Home Home & Patio Best Pancake Air Compressors [Buying Guide] in 2020

Best Pancake Air Compressors [Buying Guide] in 2020

by Jonathan Logtenberg
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BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor, Oil-Free, 6 Gallon, 150 PSI (BTFP02012)
PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor, 6-Gallon, Pancake, Oil-Free (C2002)
DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor, 6 Gallon, 165 PSI (DWFP55126)
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BOSTITCH BTFP02012
PORTER-CABLE C2002
DEWALT DWFP55126
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BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor, Oil-Free, 6 Gallon, 150 PSI (BTFP02012)
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BOSTITCH BTFP02012
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PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor, 6-Gallon, Pancake, Oil-Free (C2002)
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PORTER-CABLE C2002
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DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor, 6 Gallon, 165 PSI (DWFP55126)
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DEWALT DWFP55126

When you’re starting out in DIY, the first thing you think of is probably a hammer and nails.  An air compressor might not even be on your radar yet.  However, as you carry on with your hobby and get better at different skills, you may find yourself wanting to try new things and stretch your abilities with new tools.  At this point, you might be starting to consider an air compressor.  Why?  Because air compressors open the door to a huge number of power tools and design tools to allow you to really flourish with your DIY projects. 

If you’re getting to the point of wanting an air compressor so you can begin working on new projects and reaching new goals, you might be considering which option is the best for you.  Since there are so many different models and makes out there, understanding which is best can be really difficult.  That is where Surf’n’Buy come to the rescue. As avid DIY fans, we know that a pancake air compressor is an excellent option for the home DIY hobbyist and the small time contractor, so we also know which options are best.  In this guide, we bring to you the three best pancake air compressors to help you find the one that will best fit your needs so that you can expand your skills, and maybe even expand your home.

Top 3 Pancake Air Compressors

1. BOSTITCH BTFP02012

FEATURES

The BOSTITCH BTFP02012 has a 6 gallon air tank capacity capable of supplying up to a 150 maximum PSI to power a wide range of tools and serve a number of purposes.  The high flow regulator and couplers maximize air tool performance by reducing the amount of air lost through connections. With two couplers and a quick recovery time, you can work with two people to get the job done faster and more efficiently and don’t have to wait long for the tank to refill and be ready to go again.

The high efficiency, oil free motor is also able to start up in cold weather whilst also being low maintenance because there is no need for oil changes and the permanent lubrication reduces wear and tear.  The electric powered motor reduces the risk of power cutting out due to lack of fuel to improve the reliability of the air compressor. The maximum 79 decibel operational noise level allows for a quiet working environment to improve concentration and increase work quality.  With an attached handle and weighing only 29 pounds, the BOSTITCH BTFP02012 is also easy to move and transport to areas you need it around the garage or the home.

PROS

  • With a high 150 PSI capability, this 6 gallon tank can power a wide range of tools to make sure you have everything you need to get the job done.
  • With a coupled connection, two people can work at once with the BOSTITCH BTFP02012.
  • The quick recovery time fills the tank as quickly as possible so that you aren’t limited in between uses and can get the work done fast.
  • The oil free motor reduces wear and tear and the need for maintenance.
  • The electric powered motor is much more reliable than its gas counterparts.
  • The incredibly low 79 decibel working sound allows you to fully concentrate on the job at hand without irritating noise.
  • Made for portability, the lightweight design of the BOSTITCH BTFP02012 and the attached handle make moving and transporting quick and easy.

CONS

  • The BOSTITCH BTFP02012 does not include a hose or gun kit so these will need to be supplied by the customer at an extra cost, so make sure to take this into consideration upon purchase.
  • The gauges on the air compressor are not as precise as others, so you may not be able to perfectly adjust the PSI which can be annoying if you have very specific needs for your tools.
  • The pressure can drop quickly when using a high volume of air which can make highly demanding projects difficult.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

The BOSTITCH BTFP02012 is a high quality, high value air compressor that offers you everything you need for standard use.  The oil free design is low maintenance and highly efficient, whilst also reducing noise and vibration so no power is lost. The lightweight and portable design is perfect for home projects around the house or for small time garage use.  If you have a range of needs from an air compressor, the BOSTITCH BTFP02012 is guaranteed to fill any of them.

2. PORTER-CABLE C2002

FEATURES

The PORTER-CABLE C2002 offers a 150 PSI level and stores more air in the 6 gallon pancake tank to ensure longer tool running times.  The 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI ensures a quick recovery time so you aren’t waiting around for the tank to refill. The low amp 120 volt motor starts quickly and easily at low temperatures and the oil free pump ensures there is little need for maintenance and guarantees a long life with the PORTER-CABLE C2002.

