Best Pancake air compressor 2021 : Which Model Is Better For You?

What makes the best pancake air compressor so special? The answer is simple. Compressors are used to operate tools like nailers, wrenches, and paint sprayers which are so important in construction and refurbishment projects.

To produce the best results, you need the best tools. For the best tools to do their work as required, they must be paired with a stellar compressor that is small enough to transport but also armed with the PSI, CFM, accessories, and features you need to drive nails, drill holes, remove bolts and the like.

Work becomes so much easier once you have the best pancake compressor on hand. Of course, the compressor you choose should match the tools you wish to use. The unit you pair with a nailer might not necessarily work with a grinder. You need to match each tool to an appropriate compressor to get the best results.

Our Top Pick & Budget Pick

Our top pick

Not Sure How to Narrow Your Choices Down? Try Our Top Pick

DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor DWFP55126: A number of the pancake air compressor reviews you encounter today will tell you that this is one of the most impressive pancake compressors on the market, standing out from the rest not only because of its maximum PSI (165) and 2.6 SCFM delivered at 90 PSI but alsobecause of the high-efficiency motor that will start-up in cold weather and a decent noise level of 75.5 dBA.

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Our Budget Pick

If Money is a Problem, Consider our Budget Pick

1/3 Horsepower 3-Gallon Pancake Compressor: This compressor’s quality speaks for itself. The 3-gallon tank capacity is to be expected considering the lower price tag. However, not only is the unit gas-powered but it has a maximum PSI of 100 and an incredibly lightweight, compact build. It promises great performance, reliability, portability, maneuverability, and affordability.

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Factors to Consider When Buying the Best Pancake Air Compressor

How do you select a pancake air compressor? With so many brands and models to choose from, how can you separate the good from the bad? You need to pay close attention to the features and to consider factors such as the following:

1). The tank

This is one of the most important elements. The size of the tank is going to determine the amount of work your compressor can do within a given period without refilling the tank.

The higher the capacity of the tank, the more work you can do before you need to refill the tank. The smaller the tank, the more frequent the refills. There is no such thing as the perfect tank capacity for a pancake air compressor.

The need you have is going to impact the capacity you will acquire. For instance, a six-gallon tank sounds attractive but some people can get by with just 3 gallons or even less.

The type of work you wish to do and the tools with which you intend to work should determine the capacity you select.

2). Pressure

The PSI (Pounds Per Square Inch) is concerned with the amount of pressure a unit can produce. In the case of compressors, you need to give the maximum PSI special consideration.

The best pancake air compressor should have a maximum PSI ranging between 150 and 185. A high PSI will enable your compressor to run for a much longer period. The reverse is also true.

A lower PSI is only compatible with small jobs because such compressors have shorter runtimes. You are encouraged to match the PSI of the compressor to the minimum PSI of the tool or appliance you intend to use.

The maximum PSI of the compressor should be higher than the minimum PSI of the tool. If you have multiple tools on hand, find the appliance with the highest minimum PSI and ensure that the PSI of your chosen compressor exceeds that figure.

This will ensure that the unit can perform satisfactorily when paired with all your tools.

3). Noise

Some people think that the noise levels don’t matter. They are only concerned with the functionality of the compressor. Every other consideration is irrelevant. But that is only true if your jobs are outdoors.

Anyone that must perform tasks inside a house understands the importance of finding a compressor that won’t annoy the occupants of your home, not to mention your neighbors.

It isn’t just a question of noise pollution. Your own safety matters. The noise produced by a compressor should not exceed 85 dBA. Otherwise, the constant exposure to such harmful sounds could attract negative health consequences.

The quieter the compressor, the better. Find a unit that falls somewhere between 75 dBA and 82 dBA. You cannot use a noisy compressor daily.

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4). CFM

CFM stands for ‘Cubic Feet per Meter’. It is concerned with the volume of airflow recorded at a particular PSI. The CFM needed to acquire the best performance is going to depend on your tool.

Every tool has a minimum CFM that your compressor is expected to meet. You need to find a pancake compressor whose CFM is higher than the minimum CFM required by the tool.

This allows you to run the tool for longer periods without a refill.

5). Measurements

Don’t forget to consider the dimensions of the compressor. The dimensions are going to affect the portability. This is especially true for weight. You need to find a lightweight unit.

