9 Best Pancake Air Compressors in 2020

Last updated: October 8, 2020
Published 3:32 pm

BOSTITCH Air Compressor Kit

Dewalt Pancake Air Compressor

CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor

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Pancake Air Compressors are portable air compressors that are relatively lighter, smaller, and less noisy compared to other air compressors such as the hotdog air compressors, among others.

They are used to power pneumatic tools such as brad nailers that utilize the pressured air from air compressors.

Pancake air compressors can also be used to inflate tires of cars and bikes and sports balls, toys, and other inflatable objects. However, their operation is limited due to their size and the amount of pressure they can deliver at a time.

This limits the number of areas where they can be used. Pancake air compressors are not the best for high-load pneumatic tools, such as bigger tires and heavy construction work. Instead, twin-tank and hot dog air compressors with larger gallons are best suited for those kinds of jobs.

DIY carpenters and painters tend to find pancake air compressors more convenient and flexible when working. Since most of the job description is not that demanding, the air compressors limitations are not really felt.

Some air compressors are also built to have relatively faster recovery time to cover for their smaller tank sizes. During colder weather, it is normal for an air compressor to take a long time before picking up, but some pancake air compressors are not affected by this and still work optimally, the same way they would work in a sunny day.

The tank size of air compressors is measured in gallons, and the pancake air compressor is no exception. The most popular tank size you are likely to find on the market is the 6-gallon pancake air compressors. You can get as low as 1-gallon, while those higher than 6-gallon are rare and kind of defeats the purpose of pancake air compressors, which is a smaller size, efficient work, lower noise, as well as portability.

Some common units or acronyms are used to indicate certain measurements in air compressors; they are PSI, CFM, SCFM, etc. PSI means Pounds per Square Inch, and it represents the amount of air pressure produced in the air compressor. CFM means Cubic Feet per Minute, and it is the amount of air that the air compressor delivers per cubic feet per minute, and it changes relative to the PSI of the air compressor. SCFM stands for hand, stands for Standard cubic feet per minute.

There are other important things that you should know, and this buying guide touches most of them added to a list of some of the best pancake air compressors on the market.

The Nine Best Pancake Air Compressor Are Reviewed Below

Buying a product and returning it is not a good experience; even worse is not being able to return it at all. That is why it is essential to do your homework before settling for one, and this itself can be daunting. That is why we have gathered and reviewed some of the best air compressors on the market to make your search easier.

1

BOSTITCH Air Compressor Kit

The Bostitch pancake air compressor is arguably one of the best 6-gallon pancake air compressors in this category. It comes from a reputable brand renowned for its impressive list of high-quality products such as brad nailers, etc.

The portable pancake air compressor is oil-free, which means you won’t be spending much on maintenance. It is powered by electricity, and its 6-gallon tank has a maximum pressure of 150 PSI and an SCFM reading of 2.6 at a pressure of 90 PSI.

When it comes to the actual work, this air compressor does deliver with its high flow regulator working efficiently to ensure the target device gets the adequate amount of air it needs to work effectively. It also has dual couplers that add more ease to work when you need more hands.

With a weight of 29 pounds, this air compressor is relatively lightweight, making it quite easy to move about from place to place. One of the reasons people settle for pancake air compressors apart from their size is their noise level, which is relatively low, and the Bostitch air compressor does not disappoint, although it not the quietest in its category.

The equipment also comes with other accessories such as a rubber/PVC blend air hose and 10-piece inflation and blowgun accessory kit, which includes a safety nozzle, among others.

Key Features:

  • 6-gallon tank
  • Oil-free
  • Lightweight
  • Maximum pressure of 150 PSI
  • Noise level of 80dBA
  • High flow regulator
  • Dual couplers
  • 10-piece inflation and blowgun accessory kit

Specification:

  • Brand: Bostitch
  • Capacity: 6-gallon
  • Weight: 29 lbs
Pros
  • It is lightweight and easy to move about
  • It has a high flow regulator
  • Starts quickly even in cold days
  • It is oil-free and has low maintenance needs
  • It has a maximum pressure of 150 PSI
  • Comes with extra accessories
Cons
  • It is relatively loud.

