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The highest CFM air compressors have sufficient power to do anything you want. In addition, they have constant cooling to reduce operating temperatures and are safe and fully compatible with OSHA. A high CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) air compressor is created to have a high flow rate. They are suitable for professional applications such as construction companies and auto shops.
This article will introduce the ten highest CFM air compressors and a comprehensive guide for buyers. First, we review the types of compressors, the criteria for selecting the appropriate compressor, and the CFM parameter.
The Needs for an Air Compressor
Before picking an air compressor, you need to determine for what purpose you want to buy it. So, first, sort out your needs. Some basic questions are provided here, to start with:
Is the compressor used to power a pneumatic device or a piece of heavy machinery?
Is the compressor simply for household aims?
How much tank capacity is required?
How long will the compressor be used every day?
These questions are essential to clarify your needs.
Different Types of Air Compressors
Compressors are of two main types: reciprocating compressors and rotary screw compressors. Most of the cases we have discussed here are reciprocating piston types. In this type, there is a piston moving up and down as well as a one-way valve on top of that. The working principle of a rotary screw compressor is different. They are designed for continuous performance and can operate consistently for up to several minutes.
Piston-type compressors are classified into single-stage and dual-stage. Single-stage compressors have a maximum pressure of 150 PSI, while dual-stage models can produce pressures much higher than 200 PSI. Do not confuse dual-piston compressors with two-stage compressors. To distinguish between these two classes, look at the piston size. The one that is remarkably smaller than the other is the dual-stage model.
Read this link to know more about the differences between single and double compressors.
Single-stage compressors are suitable for most pneumatic tools, spray guns, caulk guns, glue guns, inflating tires, etc. In contrast, dual-stage compressors operate better for industrial-grade work, including a combination of some of these tools with heavy-duty air tools.
Important parameters in buying an air compressor
Depending on your needs, to buy an air compressor, you should consider some features, including the following items:
A CFM rating (cubic feet per minute) indicates how much air a compressor provides at a given pressure. If the air compressor has a higher CFM rating, it can produce more air. For example, a 5 CFM rating compressor means that five cubic feet of the air come out from that compressor in one minute.
Higher CFM makes the compressor suitable for large-scale operations.
PSI (pressure per square inch) varies depending on your needs, just similar to CFM. These two parameters make the system operate for you. All the pneumatic tools have a PSI rating. You need the air compressor rating to be more than the highest level tool.
The noise level of the compressor is measured in terms of Decibels (dB). In the following section, it will be seen that among the products introduced here, the least noise is generated by the industrial product.
The material from which the cylinders are built is significant in terms of safety in cases where the compressor overheats. The first choice is cast iron cylinders because they are durable and of the safest materials.
Horsepower (HP) determines the amount of output power of the compressor motor.
In plug-in units, you look for either 110 or 240 current levels. However, many of the smaller portable units draw 12-volts from the car cigarette lighter port.
Air compressors are offered at various levels or stages. The more stages, the longer the running time in each session. Two-stage air compressors generally are associated with a high CFM rating.
The amount of air you need, depends on how continuous your work is. Actually, you can apply any size unless you need to run the compressor for hours at the same time without interruption.
The number of cylinders affects the performance of the unit and its operation time and costs. In general, more cylinder number leads to greater efficiency.
Design Dependency on Oil
An oil-dependent unit lasts longer times than the environmentally compliant, oil-free units. However, the oil-free units need less maintenance.
Depending on your needs, the portability of the compressor may be an advantage. The stationary air compressors use more voltage and power and are always electric-powered.
Whether in the garage, home shop, or an industrial environment, stationary units have to be plugged in. However, portable air compressors can be supplied by gasoline or plugged into a car cigarette lighter port and a wall outlet or car outlet.
Other Optional Features
These features include pressure gauges, pre-sets, auto shut-off, heat reduction systems, and drainage valves.
Buying Guide for the Highest CFM Air Compressors
Large-scale works utilizing heavy-duty air tools need air compressors to generate massive airflow to support the tasks. So, when choosing a compressor for this type of job, the CFM rating is the most significant specification to be considered.
To choose an air compressor, it is enough to know that 4 CFM at 100 PSI is a suitable rating. There are many different types of air compressors that have various CFM values according to their utilization. You also should know that most air tools need 90 PSI, so the CFM corresponding to this pressure amount must be selected. Generally, 90 PSI gives you 3-4 CFM.
