Impact wrenches, air chisels, paint sprayers, and every other power air tool obtain their air from an air compressor. If you are looking for the best pancake compressors, you must have one or more of these air tools. The pancake air compressor is just a type of compressor that gets its name from the shape of the compressor’s tank. A pancake compressor is ideal as it fits your toolbox easily. Also, it is compact and lightweight. In spite of its small size, this air compressor has a lot of power. The pancake compressor has numerous features that boost its performance and usability.
Therefore, it is a good idea to keep such features in mind so that you get a pancake compressor that meets your needs. Additionally, there are dozens of brands out there that offer this device, and it can be tricky to get the legit brands. Here, you will find the ten best pancake compressors as well as a buying guide with the features that you need to keep in mind while you shop for a pancake compressor.
10 Best Pancake Compressors Reviewed
The Ridgid pancake air compressor is compact and built using the finest materials. It has a warranty of three years to protect you against manufacturing defects. It has a tank with a capacity of six gallons and a maximum pressure of up to 150 PSI. Also, its tank has an air delivery of 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI and a locking regulator to safeguard against accidental pressure adjustments. Moreover, it comes with a quick-drain valve, a starting motor of low voltage, a durable and low-maintenance oil-free pump, and two universal push-to-connect couplers. The brand rates it at 80 dBA, which is more silent than the one from Porter-Cable that is rated 82 dBA. However, Dewalt’s air compressor is more silent at 75.5 dBA.
Has two universal couplers
Has a tank with a capacity of six gallons and a maximum pressure of 150 PSI
It has a warranty of three years
2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI air delivery
It is quite expensive
If you are looking for a nice pancake compressor that fits the budget and has sufficient power, this one is for you. The air compressor is not only affordable but also features a tank with a capacity of six gallons, a pressure of up to 150 PSI, air delivery of 2.8 SCFM at 90 PSI, and two couplers for ease of use by two people. Additionally, it has cold weather startups in conditions as cold as -25F and low voltage startups at a minimum of 64 Volts. The brand fails to offer a noise rating. However, its 1.5-HP engine is probably loud. But it provides excellent technology, robust compressor, and an attractive price.
Best budget pancake compressor
Durable and low-maintenance oil-free pump
Suitable for medium and light-duty compressor jobs
Produces 2.8 SCFM at 90 psi
Cold weather and low-voltage startup ability
If you are searching for a tiny pancake air compressor for small tasks, then this one is perfect for you. It has been rated at 0.33HP and is suited for brad nailing, airbrushing, simple stapling jobs, and inflating tires. It features an oil-free engine and a tank that has a maximum pressure of 110 PSI, which produces as low as 0.5 SCFM at 40 PSI and 0.36 SCFM at 90 PSI. Additionally, the air compressor is lightweight and weighs only 12.9 lbs, making it portable. However, it comes with plenty of accessories, including a 25-foot recoil hose, air chuck, onboard storage, needle adapter, and double inflator nozzles.
Has a warranty of three years
Lightweight and suitable for many small tasks
Has a lot of accessories
Available in 3-gallon and 2-gallon versions
Low air output and power
Concerning the performance of air compressors, the DeWalt pancake compressor has plenty to provide. It is heavy duty and has a 0.9 HP rating and a tank with a capacity of six gallons and a maximum pressure of 165 PSI. This allows its oil-free engine to pump more volume of air into the tank in comparison to other tanks of similar capacity. The compressor features two couplers and a flow regulator that lets up to two people to use it at a go. It weighs 30 lbs only, enabling it to be used effortlessly since it can be carried easily. However, it has a noise rating of 75.5 dBA that makes it less distracting to use.
A low noise level of 75.5 dBA
Has a tank with a capacity of six gallons and pressure of up to 165 PSI
Has two couplers featuring a flow regular to accommodate two people
2.6 SCFM produced at a pressure of 90 PSI
Has an efficient motor that enables cold weather startup
Has no accessory
A bit expensive
The Bostitch pancake compressor also features an oil-free engine and a tank with a capacity of six gallons and pressure of up to 150 PSI. The package arrives with the compressor alone and no accessory. But you can buy a premium kit that includes a tool and compressor combo kit or a compressor with either two or three tools. Additionally, it has a high-efficiency motor that offers easy startups during cold weather. Its oil-free pump delivers 2.6 SCFM at a pressure of 90 PSI. It comes with dual universal couplers to provide more freedom to work and a high flow regulator for keeping things under control. It comes with a warranty of one year and a noise level of 78.5 dBA.
A low noise level of 78.5 dBA
Operates on an oil-free pump for a maintenance-free and long life
The motor can start quickly during cold weather
Its tank has 6-gallon capacity and a maximum pressure of 150 PSI
Has a high flow regulator and two universal couplers
This pancake air compressor was designed with portability in mind by Porter-Cable. It has an energy consumption of 0.8 HP and a weight of 26 lbs only. It has a measurement of 18 inches on each side and can be carried between places easily. Additionally, it is suitable for small framing and roofing jobs together with inflating things. When it comes to pricing, it is the best pancake compressor with a capacity of 3.5 gallons. It comes with an oil-free pump that produces 2.0 SCFM at a pressure of 90 PSI and a control system. Its tank has a pressure of up to 135 PSI and a 3.5-gallon capacity. Even though the tiny tank makes the equipment portable and compact, it is disadvantageous since it restricts the use of the air compressor to tools that require minimal air.
