Best Pancake Air Compressors in 2020 – Buyer’s Guide

Best Pancake Air Compressors

A good pancake air compressor is a must-have around the house and a friend on the road. It is portable, easy to store, and maintenance-free. What’s not to like? We can’t help but mention that the name “pancake” is amusing too.

There are many models out there for different applications and uses. This is why we decided to help and made a list of the best pancake air compressors.

List of The Best Pancake Air Compressors:

Our Top Picks:

Pancake Air CompressorDimensionsMax PSIWeightCapacity
Porter-Cable C200219 x 19 x 18 in15031.3 lbs6 gallons
Campbell Hausfeld FP202812 x 12 x 16 in11014.73 lbs1 gallon
DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor17.2 x 16.6 x 20.1 in16532.2 lbs6 gallons
WEN 228615.5 x 15 x 19 in15039.4 lbs6 gallons
Campbell Hausfeld DC06050016 x 23 x 16 in12562 lbs6 gallons
BOSTITCH Air Compressor Kit16.9 x 16.5 x 19.1 in15029 lbs6 gallons
Metabo HPT Air Compressor Combo Kit18.5 x 16.5 x 16.5 in15035 lbs6 gallons

The 7 Best Pancake Air Compressors in 2020

1. Porter-Cable C2002 – Best Overall

Porter-Cable C2002


The Porter-Cable compressor is not only a portable one but also one of the lightest models on the list. It also comes with a handle to make it even easier to carry around. Now you can have an affordable pancake compressor that can help you around the house or at work.

Despite its impressive portability, it comes with a 6-gallon capacity, which is enough to handle more than one tool simultaneously. Consequently, the compressor has two air couplers for two users. If you buy this tank, you will also enjoy its water drain valve and rubber feet for stability.

The low amp 120V motor can start easily in cold weather. It comes with an extension cord and replaceable brushes, making it more reliable. The maximum pressure of 150 PSI, along with a 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI, promises quality performance and quick air recovery.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Low maintenance
  • Rubber feet
  • Water drain valve
  • 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI for quick recovery
  • Up to 150 PSI
  • Shroud and console cover for protection
  • Handle
  • Weighs only 31.3 lbs
  • Two air couplers for two users
Cons
  • Really loud

Final Verdict

All of the Porter-Cable compressor’s features at its price point are a big win. However, you have to invest in ear protection because it is seriously loud.

Read also: Brad Nailer vs. Finish Nailer

2. Campbell Hausfeld FP2028 – Most Portable

 Campbell Hausfeld FP2028


The FP2028 is an incredibly easy-to-use compressor. The pressure gauge is conveniently placed for at-a-glance air-pressure monitoring. The pump is oil-free, so don’t worry about having to oil it anytime soon.

At a capacity of 1 gallon, maximum pressure of 110 PSI, and a 0.36 CFM at 90 PS, the FP2028 categorizes itself as a DIY compressor. It is good for inflation, cleaning, brad nailing, stapling, and airbrushing.

This baby comes with an accessory kit consisting of a 25-foot recoil hose, needle, needle adapter, 2 inflator nozzles, air chuck, and on-board storage for the accessories. Weighing only 14.73 lbs, it is the lightest compressor on the list.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Made for beginners
  • Low maintenance
  • Weighs only 14.73 lbs
  • Accessory kit
  • Handle
  • 1-year warranty
  • Quick-to-read pressure gauge
Cons
  • Very loud
  • Good for small applications only

Final Verdict

If your biggest priority is to have the smallest and lightest pancake air compressor, this one’s for you. Enjoy its unbeatable price and amazing accessory kit. It’s not that light on the ears, though.

3. DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor – Best for Heavy-Duty Work

DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor


If the FP2028 isn’t good for you because it can’t handle heavy-duty work, the DEWALT compressor won’t disappoint you. It has a maximum pressure of 165 max PSI. What about the airflow rate? It delivers 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI. The capacity? 6 gallons.

The high-efficiency 0.9 HP motor can work well in cold weather. It comes with an extension cord too. Despite its impressive performance, the DEWALT compressor is on the relatively quiet side.

This oil-free compressor comes with two air couplers for two users to maximize its efficiency. It also comes with a ball drain valve for quick and easy tank draining, protective rubber leg covers, and console cover. 

