Informational Guide

How To Adjust Air Compressor Pressure Regulator

It’s important to maintain your air compressor, and part of that maintenance is knowing how to adjust the pressure regulator DIY.

An air compressor is an invaluable tool for mechanics that need more control for pneumatic tools or other applications. However, you must know how to adjust the air compressor pressure regulator to get your jobs done.  

Our guide covers how to adjust PSI on an air compressor and answer how does an air compressor pressure regulator work? 

Before you figure out how to adjust the pressure on an Ingersoll Rand air compressor, you want to know how it works and what it is. Airflow to the compressor is controlled by a large screw. Springs are connected to the screw through a shaft, with the springs containing enough strength to force the valve open that let air flow by.  

Here are some parts of the air compressor pressure regulator. 

Regulator Body 

The body of the regulator houses the controls. It is the area where the regulator parts are contained.  

Regulator Handle or Knob 

The knob or handle allows you to make the appropriate adjustment. Some are easier to use than others.  

Pressure Gauge 

The pressure gauge reveals how much air is being compressed and at what psi (pounds per square inch.) 

kittory air compressor

Why Is Pressure Regulator Adjustment Important?

Why do you need to know how to adjust the pressure switch on an air compressor? If there’s not enough pressure, only uncompressed air is moving through it. On the other hand, if the pressure moves beyond the upper limit, the compressor components will be quickly damaged.  

If you don't want to damage your air tools or compressor, you must regulate how much air is moving through the system. You also need to ensure that all air tools are run by the manufacturer's recommended pressures to ensure they operate as intended. Find the appropriate PSI listed in the owner's manual for each tool.  

How To Adjust Air Compressor Pressure Regulator

If you want to know how to adjust the air pressure on an air compressor, you only need a few minutes and a little basic mechanical knowledge. Follow these steps if you are looking to figure out how to adjust the air compressor pressure switch. 

  1. 1
    Before you can learn how to adjust an unloader valve on an air compressor, you need to turn the machine on. Nothing can happen until it is plugged in.  
  2. 2
    Allow the tank to fill up with air. It will stop running once the tank has filled up.  
  3. 3
    Once the tank is full, you are ready to learn how to adjust the air compressor pressure switch control valve. 
  4. 4
    If your air tool requires more psi than the compressor provides, you need to get a more powerful model. However, if the pressure coming from the compressor is too much, it’s time to figure out how to adjust an air compressor pressure regulator. 
  5. 5
    Connect your tool to the air compressor with the hose. 
  6. 6
    Look for the knob or switch that adjusts the pressure. Turn it the appropriate way to change the pressure. On some models, you might have to pull out the knob to unlock it first.  
  7. 7
    Once you have it set for the right amount of pressure, simply lock it back in place.  

You might have to re-adjust the pressures when you use another tool. In addition, each pneumatic tool has its own pressure requirements, so be careful where the compressor is adjusted when you switch equipment.  

air compressor pressure regulator

How To Adjust Cut In & Cut Out Pressure? 

What is the air compressor cut-off switch? You can set two different pressures on some models where the compressor begins and stops. When the compressor reaches its cut out pressure, it will stop. On the other hand, once the pressure drops back to the cut in pressure, it will start back up again.  

You must be careful when you learn how to adjust cut in pressure on an air compressor. If the difference of the cut out and cut in pressure is too small, the compressors repeatedly turns on and off, leading to premature wear.  

The majority of compressors make it simple to learn how to adjust cut out pressure on an air compressor. You should be able to adjust the pressure setting with the switch provided. You can set a fixed differential or adjust each pressure individually.  

People Also Ask (FAQs)

How many pressure regulators do I need for an air compressor? 

If you are using simultaneous tools, you will need a separate regulator for each piece of equipment. However, if you are only using one tool, you can use one regulator as long as you adjust it with each new tool.  

What are some risks involved in adjusting the air compressor regulator? 

You can allow too much pressure that could cause damage to the air tools you are using. To ensure the regulator and compressor are working as they should, you want to perform regular compressor maintenance 

Is the regulator controlled by the pressure switch on the air compressor? 

The compressor motor starts to pressurize the air inside. Once the desired pressure is reached, the diaphragm in the pressure switch pushes into a mechanism that forces the contacts apart to break the circuit and stop the motor from running.  

How often do I adjust the pressure regulator of an air compressor? 

You can adjust the regulator any time you add a new pneumatic air tool, or you have different pressure needs. However, you don't want to adjust the pressure regulator unnecessarily.  


Now that you know how to adjust a pressure switch on an air compressor, you are ready to use all of your tools with ease. Make sure the adjustments are correct to ensure a superior lifespan of the tools you are using.