Pancake air compressor recommendations?

I’m finally going to buy an electric, oil-less pancake air compressor for my home bike shop. Helpful for inflating and seating tires, sure, but quickly and effectively cleaning and drying parts is what I’m really looking to gain. I’m a total newb to compressors though. Any recommendations? I’ll probably go to the box store for one plus a standard accessory fitting kit.

Is 3 gallons enough? Or go for 6?

I gather I’ll need to buy a presta chuck separately - recommendations for those?

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I picked up this one from HomeDepot last week and it worked perfectly for seating my troublesome tubeless tires/wheels. It is 6 gallon. I imagine that a 3 would be fine, but check what the ‘max pressure’ is. If you want to seat tubeless you need a good initial strong burst of pressure.

And yes you will need to buy a hose / attachments / presta chuck separately. The compressor doesn’t come with anything.


Which presta chuck did you get? Is it quick connect/disconnect to swap fittings?

I have two Pittsburg Air whatever from Harbor Freight, one a pancake and the other way bigger. Both get used a lot, built a few cars with them and they never quit. Both were super cheap.

I haven’t got a presta kitting yet. I was in a rush and so just grabbed what they had to get me started (this accessory kit). You can seat tubeless tires by removing the valve core and sticking the rubber outlet accessory right onto the valve. But I do plan on getting a presta chuck soon - there seem to be plenty of options out there. Switching between accessories is easy once you have the hose set up with couplers attached.

I also have this same one and it works perfectly for setting up tubeless tires.

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$60 harbor freight pancake and prestaflate “mini”. Works fine for car and easily seats mountain bike tires.

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I got one of these for my compressor. Overkill for sure given there are far cheaper options, but it’s a great addition to a home shop.

I also have the same Accessory Kit referenced earlier and the blow gun accessory is another great tool. I use it after cleaning my bike to blow excess water off of the drive train. Works awesome and is great for tough to reach places.


Not that it is necessary, but on the other end of the spectrum, Rolair makes some very nice compressors -if you have the buy it once approach. Again if just for inflating tires on an occasional basis, may be overkill.

For a bike shop compressor 3 is fine, 6 is better but for $100 you will be set. No reason to spend more.

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Here’s another attachment I found on Amazon. I don’t have it but am considering purchasing. Might be worth a look.

Thanks for suggestions everyone. I bought myself a Craftsman 6-gal. (seems comparable on every level with the popular Porter 6-gal.) on Xmas sale at Lowes. I also have on order the Prestaflator Mini.

Here’s a question: How often do you really drain the condensation from your pancake compressors? Reading my manual, it says to drain it daily or after each use. Maybe that’s for more high-volume uses like construction, nailing, etc.?

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I don’t drain mine completely very often. Then again I also never really fill it up that full as bike tires don’t require a ton of volume.

I typically just turn it on for a minute or two, use what I need and by the time I’m done it’s pretty close to empty. If I need more I just turn it on again for another minute or so.

Once you work with it a few times you’ll have a pretty good idea how long you need to keep it running to get the amount of air you’ll need.

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