But it should also possess the features and functions you require. There is no point in buying a lightweight compressor that cannot run your tools. The best pancake air compressors rarely exceed 35 pounds.

Some products are as light as 25 pounds. A light compressor can be carried from place to place with ease. This is important for people that are always migrating from one job site to another. You cannot afford to buy a unit whose weight will eventually become a burden.

6). Warranty

Some people treat the warranty as a relatively unimportant bonus that they can do without. But that is a mistake. Air compressors are complicated tools that can develop defects and faults over time. You need a warranty that will simplify the process of acquiring replacement parts and initiating repairs without incurring hefty costs.

The higher the warranty offered the better because it eliminates the risk associated with the purchase. A good warranty is a sign that a manufacturer has a lot of confidence in its product.

7). Features and Accessories

Besides basic offerings like a decent PSI and CFM, manufacturers will provide additional features to make their units more attractive. One of the most prominent is the rubber feet that will prevent the compressor from scratching your floors while you use it.

Some units have handles with soft but firm grips that simplify handling and transportation. You will also find units whose controls are protected by a cover to keep wear and tear at bay.

If you want a more functional feature, look for mechanisms that enable you to control the output pressure. This way, you can make adjustments to the output to match the needs of each tool.

Don’t buy a compressor simply because it has a lot of fancy features. Look for a compressor that has features that you want. Some compressors are more expensive simply because they have special features.

Make sure that you are only paying for features that will enhance the functionality of your unit.

8). Drain

Your tank needs a way of expelling its water. Otherwise, problems will arise. Such mechanisms are always available. However, you are encouraged to prioritize units that are easy to drain.

9). Usability

Before you buy a compressor, you must first think about where you will use it. Units that will work indoors tend to differ from units that will work outdoors. There is also some difference between compressors that do professional projects and those that people use for their hobbies.

You cannot start looking for a unit without first determining what you want to use it for.

10). Money

Look for an affordable product. Do not look for a cheap one. Cheap compressors are weak and ineffective. They wear out quickly and they cannot perform optimally for long periods. Look for a reasonably priced product.

11). Power source

Are you going to buy an electric compressor or its battery-powered counterpart? Electric units don’t produce fumes. But the gasoline-powered units are portable.

10 Best Pancake Air Compressor Reviews

If you desperately require a pancake compressor but you don’t know where to start looking for one, we have gone through the trouble of generating a list of the best compressors on the market.

1) 1/3 Horsepower 3 Gallon 100 PSO Oilless Pancake Air Compressor

This is a low maintenance compressor with a low-profile construction that is designed to take up the least amount of space possible. At 22 pounds, and considering its compact design, the compressor is quite easy to store and transport.

3 Gallon 100 PSO Oilless Pancake Air Compressor reviews

Key Features:

  • Compact compressor design
  • 3 Gallon Tank
  • Drain Valve
  • Integrated Accessory Storage
  • Thermal overload protection
  • Easy-to-read pressure gauge
  • 18-gauge power cord air outlet

And yet that does not make it any less effective. It can still provide the compressed air power you require for stapling, airbrushing, pressure checking, etc. It makes a lot of noise but it delivers on every promise the manufacturer makes.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Low-profile construction saves space
  • Integrated accessory storage
  • The pressure gauge is easy to read
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Small tank capacity
  • Loud

Expert Tips

This compressor is only suitable for people with simple needs which is why it has such a small tank. People with much larger jobs should buy bigger more expensive compressors. This one takes too long to build up pressure.

2) DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor

At 32 pounds, this is a heavier compressor. It also costs more money. It has a larger tank (6 gallons) and a more efficient motor that will start up with ease even in cold weather.

DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor reviews

Key Features:

  • Maximum PSI of 165
  • 6 Gallon tank
  • A noise level of 75.5 dBA
  • High-quality regulator and couplers
  • 120V power supply, 60Hz, 10 amps
  • 2.6 SCFM Delivered at 90 PSI
  • Ball drain valve
  • Protective Rubber leg covers

It is compatible with small projects, especially hobbies. Even at 32 pounds, it is still quite light. With your external power pack in tow, you can take it outdoors. Though, even when it is deployed on the inside, it is so much quieter than people realize.

