How to Adjust Air Compressor Pressure Regulator? 3 Simple Steps

Pressure is an essential element of an air compressor. Some folks need low pressure to do small tasks like inflating tires, filling pool floats, running other light pneumatic tools, and some need it to operate heavy tools. If you don’t know how to use a pressure regulator, you can’t adjust and get the required pressure. So, we have given an in-depth guide to using the regulator.

What is a Pressure Regulator?

A pressure regulator is available in every compressor to control the airflow. It contains a knob and an analog gauge to measure the pressure and is connected to the tank. The pressure regulator is handy because we move the knob in the opposite direction whenever we need our desired pressure.

The compressors that are used at an average level have a pressure rating of a maximum of 150 psi. You can see the regulator gauge; it has the highest rating of 150 psi. It means you can get any pressure value from 0 to 150 psi. The regulator also helps measure the amount of air left inside the tank. We can save the tank from over-pressurizing by observing the pressure value on the regulator’s gauge.

Let’s understand how the pressure regulator works.

 Working of Regulator

Regulators are designed to keep the pressure inside the air compressor and allow it to come out from outlets depending upon our needs. For how much we need pressure, we have to adjust these regulators so that they can maintain pressure according to our instructions.

It has a knob on the top that changes the pressure levels. Inside it, there is a diaphragm that doesn’t move because of zero pressure inside the tank. When the compressor starts building pressure, we move the knob, the valve pin, and the valve seat drops along with the diaphragm, allowing air to pass from the inlet valve. Simultaneously, it allows the pressure to exit from the outlet valve.

There is a breather hole close to the outlet valve that connects with the diaphragm. When the air starts collecting in that breather hole, the pressure becomes high in that area, forcing the diaphragm to move back to its original position. When pressure is reduced through the outlet valve, the diaphragm moves downward and pushes the valve pin down; the air starts passing through the valve. The process continues happening, and this way regulator maintains the pressure.

Procedure to Adjust Regulator

Step #1:

First, you need cut-in pressure; to do this, turn off your compressor. After that, if you want new reading or adjustment, then drain the tank. When the tank is empty, the reading arrow of the monitor will be on a zero position, and you can easily adjust the new reading according to your desired requirements.

Step #2:

After you set your reading position to zero, you can start your air compressor. And give some time to the unit to fill the tank, which will take only a few minutes depending on your compressor performance.

Step #3:

Once the tank fills, now it’s time to adjust the regulator. You can adjust the regulator before filling the tank also. To adjust the regulator, if you need low pressure, you should move the knob or dial on the regulator anticlockwise, and if you want to increase pressure, you have to move the knob clockwise. You have to move the knob slowly to adjust the pressure while watching the pressure gauge and then setting the pressure to desired requirements.

  • Note: You must check if the knob has some leakages because it won’t run the unit properly. To check the leakage, you can drop some soup water on the area around the knob; if bubbles start coming out, you will know the leakage area and then fix it. If there are no bubbles, you can use the compressor. This is just for safety purposes and to prevent you from any issues.

Reading on Regulator

We have only a monitor display with an arrow to get a reading from the regulator. And this arrow is positioned on zero when the compressor is off, and the tank is empty. But as we turn on our air compressor, it starts making pressure inside the tank, with which the arrow of the monitor also begins moving towards high readings.

Usually, every compressor has two gauges in it that measure pressure. One is for measuring how much pressure is inside the tank; the second is for adjusting the pressure, where the tool is to be attached.

The tank pressure guage has a maximum reading of 0-100 psi, 0-150 psi, 0-175 psi, & 0-200 psi used on the normal home garage or shop level. Similarly, the second gauge helps in getting pressure according to the tool. Different pneumatic tools run on different pressure levels; for your help, we have made a table below that contains the operating psi of the tool.

ToolOperating Pressure
Pneumatic hammer90 to 100 psi
Spray gun 90 to 100 psi
Pneumatic drill 70 to 90 psi
Die grinder  70 to 90 psi
Brad nailer 70 to 90 psi
Framing nailer 100 to 130 psi
Tire inflator 100 to 150 psi
Angle grinder 90 to 100 psi
Pneumatic sander 90 to 100 psi

Need of Regulator

You will need a regulator in your compressor because it controls airflow and prevents overfilling of the tank. Your compressor does not run continuously; it turns off when the unit reaches maximum cutout pressure and when the pressure drops, we again start the unit to get the highest psi. In this scenario, the pressure regulator plays a leading role by telling the amount of pressure stored in the tank. This way, it also helps us to tell when to turn on or off the compressor.

Small pneumatic tools need less psi to operate, and here the regulator helps reduce the pressure required for the job. It prevents over-pressurization, saves energy, and makes the compressor durable.

Wrapping Up

It’s not difficult to play with a pressure regulator, and if you want to become a pro at using an air compressor, you should have a clear idea to use the regulator. We recommend you use different tools on the compressor that will help in adjusting different pressure levels. We hope you get the complete information about adjusting the pressure regulator; if you like our work, do share it with your friends.


How to remove the pressure regulator knob?

The pressure regulator knob helps to increase or decrease the pressure level in an air compressor. If the regulator knob is broken and you face difficulty maintaining the device pressure, the simple solution is to replace it.

There is a screw on the top of the knob; first, unscrew it and remove the broken knob. Get a new knob and place it in the same position as the old one. Tight the screw and try to rotate the knob in both directions. If it fits properly and everything is OK, you can use it without any tension.

What happens if I seal the pressure regulator on my air compressor?

Many compressor users face pressure regulator leak problems. When the regulator starts leaking, you may have severe issues like the air compressor not stopping and leakage. So, the most significant benefit of sealing all the pressure regulator valves is it prevents pressure leakage.

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