Best Pancake Air Compressor | Expert’s Pic With Buying Guide

Even though gas-powered pneumatic tools are not the ideal device to use in home-based projects, DIYers aren’t left with many options. That’s why for any small projects, having an air compressor to run the devices appears to be a challenge for most users.

The 6-gallon air compressor can be an easy way out if you want something simple and portable at the same time. Designed for shorter tasks, especially in a household environment, having the best pancake air compressor can smoothen the use of your pneumatic tools.

In this piece, we will have a look at some of the most useful options you have in the market that don’t cost you an arm yet aren’t gimmicks. If you are looking for something like this, let’s dive into the details!

What Is an Air Compressor?

To be as non-technical as possible, an air compressor is a device that stores air in a pressurized condition into its reserve and releases that pressurized gas to be used in running other devices that needs air to operate.

The works include powering a turbine, inflation, running gas-powered devices, etc.

Quick summary best pancake air compressor

Editor’s Choice: Craftsman Air Compressor CMEC6150K

Best For High-Flow: BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor BTFP02012

Superpower for Cold Start: PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor C2002

Ideal For High PSI: DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor DWFP55126

Super Performer: Makita MAC5200 3.0 HP Big Bore Air Compressor

Excellent in Stability: PORTER-CABLE Compressor C2002-WK

Best Combo Package: BOSTITCH Air Compressor Combo Kit BTFP2KIT

Best Internal Protection: Metabo HPT Pancake Air Compressor 6 Gallon EC710S

Best For Longer Performance: DEWALT Air Compressor Combo Kit with Brad Nailer DWC1KIT-B

Universal Motor: Ridgid 6 Gallon 150 PSI Maintenance-Free Portable Electric Pancake Compressor

Best For Handling: Campbell Hausfeld 6 Gallon Portable Quiet Air Compressor DC060500

Expert in Low-Voltage: Excell U256PPE 6 Gallon Pancake Air Compressor

How to Determine Your Air Compressor Size?

Figuring out the right compressor size for your work is easier said than done. It’s a challenging task, for sure. However, if you can follow the required steps to find out the right size, it’s nothing more than a few calculations. Here’s a clear guide.

  • Take the air requirement of the device you need to run. You can find the average CFM requirement in the manufacturer’s guide.
  • Let’s think that you need to have 100 CFM.
  • Before setting up, you need to allow some leaks.
  • Find out the compressor’s duty cycle. If the duty cycle is 70%, you have to get 100 X 70% = 70 CFM to get the right compressor.
  • Also, get the correct PSI requirement. Usually, tools need about 100 PSI.
  • Have a voltage and phase check of the area you are going to connect the compressor.
  • Lastly, check the tank size depending on the CFM you have calculated.

What Type of Air Compressor Do I Need?

The type of air compressor you need to use depends on the type of work you intend to implement in your project. For example, if you are working in a household environment, you may want to have a compressor that can be easily connected to the household power supply.

For industrial applications, you can look out for something that supports up to 220V output rather than 110V.

Then again, if portability is your concern, not every compressor in the market is going to be your type. You definitely need to make sure that you get something like a 6-gallon compressor for your jobs.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Top 12 Best pancake air compressor Reviews

While the market is flooded with non-branded air compressors, it’s actually a daunting task to find out proper and genuine devices for your works.

Our team spent over 24 hours researching the options you have in the market and finally ended up picking the following 12 devices for you.

Craftsman Air Compressor CMEC6150K- Editor’s Choice

We kick off our reviews with the Craftsman CMEC6510K air compressors. Proudly made in the US, the device is here to make your jobs a lot smoother and easier.

Weighing just around 32 pounds, this 6-gallon air compressor is pretty lightweight and compact in design. It makes transportation quite easier and simpler.It’s full of useful features that you need for any short-term or long-term project you run.

The device has dual couplers that allow it to be connected to two different devices. Plus, it is a no-oil machine that requires virtually no maintenance on a regular basis. With its 150 max PSI output, the device is a perfect pick for a variety of applications.

