


(Informal) The ability or tendency to censor oneself, as to avoid causing embarrassment or offense
My roommate has no filter and says whatever he's thinking at the moment.


The act of changing a fluid by passing it through a filter


To pass (a liquid or gas) through a filter.


To remove by passing through a filter
Filter out impurities.


(Computers) To use a filter to block or restrict access to
A program that filters spam.


(Informal) To censor (oneself), as to avoid causing embarrassment or offense.


To pass through or as if through a filter
Light filtered through the blinds.


To come or go gradually and in small groups
The audience filtered back into the hall.


Present participle of filter


The process of passing something through a filter.


Something that passes through a filter.


Is filtering prevalent in photography?

Yes, filtering is used in photography to modify light and alter images.

Can filtering refer to digital information?

Absolutely, filtering often refers to the selective allowance or blocking of digital information.

Is filtration related to the apparatus used?

Yes, filtration often relates to the system or method, including the apparatus used for separation.

Is filtering an active process?

Yes, filtering is an active process of removing or separating unwanted elements.

Is filtering selective?

Yes, filtering is a selective process allowing or removing elements based on set parameters.

Can filtering modify sound or light?

Yes, filtering can modify both sound and light by allowing certain frequencies and blocking others.

Does filtration focus on operational aspects?

Yes, filtration focuses on the operational aspects and mechanisms involved in the separation process.

Can filtration be used in oil refining?

Yes, filtration is an essential process in oil refining to remove impurities.

What does filtration emphasize?

Filtration emphasizes the technique, method, or action used for separation.

Does filtering involve scrutiny?

Yes, filtering often involves scrutinizing information or elements based on specific criteria.

Can filtering occur in the lab for solutions?

Yes, filtering is a common process in labs to separate solids from solutions.

Is filtering essential in data analytics?

Certainly, data filtering is crucial in analytics to process relevant information.

Is filtration crucial in water purification?

Indeed, filtration is a vital technique in water purification processes.

Can filtration be a method?

Yes, filtration can refer to a specific method used to separate or remove elements.

Can filtration improve air quality?

Absolutely, filtration is used to improve air quality by removing contaminants.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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