Tuesday, August 22

How Much CFM Does My Compressor Need?

Defining CFM & PSI


CFM stands for cubic feet per minute and is a measure of the air compressor's air flow. Your CFM rating reflects your compressor’s ability to produce a consistent amount of air for a specified length of time to complete your desired task.


PSI stands for pounds per square inch and is a measure of the air compressor's pressure, or force exerted. Your PSI rating reflects how much pressure gets placed on a square inch of space.

How CFM & PSI Are Related

Together, CFM & PSI, are determining whether your compressor can meet the demands of your operations.  The higher the CFM at the air compressor outlet is, the lower the outlet PSI will be, and vice versa. For example, if an air tool requires 5 CFM at 90 PSI to operate effectively, you would need 5 cubic feet per minute of compressed air to maintain this 90 PSI of air requirement. As you can see, CFM & PSI work together and go hand-in-hand but they are both measuring different aspects of your compressed air output which means there is no single direct conversion rate from CFM to PSI.  However, you will need PSI to be able to determine how much CFM your system requires. 

How to Calculate CFM

CFM = Tank Volume in Cubic Feet x Standard Pressure (ATM) during a cycle x Cranks per Minute

While you can get a great estimate by utilizing this formula on your own, it can be rather complicated to get a more precise CFM measurement.  Things like piping, extra air storage, and varying demands can drastically change your calculations. Zorn Compressor & Equipment is your compressed air expert that can accurately and efficiently calculate your CFM needs by utilizing devices like flow meters. We have a great team of local experts who can help you better understand your systems’ needs and provide you with accurate CFM measurements and solutions. Contact us today!



Zorn is the Midwest leader of custom, engineered compressed air and vacuum solutions. We provide the best customer experience by understanding your applications and needs and offering an unparalleled commitment to customer satisfaction. 

Our comprehensive product and service solutions keep you running 24/7.

  • Reliable equipment
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Our compressed air experts look forward to meeting you to discuss your equipment and support needs. Please contact us directly at (262) 695-7000 with any questions or to schedule service for your system moving forward.

contact us to calculate your CFM needs!