Why We Like It

(+) Dual Couplers

The device comes with two couplers on it that allow it to connect to two different tools at the same time. Depending on the air capacity, you can smoothly use both devices at the same time without any issue.

(+) No-oil Machine

Fortunately, the machine comes with a no-oil mechanism. You don’t need to use oil to keep this machine performing for a long time. This means it requires less or no maintenance at all comparing to most compressors out there.

(+) Low Sound

The device makes quite a low sound while in operation, which is really great. It saves you from sound pollution and lets you carry on your works in a rather calm and quiet environment. The highest sound it produces is 78.5 dB.

(+) 150 Max PSI

Furthermore, the device offers up to 150 PSI to make sure that you get enough power pressure to work on diverse applications.

Keep In Mind

(-) Tiny Hose

The hose is a bit tiny to use for most users.

BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor BTFP02012- Best For High-Flow

Bostitch Pancake marks its place second in our list due to its unparalleled performance. The BTFP02012 air compressor is truly an all-weather machine for all of your projects.

Similar to its performance in the summertime, the device performs equally in cold weather, as well. Its simple and easy start system tells all the story.

You can easily use an extension cable to extend the reach of the device. Attaching a separate cord, you can use the device from up to 50 feet away.

Apart from that, the device is jampacked with useful features like a double coupler system and a high-flow regulator option.

Why We Like It

(+) Easy Start System

One of the most challenging tasks of using an air compressor in the winter is to make it start flawlessly. This is why Bostitch makes sure that the device has a smooth start system that easily turns the device on quickly.

(+) Lightweight

It’s pretty easy to carry the device around. The compressors weigh just below 30 pounds, and it should not take a load of strength to pull it up and transfer from place to place. Being a compact device, mobility is even simpler.

(+) Two Couplers

The machine has two couplers as the output option. This eases up using the device for multipurpose projects. You can connect two different tools to the compressor and use them at the same time.

(+) High Flow Regulator

Apart from the fact that the device offers a high-flow air supply, you’ve got a regulator to control the speed, as well. The knob system is quite simple and easy to use, and you can conveniently set the right amount of air supply.

Keep In Mind

(-) Loud Sound

Although the manual says it makes a low sound, users complained it does sound quite loud.

PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor C2002- Superpower for Cold Start

Porter-Cable is pretty famous for making some of the most powerful power tools in the industry. The Air compressor is no different in this case. The C2002 compact 6-gallon air compressor from Porter-Cable is simply one of the best for any user, be it a beginner or an expert.

Its oil-free mechanism is just perfect for you if you are not into maintenance on a regular basis. Having an oil-free pump gives it a longer life and reduces the need for taking care of the device once in a while.

On top of that, that, the compressor offers a maximum psi of 150, which allows it to work for longer than usual devices.

Why We Like It

(+) Cold Start Feature 

It has an excellent 120V motor system that is just a perfect choice for low-temperature starting. Even if it’s cold and you are wondering if the device would start normally, you can bet it will start immediately.

(+) Rubber Feet

Keeping the machine well-grounded and anchored is an unsettling task. Moreover, if the machine is vibrating on a continuous basis, it’s really tough to keep it in its place. That’s why this device uses a rubber base to make sure it doesn’t move away.

(+) Low Maintenance

As the device comes with an oil-free pump, it’s really easy to maintain the device as it eliminates the involvement of any oil therapy. You can easily get away with no maintenance and still get good output from it.

(+) Comfortable Handle

With a smooth rubbery grip on the handle, carrying the device from one place to other isn’t a big deal. As it’s a lightweight one, it gets rather more convenient to transport it around the project area.

Keep In Mind

(-) No Accessory Kits 

It doesn’t come with any accessory kit, so you need to purchase them separately.

DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor DWFP55126- Ideal For High PSI

If you don’t have any intention to compromise with power, choosing the DWFP55126 from Dewalt should be an excellent decision. This powerful pancake-style air compressor comes with a maximum pressure capacity of 165 PSI. It means you can easily use this machine for a long time, depending on your project.

