Pancake air compressor are designed to serve the construction industry with portability in mind. The industry required an air compressor suitable for their projects, yet portable. That’s because they can easily load it on the truck, including at night, and drive to their home. Many of these pancake compressors provide you with enough air you can use to run different tools without waiting for it to recharge. That’s what you need for your projects, but how do you choose the best pancake air compressor? It is a hassle to pick one that suits your needs because pancake air compressors are not made equally.
The reason why to consider a pancake air compressor is that it comes with a high volume pump providing you with lots of air using a small and flat tank. Generally, air compressors feature horizontal tanks, and they make them heavy to move. That’s why they are mounted on wheels. If you’re looking for a pancake air compressor, this is the right place.
Let’s get started.
In A Hurry? Here Are Our Top 10 Picks
The 10 Best Pancake Air Compressor
Bostitch BTFP02012 Pancake Air Compressor
There are different features to look at before you purchase a pancake air compressor. However, if you’re looking for one with unique and useful features, look no further as Bostitch BTFP02012 Pancake Air Compressor is the one you need. The air compressor produces a 78.5 dBA noise level, which is quieter than other models giving you the right working environment. However, an added advantage is that this great model delivers the promised 150 max PSI. Although, while using the model, you’ll find it hard to regulate the pressure at low levels. Nevertheless, it has a pump that has been designed for longevity but oil and maintenance-free.
The couplers and high flow regulators have been designed to maximize the performance of the tool. It has two universal couplers, and you can use it to support two air tools. Moreover, these couplers are inline with the standpipe, and that helps to prevent twisting. An added advantage is that it comes with a console cover that you can easily remove and make repairs to controls. The attached cord wrap provides you with a convenient way to store. Bostitch BTFP02012 Pancake Air Compressor is equipped with a 6-gallon tank. It, therefore, becomes a perfect design and solid construction pancake air compressor. And choosing this unit, it will be a great option to buy. You will be impressed by the essential features.
Many users love it because it is easy to use and carry. And if you’re using it constantly, it sustains the pressure pretty well. On the negative part, some users complain the power cord should be longer, and the regulator dial to react as expected.
- Well built
- Quieter than other compressors
- Re-pressurizes fast
- Short power cord
- Line regulator dial is unprecise
- Porter-Cable C2002 Pancake Air Compressor
- Short power cord.
- Line regulator dial is unprecise.
Porter-Cable C2002 Pancake Air Compressor
Porter-Cable C2002 is another great pancake air compressor option to consider. 13 pieces of accessories accompany it. Many users are happy because it is well built, but the downside of it is that it is quite loud, depending on its size. The pancake air compressor is also equipped with a 6-gallon tank, delivering 2.6 SCFM while at 90 PSI. It also has a maximum pressure of 150 PSI.
You need this pancake air compressor because it is oil-free, and you don’t need maintenance. The rubber feet and water drain valve are also present and useful features to ease your work. The low AMP 120 volts motor is easy to start, including during the cold weather.
In the accessory kit, it includes a tire chuck, 25-foot nylon hose, tire gauge, blow gun and attachments, plugs, quick coupler, and Teflon tape. Additionally, it is backed by a 12-month warranty on the components. And if you’re looking for a good option with great value and well designed, this is the best option.
Many people using this pancake air compressor are happy because of the outstanding performance and good built. Other users also recommend it because it exceeds their expectations. However, the positive thing with this unit is easy to carry with its heavy-duty design. However, some users were not happy with the noise level, low quality in some accessories, and the short electrical cord.
- Quick charging
- Good construction and design
- Accessories kit included
- Short electrical cord
- Low quality of some accessories
- Loud operation
Hitachi Pancake Compressor & Brad Nailer Combo
Do you love DIY projects or you have small jobs you want to finish in your house? If they require to use a brad nailer, then choosing an ideal Hitachi air compressor is essential. Therefore, if you’re looking to get a pancake air compressor, Hitachi is a top-rated model.
