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Porter Cable C2002 Air Compressor: A Detailed Review

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The Porter Cable C2002 air compressor is capable of handling some serious tasks, yet it's still relatively lightweight and portable, which is something rarely found in more industrial compressors. If  you're frustrated waiting for your small compressor to refill, then the Porter Cable is definitely worth checking out.

Finding the right portable air compressor can be a daunting task, especially when you want one that allows for a bit more than lightweight tasks. At this middle range of the market, there's always a compromise to be made since there's few compressors available between light DIY and full industrial use. Let's take a closer look to see if the PorterCable C2002 6-gallon pancake air compressor is the right compressor for you.

Product Showcase

[amazon box="B000O5RO1Y"]

The Porter Cable C2002-WK is a 6-gallon pancake-style air compressor. The durable oil-free pump requires little to no maintenance and it's designed to operate for years. Equipped with a low-amp 120-volt motor, the compressor can be used with an extension cord and will easily start in cold weather. Per ISO1217, the 2.6 SCRM at 90 psi will allow for quick recovery time.

Detailed Specifications

Directly from Porter Cable

  • Cut-Out Max: 150 psi
  • Cut-In Restart: 120 psi
  • Tank Size: 6-gallons
  • Pump Lubrication: Oil-free pump design
  • Regulator: Yes
  • Gauges: 2
  • Quick-Connect Couplers: 2
  • Air Delivery @ 40 psi ISO1217: 3.5 scfm
  • Air Delivery @ 90 psi ISO1217: 2.6 scfm
  • Running Horsepower: 0.8 HP
  • Voltage: 120 V 
  • Amps: 10 Amps
  • Decibel ISO3744: 82 dBA
  • Product Weight: 30 lbs
PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor, 6-Gallon, Pancake, Oil-Free (C2002)

Portability of the Porter Cable C2002

Weighing in at 30-pounds, the Porter Cable C2002 is not much heavier than the Senco PC1010. You can read our full review on the Senco PC1010 HERE. The Senco was 10-pounds lighter, but it also only had a 1-gallon tank. The Porter Cable C2002 may be a few pounds heavier, but the 6-gallon tank definitely makes up for it with it's performance.

Don't let the added 10 lbs fool you, the C2002 compressor can easily be moved around the home, workshop, job site, and transported by vehicle. Porter Cable has done an excellent job of providing a decent amount of compressed air storage on a compressor that can be moved from one place to another.

Because of it's wide range of applications and it's small size, you could take the Porter Cable C2002 almost anywhere. Take it camping, take it boating to pump inflatables, or buy one for DIY projects around the home. And, don't forget about pumping vehicle tires!


Don't be fooled by its small size, the Porter Cable C2002 has a powerful motor which allows the compressor to replace air faster than other small compressors. Moreover, it boasts 150 psi capacity that's sufficient for moderate bursts of rapid fire nailing.

It runs at low amperage and requires 120v for operation, but if you're using the compressor for work where other power appliances are being run, they should be plugged into different circuits to prevent overload. Likewise, in your home, the C2002 should not be on the same circuit as running appliances such as refrigerators, laundry machines, and dryers.

PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor, 6-Gallon, Pancake, Oil-Free (C2002)

Performance of the C2002

Because the Porter Cable C2002 is an electrically powered device, you shouldn't have any problem starting it in sub-20° weather, which makes it a great pick if you live in cold weather climates or enjoy winter camping.

Smaller pumps can have difficulty inflating vehicle tires, but since the C2002 has a larger tank capacity, you'll be able to add about 20 psi to four tires and only have the compressor kick in a couple of times throughout the process.

Another performance benefit is the fact that it can handle anything up to a 18 gauge nailer. Which means that regular use with pneumatic nailers won't be a problem, and the same goes for staplers.

Handling near-continuous use of any workspace air hose, or even an airbrush shouldn't be a problem. The motor does a good job of kicking in and restoring pressure. Just remember to let it rest for 15-minutes after every 45-minutes of use.

In addition, the compressor is equipped with a dual outlet system. This will allow it to run two nailers simultaneously for tasks such as framing or carpentry. The larger tank allows for plenty of air to work.

Ease of Use

Whether you're working with a buddy or using multiple tools, the dual hose outlet on the Porter Cable is going to be a huge benefit. Like most modern compressors, the Porter Cable C2002 uses 1/4-inch quick connects which are the industry standard on all hoses and pneumatic tools.

Everything comes assembled out-of-the-box, including the gauges. It couldn't be any easier to get going with this air compressor.


If you haven't used an air compressor before, then the noise factor will be subjective. But for experienced users, it's important to note, that the C2002 is not quiet by any stretch of the imagination. However, it's not overbearingly loud either.

For reference, it's louder than a vacuum cleaner, yet quieter than other home tools like leaf blowers and lawnmowers.

Need More Power?

