Twin Stack Air Compressor Vs. Pancake [Explained]

Twin stack air compressors are for a marathon, pancake compressors are well suited for a sprint. Two main factors differentiate these two classes of air compressors, more air tor more pressure.

Twin stack compressors are very popular among professional construction workers and auto shops because they store enough air. They provide a strong punch and for a longer time, meaning you can use it on demanding tools such as impact wrenches and spray painters.

Pancake compressors are loved by almost anybody that wants airpower without breaking the bank. The main advantage of pancake air compressors is portability.

Pancake compressors do well in quick burst projects such as inflating nailing and air brushing. They also have a higher maximum pressure compared to twin-stack compressors.

To get the best air compressor, you have to match the needs of your tools to the features of the compressor. California Air Tools 4620AC and Makita MAC2400 are the best-seller twin-stack air compressors in the market.

The nearest rival pancake air compressors in terms of performance and price are Bostitch BTFP02012 and Porter-Cable C2002.

Here is a detailed review of each compressor

1. California Air Tools 4620AC 2.0HP Twin Stack Air Compressor 

California air tools are famous for creating quiet oil-free air compressors, and this one is rated at 70DB despite its large 4.6-Gallon aluminum cast tanks.

Its most significant advantage is the double piston pump that reduces the time taken for the tank to reach maximum pressure.

It has a durable 2.0HP four-pole motor rated at 1680RPM. This low RPM reduces the rate of wearing on the motor giving your pump a lifetime service of over 3,000 hours.

This air compressor has a 125PSI maximum pressure, which allows it to run any tools rated 100PSI and below. It fills up in 90 seconds thanks to the dual piston action, which also reduces the recovery time.

Being an oil-free pump means it needs less maintenance and also delivers clean air into the tank improving its performance. It takes up 14Amps on a regular 120V plug, so you won’t have to make changes to your wiring for this compressor.

This compressor is designed for use by anyone. It comes fully assembled, so no experience is needed. It can power most tools in your shop thanks to its high-performance rating of 6.4CFM at 40PSI, and 5,3CFM at 90PSI, which can sustain multiple nail guns or spray painters.

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It can run continuously for over 1 hour without overheating thanks to the steel-cast induction motor that disperses heat faster.

It has a sleek design with pressure gauges built on top of the compressor allowing to read it without straining. It also has a start relief valve, which makes the compressor easy to start even in cold weather.

All the parts on this compressor are detachable and replaceable. The compressor weighs 64lbs, so it is harder to move around unaided.

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Key Features

  • Performance: 6.4CFM at 40PSI/5.3CFM at 90PSI
  • Tank Size: 4.6 gallons
  • Power: 14Amps at 120V
  • Motor: 2.0HP, 1680RPM
  • Pump: Dual-piston
  • Maximum pressure: 125PSI
  • Sound: 70DB
  • Weight: 64lbs


  • Dual pistons fill up the tank quickly
  • Corrosion-resistant material
  • Stable steel frame
  • Front-facing pressure gauges are easy to read
  • The oil-free pump delivers clean air
  • It doesn’t need frequent maintenance


  • It is heavy, weighs 64lbs
  • High power consumption at 14Amps

Top FAQs

Q: What is the coupler size?

A: ¼-Inches

Q: Does this compressor come with a hose?

A: No.

Q: Can I run my Impact wrench on this compressor?

A: Sure

Q: Is this air compressor suitable for painting?

A: The 4.2-Gallon tank is enough air to run most spray painters. You will have to stop now and then.

2. Makita MAC2400 2.5HP Air compressor

If you need an air compressor with a powerful horsepower rating and large pistons for rapid performance, MAC2400 is the best pick. It is a compact unit with a roll cage design that protects vital components to withstand harsh conditions.

Its greatest advantage is the powerful pump build with a big bore iron cast cylinder that compresses more air with each stroke. It is an oil-based pump, so it will need regular oil replacement, but it is quieter and more durable.

It has a powerful 2.5HP motor that runs a low speed of 1720RPM to reduce wear on the piston. It is also fitted with a large air filter to increase air intake, which in turn reduces the time taken to fill the twin tanks and recover.

It has a CFM rating of 4.8CFM at 40 PSI, which can run up to 4 1.2CFM blowguns at a time, and 4.2CFM at 90PSI, which can run 3 nail guns at a time. It can also run single continuous-use pneumatic tools such as impact wrenches.