There are many advantages to this model. The lightweight allows you to move around while working with the air compressor. It also comes with an attractive 1-year warranty from the manufacturer. The compressor is equipped with a 6-gallon capacity and weighs 36.5 lbs. The oil-free operation provides you with a zero maintenance cost. After you buy this model, it comes with a 25-foot hose in for package, allowing you to start the work immediately.
- Combo kit includes a hose
- Oil-free pancake air compressor
- Combo kits include a brand nailer and a pancake air compressor
- High upfront cost
- Porter-Cable Pancake Air Compressor
Porter-Cable Pancake Air Compressor
If you’re looking to buy among the best pancake air compressors in the market, you should consider this Porter-Cable model. It is an air compressor weighing 26 lbs. An advantage of this unit is that you can carry it easily and move from one place to the other easily. You can not use it for industrial purposes; it only suits small tasks such as roofing or framing and inflating things. Comparing its prices with other pancake air compressors having the 6-gallon tank, this model comes with a friendly price.
It also comes equipped with an oil-free pump which provides you 2 SCFM at a maximum pressure of 90 PSI. The simple to use control system and 135 PSI maximum pressure ensures you can perfectly do the small tasks hassle-free. Despite having a small tank, 3.5-gallon makes this model portable and compact; it also has some disadvantages. Using this model limits you from using air tools requiring much-compressed air.
- It has a quick coupler
- Oil-free pump with zero maintenance
- Well built for durability
- Small tank.
- Has no accessories.
DeWalt Heavy-Duty Pancake Air Compressor
When you want to consider the performance of a pancake air compressor, the DeWalt Heavy-Duty air compressor stands as an excellent option. It is a pancake air compressor with much to offer you. With a 6-gallon tank, this compressor accepts maximum pressure of 165 PSI.
With an oil-free built engine, it can pump more air inside the 6-gallon tank compared to other models of the same size. The double couplers and flow regulator allows you to use the air compressor with two air tools at once. DeWalt Heavy-Duty pancake compressor only weighs 30 lbs, which results to ease of use. You can carry this compressor around without any issues. And with only a 75.5 dBA noise level, this air compressor is less annoying when working with it.
- Double couplers for two users
- Acceptable noise level of 75.5 dBA
- Easy to start in cold weather
- Efficient motor
- It has no accessory
- High price
Campbell Hausfeld 1-Gallon Pancake Air Compressor
Campbell Hausfeld FP2028 pancake air compressor is another practical option. The air compressor stores 1-gallon of compressed air. Many people recommend this Campbell Hausfeld because of its small size making it portable. Unfortunately, remember that you can only use this air compressor for limited jobs – lights tasks. Nevertheless, it is a user-friendly tool and equipped with gauges you can easily read.
When you use this Campbell Hausfeld pancake air compressor, it can deliver 110 PSI, enough to use for simple tasks. It has a well-designed tank that eliminates pulsations resulting from piston action. In the accessory kit, you will receive a female coupler, 25-foot recoil hose, male plug, inflation needle, 2-inch inflation nozzles, and air chuck. You will choose this portable pancake compressor if you want a small air compressor for minor jobs because it can’t suit heavy-duty industrial jobs.
The consensus about Campbell Hausfeld pancake air compressor is that, for small quick jobs, it performs excellently. With lightweight and portability features, you can move with it around at ease. Besides, it also doesn’t require much space. The low price and ease of use make this pancake air compressor attractive to an average user. However, it comes with some negative comments such as noise level and low-pressure level than promised.
- Accessory kit included
- Small in size
- Loud for its size
- It will not build pressure as described
PowRyte Elite Oil-Free Pancake Air Compressor Kit
Do you want a DIY project air compressor? PowRyte Elite Pancake Air is an excellent tool for small framing and roofing jobs, inflation, and blowing. In other words, you can only use it on light air tools. PowRyte Elite Pancake Air is equipped with a 4-gallon tank, and it allows maximum pressure up to 135 PSI. It delivers 2.2 SCFM maximum pressure at 90 PSI. An added advantage to consider this pancake air compressor is its oil-free engine. Therefore, you can easily maintain it. It also comes with a 1-year warranty included.
