Industry, Manufacturing

How to Calculate Your Compressor System’s Working Pressure


Working pressure is a critical factor that can significantly impact energy consumption when it comes to dimensioning a compressed air installation.

The compressor along with its system design, piping, valve, dryers, filters and other ancillary equipment help determine the necessary working pressure. Different types of equipment can demand varying pressures within the same system. Normally, the application with the highest pressure determines the requisite installation pressure, and other equipment is fit with pressure reducing valves or regulators at the point of consumption. 

Example for calculating working pressure 

To calculate the compressor system’s working pressure, you need to know your production equipment’s air pressure requirement while taking into consideration the source, which can cause pressure drops along the way from the compressor to the production line.


Pressure (PSI)

Production line requirement


Sources of Pressure Drop

Pressure (PSI)



Coalescing Filter


Dust Filter


Piping (elbows, reducers, valves, fittings)


Required Compressor pressure

100 PSI

Calculating your equipment’s total air requirement

To assess your equipment’s air requirement, you can use the following table as a guide. The table breaks down individual utilization factors to determine upper and lower limits for overall air demand.

Connected equipment

Nominal air requirement

Utilization factor

Total air requirement average


300 CFM


150 CFM

Production lines

200 CFM


160 CFM

Process lines, total



310 CFM

In this example, we would need a compressor that could produce 310 cfm at 100 psi.

Factors to consider when determining your equipment’s air equipment and the system’s working pressure

  • The air requirement for your connected equipment can be obtained from tool catalogues and production equipment data.
  • Pressure drop increases as flow increases. If a change in consumption is expected, it’s economical to adapt the installation to these conditions.
  • Filters have a low initial pressure drop, but this increases as filters can become clogged over time. They should be replaced at the recommended pressure drop.
  • The compressor’s flow regulation causes pressure variations and should be included in the assessment.
  • The end application along with the pressure drop between the compressor and the end use can determine the working pressure needed.

Understanding your system’s working pressure can help save time and money in the long run. Get expert insight into your application demands and how you can adapt your compressor installation accordingly when you leave us a comment below.