Definition of Back Pressure Regulator

Back Pressure versus Pressure Reducing Regulators

Back Pressure Regulators versus Pressure Reducing Regulators

Back pressure regulators work differently than standard, or pressure reducing regulators, and it is important to define the difference.

Pressure reducing regulators reduce a higher supply pressure at the inlet down to a regulated lower pressure at the outlet (downstream). Back pressure regualators work the opposite way. They regulate the higher inlet (upstream) pressure by opening up only as much as necessary to hold back the desired pressure at the inlet (upstream).

Backpressure regulators work just like relief valves, but the emphasis is on steady state pressure control instead of on/off pressure protection.

Back pressure regulators are often used for:

  • control of pressure in recirculating loops
    (i.e. pressure bypass regulators)
  • relief of excess system pressure
  • vacuum regulation ( more)
TypePressure Reducing RegulatorBack Pressure Regulator
SchematicPressure reducing regulator schematicback pressure regulator schematic
Simple DesignHow a pressure reducing regulator works schematichow a back pressure regulator works schematic
Controls PressureDownstreamUpstream
Opens to:Increase pressure downstreamDecrease pressure upstream
Closes to:Decrease pressure downstreamIncrease pressure upstream

Back Pressure Products from Equilibar:

research-back-pressure-regulator_220 Research Series Back Pressure Regulators 1/16" to 1/4"
0 - 10,000 psig
back-pressure-valve Industrial Service Back Pressure Valves 1.5" to 4"
0 - 1000 psig
Electronic Vacuum Regulator Electronic Back Pressure Regulators 1/4" to 4"
0 - 5000 psia
Back pressure regulators are also similar to back pressure valves, though the term “valve” implies a different control mechanism.

Back pressure regulators are also similar to pressure relief valves in that both control their inlet pressure. However, the emphasis for pressure relief valves is typically not for steady state flow control, but for relief of inadvertent pressure excursions.

BPR’s are also sometimes referred to as pressure sustaining regulators or pressure sustaining valves.

Precision Back Pressure Regulation

Equilibar has developed a unique technology which provides extremely high pressure stability across widely varying flow rates and process conditions. Learn more about our dome-loaded back pressure regulators and how they work.

Can the Equilibar® back pressure regulator be substituted for a standard regulator?

Some applications can be modified to accept back pressure regulator. Why would you do this? If you need extremely high precision in the low pressure range, or the convenience of accurately controlling a pressure from a remote computer signal, it may be worthwhile to determine if the Equilibar® back pressure regulator can still meet your needs.

  • Can you recirculate excess fluid back to an upstream vessel (i.e. a recirculating pump)?
  • Are you working with a low flow rate of air, water, or other fluid where an excess quantity can be economically exhausted or recycled?

If the answer to either of these is yes or maybe, feel free to contact one of Equilibar’s application engineers for a free consultation about your unique requirements. We will help you determine if a back pressure regulator is applicable for your application. If we can’t help you, we will recommend other products that will.

The schematic at right is an example of the Equilbar® being in place of a standard regulator to supply ultra-precise low-pressure flow control. The variable flowmeter supplies constant flow to the Equilibar®, which then exhausts only the portion not needed by the downstream process. For liquid or rare gas applications, the exhaust could be replaced by a recirculation pump to recover the excess flow.

Learn more about Equilibar’s unique high precision back pressure regulators.

Contact our engineers to discuss your unique application.

Equilibar backpressure regulator

The Equilibar backpressure regulator uses a unique design to produce unmatched precision across widely varying flow rates and process conditions

Equilibar performance comparison chart

Comparison of Equilibar versus traditional back pressure regulators