Because there is no oil, you can position it at an awkward angle without ruining the pump. This makes the compressor safer.

Pros
  • 6-gallon tank is decent
  • Rubber legs prevent marring
  • Portable
  • You can connect two air tools at the same time
  • Removable console cover provides additional protection
  • Quiet
Cons
  • Inlet valve can get leaky
  • Works best when used in short bursts with common tools

Expert Tips

Don’t expect to detail a car with this compressor, not without frequent refills. It can probably run one or two nail guns, not to mention blowing up tires. It won’t work for more intensive tools like die grinders. It works for hobbies and small projects.

3) Campbell Hausfeld FP2028 1 Gallon Air Compressor

This is the furthest thing from a universally effective tool. It can do somethings, specifically simple tasks. However, anything that requires immense or even moderate power is out of its league.

Campbell Hausfeld FP2028 1 Gallon Air Compressor reviews

Key Features:

  • Gas-powered
  • 13 pounds
  • 0.33 HP
  • Maximum tank pressure of 110 PSI
  • Delivers 0.36 SCFM at 90 PSI, 0.5 SCFM at 40 PSI
  • Air Chuck
  • Onboard storage

At 13 pounds, the compressor is quite lightweight which makes it easy to transport, use, and store. It makes up for its inadequate power by offering a variety of accessories, the kind that are missing in some of the other models on this list. That includes a pair of inflator nozzles and a recoil hose, not to mention the needle adapter.

The 1-gallon tank is problematic because you can only do the smallest jobs. But there are plenty of people with small jobs that only have larger, high-end compressors on hand whose power is mostly wasted. They will love this one.

Pros
  • Very light
  • Affordable
  • So many accessories
  • Onboard storage
  • 25-foot hose
Cons
  • Low power
  • Low air output
  • Small tank

Expert Tips

This compressor is meant for the smallest of jobs such as brad nailing and airbrushing. Do not expect it to take on moderately challenging work. It will disappoint you. Let it play to its strengths.

4) PORTER-CABLE C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor

Electric powered and boasting an aluminum body, this is a versatile 31-pound compressor that is just as effective in the workshop as it is in your home. You can use it anywhere the need arises.

PORTER-CABLE C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor reviews

Key Features:

  • Maximum PSI of 165
  • 6 Gallon tank
  • A noise level of 75.5 dBA
  • High-quality regulator and couplers
  • 120V power supply, 60Hz, 10 amps
  • 2.6 SCFM Delivered at 90 PSI
  • Ball drain valve
  • Protective Rubber leg covers

It has a reliable 6-gallon tank and enough power to support most of the lightweight air tools you have lying around. Maintenance is much easier because there is no oil to change.

Because of the low-amp motor, you will also find that the product is quite effective in cold weather, unlikely to freeze up at inopportune moments. With the thermal overload protection in place, you can use the compressor knowing full well that it is unlikely to overheat or short circuit.

Pros
  • Starts easily even in cold weather
  • Less maintenance required because of oil-free construction
  • Rubber feet
  • Portable
  • Quick compressor recovery time
Cons
  • Quite loud
  • Heavier than some people would like

Expert Tips

This is an impressive compressor that is heavy but still portable, capable of doing simple work such as inflating toys, air mattresses, and car tires; and yet you can also connect it to the AC power outlets of your house, something that is not always safe to do with medium and high capacity equipment.

5) BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor

This compressor doesn’t include a hose or gun kit but it has a high-efficiency motor that allows it to start up easily on cold days. Because it has two universal couplers, you have the option of either working simultaneously with another person or using two different tools at the same time.

BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor reviews

Key Features:

  • Maximum PSI is 150
  • 6-Gallon tank
  • Produces 2.6 SCFM for 90 PSI
  • 78.5 dBA
  • High flow regulators and a pair of couplers
  • Oil-free

At 31 pounds, it is light enough for you to transport from place to place depending on the need. The manufacturer promises a lifespan of 450 hours which is quite a long time. You can expect to use the compressor for quite a number of years.

You are guaranteed a boost in efficiency and maximum appliance performance as a result of the high-flow regulator and couplers.

