Do you need more air power than your small hot dog air compressor can deliver? The best way to get that extra power without breaking the bank would be getting the best twin tank air compressor your money can buy.
Twin Stack air compressors have a higher and more stable CFM, which sustains continuous use tools such as sanders and blasters, which hot dog compressors cannot match. Investing in a twin stack air compressor also allows you to upgrade to some bigger pneumatic tools such as big nail guns and trim guns.
The market is full of twin stack compressors now, and the main problem is that many manufacturers don’t adjust motors to meet the high-power needs. Therefore, you have to look for a durable induction motor and a powerful pump before forking your money. You also need to check the CFM ratings and the cylinder size for the twin stack air compressors within your budget.
The CFM should be at least 1.25 times higher than the total CFM rating of your tools. If you are not sure about the numbers, don’t worry. Top manufacturers adjust their air compressors to cover for that requirement.
That is why this review focused on the three most popular twin stack air compressors from Rolair and Makita. Makita MAC2400, Rolair FC2002, and VT20ST have the same output range, and we have reviewed each below to make your choice easier.
1. Rolair FC2002 2hp Twin stack Air Compressor
It is a contractor`s air compressor popularly known as the Bull. Rolair FC2002 is one of the most popular air compressors in the professional and home use category featuring a high air volume of 4.3 gallons. It is popularly referred to as the Bull because of its rugged design and powerful cast iron motor. It is well balanced with the Pump and motor on one side and its twin tank unit on the other side of the handle, making it easy to carry. Moreover, it has a sturdy steel frame with a stable handle.
It uses an oil-lubricated cast iron pump, which is also lubricated by ball bearings to reduce the noise and wear. It is a single-stage pump, meaning it compresses in single strokes, reducing the load on the motor, which also improves its durability.
It is powered by a 14.2Amp motor, adequately matched to any contractor`s tools. The motor is also lubricated by ball bearings to reduce the speed of waring. It runs at a high speed of 3400RPM, which allows it to fill up the large tanks quickly.
This air compressor has an aluminum cast twin tank finished with powder coating to prevent corrosion. The tank is strong but light and also disperses heat quickly, allowing the moisture to condense rapidly out of the compressed air. It is a 4.3-gallon tank, which is large enough to deliver a constant air supply for a large grinder.
It is primarily designed to be used on construction sites delivering 4.1CFM of air at 90 PSI, which allows you to run any combination of tools that need up to 3.7CFM of air. It has a 100% duty cycle increasing its productivity because you can work non-stop on each project. The Pump also fills up the tank in less than 2 minutes.
Its low amp draw and a start valve, meaning the Pump starts even when the temperatures are very low. Its Pump is rather noisy, releasing 86db of sound, which makes it uncomfortable to use indoors without ear protection. It is, however, comfortable to use outdoors.
- It has drain valves on each cylinder for effective moisture removal
- 100% duty cycle increases productivity
- It has a sturdy frame and a balanced handle
- Manual reset allows for effective recovery before storage
- Corrosion Resistant finish for durability
- Its motor is exposed to direct sun, water, and dust
- It requires a regular oil change
Q: Can I run an impact wrench with this air compressor?
A: Yes. A small one, below 4CFM.
Q: What is the duty cycle?
Q: Do I need ear protection?
A: Only if you are working indoors.
Q: What is the size of hose compatible with the couplers?
2. Makita MAC2400 2.5hp Air Compressor
This Makita air compressor has one of the most powerful motors of any twin stack air compressor in the market. Its most significant addition is its big-bore cylinders on the Pump that allows it to compress more air in one stroke just like a two-step pump. It is also a compact light unit with a straightforward design that can be used by anyone. Its construction is still sturdy and durable, allowing it to work in any harsh working environment.
Makita pumps are built to deliver in tough construction sites, which is why this is one of the most powerful even though it is a single stroke pump. It has a big bore cylinder engineering that allows it to compress more air in a single stroke compared to regular pumps.
It is also iron cast and fitted with ball bearings for lubrication to prevent wearing. Its most exceptional addition is the quick heat dispersion cooler that allows the Pump to run non-stop without overheating. The oil tank is transparent. You can also remove the Pump for cleaning and oil replacement.
The air filters are also extensive, bringing in more air for sufficient supply in the Pump. It has a low amp draw motor that runs on 12.3Amps on a regular 120V plug. It also has overload protection with the low amp draw specifically added to prevent tripped breakers.
The motor runs at a slow speed of 1720RPM, which reduces wearing for durability. It is also an oiled pump unit which reduces noise and increases the life of your Pump. It is a roll cage design to protect the motor and pump from the elements.
The air compressor has cast-iron twin tanks that accumulate 4.2 gallons of air at a high pressure of 130 PSI. These cylinders are corrosion resistant, allowing them to offer extended service even in harsh work environments. They also enable the moisture to condense quickly out of the air preventing water seepage into the outlets.
It is built for heavy-duty performance on the site with stable airpower of 4.2CFM at 90 PSI. Its powerful motor ensures steady air pressure throughout the performance allowing you to run multiple tools such as nail guns comfortably. The cylinders also fill up in less than two minutes allowing the air to cool. It has a constant duty cycle, so you don`t have to worry about stopping every ten minutes for recovery.
Its oiled Pump reduces the noise to 79DB, which is one of the lowest for a 12-Amp motor. It also has two 1/4 -Inch quick couplers that accept a universal 3/8-Inch hose allowing multiple users to work concurrently. Its pressure gauges face the user directly, making it easy to read. It also has a manual reset that allows you to relieve all the pressure after use.
