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The use of pancake air compressors has gained lots of traction in the last few years thanks to their numerous benefits. Pancake air compressors offer stability, portability, and incredible power.
They are small in size and very lightweight as well. Their tank volume usually ranges from one to six gallons, and the tank itself boasts a low-profile design for optimal maneuverability.
What’s more, pancake air compressors need very little maintenance because they not only feature an oil-free pump, but don’t have any belts as well. They are perfect for small to medium tasks such as inflating tires, roofing, painting, nailing among other projects.
Today, there are countless pancake air compressors out there on the market. Though this great news for DIY die-hards because it provides a range of options, it makes it quite difficult to find the best pancake air compressor that suits your needs and preferences.
If you are looking to purchase a portable air compressor for your framing nailer or brad nailer, you are at the last pace. We are going to provide you with an honest and extensive review of the five best portable 6-gallon air gallon pancake air compressor.
Best Pancake Air Compressor – Reviews & Buying guide for 2021
BEST OVERALL: CRAFTSMAN 6-gallon air compressor
- Model – CMEC6150K
- Capacity – 6 Gallons
- PSI MAX – 150 Max PSI
- Dimensions – 16.5*16.5*17.88-inches
- Weight – 32.5 pounds
Craftsman is a trusted brand that boasts a long history and a great reputation in manufacturing top-notch tools and equipment in the construction industry.
This one, in particular, is its typical product and comes equipped with astounding features that make it a worthwhile addition to your DIY accessories.
The Craftsman is a 6-gallon capacity pancake air compressor, and this implies you won’t have to worry about having to stop in between your work to have to refill the tank.
It also boasts a robust and durable construction, ensuring that it will serve you for an extended period.
This small air compressor has an extended tool-run time thanks to its impressive 150 psi tank pressure that effectively accumulates more volume of air.
This will allow you to undertake numerous applications at the same time. On the other hand, the 2.6 SCFM per 90 psi gives it quick recovery time, especially when used for longer periods.
At only 32.5 pounds, the Craftsman has an incredibly lightweight design, allowing you to easily transport it from one place to another.
Another notable benefit that this portable 6-gallon air compressor brings on board is easy maintenance.
It has an oil-free pump, and this means that you will never have to worry about the oil spilling over the compressor chamber.
What’s more, there is no risk of excessive wear and tear to the piston valves and rings which usually occurs when an air compressor runs low on oil.
This alone is more than enough to convince you that the craftsman is a fantastic piece of equipment worth your attention.
For its powerful motor, sturdy design and amazing performance, the craftsman pancake air compressor deserves its place on this list.
As one of the best pancake air compressors on the market, the Craftsman comes with a 13-piece accessory kit that includes 25*1/4-inches PVC air hose with coupler and plugs assembled, blow gun with plug, tire chuck with plug, blow gun with OSHA safety nozzle, three inflator adaptors, and rubber tip.
It also comes covered with a one-year limited warranty. This air compressor will also start-up in cold weather thanks to its high-efficiency motor.
This impressive device is nearly flawless, especially when used for its intended purpose. Perhaps one notable disadvantage is its relatively costly price tag. The vibration can also be strong.
The CMEC6150 is an amazing pancake air compressor worth your attention. It offers a lot for the price; great performance, airpower, portability thanks to its handle design, and durability due to its robust and tough construction.
You get a decent amount of air pressure and fairly quick recovery time at an above-average value.
If you are looking for an air compressor for use with bolting, finish nailing, roof nailing, framing nailing or brad nailing, the craftsman should be your ultimate choice.
Runner up: Dewalt Pancake Air Compressor
- Model – DWFP55126
- Capacity – 6 Gallons
- PSI Max – 165 max PSI
- Dimensions – 17.2*16.6*20.1-inches.
- Weight – 32.2 pounds.
Whether you are an experienced professional builder or a DIY renovator the DeWalt air compressor is what you need to take your construction job to a whole new level.