Its 4.6 Gallon tanks store more air and allow it to cool, reducing heat and moisture in the pipes. This air compressor is designed primarily for tough job sites, which is why the sound rating is 79DB.

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It may be irritating when used indoors. Its iron-cast premium parts make it heavy weighing in at 77lbs. It has a stable rubberized stand that allows you to install it on any slope.

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Key Features

  • Performance: 4.8CFM at 40PSI/4.2CFM at 90PSI
  • Tank Size: 4.2 gallons
  • Power: 12.3Amps at 120V
  • Motor: 2.5HP, 1720RPM
  • Pump: single-piston
  • Maximum pressure: 130PSI
  • Sound: 79DB
  • Weight: 77lbs


  • Roll cage design provides protection
  • Big bore cylinder for rapid compression
  • Corrosion-resistant cylinder and motor
  • The oil-based pump is durable
  • Copper lined discharge disperses heat quickly
  • Wide, stable base for location Convenience
  • Transparent oil tank for easy monitoring


  • The noise can be irritating in closed spaces
  • Requires regular oil replacement

Top FAQs

Q: Can this air compressor fill up large 80-Pound tractor/trailer tires?

A: It will, but it longer to complete. Getting a 10-15-gallon tank compressor will make the job easier.

Q: What is the size of the male coupler?

A: Standard ¼-Inch

Q: Can I use two hoses at a time?

A: Sure. Just make sure the tool CFM is within the 4.2CFM range

Q: What is the Amperage?

A: 12.3 Amps

3. Bostitch BTFP02012 6-Gallon Pancake air compressor

BTFP02012 is probably the most popular pancake air compressor in the market designed to carry more air with higher CFM for intermittent use tools.

It is light weighing just 31lbs so you can move it around with ease. It has a 0.9 horsepower pump with a powerful four-pole motor taking up 15.0Amps and working at 2700RPM.

Its rapid performance builds up high pressure up to 150PSI in less than 2 minutes, allowing you to work more and spend less time waiting for refills.

It has a reduced noise level compared to earlier versions producing 78DB, which allows you to use it anywhere without ear protection. Its 6-gallon tank is sufficient for most trimming and finish tools.

It performs at 2.6SCFM at 90PSI, which allows you to install any midrange pneumatic tool rated 2.2CFM or less, including nail guns, brad guns, and small sprayers.

It is an oil-free air compressor, so it doesn`t require regular maintenance and also releases clean air. It has four stands for stability, plus they are rubber padded to prevent gouging surfaces. It has a centrally located easy-grip handle that makes it easy to carry around.

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Key Features

  • Performance: 2.6SCFM at 90PSI
  • Tank Size: 6 gallons
  • Power: 15Amps at 120V
  • Motor: 0.9HP, 2700RPM
  • Pump: single piston oil-free
  • Maximum pressure: 150PSI
  • Sound: 78DB
  • Weight: 31lbs


  • Short recovery time
  • It is light (31lbs) and easy to carry around
  • Quick tank refill
  • Balanced comfortable grip handle for carrying around
  • Allows double couplers
  • Dual pressure gauges are easy to read


  • The power cord if only 5ft long

Top FAQs

Q: Is this air compressor good for a framing nailer?

A: Sure.

Q: Can I use this on an impact to remove car tires?

A: No.

Q: How long does the tank take to fill up?

A: 125 seconds

Q: Can I use this compressor for my sprinkler blow-out?

A: Yes. It can run any spray jobs that need less than 90PSI

4. Porter-Cable c2002 Oil-free Pancake air compressor

Porter-cable is famous for premium-built air compressors going at friendly prices. It is a versatile 6.0-gallon pancake compressor with a sleek, compact build for any finish, trimming, and inflation projects.

It has a durable induction of 0.8HP motor delivering over 3000hrs of service. It uses 10Amps on a 120V power source; you can plugin on a 120V plug or extension cable.

This air compressor has a large air filter and a wide piston cylinder compressing more air with each stroke that allows the tank to reach maximum pressure in 120 seconds.

Its maximum pressure is 150PSI. Moreover, this air compressor takes less than 1 minute to recover from maximum pressure.

It delivers 3.7SCFM at 40PSI, which is suitable for inflating 35PSI tires and spraying. It also delivers 2.6SCFM at 90 PSI, allowing you to use any tools that need intermittent flow.

C2002 weighs just 34lbs and comes with a handle that allows you to carry it around with you on the job site. The compressor has a console cover at the top, which protects vital parts from the elements.