While you have longer air support, it’s also quite convenient to use multiple devices with the machine. It has two couplers that can be used to connect two different devices at the same time. Then again, the machine makes only a 75.5 dB sound when it runs to keep it quiet and calm.

Why We Like It

(+) Higher PSI

Compared to the other air compressors at this price range, the Dewalt DWFP55126 comes with a higher pressure count of 165 PSI max. So, you can use the machine for a longer time than usual to achieve your target.

(+) Low Sound

The device is virtually noise-free when you are running it. That’s because it produces only 75.5 dB sound when it is operated, and this gives you a quiet working environment. If you can’t stand the annoying sound, pick this one up.

(+) Ball Drain Valve

To clean up the water inside and prevent the device from getting water-logged, there’s a ball drain valve that allows quick draining. It makes it pretty simple and straightforward, yet quite effective.

(+) Universal Couplers 

The compressor has two different couplers attached. You get to connect two pneumatic tools at the same time to the device, giving you the opportunity to achieve more with lesser effort and

Keep In Mind

(-) Leakage Issue 

A few users complained about a leakage issue they have found with the device. You better check it well before getting to work.

PORTER-CABLE Compressor C2002-WK- Excellent in Stability

Another Porter-Cable compressor on our list is the C2002-WK. It’s equally promising like the C2002, but with a bit of update in performance. This 6-gallon compressor offers you the best air pressure experience you can have for short and DIY projects. Its 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI setting makes it one of the best in its genre.

The pancake-style design allows you to carry it around pretty easily as it adds to the portability of this lightweight device. Having a low amp motor of 120V, the cold start is something you don’t need to worry about anymore. Again, as it has an oil-free pump, it asks for virtually no maintenance, too.

Why We Like It

(+) Stability

The pancake-style design with rubbery feet gives the device the ultimate stability it needs. You can simply place it on any surface; whether it’s on the table or on the floor, it doesn’t matter. It can easily fit in and be anchored tight.

(+) High Flow Regulator

Not to mention, the device has a high-flow regular knob that can be used to control the flow of high-flow air. It also has two couplers for two pneumatic tools to be connected at a time for a better result.

(+) Oil-Free Pump

The machine has an oil-free pump that makes it easy for you to take care of it. You don’t need to oil it every now and then and keep it cool. This saves you from a lot of maintenance work which is absolutely great.

(+) Cold Start

Its 120V low amp motor is actually quite useful if you are using the machine on cold days. This allows the machine to start instantly, even if it is freezing cold. That’s something we would bet our bucks on.

Keep In Mind

(-) Noisy Device

Unfortunately, this well-designed device is pretty noisy to use.

BOSTITCH Air Compressor Combo Kit BTFP2KIT- Best Combo Package

Bostitch is back with another top-class compressor - the BTFP2KIT. This 6-gallon set is another example of their expertise and excellence of high-quality build-up. It runs on 110V, so it’s definitely going to suit your household power options and won’t cause much trouble. Plus, it can easily start during cold mornings.

Having producing only 78.5 dB sound, the device is absolutely silent when it comes to running it. The best part is, the compressor comes with a combo package. You will get two nailer devices with nails and a hose attached.

Why We Like It

(+) Powerful Compressor

The device offers a maximum of 150 PSI pressure that can run most pneumatic tools, including the nailers that come with the package. Plus, you can use the tools for quite a long time with the compressor’s support, too.

(+) Maintenance-free

Having an oil-free pump is really a convenient setup. You don’t need to spend much time and energy on maintaining the device on a regular basis. As it doesn’t involve oiling every now and then, you can relax in this case.

(+) Noise-free Operation

The BTFP2KIT should be ear-soothing to you, for sure. It makes a low sound of 78.5 dB, which doesn’t make a lot of buzz and noise that can annoy you. This means, even if you are running this machine for longer hours, it’s going to be enjoyable.

