How To Find The Best Pancake Compressor (In Under 5 Minutes)
Pancake schmancake – there’s no flour or eggs involved here. So what’s this pancake stuff all about? So called because the tanks in these beauties look like pancakes (really?) a pancake air compressor is the perfect solution if you want compressed air on the move.
Small, neat and tidy they are popular domestic as well as light industrial tools to have around. All pancake compressors were definitely not created equal and there are a number of things to consider before you make a purchase.
Before deciding which model is for you, find out more about the key features to consider and then delve more deeply by finding out about four of the top sellers.
How To Find The Best Pancake Air Compressor
Despite a wide variety of designs it’s easy to spot a pancake air compressor. The pancake shaped air tank is usually at the bottom with the compressor mechanism mounted on top of the tank.
Constructed in this way, expect them to be lightweight and most important, easy to move around. The best even incorporate carrying handles into their design. There are a number of other features to look out for when choosing you the best pancake air compressor for you as follows:
1. Maximum Punch from Minimum Size
Generally weighing in at less than 65 pounds with up to six gallons of compressed air stored in the tank they are more than capable of driving most power tools on a light construction site. Expect up to 120 PSI air pressure so your compressor can be used for domestic uses such as inflating tyres and balls as well as being powerful enough to keep a light construction site working.
Rubber feet mounted on the bottom of the tank will stop vibration and mean that the compressor needs a relatively small space to operate in. Despite the small size, clever designs that place compressors on top of the tank mean electric motors can be used and can be expected to provide up to 150psi. Some punch.
2.Easy Tank Draining
Whatever model you buy, look out for a tank drain. Built into the underside of your new compressors tank, the drain is very important if you are looking for longevity. Air that is compressed causes moisture to condense in the tank. Over time the moisture will corrode the tank leaving the compressor unusable. A good compressor should have a tank drain located in an easy to access position, on the bottom of the tank, so that you can drain it, some say every time you use it. You’ve been warned.
3. Indoor and Outdoor Use
Whatever your gig – a pancake air compressor will work effectively indoors and out. However, watchout for the weight of your new compressor, you want portability not lugability. The only limit to the portability is the length of power cable and the availability of a power socket.
Pancake tanks mean that pulsation caused by pistons in the motor is eliminated and rubber mounts on feet further reduce vibration so you should expect a whisper quite compressor that’ll keep the neighbours from complaining whether you use it indoors or out.
Pancake Compressor Reviews
Alright – lets cut to the chase – you’re here to find the best pancake compressor for your home or worksite, so let’s do just that. The following models are highly recommended by thousands of happy customers, and should keep your tools powered, without weighing you down.
The Best Pancake Air Compressors in 2017:
PCFP02003 3.5-Gallon 135 PSI Pancake Compressor
Noise: 82 dBA
Power: 135 PSI
Weight: 26 pounds
1 Year Warranty
BTFP02012 6 Gallon Pancake Compressor
Noise: 78.5 dBA
Power: 150 PSI
Weight: 33 pounds
1 Year Warranty
DWFP55126 6-Gallon 165 PSI Pancake Compressor
Noise: 75.5 dBA
Power: 165 PSI
Weight: 32 pounds
3 Year Warranty
FP2028 1-Gallon Oil-Free Pancake Air Compressor
Power: 100 PSI
Weight: 14 pounds
1 Year Warranty
1. The Porter Cable PCFP02003 3.5-Gallon 135 PSI Pancake Compressor
- Noise: 82 dBA
- Power: 135 PSI
- Weight: 26 pounds
- Warranty: 1 year limited warranty on compressor parts
Think quick recovery with the Porter-Cable PCFP02003. The large 3.5 gallon tank is quickly replenished because this little gem features a powerful 120v motor that delivers 135psi. You can also expect longer run times thanks to the capacity of the pancake tank. The pump is an oil free design which means that there is no routine maintenance required when using it and the steel tank is designed for minimum corrosion.
There’s nothing like accessorising and with standard hoses, it is easy to find tools, and attachments that mean you can use this nifty compressor in a wide variety of situations. Every day nailing to inflation jobs are all made easy with this very portable.
- Oil free operation
- Quick tank recovery – don’t waste time waiting for the tank to refill
- Runs on a standard home electric circuit
- Maintenance free design
- On the noisy side for a pancake compressor
- Where’s the rubber hose?
- Not really suited beyond domestic use
The verdict - Porter Cable PCFP02003 is a neat and tidy compressor that would make a useful addition to your household inventory. Competitively priced, expect a selection of useful features although you do need to fork out for a rubber hose – why, why, why?
