Air Compressor CFMs simplified – off road tire inflation


Air compressors work by continuously pulling in air and mechanically squeezing it through internally-moving components, ultimately to be usable to air up our tires.   Maximum air volume that your compressor can generate is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM), I’m sure you guys heard us mention this term several times. CFM’s needs to be the most important factor in choosing the right onboard air system for you, this includes your current/future tire size as well as your intent to air up one tire at a time or 4x tires all at once.  ** This is a very critical consideration **

So, Air Compressor CFMs simplified is an entry about helping you look all the parameters needed to get you aired up fast and accurately.

Think about CFM’s in terms of speed.  In this example, let’s think about it in terms of GPM (Gallons per Minute), if you have a pump that can push 5 gpm to empty a 100 gallon tank it will take you (20 minutes).  Now, if you had a pump that can do twice as much, say 10 gpm, then you can empty that tank in 10 minutes.

The same overall principle can apply to onboard air systems.  When we tested the ACCURA Maverick 4×4 kit, we took into the consideration the flowing:

  1. Inflation for all 4x tires
  2. Max tire pressure needed, in our case we took it up to (35 psi)

When you look at any given onboard air system specifications, our bench mark, for airing back up fast at all 4x tires, was a bare minimum of 3 CFM’s but favored systems that pushed 4 CFM’s or higher.

Pay attention to the following sample specification line items:

Supply Voltage: 12v

Air flow at 0 psi : 6.16 CFM

Air flow at 29 psi: 4.68 CFM

Notice that the air flow when you start the compressor is 6.16 CFM at “0” psi but it drops as psi increases in your tire.

So going back to our example: We needed 35 psi, so that means that when we had all our 4x tires at 29 psi in the airing up process; the compressor was pushing 4.68 CFM’s; that’s phenomenal!!  However, as we passed 29 psi into 35 psi territory the CFM’s (speed) dropped off so slower CFM’s.  So, the take away; the more CFM’s you have available @ a set psi; the better and faster you will be able to air up and get back up on the road.  That’s it, Air Compressor CFMs simplified, is about understanding your needs today as well as tomorrow.  

***This was an intro into more collaborative work that we will do here for our community- Air Compressor CFMs simplified- so stay tuned for more on topic ahead.***Drop a comment and share if this was helpful to you guys

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