(+) Combo Offer

For your convenience, the device comes with two different nailers and a hose to support these tools. You will find a 16 GA straight finish nailer and an 18 GA brad nailer with the package. The tools are also of high quality and are made by Bostitch.

Keep In Mind

(-) Need To Get Combo 

You can’t purchase the compressor only. So, need to get the combo and spend more than usual.

Metabo HPT Pancake Air Compressor 6 Gallon EC710S- Best Internal Protection

Another well-made device and top-quality performer on our list is the Metabo HPT EC710S compressor. This one is also a pancake-style device to save space without compromising the quality or capacity. The 6-gallon setup is just the one you need for your household DIY projects and maintenance works.

It comes with a 1-HP motor that can be connected to household power outputs pretty easily. Then again, it comes with an oil-free pump to make sure it requires less maintenance than other compressors in the market. To safeguard the crucial parts, it also features a steel roll cage and rubber grip.

Why We Like It

(+) High-Efficiency Motor

HPT EC710S comes with a 1-HP highly efficient motor that delivers the necessary power you need for your everyday work. It won’t struggle to get started on cold days, unlike most common air compressors in the market.

(+) Low Noise Production

It produces only 73 dB sound while it is being operated, making it one of the most silent devices to use for air compressing. Although it may cause a bit of loud sound at times, generally, it’s quiet and calm.

(+) Top-class Regulator

How efficiently you are running a device depends highly on the regulator system. In this case, you’ve got industry-grade regular and gauges to set the precise PSI settings and make the most out of this machine.

(+) Protection System

Some of the vital parts of the machine need protection from any kind of impact and blow. That’s why the HPT EC710S offers a steel roll cage coupled with rubbery grips that protect the components from harm while you move around with it.

Keep In Mind

(-) Often Loud

As we’ve mentioned earlier, the device is silent, but at times it may sound annoyingly loud.

DEWALT Air Compressor Combo Kit with Brad Nailer DWC1KIT-B- Best For Longer Performance

Dewalt is back with another performer - DWC1KIT-B. This heavy-duty compressor also comes with a Dewalt-branded nailer as a combo offer. Its 6-gallon pancake-size build-up is a perfect fit for you if you are looking for a portable air compressor for DIY jobs. It comes with a dimension of 20 x 17 x 19.5 inches for easy handling.

With a powerful motor inside, the device can offer air pressure up to 165 PSI to make it easy for you to carry on longer tasks. Then again, it produces only 75 dB of sound that makes it pretty silent, as well. With two gauges and two couplers, the device is a perfect example of true productivity

Why We Like It

(+) Powerful Output

Dewalt DWC1KIT-B offers up to 165 PSI pressure that enables you to work for longer hours. It offers higher pressure than most other air compressors in the market, making it a perfect device for any DIY worker.

(+) Combo Offer

The device doesn’t come alone. It has a combo offer that comes with a DWFP12231 nailer driver. This device is capable of using 18ga nails that range from 0.625 inches to 2 inches in length.

(+) Tool-free Changes

You can simply change and adjust the drive depth without using any tool. It’s pretty easy and only takes just a few seconds. Plus, once the machine is jammed, you can also clear it up manually, no need for a separate tool.

(+) Comfortable Handle

The upper handle of the device comes with a texture that makes it easy and comfortable to hold on to. It doesn’t cause any pressure or fatigue on your hand and can be easily carried around. It’s not rubbery, but it’s pretty easy-going for your hands.

Keep In Mind

(-) Heat Up Issue 

Some users complained that the device has a heating issue that needs the device to shut down to solve.

Ridgid 6 Gallon 150 PSI Maintenance-Free Portable Electric Pancake Compressor- Universal Motor

One of the most promising devices that we have found while making this list is the Rigid 6-gallon pancake-style compressor. This one has all it takes to be one of the best compact 6-gallon air compressors in the market. Its universal motor is just the perfect one for you to use on any given voltage.

