How to Increase CFM on Air Compressor?

Every air compressor comes with a CFM value. And air tools used by mechanics, handymen, or carpenters have specific CFM ratings to to increase cfm on air compressor In fact, CFM rating varies from tool to tool.

Often you may need to increase the air compressor CFM rating when handling tasks like spraying paint or working with an impact wrench.

So, how to increase CFM on air compressors? In this guide, I will share every detail related to increasing CFM on an air compressor. You will get a clear understanding of CFM too.

Let’s figure it out.

What is an Air Compressor CFM?

CFM is the short form of Cubic Feet Per Minute. This term plays a vital role in air compressor operation.

The air compressor’s air volume flow rate is known as CFM.

For example, an air compressor’s CFM value of 10 means it releases 10 cubic feet of air in a minute.

CFM value is directly linked to the air compressor application. As stated earlier, dissimilar air tools have different CFM values. This means you should own an air compressor based on the tools of CFM values.

Methods of Increasing Air Compressor CFM

Air compressors are designed with a precise CFM value and PSI pressure. (Such as 2 CFM @ 80 PSI)

Following the below 2 effective methods, you can increase the CFM value of your air compressor.

Method 01: Pressure Reducing to Increase CFM

If we look at the air compressor’s working process, we will find that

The power level is specified for each air compressor. Depending on the CFM value and air pressure, an air compressor’s power is determined. The mathematical formula is,

Power = P X (V / Time) 

Here, P = Pressure and V = Volume

In the above formula, (V / Time) is the CFM rating.

To sustain this continuous power, reducing the pressure is necessary when the requirement is to increase the CFM value.

Operating an air compressor away from its limitation of power is impossible. This means, that creating less pressure in the air compressor tank will assist you to increase the CFM value. And the regulator needs to dial lower to do so.

Once the regulator is dialed down, the tank starts getting filled with air and builds less pressure inside it. Due to the lower pressure, you will receive a high CFM rating.

Let me share an example that will help you to get a clear understanding.

Let’s assume you own an air compressor with 8 CFM @ 70 PSI. It means, that when the air compressor reaches 90 PSI, it will release 8 cubic feet of air in a minute.

When you start decreasing the pressure of air from 70 PSI, air output will automatically increase from 8 CFM.

This is an effective method of increasing air compressor CFM value.

The best thing about this method is, that it is safe to use, and no damage will happen to your air compressor.

Also, note that this method will allow you to increase the CFM to the compressor’s maximum limit.

Also, read our reviews on High-Pressure Air Compressor 4500PSI/30MPa

Method 02: Combining 2 Air Compressors to Increase CFM

The earlier method will be unable to provide more CFM than the compressor limit.

What will you do if your tools requirement is 10 CFM, but your air compressor can give you only 6 CFM?

Another method is there which will help you in this regard.

By connecting 2 compressors, you will get more CFM. Here the logic is pretty simple. Connect a 6 CFM and 4 CFM air compressor and get a total of 10 CFM ratings.

So, what is the procedure for connecting 2 air compressors? Follow the below simple steps.

Step 01

Take 2 air compressors. Make a connection between them using 2 separate hoses.

Step 02

Grab another hose. Make a connection between the 3rd and other 2 hoses.

Step 03

Ensure that the 3rd hose contains 3 holes. 2 of the holes will take air inside the tank, and the balanced hole will be responsible for releasing air (output hole).

Step 04

Finally, connect your tool with the output hole.

When you need more CFM than the limit of your compressor, you can follow this method. But remember one essential note.

This method is useful when you have 2 compressors in your hand. What if you have only 1 compressor? Will you buy another air compressor and connect 2 of your compressors to get more CFM? This is not practical at all.

At this point, you have to know your project requirement. If you are working with higher CFM tools frequently, it would be best to buy an air compressor with higher CFM. While having 2 air compressors with a low CFM rating will allow you to handle low CFM tasks.

What is the Process of Decreasing the CFM Value?

You have gone through 2 actionable increase CFM of air compressor methods; you might be thinking, is there any method available to decrease the CFM value?

Yes, it is possible if the air pressure requirement is not that much.

All you need to do is quickly fill the tank up. Rotate the regulator of the air compressor to fill up the air soon.

But when decreasing the air compressor CFM value, be careful. Too much reduction of the CFM value will lead you to an inability to correctly fill the tank pressure. As a result, the air tools may get turned off.

To avoid this problem, it is advisable to buy an air compressor with a lower CFM value.

Why is the Correct CFM Value Essential for Air Tools?

One question might have popped up in your mind, what will happen if I don’t use an air tool’s right air compression?

The answer is, that your air tool will start delivering improper results and getting damage soon.

Below are a few points that briefly answer the question:

  1. To increase the ability to work with the air tool, you have no other choice except to serve the tool with the right CFM. Every air tool comes with a workable CFM value range.
  2. If you provide low CFM air to your compressor, the durability of the compressor will be negatively affected.
  3. Time is valuable in every project. When you modify the air compressor to get a higher CFM, the tank will take more time to fill up with air.
  4. Improper CFM value will affect the air tools’ functionality.

How to Calculate Air Compressor CFM?

The air compressor CFM value is shared in the manufacturer instruction manual. But if you can’t remember the CFM value and the manual is lost, how will you know your air compressors’ CFM value?

Find the below practical process:

  1. First, get the tank volume in gallons.
  2. To get the volume (V), divide it by 7.48. (7.48 g = 1 cubic foot)
  3. Then release air from the tank to make it empty and again refill.
  4. When refilling, note down the time displayed in the gauge. PSI is the unit of it.
  5. Next, find out the difference between the air compressors’ kick in and time of kick out. For example, if 90 PSI is kicked in time and 60 PSI is kicked out time, 30 PSI will be the difference.
  6. After that, you need to find the pressure (P) in the ATM. For this, divide the difference by 14.7.
  7. You have the value of the P (pressure) and V (volume). Follow this formula CFM = Pressure X (Volume/60) to get the air compressor CFM value.


Is higher CFM a better air compressor?

Air compressors with higher CFM allow its user to handle larger jobs since they provide more air.

What determines the air compressor CFM?

Cubic feet per minute determine the air compressor flow rate. The CFM value tells the effectiveness of an air compressor. The stability of a specific work is also determined through the CFM value.

Does CFM change with PSI?

Yes, CFM values change with the change of PSI value. Volume is measured by CFM, while PSI tells you about the pressure.

Less pressure in the tank will give you higher air volume from the air compressor. On the flip side, air compressors’ air volume will get lower when the tank pressure is high.

How many CFM do I need for air tools?

Standard air tools like impact wrenches, nailers, drills, etc. require 0 – 5 CFM. It is essential to know if your purchased air compressor can provide the right CFM value to your air tools.

Final Words

Hopefully, now you have no questions related to increasing the CFM value on the air compressor. Discussed methods on how to increase CFM on air compressors are straightforward.

However, it would be best if you bought an air compressor according to the project requirement. This way, you can avoid the trouble of adjusting the air compressor CFM value.

So, which method do you follow? Let us know in the below comment box.