Low-powered Compressors usually produce a maximum of 0.5 CFM, and high-powered units provide 8 to 10 CFM.
Different air tools operate with different levels of CFM. For example, a general ½” impact wrench needs about 5 CFM to work. However, a framing nailer works with 2.2 CFM. Also, running tools such as a pneumatic stapler require only 0.3 CFM.
The important point is that a higher CFM does not necessarily mean a better compressor; the right amount of CFM is determined by your needs. For example, if you want to purchase a compressor to inflate a tire, you should know that high CFM units are probably not worth it.
The PSI and the CFM tell us how much air is available and how much is moving. In fact, the CFM is the amount of air flow, and PSI is the amount of resistance there is to the flow.
Highest CFM Air Compressors Reviews
A list of the highest CFM air compressors, including their features, advantages, and disadvantages, is provided below.
1. Makita MAC5200 3.0 HP Big Bore Air Compressor
|Power Supply||Corded electric|
|Dimensions||29 x 19.5 x 19 inches|
|Air flow capacity||6.5 CFM at 90 PSI and 6.9 CFM at 40 PSI|
|Maximum air pressure||140|
Makita MAC5200 Big Bore 3.0 HP Air Compressor has a cylinder made of cast iron that reduces wear and increases the pump lifespan. Its piston is designed to provide quicker recovery time for improved operation. The pump is oil-lubricated to conduct the cooling and reduce wear. It is equipped with convenient oil drainage at the pump front for easy access. This compressor is an excellent choice for heavy-duty and medium-scale applications.
2. DEWALT Air Compressor D55146
|Dimensions||33.5 x 23 x 15 inches|
|Air flow capacity||5 CFM at 90 PSI|
|Maximum air pressure||225|
One of the best specifications of the DEWALT Air Compressor is its compactness. The small size of this compressor does not mean its CFM is low. However, the vertical stand and collapsible handle save space by placing the compressor upright. With a 4.5-gallon tank, it can produce a pressure of 225 PSI, which allows more versatility of running more air devices in your workshop. Its operational noise level is 78 dB that leads to a quieter work environment.
3. California Air Tools CAT-4620AC
|Dimensions||19.1 x 16.7 x 19.7 inches|
|Horsepower||2 HP (Rated/Running)|
|Air flow capacity||5.3 CFM at 90 PSI|
|Maximum air pressure||125|
|Warranty||One-year limited warranty|
The CAT-4620AC Air Compressor is a great product with 2 HP motor power and a current draw of lower than 14 amps. This motor runs a large oil-free pump; Therefore, less maintenance is required. Its operational capability is 3,000 hours. At 90 PSI, the compressor provides an air volume of 5.3 CFM, which is excellent for connecting more than two air devices. The CAT-4620AC model works with noise lower than 70 dB. So, this air machine is considered an ultra-quiet one.
4. Powermate Vx PLA4708065
|Power Supply||Corded electric|
|Dimensions||31.5 x 34.75 x 77 inches|
|Air flow capacity||14-CFM at 90-PSI|
|Maximum air pressure||155|
Powermate Vx PLA4708065 80-Gallon Electric Air Compressor draws only a current of 15 Amps. This means, despite a large engine strength, it does not need too much energy to operate. It can also support a more significant number of air tools, including ratchets, spray guns, impact drills, and double nailers. The 80-gallon tank causes constant airflow. In addition, This air compressor includes an oil-lubricated pump along with a cast-iron crankcase as well as an entire cast-iron cylinder body. The durable steel body is made to last for years.
5. DeWalt DXCMV5048055 Two-Stage Cast Iron Industrial Air Compressor
|Dimensions||35 x 32 x 79 inches|
|Air flow capacity||17 CFM at 175 PSI and 17.9 CFM at 100 PSI|
|Maximum air pressure||175|
The inner mechanism of a DEWALT DXCMV5048055 Air Compressor consists of a two-stage compressor. Two-stage compressors draw air into the cylinder, compress it within a single-piston stoke, and drive it into a smaller piston at even higher pressure. This process doubles the maximum pressure the machine can produce before it is delivered to the tank.
So, this compressor is suitable for larger loads, supporting multiple pneumatic tools, including sandblasters and hydraulic jacks. Dewalt’s patented pump design lowers the overall operating temperature by several degrees.
