How to Increase CFM on Air Compressor?

Air compressors are brilliant machines. They are the backbone of many machine shops and garages all over the world. Builders, carpenters, and painters rely on them to get their work done easily and quickly.

Sometimes, though, the needs of certain tools require more from your air compressor. What do you do when your job needs more air?

Use Another Compressor

Another Compressor

The first way to reach higher CFM is to use another compressor. To do this, connect the input and output lines to both compressors normally. Then, attach the output air hose from each compressor to a Y Piece fitting. Finally, connect your tool to the output of the Y piece and you’re good to go.

Following this method leads to an addition of the CFM from the two compressors. So if one compressor has 4 CFM and another has 3 CFM, then they will have 7 CFM when they are linked like this.

This method has some disadvantages so you should be cautious. First, the two compressors may take longer to fill their air tanks, especially if they are not identical. The delays might not be worth the extra work is done.

The second disadvantage is the added wear and tear on your machines. Running air compressors at full capacity can lead to overheating. By hooking up two compressors, you will be intentionally doing something the machines aren’t designed to do. It should work, but the maintenance problems might come back to bite you in the future.

Here’s how to set an air pressure:

Lower the PSI Output

CFM, which is cubic feet per minute) is the measure of how much air is coming out of your compressor. PSI (which is pounds per square inch) is a measure of how much pressure that air has when it comes out. In simple terms, CFM is how much air comes out and PSI is how hard the air comes out of your compressor.

These two are related. To maintain higher PSI ratings, compressors allow less air out of the hose. Lower PSI ratings are the opposite. Because of this, a lower PSI level can result in a higher CFM level. So you can turn down your compressor’s PSI regulator in order to get a boost to your CFM.

Why Would You Want to Change the CFM?

Nail guns

As we said, different jobs and tools need different levels of air. The most obvious example is air paint sprayers. They need high levels of CFM to operate well. Air nail guns are the exact opposite. Nail guns need high PSI but low CFM.

So, your most common job might need a certain level of CFM and your current air compressor is the perfect setup for it. Then, another job comes along and you need a different setup. An example of this might be an auto shop. Most of the compressor work is done to remove nuts and bolts. 

Then, a piece of trim needs to be painted for a customer. Either one of the two methods we taught you will get the shop through that one job.

The Best Solution

Getting through one job is usually no problem. However, if the same auto shop wants to offer more paint services, it should have a different air compressor solution. Rigging air compressors to do jobs they weren’t intended for is only a short-term answer.

The better plan is to buy a suitable air compressor. This is a better plan for a few reasons:

  • The performance will be better when the tool matches the job.
  • An unplanned replacement when a compressor breaks can lead to higher costs and downtime. It might be cheaper to buy the right compressor in the first place.
  • Buying new tools and increasing capabilities is an investment in your business and yourself.

The Final Word

Knowing how to increase CFM on-air compressors is pretty easy. Knowing why you should and shouldn’t do so is a slightly trickier thing. In our opinion, following either of the two methods we listed will be enough to get you through a simple job. In the long run, you are better off buying the right tool for your work. Make an investment in yourself and your business and buy a new compressor.

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