CFM (cubic feet per meter) is one of the main exploitation parameters of an air compressor for impact wrench (for example). It should help you understand whether different models correspond to your needs, whether they are powerful enough to process a required air stream. If you choose too low CFM, your air tool will work inconsistently or not work at all. Too high CFM is also bad. It is best to look for a golden mean and maintain an optimal exploitation mode.
How do you choose CFM?
The first thing to take into account is manufacturers recommendations. The second one is your working habits. Analyze the operations you perform using pneumatic devices. Are they lengthy and continuous or short and intermittent?
In the former case, it is recommended to purchase a model with an extended duty cycle in order not to stop and wait until your tool refills. At the same time, it makes no sense to overpay for a powerful device if you work in quick bursts. You can find an inexpensive option with an air receiver tank (from 5 to 100 gallons).
Some craftspeople and constructors see the way out in combining multiple compressors. This is especially convenient when several persons work simultaneously. Obviously, CFM requirements should be alternated for this scheme. You have to sum up indicators of air tools applied in parallel.
Standard CFM for different devices
This list should help you choose a suitable compressor and make the most of your pneumatic tools:
- 30-40 CFM would be enough for ¾” impact wrench, 2” horizontal grinder, chipping hammer, backfill tamper, tire inflation, and die grinder
- 60-70 CFM is necessary if you are going to work with 1” impact wrench, 60lb jackhammer, backfill tamper, sanders, large grinder, or make OTR tire inflation
- 150 CFM is required for the smooth operation of trenchless piercing tools, pneumatic saw, post-pounder, rock drill, 90lb jackhammer, and air knife
We hope that this article has proven useful. Utilize pneumatic devices wisely, and they will serve you well.