Pancake Compressor Reviews & Buying Guide 2019


Hello, I'm Gregor and I put this site together. At first, you'll find an overview of recommended pancake compressors, followed by a public poll and a general buying guide on pancake compressor. Further down on this page, we do link to other well-written articles and reviews about pancake compressors. At last, you'll be able to weight in your own opinion in the comments section.

If you choose to buy an item that I've chosen indepenently and recommended it here, I may earn commissions to support my efforts. For you, the price of the product will not change, I'm just saying this to be completely open with you.

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The 10 Best Pancake Compressors of Our Choice

Quick comparison in an overall view
California Air Tools
Campbell Hausfeld
C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake
BTFP02012 6 Gallon 150
DWFP55126 6-Gallon 165 PSI
PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak
1-Gallon Compressor
MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5
PCFP02003 3.5-Gallon 135 PSI
CAT-1P1060S Light
Air Compressor
Campbell Hausfeld FP2028
Sac22Hpe SAC22HPE 2
2 Gallon Ultra Quiet Air Compressor
C2002R Oil-Free UMC
PORTER-CABLE C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake Image
PORTER-CABLE C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor
BOSTITCH BTFP02012 6 Gallon 150 Image
Bostitch BTFP02012 6 Gallon 150 PSI Oil-Free Compressor
DEWALT DWFP55126 6-Gallon 165 PSI Image
DEWALT DWFP55126 6-Gallon 165 PSI Pancake Compressor
Senco PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak Image
Senco PC1010 1-Horsepower Peak, 1/2 hp running 1-Gallon Compressor
Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 Image
Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor
PORTER-CABLE PCFP02003 3.5-Gallon 135 PSI Image
PORTER-CABLE PCFP02003 3.5-Gallon 135 PSI Pancake Compressor
California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S Light Image
California Air Tools CAT-1P1060S Light & Quiet Portable Air Compressor, Silver
Campbell Hausfeld Air Compressor Image
Air Compressor, 1 Gallon, Pancake, Oilless Pump, 110 PSI w/ Recoil Air Hose & Inflation Kit (Campbell Hausfeld FP2028)
excell Sac22Hpe  SAC22HPE 2 Image
excell Sac22Hpe Excell SAC22HPE 2 Gallon Ultra Quiet Air Compressor
PORTER-CABLE C2002R Oil-Free UMC Image
Porter-Cable C2002R Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor (Renewed)
according to our criteria
98 %
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96 %
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95 %
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94 %
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92 %
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91 %
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88 %
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88 %
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87 %
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86 %
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  • 150 psi max tank pressure stores more air in the tank for longer to...
  • 2.6 scfm at 90 psi allows for quick compressor recovery time per is...
  • Six-gallon pancake-style tank for stability includes water drain va...
  • Note: Item does not includes hose or gun kit
  • 150 max psi 6.0 gallon tank (22.7 L) and 2.6 scfm delivered 90 psi ...
  • High efficiency motor for easy start up in cold weather
  • 165 max psi 6.0 gallon tank (22.7 L) and 2.6 scfm delivered at 90 p...
  • High efficiency motor for easy start up in cold weather or extensio...
  • 75.5 dBA noise level for a quiet work setting
  • Lightweight and portable--easy to carry from site to site as you work
  • One horsepower peak 1/2 horsepower runningand one-gallon capacity
  • Ideal for a range of renovation and home improvement jobs as well a...
  • Cast iron pump with Big Bore cylinder and piston is engineered to p...
  • Low amp draw reduces incidences of tripped breakers at start-up The...
  • Pump is oil-lubricated for cooler running temperatures and reduced ...
  • 2.0 scfm delivered 90 psi pump 3.5 gallon tank and 135 max psi for ...
  • Durable oil-free pump for long life and no maintenance
  • Low Amp 120v motor
  • Ultra quiet only 56 Decibels
  • Oil-Free pump for less maintenance costs
  • Lightweight for easy transporting - 29.5 lbs
  • Operates on 120-volt household current 110 Max psi 0.36 cfm 90 psi ...
  • A conveniently placed gauge allows at-a-glance air-pressure monitor...
  • Includes 25-foot recoil hose needle needle adapter 2 inflator nozzl...
  • Operating at a very low sound level of 61 dBA the Excell 2 Gallon U...
  • The oil free/maintenance free dual pump design provides better tool...
  • With no belts or pulleys to adjust or change the heavy duty direct ...
  • Like-new factory-reconditioned version of Porter-Cable pancake comp...
  • Induction motor provides longer life and better performance
  • Soft-smart motor can easily run off of normal household circuits
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Results of the Straw Poll: Popular Pancake Compressors

Every month, we analyze which products our readers like the most:

Which Pancake Compressor Would You Buy Online? (August 2018)