Moreover, this pancake air compressor features a beautiful design, excellent gauges, a flow regulator, and a universal coupler. If you buy this unit, you’ll receive a 20-pc accessory kit that includes two inflation needles, a pencil gauge, an air blow gun, a tapered nozzle, and lots more.
- Stylish design.
- 4-gallon tank producing 135 PSI.
- Does not suit medium or heavy-duty tasks.
Ridgid Portable Pancake Compressor
Ridgid portable compressor is an excellent compact air compressor you can pick. It has been built with the finest components and also backed with a 3-year warranty. This pancake air compressor comes equipped with a 6-gallon tank and a maximum pressure of 150 PSI. With 2.6 SCFM, it delivers air at 90 PSI. Besides, the air compressor also comes with a locking regulator, which is essential to help you prevent accidental pressure changes. Additionally, it has a quick-drain valve, low starting motor, two universal couplers, a durable oil-free pump, among other essential features.
The noise level rates at 80 dBA, giving you the advantage of being quieter compared to other Porter-Cable’s pancake air compressors. However, it is louder than other pancake air compressors on this list.
- It has two universal couplers
- Strong and durable
- 150-PSI maximum pressure
- High price point
Central Pneumatic ha95275 Pancake Air Compressor
Central Pneumatic ha95275 compressor is another great option for a lightweight. It is an oil-less pancake compressor that comes fully equipped with an easy-to-read gauge giving you a 100 PSI, built-in accessory storage, and thermal overload protection. With this unit, you can use various air tools for household tasks such as air nailers.
This pancake air compressor is small in size, thus not recommended for use in industrial-grade applications because it has 21-gallon and 125 PSI. Moreover, with this oil-less central pneumatic air compressor, you can’t run other air tools. In other words, the pancake air compressor requires low maintenance because the unit does not require oil.
With a 3-gallon tank, it has a drain valve you can use for good measure. The manufacturer designed it to save your shop space, although it falters in performance as this pancake air compressor only delivers to you 0.6 CFM at 90 PSI and 1.0 CFM at 40 PSI.
- Lightweight and portable air compressor
- Unique drain valve
- Built-in accessory storage
- Poor CFM performance.
DEWALT DWFP55126 165 PSI Pancake Compressor
If you’re looking for a strong pancake air compressor, the DeWalt DWFP55126 pancake compressor is an excellent tool. This tool suits your needs because it comes with crucial useful features. The maximum pressure for this tool is 165 PSI and thus strong to support many low requiring tools such as nail guns.
The air compressor is user-friendly and solid built. Therefore, buying these tools gives you the advantage of durability. However, some units were noted to have leak problems, and fortunately, the manufacturer addressed the issue to your satisfaction. DeWalt DWFP55126 pancake compressor comes equipped with a 6-gallon tank. Moreover, this tool can deliver 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI. An added advantage is that its noise level is bearable as it has 75.5 dBA giving you a quiet work setting. Nevertheless, it is an oil-free pump, which means it gives you a maintenance-free operation.
The console cover help to protect the controls. You can easily remove it for repair purposes. With two universal couplers, this unit allows you to support two tools. It also has a drain valve; you can quickly drain the tank and a protective rubber leg cover that prevents marring. Besides, the cord wrap enables you to store it easily. In addition, this portable air compressor offers you an excellent option if you want a pancake with a higher maximum pressure compared to other similar-sized units.
When you use this unit, you’ll find it performing satisfactorily. That’s because it has a rugged construction and is also well built. It will again refill to 165 quickly, and with a relatively lightweight, you will maneuver with it easily. However, users complained that, with this model, you would tilt the tank for you to drain water. That seems to require more effort.
