Compressor Power - How to Measure Your Air Compressor CFM, PSI, and HP

Want to know how to measure your air compressor CFM, PSI, and HP? Well, you’re in the right place! We’ll cover the average HP, PSI, & CFM requirements for industrial, commercial, and personal compressors. So let’s clear the air around compressor power.

Air Compressor CFM, PSI, & HP

Air compressors bring in the surrounding air and create compressed air through their internal components, turning it into a serviceable force for your air tools (pneumatic tools). Let’s start with some basics.

What Is CFM Air Compressor

Air compressor CFM translates to cubic feet per minute; in other words, it measures the volume of air in cubic feet for every minute it moves. So, for example, if your air compressor is rated for 50 CFM, it can push 50 cubic feet of air per minute

What Is Air Compressor PSI

PSI is an acronym for pounds per square inch. Thus measuring the amount of pressure placed in a square inch, or in other words, the amount of force that your air compressor can produce. 

What Is Air Compressor HPMeasure Air Compressor Horsepower

Horsepower is the amount of work your air compressor’s motor can deliver. But this holds less importance than PSI or CFM. It just means more or less energy is needed to get the job done. 

What Is The Difference Between HP And CFM

Air compressor CFM is the amount of air possible within an air compressor. For example, a room that is 5000 cubic feet would need a 5,000 CFM system to replace all the air each minute. 

HP or horsepower measures how much energy your air compressor can output. Horsepower refers to 550 foot pounds of compressor power per second (745.7 watts).

Between PSI & CFM

The difference between PSI & CFM is in when what’s being measured. For example, PSI is the measurement of pressure. In contrast, air compressor CFM is the measurement of volume. 

However, both are essential when it comes to air compressors. These two measurement forms correctly identify the requirements for any particular tool or task.

How To Convert HP to CFMMeasure air compressor CFM. Multicolor Industrial Air Compressors

Are you trying to convert HP to CFM? Look no further; converting HP to CFM is as simple as multiplying the airflow by 1.6 and multiplying that result by 0.9. The average horsepower for air compressors ranges between 1.5 and 6.5 HP. 

HP to CFM Conversions

I know what you’re thinking, “gross, math,” but don’t worry. Below you can find the math done for you:

1.5 horsepower – Metric to cubic feet/minute = 1.04 CFM

2 horsepower – Metric to cubic feet/minute = 1.39 CFM

3 horsepower – Metric to cubic feet/minute = 2.08 CFM

4 horsepower – Metric to cubic feet/minute = 2.78 CFM

5 horsepower – Metric to cubic feet/minute = 3.47 CFM

6 horsepower – Metric to cubic feet/minute = 4.16 CFM

6.5 horsepower – Metric to cubic feet/minute = 4.51 CFM

Using this, you can determine what air compressor power you need to get the job done.

How Much HP Does My Air Compressor Need?

So we already discussed that the average air compressor power ranges from 1.5 to 6.5 HP. But it doesn’t just end there. A stationary air compressor that is larger can provide up to 15 HP. Ideal for larger applications. Additionally, ensure you factor in your compressor power source because a lesser compressor power source may not provide the energy needed to reach full HP.

How To Adjust PSI On Air Compressor

Changing the pressure level inside the compressor’s air tank is as easy as turning the regulator knob in a clockwise direction. The machine will start to make more noise, and the readings on the pressure monitor will increase, letting you know that the pressure is indeed intensifying.

How To Increase Air Compressor CFM

You can increase the airflow, or air compressor CFM, on your compressor in a few different ways. These methods include:

  • Modifying your outlet size 
  • Using an auxiliary storage tank
  • Improving your cooling system
  • Hooking up two air compressors 
  • Lessening pressure

All of which will increase your compressor power adequately. 

How CFM Is Calculated In Air Compressor

Figuring out how to measure your compressor air flow rate may seem daunting, but the math is manageable. 

The formula is CFM = tank volume in cubic feet x standard pressure (ATM) during a cycle x cranks per minute.

CFM/PSI/HP For Industrial Air Compressor

Industrial air compressors are available in various styles and sizes to suit different purposes. The average air compressor CFM output is 185, but some models have higher ratings. For example, high-pressure models can reach 2000-6000 PSI. The average HP for an industrial/commercial air compressor is 5HP. 

An excellent compressor for job sites would be wheelbarrow compressors. These models are perfect for challenging terrain and are designed for work sites. However, these air compressors can weigh as much as 300 lbs, so make sure your job site is wheel friendly. 

CFM/PSI/HP For Commercial Air CompressorsClose up shot of Air Compressor PSI. How to measure Air compressor CFM, PSI, and HP.

You’ll want a twin-stack compressor for contractors and commercial business owners. A twin-stack system allows you to store more air, so your compressor doesn’t have to run as often. Keep in mind that these air compressors can weigh close to 100 pounds. An excellent air compressor CFM for these is around 6.2, with a PSI of 90 and 2.5HP.

CFM/PSI/HP For Personal Air Compressor

For personal use, a portable compressor’s CFM can rest anywhere from 3 to 11.3 CFM, with a PSI of 90, which is perfect for airbrush painting, a widespread use for personal compressors. Horsepower isn’t something you’ll need to worry about for personal compressors. 


Is Higher CFM Better?

The bigger the project, the better it is to have a higher compressor CFM. The higher the air compressor CFM, the more air you can disperse. 

Smaller projects would that wouldn’t need much CFM would be:

  • Cleaning electronics
  • Quick cleanups after a messy DIY project
  • Quick drying after painting

Larger projects that would require more CFM would be:

  • Angle grinding, a tool used to cut through metal
  • Chiseling, a tool used to cut through metal
  • Using a cut-off tool often used in auto maintenance

Can You Lower The CFM Of An Air Compressor?

Reducing the pressure in your air compressor’s tank can quickly reduce the compressor CFM. The compressor doesn’t have to work as hard at lower pressures to push air into the tank.

Does Adding An Extra Air Tank Give Compressor Extra CFM?

Yes, but there is a process to combining air tanks safely. You’ll need the right tools, and you’ll need to proceed with caution, as this can be a risky solution. A safer solution would be switching to a twin-tank system.

What Affects The CFM Of An Air Compressor?

Several factors can affect a compressor’s CFM, including its size and type, the pressure at which it operates, and the airflow rate through the compressor. In addition, the compressor’s motor size and horsepower can affect the air compressor CFM, as a larger motor can deliver more air.

Additionally, the type of compressor, such as a single-stage or two-stage compressor, can also affect the CFM. Finally, the condition of the compressor, such as the components’ wear and tear, can also impact the CFM. 

Finally, an air filter, regulator, and lubricator can positively impact your CFM if installed correctly and maintained properly.

How We Can Help! 

Still, trying to figure out your compressor power? We can help answer any questions you have so you can find the proper CFM that can handle your projects!

Air Power Equipment Company in Oklahoma City (OKC), is the leading source for new air compressor sales and used air compressor sales throughout the country. We specialize in rotary screw air compressor sales and reciprocal air compressor sales. Air Power Equipment Company is also the best source for air compressor service and air compressor parts in Oklahoma.  If you are looking for new air compressors, used air compressors, air compressor parts, or air compressor service call Air Power Equipment Company OKC. We are experts with all brands of air compressor equipment and we are a stocking distributor of air compressor brands like FS Curtis Air Compressors, Champion Air Compressors, Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressors, Kellogg Air Compressors, American Air Compressors, Quincy Compressor and many more. Call us at (405) 445-1216 – we have what you need, and at the best price you will find.