The Best Pancake Air Compressor Reviews

It doesn’t carry this name because you’re going to get an awesome breakfast. Pancake air compressors are named after the small, round, and flat tank that is incorporated into their design. As a result, these small compressors make a great investment when you’ve got home projects that need to be completed. The best pancake air compressor reviews will help you find the right brand and model to help you get the job done.

The Best Chart for Pancake Air Compressors 

Pancake air compressors come with several different features. This means each model has the ability to provide a distinct advantage when compared to the rest of its competition. The chart below will help you sort out which brands and models are going to be the best for your needs.

PictureNameOur RatingPrice
Porter Cable 3.5 gallon 135 PSI Pancake Compressor 4.6
Bostitch 6 Gallon Pancake Air Compressor 4.9
Porter Cable C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor 4.4
DeWalt 165 PSI 6 Gallon Pancake Compressor 4.6
Bostitch 3 Tool Compressor Combo Kit 4.4
Porter Cable 6 Gallon 3 Tool Combo Kit 4.7
Campbell Hausfeld 1 Gallon Oil-Free Pancake Air Compressor 3.6
PictureNameOur RatingPrice

The Advantages of a Pancake Air Compressor

Pancake air compressors might seem small, but they are quite mighty when it comes to their performance. Most brands and models won’t have a tank that is larger than 2 gallons in size, but for this type of compressor, tank size almost doesn’t matter. Here’s why.

  • There’s a bigger pump and a bigger motor. You might find that your pancake air compressor runs more than a stationary compressor with a larger tank, but that’s about it. The performance of a pancake compressor meets or exceeds compressors with a tank size that is 5x larger.
  • It is highly portable. Most of the compressors in this category weigh 30 pounds or less. Many of them are under the 20 pound mark. This doesn’t quite make them a lightweight air compressor, but it does make them portable enough to take just about anywhere.
  • They can run most air tools. This is the strength of the pancake design. Because PSI and SCFM levels meet or exceed those of other compressor designs, the air tools you’d use for those compressors will generally work for this style as well. 

Many pancake air compressors are also virtually maintenance free. This is because a majority of them have an oil-less design. This also gives you an additional boost in the flexibility of what you’ll be able to do with the compressor in each project. Add in the low-profile nature of the design, making the compressor easy to store, and it is easy to see why this style of compressor is quite popular.

How to Find the Best Pancake Air Compressor for Me 

Instead of judging these compressors based on their tank size, you need to look at what the air delivery ratings happen to be. Here’s an interesting thing you’ll find as you page through the best pancake air compressor reviews: many of these compressors tend to have a higher SCFM when they are performing at a lower overall PSI. This can make it difficult to power some of the air tools you’ll need this compressor to run.

To avoid this issue, the first thing you’ll need to do is determine which air tools you’ll need to finish the project you’ve got going on. Check out the specs on those tools to see what their minimum ratings in this category need to be. Then head over to the compressor reviews in this style to find one that meets or exceeds those ratings. You must pay careful attention to these specs because even if you’re off by just a little, you’ll likely find that your air tools aren’t going to work properly.

Then you can consider some of the other aspects of the compressor. How much does it weigh? How long is the included air hose? Is there a combination kit included with your air compressor or will you have to purchase these items separately? Asking these questions will help you to make sure your purchase is a resounding success instead of a decision you wind up regretting later on down the road. 

Features You’ll Want with a Pancake Air Compressor

All pancake air compressors should have gauges incorporated into their design that are easy to read. If you don’t know what your PSI levels are, then how can you know if your compressor is working as it should? Some brands do a better job of this than others and the compressor reviews will highlight the models which come out ahead in this area.

Because pancake compressors tend to have an over-sized pump and motor, having thermal overload protections for the motor is also an important feature to have. This allows you to save your compressor if you happen to accidentally overheat it from use for some reason. Always monitor your compressor’s performance and treat this feature as a fail-safe.

The portability of the compressor is also an important feature to think about. The handle to carry the compressor should be placed in a convenient location. You may wish to have a storage area for your air tools or compressor accessories. The motor housing should be fully enclosed to prevent premature wear and tear from transporting it. You’ll be able to find this information in the best pancake air compressor reviews as well.

What Are the Prices of the Best Pancake Air Compressors?

Pancake air compressors are generally priced around the $100 mark. If you go below this average price point, then there is a danger that your compressor might be under-powered for your needs. If you go above $100, then you will have access to more premium features that your project may not require.

In this category of compressors, it is important to look for a model which can provide a little more than you anticipate needing. It’s better to have more than to have less. If you can budget around $150 for this style of air compressor, you’ll find that it can work with many of your air tools, give you good PSI and SCFM numbers, and be the portable tool you need.

What Do Our Reviews Have To Say?

Porter Cable 3.5 Gallon

We’ve noticed that this air compressor has one small issue within its design that could make it problematic for specific users. The manifold has an O-ring that works with a piece of plastic. You can replace the entire manifold to repair the issue, but taking care in how you transport this compressor will help you to avoid the issue. Also make sure to remove any remaining air pressure in the tank when the compressor is not in use.

Click here to compare pricing on Amazon and find the best deal.

DeWalt 6 Gallon

Our favorite use for this air compressor is for interior design work. Door trim goes up ridiculously fast when you’re using this air tool. The finishing nails get placed where you want them to be without the hammer damage or splintering you get from other tools. This allows you to fill that nail hole with a minimum amount of putty for a seamless look. We’ve also used this compressor with air tools to repair a door jamb, install pressed-wood counter top, and put in flooring. The bottom line is this: the DeWalt 6 gallon pancake air compressor isn’t going to replace a contractor-grade product, but it comes pretty close to it.

Click here to compare pricing on Amazon and find the best deal.

Bostitch Combo Kit

Although the Bostitch compressor is oil-less, the tools that come with this combo kit require oil. You’ll need to have some on hand if you plan to use the tools because they need to be lubricated after every use. There are several negative reviews about this compressor because it has a “leak” or “hiss” when operating. We discovered that users were leaving their drainage valve slightly open, causing this issue. Just make sure it’s closed and you’ll have a positive experience with this compressor.

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Campbell Hausfeld 1 Gallon

This little pancake compressor is remarkably versatile for its size. How could it not be since the motor and pump are actually larger than the storage tank? Many of these models tend to vibrate quite a bit, but this brand has created a design where the vibrations are minimized by sending them through the tank. You’ll receive a 25 foot recoil hose, coupler, plug, air chuck, and inflation needle in the box as well. It works best with pneumatic fasteners, but you may find it does a decent enough job with your favorite air tools as well.

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Porter Cable 3 Tool Combo Kit

If you are looking for an all-in-one solution for your DIY projects and you don’t have the tools or the air compressor that you need, then this is a solid and affordable option for you. This 6 gallon tank compresses the air to 150 PSI so you can process a lot of nails without needing the compressor to recover. A 25 foot hose lets you have stability, yet the size and lightweight nature of the compressor’s design gives you some portability as well. Just remember that you tools are going to need oil even if the compressor does not.

Click here to compare pricing on Amazon and find the best deal.

The best pancake air compressor reviews will help you find the right solution for your upcoming project. Combine power and portability effectively and you will be pleased with the results of your investment.

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