Best Porter Cable Air Compressors (2021 Honest Review)

Cody
| Last Updated: January 30, 2021

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Time to get yourself a new air compressor? Perhaps you’ll want to give Porter Cable a chance. You won’t help but notice how its products show up everywhere you run your searches. So, there must be something about it, right?

Let’s show you what that is!

Hoping to cut right to the chase? Below are the best Porter Cable Air Compressors:

  1. Porter Cable PCFP12234
  2. Porter Cable PXCMLC3706056
  3. Porter Cable PXCMLC1683066

Comparison Chart of the Best Porter Cable Air Compressors

Product

Our Rating

Price

Porter Cable PCFP12234

  • 2 HP, 150 PSI
  • 6 gallons
  • 120 V

Porter Cable PXCMLC3706056

  • 3.7 HP, 155 PSI
  • 60 gallons
  • 240 V

Porter Cable PXCMLC1683066

  • 1.6 HP, 135 PSI
  • 30 gallons
  • 120 – 240 V

Porter Cable PXCMF220VW

  • 1.5 HP, 150 PSI
  • 20 gallons
  • 120 V

Porter Cable C2002 Air Compressor

  • 1 HP, 150 PSI
  • 6 gallons
  • 120 V

Who is Porter Cable? 

Porter Cable is one of the most popular American power tool manufacturers. Its history goes back to 1906, when a small company was founded by the three men – R.E. Porter, G.G. Porter, and F.E. Cable. And it has been sold, or merged with other companies, multiple times throughout the years. These days, the company’s status is as follows: 

Who Makes Porter Cable Air Compressors

The Porter Cable air compressors are advertised under their original name. Nevertheless, their production falls under Stanley Black & Decker. The group combined Porter Cable with other companies, such as Dewalt, and expanded its production into a common project that also includes air tools, pressure washers, and oscillating tools.

Who Owns Porter Cable

Porter Cable is currently part of the above-mentioned humongous, international family of companies known by the name of Stanley Black & Decker. This change took place in 2004, and it is the most recent change of ownership that the company went through, following a series of tangled shifts throughout the years.

Where Are Porter Cable Tools Made

For quite some time, Porter Cable was notorious for manufacturing its power tools right in the United States. While this may still apply to some products or parts, however, most of its production focuses on facilities from Mexico and China.

Porter Cable Air Compressor Review 

For a company with such a long tradition, the quality of products is a core attribute. The following reviews of the best Porter Cable air compressors are here to testify just that.

We’ve handpicked and tested some of their most popular models in different sizes, and here’s what we’ve come to conclude:

Porter Cable 6 Gallon Air Compressor Review:
Porter Cable PCFP12234

PROS

  • Excellent value for the money
  • Lightweight and easy to maneuver
  • Powerful and maintenance-free motor
  • Comes with an air hose in the package
  • Includes pancake compressor & 3 tools

CONS

  • Could use a lower noise level
  • Not the best choice for tools that demand lot of air

Our Review:

Porter Cable sells this 2 HP, 6 gallon pancake air compressor along with a 16ga 2-1/2-inch finish nailer, an 18ga 2-inch brad nailer, and a 3/8-inch crown stapler (the heavy-duty type). Perfectly sized for small jobs, the compressor weighs as little as 30 lbs and is very low-maintenance.

The pump, just like the motor, is maintenance-free and can reach a maximum of 150 PSI, with 2.6 SCFM @ 90 PSI. Compact, with a small footprint, it relies on sturdy couplings and gauges, while its relief valve is super easy to use. What’s more, the compressor fills pretty fast, too.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

This product is part of an irresistible package that offers you pretty much anything you need to get to work right off the bat. For a highly-attractive price, you’re getting not just the 6-gallon pancake compressor, but also 3 tools to pair it with. To top it off, it adds a 1/4-inch air hose at 25 ft length, with coupler and plug, fasteners, and a belt hook accessory!

Porter Cable 60 Gallon Air Compressor Reviews:
Porter Cable PXCMLC3706056

PROS

  • Built in the U.S.A.
  • Shipped with synthetic oil
  • Reliable twin-cylinder pump
  • Heady-duty, high-performance motor
  • Suitable for a wide range of demanding tasks

CONS

  • Must be wired by a certified electrician
  • Oil-lubrication requires a bit of extra care and maintenance

Our Review:

Interested in a large-size Porter Cable air compressor for automotive or agricultural applications or more serious DIY projects? Consider this model with a tank of 60 gallons, and you’ll be happy you did so! Wired for 240 volts, it is perfect for any pneumatic tool you have in your shop. And it doesn’t even cost that much!

