How To Get More Air From A Small Air Compressor?

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small air compressor air
(Last Updated On: September 28, 2020)

One of the questions I get frequently is how to get more air from a small air compressor.

The simple answer is….you can’t.

If you are one of the many hundreds of thousands with a 1 to 3 HP home compressor, the discharge rate (the amount of compressed air coming out of the compressor) is limited by the horsepower of the electric motor running the compressor head. Rule of thumb, if your compressor is under 10 HP, you’re likely only going to see about 2 CFM of air at 90 PSI for each HP of electric motor, and that’s the max.

small air compressor

The proliferation of relatively low cost air tools means that many of us, including me, have stocked up on air consuming devices that draw huge amounts of compressed air to run properly. And, like many of us, our little compressors can’t keep up.

What to do?

Don’t sweat it. Run the tool for the few seconds that your small reservoir can provide compressed air for, and when the compressor kicks in to recharge the receiver, put the tool down and relax.

Sure, you can buy a bigger compressor. Sure you can put a couple of compressors in parallel to provide more air, and yes, you can overuse your little compressor and ultimately cause it damage. Why?

For most of us, we are not earning a living from our home compressors. As a result, that it takes longer to do an air tool type job with a small compressor doesn’t make our project unprofitable, or tie up talented staff (that’s us) so long that we lose money on a job, since by and large, the home jobs are just for fun.

Take it easy, let the little compressor do the job for you that it will do for years if you treat it right.  And don’t worry that you don’t have enough compressed air to run the air tool continuously.

Give yourself and your little compressor a break.

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.

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