  • 26.47 % (9 votes) Bostitch BTFP02012 6 Gallon 150 PSI Oil-Free Co...
  • 23.53 % (8 votes) PORTER-CABLE PCFP02003 3.5-Gallon 135 PSI Panca...
  • 20.59 % (7 votes) Hitachi KNT50AB Brad Nailer and Compressor Comb...
  • 14.71 % (5 votes) Excell U256PPE Excel Pancake Air Compressor
  • 5.88 % (2 votes) DEWALT DWFP55126 6-Gallon 165 PSI Pancake Compr...
  • 5.88 % (2 votes) Air Compressor, 1 Gallon, Pancake, Oilless Pump...
  • 2.94 % (1 votes) Makita MAC5200 Big Bore 3.0 HP Air Compressor
  • 0 % (0 votes) PowRyte Elite 4 Gallon Oil-Free Pancake Portabl...

34 total votes.

If you also want to vote on the best pancake compressor, click here to view the poll.

Pancake Compressor Buying Guide

Pancake Compressor Image
Picture: C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake from PORTER-CABLE

Aptly named for its round, flat storage tank, pancake air compressors are simple to use, budget-friendly and a must for every garage. Even if you have a larger compressor, the portability of pancake styles makes them essential for emergencies on the road or for jobs around the house when lugging a large compressor weighing hundreds of pounds is impossible. If you’re ready to buy, but find the technical jargon confusing, let’s demystify the numbers and acronyms and help you choose a model that’s right for you.

How Pancake Air Compressors Work

The most common type of compressor for home use is the single-stage, piston-drive style. On pancake compressors, a top-mounted electric motor forces a piston to compress air into a small, low-profile storage tank. Turn the unit on and as the piston forces air in, the pressure in the tank rises, eventually triggering the motor to stop when it’s full. Compressed air remains stored in the tank until it’s ready to use.

Large two-stage compressors have a more efficient two piston system that forces air through a series of check valves that are able to compress more air into the same amount of space, however, these heavy-duty models weight hundreds of pounds and while they’re good for commercial use, they’re too hefty — and costly — for most home users.

Choosing the Right Size Compressor

Choosing an air compressor with enough power involves looking at three key figures: the size of the storage tank, the number of psi, or pounds per square inch they deliver, and most importantly cfm, or the cubic feet per minute of air the compressor can provide. The good news is that these criteria are they’re highly standardized, making comparisons easy.

Pancakes compressors have storage tank capacities ranging from one to six gallons. The larger the tank, the more air you have available before the pressure decreases and the motor has to refill the tank. To inflate a large truck tire may take seconds with a six gallon tank, but minutes with smaller sizes that need to refill several times before the job is complete.

Psi ratings are important, but less so than other criteria because most pancake compressors deliver almost as much as larger models. The difference in speed and functionality depends more on the tank size and the cfm, but since pneumatic tools generally require psi between 100 and 150, it’s essential the compressor can reach that level. Cfm is the speed at which compressors can supply air, and it’s the most important factor to consider. Any task that uses stored air faster than the compressor can supply means you’ll suffer through occasional interruptions while it stops to refill.

Practically speaking, however, even though pancake compressors are a little slower than their commercial counterparts and can’t run heavy pneumatic tools, they’re ultra-portable, affordable, low-maintenance and offer at-home capability that was previously only available at a shop or automotive garage.

Benefits of a Pancake Air Compressor

Any job that needs a short, but steady jet of forced air can be tackled with a pancake air compressor. From inflating flats and pool toys to spraying the dust out of filthy fans and filters, even the smallest models are highly capable. They're small, lightweight enough to carry to work sites by hand, and can easily be loaded in a car to rescue a family member stuck on the road with a flat.

Where pancake styles fall short is with operating pneumatic tools. Despite psi numbers that suggest pancake compressors have the brute force to run an impact wrench, the cfm is low and the small storage tanks runs dry quickly with air-hungry tools. Most, however, can keep up with Framing Nailers and select paint sprayers.

Important Considerations

In addition to choosing a compressor with enough power, a few other factors are important to think about.


Pancake compressors range in weight from 10 to nearly 40 pounds, but some have features that make them more portable than others.

Slim models are easier to carry with one hand than round models, and sturdy handles make them safer and more comfortable to handle. For carrying with one hand, a single, top-mounted handle that spans at least three-quarters of the diameter of the storage tank distributes weight evenly. For heavier compressors, look for models with hand-holds on both sides and consider storing it on a wheeled cart for easy transport.


Most compressors should take less than 20 square inches of floor space and less than 24 inches vertically. It’s critical for safety that the compressor sits firmly on a surface with no danger of being knocked to the floor. When measuring, consider the compressors legs and any pieces that jut out beyond the diameter of tank.


