How to Increase CFM on An Air Compressor?

How to Increase CFM on An Air Compressor

When it comes to air compressors, the all-important indicator of its functionality is CFM, referring to cubic feet per minute. A higher CFM means the compressor pushes out air at a higher velocity. When looking up the CFM for your air compressor, you might find the terms SCFM or ACFM which refer to the short form of Standard cubic feet per minute and average cubic feet per minute respectively. An important consideration as you own an air compressor for longer is that you need to always have a higher rate of CFM than needed.

How to increase CFM on an air compressor

Combine two compressors

A common solution many choose is to buy another compressor and hook it up to the current tool. While this can lead to potential overheating problems or complete failure of either compressor, this is worth a try if you have a spare compressor.

Step 1: Gather your equipment

  • Male to Female connector
  • Male to Male connector
  • Pressure cable with a male connector on the end

Step 2: Create your compressor connector

Taking the male to female and male to male connectors, connect these together tightly, potentially sealing with some form of sealant if you want to be completely assured against leaks.

Step 3: Connect to the initial compressor

Hooking up your pressure cable to the output of your compressor, connect one end of the connector made in the previous step to the opposing end of the cable.

Step 4: Bridge two compressors

The other end of your connector should now be connected to the input valve of your other compressor.

Step 5: Run compressors in unison

Now that both units are connected you can turn both on and each compressor will work in sync to produce a higher CFM. This should work with a back-up safety of both compressors switching off automatically if the pressure gets too high in either.

Increase time for pressure build

A more economical method involves allowing more time for the compressor to maintain tank pressure. In order to exercise this option, you simply need to examine the regulator on your tool. Lower the regulator to the lowest setting possible for the job required, reassessing this as you use the compressor more. This will significantly boost the lifespan of your compressor, by allowing more time for the air to be repurposed into the compressor during use.

Why do you need higher CFM?

Air compressors are a great tool for simply pushing some air to dry areas or pump your tyres, but most of us will use these as a source of energy for air tools such as spray cleaners and air hammers. This is where the all-important CFM becomes a major consideration, most air compressors on the market will easily reach 90 psi, but the CFM differs greatly across different compressors. When you go to the shops for an air compressor, do the research on what CFM your tools need first. For example, sandblasters can range between 6 and 400 CFM requirements while a body polisher or vacuum cleaner may only require 2 or 6 CFM.

How to get more air pressure from a compressor

A good rule of thumb when you are finding your compressor simply won’t give you enough pressure is to consider the tool you are using with it. Many of the smaller affordable compressors will provide 90 psi but this will be pushing the machine very hard, while your tool may only require 30 psi or 40 psi to function. If you find your compressor struggling during normal operation with a lower psi tool, simply lower the pressure valve to a level that suits your tool. This will ensure more consistent pressure and reduce the detrimental strain on your compressor. For those unsure of where the pressure is changed from, there is usually a knob on top of the regulator gauge.

A common example of this problem is using a smaller compressor for a sandblaster, these usually require 6 CFM if not more, yet smaller compressors can reach 3CFM on a good day. By using the standard settings of the compressor, there will be very little air coming out of the tool until the compressor shuts off. This is because the compressor can’t take air in fast enough to replace the air pumped out at this high pressure. However, halving this pressure will produce a more consistent stream of airflow, ensuring you can use the tool albeit at less strength.

What is the best way to expand my air compressors lifetime of use?

While an air compressor may seem like a pretty simple device, there are a lot of considerations you need to make when operating to ensure you don’t burn the machine out.


As with any device under intense pressure while operating, the temperature of the operating space makes a big impact on how well it will operate and how long it’s lifespan will be. This is especially important for air compressors as the temperature of the air which is being taken in will affect how well the compressor operates. The best practice is to have a fan pointed at the compressor to lower the temperature while operating or to ensure the working space sits around 20 degrees Celsius.

Air quality

If you are using an air compressor on a stuffy worksite you are likely to encounter a noisier compressor while operating, not to mention one which will likely break down. Dirty pollutants will get stuck in the machinery of an air compressor very quickly and start to build up. Ensure you are operating in a clean space.


It’s pretty simple, water and machinery don’t mix, but with air-powered tools this ethos works a bit differently. Not only is direct exposure to water a problem, but humidity as well. Humidity will likely force your compressor to start rusting as well as reducing the storage capacity of air through building up on the inside of the compressor. Make sure you are in a humidity-free area when working with an air compressor.

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