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5 Highest CFM Air Compressors Reviewed [Portable ED.]

A high CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) air compressor is an air compressor that is specifically designed to have a high flow rate. They are good for professional use such as auto shops and construction companies. The best high CFM air compressor will have enough power for anything you want to do, will have constant cooling to lower operating temperatures, and will be safe and fully OSHA Compliant. In this article, we will examine The top high CFM air compressors. We will compare them and choose the best based on CFM, HP, PSI, Design, and Value.

After that, you’ll find a buyers guide where we will walk you through how to choose the best high CFM air compressor.

Importance of CFM Rating

Large-scale operations using heavy-duty air tools require air compressors to produce massive airflow to sustain the tasks. Therefore, CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) rating is the most important specification you should look at when choosing a compressor for this type of job.

I know that lots of people struggling with how to choose the highest CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) air compressor for heavy-duty tasks, so here I am making a list of 6 best items for your decision. Each item is carefully chosen and examined. Plus, you will find two useful answers related to the CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute), PSI (Pound per Square Inch), and air tank of air compressors.

What is a good CFM rating for an air compressor?

For an air compressor, 4 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) at 100 PSI (Pound per Square Inch) is a good rating. Above all, there are a lot of different types and kinds of air compressors, and they have different CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) ratings according to their application.

Low powered Compressors generally provide a maximum of 0.5 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute), and high powered ones can provide 8 to 10 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute).

What Does CFM Mean In Air Compressors?

CFM or Cubic Feet per Minute is an essential term for an air compressor. In a simple term, CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) is the flow rate of the volume of air that comes out of an air compressor.

If a compressor has a rating of 8 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute), this means eight cubic feet of air will come out in one minute from that compressor.

How much CFM do I need for air tools?

Different air tools require a different level of CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) to operate, while a general ½” impact wrench requires about 5 CFM to operate and On the other hand, a framing nailer requires 2.2 CFM, whereas tools like a pneumatic stapler require only 0.3 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) to run.

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Types of Air Compressors

Reciprocating (Piston)

The reciprocating or piston air compressor is the most common and the easiest for most people to understand; similarly, this is the up and down piston motion you find in your car or any basic internal combustion engine. These types of air compressors can be boisterous. The single-piston makes a lot more noise than a duplex or two-piston engine. 

Rotary Screw

The rotary screw air compressor runs on a positive displacement system with two matching helical screws. The design of this compressor is in some ways like a turbocharged engine on a race car. Furthermore, they are quieter than the piston-driven, reciprocating engine because those two helical screws never come into contact with one another. 

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California Air Tools 20040DC

This is the one air compressor that can produce a good amount of CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) with a smaller amount of decibels, hence making it exceptionally efficient and tranquil. They are made for work environments that are highly regulated and require both high production and low noise and above all still run on a low CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute).

The Scroll air compressor uses two metal pieces that are spiral-shaped. One-piece does not move while the other fits inside the first, and going in a circular motion creates the air compression. Of these types of air compressors, only the reciprocating piston-driven air compressor is feasible. The average cost of these air compressors is:

For the shell type of air compressor, the cost is between $15,000 and $30,000. For the rotary type of air compressor, the cost is between $3700 to $27,000. The reciprocating air compressor is the least expensive, costing under $100 and going up to several thousand dollars.

 

5 Highest CFM Air Compressors 

The five products we are comparing below are from the home shop/small business lines and the larger industrial lines because It appears that the larger industrial lines can offer more power with less noise than the small more portable units and the stationary home shop units. These five air compressors are very different in many ways, though they all still meet the minimum in features everyone looks for in an air compressor.

Product name
dbA Level
CFM
Best Feature
Price
Ingersoll Rand 15-HP 120-Gallon Two-Stage85.150best high cfm air compressorMore Details
California Air Tools 10020DC-22060705.3quiet high cfm air compressorMore Details
Champion L18RS68107100 cfm air compressorMore Details
Industrial Air ILA188354785.7highest cfm 110v air compressorMore Details
Campbell Hausfeld 5-HP 80-Gallon871515 cfm portable air compressorMore Details

1. Ingersoll Rand IRT45465770 Compressor – The 50 CFM Air Compressor

This is a very high CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) air compressor that is expensive and can be used for both industrial applications and large home businesses – body shops, car restoration, and more. First of all, you need to have space for this kind of unit, but with a CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) of 50, it is probably one of the last level units that could be both for a home shop and an industrial factory. This is a high-efficiency unit with an intercooler, stainless steel valves, and inlet air filters that include sound attenuation. Likewise, it reduces the noise in this big unit, and also the inter-cooler lessens water and cools the unit at the same time.