The 3.7 HP motor is a heavy-duty induction model. While the cast-iron pump is belt-driven, oil-lubricated, and with an in-line pair of cylinders. This twin-cylinder pump is making it deliver all the way to 155 max PSI, with 11.5 SCFM @ 90 PSI and 13.4 SCFM @ 40 PSI.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

This 60-gallon air compressor is manufactured in the U.S.A. using global materials. Suffices to look under its hood, and you can tell it provides outstanding quality, given the heavy-duty motor and pump that work together like charm. What’s more, you should have it shipped with synthetic oil in it, which adds to optimum performances and a prolonged operation life.

Porter Cable 30 Gallon Air Compressor Review:
Porter Cable PXCMLC1683066

PROS

  • Powerful, dual-voltage motor
  • Equipped with quick-set regulator
  • Large but portable tank, ASME certified
  • Easy to use, with quick-connect air outlet
  • Comes fully assembled and ready for work

CONS

  • Condensate drain is a tad difficult to access
  • Tube tires tend to get low if stored for a while

Our Review:

Looking to cover a lot more than your basic needs, Porter Cable is giving a great deal with this 30-gallon air compressor. The combo of a powerful induction motor with a durable oil-lubricated pump is certainly a winner. And its high pressure (135 max PSI) and airflow rates (5.3SCFM @ 90 PSI and 6.2 SCFM @ 40 PSI) are making it suitable for a wide range of applications.

The portable leak-free air tank is ASME certified, sits on handy pneumatic tires, and boasts this practical design with all controls at the top. Speaking of convenience, the vertical design makes it take up less space and move around fairly easily.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

Compact and effective, this compressor packs loads of power without being a pain to use. Its heavy-duty power source is an induction electric motor that can be wired for either 120 V or 240 V operation. And because it provides up to 1.6 HP, it is more than enough for most of the air tools you’ll be working with.

Porter Cable 20 Gallon Air Compressor Review:
Porter Cable PXCMF220VW

PROS

  • Designed with On/Off switch
  • Allows fast and easy draining
  • Powerful, long life motor and pump
  • Easy to maintain, without belts or pulleys
  • Starts at low voltage, with low energy consumption

CONS

  • Not the cheapest model you’ll find at this size
  • Doesn’t come with a power cord in the package

Our Review:

When all you need is a 20-gallon portable air compressor, the Porter Cable PXCMF220VW may be the one! UL and CSA certified, with fully enclosed shroud, it’s a completely protected tool that facilitates easy and safe operation. Expect it to deliver 4.0 CFM at 90 PSI and 5.0 CFM @ 40 PSI.

Speaking of operation, the 1.5 running horsepower and the 150 max PSI are more than reasonable for small to average chores. And they’re possible thanks to the oil-free induction motor and twin-v cast-iron pump. The regulator, the gauges, and the quick connect help you get the most of it.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

With an oil-free, induction motor ready to provide continuous tool operation, this 20 gallon air compressor can’t be overlooked. Built to last, with an effective heat dissipation mechanism, it also relies on stainless steel reed valves for increased durability. What’s more, it’s not nearly as noisy as you’d expect it to be, and it keeps vibrations to a minimum.

Porter Cable C2002 Air Compressor Review

PROS

  • Highly portable and easy to use
  • Oil-free, easy-maintenance pump
  • Supports high maximum pressure
  • Low-amp, powerful and efficient motor
  • Pancake style provides optimal stability

CONS

  • A tad on the noisy side
  • Not the most practical or clear user manual

Our Review:

Just because it comes in a small package, you shouldn’t assume that the 6-gallon Porter Cable air compressor doesn’t have enough kick. On the contrary, its low-amp motor coupled with the oil-free pump work together to deliver 150 maximum PSI. There’s thermal overload protection built-in. And you can count on 2.6 SCFM @ 90 PSI, respectively 3.7 SCFM @ 40 PSI.

In a nutshell, this is a compact tool, portable, and surprisingly powerful. It has a user-friendly design and two air couplers, water drain valve, rubber feet, and handle. And its maintenance-free reliability makes it even more attractive.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

A portable size pancake compressor, the C2002 comes with the great benefit of requiring minimal maintenance. The oil-free pump spares you from dealing with maintenance issues and oil spills. Not to mention it is specifically designed to facilitate clean operation while extending the lifespan of the compressor.