Pros
  • 0.9 HP motor
  • Up to 165 PSI
  • 2.6 SCFM delivered at 90 PSI
  • Two air couplers for two user
  • Low maintenance
  • Portable with a handle
  • Regulator
  • Comes with an extension cord
  • Console cover for protection
  • Ball drain valve
  • Protective rubber leg covers
  • Cord wrap
  • Quiet
Cons
  • No accessories
  • Possible leaks

Final Verdict

With a 0.9 HP motor, 165 PSI, and 2.6 SCFM delivered at 90 PSI, this is a compressor that doesn’t mess around. You may have to replace the hose fittings if they are leaky.

4. WEN 2286 – Best With Two Pressure Gauges

WEN 2286


WEN’s 2-year warranty does give us customers a sense of security.

This bad boy comes with an adjustable regulator and two pressure gauges: one to monitor the internal pressure of the tank and one to regulate the rate of airflow. It has a pressure of up to 150 PSI and an airflow rate of 2.6 CFM at 90 PSI and 3.7 CFM at 40 PSI.

The quarter-inch quick coupler makes hose changes much easier, and three-legged design ensures stability. The compressor’s easy-to-reach drain valve makes draining a chore no more. Moreover, the oil-free pump makes us grateful for not having to oil it.

The WEN 2286 comes with an automatic shutoff function that turns the compressor off at the maximum PSI for safety and reliability.

Pros
  • 2-year warranty
  • Up to 150 PSI
  • 2.6 CFM at 90 PSI and 3.7 CFM at 40 PSI
  • Low maintenance
  • Drain valve
  • Two pressure gauges
  • Handle
  • Reinforced steel tank
  • Quarter-inch quick coupler
  • Auto shutoff
  • Regulator
Cons
  • Very loud

Final Verdict

A compressor to power your nailers, staplers, and spray guns with a 2-year warranty? Sign us up.

5. Campbell Hausfeld DC060500 – Most Quiet

Campbell Hausfeld DC060500


The DC060500 compressor is made with two things in mind: quietness and durability.

It truly prides itself on being quiet. At 68 dBs, this baby is 50% quieter than other compressors. If you have to use a compressor in a noise-sensitive area, use this one.

What about durability? All Key components last up to four times longer than other compressors. The low-maintenance oil-free dual-piston pump is here to stay without the hassle of cleaning up oil.

Regarding the performance, nothing is groundbreaking in the 125 Max PSI and 2.4 CFM at 90 PSI compared to the other compressors on the list.

Pros
  • The quietest
  • Low maintenance
  • Soft-grip steel handle
  • Durable components
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Weighs 62 lbs

Final Verdict

If your biggest priority is a quiet working environment and you don’t mind splurging a little, get the DC060500.

6. BOSTITCH Air Compressor Kit – Best Air Hose

BOSTITCH Air Compressor Kit


The BOSTITCH compressor weighs only 29 lbs. Even for a pancake compressor, it is pretty light. The narrow tank diameter makes the compressor really easy to store. It also has a handle for maximum portability.

This 6-gallon baby has a pressure of up to 150 PSI and 2.6 SCFM at 90PSI to help you do anything from powering air tools to inflating tires.

At a noise level of 80dBs, it is not the loudest, but it is not the quietest either.

Along with the compressor, you get a lengthy cold-resistant hybrid polymer air hose, tire chuck and gauge, various inflation attachments, blow gun and rubber tip, safety nozzle, and 1/4″ NPT male plugs.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Low maintenance
  • Lightweight at 29 lbs
  • Regulator
  • Lengthy hybrid polymer air hose
  • Two couplers for two users
  • 2.6 SCFM at 90PSI
  • Up to 150 PSI
  • Accessory kit
Cons
  • Regulator hard to control at lower PSIs

Final Verdict

This is an affordable pancake air compressor with an accessory kit from a reputable brand. What are you waiting for?

7. Metabo HPT Air Compressor Combo Kit – Best Combo Kit

Metabo HPT Air Compressor Combo Kit


The compressor is basically a newer model of the Hitachi KNT50AB one.

The oil-free pancake compressor has a 6-gallon capacity and a 150 max PSI to power different air tools. The combo kit includes the compressor, the NT50AE2 18-gauge brad nailer, and a 25-ft hose. The brad nailer is lightweight and easy to maneuver.

The kit includes safety glasses and a pneumatic tool lubricant.

The 5-year warranty leaves you with peace of mind, knowing that if something goes wrong, it is not the end.

