Published at Monday, August 20th 2018, 14:21:43 PM by Mia Leach. Air Compressor. Air output of a compressor is expressed in standard cubic feet per minute (SCFM) or just cubic feet per minute (CFM). Not all 5 HP compressors put out the same volume of air per minute. This is a function not only of motor horsepower but also the efficiency of the air compressor pump the motor is powering. The higher the CFM, the less your air compressor will have to cycle on and off to keep up with the demands you are putting on it. A small compressor pump on a huge tank will produce no more air than on a small tank. The only difference will be in the number of times the compressor cycles on an off each hour and the time it takes to recompress the tank on each cycle. In the final analysis, you need to pay attention to SCFM (or CFM) more than you do motor horsepower or tank size. Air flow is the end product of any compressor and the CFM must be sufficient to the job at hand.