2

Dewalt Pancake Air Compressor

Dewalt pancake air compressor is another highly rated pancake air compressor on the market thanks to its relatively impressive pressure that tops at 165 PSI and a 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI. This helps users to accomplish their tasks with ease and efficiency while also boosting the runtime of the air compressor.

It is powered by a high capacity universal motor that gets it ready in a very short time and refills quickly when the pressured air in the tank starts reducing. The portable air compressor has a 6-gallon tank making it the ideal pick to get your work done with lesser need for refills.

It also comes with a flow regulator and dual couplers that can serve two users simultaneously, thereby adding more speed to your work. If you are worried about the cold weather affecting the performance of your air compressor, well, this air compressor still performs optimally when the weather is cold.

It is not that heavy and can be moved from place to place using its hand grip handle. It is oil-less, so do you don’t have to worry much about maintenance, and the durability of the machine ensures that it lasts you for a considerable number of years.

The controls of this air compressor are protected with a removable console cover, and when it comes to sound, the Dewalt pancake air compressor is relatively quiet with a noise level of 75.5 dBA.

Key Features:

  • 6-gallon tank
  • Oil-free
  • Maximum pressure of 165 PSI
  • 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI
  • Noise level of 75.5 dBA
  • High flow regulator
  • Dual couplers

Specification:

  • Brand: Dewalt
  • Capacity: 6-gallon
  • Weight: 30 lbs
Pros
  • It is easy to carry
  • It has dual couplers
  • Has a maximum pressure of 165 PSI
  • Not affect by cold weather
  • Easy to maintain
  • It has a high flow regulator
Cons
  • It is relatively expensive

3

CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor

Craftsman air compressor is rated as one of the best portable pancake air compressors on the market. It is proudly made in the USA, and the manufacturers also produce other equipment such as nailers, staplers, etc. that are used with air compressors.

The 6-gallon pancake air compressor produces a maximum pressure of 150 PSI, allowing it to supply adequate pressure for various appliances. It also has 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI, meaning you won’t be waiting for long before the compressor recovers and is ready for use again.

It is ideal for your stapling, bolting, and nailing jobs (brad, frame, roof nailing). The air compressor has an oil-free pump design, which increases its durability, lifespan, and takes away the worry of maintenance. The air compressor works easily, even in cold weather.

This compressor weighs 30 lbs making it relatively easy to carry and move around by adults. It has a noise level of 82 dBA, which is relatively acceptable in work areas that enjoy a quiet working environment; however, it is not the best in that category.

The compressor is accompanied by a 13-piece accessory kit, which includes a PVC air hose, tire chuck, and blowgun with plugs, tire gauge, among others. It also comes with a one-year limited warranty.

Key Features:

  • 6-gallon tank
  • Oil-free
  • Maximum pressure of 150 PSI
  • Noise level of 82 dBA
  • 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI
  • 13-piece accessory kit

Specification:

  • Brand: Craftsman
  • Capacity: 6-gallon
  • Weight: 30 lbs
Pros
  • It is portable
  • Has a maximum pressure of 150 PSI
  • It has a good recovery time
  • Not affect by cold weather
  • Easy to maintain
Cons
  • It is a bit loud.

4

Porter-Cable C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor

Porter-Cable C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor is a high -quality air compressor with impressive success stories from various users. It has a powerful motor that helps supply adequate air strong enough to run some pneumatic tools such as brad nailers and fill up car tires and other tubes that need air at high pressure. The air compressor can also run easily without a hitch in the cold weather.

The Porter-Cable pancake air compressor has a 6-gallon tank with a maximum pressure of 150 PSI and 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI, therefore, allowing you to use it for a considerable time before needing refills while also ensuring that its recovery time is relatively fast.

This air compressor has an oil-free pump design, so users won’t be worrying much about maintenance. Important components are protected by a shroud, handle, and console cover and the handle also makes it easier to carry the air compressor from place to place.

Carrying the Porter-Cable is not much work for an adult thanks to its 30 lbs. weight, which helps to certify it as a portable air compressor. It has an 82 dBA noise level, making the air compressor one of the loudest in this category. However, it is quite bearable in a working environment when compared to the noise level from other types of compressors.

It has a flow regulator and two air couplers which can be used at the same time by two workers, therefore saving more time.

