Pneumatic Valve Selection Guide

Pneumatic valve

Are you struggling to find a match to a pneumatic valve for your project? 

In this pneumatic valve buyer’s guide, we’re going to discuss everything that you should look for when purchasing a pneumatic valve. This will cover the features that you may find that official, as well as the benefits that come with buying pneumatic valves.

Keep reading to learn more.

What Is a Pneumatic Valve?

The pneumatic system uses compressed air to transport power. You can find pneumatic valves in a large variety of industrial applications. In the majority of pneumatic systems, you’ll find a pneumatic valve.

A pneumatic valve is responsible for controlling the air, the rate of air, and the pressure of the air that’s in the pneumatic system. While there are a large variety of pneumatic valves available in the market, the two main purposes for a pneumatic valve is to stop airflow completely or change the direction of airflow.

You may also run into solenoid valves, which are responsible for regulating the flow of air (and sometimes water) with a switch. Pneumatics manages pneumatic solenoid valves.

What to Consider When Purchasing a Pneumatic Valve

Choosing the right type of pneumatic valve will depend on the application you’re shopping for. With so many different options available for you to choose from, understanding the basic function of each pneumatic valve will help you choose the best available option for your project’s requirements.

Let’s take a closer look at what you should consider before you purchase a Pneumatic valve:

Method of Valve Actuation

The method of valve actuation describes how a valve is closed or open. The most commonly available options on the market are the solenoid pneumatic valves, which are controlled by an electrical current. However, you can find a manually operated pneumatic valve which can be controlled with a push-button, a foot pedal, or a lever.

You can also find mechanically operated pneumatic valves, which work when in contact with a plunger. Another option you can consider is a remote air operated schematic valve, which operates when checkered by an output signal that comes from another valve.

Valve Configuration

Pneumatic valve configurations come 2-way, 3-way, and 4-way. While there are many different available options, you should choose your valve based on the active media your valve will be handling.

A 2-way valve will have one outlet port and one in inlet port. When the valve enters actuation, the media will pass through or stop the flow. How the media passes through will depend on if you choose a normally closed two-way or a normally open two-way.

There are also 3-way valves, which have an additional port for the exhaust to use if the inlet port is blocked. You can find 3-way valves normally open and normally closed.

4-way Valves have a second outlet, as well as a second exhaust for addition to the three-way valve. 4-way valves and most commonly used to control double acting pneumatic actuators. 


Before you decide on a pneumatic valve, you have to know what is going to be controlled by this valve. Will a liquid or a gas be controlled by the pneumatic valve for purchasing? Also, what level of input pressure?

You have to ensure that the valve you are considering purchasing is compatible with the pressure passing through, as well as the media that you’ll be using it for.

You should consider whether the pneumatic valves will be handling water, negative pressure, compressed air, or gas.

Detented Actuation or Spring Return

The dented actuation refers to the method of return animatics used to go back to its un-actuated state.

In most situations, a mechanical spring will be used for the same actuation method that we discussed earlier. Some manufacturers will describe this method as dented valve types or a spring return valve type.

The deciding factor that you should make between the two is if you’re interested in having your pneumatic valve return to the original position that it was in or stay in the position that it goes to after actuation.

Valve Size

Also commonly referred to as the flow capacity, the valve size will be one of the final steps in the deciding factors of your pneumatic valve shopping journey.

If the valve size that you choose is too small, it will cause and if it can save in the system, which can result in lost time. However, if you choose a valve size that is too large, you can create waste in your system.

Having an estimate of the max load capacity that your application will experience will allow you to select the best valve size to handle your system efficiently.

All manufacturers that provide pneumatic valves in the market will have a flow capacity. However, you have to make sure that your valve choice will be able to the specific volume within a certain. Of time, based on your application.

You can the well capacity index on the valves you are considering under the ‘CV’ value. You may also find it identified as the flow coefficient, which will allow you to identify and compare different pneumatic valve sizes.

Finding the Best Pneumatic Valve for Your Project

We hope that this guide has helped you to discover the best valve for your unique project.

No matter if you’re in the robotic controls industry, medical industry, transportation industry, and machinery industry, TPC services are here to provide you with high-quality pneumatic components that are unlike any other available options.

To ask our TPC Automation experts a question about pneumatic components, click here.

To reach one of our pneumatics experts via phone call 562-946-8459 to get some assistance or to make an order. Or email us using our contact form.

To see valves available via our online store click here