- Rugged construction
- Well built
- Potential leakage issue
- Higher price point
- Tilting tank to drain water
Pancake Air Compressor Buying Guide
After reading our top 10 best pancake air compressor from our list, you may be knowing the model to choose. But if you’re not sure, this buying guide will help you make a wise decision on the best pancake air compressor. We have packed the article with great general information you can use to identify the features of a great air compressor. Besides, you’ll learn some of the models you’re better off to avoid. If you’re looking to get an excellent deal for a pancake air compressor, read this guide.
The noise level of a pancakes air compressor is an essential factor to consider while shopping. You should consider a pancake air compressor depending on how loud it is. For most units, their noise level ratings are displayed as decibels. The noise level, on the other hand, will be recorded ten or twenty feet distance from the air compressor; however, if you’re to record while at the top of the pancake air compressor, the unit will be louder than manufacturers’ rating. If you’re to look at the low end, choose a pancake air compressor ranging between 55 to 65-decibel. And with such a noise level, it is similar to the normal conversation you can have at home. At the high end, the noise levels resemble conversation in a busy restaurant.
Some models are found ranging between 66 to 75-decibel, and that sound is massive like a hairdryer or vacuum cleaner at the low range, but at the high end, like a garbage disposal. However, picking a louder than 75-decibel is not a “quiet” type of air compressor. So, when you aim at getting a quiet pancake air compressor, you should invest in a unit producing about 65 decibels and below of noise. Furthermore, if you can’t get such, you can consider other steps to reduce the sound you’re hearing. There are air compressors that can live in a closed container to help reduce the noise. You can also wear ear protection or headphones to reduce the noise level further.
In an air compressor, the size of the tank is usually underrated. However, the larger the tank your compressor has, the longer you can work without stopping to allow tank refill. If you look at quieter models, they usually don’t have massive tanks. But for a large tank, you need more power to fill it and at a reasonable time. And more power, it means more noise.
But for quiet models, they come equipped with either one-gallon or two-gallon tanks. But if you decide to use such a tank size, in the end, you’ll be disappointed because it will require more time before the unit can refill. If you want to inflate tires or balls, most likely, you won’t experience the problem. If you get an air compressor with a small tank, that’s the quickest way you’ll end with a model that will insufficiently serve you. So, before you buy, do some research to determine the tank size you need; it will help you get a great unit.
CFM vs. SCFM
CFM refers to cubic feet per minute and measures the much work that the unit can do at a specific time. However, CFM will be meaningful, relating to pounds per square inch (PSI). For most manufacturers, they will list their cubic feet per minute relative to 90 PSI. So, it should be something you’re to consider before you compare models.
On the other hand, SCFM refers to the standard cubic feet per minute. You’ll find that air compressors will depend on humidity and temperature, and these are factors that will change with the effectiveness of the air compressor. So, if you’ll be working on a cold or hot day, you can see significant changes depending on the effectiveness of the air compressor. However, SCFM will overcome such a problem where it assumes the pressure, temperature, and humidity will be held constant, thus becoming easy for you to compare different models.
If you want to pick the best pancake air compressor, the bigger the number, the better. That’s because if the model has a higher CFM, it means it can power the powerful tools, and the tank will not run empty. However, it will also depend on the size of your tank and the task. You might have a chance to refill the tank before the pressure falls.
Oil-free VS Oil Pumps
Oil-free pumps are great types of pumps. With these types of pancake air compressors, you’ll never change out their oil, and that’s a huge benefit. Nevertheless, purchasing such type of pancake air compressors will save your time and money that could be used to replace oil. So, such kind of air compressors stands to be the best choices for those who are concerned about what they are shopping. But there is a trick with these oil-free pumps; they usually have oil, although kept in a sealed compartment. It will keep it in it’s best shape and also help it to maintain its lubricating role for an extended time.