Why is it The Best High CFM Air Compressor?

We chose it as the best high CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) air compressor for that reason. If you have a large metal shop or auto body shop at home, if you restore classic cars on the side, this is the air compressor for you. It is expensive, so you have to be in the market for a large unit like the 120-gallon tank, 175 PSI (Pound per Square Inc) compressor, and anything you need in your shop or business this unit can give you. 

It is solid cast iron – pumps, cylinders and belt wheel, two stages, from the belt-driven Ingersoll Rand series, and above all, it is oil-lubricated with low oil shut off. The Ingersoll Rand 208V 3 phase has 15 HP and a lot of energy.  In addition, it comes pre-wired and pretested, easy to install.

Pros:

Pros

  • Enough power for anything you want to do
  • Constant cooling to lower operating temps
  • Safe and fully OSHA Compliant
  • One year warranty
  • 85.1 decibels rating is not bad for a compressor with this kind of power.

Cons

Cons

  • Might be noisier than you want
  • Continuous run too much/shop

 

2.California Air Tools 10020DC-22060 –  Best Quiet High CFM Air Compressor

This is a great home or small shop unit with a lot of power for the absolute quiet it provides. This unit presents with a decibel rating of 70 and a CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) of 5.3  at 90 PSI (Pound per Square Inch) for a small home unit. It is 6.4 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) at 40 PSI (Pound per Square Inch), and users rave about how ultra-quiet this unit is. Furthermore, It has an HP of 2.0 with a 7.0 amp draw, and the 10-gallon tank is on wheels and great for portability as well as an at-home small shop. The unit is well finished and looks good, and also it comes on, powers up, and automatically shuts off as advertised. 

The unit has a quick fill from empty to full pressure in less than 3 minutes, even running at a lower RPM (Revolution Per Minute) than any single cylinder air compressors. In addition, the compressor will run a 6 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) air wrench to change out tires with no problems at all. It also has all the fittings, and everything is connected and ready to go right out of the box.

Why We Think it is the best quiet high CFM Compressor

The CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) of 6.4 or 5.3 might not seem like much compared to the previous unit we reviewed, but this is not an industrial unit and has a lot of power for a smaller home shop unit. That 6.4 is enough to power for all your typical pneumatic tools such as wrenches, nail guns, and screwdrivers. Also, not strong enough for a paint sprayer.

The maximum PSI (Pound per Square Inch) is 125, yet you can run this compressor 24/7 without ever getting a complaint from neighbors or family about the noise. You can stand right next to the compressor and hold a conversation without any problems hearing anything that is said, and that is the real beauty of this unit.

Pros

Pros:

  • Very quiet  
  • The motor is a well-built unit and handles sturdy 
  • Holds air for weeks without leaks
  • Great for low volume power tools  
  • durable – don’t try to use with                          

Cons

Cons

  • Quality of built-in connectors
  •   questionable
  •   Not industrial-strength – not as 
  •  paint sprayer     
                                                      

 

3. Champion L18RS  Compressor – Best 100 CFM Air Compressor

When looking at a really high powered air compressor with a CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) of 100, you are looking at an industrial unit. This unit is not designed for home use but rather for an industrial plant. Because of that, it is costly compared with the home/shop units we are looking at. 

Unlike the previously reviewed unit, this is a rotary screw compressor, not a reciprocating unit. This allows for more CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) power, and at the same time, the rotary screw design allows for less noise than the reciprocating style. All stationary units are also able to have some vibration control and less noise, therefore.  This Champion L18RS unit is variable speed and boasts up to 190 PSI (Pound per Square Inch). At 110 PSI (Pound per Square Inch), the CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) is 107.8. The motor and 25 horsepower, and yet the decibels are only rated at 68. This unit is a part of Champions LRS-Series compressors with the latest technology developed for air compressors.

Pros

Pros:

  • Clean and simple to operate. Too much power for home use
  • Intuitive layout. Expensive
  • Allen Bradley inverter drives.
  • Pilot microprocessor controllers.
  • Quiet enclosures.
  • So easy to service setting new service standards.
  • Compact Design

Cons

Cons

  • No cons to say actually

4.Industrial Air ILA188354 – Best High CFM 110 Volt Air Compressor

Here we looked only at 110-volts air compressor, which is portable and smaller. Some of them can run on both 110 and 240 volts, but all of them are able to run on just 110. This makes them a great choice for your garage or small shop without having to rewire for 240-Volts. 

The Industrial Air ILA188354/054 has 155 maximum PSI (Pound per Square Inch) with a 30-gallon tank. The 110-Volts application can easily be converted to 240-Volts. With a CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) from 5.7 to 7.0 depending on PSI (Pound per Square Inch) being used, this unit has plenty of power for its size. This compressor is part of the Industrial Air belt-driven series and features cast iron two-cylinder, oil-lubricated performance on just one horsepower. However, the unit does have an induction motor that, regardless of horsepower, is heavy-duty in the performance category. 