Has a quick coupler for regulating the air
Lightweight at 26 lbs increases portability
Its production of 2.0 SCFM at a pressure of 90 PSI is perfect for numerous small tasks
The oil-free pump is durable and needs no maintenance
Small tank capacity of 3.5 gallons
If you are looking or an air compressor to take care of small tasks around the house that are ideal for a brad nailer, then it would be good to consider this option. It comes with NT50AE3 19-gauge brad nailer by Hitachi with a 100-nail capacity. The brad nailer has a warranty of five years and weighs 2.2 lbs. The air compressor has a weight of 36.5 lbs and a capacity of six gallons. It contains an oil-free engine, and the tank has a pressure of up to 150 PSI. Additionally, the compressor has a height of 16.5 inches. It has been rated at 2.8 CFM at 90-PSI pressure and 3.7 CFM at 40-PSI pressure. Its engine has a power of 1 HP, and the compressor includes a one year warranty. It also comes with a hose measuring 25 feet long.
Impressive compressor ratings of 2.8 CFM and 150 PSI
Comes as a compressor and brad nailer combo kit
Has a long air hose measuring 25 feet
Has a tank capacity of six gallons
Oil-free for zero maintenance use
High upfront expenses
The C2002 version of Porter-Cable pancake compressor is compact and portable, making it perfect for numerous jobs and locations. It can be used in the workshop, around the house, or on a job site. The Porter-Cable C2002 Pancake Compressor weighs 34 lbs only and features a low profile and tank of six-gallon capacity. It has a pressure of up to 150 PSI and delivers 2.6 SCFM at a pressure of 90 PSI that suffices for the majority of lightweight air tools. It gets its power from a 120-Volt motor of a low amp and has an oil-free pump that is durable as it needs zero maintenance. Moreover, it can support a maximum of two users due to its two regulated air couplers. However, it fails to have accessories, and you require ordering them separately.
Has an oil-free pump for zero maintenance and durability
150 PSI tank offers plenty of air for extended run times
It has quick compressor recovery due to its 2.6 SCFM at 90-PSI pressure
Its tank has a six-gallon capacity with water-drain valve and rubber feet
The Thomas pancake compressor delivers 2.7 CFM at a pressure of 100 PSI. Also, it has a pressure of up to 125 PSI. It has an oil-free design that allows for less maintenance, quick start during cold days, and easy operation. It runs at 15 amp circuit and is sufficiently powerful to drive one air tool and handle small commercial construction tasks. Additionally, its handle is perfectly designed for enhancing quick operation and ease of carrying. It is also sufficiently light for you to operate it with a single hand while exerting minimal pressure on the wrist and hand.
Components can be found easily
Light enough to be operated with one hand
Has a well-built and solid construction
The PowRyte pancake compressor comes with a tank of 4-gallon capacity. It is compact and lightweight, which is perfect for small blowing and inflation, framing and roofing jobs, and other jobs that need light air tools. Its tank allows a maximum pressure of 135 PSI that produces 2.2 SCFM at a 90-PSI pressure. It has an oil-free engine and a warranty of one year. Additionally, it comes with a flow regulator, universal coupler, and excellent gauges. The compressor has a beautiful design and is accompanied by accessories including a pencil gauge, tapered nozzle, recoil air hose measuring 25 feet, air blow gun, and two inflation needles.
Has a tank with a 4-gallon capacity and pressure of up to 135 PSI
Features a stylish design
Delivers 2.2 SCFM at a pressure of 90 PSI
Portable with a weight of 22 lbs
Not suitable for heavy and medium-duty jobs
Things to Consider When Buying a Pancake Compressor
1. Power & Pressure
Manufactures always indicate horsepower, PSI, and CFM as metrics of knowing the power of a compressor. While horsepower refers to the energy amount used, PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) refers to the tank’s air pressure, and CFM (Cubic Feet per Meter) refers to the air amount produced. Of the three metrics, the most essential one to check for in a pancake compressor is CFM since it informs on the amount of air delivered. The majority of air compressors feature upwards of 90 PSI, which is sufficient. Horsepower matters only when it is compared with the output of the compressor in the calculation of its efficiency. Also, a high PSI does not have much significance if the capacity of the tank is too low.
Capacity refers to the tank’s size. Tank capacities of air compressors are normally measured in gallons and range between two gallons and thirty gallons with sometimes higher capacities that depend on the application. However, tank capacities of pancake compressors range between one and eight gallons. The most pancake compressors have a capacity of six gallons. The capacity of the compressor is determined by the amount of air required by the tools and the kind of work being done.
You need to consider noise since some pancake compressors produce more noise than others. Noise is normally measured in dB or decibels, and pancake compressors range between 60 and 90 decibels. Keep in mind that every increase of 10 dB means double the noise. Hence, an 80 dB compressor produces twice the noise generated by a 70 dB compressor.
4. Accessories & Extra Features
Numerous extras and accessories can be bundled with a pancake compressor. Therefore, you might need to decide based on the extra features or accessories of a compressor. Some of these extra features and accessories include more outlets, cord wrapping system, inflating kits, hose, and thermal protection.
5. Size & Portability
When looking at the portability of the best pancake compressors, you need to check its size and weight. It needs to have the ideal dimensions to fit in your storage space and sufficiently light for you to bring to your job site.