6. Ingersoll Rand SS5L5
|Dimensions||24 x 30 x 73 inches|
|Air flow capacity||18.1 CFM at 90 PSI|
|Maximum air pressure||135|
Despite being a single-stage compressor, the CFM rating of the SS5 Air Compressor is as high as the two-stage ones. So, it can handle various devices such as ratchet drivers, drills, and sandblasters. However, keep in mind that it is not as equipped as its two-stage counterparts. Therefore, a combination of light and heavy devices is best to maintain the machine operating smoothly. Also, there is no need to be worried about any accidental short circuit inside because the motor is a thermal overload protection system enabled.
7. Sun Joe IONAIR-CT 1.6-Gallon Air Compressor
|Dimensions||16 x 12 x 17 inches|
|Air flow capacity||2 CFM at 90 PSI|
|Maximum air pressure||115|
Sun Joe IONAIR-CT 40V 4.0-Ah Air Compressor is not a professional model. However, It is a valuable model that has saved us the hassle of wires. This compressor is called the precursor of the next generation compressors as these battery-powered products are just developing now. This device can deliver 2 CFM at 90 PSI. This is why this model suits light-duty home purposes such as airbrushing, stapling, and brad nailing.
The battery runtime of this air machine is 65 minutes. In contrast, most household tasks do not take more than 5 minutes of continuous runtime. After three-hour charging time, you can continue all air pressure jobs.
8. BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor BTFP02012
|Power Supply||Corded electric|
|Dimensions||17 x 17 x 19.25 inches|
|Air flow capacity||2.7 CFM at 90 PSI|
|Maximum air pressure||150|
BOSTITCH Pancake Air is compact and tidy. Moreover, its pancake-style dome includes the storage area of the machine. In terms of capacity, the large tank has a capacity of 6 gallons, which is unique among pancake compressors. Its air flow features make it suitable for running a wide range of power tools such as impact drills, spray guns, ratchet drivers, and double nailers.
Notably, Bostitch includes a high flow regulator and couplers that improve the operation of the device and other tools connected to it. Moreover, its package comprises air hoses, blowguns, and nozzles in different sizes to increase versatility. This is a complete tool kit that makes power tools of all sizes easily connected.
The noise level of the compressor is 78.5 dB. So, the compressor can be considered a quiet air device.
9. Makita MAC700 Electric Air Compressor
|Power Supply||Electric powered|
|Dimensions||18 x 22 x 10 inches|
|Air flow capacity||3.3 CFM at 90 PSI and 3.8 CFM at 40 PSI|
|Maximum air pressure||130|
Well, you can connect any power tool to the Makita MAC700 Big Bore Air Compressor for works such as spray painting and sanding because it has a tank with a capacity of 2.6 gallons and a maximum air pressure of 130 PSI. These features are great for enhancing versatility.
Obviously, the secret of the success of this device is in a powerful motor that includes a durable pump constructed of cast iron. In addition, it has a big bore cylinder and piston that leads to better compression and much less noise emission. The air capacity increases remarkably with larger bores. Thus, Makita has a flawless internal mechanism.
Another specification of this air device is the low current drawing which drastically minimizes the risks of a short circuit, tripped breakers, and preserving the device from unexpected voltage fluctuations. Moreover, its 80 dB noise is suitable for a quiet workspace. Also, an oil-lubricated pump provides cooling for the running pump and minimizes wear.
10. California Air Tools 10020C
|Power Supply||Corded electric|
|Dimensions||16 x 15.1 x 35.9 inches|
|Air flow capacity||6.40 CFM at 40 PSI and 5.30 CFM at 90 PSI|
|Maximum air pressure||125|
California Air Tools 10020C is a highly portable compressor that comes with an air tank with a capacity of 10 gallons. It makes noise less than 70 dB. This compressor is a perfect candidate to outperform other models within this range of the price.
The construction of this compressor offers a user-friendly design, including twin air pressure gauges, effortless control, and dual quick connectors. Everything is available from the control panel located in front of the long-lasting steel cage.
The air flow at a rating of 90 PSI is 5.3 CFM, which means much power for different garage pneumatic tools such as ratchets, wrenches, and drivers. A remarkable specification of this model is its enhanced motor performance. California Air Tools offered an effective motor and an SP 9421 pump within the compressor to improve heat dissipation and increase the duty cycle. This is the reason for longer run times and minimum recovery periods. Its sturdy back wheels, despite being a heavy machine, allow for easy movement around the workspace.