What Does SCFM Mean?

what does scfm mean
(Last Updated On: August 3, 2020)

When you spend many of your waking hours reading, writing, and handling compressed air equipment, it’s easy to forget that the compressed air world is as full of puzzling acronyms.

Take SCFM. Does everyone know what that means? Apparently not. A reader was looking for information about defining SCFM today.

what is scfm

I’ve written about SCFM many times, but it doesn’t hurt to review. SCFM is the acronym for Standard Cubic Feet of air per Minute.

Since a standard cubic foot of air has a specific temperature, a specific humidity, and is measured at sea level, it’s the normal unit of measure for air that has NOT been compressed.

For example, you might say that a specific compressor has 50 SCFM of air entering it’s intake port.

Some folks and companies use SCFM as a unit of measure for air leaving the compressor; air that’s been compressed.

Air leaving the compressor is in no way “standard”. It’s at a higher temperature, it’s has a much higher humidity (vapor content) level and if the compressor itself is not situated exactly at sea level, well then it misses that SCFM benchmark too.

For purposes of stating the flow of compressed air, that’s air that’s passed through the compressor reaching a higher pressure level than one atmosphere, I use the acronym CFM. CFM is the acronym for Cubic Feet of air per Minute.

Hello, I am Bill, the Compressed-Air-Man. I have years of experience in industrial and residential compressed air applications, air compressors and general pneumatics. I created this site to help professionals, students, and DIYers understand and properly implement and maintain compress3ed air systems.


  1. Can u plz tell me in detail how to calclate the cfm of air compressor.

    Hi Nishant:

    Visit http://www.about-air-compressors.com and follow the links for complete details.

    The short version is that for compressors over 10HP, you will get about 4 CFM of compressed air at 90 PSI for every Horsepower of electric motor.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here