Sign up for the ControlAir newsletter.
Get news, updates, and offers direct to your inbox.
When it comes to the pricing of air pressure regulators there are a few factors that influence the cost. Those factors break down into the regulator’s level of accuracy, the complexity of design, the materials of construction, optional features, and the quantity being purchased. This blog post will discuss each factor further.
Accuracy and complexity of a regulator typically go hand in hand. The more accurate a unit is, the more complex it is when it comes to the unit’s components and the manufacturing process. Take the ControlAir Type 100 for example, this unit utilizes two molded diaphragms, a measuring capsule assembly, bleed orifice and a high gain pilot chamber to control the output pressure. Each component helps to improve the accuracy of this unit and makes the Type 100 ControlAir’s unit with the best sensitivity specification, at ⅛ inch water column. However, since there are more complex components, this increases the time it takes to build and test this unit which ultimately impacts the cost. Alternatively, the ControlAir Type 400 is a less complex, less sensitive unit. It falls into our general purpose category. Utilizing a main spring and a single diaphragm to control output pressure, the Type 400 is less sensitive, with a sensitivity specification of 1” water column. The build process for this unit uses fewer components and is more straightforward which helps to decrease the cost of the Type 400. In general, the greater the sensitivity rating of a regulator, then the more complex the construction of that unit. This causes units with a greater sensitivity to be more costly than general purpose units.
A second cost factor for regulators is the materials that they are constructed from. The most common materials in the industry are plastic, aluminum, and stainless steel. Each material has a trade off when it comes to price and durability. Plastic regulators will most often be the least expensive but they are more prone to breakage and quality issues. Aluminum regulators will be more expensive than a plastic one but can be used for longer periods of time, in more applications and typically will give the user better performance. Stainless steel regulators will be the most expensive of the three materials and can be 3-4 times more expensive than an aluminum unit. Stainless steel regulators are much more rugged however and can be used in highly corrosive environments. Typically, a stainless steel regulator would be used in off-shore applications, in chemical processing or in food and beverage applications. Corrosive salt water or wash-down environments can shorten the lifespan of an aluminum regulator.
The final cost factor to be aware of when purchasing a regulator is the benefit of larger quantities and economy of scale. Quite often, a manufacturer or distributor will be able to offer a lower price on a regulator if you are purchasing a larger quantity. From the manufacturer’s perspective, it is more cost effective for them to make 200 regulators at once versus 2. Because of this, most manufacturers will pass the savings that they incur on to their customer. So, if you are able to forecast how many units you will need in a given year, it is likely going to be more cost effective for you to purchase them all at once.