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Bostitch Air Compressor: Tested Review of the Popular Pancake Model

Portable pancake air compressors are popular with DIYers, but are they worth the investment? Find out what happened when I put a best-selling model to the test.
Glenda Taylor Avatar
A person using a Bostitch finish nailer attached to the Bostitch Air Compressor during testing.

Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

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Air compressors are game changers when it comes to driving nails, inflating tires, and powering a host of DIY tools, and pancake-style models are among the most popular for all-around home use. 

I recently tested eight trending models to determine which ones were well suited for use by DIYers and homeowners. The Bostitch air compressor combo kit took the top overall spot in our lineup of the best home air compressors as I found it highly effective at powering several types of standard pneumatic tools. Still, this pancake air compressor isn’t perfect, so this is a closer look at its features and performance during common home improvement tasks. 

Keep reading to discover what happened when I put the Bostitch kit to the test so you can determine whether it’s the right air compressor for your DIY needs.

Bostitch Air Compressor Combo Kit: At a Glance

Rating: 4.7/5

A person holding a Bostitch pneumatic tool that's connected to the Bostitch pancake air compressor with two other Bostitch tools next to it.
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

SPECS

  • Power source: Corded electric
  • Tank volume: 6 gallons
  • Cubic feet per minute (CFM) @ 90 pounds per square inch (PSI): 2.6
  • Maximum PSI: 150
  • Weight: 41.8 pounds

PROS

  • A portable pancake-style compressor that weighs 45 pounds and comes with a large carry handle
  • Kit comes bundled with 3 pneumatic tools, an air hose, and sample fasteners
  • Oil-free operation requires less maintenance and produces virtually no toxic fumes

CONS

  • Produces 80 decibels of noise, making it potentially not suitable for indoor use
  • May not be sufficient for powering heavy-duty air tools or for continuous use

Get the Bostitch air compressor kit at:

What is the Bostitch 3-tool combo air compressor kit?

The Bostitch BTFP3KIT is a portable pancake-style air compressor bundled with three pneumatic tools—an 18-gauge brad nailer, a 16-gauge finish nailer, and a ⅜-inch crown stapler. The compressor is a pancake-style that weighs 41.8 pounds and comes with a large nonslip handle for carrying. It’s oil-free, requiring less maintenance than models that need monitoring and adding oil to the crankcase.

The BTFP3KIT is well suited for home and DIY use. I have long been a Bostitch fan, and this combo kit didn’t disappoint. It’s compact, easy to move to the location where it’s needed, and it powers two air tools at the same time. I tested it using the three tools in the kit and a pneumatic impact wrench.

Bostitch Air Compressor Review
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

Power and Performance

The Bostitch pancake air compressorprovides ample power for typical DIY projects, including driving roofing nails, finish nails, brads, and construction staples. It features an air delivery of 2.6 CFM at 90 PSI, a 6-gallon air tank, and a maximum pressure of 150 PSI. The compressor easily kept up with one worker laying composite shingles on a roof, and its dual ports will accommodate two users simultaneously. 

I ran dozens of brads, finish nails, and crown staples in both plywood and scrap trim at a rate similar to what would happen on an actual project. When the pancake compressorcycled on, I could continue testing, and it recovered before its tank ran out of air. I also used the compressor to power an impact wrench and remove some lugs from a car tire. This required more air power, so the compressor cycled on more frequently, but it still provided the power necessary to remove the lugs.

A person using a Bostitch crown stapler outdoors during testing.
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

What’s in the box?

Several of the other air compressors I tested came without any accessories, not even an air hose, but the Bostitch kit contains virtually everything a user needs to start using the tool. In the box, I found the compressor, a nice flexible 25-foot air hose, three pneumatic tools, and sample fasteners for use with each. This is an all-inclusive kit that you could use right after unpacking without buying anything else.

However, I used my own extension cord because the standard 6-foot cord wasn’t long enough to reach my testing station. If you run an extension cord, which is common, just make sure it’s sized correctly. For cords up to 50 feet long, a 14-gauge cord is recommended, and a 12-gauge cord is recommended for cords up to 100 feet long. Avoid using household extension cords—the type used for Christmas tree lights—because they’re not adequate for the amount of electricity the air compressor draws.

The specs label on the Bostitch pancake air compressor.
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

Project Possibilities and Limitations

The Bostitch pancake air compressoris a compact little powerhouse that supplies the air pressure necessary to run many DIY tools, not just the ones that come with the kit. Based on its CFM airflow and maximum PSI, the compressor should be able to power other standard tools, including an airbrush, die grinder, ratchet, rivet gun, grease gun, and more. 

It’s on the border when it comes to paint spray guns. It will likely power light-duty spray guns for small painting projects or touch-ups. I would hesitate to try it with a commercial-quality paint sprayer that requires a higher CFM rating. Along the same lines, 2.6 CFM at 90 PSI may not be enough power to run other high-capacity tools, like industrial-grade nailers or continuous belt sanders. 

Still, users can tackle several DIY tasks and projects, such as framing, trim installation, roofing, and furniture assembly, making the Bostitch kit an excellent choice for a general home and DIY air compressor.

Bostitch Air Compressor Review
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

Is the Bostitch air compressor right for you?

Ultimately, project needs and budget will be major factors in choosing an air compressor. The Bostitch combo kit is relatively affordable, but it might pay to shop around before buying because it currently sells for around $200 at Lowe’s and around $300 at Amazon and Walmart

If you’re a homeowner or DIY enthusiast looking for a reliable air compressor for remodeling projects or general maintenance tasks, this might be the compressor you need. It’s suitable for powering many standard pneumatic tools and has a quick recovery. 

However, 2.6 CFM at 90 PSI may not be sufficient for heavy-duty or continuous use. In addition, while it’s considered a portable air compressor at 45 pounds, it may be too heavy for some users to comfortably carry or load on a truck bed. It’s also not a super-quiet compressor. It produces 80 decibels of noise during a recovery cycle—comparable to a vacuum cleaner or an alarm clock. While that’s not as loud as some shop-type compressors I’ve worked around, it’s not as peaceful as some of the quieter air compressors I recently tested. 

For those just getting started with pneumatic tools, it’s tough to beat the Bostitch combo kit because it comes with everything that’s needed for various types of fastening, and it’s ready to go right after unboxing. The three tools included make this a great value for the price.

Pressure gauges and hose hookups on the Bostitch Air Compressor.
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

Where to Buy the Bostitch pancake air compressor kit

Get the Bostitch air compressor kit at:

Meet the Tester

Glenda Taylor is a product tester and writer specializing in the construction, remodeling, and real estate industries. She and her husband own a general contracting company, and Taylor is experienced in both residential and commercial building applications. She tests various power tools and other home improvement, household, and lawn-and-garden products.

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Glenda Taylor

Staff Writer

Glenda Taylor is a BobVila.com staff writer with a background in the residential remodeling, home building, and home improvement industries. She started writing for BobVila.com in 2016 and covers a range of topics, including construction methods, code compliance, tool use, and the latest news in the housing and real estate industries. 

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