This compressor also has pressure overload protection. Moreover, it comes with dual quick-couplers making dual tool usage easier.

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Key Features

  • Performance: 3.7CFM at 40PSI/2.6CFM at 90PSI
  • Tank Size: 6 gallons
  • Power: 10Amps at 120V
  • Motor: 0.8HP
  • Pump: oil-less single piston
  • Maximum pressure: 150PSI
  • Sound: 82DB
  • Weight: 30lbs


  • Short recovery time
  • Durable steel tank
  • Balanced handle for easy lifting
  • Console cover protects the motor and the pump
  • Quick startup even in cold weather


  • Steel tanks may react with water if they are not drained regularly
  • 82DB of sound can be irritating in small rooms
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Top FAQs

Q: What is this air compressor mainly used for?

A: Its performance rating of 3.8CFM at 40PSI and 2.6CFM at 90 PSI allows it to handle airbrushes, blowguns, and sprayers.

It also powers small tools such as nail guns and small sanders. It can handle any range of finishing and trimming projects and any inflating tasks at home.

Q: How long will the motor last?

A: That depends entirely on how frequently you use the compressor. Typically, the motor life is rated at 3000 hours, which is longer than standard motors.

Q: Can I connect it to a standard ¼-Inch coupler?

A: Sure

Q: Does it come with a hose?

A: Yes.

Direct Comparison


The CFM rating on the compressor determines how many tools your compressor can support simultaneously.

Twin stack compressors have a larger volume of air so they can support more tools than pancake compressors despite having a lower maximum pressure.

In this review, CAT4620AC comes in as the best performer delivering 6.4CFM at 40PSI/5.3CFM at 90PSI, which is more like a combination of two pancake compressors. It can power more air tools than any standard twin stack.

Makita is also a powerful compressor rated at 4.8CFM at 90 PSI/4.2CFM at 90 PSI. It is best suited for handling single tools on site since it has a high pressure enough to run the tools for a long time.

The two pancake compressors have a draw, each delivering 2.6SCFM at 90 PSI. They are suitable for any pneumatic tool rated at 1.2CFM at 90PSI or less and don’t require a continuous flow of air for a long time.

Bostitch BTFP02012 has a higher performance rating because of the higher horsepower rating of 0.9HP compared to Porter-Cable C2002, which has 0.8HP.


CAT 4620AC has a dual-piston pump, which is the best pump design in the market. It builds up maximum pressure quickly and also compresses more air with each stroke than single-piston models.

It reduces recovery time and increases productivity. Makita MAC2400 also has an induction pump with a large-bore cylinder design, which also compresses more air in one stroke.

The greatest advantage of MAC2400 is that it is oil-based reducing the rate of wear and also running continuously for a long time. The pancake compressors are both oilless compressors and have a duty cycle of 70 percent.

Electricity consumption

The Amperage of your air compressor determines how powerful your motor is. The high Amperage should also reflect a matching high CFM to give you the best value.

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CAT4620AC I the best value compressor in this review delivering 5.3CFMat 90 PSI from 14Amps. Makita MAC 2400 is also efficient, delivering 4.2CFM at 90 PSI from 12.5 Amps.

The pancake compressors have oil-less single-piston pumps, which means there is a lot of friction due to little lubrication. More energy is spent on offsetting the friction, which is why the Amperage is naturally higher.

Porter-cable is, however, softer on your power, taking 10Amps only. Bostitch consumes 15Amps of electricity, which is the highest but delivers only 2.6SCFM equal to Porter cable. 


California air tools 4620AC is still your quietest air compressor in this review, giving out just 70DB. That sound level is friendly for any environment, especially considering the high-level performance of the pump`s dual pistons.

Bostitch is the most silent of the two pancake compressors releasing 78DB. Makita and Porter cable are both very loud, reaching a reading of 80DB each. Anything over 75DB can be termed as irritating, so CAT6010 gets the score for the quietest compressor.

Final Note

Airpower is the most efficient way of getting your projects done if only you invest in the best air compressor.

Twin-stack compressors have become more popular than hot dog compressors, but they are also accompanied by a higher price tag as the performance improves. That is why many people will opt for a pancake compressor, which has a lower price tag.

The best twin stack compressors, as reviewed here, can deliver a strong punch and sustain more tools. However, if you only need to run light tools and don’t plan to spend a lot, the pancake compressors in this review will also solve your problem.

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