The 360-degree exhaust port in the brad nailer allows you to keep dust, debris, and oil away from your working area.

Pros
  • Brad Nailer
  • 25-Ft Air Hose
  • Safety glasses
  • Pneumatic tool lubricant
  • Dual hose connections
  • Heavy-duty bend restrictors
  • 360-degree exhaust port
  • 5-year warranty
Cons
  • Bulky
  • Only available as a combo kit

Final Verdict

If you don’t have a brad nailer or a pancake compressor, this combo is calling for you. Rest assured that any complaints you may have will be heard with the 5-year warranty.

How to Pick a Pancake Air Compressor

1. PSI and CFM

PSI refers to the force of the air pressure delivered by the compressor. Most tools need 40 or 90 PSI to work properly. A compressor with a regulator lets you choose the output pressure.

The more important unit to know is the CFM, which measures the rate of airflow. It is more important because it tells you what you can use a compressor for.

A high CFM means faster recovery time, which is perfect for projects that need continuous running times, such as powering impact wrenches and air sanders. Low CFM works best with tools that work in short bursts such as nailers.

2. Portability

The whole point of pancake air compressors is their relatively small weight. They are targeted at people working in a dynamic environment, where they have to move their tools around.

Pay attention to the weights and dimensions of the compressors you check out to decide; compare these measures to the storage space you have, as well. 

Extra features such as a sturdy handle or rubber feet will definitely make your compressor more portable.

3. Tank Capacity

It is usually measured in gallons. Pancake ones, in particular, usually range from 1 to 8 gallons, with the average capacity being around 4 to 6 gallons.

The right tank size depends on your application. The average 4-to-6-gallon capacity works fine for most projects, and large-scale projects need a capacity of 6 plus.

The bigger the tank size is, the faster you have air on demand, leading to a smooth and steady experience. The Tank size also affects motor run time because the bigger it is, the less your motor has to run to give you air.

Keep in mind that bigger tanks are heavier and more expensive.

4. Noise Level

Noise level is measured in decibels. The higher the decibels are, the louder the compressor is when it runs. Noise levels usually range from 40 to 90 decibels in air compressors. Anything from 40 to 60 decibels is quiet. The 60 plus decibels are acceptable to some.

The 85 plus decibels are not safe in the long run, so you should wear ear protection if you have to work with a compressor that loud.

Benefits and uses of Pancake Air Compressors 

Small and Lightweight

No matter how heavy or big a pancake air compressor can get, it is still smaller than other types. A compressor that is easy to move or store is a win, for sure.

Low Maintenance

The majority of pancake compressors have oil-free pumps, which means you don’t have to worry about oiling them to increase their lifetime.

Note that pumps that need oiling cost a decent amount of money to maintain.

Quick Jobs

Pancake air compressors tend to have a high PSI compared to their tank size, which means they can do all small jobs in no time.

If you’re an artist, you can use one to airbrush. If you need a small tire inflator, a pancake compressor is perfect. Want pool inflatables for the kids? It can do that too.

A pancake compressor can also power small air tools such as nailers for work around the house.

Pancake vs. Twin-Stack Air Compressor

Both are portability-centered air compressors, so the comparison between them comes up often. Here are the differences between them:

Performance

Both are small enough for portability, but a twin-stack compressor has a bigger air capacity. Also, it is better in providing more air for longer before the unit has to start again, as opposed to a pancake compressor.

A twin-stack compressor is more suitable for inflating big tires or powering air tools such as impact wrenches; whereas, a pancake compressor is best for light work around the house or inflating bike tires.

Maintenance

Pancake compressors win this one easily.

A pancake compressor is basically maintenance-free, thanks to its oil-free pump. You don’t have to worry about oiling it like you may have to with a twin-stack compressor.

Portability and Space

Yes, both types are portable; however, they are not equally portable. A pancake compressor is lightweight. You can carry one just by yourself. A twin-stack compressor is bulkier, and you will need a helping hand to carry it.

Although the “twin” aspect of the twin-stack compressor saves land space, it takes up a lot of horizontal space. On the other hand, a pancake compressor has much smaller dimensions. 

Final Words

Let’s go over everything one more time.

If your target is a lightweight compressor, check out the Campbell Hausfeld FP2028 air compressor and the BOSTITCH air compressor kit.

What about larger-scale jobs? The DEWALT pancake air compressor is at your service.

A compressor that won’t wake up the kids would be the Campbell Hausfeld DC060500.

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