Hold up, are you interested in other topics related to air compressors? If so, these might be something to check out: 

How Does Porter Cable Compare to the Competition? 

Porter Cable has a few close competitors on the market. Not only when it comes to air compressors, in general, but also when it comes to pancake air compressors, in particular.

Despite that, the brand is quite popular for a particular segment of buyers. Ease of use, accuracy, and value for the money are some of the features that keep it ahead of its competitors.

Porter Cable vs Craftsman Air Compressor

Both Porter Cable and Craftsman make a wide range of compressors with small to medium-sized tanks. They both paint these compressors in red, so, from a distance, you might be tempted to mistake one for the other.

Still, the Porter Cable units are preferred for their portability and power. Home workshops and DIY contractors are the categories that usually make the most of it, especially since there are plenty of tool kit offers on the market.

Craftsman air compressors may not be as powerful or as reliable. But they do make a particularly appealing choice because of a more extended guarantee policy.

Porter Cable vs Dewalt Air Compressor

Portability is one segment where Porter Cable and Dewalt fight shoulder to shoulder. This time, you can clearly tell which is which, with Dewalt painting its compressors in yellow. And you’ll also be able to tell that the latter does seem to have an edge when it comes to compact – therefore more portable – designs.

Nevertheless, Porter Cable takes the lead in terms of quality and durability. It’s easy to notice, by simply looking into the overwhelming number of reviews that this brand gets over the web, compared to what you’ll find on Dewalt.  

Dewalt Pancake Compressor vs Porter Cable

As far as their pancake air compressors match against each other, you can easily tell how Porter Cable manages to stay ahead. For their 6-gallon pancake compressors, for instance, the first thing you’ll notice is the 165 vs 150 max PSI.

Now, the Porter Cable model may have a slightly lower maximum PSI. But it features the same 2.6 SCFM @ 90 PSI. It has the same type of 10 Amp draw motor and oil-free pump. And it operates at a similar noise level of a little under 80 dB.

To top it off, the Porter Cable pancake compressor is a few inches smaller and 8 lbs lighter, which gives it another edge.

How To Use Porter Cable Air Compressor

Whether you’ve worked with an air compressor before or it’s your first time, you’ll find that getting started with a Porter Cable is not that complicated. Here are the steps you’ll have to go through:

  1. First, take out your Porter Cable air compressor and check that its switch is set to Off;

  2. Plug it in;

  3. Then, identify the valve from the bottom of its tank;

  4. Check that valve and make sure it is properly tightened up;

  5. Proceed to attach the air hose to the air compressor;

  6. Only then you can safely turn the compressor’s switch to On;

  7. Expect for a loud noise to start coming out from the unit – it’s the sign that it’s beginning to compress air;

  8. Check the gauge and see what’s the pressure on your air compressor;

  9. Once it reached the pressure that your air tool requires, use its regulator to stop it;

  10. Finally, attach the air tool to the air compressor’s hose and get to work.

How To Drain Porter Cable Air Compressor

The working principles of an air compressor result in moisture building inside its tank. This applies to any air compressor on the market, including your Porter Cable model.

Now, using the air compressor daily means that you’ll discharge its moisture at regular intervals. But if you’re only using it every once in a while, it is mandatory that you make a habit out of draining it before you store it back.

Here’s how to drain your Porter Cable air compressor every time you finish using it:

  • First, check the pressure gauge to make sure there’s still some pressure left inside the tank;

  • Then, turn off the air compressor from its power switch;

  • Finally, identify its drain tap and open it – if you don’t know which one is it, make sure to check the user manual, which you can download online in case you’ve lost yours;

  • With the drain tap opened, wait for all the pressure, condensation, and water to blow out;

  • When it’s all silent, and the tank is empty, push the tap back up and move your air compressor to wherever you’re planning on storing it.

Conclusion 

Despite being one of the youngest brands on the market, Porter Cable is way ahead of many of its older competitors. With a wide range of products for both home and professional use, it still focuses on quality. And so, each one of its air compressors can make a durable choice for your particular needs.

Cody

My name is Cody and I've been a writer for Tool Tango for quite some time now. I've always had a knack for building things with my hands and creative writing, so being able to combine the two has been great. I love being able to give back to the DIY-community, while also learning a thing or two along the way. When I'm not writing, I enjoy watching Netflix with my girlfriend, fishing, and working in the shop.