Why it is the Best 110-Volts Air Compressor

It is the performance of the unit that brings it to the top of the page of 110-volts compressors. This unit has a high PSI (Pound per Square Inch) and CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) for the lower voltage level. It is also one of the quietest units for its power levels. As a portable unit, it is extremely well made in terms of noise. The two cylinders are bolted directly to the crankcase, and the head bolts directly to those cylinders. 

Put this together with the balanced cast iron flywheel means nothing is vibrating to make extra noise.

Pros

Pros:

  • Very Quiet Tubing from the pump can get hot
  • Convertible to 240-Volts Drain cock is difficult to reach
  • Plenty of power for most tools Wheels on unit lose air regularly
  • High PSI and CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) with only 110-Volts

Cons

Cons

  • Not that many cons.

5. CAMPBELL HAUSFELD VT6275 3RHP60GAL – Best 15 CFM Portable Air Compressor

The Campbell Hausfeld 5 HP 80 Gallon 2 Stage Air Compressor with 240-Volts 1 Phase has 15 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) with 87 decibels. Technically this is an industrial unit that allows for the quieter environment. The two-stage pump is oil-lubricated and cast iron.  This unit is part of the Campbell Hausfeld belt-driven series of air compressors. Even though it is an industrial-sized unit, it is great for a large shop or a car restoration business. It can run a wide variety of air tools, including sanders, paint guns, grinders, and sheet metal cutters.

Great Warranty

3 RHP, 60 gallons, vertical air compressor, solid, cast iron, twin-cylinder, oil-lubricated pump, high-performance motor, air filter, delivers 11.8 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) @ 40 PSI (Pound per Square Inch) 10.3 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) @ 90 PSI (Pound per Square Inch), 240-volts, 30 amp, double pole, ten gauge wire, three-year limited warranty.

Why is it the best 15 CFM air compressor?

It is the combination of power and low noise, along with the ability to be efficient in both the commercial environment and the home environment. The ability to run more than 20 air tools makes it a great fit for the home shop or small business. 

Pros

Pros:

  • It can run more than 20 tools. Expensive for a home unit
  • Safe with enclosed belt guard. No power chord, no on/off            
  • 12000 hours of run time at 90 PSI (Pound per Square Inch)
  • Space-Saving Design

Cons

Cons

  • switch, filter, cut off valve or pads

Buyer’s Guide 

Depending upon your needs, one of these air compressors should fit your job. The air compressor must meet your needs for all features such as:

CFM

Cubic feet of air dispersed per minute – is the amount of power you need. As you can see, the Champion L18RS Variable Speed Rotary Screw Compressor has the highest CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) of the compressors we are reviewing. It is also an industrial-strength system.

Decibels (dba)

Once again, the dba is the amount of noise the compressor puts out. In our reviewed products, the least amount of noise comes from the industrial product. However, you can see that the Campbell Hausfeld has 15 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) but a loud 87 decibels.

Housing

this is the materials that the cylinders are made from. This is often a safety concern if your compressor overheats. Our first choice is for cast iron cylinders. They are durable, and they are the safest materials.

PSI

Pressure per square inch like CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) air dispersed per cubic foot – is a variable depending on your needs. But it is the variable that, together with CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute), makes the system work for you. All your pneumatic tools will have a PSI rating, and you will need your air compressor rating to be higher than your highest level tool.

HP

Horsepower determines the amount of power the engine on the compressor is putting out. The more HP, the more power the compressor gets from the engine.

Voltage

In plug-in units, you are looking at either 110 or 240 current levels, but many of the smaller portable units will run off 12-Volts from your car lighter port.

Stages

Air compressors come in different levels or stages. The more stages you have, the longer running time you will have in each session. 2 Stage Air Compressors usually are associated with a high CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) rating.

Size of Tank

How much air do you need? This really depends on how continuous your work needs to be. You can actually use any size unless you need to work with the compressor nonstop for hours at a  time.

The number of cylinders

impacts how efficient your unit is, how long you can run it, and what it costs to run it. More cylinders are more efficient.

Oil or no oil

An oil-dependent air compressor is durable and longer-lasting than the environmentally compliant, no oil units. The no oil units have less maintenance.

Portable or stationary

Do you want your compressor to be movable? The stationary units have more voltage use and more power. The stationary units are always electric-powered.

Electric or gas powered

Stationary units must be plugged in, whether in your garage, home shop, or an industrial area. Portable units can be powered by gasoline, plugged into your cigarette lighter port in the car, or plugged into a wall outlet or car outlet.

