Home Air Compressor Guide Best Pancake Air Compressors

Best Pancake Air Compressors

A pancake air compressor can really do the trick if you need something that isn’t too heavy. Buyers of all types gravitate to this model because of its distinct size advantage. Even though it is more compact than a normal vertical air compressor, the power remains pretty impressive throughout. Just like all air compressors, there is a bit of variety to the pancake models. It’s up to you to decide which one fits your project perfectly, especially long term. This list will show some of the biggest winners in the category and why you should choose them as your own.

  • Product Dimensions: 18.3 x 18 x 19 inches
  • Power Source: Electric-powered
  • Batteries Required? No
  • Warranty: 1 Year
  • Bostitch BTFP02012
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 17 x 19.2 inches
  • Power Source: ac
  • Batteries Required? No
  • Warranty: 1 year l
  • Campbell FP2028
  • Product Dimensions: 12 x 12 x 16 inches
  • Power Source: Electric-powered
  • Batteries Required? No
  • Warranty: 1 Year

PORTER-CABLE C2002-WK Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor

What better way to start the list than with industry leader Porter Cable? Their low priced C2002-WK is a fantastic choice for anyone that needs a reliable pancake compressor model. It comes in a variety of different types, each with their own advantages. Buyers can get just the compressor, the compressor with the accessory kit, the finish nailer/compressor combo kit or the finish/brad nailer combo kit. Out of all the options on the list, this one covers the most buyers that are interested in getting a head start on a project and don’t have all the materials. The sheer depth of choices makes this a top contender on the list, and that’s not all. Stability of the unit is guaranteed with the pancake tank design, sporting the usual Porter-Cable colors. If you need longevity when operating your tools, then this has the perfect buildup to keep things running.

There is an entire six gallon capacity to the tank, leaving plenty of room to play with multiple tools in one go. Buyers that hover towards the 13 piece accessory kit will find that they are all of top notch quality and not generic throw ins. Every piece follows the company’s guidelines and will be the same quality as the compressor itself. PSI maxes out at 150, so is one of the higher PSI’s on the list. With more air in the tank there will be more time to run your most demanding tools. And for buyers that are going for recovery over power, operating 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI will give you an incredibly fast recovery time compared to the competitors. No matter which version of this model that you get, you’re getting a major deal. This is one of the best choices for anyone looking for a pancake compressor, with a great price to match.

Check Price on Amazon!

Bostitch BTFP02012 6 Gallon Pancake Compressor

Second on the list is the BTFP02012, a Bostitch unit that is on the low price range. They are one of the bigger names in the industry, providing both home and professional users with a great number of options. This one is a lot like the first on the list, and comes in a variety of models. Customers can choose the compressor by itself, or a 1-3 tool/compressor combo kit. With four options to choose from it becomes a pretty easy pick for anyone that is looking to get started or for a user that is already established. In an almost identical power race, this Bostitch maxes out at 150 PSI with its six gallon tank. Everything when it comes to power is identical to the Porter-Cable version, right down to the 2.6 SCFM at the 90 PSI rate.

Where the two differ are subtle, and very easy to miss. This model has a much better control panel than any other on the list. Simple and to the point, a manual isn’t even needed to get it fully operational. And the tools provided with the models that come packed with them are arguably better quality than in the Porter-Cable option. That is because Bostitch is pretty big when it comes to their power tools, so it was a no brainer to included rebranded versions of their own products. In fact when looking at one of the drills in the set, it performs just as good as any other top brand when brought separately. Combine that with a low 29 pound weight and you’ve got a great deal when it comes to a new pancake compressor. This may look like the twin brother of the first model on the list but it packs some good punch of its own.

Check Price on Amazon!

Campbell Hausfeld FP2028 1-Gallon Oil-Free Pancake Air Compressor with Accessory Kit

Now comes the first controversial item on the list, the FP2028. It has received mixed reviews since it came into circulation, and is the lowest priced pancake compressor on the list by a long shot. Buyers either absolutely love it or hate it with a passion, so your mileage may vary. This Cambell Hausfeld model also has the smallest tank on the list, and it’s listed at 1 gallon although some have admitted it performs more like 1.5 gallons. That’s an important thing to remember if you have some intense tools using it for power. The accessory kit is extensive, and it comes with a female coupler, male plug, 25 foot recoil hose, 2 inch inflation nozzles, air chuck and an inflation needle. It’s just enough in the packaging to get you started with basic tasks.

