Air compressor regulators

An air compressor produces compressed air, but what controls the pressure? A quick intro to air regulators and compressor regulators.

Estimated time to read: 3 mins

January 18, 2024

It’s possible to set the pressure of the compressed air your air compressor releases into the system. How? You guessed it: with an air compressor regulator.

An introduction to air compressor regulators

An air regulator attaches to the outlet of your air compressor and the hosing or piping that the air travels through from there. The regulator shows the pressure of your compressed air. It also allows you to control the flow of the air being released. This means that if you’re producing air with a pressure that’s too high for your system to handle, you’re able to lower the pressure of the air being released and stop your system from being damaged. Good idea, right?

Air compressor regulators for low-pressure activities

The way in which you regulate compressed air actually depends on how you’re using it. Let’s say you’re using air-powered tools in a garage, for very small appliances in a DIY situation, or for some fine-point air-brush painting on anything from motorbike helmets to tiny figurines.

With high pressure, you’re probably going to damage your tools or make a really terrible painting. Pop an air regulator between the air compressor and the hosing leading to your tool. You’ll then be able to control the pressure of the compressed air travelling through your tools, prove you’re an expert at DIY and maybe produce a masterpiece of a painting. Of course, you may still produce a really terrible painting, but that’s most likely not related to air pressure.

Compressor regulators for industrial use

What if you’re compressing air for industrial use? Your system and your tools are designed to work with large volumes of highly pressurised air. You still need to regulate the air, but in this situation, the air regulator is part of the compressor itself—a compressor regulator. Keep in mind that these are much larger compressors that produce larger volumes of air, which don’t require such a fine level of control. There are typically two different approaches to regulation:

  • In continuous flow-rate regulation, the drive motor and inlet valve respond to pressure variations, adjusting speed to maintain a relatively consistent pressure. 

  • Pressure variation allows for a larger range in which the pressure is accepted. When the pressure has built up to a certain limit or load, the compressor will stop. When the compressed air is used, the pressure drops—this is the unloading process. When the pressure reaches the lower limit that has been set, the compressor kicks in and produces compressed air again, building the pressure back up until the upper limit has once more been reached. The advantage here? Your air compressor doesn’t need to work the whole time. Good for your energy bill. It’s very similar to the VSD technology driving the AVSD dryer or that appears in our 110-160 kW range.

Compressor regulators, air regulators, and good advice

Do you have questions about your air compressor regulator? Are you wondering which air regulator is best for your system? Or whether you need an air regulator … Get in touch with us. We know all there is to know about air regulators, compressor regulators and producing really bad paintings. We are more than happy to give you any advice you need.

Scroll Up ↰

See also

FInd more must-read articles on our compressed air blog!