How to Increase CFM on an Air Compressor?

Are you worried about how to increase CFM on an air compressor? Check out these 5 methods to do it with great ease.

To attain your desired airflow rate in an air compressor you need to change the CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute)value. It is said that air compressors with high CFM rates can deliver a greater amount of air. So, you may need to increase CFM on an air compressor frequently.

There are many factors you need to learn about while increasing the CFM rating in an air compressor. To acquaint you with those factors I am presenting this in-detailed article on how to increase CFM on an air compressor.

What is CFM in an Air Compressor?

Air compressors are the most efficient, budget-friendly electric devices for converting power into potential energy by using a motor or engine. Air compressors can be portable which you can carry everywhere or stationary which remains fixed in one place.

CFM or cubic foot per meter is a unit of measurement which can be used in an air compressor. Air compressors follow two methods for measurement among them one is PSI and another is CFM. CFM can determine the efficacy of a compressor as a higher CFM requirement indicates higher potency. 

According to the amount of air pushed out by the compressor, the CFM should be increased. Increased CFM can give a better volumetric airflow and that’s why you must have a clear idea about this.

How to Calculate the CFM of an Air Compressor?

Increasing CFM on an air compressor is important but first, you have to know the CFM value. To know the current CFM value you can calculate it by following some techniques.

  • First, measure the volume of the tank in gallons. Divide it by 7.48 to convert the volume (V) into cubic feet.
  • Empty the filled tank and then refill once again. Do not forget to note the refilling time displayed on the gauge.
  • Then note down the PSI value at both times when the compressor kicks in and kicks out air. Calculate the difference between these PSI values.
  • Divide the result by 14.7 to get the pressure (P) of the compressor in the ATM.
  • Lastly, multiply pressure and volume and then divide by 60 to get the CFM value.

How to Increase CFM on an Air Compressor?

Before knowing the methods for increasing CFM you should learn about the type of your air compressor. Already I told that air compressors can be of two types. Their needs for increasing CFM are different, learn more about this below in this section.

Increasing CFM for Portable and Intermittent Air Tools

Portable air compressors are often used for small air-filled equipment. Intermittent air tools are those which you use for short periods not continuously. Increasing CFM for these air tools is not usually necessary as the demand for airflow is low. However, you may need to increase the CFM of such air compressors in a small amount sometimes.

Increasing CFM for Stationary and Continuous Air Tools

Stationary or fixed air compressors cannot be moved and they are often more powerful than portable ones. Continuous air tools are those that run continuously. These tools need huge airflow and the demand changes frequently. To meet the changing demands of these, you may need to increase the CFM very often.

Whichever is the type of your air compressor, after knowing the type, you should learn about the methods of increasing CFM.

Methods of Increasing CFM on an Air Compressor

There are several methods you can follow to increase the CFM on an air compressor. In this segment, I am going to give you a detailed guideline about the methods.

Method 1: By Decreasing the air Pressure

Air Compressor Decreasing the air Pressure

The formula for calculating the CFM value of an air compressor is dividing the multiplication of air pressure and volume by 60. On the other hand, the power of the air compressor is equal to the multiplication of pressure and CFM. If you want to increase the CFM you need to decrease the pressure. In this way, you can keep the compressor’s power constant.

However, the pressure is built inside the tank, and rather than decreasing the built pressure you can build less pressure in the tank. For doing this, you need to lower the pressure regulator so that the air enters slowly and produces less pressure inside. Thus the CFM value will be increased as well as the power.

Method 2: By adding another compressor of the same CFM value

Aiir Compressor CFM adding

If you use two compressors of the same CFM value you will get a better airflow rate which is obvious. So, to increase the CFM value and get a better continuous service you can add a compressor of the same CFM. The model and size of the two compressors will be the same as well.

All you need to do is connect the two using a compressed air line and an air-fitting of T-piece. After connecting them you can plug in your air tools and start your work with your air tool.

If you follow this method to increase the CFM value there will be no issue with fixing the synchronization problems. It is because the two compressors are of the same model, size, and CFM value. The cut-in and cut-out pressures of the two will be the same and there will be no issues.

Method 3: By Connecting two Compressors of different CFM Value

Air Compressor connecting on value

It is quite similar to method number two that I described above. The difference is here the two compressors are of different CFM values, models, and sizes. For example, if you connect a 5 CFM compressor with a 10 CFM compressor you can get the net output of 15 CFM. The net result will surely ensure you a better service.

Now come to the connecting procedure of these two different compressors:

  • Add two different hoses to the two compressors.
  • Take the third hose with three holes and connect the two hoses that are attached to the compressors. Among the three holes of the third hose, two are used as inputs and one as output.
  • The last task to do is connect the output of the third hose with your air tool. 

Well, it will be easier for you to connect two compressors if you already have them. But if you don’t have two compressors but need to increase CFM you need to buy a new one. It may not be cost-effective but to meet the higher demand for your air tools it will be a great solution.

Moreover, you may have to face the synchronization issue as you will be using two different compressors. To overcome this problem you can set an adjustable pressure switch.

Method 4: By Increasing the Size of the Compressor Pump

Air Compressor maintaining pump size

You might think of changing the motor of your compressor to a bigger one. But let me tell you one thing, the size of the motor won’t be able to increase the CFM value. The reason behind it is any compressor pump is designed to function with a particular motor size. So, without changing the pump size, changing the motor size will be of no use.

You can increase the size of the compressor pump which will effectively help you to increase the CFM value. After increasing the pump size, you can also replace the motor with a bigger one. But before making any change in the structure do measure the capability of your compressor.

Method 5: By Adding an Extra Receiver Tank

Air Compressor tank receving

You can add a new tank with the old tank of your compressor. This will let your compressor fill both tanks and there will remain a good reservoir. The CFM value will increase automatically to meet up the demand. Besides, the compressor will get extra cooling time as well.

This method is the easiest and most effective one regarding increasing the CFM value on an air compressor. But it is not suitable if you need continuous use of the air tools. This easy method is most suitable for intermittent use.

One more thing, you should be careful that even if you are adding an extra tank your air compressor should work within the limits of the duty cycle. That means before buying another tank you have to calculate everything first.


I have given you some suggestions for increasing the CFM value on an air compressor when needed. But if you have the capability and time you should buy a new compressor with a higher CFM value. It will be the best way of increasing the potency of your air tools.

All I have to say is that you should know about most things regarding a gadget you own. Hopefully, you get precise knowledge on how to increase CFM on an air compressor now. Give it a try and let me know your experience in the comment section below! 

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Oliver is an efficient interior designer and part-time content writer of TopToolsLab. He has strong research skills about tools, accessories, and products such as drills, saws, air composers, cutting machines, etc. He knows the correct uses of the part of every tool. He can give proper information and meaningful description to find out the perfect result of the tool.

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