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Pancake or twin tank compressor??

taylorsdad's picture

Everything else being equal, is there any performance difference between a pancake style compressor and a twin tank design??

Thanks in advance for any constructive input.

(post #121183, reply #1 of 12)

If the tank capacity and the cfm's are the same there is no difference. Most pancakes have smaller tanks, less cfm. They usually are lighter in weight. Make sure you compare every aspect including oil filled versus oilless.

(post #121183, reply #2 of 12)

Its been my experience that pancake compressors are lighter and more user friendly.  I would not even look at a compressor that was not oil less.  I was at lowes the other day and I was amazed at how cheap they are.  About $225.  A lot of finish carpenters like the pancake compressors.  That and the single tank ones that look like "hot dogs".   

(post #121183, reply #3 of 12)

I've read that the maintenence advantages of oil-less units are offset by how much louder they are and they burn out quicker.  Whats your thoughts on those comments?

(post #121183, reply #4 of 12)

My wife and I do smaller remodel and repair jobs.  I bought a Devilbiss made oil-less hotdog that looks like the Makita MAC500.  It has served well for several years but is kind of noisy and will walk around.  Can' beat it for weight and price.  Great for brads and finish but asking a bit too much of it to run many shots from the Bostich coil framer. 

I am giving much thought to adding a larger one to stable.  Our usage does not go high enough to worry about the oil vs oil-less life expectancy.  Noise is a consideration though.  Amazon has what appears to be good deals on several.  Currently $30 off Hitachi and I am impressed with their twin-stack which is 75 db and the oil-less Pc-pancake 2600 @ 87db for $190.  I like the two different styles of DeWalt (single and twin) also.  Weight is a moderate consideration but I am fixing up one of those convertible horiz/vert hand trucks into a rolling compressor station with storage for a couple of finish/brad nailers, supplies and hose.

Sorry to hijack your thread but thought answers might be mutually beneficial

Thoughts/horrors/darn-I-am-glad-I-bought-its please.

For those who have fought for it Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.

(post #121183, reply #5 of 12)

I have a twin oil Emglo.  Had it forever.  Love it.  Never a problem.  The oil stays clean and lasts forever.  It 's not loud (it's not quiet).  It's a little balky in sub-freezing temps. and once in a great while it'll trip on a 15 amp circuit.

(post #121183, reply #6 of 12)

Seems to me that the twin tanks don't fluctuate in pressure as much, when they get close to refilling. Nails are driven more consistently,when the tanks are low. Just my 2 cents.


(post #121183, reply #7 of 12)

I love my twin tank oil lube emglo I use that thing for everything incl. spraying it wont die. Man I wish I was as tough as that compressor...


Darkworks:  We support the US military "We kick your #### and take your gas"

(post #121183, reply #8 of 12)


You can spray with the twin tank??  That is something that would be a nice variable.  What are the parameters of your unit (gal. cfm, hp, etc.)?

Thanks, Bill

(post #121183, reply #9 of 12)

IMHO I believe that more moisture is removed when using twin tanks compared to pancakes.

I also can spray off a twin tank if I have small amounts of trim or take my time 3.5HP/4 Gal

If you really want quiet running check out a Rol-Aire for kicks.

(post #121183, reply #10 of 12)

Bill, I use a LVLP from accuspray. It is designed to be used with small compressors. I use a cup gun but They 2qt pressure feed system and a 2 1/2 gal set up for it. All can be run off a min 4 gal 11/2 hp compressor. check out Its call the versaex system (or something close) but its a nice spraying gun.

I also just picked up a PC 4" grinder. I was able to use it on my small compressor. I did have to let the compressor catch up though but it worked


Darkworks:  We support the US military "We kick your #### and take your gas"

Edited 3/9/2003 6:43:31 PM ET by RonT

(post #121183, reply #11 of 12)

Thanks.  I will definitely check that out.  The ability to use a sprayer occasionally was the next big question I had behind twin tank or pancake.

(post #121183, reply #12 of 12)

Bill it does run almost all the time while using the gun but, it has some sort of integal valves so I never have to stop and let it catch up. It just keeps on going. If I had to do it all over I would go for the 3 HP 6 gal PC pancake.


Darkworks:  We support the US military "We kick your #### and take your gas"