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What Does CFM Mean for Air Compressors?

CFM (more commonly written as cfm or acfm for average cfm) is a measure of the flow rate of air pushed out by a compressor. It stands for cubic feet (per) minute./

This is important because it directly relates to the suitability of a compressor for a given application.

For example, some tools are continuous-demand appliances and may require a high cfm. Illustrations might include pressure washers or saws.

By contrast, something such as a nail gun might require a very short-sharp burst of air occasionally. There, a lower cfm might be acceptable.

In understanding the suitability of a compressor, it’s typically necessary to consider a combination of operating pressure and cfm in order to be sure that you won’t be disappointed.

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As imperial measures give way increasingly to metric in the UK, it might be common to see flow rates measured in litres per minute or some variation thereof.