DEWALT Pancake Compressor

Last updated date: May 24, 2019

DWYM Score
8.9

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We looked at the top 1 Portable Air Compressors and dug through the reviews from 8 of the most popular review sites including Power Tool Buzz, Power Tools Zone, Top 5 Reviews, Extensively Reviewed, Heathy Handyman, Best of Machinery, Best Reviews Guide, Toolez and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Portable Air Compressor you should buy.

Overall Take

With an operating air pressure of 165 PSI, the DEWALT Pancake Compressor is a leader in portable air compressors. It's also lightweight enough to easily carry around, at only 30 pounds. One of the biggest benefits of this air compressor, though, is its quiet operation, with a noise output of only 75.5 decibels. In our analysis of 101 expert reviews, the DEWALT DEWALT Pancake Compressor placed 3rd when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note May 24, 2019:
Checkout The Best Portable Air Compressor for a detailed review of all the top portable air compressors.

Expert Summarized Score
9.1
8 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.4
682 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
It is one of the quietest air compressors within the affordable bracket.
- Power Tool Buzz
Powerful 0.9 horsepower motor generates high pressure of up to 165 pounds per square inch.
- Power Tools Zone
Users generally find this product performs very satisfactorily. It is well-built and has a rugged construction.
- Top 5 Reviews
When storing, the cord can be easily wrapped around the top. The unit weighs only 30 lbs., and can be conveniently moved from one place to another.
- Extensively Reviewed
The unit itself is fairly compact and at just 30 lbs it’s relatively easy to move around. This is a well-built product with well-made components and it has a convenient cord wrap which allows easy storage.
- Heathy Handyman
It is very quiet to use so it shouldn’t disturb anyone if you plan to use it at home or if it’s going to be used at work then it won’t disturb other colleagues.
- Best of Machinery
For safety purposes, the motor comes equipped with a thermal overload protector that monitors cases of overheating. The compressor has a fan for forced air circulation.
- Toolez
What experts didn't like
The ball bearings in default fitting hoses are small, which can leak some air out.
- Power Tool Buzz
Doesn't come with air hose.
- Power Tools Zone
Tank has to be tilted to drain the water.
- Top 5 Reviews
It is not great for painting.
- Heathy Handyman
Has no capacity to run heavy-duty equipment making it unsuitable for industrial use.
- Toolez

From The Manufacturer

DEWALT DWFP55126 6 Gal 165 PSI Pancake Compressor features a high efficiency motor for easy start up in cold weather or extension cord application. [14 ga or larger, 50 ft. (15.2 m) or less]. It also offers a 165 max PSI 6.0 gallon tank (22.7 L) and 2.6 SCFM delivered at 90 PSI pump, which enables long tool run time with quick recovery. The high flow regulator and couplers maximize air tool performance, and a long life oil free pump for maintenance free operation. This unit offers a soft 75.5 dBA noise level for a quiet work setting. A console cover protects controls and is removable to allow easy repair. This unit also features 2 universal couplers to easily support two users, and a ball drain valve for quick & thorough tank draining. It has protective rubber leg covers to prevent marring. It has a convenient cord wrap for easy storage, and its 30 lb weight makes it quite easy to carry/store. Please confirm that the drain valve is fully closed before using the compressor.

Overall Product Rankings

1. Makita Big Bore Sir Compressor
Overall Score: 9.6
Expert Reviews: 9
2. California Air Tools Steel Tank Air Compressor
Overall Score: 8.9
Expert Reviews: 5
3. DEWALT Pancake Compressor
Overall Score: 8.9
Expert Reviews: 8
4. PORTER-CABLE Pancake Compressor
Overall Score: 8.8
Expert Reviews: 8
5. EPAuto Portable Air Compressor Pump
Overall Score: 8.7
Expert Reviews: 21
6. Kensun Portable Air Compressor Pump
Overall Score: 8.6
Expert Reviews: 7
7. Helteko Portable Air Compressor
Overall Score: 8.6
Expert Reviews: 8
8. STANLEY FATMAX Air Compressor
Overall Score: 8.6
Expert Reviews: 5
9. Senco Portable Compressor
Overall Score: 8.3
Expert Reviews: 9
10. Campbell Hausfield Air Compressor
Overall Score: 7.8
Expert Reviews: 13

An Overview On Portable Air Compressors

An air compressor is a must-have tool for any do-it-yourselfer. Even if you only ever use it to make sure your vehicle tires stay properly inflated, it’s handy to have around. You can use an air compressor for everything from spray painting a wall to doing minor car repair work. But perhaps the biggest reason to buy an air compressor is to power tools like nail guns, air impact wrenches and air hammers. You can also use a portable air compressor to quickly clear debris from a work area, boosting its versatility

In a portable air compressor, it’s important to take weight and size into consideration. Some air compressors come with wheels, but that won’t help if you’re taking it up and down stairs. If you opt for a larger air compressor without wheels, consider purchasing a cart with wheels or casters if you need to even occasionally move it around.

