Twin Stack Vs Pancake Compressor: The 3 Untold True Difference

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Written By Scott Angel

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Gone are the days when people had to drag along gigantic and heavy compressors. Technology has advanced and there is a variety of portable air compressors in the market. If you need a machine to use in remote areas, then it makes more sense to go for a portable compressor.

There are various portable air compressors and it can be extremely difficult to choose one among the many.  The two most common portable air compressors are the pancake and twin stack styles. They closely share the same characteristics such as being lightweight.

So if you turn between the two compressors, which one will work in your best interest? Well, that’s why am here. I will provide all the important details that will help you make an informed decision. The twin stack and pancake are both portable but they have a few technical differences.

Comparison Of Twin Stack Vs Pancake Compressor

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What Is A Pancake Compressor?

Just as the name suggests, pancake compressors have pancake shaped cylinders. The cylinder is usually light and compact making the machine highly portable. The tank volume of pancake air compressors ranges from 1 to 6 gallons maximum. Also, the tank has a low profile design to further enhance portability.

Most pancake style compressors require very little maintenance and hence make for great machines. They are perfect for small to medium tasks and tire inflation. However, they lack the ability to power large air tools.

Here is a list of the merits and demerits of a pancake compressor. This is to help you weigh your options.

Pros Of Pancake Compressor

  • The pancake compressors usually require very little maintenance.  This is because they have an oil-free pump. Hence, there will be no need to clean messy floors or lubricate the pump.
  • They work well on small to medium size home repairs or renovations as well as installation jobs.
  • It is lightweight and this makes it easy to transport. As a matter of fact, it’s the perfect machine for DIY’s because you can easily move it from place to place.

Cons Of Pancake Compressor

  • Pancake compressors have a smaller capacity and less performance. They are not suitable for powering large air tools.

What Is Twin Stack Compressor?

Hotdog and twin stack compressors are almost similar. The difference is the twin stack features two air tanks, one positioned on top of the other. Twin stack compressors are the perfect choice for people who need higher performance from a compressor. The two air tanks actually increase air storage. They are available in different size like 4 gallon twin stack air compressor, 5 gallon twin stack air compressor. They are usable for different purposes according to their power capacity, portability and ease of use.

This compressor has a considerably larger capacity making it ideal for medium-duty tasks. For instance, you can use it for brad nailing, inflation and many other tasks which require reliable compressed air. The twin stack compressor is generally portable but can be heavier than the pancake compressors.

Pros Of Twin Stack Compressor

  • Twin stack compressors have a larger air holding capacity for their size. In fact, you benefit from higher performance and still attain the portability aspect.
  • They are great for powering up air tools such as power nails and brad guns. You can also use them to inflate tires.
  • Despite the fact that twin stack compressors have two air tanks, they are still lightweight and portable.

Cons Of Twin Stack Compressor

  • Their design is not space-saving like that of pancake compressors.
  • They are heavier and more bulky and may actually require two people to carry.

Comparison Between Twin Stake And Pancake Style Compressor

This is definitely the harder part because most people can’t easily differentiate the two in terms of functionality. They both seem capable of handling small to medium tasks.

Air capacity 

If what you need is a more continuous supply of air, then the size of the tank is a determining factor. A pancake compressor has one air tank while the twin stack has two. This means that the twin stack has a larger air capacity and will get more jobs done.


Well, portability is another major deciding factor because you are choosing from various portable compressors. Those people working in remote areas often look for small and compact machines that they can easily move from place to place. This makes the pancake type compressor the better option in this situation. They have smaller and compact cylinders that are lightweight.

Job type

What do you intend to use the compressor for? Keep in mind, not every compressor is great for every job. The twin stack and pancake compressors have different abilities in that regard.

The twin stack has more CFM and PSI abilities. For this reason, it’s the best choice for all medium jobs.

Final Verdict:

In this article, we have discussed the difference between twin stack and pancake air compressor. Among them pancake air compressors are more portable than twin stack air compressor. But twin stack air compressor are also portable if they have wheels. twin stack air compressor basically stands for built in double cylinder.

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