An air compressor can be a practical tool for use in your garage or home. The difference between oiled and oil-free air compressors is the way in which the pistons stay smooth or lubricated. Oiled compressors require frequent lubricating, whereas oil-free compressors’ pistons are coated with Teflon for permanent lubrication. We prefer the oil-less variety since there’s no risk of spilling oil all over your garage or carpet when using this device.
In this article, we’re going to take a close look at two popular pancake air compressors: the PORTER-CABLE C2002 and the Bostitch BTFP02012. There’s no flour, eggs, and maple syrup involved in any of these units so don’t get too excited – the term pancake mainly refers to the flattish shape of the air-holding tank. These two oil-free air compressors have received numerous positive reviews from customers, but which of the two is betterLet’s compare!
Weight and Portability
Both of these units are extremely portable, meaning that you can take them virtually everywhere they’re needed. The PORTER-CABLE weighs in at only 29 pounds. The ergonomic “pancake” design and plastic handle makes this a great choice for people who need an emergency air pump for their tires.
The exact same things can be said about this unit, except it’s slightly heavier at 34 pounds. Similar to the PORTER-CABLE, the flattened design of the tank and the plastic handle makes carrying this unit from place to place completely manageable.
The 5-pound difference between the two models is insignificant in determining how portable these two units are. If you can carry one, there’s little doubt that you can carry the other. Either of these could be a worthy solution if you’re in need of a portable air compressor.
There’s no doubt that air compressors can be noisy. If you’ve ever filled up the air of a flat tire or ball, you’re familiar with the noise when compressed air is blasted through the nozzle. However, for both of these air compressors, they’re relatively quiet. The PORTER-CABLE produces 75.8 decibels at its loudest.
The Bostitch model isn’t that much different in terms of noise levels, although it measures in at 82 decibels. We feel that the slight difference in decibels between the two models is insignificant and unnoticeable for the most part.
Once again, the PORTER-CABLE and the Bostitch are at a draw. The minuscule differences in noise production won’t lend any preference to either of these units, but if we had to choose, the PORTER-CABLE is just slightly – extremely slightly – less noisy than the Bostitch.
By durability, we mean how much use you can get out of it per hour. Like any home- or personal-use air compressor, it isn’t realistic to expect to run the motor all day long without causing long-term damage. The PORTER-CABLE needs 15 minutes of rest and time to refill for every 45 minutes of constant use.
When testing out the two units, we found that the Bostitch performed slightly better than the PORTER-CABLE in terms of how much use you can squeeze out of the unit per hour. This unit requires roughly 10 minutes of rest to completely refill the tank, so you can squeeze out an extra 5 minutes of work per tank.
For non-industrial use, 5 minutes of extra work time is immaterial. We can’t really imagine why 10 or 15 minutes of break time to rest and refill would make a difference if you’re using an air compressor at home, but if efficiency is your priority, then the Bostitch is your go-to air compressor.
Unfortunately, the PORTER-CABLE will require a lot of maintenance after use. One of the most important things you need to do is keep the tank dry by draining it through the release valve. It’s a simple process of decreasing the air pressure and opening the release valve. However, the connector (part of the regulator) is made of cheap-feeling plastic. It can be a problem during the draining process since they may snap or break off and may require frequent replacement over time.
Unlike the PORTER-CABLE, the entire construction of this unit feels great and is made of either high-quality plastic or metal. The only thing you need to do is constantly open the release valve to shoot out any condensation buildup in the tank.
This is one of the main points where these two units differ greatly. These oil-free machines don’t require constant lubricating though you need to keep the tank dry by draining any residual fluids. The Bostitch’s build is of greater quality than the PORTER-CABLE so there’s hardly any risk of causing unintentional damage to the unit when draining.
PORTER-CABLE C2002 vs Bostitch BTFP02012: Bottom Line
There are several other points we didn’t mention in this article since both units come with the same features – dual-universal couplers that let two people use the compressor simultaneously, 6-gallon air tank, 90 PSI at 2.6 cubic feet per minute, and 150 maximum PSI. The overlapping features mentioned above make these two units almost indistinguishable performance-wise.
The differences we found when comparing the two models are almost irrelevant in persuading you to choose one model over the other.
However, if we had to make a decision, we’d opt for the Bostitch BTFP02012 over the PORTER-CABLE C2002. These two pancake air compressors are supposed to be budget-friendly models for personal- and even professional-use.
The fact that the PORTER-CABLE requires much more frequent replacement of components sort of ruins the whole cost-efficiency selling point, though to be fair, the places that need replacement the most are relatively cheap.
The Bostich, on the other hand, is a great inexpensive air compressor. The best thing about it is the solid construction gives value to its users for many years. The fact that it needs only around 10 minutes to fully refill the 6-gallon tank is an impressive feat, though we suggest waiting at least 15 minutes for every 45 minutes – same as the PORTER-CABLE – to extend the life of the motor.