It offers a locking regulator system that you can use to lock the knob in place so that the pressure of the machine doesn’t fluctuate and drift away from the setting you chose. Moreover, the device has 2 push-to-connect couplers that you can use to connect two separate devices at the same time.

Why We Like It

(+) Universal Motor
The compressor is powered by a universal motor that works under every situation you are in. Even if the voltage supply is low at some point, the motor will optimize itself for the situation and provide the same support as regular.

(+) Two Couplers
There are two quick couplers on the machine that you can easily connect with two pneumatic tools. These push-to-connect couplers are pretty easy to connect and set up.

(+) Easy Draining
Draining the tank is pretty easy and straightforward. Its ¼ turn ball valve can be used to quickly drain the water from the device and get rid of water clogging quite effectively. It doesn’t take much time at all.

(+) Locking Regulators
Apart from the fact that the device has a high-flow regulator to keep the flow in control, you can also lock the knob here. So, you can make sure that the pressure you set up doesn’t change due to the vibration.

Keep In Mind

(-) Very Loud

Unfortunately, the device is very loud to be used in a confined area.

Campbell Hausfeld 6 Gallon Portable Quiet Air Compressor DC060500- Best For Handling

Campbell comes as a huge surprise to us with its amazing full-of-features compressor, the DC060500. Apart from the fact that the compressor looks awesome in its pancake shape, it also offers a great deal of features that makes it a go-to device for any DIY enthusiast.

The best part is, the compressor comes with about 4 times more lifespan than most of the 6-gallon air compressors in the market. This offers a huge opportunity to household users who can spend the same amount for longer life. Plus, due to its impressive low-sound production, the compressor is a house-friendly one, too.

Why We Like It

(+) 50% Quieter
This goes beyond saying that the device is almost silent when it comes to operating it. It produces only 68 dB sound that is kind of the lowest that we have seen so far. According to Campbel, it is 50% quieter than other machines out there.

(+) Oil-free maintenance
It features a dual-piston pump that is oil-free. This means that you don’t need to spend your time oiling it on a regular basis. It calls for the minimum maintenance you can carry on, keeping you less busy with the device.

(+) Oft-Grip Handle
It’s so comfortable to handle the device with your own hand. That’s because the machine has a steel handle adorned with a comfortable grip that makes it really easy and easy-going for you to hold it tight and pick it up nicely.

(+) 4X Lifetime
According to Campbell, the DC060500 air compressor comes with a lifespan that’s 4 times the most common devices you find in the market. That’s a huge deal for the same price you pay.

Keep In Mind

(-) Low Maximum Pressure 

Although the device is an excellent choice for home use, its maximum pressure capacity is 125 PSI, which is a bit lower than the average.

Excell U256PPE 6 Gallon Pancake Air Compressor- Expert in Low-Voltage

And finally, we wrap up our quest for the best 6 gallon air compressor with the Excell U256PPE compressor. Although the device is a bit heavier compared to what we have reviewed and listed earlier, its 1.5 HP powerful motor is there to compensate it with its brilliant performance.

This oil-free pump machine is a perfect fit if you are less interested in maintenance. You don’t need to oil the pump regularly as it’s totally oil-free. Above all, the device offers a low voltage starting support that makes sure that the compressor can start even if the voltage is below 70V.

Why We Like It

(+) Cold Weather Start

Having an excellent power-start system, the device is capable of starting at any kind of temperature. You can easily run the device at a temperature as low as -24 degrees F. This makes it quite a supporting compressor.

(+) Two Couplers

Not so surprisingly, the compressor has two couplers on it. You get to connect the couplers to a couple of tools at the same time and work with both devices. This is ideal for the cases where multiple workers are working.

(+) Low Voltage Support

The device can be operated on a lower voltage of as low as 64V, which is absolutely brilliant. If you are moving towards rural areas and need the compressor’s support, it’s still going to be there with you.