This air compressor is ideal for all kinds of jobs around your home. Boasting a low level of noise output, the DWFP55126 is one of the best in the business and perfect for working indoors.
At just 32 pounds, the DeWalt air compressor is fairly lightweight, allowing you to carry it from one location to another through its robust upright handle that sits on top of its motor.
Thanks to its highly efficient and powerful motor, the DeWalt starts easily in both external environments and coldest temperatures. It doesn’t freeze up, and the motor will not seize up and prevent you from completing your DIY on time.
With a six-gallon capacity, the DeWalt is a well-sized tank that will allow you to undertake any repair job without having to worry about stopping in between for its tank to refill. Simply put, the 6 gallons allow you to get quite a lot done.
This compressor can store air at a maximum of 165 psi, with a cut-in pressure of 135 psi. So, as you will be using your air tools and other accessories, the psi will drop but the compressor will immediately kick in back at the cut-in pressure.
A psi of 165 is more than sufficient for light to moderately powered tools. It is suitable for use with a standard brad nailer, framing nailer as well as 1/8-inch impact wrench and an airbrush for touch up work.
Also, the compressor pump on the DeWalt air compressor is an oil-free, zero maintenance type. This implies that the only maintenance job you will have to perform on it is ensuring that the pump is from dust and any other debris.
And because DeWalt is a trusted brand in the industry, you can expect strong build quality on this impressive pancake air compressor. It won’t show any signs of vulnerable hardware components.
Everything from the plastic grille, to the durable handlebar, metal storage tank and compressor and thoughtfully designed and feel sturdy for extended use.
The DeWalt is also a quiet air compressor. It will effectively reduce the noise pollution in your work environment even when functioning at full strength because it doesn’t exceed 75.5 decibels.
Besides, it is equipped with an extremely efficient motor, a highly regulated air-flow ability and comes equipped with couplers to help ensure you are getting the most out of your air compressor.
Despite the ton of benefits that the DeWalt brings on board, it does have its fair share of disadvantages. If you’ll be using larger tools, then the 6-gallon pancake compressor is not what you need.
It produces 2.6cfm at 90psi, implying that heavier-duty grinders as well as continuous-flow tools, or industrial grade sprayers are beyond the capabilities of this machine.
What’s more, it doesn’t come with an accessory pack, and this means that you have to provide your connectors and hose.
Overall, the DeWalt 6-gallon air compressor is a great piece of equipment. It is always ready to get the job done.
It is not only efficient when used for its intended purpose, but equally functions quietly, and is lightweight hence excellent for people between different jobs who need to transport it from one place to another.
It’s ideal for use on mechanics, building sites, farms as well as in any other year-round outdoor location as it can work to its full strength even when it is chilly outside.
Just plug it into an electrical outlet, and it will get any job done to the highest standards.
alternative: Porter-cable C2002-WK UMC Pancake compressor
- Model – C2OO2-WK
- Capacity – 6 gallons
- PSI Max – 150 PSI Max
- Dimensions – 18.3*18*19-inches
- Weight – 34 pounds
The porter is an electronically powered machine and is suitable for both external and cold environments. It means that you will have no problem starting and using this air compressor in sub-20- degree weather.
Smaller air compressors usually have some difficulty doing some power-demanding tasks. Luckily, this fantastic unit comes with a fairly large tank capacity to allow you to execute your duties while only having the compressor kick in a few times throughout.
What’s more, the 150-psi max tank pressure can store more air for fairly longer to run times.
At only 34 pounds, the compressor is equally lightweight, so you can expect portability and ease of use during transport.
Whether you are a camper or an RV owner who is bound to run into a tricky situation at some point, you should seriously consider having the porter air compressor within your ranks.
It is also worth noting that the porter provides 2.6 cfm of air at 90 psi to its two air hookups, and this will allow you to connect two air nailers at a time.