Key Features:

  • 6-gallon tank
  • Oil-free
  • Maximum pressure of 150 PSI
  • Noise level of 82 dBA
  • High flow regulator
  • Dual couplers

Specification:

  • Brand: Porter-Cable
  • Capacity: 6-gallon
  • Weight: 30 lbs
Pros
  • It is easy to carry
  • It has dual couplers
  • Has a maximum pressure of 150 PSI
  • Not affect by cold weather
  • Easy to maintain
  • It has a high flow regulator
  • Its vital components are protected
Cons
  • It is loud.

5

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Metabo HPT air compressor is the successor of the Hitachi pancake air compressor, which was a relatively popular air compressor thanks to its durability as well as its delivery.

This air compressor has a 6-gallon tank and can attain a maximum pressure of 200 PSI, placing the Metabo HPT air compressor at the top when it comes to pressure in this category. It also means that you can use it on your power tools for a relatively long time before needing to refill. A 4 CFM at 90 PSI also means that you can use this air compressor to power larger body nailers.

If you work with a partner, then this air compressor might just be what you need because you can use it to run two nailers simultaneously, whether it is a framing nailer, brad nailer, siding nailers, etc.

Although it weighs more than the average pancake air compressor, it is still easy to move the air compressor as it weighs about 41 lbs, which is quite easy for an adult to carry. The air compressor has an oil-less design, making it very easy to maintain with you spending little or nothing.

There are other Metabo HPT pancake air compressors with extra packages such as Metabo HPT brad nailers, air hoses, etc.

Key Features:

  • 6-gallon tank
  • Oil-free
  • Maximum pressure of 200 PSI
  • High flow regulator
  • Dual couplers
  • 4 CPM at 90 PSI

Specification:

  • Brand: Metabo HPT
  • Capacity: 6-gallon
  • Weight: 41 lbs
Pros
  • It has a maximum pressure of 200 PSI
  • It is very easy to maintain
  • Can run two nailers at a time
  • It is durable
  • Its handle makes it easy to move
Cons
  • It is relatively heavy

6

Campbell Hausfeld 6 Gallon Portable Quiet Air Compressor

Campbell Hausfeld is a brand that has been around for close to two centuries, and over the years they have built a brand that is renowned for its high-quality product, and this pancake air compressor is not an exception.

The Campbell Hausfeld Quiet Air Compressor has a 6-gallon tank capacity and a maximum pressure of 125 PSI, which is strong enough to carry out your project such as nailing, fastening, stapling, spray painting, inflating small tires, toys, balloons, etc.

The air compressor reaches 2.4 CFM at 90 PSI, making its recovery time quite short, meaning you would not be kept waiting by this compressor. The oil-free design of this quiet pancake compressor helps you to save more because it is maintenance-free.

One of the major highlights of the Campbell Hausfeld pancake air compressor is its sound. It is the quietest air compressor on this list, and it is ranked as one of the quietest air compressors on the market. So, if you can’t stand the regular sound of air compressors, maybe this one is the solution, especially if you don’t have much need for air compressors with a higher pressure.

It is also easy to carry thanks to its soft-grip steel handle. However, it is one of the heaviest in this category, with a weight of 60 lbs. It comes with a one-year warranty.

Key Features:

  • 6-gallon tank
  • Oil-free
  • Maximum pressure of 125 PSI
  • High flow regulator
  • 2.4 SCPM at 90 PSI
  • Noise level of 68 dBA
  • Durable soft -grip steel handle

Specification:

  • Brand: Campbell Hausfeld
  • Capacity: 6-gallon
  • Weight: 60 lbs
Pros
  • It is quiet
  • It can be used for various projects
  • It is easy to maintain
  • It is durable
Cons
  • It is relatively heavy

7

DEWALT FLEXVOLT 60V MAX Air Compressor

The Flexvolt 60V Max Pancake Air Compressor is another impressive air compressor from Dewalt. It is one of the most portable air compressors on the market and, it will be a nice addition to the list of equipment of DIY carpenters and other DIYers that make use of pneumatic tools.

The air compressor has a tank capacity of 2.5 gallons, which is relatively lightweight and portable, weighing 21.5 lbs. So, if you are bothered about your air compressor taking too much storage space, and you are not working with heavy equipment, then the Flexvolt may be for you.