If you’re looking for a domestic compressor this one deserves a closer look. It will happily tackle a range of tasks such as frame nailing, brad nailing and inflation but probably won’t scale up to light industrial activity.
2. The Bostitch BTFP02012 6 Gallon Pancake Compressor
- Noise: 78.5 dBA
- Power: 150 PSI
- Weight: 33 pounds
- Warranty: 1 year
Entering into the ring is the Bostitch BTFP02012 6 Gallon Pancake Compressor. Measuring up at just 14” diameter it is a neat and tidy little compressor. It does weigh in at 33 pounds which is a bit heavy for this class of compressors but is still portable none-the-less. Running with just 80dBA background noise, it is quiet enough to be used at home without upsetting next door. That’s all down to the 120 volt motor that runs oil free for a maintenance free life.
It also features a nifty control panel where all of the important compressor components are located. The design ensures gauges and connectors can be bump and knock free, even when used in a light industrial setting. Talking of which, there are two connectors so the machine can drive multiple compressed air tools for any amount of trim and finishing type applications.
- High performance
- Small foot print so can be used in a squeeze
- 6 gallon tank – almost as big as a 10 gallon hat
- Will support two users at a time
- Perhaps a heavyweight but still only 33 pounds
- Will lose power over time
The Verdict - The BOSTITCH BTFP02011 is great little pancake compressor to have on site or at home. It will serve you well until you ask too much of it when it will really slow down. However, if you stick within the operating specs it is reliable, portable and quiet enough to compete well with other products of this type.
Just read what others say, check out the number of four star rating and above and you realize that it is a popular model – that many people just can’t be wrong!
3. The DeWalt DWFP55126 6-Gallon 165 PSI Pancake Compressor
- Noise: 75.5 dBA
- Power: 165 PSI
- Weight: 32.5 pounds mmmm...can feel the strain here
- Warranty: Three, did you get that, three whole years
At the serious end of the pancake compressor market, the Dewalt DWFP55126 is built around an impressive six gallon tank so you know just by looking at it what to expect. A tank like that needs a decent motor to keep up and the pump delivers compressed air at an impressive 165 PSI. All that oomph comes in at less than 32.5 pounds, surprisingly light!
The pump is an oil free design which means that you can expect it to be maintenance free for the working life of the compressor and while we are on the subject, parts are covered by an impressive three year manufacturer’s warranty. The only maintenance needed is a regular draining of the tank to get rid of the build-up of water associated with compressed air.
- Sssshh –it’s quiet enough to not stop conversations
- Large tank size
- Can connect two air tools
- Light weight so easy to move around
- Only suitable for tools used in short bursts
The Verdict - The six gallon tank really makes this compressor into a contender. Even with two compressed air tools attached it will make light work of nailing and trim finishing tasks. Its quiet operation (one of the quietest in this class) means it can be used continually on site or at home without upsetting the neighbours. Combine that with the low maintenance and the top quality manufacturer’s warranty and this is a perfect buy for use at home or on a construction site.
4. The Campbell Hausfeld FP2028 1-Gallon Oil-Free Pancake Air Compressor (with Accessory Kit)
- Noise: 75 DBA (approx.)
- Power: 100 PSI
- Weight: 14.3 pounds – now we’re talking
- Warranty: 1 year
Coming complete with its own accessory kit – more of which later – the Campbell Hausfield FP2028 is a neat and tidy little pancake compressor. With a one gallon tank that eliminates the pulsing caused by pistons this compressor is perfect for domestic use such as inflating pool accessories and bicycle tyres. It is also good enough to drive a single air tool so can be used for light commercial construction work which brings us back to the accessory kit. Along with a lengthy 25 foot recoil hose (great for easy storage) it comes with a selection of needles adapters and inflation nozzles so it can be used in a wide variety of situations.
Features to make your life easy are seen in plenty here. Starting with a carefully designed handle for ease of carrying, they also include an easily read gauge so you can avoid running the tank too low. With a 100 PSI and a connector for a single air tool this model is also perfect for light construction work.
- Easy to read gauge – never run out or air!
- 25 foot recoil hose
- Good selection of adapters and nozzles supplied
- One gallon tank may not be large enough
- Only supports one air tool
The Verdict - If you’re looking for an out of sight, out of mind kind of compressors then the small tank on the Campbell Haufield FP2028 means that it is easily stowed in a cupboard or under a sink when not in use. Even though it has a smaller tank than most, it still has enough beef to ensure that it will handle light construction tasks easily.
And there you have it - the 4 best pancake compressors of 2015 and 2017 reviewed! Remember to maintain your compressor once you purchase it ensure it remains full of power day in and day out. Visit budget air compressors for other air compressor reviews and advice.