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Discover Our Top Ten Pancake Air Compressor List (Updated 2019)

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If you are on the look out for an air compressor, you most probably already know that there are a number of different kinds of air compressors available in the market. You can choose from any number of makes and models of both stationary and portable air compressors. However, in this article, we are focusing on portable air compressors.

A pancake air compressor is a great option if you’re looking for a portable compressor that doesn’t compromise when it comes to functionality.

By placing the air tank at the bottom of a compressor, it allows for a low center of gravity, and a smaller overall footprint.

Pancake compressors are also easy to gravity drain, which reduces the risk of tank corrosion, and because they’re all electrically powered they can be used both indoors and outdoors.

yellow and black pancake air compressor
yellow and black pancake air compressor

Just because pancake compressors are relatively small, it doesn’t mean that you will have to settle for a tiny tank, and there are plenty of mid-sized options, such as a Porter Cable 6-gallon air compressor, or even a portable Bostitch air compressor.

To help give you a point of reference, we have listed our ten picks for the best pancake air compressor. Regardless of what pancake air compressor you end up choosing, the following ten models will be a great starting point.

This list will enable you to get a good feel for what is available while learning some of the differences between the most popular units.

For your convenience, we have arranged all our air compressor recommendations in the table below.

To find more details about a particular model you are interested in, just scroll below the table to find the right section,  or click on the appropriate button on the table to go directly to the Amazon product page.

Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Porter Cable 6 Gallon Pancake Air Compressor Model C2002-WK

This entire package, with the included accessories, weighs less than 34 lb.

This is important if you need a compressor that you can carry around at home or a jobsite, and with this one you’ll be able to get plenty of work done.

It can be powered with a standard household circuit and produces up to 2.6 CFM of air movement @ 90 PSI. If you lower the pressure, you could get up to 3.5 CFM @ around 40 PSI.

The 6-gallon tank is an excellent feature that will allow you to run demanding tools for longer, without needing to wait for the recharge cycle. For general stapling and nailing for one operator, this would be a great investment.

This particular package includes all of the basics that you need to get going, including a nylon hose, an air gun attachment for cleaning, as well as a tire pressure gauge and inflating attachment.

The C2002 also comes in a base model without the accessories, which is a good option if you’re looking for the lowest price point.

If you want more details about this excellent unit, then you can check out our full review here.

At a Glance

Pros

  • It’s quite affordable
  • Has a large capacity tank
  • Boasts an excellent construction
  • It’s simple to use

Cons

  • The unit can be noisy
  • Some of the parts and hardware can be of sub-par quality, specifically regulators and valves.
  • The accessories kit does not contain attachments that would meet a serious user’s needs.

Value for Money

Price Point: Low – both units (with the 13-piece accessory kit  and without it) are in the low up to $200 price range.

Bostitch BTFP02012 Pancake Air Compressor

This excellent and highly popular unit can provide up to 150 PSI of pressure, with a flow rating of 2.6 CFM when operating at 90 PSI.

It uses an electrically powered, oil-free pump, which means that there is virtually zero maintenance, aside from cleaning and draining.

Compact and weighing just 29 lb., this unit is easily portable and will be just as useful for home projects as it would be for light duty work on a jobsite.

The noise produced by this Bostitch air compressor is just 78.4 dB, which means that it’s knocking on the door of the ultra-quiet air compressor category.

It runs quieter than the average washing machine, and you won’t need to use hearing protection when using this device in most environments.

At a Glance

Pros

  • Delivers high performance compared to other compressors
  • Has a small foot print, allowing convenient use
  • Has a large capacity tank that allows 6 gallons of storage
  • Supports two users at a time

Cons

  • Can lose power over time

Value for Money

Price Point: Low – being in the low price range ($100 to $200), this pancake air compressor is powerful for the price.

DeWALT Pancake Compressor Model DWFP55126 6 Gallon

DeWALT is a great brand if you’re looking for excellent quality and high performance.

This unit comes in a standard pancake design, and weighs just a little over 30 lb., making it easily portable.

It’s quiet in operation, running at just 75.5 dB, and despite its small size it can run 2.6 CFM @ 90 PSI, and will produce maximum pressure of 165 PSI.

The 6-gallon tank sits right on the sweet spot for portable compressors, so you will find that this is comparable to many of the competing units on the market. Nail guns, pneumatic staplers, and airbrushes are some of the ideal tools for use with this device.