The porter pancake air compressor not only features oil-free units for easy maintenance but also comes equipped with a drain valve for air, allowing you to effortlessly empty water condensation out of the tank.
And if you are yearning for durability, the porter has got you covered. It boasts a sturdy construction that ensures you’ll use the equipment for years. This applies even for its motor, which is powerful yet carries the low current at 120v.
The porter is also highly versatile, and you can do a lot with it at your disposal, ranging from tire inflation, paint-spraying to construction projects among others.
And with a noise level of 82-Dba, the porter is equally one of the quietest small pancake 6-gallon air compressors currently ruling the market.
The porter has very minimal power demands. As an electric-powered machine, it is better than any fuel-powered device as far as simple household applications are concerned.
The motor runs at only 120v, implying that it will operate just fine even when used with an extension cord.
It also features inbuilt regulated couplers that support two users. It also includes a 13-piece accessory kit.
Most customers have complained that the user manual is not as detailed as they would love. Also, the porter air compressor lacks rubberized grip pads, implying that it can easily slip on some surfaces.
The porter C2002-WK oil-free air compressor is a great option for anyone who needs a little bit more than a conventional portable pancake air compressor.
It is not only a powerful, durable, versatile, but equally performance-oriented machine.
Despite a few shortcomings, the porter is more than average equipment and we highly recommend it for any DIY application or even for professional use provided it is used for the right situation.
Alternative: BOSTITCH Air Compressor Oil-free Kit
- Model – BTFPO2012-WPK
- Capacity – 6 Gallons
- PSI Max – 150 Max PSI
- Dimensions – 16.9*16.5*19.1-inches
- Weight – 29 pounds.
If there is any company that knows more about pancake air compressors, it’s the BOSTITCH! If you didn’t know, this reputable brand is one of the trusted innovators in the air tool industry.
True to its name, Bostitch has always produced high-end, durable and performance-driven power tools worth the attention of every serious DIY enthusiast out there. The BTFPO2012 is its typical product and brings onboard numerous benefits.
It is an oil-free pancake air compressor just like the others we have reviewed, meaning it will require very minimal maintenance. What’s more, there isn’t any risk of its valves and piston rings wearing out because there is no oil spillage on these essential parts.
It offers you six gallons of tank storage space, and this, coupled with its maximum pressure of 150 psi, allows it to deliver consistent air pressure for optimal performance.
What’s more, its high-efficiency motor ensures easy and hitch-free start-ups even in cold weather, with its impressive oil-free pump providing up to 2.6 cfm at a 90-psi compressed air.
It has two universal couplers that support two users for enhanced working freedom whereas its high flow regulator maximizes air tool performance. The Bostitch has arguably the smallest weight, weighing 29 pounds only.
No one loves working in a noisy environment. This pancake air compressor operates at 78.5 decibels, allowing you to work without compromising the lives of those around you while also preventing you from suffering any hearing-related issues.
It includes vital accessories that include a 50-inch air hose, ten-piece inflation as well as a blowgun accessory kit.
While the Bostitch is a powerful equipment that offers top-notch performance, there are some concerns regarding its external housing material, which is not sturdy enough. It feels unstable for heavy-duty applications.
Not many air compressors in this price range will perform better than the Bostitch. It is not only super lightweight, powerful, versatile, but also operates quietly and has a more than average tank capacity of six gallons. Simply put, it presents real value for your hard-earned cash.
Alternative: California 8010 Ultra quite Air Compressor
- Model – CAT-8010
- Capacity – 8 gallons
- PSI Max – 120 PSI
- Dimensions – 26*14*23-inches
- Weight – 54 pounds.
The California air tools 8010 is an extremely stylish yet powerful portable air compressor ideal for those seeking for more power.
This is a great device that can aid in your completion of general tasks, ranging from DIY jobs to industrial and commercial tasks within the workplace.
It is incredibly quiet, fully functioning at just 60 decibels. This not only means that you won’t be to subject your ears to those damaging noises, but you’ll also be able to cushion your neighbors from the unwanted sounds as well.