Compressors are loud. With a range of 70 to 100 decibels, you’ll be more comfortable with hearing protection. The noise level doubles for every 10 decibels, so if everything else is equal between two models you’re considering, a quieter unit will be less disturbing to others if you want to use it in the wee morning hours.

Accessory Packages

Some compressors are sold bare, meaning they come with no hoses, nozzles, or pneumatic tool adapters. If you already have a larger compressor and most of the necessary accessories, you can get a bare tool for less, but beware — they're not all standard and some won’t fit every brand. Check this out before you buy.

If this is your first compressor, a basic accessory package takes the guesswork out of choosing the extras and may be less expensive than buying even a few pieces separately.

Drain Valves

Over time, small amounts of water can build up inside a compressor and cause the tank to rust. To avoid this, tanks should be discharged occasionally via a built-in valve. Less expensive compressors use a stop-cock style drain that’s fragile and can be difficult to open. Look for a model with a valve-type drain that has a small handle like a faucet.

Buying and Use Tips

• Ignore horsepower ratings. They sound impressive, but are of little value. • Check the required psi and cfm on any pneumatic tools you want to run before buying either a compressor or tools. • Oil versus oil-free compressors used to be a big deal because of differences in maintenance and longevity, but most today are oil-free. • The majority of pancake compressors run on standard household electricity. • Small compressors can be used to fill larger, free-standing air tanks to give you more capacity when you need it. • Compressors designed with roll bars or other protective cages are safer if knocked over. • Built-in cord wraps are a plus for storage. • Thermal protection features stop the motor if the unit overheats, preventing damage. • Compressors with dual outlets allow two people to use air simultaneously.


Compressors with tanks as small as one or two gallons take minimal space and are powerful enough for jobs like filling the kids’ bicycle tires and blowing out a dirty air filter. These also great for inflating car tires, but don’t expect it to be particularly quick.

If you routinely use air or want to run small pneumatic tools like nail guns for any practical length of time, you’ll need to consider a model on the largest end of the scale. A compressor with a six-gallon tank and solid convenience features saves both time and frustration.

Unless you are familiar with compressors, start out with a package that includes a hose and everything else you need to get started. Buying from a top maker virtually guarantees additional accessories are available, and technical support will be available when you need it.

Pancake compressors have some limitations, but for most people, they offer an unprecedented amount of capability for their cost and size. When you’re ready to buy, do your homework. Buying the best model you can afford today means your compressor will be able to meet your growing needs for years to come.

Your Opinion Matters!


Pancake Compressor Reviews & Additional Articles

New: Our editorial list of additional articles. We decided to gather informartion all around the internet and present you a list of helpful, external links to interesting reads about the best pancake compressors and their reviews and guides.

Buying Guide This buying guide will help you find the best air compressor to accomplish any . Like pancake compressors, these air compressors are lightweight and oil free.fleet farm air compressortool shop air compressor reviewsportable air compressor menardsperformax air compressor reviewssanborn air compressor reviewsair compressor rural kingPeople also search for ...
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Best As the last pancake air compressor on the list, this is a mid-priced unit  ...
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Reviews Most oil-free compressors have universal motors and a single pancake-style tank. (The oil-free Ridgid OF50150TS has an induction motor and three stacked  ...
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Buying Guide Consumer Air Compressor Buying Guide - How to Pick the Perfect Pancake compressors are small (1 gallon tank) and lightweight (16 pounds) for easy  top rated air compressors for home usebest hot dog air compressorair compressor direct driveharbor freight hot dog compressorbest portable inflatorpancake or hot dog compressor harbor freightPeople also search for ...
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Buying Guide When you're shopping for a small air compressor, the first thing you'll notice is that they're plastered with specifications: 2 hp, 3 gallon, 2.8 cfm, 130 psi, 73 dB.air compressor cfm chartbest all around air compressorbest air compressor for framing crewbest air compressor for home garageair compressor sizing calculatornail gun compressor comboPeople also search for ...
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The Pancake Compressors of Our Choice At a Glance

You're not convinced by the previous writings about pancake compressors? Of course you can just choose by visual impression, that's why we present you all our chosen products at a single glance. A click on any image is enough to open an external link to the best offer we could find.

Tips from YouTube about Pancake Compressor

Today - Best Pancake Air Compressor 2018

Click here -- Are you looking for the Best Pancake Air Compressor. We spent hours to find out the Best ...

Disclaimer: This video is not from us, but we found it relevant enough to show it here.


Conclusion for this Pancake Compressor Buying Guide in July 2019

Finally, we want to present you our rating criteria for our pancake compressor comparison, so you can better understand and comprehend our recommendations and the rating process itself. Furthermore, we still ask you to keep your eyes open for short term deals in order to make some great bargains with pancake compressor in 2019.

Published by on (last update on ).


9 of 12 readers found this article helpful.

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(Corresponds to a rating of 3.75 / 5)