Running at 100 PSI, the 6-gallon tank should allow for up to 20 shots from a finish Nailer, before the unit begins its recharge cycle.

At a Glance

Pros

  • The unit has an exceptionally solid build
  • The compressor is silent enough for indoor use
  • It can be used both horizontally and vertically
  • Has a low amp rating

Cons

  • The tank capacity is limited
  • Builds pressure slowly in the beginning
  • The unit has short power cables that can be a problem for some users

Value for Money

Price Point: Medium

Feel free to check out our Dewalt DWFP55126 full review.

Porter Cable PCFP12234 Combo Kit

When it comes to the best pancake air compressors on the market, you may be interested in a device that includes some of the basic tools that you will need to get your project done.

If you’re a hobby craftsman, or even if you want to perform odd DIY jobs around the home, it can make sense to get a package that includes the Nailers and staplers that you need.

This Porter Cable air compressor comes with a 16-gauge finish Nailer, 18-gauge Brad Nailer, and a heavy- duty pneumatic stapler. The compressor itself is physically the same as the C2002 model, which is one of the highest rated pancake air compressors on the market.

Go for this package if you only need to perform specific tasks and don’t want to spend too much time looking for compatible pneumatic tools for your compressor.

At a Glance

Pros

  • Easy to carry and transport, weighing 30 lb.
  • The tanks offer quick refill
  • Has effective power air tools

Cons

  • The user’s manual comes with complicated instructions
  • The unit does not support industrial projects
  • Doesn’t run multiple tools

Value for Money

Price Point: Medium to high

Hitachi KNT50AB Finish Combo Kit

Here’s another compressor that gives you a high-quality tool and hose for your basic nailing jobs.

With a 6-gallon tank, it sits comfortably in the entry-mid level pancake air compressor market.

There’s an 18-gauge Brad Nailer inside, as well as a hybrid air hose with standard industrial fittings.

If you need nailing for finishing, carpentry, or DIY, then this is a good option at an affordable price. The kit also includes safety glasses and tool oil, and the compressor will produce 2.8 CFM @ 90 PSI, with 150 PSI of total working pressure.

Hitachi is well known for quality, and this compressor integrates a good carrying handle that also serves as a protective cage for the electric motor.

With the nail gun included, the total package is just 47 lb. While Hitachi doesn’t state official noise figures, owners have noted that this unit can run loud, so hearing protection is advised when working indoors.

At a Glance

Pros

  • The unit comes with a hassle-free NT50AE2 Brad Nailer
  • The unit is compact and easy to use
  • Comes with safety glasses and lubricant

Cons

  • While the unit is portable, it can be a bit heavy at 47 lb.
  • There might be slight safety concerns with the build

Value for Money

Price Point: Medium

Campbell Hausfeld Quiet Air Compressor 6 Gallon

Producing just 68 dB while running, this compressor easily fits into the ultra-quiet category.

That means it is great for running indoors or outdoors, and could even be used in a garage at nighttime without causing too much disturbance. Despite the low noise output, it features a 6-gallon tank, produces 2.4 CFM @ 90 PSI, and has a maximum of 125 PSI stored.

This would be a great quiet unit for inflation, nailing, stapling, and hobby painting, or running any other tools or accessories that require less than 3CFM for efficient operation.

At a Glance

Pros

  • This particular make and model manufactured by Campbell Hausfeld is one of the quietest, making it suitable for indoor use.
  • It’s oil-free and requires zero maintenance

Cons

  • The compressor is electric-based and can limit movement around the jobsite
  • The 6-gallon tank has a limited amount of storage

Value for Money

Price Point: Medium to high – The unit is slightly more expensive in the around $200 price range, but offers sufficient power for the price.

Porter Cable PCFP02003 Pancake Pump Compressor

If you’re looking for something even smaller than 6-gallons, then you should be interested in this PORTER-CABLE PCFP02003 3.5-Gallon 135 PSI Pancake Compressor.

Slightly less capable than its larger siblings, it’s an ideal unit when portability is your main concern, and when your tools only require low CFM performance.

When running at 90 PSI, this compressor will produce 2.0 CFM. It weighs just 26 lb., thanks to the 3.5-Gallon tank, and it features a maintenance-free electric motor that will allow for long life and regular working sessions.

Despite its small size, the unit includes excellent hardware and comes with a standard Porter Cable one-year warranty.

