How to Increase CFM on Air Compressor: 2 Actionable Methods


If you’re a mechanic, carpenter or any other kind of handyman, air tools are the day to day companion of yours. As you know, air tools come with a very strict requirement of compressor air. And the source of serving them up is the air compressor.

Now, different air tools have different CFM requirements. But from a certain compressor, you should not expect to source it all. Therefore, you need to modify it for higher CFM output.

And what is the way to do that?

Well, we’ve got two simple methods on how to increase CFM on air compressor at two different extents. Let’s go and figure them out-

Let’s Understand Air Compressor CFM First

As you know, CFM stands for Cubic Feet Per Minute, which is the speed of the air that gets into the compressor. It’s an imperial measurement, not a metric measurement.

To calculate the CFM of a compressor, you’ve taken two things into consideration. One is the size of the air holder cylinder, and another is the speed at which the pump operates.

How to Increase CFM on Air Compressor?

In some situation, you might bring on more air pressure to work with either heavier air tools, or more than one air tools at the same time. Therefore, the existing air CFM might not be sufficient.

So, the million dollar question is- is there actually any way to increase the CFm of the compressor?

Well, the answer is YES, but you need to choose between these two methods-

  1. Combining it up with another compressor.
  2. Allowing the compressor with more time.

We will discuss both of the methods below-

Method 1: Combining Up Two Air Compressors


In order to give your compressor an instant boost in terms of CFM, you have to buy another compressor or same or equivalent power, and hook them up together. Because, no matter whichever modification you do to a compressor, it can’t exceed its maximum output in terms of CFM.

Now, there are a number of side effects throughout this process. Here they are-

  1. It will take more time (double, in fact) to fill up the compressor tanks.
  2. Overheating issues are more likely to take place.
  3. You might need to put more maintenance effort to keep the whole setup running.

Method 2: Allowing the Compressor with More Time

Another simple and less expensive to enhance your compressor CFM is to allow it with some more time to work on the compressed air. This will eventually, let the compressor to keep the tank pressure up.


Now, what are the steps to do that?

The process is simple. All you have to do is dial down the regulation at the lowest settings. What this will do is, it will run the compressor motor for a longer time. So the density of the compressed air will be higher. As a result, you will get a better CFM. In case you are new to this process, educate yourself about how to adjust pressure switch on air compressor.

One effective advice is not to go for the lowest regular settings at the very first place. You can go down gradually with the control, and move towards the highest CFM output possible over time.

Important Note: this method is perfect for giving your compressor a slightly higher CFM boost. In case you want to double or triple your air compressor CFM, this won’t be a preferred method.

A good thing about this process is, it will enhance the compressor’s lifetime.

What If You Want To Decrease The CFM?

A very relevant question that comes next to ‘increasing compressor CFM’ is- can I decrease the compressor CFM as well?

Well, you can definitely do that, in case you don’t want as much air pressure as it’s likely to contain. The quick way to do that is to fill up the air tank on a quick basis. You can just simply rotate the compressor regulator to fill up the air sharp, and that’s it.

But be careful when you’re attempting to decrease the air compressor CFM. Too much fall in the CFM count will lead you to an inability of filling up the compressor tank properly.  This will eventually, stop the air tool you’re using with that compressor.

The best way to attain a lower CFM is by buying a compressor with a lower CFM value. This might cost you some extra bucks, but this is the ultimate way to save your current compressor from prior damage.

Why Exact CFM Achievement is Important for Air Tools?

This is a question that most of the people with air tools are already aware of. As you have seen, improper compression of air doesn’t work well with the air tools. Result? A damaged tool, damaged work piece and so on.

Here are some points to answer the question even in more details-

  1. To power up the air tools to work with, you definitely have to serve them with the exact CFM. In the case of every air tool, there is a given range of CFM that it works with.
  2. In case you’re giving in low CFM air into your compressor, your compressor durability will be affected in a negative way.
  3. Time is important when you’re professionally working with air tools. For higher CFM output, you might modify the air compressor. But this will take more time to fill the air tank up.
  4. Further improper CFM will affect the functionality of your air tools themselves.


The process of how to increase CFM on air compressor takes serious expertise to execute. In case you are entirely new to these, you might go for the wrong steps whatsoever. So, take expert consultancy in case you need to.

Best of luck!

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