Many moving parts that are in the pump, they are usually coated in Teflon. It, therefore, gives them little friction and can run for an extended time using the same oil. And that’s how an oil-free pump works. So, Teflon coat wearing is a significant challenge to their oil-free pumps. If that will happen, the air compressor’s internal parts will be more vulnerable where the friction wears them down. It is essential to note that the pumps that require changing oil will last for decades as long as they are properly maintained. On the other hand, oil-free pumps can also last a decade, but they will not incur you additional costs; thus, lower operational prices.
In any machine, always consider its a penultimate thing, which is the duty cycle. It refers to the time the pancake air compressor can run before you stop. Generally, a compact air compressor will have a 50% range for ideal usage. Besides considering the highest duty cycle, also consider garage requirements and power ratings as well.
The maximum pressure of the pancake air compressor is measured using pounds per square inch – PSI. For the maximum pressure, it refers to the maximum pressure each kind of air compressor can generate. The higher capacity types with 6-gallon tanks, the air compressors, usually give between 150 to 180 PSI. When you can get a higher maximum pressure, it means you can enjoy running the machine for a long.
On the other hand, there is a lower maximum pressure, which refers to a shorter running time. Such kinds of air compressors will suit small tasks. These air compressors consist of 100- 125 PSI maximum pressure, but they have two or three-gallon tanks. However, some models record the sluggish performance of more than 100 PSI.
If you want to have the best pancake air compressor with excellent performance, pick an air compressor that can produce more than the minimum PSI you require for your tools. Note that each device also has a specific minimum pressure it requires. When you want to use multiple tools, consider one with the highest maximum pressure to allow you to choose an air compressor having higher PSI. For example, in your tools, if the biggest tool will require 120 PSI minimum, then choose an air compressor having more than 120 PSI, at least 140 PSI. With such an air compressor, it will effortlessly power appliances having minimum PSI requirements.
Weight & Dimensions
Weight is an essential factor while determining the pancake air compressor to choose because it plays a crucial role in mobility. An ideal pancake air compressor is one you can move around and carry easily. For such an air compressor, it should be weighing about 25 – 35 lbs to ensure portability.
Don’t forget to consider the warranty for the air compressor. It will help you reduce the cost of repair if any component will malfunction because you’ll be given a replacement without any extra cost. Many manufacturers provide the user with a 12-month warranty, and it appears as a standard in the air compressor field. Besides, some models will have an additional period of warranty, such as a 3-year warranty.
Pancake Compressor: Frequently Asked Question
How to use the best pancake compressor
If you have a pancake compressor, these are the steps of how to run it:
- Look for a suitable work area – flat and stable
- Turn off the power and connect the power cord to the electrical outlet
- Look at the oil level in the air compressor (for models that use oil).
- Close the drain valve
- Flip the switch ON to run the air compressor
- Adjust the max PSI with a control valve
- Attach the air hose and connect the tool you want to work with at the end
How to Select the Best Pancake Compressor?
If you’re looking for the best pancake compressor, there are features to consider. Some of the features include tank size, PSI, duty cycle, noise level, durability, warranty, among others.
Which pancake air compressor is right for you?
The right pancake for you is not mainly about the model, but the maximum pressure level – PSI. It will depend on your tools and, therefore, consider a pancake air compressor having more than the maximum PSI requirement of a tool.
The Final Verdict
The reason why pancake compressors were initially invented is to be used in building trades and especially for carpenters who runs air nailers. With that, this design comes with a relatively small tank. That makes it more portable compared to an air compressor having a horizontal or vertical tank. The smaller size and lightweight also enable you to pick it easily when loading to your pick up truck.
As they were designed for carpenters, fortunately, they have found them being used in home workshops. Nevertheless, before you buy one, you have to choose the best pancake air compressor. Remember that despite having outstanding features, pancake air compressors can’t produce enough air for pneumatic impact wrenches or air sanders. But, pancake air compressors are excellent while using low-volume air tools.