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We can see a variety of air compressors available on the market with different structures and efficiency. From super-portable size to massive stationary machines – each air compressor serves the same goal in different ways. So, it’s imperative to understand their differences and individual benefits before getting one for yourself. Portable air compressors like hotdog or pancake, come in handy for all types of work – from small home improvement jobs to professional workshops. Thus, if you are planning to purchase one, this article will help you pick the right one for the job.
Pancake Air Compressor
Pancake air compressors are very lightweight and portable. These compact air compressors weigh around 30 lbs and have a capacity of 1 to 6 gallons of air. Hence, you can carry this compressor comfortably from one place to another. In addition, pancake compressors feature oil-free pumps, so they are easy to maintain and are relatively less messy.
Some of the main features of a pancake air compressor are:
- Remarkably stable
- Compact size
- Easy to use & move
- Can deliver up to 4-5 CFM (Cubic Feet Per Minute)
- No overheating issue
- No sound
Pancake air compressors are great for in-house use. They are structurally very sound and travel-friendly, so you can easily carry them in your car. Due to its oil-free module, you don’t have to monitor the oil level continuously. Also, the engine won’t give up due to dryness or overheating.
Pancake compressors are noise-free when active. You can use them for airbrushing, inflating tires or balls, commercial machines, and even powering up pneumatic brad nailers and staple guns.
The downsides of a pancake compressor are that you might feel the tank capacity is insufficient while using a pneumatic tool. Most of the tank has a 6-gallon capacity at max which may run out during demanding work. Additionally, they come with a small motor that takes time to refill and there are instances where it may struggle to compress the air. So, you’ll have to stop what you’re doing and then wait for it to fill up, which decreases work efficiency.
Hotdog Air Compressor
Hotdog compressors are very similar to pancake compressors in terms of weight and portability. These compressors usually have a capacity of 2 to 8 gallons of air. However, there are hotdog compressors with a larger capacity which are bigger in size and heavier in weight. The shape of the air cylinder in this compressor looks like a hotdog, which explains the name. Due to its high capacity, you can power heavy-duty tools like angle grinders, air hammers, and impact drill drivers.
The main features of a Hotdog air compressor are:
- Tank size: 2 – 8 gallons.
- Sturdy design.
- Suitable for running heavy-duty appliances.
- Can deliver up to 10 CFM (Cubic Feet Per Minute)
- Carrying handle for portability.
Since the hotdog air compressor is a bit large and heavy, it comes with a lift handle, so you can move them anywhere with ease. The portability of a hotdog compressor will let you move it around your house, and you can take it anywhere in the back of the car. You can use this air compressor to power most residential-grade pneumatic tools. Moreover, there are two variants: oil-lubed and oil-free. Using oil-free variants, you can get rid of the hassle of dealing with a lot of greases. However, if you are patient and do not think maintenance is a problem, it is advisable to use the oil-lubed version.
Hotdog air compressors have multiple drawbacks though. First, the greater power of a hotdog compressor comes with more noise. So, don’t forget to wear good earmuffs or earplugs before turning them on. Then, since it is a powerful tool, it vibrates a lot while running, so it would be best if you kept a cloth or a mattress under the compressor. While buying, you should look for those who have rubber pads on their feet. Lastly, hotdog compressors are not the most powerful in the market. So, if you need to use a disc sander, impact wrench, or die grinder, this compressor will not become much of a help.
What Should You Go for?
The answer depends on the purpose of your work. Hotdog compressors are good for you if you want air compressors for demanding household work where noise is not an issue. And if you want a light, noise-free, and low-maintenance compressor for household tasks, then a pancake compressor will be the best for you.
For example, suppose you need an air compressor for inflating car tires, brad nailing, and stapling. In that case, both the pancake and hotdog air compressors will perform well. But while you are airbrushing, go for a hotdog air compressor if you are doing something that requires continuous airflow, like textile printing. However, if you are doing ComArt and golden airbrushing with a fixed nozzle that needs a thin flow, then a pancake air compressor will provide sufficient power to finish the task.
So, understand that it would be reasonable to select an air compressor based on the type of work you do. Hotdogs and pancake compressors are both lightweight and easy to carry. The primary difference is in their capacity and application. So, it is better to buy a compressor according to the needs of your job and convenience.