Extras

There are other features you might be interested in as well, and we will mention which ones the products we review have available. These are things like pressure gauges, pre-sets, heat reduction systems, heat-reducing coverings, auto shut off, and drainage valves.

Frequently Asked Questions

The higher CFM, the better the air compressor?

Not always. It depends on what the air compressor is needed for. It simply means they provide more air, so they are better for larger projects. If all you want is to inflate tires, more expensive, high CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) units are probably not worth it.

How many CFM air compressor do I need?

Again it depends on what you are using your air compressor for. CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) is beneficial in conjunction with the PSI (Pound per Square Inch) of pressure per square inch. It can be confusing, but basically, you need enough CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) for your tools to work correctly. You need to know how much CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) 90 PSI (Pound per Square Inch) gives you. This is because most air tools require 90 PSI (Pound per Square Inch). The general rule is that 90 psi gives you 3-4 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute). If your tools need 90 PSI (Pound per Square Inch), you need 3-4 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute).

How does PSI relate to CFM?

As noted above, the Pressure per Square Inch, together with the Cubic Feet per Minute, tells you how much air you have and how much it is moving. In fact, the CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) is how much airflow and PSI (Pound per Square Inch) is how much resistance there is to the flow. The CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) and PSI (Pound per Square Inch) work together depending upon how much CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) you need to push the pressurized air through the nozzles.

Does CFM increase as PSI decreases?

Yes, it does. As the air is compressed and 1 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) at 1 PSI (Pound per Square Inch) = ½ CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) at 2 PSI (Pound per Square Inch). It is easier to push a small amount of air at a high pressure OR a large amount of air at low pressure. To get both a large amount of air at high pressure, you need a large and robust air compressor.

How many CFM do I need for a paint gun?

The answer to this really depends on how much CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) and PSI (Pound per Square Inch) your particular paint gun needs. There will be a rating on your spray gun. You need CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) more than PSI (Pound per Square Inch) so that you have enough volume for the pressure.  Your paint gun tells you it needs 2 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) for every 90 PSI (Pound per Square Inch) or 1 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) for every 45 PSI (Pound per Square Inch). 

How many CFM do I need for sandblasting?

The answer to this is more complicated than the paint gun. The more CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute), the better if you are sandblasting. Yet there is more to consider. You have to know the CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) of the sandblaster, the compressor, and the size of the nozzle. The compressor CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) must be larger than the blaster CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute). To determine how much CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) you need to add the CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) of the sandblaster to the CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) of the nozzle. This amount must be below the CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) of the compressor. For example – your blaster needs 13 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute), and your nozzle requires 11 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute). Any compressor with CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) over 24 will do.

How many CFM does my HVPL gun need?

An HVLP gun is a High Volume Low-Pressure paint gun – an innovation in paint guns. However, most compressors will not give you enough volume for the amount of CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) the gun needs. If you have an HVLP gun that requires 12 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute), you will need a more powerful compressor than any small home or car unit. You need more than 12 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute), and you can see just from the groups we reviewed, the smaller units run at >1 to about 5 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) at 90 PSI (Pound per Square Inch). Your gun will tell you how much CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) it needs at 90 PSI (Pound per Square Inch).

What is the difference between SCFM and CFM? 

CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) Rating at a time the most popular way to determine your pressure and volume. Currently, most pneumatic tools are rated their SCFM (Standard Cubic Feet per Minute). Furthermore, the Standard Cubic Feet per Minute(SCFM) is the current industry standard. However, one may ask what the difference between them is?

The CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) is a guideline or a “typical” amount of displaced CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute), while the SCFM (Standard Cubic Feet per Minute) is a more accurate measure. The CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) calculates how much air per RPM (Revolutions per minute) does the air compressor’s cylinder put out? The SCFM (Standard Cubic Feet per Minute) measures the CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) flow and adjusts it according to the standards that have been set by the industry and its engineers and scientists. This is more accurate because it takes into account the atmospheric pressure, the temperature, and the relative humidity percentage.

What is the CFM?

Cubic Feet per minute of airflow put out by the compressor or used by the pneumatic tool. The bottom line is that for the most part, there is a direct correlation between the CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) and the noise level of the compressor. The more airflow you have CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) at how much resistance to that flow PSI (Pound per Square Inch), the higher the decibels of noise there will be.

 

AircompressorsUSA Team

AircompressorUSA Team is full of diverse writers from different industries. Our team includes small business contractors, assembly line managers, scuba shop owners, garage owners & More. Our Team makes every effort to provide the most accurate information to our readers and buyers.

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