Air Compressors Power, Size and CFM

An air compressor is an extremely handy tool for woodworking projects. In fact, the success of many woodworking projects largely depends on the performance of the air compressor. As such, it is essential to choose the right compressor for the betterment of your woodworking tenure. When it boils down to picking an ideal compressor, the whole process is simple and easy as you have to consider a few aspects to buy the best machine. If you are unsure how to choose and use an air compressor, read below to get a detailed idea of things to consider for picking the right compressor.


Compressor tanks come in various sizes, configurations and orientations. You should figure out how much compressed air you need for regular projects. If you are taking big projects, you may want to use a compressor with a big tank. On the flip side, a small tank will make a perfect fit for smaller projects.


Also, compressors with bigger tanks are ideal for small projects if you are handling projects after projects. In such cases, you would not want to run out of compressed air while working on projects. Take a note of this point when checking any compressor’s tank size.


The power of the compressor motor is another important thing to take into account while choosing an air compressor. Usually, a machine with a bigger tank comes with a high horsepower (HP) and is ideal for bigger or continuous projects. Compressors with low HP, on the flip side, make a perfect fit for smaller projects. While a motor with more HP means a more productive machine, you should not get hung into the HP number as it is not always the true indicator of the actual power of the compressor.

The quality of the motor is another factor to take into account while assessing the power of the machine. A well-made motor with low HP could deliver more power than a poorly built motor. So consider this vital point when checking the power of the machine.



The rate at which air is delivered at a particular pressure value is the best indicator of an air compressor’s power, and it is indicated in cubic feet per minute (CFM). These two numbers namely, CFM and pressure are inversely proportional to each other. It means as the value of one parameter goes up, the value of the other goes down.

Also, CFM by itself doesn’t mean much without the discharge pressure value. CFM varies with air temperature, atmospheric pressure and relative humidity. For this reason, certain well-known manufacturers give out SCFM (standard cubic feet per minute) rating; it is the normal CFM measured at sea level, 68F and 35% relative humidity. Note that each SCFM rating is assigned for a particular PSI (pressure discharge) value. As a thumb rule, a compressor with a better CFM rating is supposed to be a better machine than others.

Concluding words

The choice of the right air compressor is paramount to the success of woodworking projects. Whether you are working on a simple project or a major one, an air compressor can impact the overall performance of the project. If you have no idea how to choose and use an air compressor, take into account the power, size and CFM of the air compressor as explained above and you could get the best compressor for taking your woodworking tenure to a new level.

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