(+) Maintenance-free

As the device is run by an oil-free pump, you don’t need to oil it like any other oil-run pump. It saves you a lot of maintenance works for better operation.

Keep In Mind

(-) Heavyweight 

The device is kind of heavy for a regular person to carry around.

What To Look For Before Buying The Best 6 Gallon Air Compressor

Finding the best 6 gallon air compressor is a challenging task indeed. However, if you know how to look for the most useful features on a device, it’s not a hard job.

Here is what you need to look at. Check out these issues while you are shopping for a compressor, and you surely won’t regret it.

Analyze your requirements

First of all, you need to analyze why do you need such a compressor. The pressure and volume requirement should be set and analyzed first. Once you get your numbers right, it won’t be guesswork anymore.

You can pinpoint your needs and then look for the one that fits your requirement.

Know the airflow required

Now, you need to make sure how much pressure you need for a device to run. You can always check the device’s airflow requirement on the packaging or the manual it comes with.

Once you have the airflow requirement, you can easily sort out the compressors you are going to look out for.

Horsepower (HP)

Then comes the horsepower or, simply put, HP. The lower the horsepower of the device, the lower is its power. Highers horsepower machines are generally reserved for industrial devices.

For home or DIY use, you can easily settle down for 1 to 2 HP air compressors. For a 6-gallon compressor, a 1-HP device is enough.

Power Source: Electric Vs. Gas

Another decisive factor is how you are planning on powering up the air compressor. Generally, you have two broad options - electric and gas. While gas-powered devices are kind of a pain in the neck to operate, electric ones are rather easier and simpler in today’s time.

If you are going for an electric power source, all you need to do is simply connect it to a household power output.

Single Stage or Two Stage

The difference between a single-stage and a two-stage compressor is that a single-stage one has a single-cylinder and a two-stage one has more than one.

Typically, a two-stage cylinder is used for higher power generation that is a requirement for most industrial works. However, for home-based tasks, a single-stage compressor will be enough.

Direct Drive or Belt Drive

In a direct drive compressor, the air compressor is directly connected to the motor and produces the same amount of RPM as the motor. On the other hand, a belt drive compressor is connected to the motor via a channel of belt that doesn’t produce the same torque.

Depending on your needs, you can pick any of these two.

Oil or Oil-Less

Some compressors come with a pump that needs oil lubrication. While oil-lubed parts provide a better cooling system for the machine, it also demands more maintenance, too.

On the other hand, oil-free pumps are virtually maintenance-free, giving you the chance to worry less about taking care of the device.

Other Things To Consider

Apart from the abovementioned features, you need to keep your sharp eyes on the following issues, as well.

Tank Sizes: As you are going for a 6-gallon compressor, it’s best to filter out all the other options before you look for the best one. Search for the 6-gallon options only.

Cubic Feet Per Minute (CFM): CFM refers to volumetric flow. It’s the volume of air that a compressor processes. A standard compact compressor comes with at least 90 PSI pressure and 3-4 CFM per horsepower.

Duty Cycle: Look for a higher duty cycle. The higher the duty cycle, the longer the machine can run. Try to find a compressor with at least a 60% duty cycle.

Moisture Problems: In case of water clogging in the machine, you need to have a good drainage option. Look for a machine that can easily drain out the water and get rid of moisture.

Life Expectancy: Try to look for the best device with a long life expectancy. You don’t want to buy a new one every other month.

Check the noise level: Finally, check if the noise level of the device annoys you or people around you. Going for a device with around 75 dB sound production should be tolerable.

Final Words

As we said earlier, finding the best 6 gallon air compressor is a daunting task if you don’t know what and how to look for. However, if you have come to this part of this post, you should already know how exactly you should sort out your choices from thousands of options.

If you are in a hurry and need a decisive suggestion, you can pick the Craftsman Air Compressor CMEC6150K for its excellent maintenance-free pump and dual-coupler options at a very affordable price. Plus, it runs a bit calm and quiet to make sure you don’t get annoyed or bothered, either.

Best of luck!

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