Air compressors are capable of running multiple tools. However, a single air compressor isn’t able to drive all the tools you throw at it.
For instance, the air compressor that smoothly runs a nail gun or a tire inflator might not be suitable for driving an impact wrench or spray painting.
The reason is that every air compressor comes with a specific CFM rating.
Similarly, tools also have different operating CFM values, which might not necessarily connect with the CFM of your air compressor.
Therefore, you should know how to modify the CFM output to allow your machine to run as many tools as possible.
We will share some easy and cost-effective techniques with you in the article below. Hopefully, following any one of them will get you the desired outcome.
What Is This CFM?
CFM is an abbreviation of Cubic Feet Per Minute. The term describes the pace of the air that enters the air compressor.
Two things are required for calculating the CFM of an air compressor: a). Size of the air holder cylinder. b). Pump’s speed.
How to Increase CFM on an Air Compressor?
When we say increase the CFM of an air compressor, we aren’t talking about the factory set CFM of the pump.
We are actually referring to the CFM that can be drawn from the outlet of the compressor’s tank.
This can be done through the following methods.
Hooking Up Two Air Compressors
You can instantly boost the CFM by connecting another air compressor to yours.
This technique will give you a higher CFM than the optimum CFM limit of your current unit.
For instance, by joining two compressors of 5 and 3 CFM ratings, you will get 8CFM immediately.
The process for hooking two compressors is simple.
First, you need to connect both air compressors using two different hoses.
Then join the two hoses by using a third hose. Make sure the third hose has three holes.
Two of the holes will be used as inputs and the third one will serve as an output.
Finally, connect the output hole of the hose with the air tool. Yippee! You’re all set.
Side Effects of This Technique
The hack discussed above has a couple of flaws.
- It will take longer – almost double time – to fill both tanks.
- The likelihood of overheating.
- The whole setup will require more maintenance in order to stay functional.
Lessening the Pressure
This is a cost-effective method to enhance the CFM of your air compressor.
Every air compressor has a specific power level that is dependent on the pressure and CFM.
Mathematically speaking, it can be explained as Power = Pressure x (Volume/Time).
This Volume/Time is CFM. Now, we all know that the power limit of any air compressor is constant.
You cannot force the unit to exceed its power capacity.
All you can do is lower the pressure to allow the CFM to escalate.
Now, the million-dollar question is how one can do that?
It’s simpler than the first technique. Gradually dial down the regulator to bring it to the lowest setting.
As a result, the airflow into the tank will be slow, and the tank will take longer to fill.
Thus, the pressure buildup will be inferior. And that’s how you will get higher CFM.
For instance, your air compressor has a rating of 5CFM at 90PSI. Meaning, it will emit an air of 5CFM ( 5 cubic feet of air in a minute) when the pressure reaches 90PSI.
If you reduce the pressure from 90 PSI, the air output will be greater than 5CFM.
The best part of this procedure is that it reduces the probability of damage to the unit and increases its lifespan.
Resultantly, the air compressor works for longer.
How Much CFM do I Need?
The type of air tool you’re planning to work with will determine the amount of CFM you need. Some air tools operate on higher CFM and others on lower.
For example, ½” impact wrench requires approximately 5CFM to run while a framing nailer needs only 2.2CFM.
A pneumatic stapler will be content with 0.3 – 0.5 CFM, whereas a spraying gun will be happy with 5 – 7 CFM at 30 – 40 PSI.
Meaning, the CFM requirement will change according to the air tools and application.
Can I Decrease CFM of an Air Compressor?
What if it’s a reverse case, i.e. you need lower CFM? The answer is simple: decrease the CFM of your air compressor.
And before you ask, yes, it is possible.
What you have to do is simply set the compressor regulator to the highest to fill up the tank in a snap.
However, this process is risky and needs extra care because a sharp reduction in CFM value will prevent the tank from filling up quickly.
As a result, it will not have sufficient compressed air to offer to the air tools. Your tool will stop mid-work because of that.
Trust me, nothing is more annoying than that, especially when you’re halfway through your work.
So, we would recommend buying an air compressor that can support lower CFM levels as well.
Finding out how to increase the CFM of an air compressor is easy, but the execution of the technique is quite a challenge.
However, a thorough read of this article and then following any of the processes to the T will enable you to get the job done.
It is better to know how much CFM value your tools require so that you can increase/decrease the CFM of your air compressor accordingly.
Or, if your budget allows you to purchase a new air compressor having the desired CFM rating, then that’s your choice.