PSI maxes out at 110, but is sort of irrelevant due to the tank size being capped at 1 gallon. There will be quite a few bits of recovery time if you’re ever using it a lot or have a power hungry tool. The company has stated that it isn’t meant for heavy use, marketing it more for pneumatic fasteners and accessories. Even the design is more user friendly than normal, and is marketed at beginners, right down to the easy read gauge. They do have some decent safety features built in, and for what it’s worth the unit holds up pretty well over the long term. With the list being full of powerhouses, it’s hard to put it at the top. But for a good and reliable everyday air compressor, the FP2028 does a wonderful job.

Check Price on Amazon!

  • Product Dimensions: 22.5 x 20.4 x 20.6 inches
  • Power Source: Pneumatic-powered
  • Batteries Required? No
  • Warranty: NA
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 17 x 20 inches
  • Power Source: Gas-powered
  • Batteries Required? No
  • Warranty: One-year
  • PowRyte Basic 103338
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 14.4 x 14.4 inches
  • Power Source: Air-powered
  • Batteries Required? No
  • Warranty: N/A

PORTER-CABLE PCFP12234 3-Tool Combo Kit

Getting back to Porter-Cable, this is the first high priced option on the list when it comes to a consumer/professional grade air compressor. It comes in three different versions, and they all look to be stellar. The combo kit, the combo kit with 16 gauge nail pack and the combo kit with 18 gauge staple pack. All of this is heavy duty heaven, and worth it even if you already have the tools. The compressor maxes out at 150 PSI and has a tank capacity of six gallons. Tools included based on the model purchased are a finish nailer, brad nailer or a crown stapler. Accessories included with all models are a 25ft. ¼ air hose with a coupler and plug. This is considered to be one of their higher end models in the lineup, and performs exactly like you would expect.

So what makes this Porter-Cable model better than the first one on the list? It is more rounded out in features, and still only comes in at 47 pounds total. The 120 volts it uses are put to good use, meaning that it is slightly more efficient with its power usage. On average it drives more nails than competing compressors that max out at 135 PSI. That’s more work done for you in a shorter amount of time, with a recovery time that is hard to beat. Tools included use maintenance-free motors so are built from the ground up to last a long time, even with heavy use. Compressor components are iron clad with a one year warranty, so no worries about important parts breaking down when you need them the most. Buyers that want the top tier of their favorite brand will have no trouble settling on this model.

Check Price on Amazon!

Factory-Reconditioned Porter-Cable C2002R Oil-Free UMC Pancake

Once again Porter-Cable dominates the list, with the low priced C2002R. It is an offshoot of the first Porter-Cable on the list, and can be considered a little brother. A nice long life with multiple projects is guaranteed by the induction motor. It’s built for lasting longer more than it is for power, so expect less time spent in recovery and more time working. With a concentration on longevity, the motor also gets a boost by not being a huge hog to the circuitry in your house. If you just so happen to live in a house that can’t handle one of the more powerful models on this list, then the C2002R is a perfect choice. The soft start motor feature makes it an ideal companion in homes with weak power outlets. It won’t short out your entire house and leave your fuse box burnt out when you use it excessively.

With a weight of only 33 pounds, it’s one of the more portable options on the list. You can take it around the house without breaking your back, and even store it in your car for offsite jobs. Dimensions come out to 17x17x20 inches, so there will definitely be a huge amount of places it can be stored in. The tank is fairly large at 6 gallons despite the weight, and it is 120 PSI with 30 PSI extra to protect against irregular pressure drops. This is a unique feature of this particular unit, one that really makes it a 150 PSI unit in total. The value of the unit compared to the others dollar for dollar is huge, and that’s where the appeal comes in with this model. It may not be the strongest on the list, but the value for your money makes it one of the best choices for a pancake air compressor.

Check Price on Amazon!

