Pancake vs Hot Dog Air Compressor – Which is Right for Your Needs?

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Pancake vs Hot Dog Air Compressor - Which is Right for Your Needs?

Choosing the right air compressor is a vital step in completing any project that requires the power, or inflation capability, that only an air compressor can deliver.  When it comes to selecting the right air compressor for small jobs around the house, pancake versus hot dog becomes the concern for many.  Here, we will take a look at some of the differences between a pancake air compressor and a hot dog air compressor to help you decide which is best for your project needs.

The Pancake Air Compressor

a pancake air compressor

a pancake air compressor

As you may imagine, the pancake air compressor gets its name from its saucer-like design.  Pancake air compressors are compact and offer designs with a tank size from 1 to 6 gallons.  One of the most attractive features of the pancake air compressor is its stability.  This particular type of air compressor is ideal for roofing jobs and other projects that one may perform on precarious surfaces.  Other desirable features for many consumers include a lightweight design that’s not only easy to carry, but also more conveniently stored than a hot dog air compressor.  Finally, pancake air compressors have an oil-free pump, which allows for easier and cleaner maintenance.

 

The Hot Dog Air Compressor

a hotdog air compressor

a hot dog air compressor

Much like the pancake air compressor, most hot dog air compressors are lightweight and highly portable, although they typically weigh more than their counterpart.  The bulky design of the hot dog air compressor can present some challenges when it comes to storage, but most designs are small enough to be packed away with reasonable accessibility.

Unlike the pancake air compressor, many hot dog air compressor models are known for their propensity to shake when in use.  When choosing a hot dog air compressor, it’s best to search for a model designed with rubber feet.  While there are a variety of oil-free hot dog air compressors, many models are oil-lubed and require a bit of regular maintenance.  Finally, these machines are typically much louder than the pancake air compressor.

Common uses for each air compressor

Brad nailing and stapling

Both of these air compressors can be an ideal tool for projects like brad nailing and air-powered stapling.  The amount of air delivery is also comparable between them.  With the pancake air compressor, however, there may be some waiting time required to reach maximum power after 10 or 12 trigger pulls.  Conversely, if you choose an oil-lubed hot dog air compressor, the delivery of power is more consistent.  At this point, you would be choosing between efficiency and noise reduction.

stapling

Image credit: Becky Stern, Flickr

Airbrushing and painting

When it comes to airbrushing, it’s really going to depend on the viscosity requirements of the paint.  For example, Comart and Golden Airbrush colors with a fixed nozzle have a low viscosity, so the oilless designs of a pancake air compressor would deliver enough power.  However, if you’re using textile colors or dealing with a floating nozzle, you may need a more consistent delivery of power associated with an oil-lubed hot dog air compressor design.

airbrushing

Image credit: A1C Franklin J. Perkins, U.S. National Archives

Inflating tires

Both models are most ideal for smaller projects like inflating tires.  If efficiency is your primary concern, you are probably going to want to choose a hot dog air compressor.  If you’re more concerned with reducing noise pollution and are able to spend a few more minutes on your inflation jobs, then you may find the pancake compressor is more conducive to quiet projects.

inflating tires

Image credit: State Farm, Flickr

Image
Our Favorite Pancake Compressor
PORTER-CABLE C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor
Our Favorite Hot Dog Compressor
Makita, MAC700, Electric Air Compressor, 2 HP,...
Model
PORTER-CABLE C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor
Makita, MAC700, Electric Air Compressor, 2 HP,...
User Rating
Our Favorite Pancake Compressor
Image
PORTER-CABLE C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor
Model
PORTER-CABLE C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor
User Rating
User Reviews
Our Favorite Hot Dog Compressor
Image
Makita, MAC700, Electric Air Compressor, 2 HP,...
Model
Makita, MAC700, Electric Air Compressor, 2 HP,...
User Rating
User Reviews

Conclusion

Both the pancake and the hot dog air compressors offer easy to read gauges and thermal overload protection for both safety and ease of use. Both are also great for small jobs around the house.  If you’re looking for something with more power, however, experts recommend investing in a larger air compressor.  The primary difference between the hot dog and pancake air compressor (aside from stability and storage) is the noise factor.  You’ll have to decide if the quieter pancake design is worth the additional time it will require to complete projects.  If you decide to buy a hot dog air compressor, remember to look for both rubber feet and a convenient carrying handle to improve portability.

About the Author Adam Harris

Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!