Pros
  • Starts in cold weather
  • You get two universal couplers and a high flow regulator for superior performance
  • Oil-free design requires no maintenance
  • 6-gallon tank is adequate
  • Portable
Cons
  • Too loud for some
  • No accessories

Expert Tips

With a 150 maximum PSI and 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI, this high capacity compressor is compatible with a variety of power tools. If you live in cold regions, the motor will still deliver results.

Depending on your location, the unit might be too loud for indoor purposes.

6) Excell U256PPE 6 Gallon Compressor

This is a cost-effective oil-free compressor with a universal pump that doesn’t require much in the way of maintenance. It has a control panel that keeps the gauge and regulator within easy reach.

The compressor is quite strong, boasting an enclosed motor and a heavy-duty handle that will survive difficult job sites. The motor, which doesn’t require high amperage, can start in temperatures as low as -24 degrees F.

Excell U256PPE 6 Gallon Compressor reviews

Key Features:

  • 39 Pounds
  • 150 Maximum PSI
  • 2.8 CFM at 90
  • 1.5HP
  • 6 gallons
  • Rubber feet and a sturdy handle

Promising a low voltage startup capability of 64 V that makes it suitable for locations with a deficient power supply, the compressor is suitable for everything from brad nailing and stapling to finish nailing and light-duty bolting.

Pros
  • The rubber feet will keep the compressor from moving
  • The shroud will keep the motor and pump protected
  • It can start in temperatures as low as -24 degrees F
  • It will work in older buildings that have a deficient power supply
Cons
  • Noisy

Expert Tips

This is the pancake air compressor you should buy if you want a product that is suitable for light-duty use. You should also get it if your work takes place in cold settings or old buildings with a poor power supply. The unit will operate as required regardless of these limitations.

7) Hitachi KNT50AB Brad Nailer and Compressor Combo Kit

This unit is often featured on lists of the best pancake compressors because it has a lot of power and no significant operational issues. The tank is still 6 gallons like so many other units.

Hitachi KNT50AB Brad Nailer and Compressor Combo Kit reviews

Key Features:

  • 18-Gauge Brad Nailer
  • 6-Gallon tank
  • Oil-free
  • Hybrid air hose with industrial fittings and spiral reinforcement
  • Heavy-duty bend restrictors
  • Maximum 150 PSI
  • 2.8 SCFM at 90 PSI
  • 73 dBA

But that is more than enough to power your pneumatic tools. The brad nailer that is included in this kit is the compressor’s biggest attraction because it has a 100-Nail capacity.

At 2.2 pounds, the 18-gauge tool is portable and maneuverable, featuring a window that allows you to keep an eye on your stock of nails. The nailer requires some basic maintenance.

Specifically, the air connector requires a few drops of oil before you start working. But this shouldn’t present a challenge. Though, the oil is not provided with the compressor.

Pros
  • You get a brad nailer
  • The hybrid air hose is enhanced with strong bend restrictors
  • Oil-free design that doesn’t require maintenance
  • Portable
  • View window allows you to see the number of nails left
Cons
  • Keeps firing even when you run out of nails
  • Too loud for some

Expert Tips

This is the pancake air compressor that every homeowner should buy if they have work to do around their house. This is because it comes with a lightweight nailer. You can rely on it for your cabinetry and finishing projects.

8) PORTER-CABLE PCFP02003 3.5 Gallon 135 PSI Pancake Compressor

If you hear reviews calling this the best pancake compressor, it is because the unit is so incredibly portable. At 26 pounds, you shouldn’t have a problem dragging it to any site that requires its 0.8 HP energy consumption.

PORTER-CABLE PCFP02003 3.5 Gallon 135 PSI Pancake Compressor reviews

Key Features:

  • 3.5 Gallons
  • 2 SCFM at 90 PSI
  • 135 maximum PSI
  • 120V motor
  • 26 pounds

Despite the lightweight build, the pancake compressor has a 6-gallon tank which is quite decent. The unit is electric-powered with an oil-free pump that doesn’t require much in the way of maintenance.

Not only is it affordable but the low-amp 120V motor allows the compressor to start easily despite the presence of cold conditions. It will run for longer periods and recover faster despite its compact frame.

Pros
  • Lightweight and portable
  • The oil-free pump doesn’t require maintenance
  • Recovers quickly
  • Low amp motor starts quickly in cold weather
Cons
  • Small tank
  • Takes four hours to bleed air out

Expert Tips

This is the compressor you want by your side if you have some small jobs to perform such as roofing, framing, and inflating. It works best with air tools that don’t need much air.

