What is a CFM Rating for an Air Compressor?

air compressors CFM rating

“Cubic Feet per Minute”, CFM is the measure of an air compressor’s output, or the air flow or air volume that it can supply per minute. Essentially, it determines how much power the compressor can supply to your pneumatic tools. Determining your maximum required CFM usage is one of the critical factors while choosing the right air compressors for your business. However, remember that compressed air accounts for a substantial 10% of the total electricity used in manufacturing industries. For maximizing the energy efficiency of your facility, it is important to select an air compressor that produces adequate power, without being a power-guzzler.  

The technical experts at Trident Compressed Air LTD. offer insights into CFM ratings for air compressors to help you make the right investments for your business.

Factors Impacting CFM Rating Requirements

While most pneumatic tools have a CFM requirement of about 5, the rating may vary vastly depending on the application. Here are some aspects that may influence your CFM requirements:

  • Nature of Usage: What type of tools do you use? Are they continuous use or intermittent use tools? For example, a spinning sander is a continuous use tool that needs more air volume and will typically have a CFM rating requirement of 8, whereas a nail gun, which needs single bursts of air may need just a 2.8 CFM.
  • Duration of Usage: Do you use most of your tools only for a few seconds or minutes, or for lengthy periods? For running air tools over an extended duration, you may need to invest in an air compressor with a 100% duty cycle. For shorter usage, you may be able to save money by purchasing an air compressor with lower CFM, or one that uses air receiver tanks.
  • Number of Tools: How many tools do you use at once? Depending on the number of simultaneous use tools, you may have to combine the CFM requirements of each tool to estimate your total CFM requirement.
  • Use of Air Receiver Tank: Your CFM requirement may vary if you plan to use compressors that need air receiver tanks. For example, a reciprocating compressor works with an air tank and runs at 100% duty cycle until the receiver tank runs out of stored air. In certain scenarios, compressors with air receiver tanks may be a good strategy for keeping up with higher CFM demand, without investing in a higher CFM air compressor. However, seek the help of compressed air solutions experts in order to determine the right fit for your business.

Pro Tip: To calculate the minimum CFM, multiply the CFM requirements of your tools or application by 11/2 i.e. (CFM X 1.5). 

Estimate Your Total CFM Requirements for Rightsized Investments in Air Compressors

At Trident Compressed Air, we specialize in a wide range of industrial air compressors that have extensive cross-industry applications. Our team of certified and experienced professionals can assist you in calculating your CFM requirements, as well as selecting the most suitable compressed air solutions for your business. Whether it is repairs, system expansions, or emergency rentals, we can help you maintain a steady supply of compressed air through our reliable range of products and services. 

For further queries on CFM requirement calculations, contact our office at (519) 737-9905 or fill out our online form. Our service department is on call 24 hours a day and we are eager to help answer any questions or concerns you may have about your equipment.