The six gallon pancake style tank provides greater stability and has a water drain valve for quick moisture release, and rubber feet ensure that it stays in place even at its highest working level.  The shroud, handle and console cover the important components for safety and make moving the air compressor quick and easy, as it only weighs 30 pounds.  The built in cord wrap ensures the safety of the user when the air compressor is stored, so no hazardous cables. The PORTER-CABLE C2002 also offers two regulated and factory installed couplers to support two users at once.  This means that you and your colleagues can work together to get the job done that much faster. 

PROS

  • The six gallon pancake tank offers an impressive 150 PSI to power any tool and ensure a quick recovery and sustained airflow to make work quick and efficient.
  • The low amp 120 volt motor starts quickly at low temperatures so you can use this air compressor at any time of the year.
  • The lightweight, compact and portable design is perfect for those who need to use the air compressor in different areas of the home or for small contracting business who are looking for a commercial use air compressor.
  • With the capability to support two people, the PORTER-CABLE C2002 makes work much easier and eliminates the need for multiple air compressors to get the job done.

CONS

  • The accessory kit provided is not of high quality, so it may be a good idea to look at other kits available to make sure you get a good product.
  • This is one of the louder air compressors on the market which can make it difficult to use in residential areas and makes it difficult to concentrate during use.
  • The moisture removal valve does not allow the water out consistently and may take some work to ensure all the moisture has been removed from the tank.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

The PORTER-CABLE C2002 is a high quality air compressor which is perfect for personal and professional use as it is quick to recover and supports two users at one time.  The stable and portable design of the tank and body make it easy to carry around and it won’t move when being used so efficiency is not lost to vibration. The only downside to this air compressor is that it is much louder than other options, so you may need hearing protection when in an enclosed space, and it might annoy your neighbours during the day.

3. DEWALT DWFP55126

FEATURES

The most powerful air compressor on this guide is the DEWALT DWFP55126, capable of powering up to 165 PSI with a 6 gallon tank and  a 2.5 SCFM at  90 PSI.  That makes this air compressor one of the best options for home use as well as professional use because it will be capable of powering almost any tool you need. The high efficiency motor is quick to start in cold weather or when using with an extension cord of over 50 feet, so you will never be limited by weather or space when using this air compressor.

With only a 75.5 decibel working sound, this air compressor is quiet so that you can focus on the job at hand and won’t damage your hearing.  The high flow regulators maximize airflow efficiency and the couplers support two workers at one time so you and a buddy can work together to work quickly. The 120 volt power supply and 10 amp draw is powered by standard outlets and doesn’t draw a lot of power to ensure that there is no risk of motor failure or a blow fuse, making this air compressor much more reliable for long term use. At only 32 pounds and manufactured with a reinforced handle, this air compressor is easy to lift and move as you need it to finish a project.

PROS

  • The high PSI level puts the DEWALT DWFP55126 at the most powerful on this list so that you can power any tool and complete any project.
  • The high efficiency motor starts in any weather, making this air compressor suitable for use in any region and at all times of year.
  • The 120 volt power supply fits standard outlets while the 10 amp draw keeps the motor safe from failures and blown amps to improve reliability.
  • The quiet working sound of this air compressor allows you to concentrate as you work and reduces risk to hearing.
  • The lightweight and portable design makes the DEWALT DWFP55126 suitable for a wide range of construction projects to ensure you get everything you need and can do everything you want to do.

CONS

  • When working close to the air compressor the sound can still seem rather loud, which may be an issue in terms of working in residential areas or in enclosed spaces.
  • Regulating the pressure is rather difficult and this can make the airflow inconsistent, which may make using a paint gun difficult.
  • The hose is not included so you will need to purchase this at an extra cost.
  • The tank can be slow to build up pressure which can make it slow to get started and to refill when empty.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

The DEWALT DWFP55126 is the most powerful pancake air compressor out there, at 165 PSI which means it can be used with a huge range of tools to finish any project.  Lightweight, portable and quiet, this air compressor is perfect for home use for DIY and hobbies, as well as for commercial contractors.  The low amp draw and standard electrical fittings are suitable for use anywhere and protect the air compressor from a failure.  Capable of starting in cold weather, you can use this pancake air compressor any time anywhere.

Pancake vs. Twin-Stack Air Compressor

If you are looking to buy a new air compressor you may be wondering if a pancake air compressor is best for you, or perhaps a twin stack air compressor.  Perhaps you’re wondering what the difference is, which is perfectly understandable.  There are a number of similarities and differences between pancake and twin stack air compressors which make them suitable for different purposes. To help you find the right option for your needs, Surf’n’Buy has all of the information you need to compare these air compressor models to better understand which is best for you.

What is a Pancake Air Compressor?

