The compressor regulator or pressure regulator is a control valve that provides consistent pressure to any fluid. They are an integral part of any compressor system. They have applications in aerospace, aviation industry, cooking appliances, kitchen appliances, air conditioning systems, tire shops, welding, oxygen tanks, and even in LPG or CNG powered vehicles. They are even used in the drill machines that dentists use for various purposes to treat the patient. In rockets, they are a key component of the propulsion system.

Maintaining a steady pressure is a critical part of many industries and processes. The air compressors regulators also work as sensors, and they can reduce inside pressure to almost a vacuum if needed. This helps in many different types of research and experiments.

Most of us have seen air compressor regulators and have a basic idea of what they do, but not many of us know how they work. So let us find out:

 What Is An Air Pressure Regulator Made Of?

It consists of three main parts, which are as follows:

  • A Pressure Reducer

Pressure reducer will close the valves inside and extracts all the air outside, thus creating a low-pressure area inside and a high-pressure external environment.

  •  A Sensor

The sensor is a diaphragm that is used to measure air pressure.

  •  Reference Element

It creates air pressures that flow through the vales of the compressor.

 Types of Air Pressure Regulators

There are many different types of pressure regulators, such as:

  • Filter regulators
  • Sanitary regulator
  • Back pressure regulator
  • High-pressure regulators
  • Low-pressure regulators
  • Air loaded regulators
  • Dual stage regulators

They all are purpose-built and have very specific applications in various industries.

How Do They Work?

Air pressure regulators reduce the supply of air towards the inlet, therefore lowering the pressure on the outlet. They also keep the low outlet pressure steady no matter what the inlet pressure is. They act as a stabilizer and provide the required output pressure, no matter how high the input pressure is.

The setscrew is a valve that controls airflow. This is the main component that controls air pressure by restricting or allowing air to pass through freely. It consists of springs, which move down, reducing the area for the air to pass through, thus lowering pressure. A diaphragm is a sensor that moves as the pressure changes. The pressure should be controlled and regulated constantly to avoid damaging the apparatus, which happens if the pressure suddenly drops to very low, or jumps very high.

When an air compressor is turned on, it starts to accumulate air in the tank, thus increasing pressure. The compressor stops when the air pressure is at the desired level. This pressure is then used in many different tools such as drills and tire pressure machines. The air regulator monitors and controls this pressure. If your tool requires less pressure than what is in the tank, the pressure regulator provides the right amount needed. If the setscrew is rotated clockwise, it increases pressure and vice versa.

Air compressors typically have two gauges. One tells the air pressure of the tank, and the other one displays the pressure of the air hose.

How To Adjust The Regulator?

This involves a few simple steps. First of all, the air compressor is turned on. It starts to fill the compressor tank with air, increasing pressure constantly. Once the air pressure has reached the highest level, the compressor turns off. After that, any tool that you want to use can be connected to the tank. The regulator would control the outgoing pressure from the tank, and thus the speed of the tool. Clockwise rotation increases pressure while counterclockwise decreases it.

Things To Keep In Mind Before Buying A Pressure Regulator

  • Air pressure regulators vary depending on their specifications, which need to be kept in mind. The pressure requirements of every pressure-based tool are different. Therefore the appropriate compressor regulator should be selected accordingly.
  • They also come in manual and automated control options. Their utility also depends on the tools being used.
  • Accuracy is a very important factor that differentiates different air compressor regulators. In some industries, an idea of the pressure is sufficient. In others, the exact pressure being maintained is crucial for smooth operations.
  • Air compressor regulators also vary depending on the way they are mounted.

Compressor Regulator Materials

Air compressor regulators consist of the following materials:

  • Metals such as iron, brass, steel, and zinc
  • Plastics, lubricants and different polymers
  • They have scratch resistant and chemical resistant coatings as well.

Compressor Regulator Maintenance

The diaphragms of air compressor regulators break very often due to sudden changes in pressure as well as corrosion effects from the air. If there are cracks in it, the whole system will start leaking, and therefore it would become very hard to maintain a steady outlet pressure. The regulator gauges also give in after some time. They are cheap and can easily be replaced.


If you have a cracked and leaking diaphragm, it can be easily replaced as well. The home-based air compressor regulators are cheap, and it is recommended to replace them altogether than fix them. Industrial grade regulators, on the other hand, are quite expensive and simply disposing of them is not an option. Skilled professionals need to be called in for repairs, and the cost can be hefty. Since the regulators deal with such high pressures, it is quite common for different parts to stop working. Therefore, constant supervision and maintenance are needed to ensure the smooth flow of air through the whole system.