The California Air Tools 8010 also boasts an oil-free pump, implying that you’ll have very few maintenance and repair projects needs to contend with as you continue to use the air compressor.
It features a low amperage draw of 8.5 amps and so won’t cost a fortune even when used more frequently.
It is also reasonably lightweight and small enough for easy transportation from one place to another. It comes equipped with two robust wheels to make maneuvering even easier and has two strong support stands that ensures it will always be secure both when in use and when not being moved.
And because it is a corded-electric air compressor, you’ll be able to use it anywhere where there is a plug or socket. You’ll never run out of charge with it at your disposal.
This air compressor has an incredibly fast tank refill time of 130 seconds. It also has arguably the fastest recovery time, taking only thirty seconds to recover from 90 PSI to 120 PSI.
What’s more, it fitted with a thermal overload protector, which means it dissipates less amount of heat.
For some people, having a cable around when working can be a source of inconvenience and displeasure. This is especially true if you have to frequently move from one location to another as there is a risk of you tripping over the same cable.
Also, at 54 pounds, this portable compressor is among the heaviest devices out there.
There are many reasons why you would be willing to spend a few more bucks just to have this air compressor. It is not only extremely powerful with a maximum pressure of 120 psi, ultra-quiet, but also versatile enough to be used by both DIY and professional users.
Despite some few drawbacks, it is very perfect for people on the go, including farmers, builders, and contractors who require more power for their tools. It is reasonably lightweight for easy transportation and can equally be wheeled if need be.
Though relatively costly, the CAT 8010 can be a fantastic addition to your DIY accessories.
Pancake air compressor Buying Guide & FAQ
What is the best tank size for my pancake air compressor?
Generally, pancake air compressors are small in size with a tank capacity that ranges from one to six gallons. The tank size you will need depends on the amount of pressure you need it to store as well as the types of air tools you’ll use.
One benefit of a larger tank is that you’ll have adequate time to work without having to stop in between to allow your tank to refill.
However, if your work doesn’t require a larger amount of air, then it could be cheaper and smarter to use a smaller tank.
What does an oil-free air compressor mean?
In the world of air compressors, there are two main pump designs including oil-free and oil-lubricated pumps.
In oil-free designs, the air compressor doesn’t use oil on the walls of the compressor cylinder.
Most air compressors on the market feature oil-lubricated pumps, implying that you’ll need to regularly add and change the oil just to keep them in peak performance.
Having an oil-free compressor eliminates all these maintenance requirements.
What PSI is good for a pancake air compressor?
You want an efficient and powerful air compressor that supports longer tool runtimes.
Most pancake air compressors have a maximum psi of 150 which should be enough to deliver.
What can you do with a pancake air compressor?
Pancake air compressors are versatile equipment that can be used in a broad range of applications including, inflating tires and balls, airbrushing, powering pneumatic brad nailers, staple nailers, and framing nailers.
Will a pancake air compressor run an impact wrench?
Generally, you need an air compressor that has between 4 and 5 cfm @90 psi and at least a 6-gallon tank to run a inch impact wrench, which is usually the most common type available.
Most pancake air compressors are below this threshold and therefore, would struggle to run a standard impact wrench.
How long can a pancake air compressor last?
Generally, air compressors are highly robust and durable tools.
And with adequate care and maintenance, your pancake air compressor should give you at least ten hours of unrivaled service.
The Bottom Line
Pancake air compressors were initially invented for use in the construction industry, particularly to be used by carpenters to run air nailers.
While this remains one of their functions, they have evolved over the years and can now be used for a range of applications.
However, with so many devices to choose from, you can easily get duped into purchasing a piece of equipment that doesn’t suit your needs and preferences.
This is why we have provided you with an unbiased review of some of the best pancake air compressors currently ruling the market.
They are durable, powerful, affordable, versatile and will only need very little performance. You can never go wrong with any of these amazing machines