You should also consider size when choosing an air compressor. Chances are, you’ll want it out of the way when it’s not in use, but some can be massive, especially for an air compressor billing itself as “portable.” Take a look at where you’ll be keeping your air compressor and pay close attention to dimensions to make sure you don’t end up with a space hog.

You’ll likely put your compressor through some challenges during use, especially if you’re transporting it on a daily basis. If you fear you might accidentally drop it, it might be worth it to look for a model that builds in protection against shock.

Of course, you’ll also need to consider noise. It can never hurt to have even a slight reduction, even if you aren’t concerned with disturbing neighbors. You’ll find many air compressors output between 80 and 90 decibels, but newer models cut this down as low as 75 db. At the lowest ranges, you’ll find that people can even carry on conversations near where you’re working without extra effort.

DYWM Fun Fact

You probably already know you can use an air compressor as a spray painter. But did you know you can also use it to paint walls inside your home? It’s a faster, easier way to apply paint without the unsightly roller marks you risk with traditional painting. You’ll need a spray gun and your desired color of paint to get started. You should also cover all areas you don’t want painted with masking paper and painter’s tape. Before you start, check the manufacturer’s instructions to determine the exact pressure level for painting with the spray gun you’re using. You’ll also need to adjust the spray from low to high as you work using the pattern control knob located on the gun.

The Portable Air Compressor Buying Guide

  • Air pressure is important when you’re choosing an air compressor, and that’s measured both in operating pressure and output. The DEWALT Pancake Compressor and PORTER-CABLE Pancake Compressor are the leaders in this area, sustaining an operating pressure of up to 165 PSI and 150 PSI, respectively. The Makita Big Bore Sir Compressor maintains an operating pressure of 130 PSI, and the California Air Tools Steel Tank Air Compressor also impresses, maxing out at 125 PSI.
  • It’s also important to consider output, not only for effectiveness, but also recovery time. The California Air Tools Steel Tank Air Compressor handles up to 5.60 cubic feet per minute at 40 PSI and 4.40 CFM at 90 PSI. Compare this to the PORTER-CABLE Pancake Compressor, which outputs 90 PSI at 2.6 CFM. It’s important to pay attention to this number because some power tools have a minimum PSI per CFM. You’ll need more air output than the tool states. For instance, if a tool says it needs 5.0 CFM at 90 PSI, you’re going to need an air compressor that outputs 6.25 to 7.5 CFM at 90 PSI.
  • All that power can push your utility bills up a little, though, so consider power usage when you’re shopping. Although it’s powerful, the 2.5 HP motor in the Makita Big Bore Sir Compressor is built specifically to minimize draw on your power supply. That not only means lower electric bills, but less worrying about tripping a breaker during your next project.
  • If you’re shopping for a portable air compressor, chances are you want it to actually be portable. The DEWALT Pancake Compressor is the lightest, at only 30 pounds. Its size also makes it easy to store. The PORTER-CABLE Pancake Compressor comes close, at only 34 pounds. Although it’s a whopping 90 pounds, the California Air Tools Steel Tank Air Compressor has wheels, so you can easily move it around if you plan to keep it in the same area. Its massive 18.7-inch X 16.2-inch X 29.6-inch size would hardly make it inconspicuous when you aren’t using it, though. The Makita Big Bore Sir Compressor is 81 pounds with no wheels, although you could put it on a cart with wheels. Unlike the California Air Tools Steel Tank Air Compressor, the Makita Big Bore Sir Compressor is small enough to remain out of the way when not in use.
  • Portable air compressors can go through some tough challenges, especially if you’ll be tossing them in the back of your truck to take to job sites. The Makita Big Bore Sir Compressor boasts cast-iron components, as well as a metal roll cage to protect it if you accidentally drop it. The low RPM also keeps it going longer than air compressors with more robust motors.
  • Experts differ in whether you need an oil-lubricated pump or one that is oil-free. On the one hand, oil-lubricated pumps like you’ll find on the Makita Big Bore Sir Compressor keep the air compressor going longer and avoid overheating by keeping operating temperatures low. An oil-free pump, though, like the ones found on the California Air Tools Steel Tank Air Compressor and the PORTER-CABLE Pancake Compressor reduce maintenance needs, making them more convenient to operate.
  • Depending on how and where you’ll be using your air compressor, noise levels may be important to you. You’ll usually find air compressors put out 80 decibels or more, making it tough to work while having a conversation or in close quarters. The California Air Tools Steel Tank Air Compressor and DEWALT Pancake Compressor operate at 75 db and 75.5 db, respectively. You’ll find the Makita Big Bore Sir Compressor a little noisier, at 79 db, but still quieter than the PORTER-CABLE Pancake Compressor, at 82 db.