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I think this topic will remain in debate forever. As soon as you think of buying a new compressor the first question that comes to mind is whether to buy a pancake compressor or a hotdog air compressor. And I think it is very obvious to compare these two types of compressors as you want to invest in a tool that will last for years as well as serve your needs.

It would not be fair to jump to a conclusion without knowing about the two of them in detail. Both the compressors are different, and so does their properties. Keep reading further to understand the working and differences of both the compressors better. And I’m sure by the end of this article, you’ll be able to decide the best pneumatic air compressor for your home/shop.

Pancake or Hot Dog Air Compressor

What is a Pancake Air Compressor?

The shape of a pancake air compressor goes very much by its name. It is a small, portable compressor famous among homeowners. This pancake-shaped tank can be anywhere from 1-gallon to 6-gallon. However, there are some big pancake compressors with an 8-gallon capacity.

These air devices are extremely easy to carry due to their pancake-like shape. Also, you can conveniently store them in a small space when not in use. Some mini air compressors are even good to keep in your car’s trunk for emergency use. The oil-free pump of the pancake compressor is the cherry on the cake. It virtually requires no maintenance at all.

DeWalt Pan Cake Air Compressor

Advantages of Pancake Compressor

Just like any other mechanical device, there are a few benefits of a pancake compressor which are listed below. I’ve made short and sweet points instead of tedious long paras that will help you compare both the units better.

  • Lightweight design
  • Oil-free pump that requires no maintenance at all
  • Compact storage
  • Lower noise output as they produce little power
  • Quick compressor recovery
  • Highly portable

Disadvantages of Pancake Compressor

It is obvious for any tool to have disadvantages. Although I feel disadvantage is a strong word. I’d rather say the drawbacks of a pancake air compressor. Have a look at what this little machine is incapable of.

  • Small tank capacity; you will have to take multiple breaks while finishing large projects
  • Not powerful enough to operate heavy pneumatic tools like die grinders, angle grinders, etc

Hot Dog Air Compressor

The other one is the hot dog air compressor that also goes by its name. It comprises a long horizontal cylinder. The average tank size of a hot dog compressor is between 2-8 gallons. While there’s no huge difference in the capacity, the long cylinder tank of the hotdog compressor takes up more space than a pancake.

But despite their bulky design, many homeowners and professionals prefer buying a hot dog air compressor. Thanks to its wide pressure settings options. The long tank makes it possible to switch between pressure. This gives you the flexibility to operate a variety of pneumatic tools.

Hot Dog Air Compressor USes

Advantages of Hot Dog Air Compressor

  • Pocket-friendly price
  • Wide range of pressure selection
  • More powerful
  • Capable of delivering more than 10 CFM
  • Easy upgrading

Disadvantages of Hot Dog Air Compressor

  • Runs a bit noisy than pancake compressors
  • Not highly portable
  • Many models have an oil-lubed pump that requires time to time maintenance

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Conclusion – Pick the One That Suits Your Need

Now that you know the differences between pancake and hotdog air compressors, it would be easy to pick the right model for your needs. They both are great for small tasks. While one is highly portable, the other one provides a wide pressure selection range. So if you’re a DIYer with a big toolbox then a hotdog compressor will be a good pick.

And a pancake compressor is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a quiet, portable, and powerful compressor. I’ve made my best efforts to present the pros and cons of both the compressor, now it’s time for you to decide the right model which I’m sure you’ll get the best bang for the buck.


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