9) PowRyte Elite 4 Gallon Oil-Free Pancake Portable Air Compressor

This is another small, compact pancake compressor that was designed for small jobs. At 26.4 pounds, it is as lightweight as they come. Air-powered, oil-free and boasting a superior center of gravity, the unit is expensive, so much so that it might repel some people as a result.

PowRyte Elite 4 Gallon Oil-Free Pancake Portable Air Compressor reviews

Key Features:

  • 135 Maximum PSI
  • 2.2 SCFM at 90 PSI
  • Oil-free pump
  • Integrated Carry Handle
  • Includes brad nails

That being said, unlike other units of a similar build, this one has a 4-gallon tank which isn’t bad. The 135 PSI is also decent. It has a 1-year warranty that should give skeptical buyers some confidence. It features a carry handle for easier transportation, a shroud that offers greater protection and an accessory kit that has everything from a tapered nozzle to inflation needles and a recoil hose.

Pros
  • Quick recovery
  • Maintenance-free oil-free pump
  • Integrated carry handle simplifies transportation
  • Lightweight and portable
Cons
  • Somewhat pricey
  • Only suitable for small jobs

Expert Tips

This unit is only compatible with small jobs such as simple roofing and framing. You can also do some small blowing and inflation. Basically, if you want to work with light air tools, this compressor will do.

10) Ridgid 6-Gallon Pancake Compressor

This is a compact but powerful air compressor that will perform trim and finish work with ease. The dual universal quick connectors permit the user to work with multiple people on a job site. The same goes for the pair of nailers.

Ridgid 6-Gallon Pancake Compressor reviews

Key Features:

  • 6-gallon tank
  • Dual universal quick connectors
  • 2 Nailers
  • Oil-free pump
  • 150 PSI Maximum
  • 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI
  • 80 dBA

The oil-free pump is reliable. It does not require maintenance.

Pros
  • The oil-free pump doesn’t require maintenance
  • 3-year warranty
  • 150 PSI Maximum
  • 6-gallon tank capacity
Cons
  • Not cheap
  • Loud

Expert Tips

This is the compressor you want by your side if you have some small jobs to perform such as roofing, framing, and inflating. It works best with air tools that don’t need much air.

Frequently Asked Question

Q:What is the Average Price of a Pancake Compressor?
ANSWER: These units range from $50 to $350. Some might exceed or fall below those figures. But that is the average range.

Q:Does the Price affect the Quality of a pancake compressor?
ANSWER: The more expensive the compressor, the greater its build quality and capabilities. The reverse is also true. Cheaper compressors are generally less powerful. But that does not make them less effective.
Cheap compressors are supposed to perform smaller tasks. That is what they are built for.

Q:What Should You Look for in the best pancake air compressor?
ANSWER: The best compressor has a high PSI (roughly 150) and a tank capacity of more than four gallons, not to mention a solid, durable build that will survive extensive use.

Q:Does the weight matter?
ANSWER: The weight of a pancake compressor matters because people prefer units that they can carry from one job site to another. If a pancake compressor is too heavy, it will become a burden.

Q:What is an Oil-less Pump?
ANSWER: A lot of pancake compressors are advertised as being oil-less. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t have any oil. Compressors have oil. They need it to function. But this oil is kept in a clean, sealed chamber.
When they say that a compressor is oil-less, they are saying that it doesn’t need oiling. The oil doesn’t need to be changed. A pump that doesn’t require oiling doesn’t require expensive maintenance.

Final Verdict

When someone claims to offer the best pancake air compressor, you expect it to exceed your normal expectations. Specifically, you expect to see a compact, lightweight product that can perform light tasks with maximum efficiency.

That is exactly what you get when you buy DEWALT, BOSTITCH, AND PORTER-CABLE products such as the ones listed above. The compressors in this list are supposed to perform smaller tasks with ease.

But some of them can also tackle much larger tasks. Their oil-free construction means that they can operate for longer periods without the need for maintenance. They also feature low amp motors that can work even on the coldest of days. Simply put, these products are more than capable of meeting every need you might have.

 

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