The Porter Cable C2002 air compressor outputs 2.6 CFM @ 90 PSI. Heavy duty tools like impact wrenches and cut off wheels require more. This compressor is simply not intended to be used with these types of tools because tye require at least 5 to 8 CFM.

Even though the C2002 isn't considered a hobby compressor, it's not going to be able to compete with industrial sized compressors either. When considering purchasing this, or any compressor, it's critical that you are realistic on your uses and expectations.

PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor, 6-Gallon, Pancake, Oil-Free (C2002)

Porter Cable C2002 Durability

Keep in mind that any air compressor of this size is not designed to run all day. But with that said, the C2002 bridges some of the gap between enthusiast and professional, although it's still a machine that needs to rest.

If you need to run it all day, make sure to allow a 15-minute cool down for every 45-minutes of use. This will prolong the life of the motor.

Construction Quality

The tank is made from steel for durability. This means that there's a risk of internal corrosion if the compressor is not maintained properly. However, with care and draining, the tank should last for years.

For the most part, the C2002 is long lasting, However, it is also designed as an excellent entry-level air compressor, which means that some quality aspects have been compromised for price.

The release valve (bleeder) can be a fragile part which may require replacement. Should you have any issues, Porter Cable has replacement valves available for around $20.

There's also a plastic connector as part of the regulator assembly which may be a point of failure. Again, this part can be easily replaced, but it's disappointing that Porter Cable would choose to use plastic in an integral part of the unit's assembly.


Besides keeping the outside of the air compressor dust free, which can easily be done with an attached air hose, the only other thing you need to worry about is draining the tank after each use. Draining the tank will help prevent corrosion.

PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor, 6-Gallon, Pancake, Oil-Free (C2002)

Accessories Available for The C2002

When purchasing the Porter Cable C2002 you'll have the choice to buy the compressor itself or add an accessory kit as well. Although the consumer grade accessories are a nice addition to the package, their quality is a bit disappointing.

The hose is short and stiff, but of good quality, and there's too much cheap plastic and metal used for other components. So, if you're looking for a starter kit to get you up and running, they'll fit the bill. But you'll definitely want to purchase higher quality accessories down the road, especially if you're doing serious work.

We recommend purchasing the 20-piece accessory kit by WYNNsky. It comes with a 25-foot coil nylon hose, tire gauge, and a variety of fittings.

[amazon box="B06W2FW89L"]

Another couple of popular accessories are the Camco Blow Out Plug and the Campbell Hausfeld Tire Inflator with pressure gauge.

PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor, 6-Gallon, Pancake, Oil-Free (C2002)

The Porter Cable C2002 Air Compressor in Action

The following videos show the Porter Cable C2002 air compressor in action:

How to Set-up the Porter Cable C2002

How to Use the C2002 Compressor and Accessories

Essential User information

One negative with the Porter Cable C2002 is the user manual. It simply fails to provide the information needed on how to break-in the compressor, as well as draining the tank. The fact that this information is missing is very disappointing, especially since this is an excellent compressor for first time owners.

Fortunately, the steps are easy enough. Here's how:

Break-in: To break-in your air compressor, open the bleeder/release valve at the bottom of the tank and turn the unit on. Let it run for up to 20 minutes without building pressure. Then, shut it off and close the valve. Now you can turn it on to build pressure as normal.

Drain: To drain the unit, just take it down to 20 psi and open the release valve. Tilt the unit towards the valve to allow the stored air to blow out any condensation. If you do this after every use you'll extend the lifespan of the compressor.

CAUTION: Never open the release valve at high pressure! Doing so can damage the valve and lead to leaks.

PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor, 6-Gallon, Pancake, Oil-Free (C2002)

Pros and Cons


  • Low cost
  • Large tank capacity
  • Portable
  • Perfect for home use and professional use in limited situations
  • The majority of the unit features excellent construction
  • Simple to use


  • The unit might be louder than expected
  • Quality of some of the hardware (regulator and valves) is sub-par
  • The low quality accessories kit won’t satisfy any serious user

Important Features

  • 6 gallon storage tank
  • 150 psi air pressure
  • 30 lbs standing weight
  • 120v electric motor

Final Thoughts

The Porter Cable C2002-WK Oil-Free Pancake Compressor is a compelling choice for those who need a little bit more than the standard portable compressor, but don't need a heavy-duty tool. Despite a few shortcomings, this is a great compressor for DIY or even light professional use.

We recommend purchasing the C2002 without the accessory kit and buy the WYNNsky kit instead. In the end, the price is comparable and you'll end up higher quality accessories.

Porter Cable could have made a few design alterations to produce a more perfect machine, but in the end, it doesn't take away from the fact that this is one of the best compressors in its class. 

With it's small size and reasonable price, it's hard to recommend an alternative to the Porter Cable C2002.

In addition, there are plenty of reviews to read and no shortage of high ratings. If you're looking for a 6-gallon portable compressor, the C2002 gives you the best bang for your dollar.

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