At a Glance

Pros

  • The unit boasts a high PSI
  • It has a fast rechargeable time
  • Only weighing 26 lb., the unit is small and portable

Cons

  • The compressor manifold is made of fragile plastic, compromising the overall build of the body.
  • The unit top-heavy, which can reduce its stability
  • The unit isn’t compatible with most professional-grade pneumatic auto tools

Value for Money

Price Point: Low to medium – The compressor is slightly more expensive than the C2002.

Check out our full review here.

Excell U256PPE 6 Gallon Pancake Air Compressor

If you’re looking for maximum affordability, then you will need to step away from some of the more well-known brands, but does that mean you’ll have to sacrifice when it comes to performance and quality?

In the case of this Excell U256PPE 6 Gallon Pancake Air Compressor, the answer is no.

It features a 6-gallon tank like the majority of the other compressors featured here, and it produces 2.8 SCFM @ 90 PSI, which is also comparable to leading units.

The pancake design allows for an efficient gravity drain system on the bottom of the pancake air tank, and it uses a familiar ¼ inch automotive quick connect couplings.

At just 39 lb., it ticks all of the right boxes for a portable air compressor.

At a Glance

Pros

  • The design of the compressor is compact, making it easy to carry.
  • Highly-portable at just 39 lbs.
  • Produces up to 2.8 CFM at 90 PSI
  • low profile and balanced design that prevents tipping
  •  owing to its low amperage operation requirement, it can start in cold weather as low as -24 degrees F (-31 degrees C).

Cons

  • The unit is not suitable for medium or heavy-duty jobs

Value for Money

Price Point: Low – This Excell unit definitely pays off its value for money as a compressor suitable for DIY jobs around the house.

BOSTITCH BTFP3KIT Portable Air Compressor Combo Kit

Versatile and highly affordable, this is an ideal air compressor plus air tools combo kit offered by Amazon.

This combo kit is geared towards customers who would like to buy an air compressor and air tools as well.

If you go the Amazon product page, you will be presented with different air compressor – air tools combinations such as brad nailer, straight finish nailer or heavy duty crown stapler.

Actually, the air compressor that is used in all combos, is the Bostitch BTFP02012 6 gallon 150PSI 2.6SCFM pancake compressor, which we featured above.

What is very attractive in this offer, is that first the price of the combo kit is certainly less than it would amount to if you were to buy each item separately, and second  you know that these particular tools are perfectly compatible with the air compressor included in the offer.

At a Glance

Pros

  • Competitive price (as explained above).
  • Ensures compatibility between air compressor and air tools.

Cons

  • Potentially limiting choice of air tools.

Campbell Hausfeld FP2028 1 Gallon Pancake Compressor

If you are looking for light duty air jobs, then the Campbell Hausfeld 1 Gallon oil-less air compressor could be the ideal machine you have been looking for!

A low CFM rating of 0.36 @ 90 PSI might seem like a small figure, but considering that this compressor is intended for light inflation, airbrushing, and light-duty finish nailing, this should not be a major problem.

What you need to be aware is that this is not a machine intended for a jobsite, and should only be used for light inflation and DIY at home. Weighing less than 13 pounds, it’s definitely one of the lightest compressors that you could buy.

At a Glance

Pros

  • The unit has a gauge that is easy to air
  • The compressor comes with a 25-foot recoil coil
  • The unit also comes with a good selection of adapters and nozzles

Cons

  • The small 1-gallon tank capacity might be too small even for DIY around-the-house jobs
  • Can only support air tool at a time

Value for Money

Price Point: Very low – This is a budget-friendly compressor, making it a highly-affordable compressor.

Experience the Benefits of a Pancake Air Compressor

yellow pancake air compressor with dual display
yellow pancake air compressor

After going through the list, you might have noticed that all our air compressors have a few things in common. These include:

  • A small footprint
  • Easy portability
  • Relatively lightweight

Besides that, all the compressors in this list are more on the affordable spectrum of price points.

When comparing these units, always keep your needs in mind. Also, check the CFM rating of any of the tools that you will be using. When you choose carefully, you’ll enjoy a capable unit for the right price, providing you with plenty of pneumatic power for your future projects.

If this is the first time you are shopping for a pancake air compressor, you probably feel a bit lost. You don’t need to worry at this point, as we have a comprehensive advisory guide that can help educate you. You can access the guide here and learn more about how you can choose the right pancake air compressor.

Also, here are some detailed reviews of air compressors we have selected to present.

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