It has a maximum pressure of 135 PSI, and a 1.2 SCFM at 90 PSI. It comes with a lithium-ion battery, and according to Dewalt, this air compressor can allow up to 1,220 nails with each battery charge. This means for its size, the air compressor has a relatively long runtime. It has an oil-free pump design, so maintenance is not a problem.

It also comes with a patented OneTurn regulator, which helps to regulate the flow and makes precise pressure adjustments. It is protected by a heavy-duty cage, which also has a handle making it easy to move it from place to place at the job site. The noise level is 79 dBA, which is relatively low for a work environment, although one would have expected it to be lower because of its size.

Key Features:

  • 2.5-gallon tank
  • Oil-free
  • Maximum pressure of 135 PSI
  • OneTurn regulator for precise pressure adjustment
  • 1.2 SCPM at 90 PSI
  • Noise level of 79 dBA
  • heavy-duty cage and handle

Specification:

  • Brand: Dewalt
  • Capacity: 2.5-gallon
  • Weight: 21.5 lbs
Pros
  • It is lightweight and portable
  • It has a precise regulator
  • It is very easy to maintain
  • It has a good runtime
Cons
  • Its tank capacity is small
  • It can’t handle high-load projects
  • It is relatively expensive.

8

Campbell Hausfeld 1 Gallon Air Compressor

This is one of the best DIY air compressors on the market, in terms of portability, weight, and delivery. The Campbell Hausfeld 1-gallon pancake air compressor is the lightest pancake air compressor in this category, weighing just about 14.7 pounds.

It delivers a maximum pressure of 110 PSI and 0.36 CFM at 90 PSI. The air compressor is ideal for some minor inflation jobs such as inflating toys, sports balls, car, and bike tires, airbrushing, cleaning your workspace, etc. meaning it will power your brad nailers, staplers, airbrushes, and other closely related pneumatic tools. You can also monitor the air pressure through its well-designed pressure gauge.

It is easy to operate and very easy to move around the job site. Like most pancake air compressors, it has an oil-free pump design, sparing you the cost of maintenance. Being a Campbell Hausfeld product, one would expect the noise level to be relatively low, and that correct.

It also comes with other accessories such as a 25-ft recoil hose, inflator nozzles, needle and needle adapter, air chuck, etc.

However, if you have a major project, you may want to settle for a bigger compressor that offers more pressure and longer runtime.

Key Features:

  • 1-gallon
  • Oil-free
  • Maximum pressure of 110 PSI
  • 0.36 CPM at 90 PSI
  • Lightweight
  • Gauge for monitoring air pressure

Specification:

  • Brand: Campbell Hausfeld
  • Capacity: 1-gallon
  • Weight: 14. 7 lbs
Pros
  • It is easy to use
  • It is lightweight
  • Can be moved easily around the job site
  • Has a pressure gauge
Cons
  • It is too small
  • Its runtime is relatively short
  • It cannot run high-load pneumatic tools.

9

Briggs & Stratton 6-Gallon Pancake Air Compressor

Briggs & Stratton 6-Gallon Pancake Air Compressor is a portable air compressor with an impressive delivery record. Although it is not as popular as the other pancake air compressors reviewed above, it does not disappoint.

It has a maximum pressure of 135 PSI and 2.8 CFM at 90 PSI, which is relatively impressive and boosts its recovery time. The air compressor also has a motor with 1.5 horsepower and also features an oil-free pump design, which makes it maintenance-free, and more cost-saving.

You can use it for your DIY projects such as nailing, stapling as well as inflating objects. You can store some of your air compressor accessories in the built-in accessory storage of this air compressor. This helps you to stay organized and reduces the chances of smaller tools getting missing.

It weighs 40.8 lbs making it the second heaviest pancake air compressor in this category after the Campbell Hausfeld 6 Gallon Portable Quiet Air Compressor. It also comes with a one-year warranty.

Key Features:

  • 6-gallon tank
  • Oil-free
  • Maximum pressure of 135 PSI
  • 2.8 CPM at 90 PSI
  • Built-in accessory storage

Specification:

  • Brand: Briggs & Stratton
  • Capacity: 6-gallon
  • Weight: 40.8 lbs
Pros
  • It has an accessory storage
  • It is relatively quiet
  • It has a maximum pressure of 135 PSI
  • It has a good recovery time
  • It is easy to maintain
Cons
  • It is relatively heavy.

