PORTER-CABLE PCFP02003 3.5-Gallon 135 PSI Pancake
This nice looking Porter-Cable is a low priced option for those that don’t want to break the bank but want to get started with a couple of low to medium sized projects. It has SCFM delivered at 90 PSI pump that thankfully has a spacious 3.5 gallon tank so you have more time to finish what you’re doing before waiting for it to recover. The max 135 PSI is pretty decent for the size, with an oil-free pump that will keep you in business for a very long time without having to worry about maintenance issues. It uses a standard 120v motor, but the way the unit is built it doesn’t over tax it like some older models have tended to do. The entire weight of the air compressor is just under 30 pounds, and it weighs in at about 26 pounds total for easy portability.
The quick coupler option is included so you have easy access to regulated air while the decent 82 dBA won’t blow up your ears too much. The unit works great for small framing/roofing jobs, multiple trim finishing nailers, general inflation and blowing up toys and hobby equipment. Amperage capacity is only 10 amps rather than the usual 12, so no worries about overtaxing your circuit breaker when starting this up. For protection you’ll have a 1 year limited warranty on compressor components, so nothing really good in that department since the first year you’re most like not going to have a problem. If something bad does happen you do have a great customer support team, one of the best in the business to take care of your issue. There are really no real major complaints about this air compressor, as it does the job it is intended to do well without any problems. When you factor in the price of the model it really is a bargain for beginners and people looking for a replacement.
This is another unit that suffers from being a bit underpowered, but since there is only 1 quick connect coupler it is not as big of a deal as a unit that promotes using two tools simultaneously. The HP sits at about .8 but the good part about that is the low amp draw of 10, which if you look around your house you can probably find several appliances that nearly double that. The piston pump type it uses is a bit undervalued at this point in the market but it’s that same pump type that allows it to be so efficient yet criminally underpowered. It still can be used error free with blow cleaning, bolting/wrenching, air brushing, brad nailing/stapling, finish nailing, and hobby painting.
There aren’t a lot of single stage ETL approved air compressors for this price that are of such great value. The recovery time is pretty decent, although it could stand to be a bit better. But since they opted for a 3.5 gallon then you’re already starting out great to begin with, rather than scrapping at the bottom of the tank of a 1.5 gallon. Check out the owners manual to get a better idea of some of the great projects you can do with this unit, and you’ll be surprised with what it supports.
There is a light complaint about noise, but not just the noise but a bit of vibration, or feedback if you will. At 82 dBA it’s on the higher end of air compressors when it comes to noise, especially when it gets to rattling like it’s going to have a convulsion. The surface you set it on plays a big part primarily in the extra noise you’re going to get when you have to work for long periods of time. You want a steady surface and you don’t want it to be able to move around like a pancake on a skillet. If you look at the two gauges on the unit you can pretty much see when it’s going to be the noisiest. It’s easy to hear it through walls and it’s safe to say that the people nearby might be a little bit irritated depending on the setup.
There’s not really a handle, it can be considered more of a groove which isn’t really comfortable for carrying this from place to place. It also has a weird design meaning that storage is going to be particular depending on where you want to put it in your workspace. There is no cage design or protection for the gauges at all, so you’re going to have to be extra careful when you use this unit in a crowded area. This particular unit is not recommended for use in crowded areas, unless you want to take advantage of that limited warranty sooner rather than later. Put it in a stationary position away from everything else and let it do the job it was intended to do in order to protect your purchase. Crafty men or women will be able to create their own protection for this unit, so that’s always an option.
This air compressor was made from the ground up for the home user, and it works great just as that- a consistent and reliable home use air compressor. There aren’t any remarkable features or extras that will blow you away, just wonderful quality and a decent amount of power to get you through just about all of your home projects. The red and black actually looks really good, very professional touch and personifies the Porter-Cable brand. If you’re a professional this may be one you want to avoid since there are more powerful choices for you to pick from. For everyone else this is a prime air compressor that will pay for itself in value within the first month.