- It has copper-lined discharges to prevent corrosion
- Its roll cage design protects the motor and the Pump
- It is compact, taking up little space when stored.
- It has a cooling system on the Pump to prevent overheating
- Cast iron cylinders are more durable
- It is heavy (77lbs) and hard to carry unaided
- The noise is still irritating when working in a small room
Q: Can I use a universal tubbing on this compressor?
A: Yes. It has a universal ¼-Inch coupler.
Q: What is the amperage of the motor?
A: It has a 12.3-Amp motor.
Q: What is the maximum pressure of the air compressor?
A: 130 PSI
Q: Can this air compressor be used for sandblasting?
A: Yes and No. Sandblasting takes a lot of air and pressure. This air compressor can only sustain it for a short time.
3. Rolair VT20ST 2.0hp Hand Carry Twin Stack Air Compressor
VT20ST is a recent improvement by Rolair from FC2002, lighter and quieter than the earlier model for carrying around from place to place. This air compressor is the go-to unit if you need a twin stack air compressor on a tight budget. It is also fitted with a manual reset drain valve for safety. It has the same solid frame like FC2002 with a balanced handle for ease of transportation. It has iron cast cylinders and an induction pump, which lasts longer than universal pumps.
This air compressor uses an oiled pump, which is both durable and quiet. It is an iron cast pump with steel reed valves built to last under heavy-duty performance. Its cylinders are also made of cast iron and lubricated by oil and ball bearings to improve their durability. It has large air filters also fitted with a silencer to reduce the noise level.
It has a 2hp 12.3-Amp motor, which uses less power and runs at a lower speed of 1700 RPM. Its low speed reduces noise and improves the life of the Pump. It also has overload protection with a manual reset. Despite its smaller size, this air compressor also has a 100% duty cycle allowing you to use it non-stop on site.
Unlike FC2002, which has aluminum cast cylinders, this air compressor has iron cast cylinders that have more resilience allowing them to sustain more pressure. The cylinders are also powder coated to prevent staining and corrosion. The tank also holds 4.2 gallons of air, which is enough to run multiple standard tools on-site, including two nailers or a large sander. Its maximum pressure capacity is also 130 PSI, just like the FC2002.
This air compressor is built for professionals who need to move regularly on site. It delivers 4.2CFM at 90 PSI, which is sufficient to perform light and standard tasks that don’t demand a continuous flow of air for a long time. Its full duty cycle allows you to work more without having to stop regularly for recovery. It weighs 69lbs, which is lighter than most twin stacks. It also releases a regulated noise of 79db, allowing you to work without ear protection if you are outdoors. It is still irritating to work with it indoors.
- Durable steel cast cylinder
- Low motor speed reduces noise and increases motor life
- Durable corrosion-resistant cylinders
- The air filters have a silencer to reduce the whistling sound
- The Pump is easily accessible for maintenance
- The Pump and the motor are not covered
- It requires a regular oil change
Q: What is the voltage?
A: Its voltage is 115V. It can run on a 110/120V plug.
Q: Can I use a 50ft 3/8-Inch hose on this air compressor?
Q: How long can it run without overheating?
A: It depends on the type of tools you are running. It doesn`t overheat within the first hour of use, though.
Pump and Motor
These are the essential parts of any air compressor, which is why you should go for the most powerful one you can get. All the air compressors in this review have oiled pumps with steel cast cylinders, which gives them an equal score in terms of durability but not power. Rolair FC2002 has a large motor and pump drawing 14.2 Amps. Its Pump builds more pressure with each stroke than Mac2400 and VT20ST, which have 12.3-Amp pumps.
Makita MAC2400, however, has an added advantage with big bore cylinders on its Pump, also compressing more air in each stroke than the regular cylinders on the Rolair models. The big-bore cylinder, however, puts more weight on the 12-Amp motor reducing its efficiency in the long run. Rolair VT20ST has the smallest Pump and motor in this review.
Theoretically, all twin stack air compressors with equal CFM ratings can perform similar tasks but not in the real world. The air compressors in this review are built for any construction site, garage, or DIY workshop.
The larger motor means a more stable pressure with each stroke and in continuous use mode, which makes Rolair FC2002 the workhorse of the construction site. It can power continuous draw air tools such as grinders and high gauge nail guns effectively for a long time.
Mac2400 and VT20ST have smaller motors, although they also deliver 4.2CFM of air, allowing you to load the same size of tools on site like the ones handled by FC2002. They, however, only deliver a stable pressure and volume in the first burst while using the air stored in the cylinder. Their power reduces in a continuous draw. They are best suited for tools that need a lot of power in short bursts.
Oiled pumps are generally quieter than oil-less models when dealing with equal motor sizes, which is why these air compressors can all be rated as fair in terms of noise. They will irritate when used in a tiny space forcing you to get ear protection, but you will hardly feel the sound in an open workshop or when working outdoors. FC2002 is the loudest releasing 86db. Mac2400 and VT20ST have the same noise level of 79db.
Twin Stack air compressors are the best class of compressors for any professional or DIYer that intends to overcome the trouble of frequent work stoppage. They have more air power and sustain prolonged projects, increasing your productivity. They, however, attract a higher price than hotdog and pancake air compressors, which is why you need to choose the best air compressors to get value for your money.
This guide has reviewed the most versatile heavy-Duty air compressors for professionals and DIYers so you can read through and choose one that best matches your work site.