Pancake air compressors are lightweight and much more compact than other kinds of air compressors and are shaped, as the name suggests, like a pancake.  They come with a gallon size of between one and six gallons and are very easy to move around as you need them.  These days, they can have a pretty high PSI rate, so you aren’t as limited with these models, but they aren’t as powerful as other options out there. They upside of these air compressors is that they require very little maintenance as they are generally oil free.  They are therefore perfect for small time contracting work, DIY and hobbies because they are great for working with small time power tools.

What is a Twin Stack Air Compressor?

A twin stack air compressor is basically two pumps put together connected and stacked one over the other.  They have similar gallon sizes as pancake pumps and are much more suited to jobs such as strimming, powering nails or brad guns.  They usually don’t exceed around 70 pounds, so they are just as portable as pancake air compressors.  However, they are not as space saving and they aren’t as powerful.  They can also be quite cumbersome to carry when filled with air.  However, due to the twin barrel design, some models compress the air twice which can give a higher air pressure, but this won’t last as long as using a lower pressure.

So, Which is Better?

Both pancake air compressors and twin stack air compressors have their own merits, so it is difficult to say which one is better necessarily.  However, pancake air compressors are much more transportable, easier to store and generally a bit more powerful.  This gives them a greater versatility and an ease of use that cannot be compared with a twin stack air compressor.  If you are looking for a higher quality, all round air compressor, a pancake air compressor may be the way to go.   However, if air pressure is what you need, you could consider a twin stack air compressor, but it is important to be aware of the drawbacks of these models.


Capacity, Power and Pressure

Capacity, power and pressure are three very different but equally important factors to consider when buying an air compressor and they do very different things.  It is important to understand these factors so that you can get everything you need out of your air compressor and aren’t limited.

Capacity

The capacity of the air compressor is the amount of air held in the tank and the amount of air the compressor can pump out per minute.  It is expressed as CFM, cubic feet per minute.  A  large tank may sound impressive, but this is not the amount of pressure being able to be exerted, it will also take a lot longer to fill up, so be wary of this also. To calculate the amount of capacity you need, calculate the requirements for all of the tools you have and this is roughly the amount of capacity you will need.  Most machines have a quick recovery time and will fill up within minutes, so capacity is not a huge issue here, especially for a pancake air compressor.

Power

Horsepower is the most common expression of power used for an air compressor and many look to this measurement to see how much they can get from their air compressor.  However, this is not the only important consideration.  Horsepower doesn’t give you the whole story, you also need to consider pressure and capacity. Horsepower will play a role in how much pressure the air compressor can exert but you should also look to the CFM rating to make sure that the air compressor will meet all of your needs. 

Pressure

The pressure exerted by an air compressor is expressed in CFM and this is much more relevant to the calculations you need to make when purchasing an air compressor.  The higher the pressure, or CFM, your tools require, the higher you will need from your air compressor. Again, make sure to consult the tools you use but don’t be fooled by the CFM alone.  It’s one thing to have a high CFM capability on the air compressor, but you need the capacity to back it up.  You could use a CFM of 175 but only be able to use it for a minute before the tank runs out.


Tank Size and Portability

Generally speaking, the smaller the tank the more portable the air compressor will be.  This is because there are less materials and less air going into the body of the air compressor and this will make it lighter.  However, many options have a reinforced handle to make sure that it is easy to lift and move around. Depending on the gallon capacity of the air tank, the weight of the air compressor can change a lot due to the amount of metal and air that goes into making the tank.  The great thing about pancake air compressors is that they never generally reach more than around 70 pounds and always come with a carrying handle.  This makes them ideal for most individuals to carry around and transport. 

Pancake air compressors are also made to be more compact so they are easy to store or fit in the car without fiddling with fitting them into different spaces.  If you are looking for a highly convenient and highly portable air compressor, a pancake air compressor is one of the most portable there is.


Conclusion

And so we come to an end of Surf’n’Buy’s guide for the best pancake air compressors in 2020.  We stand behind each and every one of these air compressors but each has its strengths and weaknesses for different purposes.  If you want an air compressor that will suit even the highest powered tools, the DEWALT DWFP55126 is the perfect option for your needs. 

However, the PORTER-CABLE C2002 and the BOSTITCH BTFP02012 are great if you are looking for a pancake air compressor that will allow you to complete a myriad of home construction tasks or hobby projects.  These pancake air compressors have a high PSI to power all of the tools you need whilst also being small, compact and portable enough to move around the home.

Whatever you need from your pancake air compressor, we are confident that this guide contains the option that is best for you, as each of these models offers range of uses depending on its user.  We at Surf’n’Buy hope that this guide has helped you find the perfect pancake air compressor for your needs  and we hope to see you again with your next purchase.


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