Hydraulic Pressure Reducing Valve – The Ultimate Guide

Before investing in your next pressure-reducing valve read this guide. It has everything you need to know about pressure reduction – from parts, working principles, and benefits to practical applications.

What Is A Hydraulic Pressure Reducing Valve

This is a mechanical device that assists in reducing the pressure in some areas of a hydraulic system. The whole hydraulic system cannot operate under the same pressure and you will end up damaging your machine.

This 2-way valve can allow the fluid to pass through it under a certain pressure. When the set pressure is exceeded, the throttle flow is diverted to take to the branches of the Hydraulic system.

So, we can safely say that the main purpose of Hydraulic Pressure Reducing Valves is to regulate the secondary pressure. In addition, they are normally open.

Hydraulic Pressure Reducing Valve
Hydraulic Pressure Reducing Valve

Benefits Of A Hydraulic Pressure Reducing Valve

You can get a range of benefits when you apply the Hydraulic Pressure-reducing valve in your installations. Let us have a look at some of them:

  • They limit extremely high pressures in your hydraulic system that may otherwise damage the system
  • They enable you to achieve a fluid flow rate that is very consistent across your hydraulic system
  • The static pressure control it accords your hydraulic system reduces gradual pressure creep when there is no fluid flow.

Parts Of A Hydraulic Pressure Reducing Valve

As you well know, the structure and design of the Hydraulic Pressure-reducing valve is not that complex. It has very few components that give it a rapid and straightforward operation.

The basic components you will find in your valve include:

  • Valve Housing: encapsulates all the working components of the valve
  • Pressure Spring: maintains the position of the sliding valve by returning it to its position under normal operating conditions
  • Piston slide valve: its motion either closes or opens the valve ports to regulate the amount of fluid flowing through it.
Hydraulic Pressure Reducing Valve Parts
Hydraulic Pressure Reducing Valve Parts

How A Hydraulic Pressure Reducing Valve Works

First, you have to be aware that what actuates the pressure-reducing valve is pressure from the hydraulic system downstream. This said the pressure-reducing valve controls this pressure using its spool that is spring-loaded.

The fluid is allowed to flow freely within the valve when the valve setting pressure supersedes the downstream pressure. You should note that this fluid flow occurs from the valve’s inlet to its outlet.

When the downstream pressure matches the valve setting, there is a spool shift to the right partly obstructing the outlet port. This allows just the right amount of fluid through the outlet port to balance the preset pressure.

When the valve fully shuts, there is a build-up of downstream pressure that exceeds the valve setting. This built-up pressure is eased because the valve has a drain line that allows a continuous bleed that takes it to the tank.

Hydraulic Pressure Reducing Valve Working Principle
Hydraulic Pressure Reducing Valve Working Principle

You should realize that the fluid can only flow in the reverse direction if the pressure goes beyond the valve setting. The valve will react by shutting and preventing the reverse flow.

This means that your pressure-reducing valve is designed with a check valve that counters reverse fluid flow.

Hydraulic Pressure Reducing Valve Vs Pressure Relief Valves

The common thing about these two valves is that you can use them to manage the pressure in your applications. However, they differ in some aspects both design and operational.

We can analyze some of the common differences between the two in terms of:


Pressure Reducing Valve: regulates the input pressure when high to an output pressure that is lower and very constant.

Pressure Relief Valve: they protect your system by releasing any buildup of surplus pressure


Pressure Reducing Valve: A change in input pressure adjusts the valve to produce a stable output pressure. This operation happens automatically.

Pressure Relief Valve: it can only be active when extreme pressure levels in your system are attained. This activates the valve to release the excess pressure.


Pressure Reducing Valve: they have a complex design compared to the pressure relief valve. They have more parts resulting in a complex operation process.

Pressure Relief Valve: their design is basic and simple. They are just spring-loaded devices.


Pressure Reducing Valve: we commonly use them in hydraulic systems with parts that require pressures lower than the general system.

Pressure Relief Valve: we apply them in any system that may be deemed unsafe when their operating pressure exceeds the set value.


Pressure Reducing Valve: it regulates the fluid flow by reducing its pressure

Pressure Relief Valve: it reroutes the direction of the fluid flow when the system pressure exceeds the allowable safe levels.


Pressure Reducing Valve: this valve operates frequently the moment your hydraulic system starts operating. This means that you are required to constantly and regularly maintain it.

Pressure Relief Valve: This valve goes into action only when the system pressure is overloaded. This means you will carry out very minimal maintenance on it.

Pressure Relief Valves
Pressure Relief Valves

Applications Of Hydraulic Pressure Reducing Valve

Just as the name suggests, you will reap maximum benefits when you apply this valve to your hydraulic system. It works together with your system’s relief valves to maintain the pressure of your hydraulic system.

They ensure that you have the most appropriate system of working pressure. This device is neither off nor on but operates continuously to adjust and regulate your system’s pressure.

More Resources:

Hydraulic System Parts – Source: TARGET HYDRAULICS

All About Hydraulic Valves – Source: THOMASNET

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