Best Pancake Air Compressor 2020 Guide

Pancake Air Compressors

If you frequently need to fill bicycle tires, rafts, or various sports balls with air, you’ll benefit a lot from a good pancake air compressor.

But you may not be sure which one to get, or you may not even know what to look for when you’re shopping for a pancake-style compressor.

And if that’s the case, this list with the best pancake air compressors on the market will bring you closer to what you’re looking for.

Pancake Air Compressors – Comparison Table

Air CompressorPressure (CFM)Weight (lbs)
Bostitch BTFP02012
2.631.5
Makita MAC2400
4.2 – 4.829
California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S
1.2N/A
DeWalt DWFP55126
2.630
Porter-Cable C2002
2.634
Viair 88P
1.254.75

The 6 Best Pancake Air Compressors for 2019

1. Bostitch BTFP02012 Oil-Free Compressor

Bostitch BTFP02012 Oil-Free Compressor
The Bostitch BTFP02012 is a great 6-gallon pancake air compressor.

Coming with a large 6-gallon tank, it can reach a sufficient 2.6 CFM pressure and a maximum of 150 PSI.

Moreover, you wouldn’t need to worry about maintenance as this unit runs oil-free.

The impressive part is that you can get a premium package with a tool and a compressor combo kit or with 2 or 3 tools and a compressor.

At 17 x 17 x 19.2 inches and 31.5 pounds, it’s not impossible to move around but not the easiest.

A drawback to the Bostitch BTFP02012, however, is that it’s pretty noisy at 78 dB.

Pros

  • Oil-free pump, maintenance-free operation
  • Generous 6-gallon tank
  • Comes with a high flow regulator and two universal couplers
  • Quick start-up motor
  • Good value for the price

Cons

  • A little noisy
  • Pressure-regulating knob is fragile

Bottom Line:

If you’re looking for superb value for the price, go for the Bostitch BTFP02012 as it has some impressive features and helps you finish any job around the house effortlessly.

2. Makita MAC2400 Air Compressor

Makita MAC2400 Air Compressor
Running on a powerful 2.5 HO motor, the Makita MAC2400 provides you with a pressure range between 4.2 CFM at 90 PSI and 4.8 CFM at 40 PSI.

Its 4.2-gallon provides you with enough pressurized gas for the longer light-duty tasks.

What I liked most about it is that it’s very robust with Big Bore, cast-iron construction. This eliminates any wobbling and makes it quite steady.

The Makita MAC2400’s pump is oil-lubricated. So, while its performance is strong and steady, it will require some maintenance on your end.

It hardly ever overheats and is well-protected against wear and tear.

Furthermore, this unit comes with an air filter that purifies the air intake of your unit to keep it running efficiently as long as possible.

It’s also not the quietest at 79 dB, but that’s justified by the 1,730 RPM speed of operation.

The rubber feet also stifle the noise levels and vibrations of this compressor.

Pros

  • Has a high CFM rating
  • Equipped with a roll cage to protect the compressor
  • High-quality cast-iron construction extends its durability
  • Two hose outlets provide the user with more flexibility
  • Runs without producing much noise
  • Industrial air filtering makes it more efficient
  • Capable of handling heavy-duty tasks

Cons

  • A little heavy to carry around
  • Not compatible with many external kits
  • A little pricey

Bottom Line:

If you’re looking for the ultimate return on your investment, I’d recommend nothing better than this robust, high-performance pancake air compressor.

3. DeWalt DWFP55126 165-PSI Heavy-Duty Air Compressor

DeWalt DWFP55126 165-PSI Heavy-Duty Air Compressor
The DeWalt DWFP55126 is another pancake air compressor that is capable of heavier-duty performance.

It has a 0.9 HP that powers its 2.6 CFM pressure and maximum 165 PSI pressure.

Moreover, its 6-gallon tank enables you to work for extended periods of time.

And unlike what one would expect from a heavy-duty, high-pressure compressor, the DeWalt DWFP55126 actually has an oil-free engine.

These are especially convenient because they require no maintenance.

Speaking of convenience, the DeWalt DWFP55126 comes with a flow regulator and double couplers that allow multiple d uses simultaneously.

The DeWalt DWFP55126 weighs 30 pounds, so it’s portable enough, although not the lightest.

Furthermore, the 75.5 dB level doesn’t leave you with a headache after working with it for longer periods.

Pros:

  • High pressures with a high-capacity tank
  • Easy start-up
  • Comes with double couplers and a flow regulator to allow multiple users
  • Relatively quiet operation
  • Oil-free pump

Cons:

  • A little pricey
  • Doesn’t come with any accessories

Bottom Line:

Although it isn’t the most affordable option on the list, the DeWalt DWFP55126 is still a pretty good one. It provides you with high-pressure levels and a high-capacity tank without the hassle of maintenance of an oiled pump.

4. California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S

California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S
The most impressive feature about the California CAT-1P1060S is its whisper-quiet operation at 56 dB.

But that also means you wouldn’t get the highest pressure or tank capacity as they’re 1.2 CFM and 1 gallon respectively.

I think that’s still good enough for running a wide range of air tools. It also fills the tank to its full 120 PSI capacity in 50 seconds and recovers in only 15 seconds.

Moreover, the unit has a 1P series motor with thermal overload protection that prevents it from overheating.

At 29 pounds, it’s portable enough to move around from one place to another.

