Bostitch 6 Gallon Pancake Compressor Review - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

Light weight, large tank, good output, quick recovery time, and reasonably quiet - this compressor is well suited for both small shop and light-duty job-site work.

Bostitch 6 Gallon Pancake Compressor

Bostitch 6 Gallon Pancake Compressor

This Bostitch BTFP02012 has a number of features in it's favour that should appeal to anyone looking for an oil-less compressor for intermediate, light to medium-duty use, either in a small shop environment, or on a job site. The compressor delivers 2.6 SCFM of air at 90 PSI, which is quite sufficient to run brad and finish nailers, pinners, light duty staplers, air spray guns, and even the occasional framing nailer. It boasts a decent 0.9 running horsepower (the HP delivered during normal operation rather than the peak HP the motor has at startup) and draws a full 15 amps. I have it on a circuit that is used by by shop radio and intermittently with my battery charger and drill press. No tripped circuit yet.

The life span of any compressor will be affected by a variety of factors, including maintenance habits (draining the tank, cleaning/replacing the air filter), not exceeding the rated duty cycle, and environmental conditions (humidity, air cleanliness, and ambient temperature). Bostitch's in-house testing rates the BTFP02012 with an average 450-hour design life span. That's 450 hours of actual use. I estimate that I use a compressor about 2 hours per week - so I should be able to get about 5 years use from the BTFP02012, at a prorated cost of $50 per year.

The epitome of a compact compressor

At only 33 pounds, and with a tank diameter of just 14" the BTFP02012 really isn't much larger or heavier than a fully loaded toolbox. The large top mounted handle makes it easy to cart the compressor around to and from the truck and around a job site. The on-off switch is conveniently integrated into the right side of the handle.

Well laid out control panel

The controls are straightforward. At the top left is the tank pressure gauge. To the right of this is regulator and the safety valve. Below is the regulated outlet pressure gauge flanked by two quick connect outlets. 

The plastic shroud that surrounds the control panel protrudes somewhat, providing a bit of protection to the components. The panel itself is tilted slightly upwards, making it somewhat easier to view when standing above the compressor.

The regulator is easy enough to adjust so that you can quickly set the right outlet pressure without fiddling around with the knob.

Easy to read dials

I like the large dials on the BTFP02012 as they're easy to read without having stick my face right up against the control panel. Oddly though, the registration lines on the dials are marked off at intervals of 6 PSI, rather than a more common 5 PSI. Not that these dials are super accurate anyway, and the different between an outlet pressure of, say 100 and 102 PSI, is trivial.

Standard drain cock is awkward to turn

The BTFP02012 used a standard drain cock, which consist of a round threaded brass nut that you spin around five or six times in order to open the valve. The nut is quite small, making it awkward to hold and turn (and impossible if you're wearing gloves).

Convenient cord wrap; too small a cord

If you regularly tote your compressor to and from a job site, then you'll appreciate the cord wrap. What you may not like as much, is the rather short 5-foot power cord. Of course it the compressor sits in the same spot in your shop, it shouldn't pose much of a problem. Still, when you head out on a job make sure you have an extension cord on hand – just in case.

Large tank that is quick to refill

The BTFP02012 takes about 2-1/2 minutes to fully pump-up the 6-gallon tank to 150 PSI. The pump-up time isn't overly critical, as the compressor only has to fill up once. After that, it only restarts when the tank pressure falls below a preset cut-in pressure – in the case of this compressor it's 120 PSI. The shorter the recovery (tank refill) time, the less noise you'll be subjected to. On the BTFP02012 the average recovery time is 25 seconds, which isn't too shabby. Besides, the pump speed, at 90 PSI, is only about 2,700 RPM, which makes for a quieter operation. The compressor is rated at 80 decibels, which I find reasonably quiet, so much so that when I only have a small amount of nailing to do I don't bother using ear protectors.

I found that I could, on average, sink 47 fasteners (1-1/2" long 7/32" crown staples or 1-5/8" long 18-gauge brads) before the compressor began to recycle. This compares very favourably with other compact compressors I've used. If you use the compressor with a finish or framing nailer you won't be able to sink hardly as many fasteners before the pump comes on. 

A light weight, reasonably quite operation, and large tank, coupled with a quick 25-second recovery time, and the ability to sink a respectable 47 fasteners before the pump kicks back on, makes the Bostitch BTFP02012 well suited for the small shop, and for use on a job site.


  • Amp Draw: 15
  • Tank Size: 6 gallons
  • Oil-free Pump
  • Duty Cycle: 50 - 75%
  • Pump-up Time: 2-1/2 minutes
  • Refill Time: 25 seconds
  • Cut-out Pressure: 150 PSI
  • Cut-in Pressure: 120 PSI
  • Capacity @ 40 PSI: 3.7 SCFM
  • Capacity @ 90 PSI: 2.6 SCFM
  • Noise level: 80 dBA
  • Tank Diameter: 14"
  • Weight: 33 lbs
  • Dual couplers
  • Power Cord Length: 5 feet
  • Power cord wrap
  • Warranty: 1 year

SOURCE:Retail Locator
May 2015

Carl Duguay
Discover more great woodworking reviews!
Subscribe Now and get instance online access to our library filled with exciting woodworking information.
Continue to stay connected to the latest tool reviews with our bi-monthly woodworking magazines!