Buying Guide Questions

This buying guide is prepared with the intention to help buyers of air compressors make informed decisions when it comes to the purchasing of a new compressor. To achieve this, we have provided answers to the questions potential buyers worldwide are asking about air compressors. Here they are

Who makes the best pancake air compressor?

Various brands make pancake air compressors. But some are outstanding and have a lot of success stories from users. Examples of those brands include Bostitch, Dewalt, Porter-Cable, Craftsman, Campbell Hausfeld, Hitachi, now known as Metabo, among others.

These pancake air compressors tend to last long, and their delivery remains intact for years. Other brands on the market also deliver quality air compressors. Ensure that whatever brand you are settling for has a warranty that lasts at least for a year.

What is the best air compressor for home use?

Generally, your home is classified as a residential area, and there is a limit to the amount of noise you would want there; and this makes pancake air compressors the ideal air compressor for home use because of the relatively low noise level.

Some hotdog air compressors also have a relatively low noise level but compared to pancake air compressors, they are not that easy to move around, and they also take up more storage space. So, pancake air compressors will make lesser noise, take little storage space, and are relatively easier to move around in your home.

Which is better pancake or hot dog air compressor? Why?

This depends on what your choice, the type of pneumatic tool you want to power. Generally, it depends on the type of work you want to use the air compressor to perform. If you are dealing with high-load tools, then a hot dog air compressor with a larger tank may be what you are looking for because a pancake air compressor will most likely produce lesser pressure and will have to be refilled more often.

If you like portability, low noise level, you may want to go for a pancake air compressor. Also, if you are not running any major project, pancake air compressors can get your regular DIY job done.

Most pancake air compressors are oil-free, while there are oil-free hot dog air compressors and the oil-lubricated ones.

What should I look for when buying an air compressor?

You should be looking out for the portability, the size of the tank, the cubic feet per minute (CFM), PSI.

Also, you should check if the pump design is oil-free or oil-lubricated. Oil-free air compressors require little maintenance, while oil-lubricated air compressors require more of it. Although oil-lubricated air compressors quieter their oil-free counterparts.

What are the quietest air compressors?

Generally, oil-lubricated air compressors are quieter; however, they are heavier and tend to pollute the air more than the oil-free air compressor. However, there are oil-free air compressors that are relatively quiet; an example is the Campbell Hausfeld 6 Gallon Portable Quiet Air Compressor.

Which is better oil or oilless ‘oil-free’ air compressor?

As seen above, oil air compressors are quieter, produce lesser heat, and last longer than oil-free air compressors. Oil-free air compressors are cheaper. They weigh less, and they do not pollute the air as opposed to oil-lubricated air compressors.

Oil-lubricated air compressors are more suited for industrial applications, and they can be used for a longer time. In contrast, oil-free air compressors are best suited for DIY, home applications, among others.

Which is better V twin or inline air compressor?

Both of them have their distinct advantages as well as their distinct disadvantages. V twin air compressor cylinders are relatively cooler, and they pump more efficiently. Still, their major downside is their noisiness and high vibration, while Inline air compressors make lesser noise and vibrate lesser, but they get warm faster.

Why do air compressors explode?

Various factors can lead to this unfortunate event. Air compressors can explode as a result of the manufactural defect. Another thing that can cause an air compressor to explode is corrosion. This usually occurs when condensed water keeps accumulating inside the tank, that is why it is recommended that you drain your air compressor tank regularly.

How much psi do I need for air tools?

This depends on the type of tool it is used to power. For regular portable tools such as pancake air compressors, pressure ranging from 70 to 90 PSI is okay, while larger high-load tools will need PSI high than 100 at over 10 CFM.

How long do Pancake Compressors last?

Air compressors are built with great detail to prevent accidents, and this has contributed to their durability. A high-quality pancake air compressor that is well maintained and well-used should last up to 10 years and above.

Should I keep air in my compressor?

No, you should ensure that you release every pressure air from your compressor after use. This prevents the air from condensing into water that will, in turn, cause corrosion. Therefore, you must drain your air compressor immediately after use.

  

Conclusion

You must have adequate knowledge of how to operate these tools and how to maintain them. However, the first step you have to take is to settle for an air compressor with high quality so that you can enjoy your equipment for as long as possible, saving yourself from extra costs in the long run.