Pancake air compressors are the best thing to happen to DIY home renovators and woodworkers. The only way to get your nailers and other pneumatic tools to work is by having an air compressor, but not everybody is willing to tie hundreds of dollars to a large, bulky compressor. Instead, opt for a pancake air compressor which is oil-free, not as loud as twin-stack compressors, and travels well.

But getting an air compressor isn’t as simple as purchasing any random pancake-style unit. There are several considerations you have to make, the first of which is what brand to choose. In this article, we’re going to take a look at the C2002 from PORTER-CABLE and the DWFP55126 from DEWALT – two major power tools manufacturers that are known for producing high-quality stuff.

-

SCFM and PSI

PORTER-CABLE C2002 and DEWALT DWFP55126
Before you pick yourself up an air compressor, you need to know just how much power you need the tool to provide. You can do this by checking the SCFM and PSI ratings on each of your pneumatic tools to determine how large or small an air compressor you need.

Both of these pancake air compressor models produce a maximum of 150 PSI. For standard usage, they can provide 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI and 3.7 SCFM at 40 PSI. Pancake air compressors are not the most powerful compressors available, so you shouldn’t realistically expect one of them to generate enough power for air-hungry pneumatic tools like impact wrenches. However, nail guns, cutting tools, and airbrushes are all useable with either the PORTER-CABLE or the DEWALT.

Tank Capacity

PORTER-CABLE C2002 and DEWALT DWFP55126
Pancake air compressors have smaller tanks that typically range from 4 to 6 gallons. A smaller tank holds less compressed air so providing huge bursts for powering air-hungry tools is impossible. But if you’re shopping around the pancakes, then you should know that their use is mainly limited to airbrushing, light cutting, nailing, and inflating jobs.

Both the PORTER-CABLE and DEWALT models feature 6-gallon tanks – the largest size available in pancake air compressors. With 6 gallons of compressed air, you drive hundreds of nails, inflate dozens of tires, and brush dozens of square feet before the tool needs to refill on compressed air.

Recovery Time

PORTER-CABLE C2002 and DEWALT DWFP55126
Recovery time refers to how long it takes for the tank to fill to max capacity with compressed air. There are several factors that come into play regarding an air compressors recovery time. The most important of which is the motor. Next is the size of the motor – larger motors require a longer time to recover fully.

Since pancake air compressors come with small tanks, you don’t need to worry about them taking too long to refill. Both of these models require only about 2 minutes to go from totally empty to max capacity.

Weight and Portability

PORTER-CABLE C2002 and DEWALT DWFP55126
Although the weight of an air compressor plays a role in determining how portable it is, it’s not the only consideration to make. You need to take a look at the overall size of the unit and the durability of the tank.

Once again, we see similarities between the PORTER-CABLE and the DEWALT. Both of their dry weights are a sliver of 30 pounds, and they each have a footprint of around 18 x 18 inches. Their heights are extremely similar; the PORTER-CABLE is 18 inches whereas the DEWALT is 20. Looking at the two of them, we can safely say that as pancake air compressors, they’re both lightweight and easy to transport from place to place. Their tanks are also durable enough to withstand a few bumps on the trip.

Decibel Rating

PORTER-CABLE C2002 and DEWALT DWFP55126
If you’ve ever spent time around air compressors, whether at the gas station or at home, then you’re probably all too familiar with just how noisy they are. The level of noise shooting out of an air compressor depends on the size of the tank and motor. Pancake air compressors neither have beefy tanks or large tanks, so they keep noise levels to a minimum. In fact, your pneumatic tools will probably produce louder sounds than a running pancake compressor.

When operating at max capacity, both the PORTER-CABLE and DEWALT are set to generate a maximum of only 75 decibels. Even by pancake standards, this is hardly any noise at all. You’ll still need to wear ear muffs or ear plugs when working around either of these tools, just in case.

Dual Couplers

PORTER-CABLE C2002 and DEWALT DWFP55126
Air compressor couplers are the metallic ports where your pneumatic tool’s pressure hose connects. This is where compressed air is shot out of, sending it to your tool so you can get to work. Small air compressors typically come with a single couple, but pancake models with larger tanks have dual couplers that allow two people and/or tools to work simultaneously.

The PORTER-CABLE C2002 and DEWALT DWFP55216 are examples of pancake compressors that feature dual couplers. Keep in mind that when using two tools at the same time, you’re splitting the amount of pressure delivered to each tool by half. At best, you can run two airbrushes or nailers at once.

Oil-Free Convenience

One of the most important factors to consider when shopping for an air compressor is whether you want to an oil-lubricated model or an oilless one. Oil is used as a lubricant to keep the motor’s pistons running smoothly in and out of the cylinders. Oil-free models have Teflon lining the inner portion of the cylinders that allow for friction-less movement and eliminate the need for oil.

All pancake air compressors are oil-free models, including the PORTER-CABLE and the DEWALT. With either of these pancakes in your workshop, you don’t need to worry when to apply lubricants or the mess it leaves.

Verdict

If you read this guide from start to finish, you probably realize that the PORTER-CABLE C2002 and the DEWALT DWFP55126 are identical in every regard. Whether PORTER-CABLE copied DEWALT or vice versa, we couldn’t tell you. All we can tell you is that whatever benefits you get with the C2002, the DWFP55126 will offer them to you as well.