Porter Cable PCFP02003 Pancake Compressor Review – Is It The Right Product For You?

PORTER-CABLE PCFP02003 3.5-Gallon 135 PSI Pancake Compressor

The PCFP02003 is an oil less pancake compressor which is one of the products of Porter Cable. Powered by a low amp 120V motor, this model is ideal for light home use such as powering a finish nail gun, filling tire, and blowing dust off your work. Unless you are planning on running multiple finish guns or air wrenches, you do not need a high dollar contractor grade oil lubed compressor. Read on to see if the Porter Cable PCFP02003 is a good fit.

When it comes to air delivery, the pancake compressor delivers 2.0 SCFM at 90 PSI which is sufficient for pneumatic tools for simple household tasks. Smaller compressed-air tools usually require between 0-5 SCFM. Since air density changes with pressure and temperature, Standard Cubic Feet of air per Minute or SCFM is usually used when comparing different air compressors. Husky BS1003, Hitachi EC510, and Powermate VPP1080318 are some models that provide 2 SCFM at 90 psi. Each has its own pros and cons. But, in terms of price, the Porter Cable PCFP02003 is the most affordable.

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The Porter Cable pancake compressor is equipped with a 3.5 gallon tank (13.25 liters) which is large enough for a pancake tank portable air compressor. Many similar models in the price range such as PowerPro 22010 and Campbell Hausfeld FP2028 come with smaller compressed air storage containers. Oil-free pancake air compressors are made for minor household tasks. They are not sufficient for high air consumption tools such as sanders. Still, when it comes to tank size, the bigger the better. The larger the tank size, the greater the amount of air that can be stored, and the easier it is for the pump to maintain air pressure. You will not run out of pressure fast.

This light duty compressed air system is rated at 135 PSI Max. You can find compressors with a maximum tank pressure of 150 PSI. However, most compressed air tools are designed to operate at around 90 – 100 PSI. There is a switch that automatically stops the motor when the air tank pressure reaches this pressure cut-out setting. This compressor is also equipped with a safety valve to prevent unusual pressure build-up within the tank. It releases air from the tank if the pressure switch does not shut off the compressor at its cut-out pressure. The cut-in setting is 105 psig. When the tank pressure drops to this level, the motor automatically restarts.

This oilless pancake air compressor also comes equipped with tank pressure gauge that shows you the amount of pressure built up inside of the tank. The outlet side is fitted with a pressure gauge that, as the name implies, indicates the air pressure available at the outlet side of the regulator. There is a regulator knob that allows you to increase or decrease the outlet pressure. This will be useful when you are filling small tires as excessive pressure can cause over inflation that could result in personal injury. Speaking about protection, this consumer-grade air compressor has a thermal protector. If the motor overheats for any reason, the motor will be shut off automatically.

The PCFP02003 pancake compressor is rated at 0.8 running horsepower. You can easily find similar models with a higher horsepower rating. However, SCFM is the most important rating to consider when selecting an air compressor. Basically, horsepower indicates how powerful the motor is, while SCFM determines what tools the compressor will power. The low 10 amp motor means it can easily run off of normal household circuits which are limited to 15 amps of current (1800 watts). After all, you cannot run a compressor with a motor that exceeds 2 running horsepower on a 15 amp circuit.

At 84 decibels, it certainly is not a whisper quiet air compressor. But according to user feedback, it is not more noisy than other compressors in the same class. After all, oiless compressors tend to be pretty loud. The 3.5-Gallon pancake compressor comes as pictured with no hose and accessories. This unit has two spring-loaded quick-connects on the air outlet. You will need to purchasea hose with a male and female quick connect fittings if you are going to use an air nozzle or a tire chuck.

Porter Cable is a manufacturer of different power tools. They have been in business since 1906 so that you can expect products from the company to be good quality. If you search the reviews of the Porter-Cable C2002-WK and the Porter Cable CMB15, two products from the same company, then you will see that they have got so many positive reviews. The Porter Cable PCFP02003 has also received a lot of impressive feedback from its customers at Amazon.com. The light-duty home compressor currently has a strong 4.6/5 star rating.

Like other oil-free pancake compressors, the feedback for the PCFP02003 suggests that the unit is a little loud. Some reviewers have also reported that it vibrates a little. Further, as it does not include include any accessories you need to furnish those yourself but it should not be a big deal since you you can get every thing in one kit for less than $10. Despite these minor considerations, lots of reviewers have praised the product for a number of its different characteristics.

According to many customers, this is a good small compressor for the price. It definitely is not enough for operating an impact gun. But for various small jobs around the house like like airing up tires, blowing off dust on things or running a finish nailer, this product is worth considering. One customer has referred to it as a super powerful little compressor. You will find many uses for this little machine. Positive comments have also been expressed by the reviewers in reference to its quick recovery time.

The customers have also praised the design of the unit. They love the portability. It only weighs 26 lbs, making it easy to carry around. The compact design means it does not take a lot of room. The pancake design adds stability. When it comes to construction, it seems to be well built and solid. The majority of reviewers found no mechanical issues with this little unit. If taken care of properly, this compressor should have a relatively long life.

If your requirements for volume and recovery are moderate or higher, then you may wish to consider a larger unit found on this site. But for typical home owner applications, this should work for you. Based on the customer feedback, it can be a great addition to your home tools. There are larger compressors out there, but a wide variety of light duty jobs can be satisfied with a single-tank, oil-less unit.


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