Porter Cable Air Compressors and Parts Guide


The Porter Cable Air Compressor Guide

There are many brands of air compressors out there. And then there’s hundreds upon hundreds of models to choose from. It can be overwhelming when you have to make that decision. However, one brand that has stood the test of time is Porter Cable. They make reliable and durable consumer based tools and products, and specifically have jumped into air compressors.  They now sell all over the place. They are primarily online, and at many major retail stores such as Home Depot and Lowes.  They tend to focus on smaller to medium sized reciprocating compressors that are both single stage and dual stage. These are geared towards the professional, but not large industrial jobs.

porter cable logo

Company Background

A little bit of background on the company. Porter Cable was founded in 1906 by R.E. Porter, G.G. Porter, and F.E. Cable who started a tool shop in their hometown in New York. The company began to carve out a niche on power tools and started their own line in 1917. The company began to focus on power tools, and then soon after bought their own plant to manufacture.

In the 1920s the chief engineer of the company invented the portable electric belt sander and this immediately led to the name recognition in their niche of power tools. Later the same chief engineer invented the helical-drive circular saw which is commonly used today.

They went through numerous name changes because of being bought and sold. In the process their name was tarnished when they started to develop low budget tools. Reliability became an issue. However, soon enough Pentair bought the company and brought back the Porter Cable name.  They moved forward as a professional power tools only company and redacted all lower budget power tool lines. Soon enough the company expanded their lines into retail stores and greatly increased their brand recognition.

Then in 2002, Porter Cable moved forward and created their line up of today’s power air tools and air compressors. Porter Cable air compressors are sold all over North America online with certified dealers. These consist of the big outlet and factory home improvement stores. Porter Cable is mainly in the hand tool business and air tools are a big part of that. This tends to align with their offering of air compressors which obviously are a necessary machine to have when using air tools.

Types of Porter Cable Models

Porter Cable does offer a variety of garage air compressors with larger 60 and 80 gallon tanks. The majority seem to be smaller portable compressors though for job sites on the go. The types of compressors they do offer in different models are as follows:

Pancake Compressors: A pancake compressor is a smaller portable air compressor used for both home and commercial jobs. The volume of air needed is typically a lot smaller than industrial versions. They call them pancakes because of the flat and oval-shaped tank used to store the air, which resembles a pancake. There is nothing special about these compressors and they run on normal household electrical circuits. This makes them perfect for useful small businesses and the average do it yourself-er requiring occasional compressed air.

Hot Dog Compressors: Hot dog compressors are popular with the occasional compressed air user since they have the power to run small air tools such as staplers and other various minimal task tools.
The air tanks are a bit bigger than pancake compressors, but also heavier. They are typically equipped with handles or some type of carrying mechanism. These machines are oil less and usually very loud. However, they do require minimal maintenance.

Portable single stage air compressors: These compressors are very popular with people in construction or carpentry that need to run tools like nail guns and similar air tools on a consistent basis through out the day. These are perfect for contract or home projects such as framing a house or building an addition to your house.  These units are not as portable, typically more expensive, but have stronger engines and better pumps for longer use.

Stationary single stage compressors: These compressors work great around a garage or home where air is need on occasion. They are not as portable so they typically stay in a single space. They are often used in automotive shops for various small tasks, tires being one of them.  These should last many years with the required maintenance.

Overall Porter Cable offers many portable and single stage models. If you’re looking to go bigger or more industrial you may want to look at a different brand and type of compressor however.

Porter Cable Air Compressor Parts

When it comes to finding Porter Cable Air Compressor parts there are many options to find them. Like all compressors, Porter Cable compressors tend to have similar problems in these areas:

  • The air compressor motor sparks when you turn it on
  • No air coming from compressor hose
  • Makes hissing noise and doesn’t work
  • Tank drain valve isn’t closing

These problems the majority of the time are easily fixable finding replacement parts at the Porter Cable website or local retail stores like Home Depot. The majority of the time, parts such as the air filter need to either be cleaned or be replaced. Belts drive the engine and these wear out as any belt does and will need to be replaced as needed. You will need a handful of lubricants to help with keeping your Porter Cable Air Compressor oiled regularly. Many of the valves are also subject to corrosion and rust and will need to be replaced if not maintained properly.

Top Porter Cable Air Compressors

We’ve reviewed two of the top air compressors from Porter Cable that you’ll really enjoy using. We’ve gone over the top pancake and single stage larger garage models. These two really get the job done where it’s needed most.

Porter Cable 3.7-HP 60-Gallon Single-Stage Air Compressor

This is a great compressor for the money. A solid 60 gallon tank allows for a great garage compressor to have around for ease of use any time. Impressive specs. Read our full review here.

Porter Cable Single Stage

Porter Cable C2002-WK Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor

A solid but light duty compressor personal compressor that is ideal for general household do it yourself use and small construction projects. Check out the praise we’ve given it in this review.

best value air compressor

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