Twin Stack vs Pancake Compressor: The True Differences

The days are static, gigantic compressors are long gone.

Hey, don’t raise your eyebrow yet. We’re not saying that those tools are not of any use in these days. They still hold some sort of value, however.

But what we’ve seen is, in case you need to source some compressed air in a remote area, you can have portable compressors with you. Yeah, technology is that much fast forward right now.

And two of the most popular portable compressors are pancake type and twin stack type ones.

In the following article, we’ve differentiated the technical and aesthetic difference between these two, along with a guide on how to pick up one for yourself.

Let’s get reading-

What Is a Pancake Compressor?

The compressors that have a light, compact size along with a pancake-shape cylinder onto them. The volume of that tanks is around 1 to 6 gallons, with a few exceptions of course. And the profile design of these tanks is pretty much low.


Here are a quick list of features and demerits that a pancake type compressor holds within-


  1. These compressors require a very little maintenance.
  2. Doesn’t have any belt, so no heavyweight chores inside.
  3. They come with an oil-free pump, which requires no lubrication as well.
  4. They are great for small and medium-sized repair and installation jobs.
  5. They are perfect for tools like tire inflators, small air tools, etc.


  1. They lack the ability to power up large air tools.

What Is a Twin Stack Compressor?

In simple words, twin stack compressors are just two hot dog compressors put together. These two hot dog air tanks are connected with each other and they are also stacked upon one another.

Just like any kind of compressors they’ve also got their own merits and demerits, which are listed below-


  1. They have quite some air holding capacity for the small size they feature.
  2. They are the perfect compressors to power up tools like trimming tools, powering nails and brad guns, etc.
  3. They are quite lightweight and easy to transport from place to place.
  4. They don’t exceed 70 pounds in terms of weight.
  5. They are easy to relocate in case you need to.


  1. Not as space-saving design as pancake compressors.
  2. The horizontal design takes more space to occupy.
  3. A compressor filled up with air might take two people to carry.

How Do You Choose From A Twin Stack Vs Pancake Compressor?

How to Choose and Use an Air Compressor

Now, the big question is, how would you recognize the better suit for you among these two. From a bird’s eye view, they seem fine for any kind of small chores that require compressed air.

But what are the insider ways to choose one from these two?

Well, we are not going to declare one of them as the winner over the other one. But we are going to give you some clues on which one to pick in which condition.

Here you go-

The Job Type

You can do a lot of works with a given amount of compressed air. But not every compressor is suitable for every job. The ability of both of these compressors is different, in that sense.

Twin stack compressors come with more ability in terms of CFM and PSI. So they are kind of auto-choices for medium chore jobs on remote sites.

On the other hand, the CFM and PSI values of pancake compressors are way less. So, they are suited for small repair jobs or so.

The Air Capacity

In case you are thinking about the continuity of air supply, the size of the air tank is the only deciding factor. As pancake compressors have only one cylinder to hold it all, the air capacity is less than twin stack compressors.

Because of the vertical placement of the compressors, twin stack models can hold more air. Result? More supply of air for more jobs.

The Portability

When you are choosing from a series of portable compressors, this might be the biggest deciding factor for you. And we agree on that one hundred percent.

See, if you have to work on a remote site where you have to move from places to places, just a long hose won’t do the job. In fact, longer hoses decrease the CFM value of the compressor. So, you would look for a lightweight, compact model.

Now, which one is more compact between these two? Of course, the pancake type compressors.

As they have a smaller cylinder, the weight oft he compressed air inside it will be less. And therefore, you can hold and carry it by yourself. On the other hand, you would need another helping hand to hold and carry a twin stack type compressor.


You see, both pancake type compressor and twin stack compressors have their merits and demerits. Based on which purpose you want them to serve, and what’s your portability requirement, you can choose between these two.

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