Product Review: 100psi Pancake Air Compressor

Discussion in 'Compressors and Air Tools' started by rbstern, Oct 8, 2017.

  1. rbstern

    rbstern Administrator Staff Member

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    Aug 24, 2017
    I needed a small compressor at my cabin for inflating tires, and occasionally running a brad nailer or stapler. This particular 1/3hp unit was on sale for $39 with coupon at the time (2011), so I picked it up. I want to like this compressor more, but it’s got a couple of flaws. First, it’s noisy. Wake-the-dead noisy. Most small air compressors generate a fair amount of noise, but this model is particularly obnoxious. And that brings us to the second issue: The recovery time is very slow, which compounds the noise problem, since the compressor has to run for a long time to fill the tank. That’s a limitation of the small, 1/3hp motor.

    On the positive side, it’s got twin gauges (tank pressure, regulator pressure). It’s reliable. In five years of occasional use (perhaps once or twice a month) without any maintenance beyond opening the tank’s drain value, the compressor has never failed to do a job for me. The tank size is good for bicycle or ATV tires. Automotive and trailer tire applications will often require a second tank refill. Tractor tires…not a happy use for a 3 gallon compressor with a low-horsepower pump. But it will do it, if you have enough time.

    I recently started using the Ryobi 18v ONE+ air compressor (a very handy tool…review coming in the not too distant future) for small tires, so this compressor has been relegated to less frequent use. Overall, it’s worth having if your needs are a good match for it. It’s reasonably compact, and it does reliably compress, hold, and dispense air.

    This compressor is a good value at the coupon price. If your needs are even marginally more demanding, I recommend passing this one up in favor of the 1.5 or 2hp compressors. While they are about twice the sale price of this unit, they have substantially higher power for compressing air more quickly.

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