What Is CFM On An Air Compressor? With chart

What is CFM on an air compressor? As a compressor user, you have to know it. When you want to buy a compressor or determine what air tools you should use, you must understand CFM. Because CFM is an essential factor in deciding on a compressor.  

The complete form of CFM is Cubic Feet Per Minute. It measures the compressor how much air can produce at a given pressure.

What is a good CFM for a compressor? It depends on the air tool that you will use. Also, you have to do a work plan. We will discuss CFM in this article.     

Read: CFM vs PSI

What is CFM on an Air Compressor?

CFM stands for cubic feet per minute. It measures the volume of compressed air. The CFM represents how much compressed air supply in one minute. 

The CFM rate is also called the flow rate of the compressor. You can easily understand what kind of air tool you can use from the CFM rate. 

A compressor with a higher CFM rating means it is more capable and a compressor with less CFM is less capable. But the higher CFM rating of compressor news larger tank size. The compressor needs more cycles if you use a small tank with ample CFM.

You have to refill the oil continuously. That isn’t very pleasant. Also, the production will become downtime. When you use air tools constantly, they require higher CFM. It would be best to have a large tank with a higher CFM for the compressor.  

The higher CFM of a compressor is perfect for all types of work. But you should not buy and use the higher CFM. What CFM rating is suitable for you depends on your work. You have to find out what the compressor will use for before buying. 

Remember, a higher CFM compressor is expensive. So you have to be careful about the select compressor. In this article, we will discuss CFM. We will explain the CFM factor of a compressor. Also, we will discuss how much CFM air compressor you need. 

What is a Good CFM for an Air Compressor

What is a good CFM for an air compressor?

How much CFM do I need?

Every compressor needs to know the CFM factor. We already discussed what is CFM on a compressor means. Now we will know what s a good CFM for an air compressor. 

Most of the compressor has 0.5 to 5 CFM rating. This CFM rate is suitable for home use. You can do all types of work with this CFM rate. Now, if you ask, what is good CFM for you, we will say it depends on you.  

A reasonable CFM rate on a compressor depends on your working plan and air tools. The CFM rate depends on these factors.

  • What type of air tools you will use on the compressor
  • How long do you will work
  • What kind of work do you want to do? 

Select a low CFM rating compressor if you want to do minor work. Like, a 5 CFM compressor allows you to operate some small essential tools and pieces, fill up tires and inflate sports equipment, etc. you need a 5@90 compressor for this type of work. Here, 5 is CFM, and 90 is PSI.

PSI is also an essential factor in determining the compressor. So before buying a compressor, you also check the PSI rate.  

 The market has different CFM-rating compressors. So before buying a compressor, you need to research the air tools you will use. Once you find out the highest CFM requirements of your air tools, you can easily select the best compressor.    

How Much CFM Rating Do You Need

After research, you know the highest CFM requirements of your air tools. Now you have to find out how much CFM rating you need

I am finding out what CFM air compressor you need is pretty straightforward. 

  • First, decide what type of air tools you will use
  • Then, determine the highest CFM rate requirements of the air tools
  • After that, multiply the highest air-tool CFM by 1.5
  • Finally, you get the suitable CFM rate for your compressor

For example, you want to use the compressor for drill work, and the air tools require 4 CFM at 90 PSI. Now multiply four by 1.5 to determine the CFM rating that you need on your compressor. 

After multiplying the amount, it is

4*1.5 = 6

So the compressor with 6 CFM at a 90 PSI rating is good for you. 

In this way, you can determine any compressor CFM rating. Remember, always multiply the highest CFM rating of your air tools. Because you are not always using the highest CFM rate. It is for safety. 

Sometimes you also need to do heavy work. You can use the same compressor for heavy duty. Otherwise, it can help the compressor to prolong its life.

The CFM Chart of Different Air Tools

All air tools are not required the same CFM rating. Here, we give the CFM chart of different air tools. But remember, the factored rate is 25% in most of the ratings. That means the tool work 15 seconds for every minute. 

Air ToolCFM and PSI
Brad Nailer 0.5 CFM @ 90 PSI 
Framing Nailer2 CFM @ 90 PSI 
Tire Inflator2 CFM @ 90 PSI 
DISC Sander20 CFM @ 90 PSI 
Drill4 CFM @ 90 PSI 
Paint Spray Gun4 CFM @ 90 PSI 
Speed Saw4 CFM @ 90 PSI 
Hammer4 CFM @ 90 PSI 

How to Increase CFM Rating

During operation, sometimes you need to increase the CFM rating. But is it possible to increase the CFM rating? If yes, how to improve the CFM rating?

How to get more CFM out of the air compressor
Read to know how to get more CFM out of the air compressor.

You can increase your compressor CFM rating. You can do it in two ways. 

Way one:

  • First purchase another compressor
  • Then connect the old and new compressor
  • Now start both together
  • You get a higher CFM 

When you buy another compressor, try to purchase a higher CFM rating. 

Way Two:

Another way is to run down the pressure regulator dial to a lower setting where your air tool will function. But before turning down the pressure regulator dial, you must ensure that the compressor works well. 


What is CFM at 90 PSI?

CFM rating depends on what type of air tool you want to use. Most air compressor CFM rating is 0.5 t 5. You can use 05, 2, 4, or any CFM at 90 PSI. It depends on your air tool and work type.  

Is higher CFM better air compressor?

Yes, Higher CFM is a better air compressor. But it may not be suitable for you. Because, which CFM is good for you, depends on your air tools and work type. If you want to use a compressor for light work, you do need to use a higher CFM rating compressor. Remember, a higher CFM air compressor is expensive. 

How many CFM compressors do I need?

It depends on your work type and what type of air tools you will use. Most portable air compressors require 0 to 0.5 CFM at 70 to 90 PSI. 

What determines the CFM of an air compressor? 

An air compressor’s CFM determines the air tools and work type. To decide the CFM rate, you have to find out the highest CFM rate that air tool you will use. 

Final Thought

To get the best compressor, you need to understand the CFM rating. In this article, we discussed what CFM is in an air compressor. But you also have to understand the PSI. Both are critical factors for determining the compressor.

Most of the compressor CFM rating is 0.5 to 5, which is enough for home use. However, you must determine the CFM rating before purchasing the compressor. The CFM rate depends on the air tool you will use and the work type. 

So first, find out the highest CFM rate on your compressor tool. Then calculate which CFM rate is good for you.   

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