Pros

  • Very quiet operation
  • Portability and compact design

Cons

  • Low-pressure levels
  • Small tank capacity

Bottom Line:

If you’re looking for the most silent pancake air compressor you can get, you’ll be satisfied with the California CAT-1 P1060S’ smooth operation at only 56 dB. However, other than the low-noise operation, I think it’s a little overpriced for the features.

5. Viair 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor

Viair 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor
This budget pancake air compressor is also one of the lightest you can get.

It has a reliable 5-gallon tank that provides you with an ample 1.2 CFM pressure at 30 PSI.

The Viair 88PP sits on two rubber feet and makes little to no vibrations as it operates. This means that it’s both stable and quiet.

Moreover, the piston head features a heat sink that keeps the motor cool and protects it from overheating.

Apart from its 4.75-pound weight, the Viair 88PP is very portable because it can run on batteries. If you’re not concerned with maneuverability, you can still use the 10-foot power cord.

Furthermore, the Viair 88PP comes with a 16-foot air hose that allows you to reach further places easily.

Pros

  • Long hose and power cord
  • Highly affordable
  • Quiet operation
  • Compact and lightweight design

Cons

  • Operation is a little on the slow side
  • Must be off to get an accurate pressure reading

Bottom Line:

The Viair 88PP is the most affordable and lightweight option you can get for a pancake air compressor –it provides you with exactly what you need from a pancake model.

6. Porter-Cable C2002 Pancake Compressor

Porter-Cable C2002 Pancake Compressor

The Porter-Cable C2002 hits the perfect combination of power, performance, and affordability.

You can use it around the house, in a garage or workshop, or even on a job site.

It’s not the most portable as it weighs 34 pounds, but that’s because it packs a large 6-gallon tank.

It can reach a maximum pressure of 150 PSI with a 2.6 CFM at 90 PSI. That’s quite sufficient for a wide range of lightweight air tools.

Moreover, the Porter-Cable C2002 requires no maintenance as it runs on an oil-free pump that has a long lifespan.

The two regulated air couplers support two users simultaneously. However, the Porter-Cable C2002 doesn’t come with any accessories, so you’ll have to buy them separately.

Pros

  • High-pressure levels
  • High-capacity 6-gallon tank
  • Easy to use water drain valve
  • Oil-free, maintenance-free operation
  • Double couplers enable two users to operate tools simultaneously

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with any accessories
  • A little heavy

Bottom Line:

The Porter-Cable C2002 is a good budget pancake air compressor that provides you with adequate pressure levels and efficiency at an affordable price level.

What is a Pancake Air Compressor?

A pancake air compressor is one whose size is small enough to be portable and is designed to take on light to medium-duty jobs.

Typically, they have 1-gallon tanks and a lightweight of around 16 pounds –give or take.

Moreover, they also have an oil-free operation, so little to no maintenance is needed to keep them functioning.

If you’re looking to fill bicycle tires, sports balls, rafts, and similar objects, a pancake air compressor will suit you well.

How to Pick a Good Pancake Air Compressor?

Before you decide on a certain pancake air compressor, you should know what to look for when you’re buying one. Here are a few features to consider:

Horsepower

How much horsepower an air compressor has determined how powerful it is. The best way to make sure that the unit will live up to its advertised horsepower is to check the electrical power use during operation.

A 5 HP motor would run on 24 amps on a single-phase power (220 volts).

Air Pressure

The compressor’s pressure is measured in PSI (Pressure per Square Inch) –which is the raw power of the unit.

The average air tool and light-duty jobs require around 90 PSI.

And although pancake compressors are designed for light-duty jobs, it’s always better to have a little more pressure than you need to ensure that your unit will efficiently operate your tool.

Tank size

Again, since you won’t be taking on tasks that are too big, there’s no need to stress about the tank size.

You should get an ample capacity that allows you to finish your job in one go.

6-gallon tanks are quite common, but around 3 or 4 gallons would be suitable for a pancake compressor.

Although smaller tanks would still be useful if you’re looking for something as compact or budget-friendly as possible.

Pancake compressor capacities are anywhere between 1 and 8 gallons, although 6 gallons are common. The size is left for you to decide, and it depends on the type of work you intend doing, and on how much air the tool needs.

Size and Portability

These are quite essential aspects when it comes to pancake compressors as they’re initially designed to have them.

Look for a lightweight model that enables you to carry it around easily, and that is compact enough to be stored with no hassle.

Noise

If you’re only going to be filling up bicycle tires or operating staple guns, you don’t want an air compressor that produces a lot of noise and necessitates wearing earmuffs.

An average dB level on a pancake compressor would be around 60 dB. If there’s a model that runs on a lower level, I’d highly recommend it.

You should be aware that with each 10 dB increase, the noise level is doubled.

Easy Tank Drain

To keep your compressor running as efficiently as possible, you should drain it frequently. Having a model with an easy tank drain will facilitate this process and enable you to do it as often as it takes to keep the motor running as new.

Final Thoughts

The six compressors I’ve mentioned above are the best pancake air compressors you’ll find on the market. But that doesn’t mean that some of them hit better feature combinations than others.

For example, if you’re looking for the ultimate balance between price and features, I’d recommend the Bostitch BTFP02012.

The Viair 88P is the best choice for someone who’s most concerned with portability and budget-friendliness of their unit.

Finally, if you’re looking for the most robust operation and highest pressure levels and don’t mind a little maintenance every now and then, go for the Makita MAC2400.

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