PowRyte Basic 103338 3 Gallon Oil-Free Pancake Portable Air Compressor & Tire Inflator Kit

Last on the list is the low priced PowRyte Basic 103338, which is the weakest when it comes to power, but still considered a great buy if you need a pancake air compressor. The three gallon tank can handle 90 PSI max, so it isn’t overloaded on small to midrange use. With the oil less pump, the unit is virtually maintenance free for all of the years you want to punish it with full time use. The unit is small, lightweight at 20 pounds and even has a carrying handle. With just a small amount of heft to moving the unit there will be no problems storying or carrying to different areas. This is the lightest pancake air compressor on the list and therefore the most portable option. So of that is the most important feature to you, make sure to seek this model out from the beginning.

The design is a little better than some of the other units on the list as it is made to protect. And there are a good amount of accessories included with it like a dual chuck tire inflator and recoil hose. While the company is marketing it mostly for inflating tires, there is enough power in this unit for it to be used in small to medium range projects. That means you can attach it to an air brusher, brad nailer and just about any other tool that can connect to an air compressor. Just be wary of some limitations with the scope of the project, and there really won’t be any problems. This is one of the lesser known company’s on the list, yet still one that offers a pretty popular model. If you’re looking to get away from a big brand name then consider this as a top option for getting the job done right.

Check Price on Amazon!

Pros of a Pancake Air Compressor

The first thing that comes to mind when you look at a pancake air compressor is the size and dimensions. These little units are made to sit low to the ground and be portable. Having the option to use the same compressor for your house that you would use for work is a big advantage, and can save you money over the long term. Even if you buy the biggest and best non-pancake air compressor, what happens when you need to do a small job that doesn’t need all of the bells and whistles? That’s the middle ground and main reason why people opt to purchase pancake air compressors. Storage is also a big plus for these little units, as they can go in your car truck, on the shelf in a garage and sometimes underneath your bed.

Other pros include being more accessible to first time users of the product. This is a possibility for many reasons, starting and ending with the inclusion of accessories. That will be covered more in-depth later on, but for the most part it is a huge plus for anyone that has never owned an air compressor in their life. It’s like buying a car with all of the extras included, directly off of the lot. And if the accessories aren’t important to you, just use them as a backup, or sell them off. In some cases you can even make your money back just off of the accessories. The last pro to mention is the price, which is significantly lower than full sized air compressors. For people that need a project done and are on a budget, there is no better way to stay within budget than by purchasing a pancake air compressor for your needs.

There really are no major cons associated with buying a pancake air compressor. With all of the variety in models that are out, it is one of the easiest decisions to make if you’re well informed. Pancake air compressors are continuing to rise in popularity, and there’s a real good reason for that.

Should You Consider Combo Packs?

There are two different types of combo packs when it comes to pancake air compressors. The first contains small tools and attachments like hoses and other compatible pieces. The other combo is has full on tools like brad nailers, staplers and more. It can be a bit confusing to decide between these for buyers that already have all of the necessary tools and just need the compressor itself. But don’t look at these as mere starter packs for newbies, but as a better option than just buying a core air compressor. Combo packs, notably the ones with tools, are a great bargain even if you have everything in the box.

The first reason it’s a bargain is because you never know when your own tools are going to break. So if that brad nailer you have just so happens to die on you in the middle of a project, simply attach the one that came with the compressor. The same logic applies to the extra attachments. Having extras on hand so you don’t have to take an impromptu trip to the store is always a good idea. And in an emergency situation where it is night time and the stores are closed, who is better prepared than the customer that keeps extras? Think it through when it comes to buying a combo pack, and you can secure your own set of tools.

And the main reason to consider a combo pack is to recoup the money spent on the compressor itself. Many of the tools included with a combo are rebranded versions of their mid to top models. That means a savvy customer can sell the extra tools and end up getting a free compressor as a result. And even if you don’t get a free air compressor, you will still spend vastly less on it after selling off the extras. The upside is too great when it comes to getting a combo pancake air compressor, so don’t let the good deals pass you up.


Pancake air compressors are a great buy even if you have an air compressor on hand. They are the perfect mix of portable and power that you can get, and the prices are too good to pass up. When it comes to getting the most for your money, opt in to buy a pancake air compressor so that all of your projects go smoothly.