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Difference between compressor tank shapes?

Published Categorized as Air Compressor Tank, Air Compressor Theory No Comments on Difference between compressor tank shapes?

A visitor wrote in, what is the difference between dual bottle ones and pancake compressor tanks?


Howdy, and thanks for writing in.

When you say dual bottle, are you referring to those with two small tanks, versus the one tank of a pancake style?

Maybe there is no difference at all. Let’s explore that a bit.

A compressor can vary from another (other than in shape and color) in the following ways:

  • Voltage of motor
  • Motor HP
  • Compression capacity (how high a pressure)
  • Tank size (usually in gallons)

These are pretty much the only things about a compressor that you want to measure.

So, the tank size (whether a pancake style or twin “bottles”) is immaterial if both hold enough air for your compressed air using applications.

Porter Cable C2002 WK Oil-Free Air Compressor
Porter Cable C2002 WK Oil-Free Air Compressor

If the HP and voltage of the motor is the same in both cases, and the storage capacity in gallons is the same or close, and both units are portable enough for you, then I’d opt for the best price and THE BEST WARRANTY!

DeWalt D55151 Air Compressor with 2 tanks
DeWalt D55151 Air Compressor with 2 tanks

Sure. DeWalt does it, as does a number of compressor manufacturers as they try to get more volume capacity into a small compressor footprint.

You might want to read the pages noted below, all on this website.





by: Doug in S.D. CA USA

“So, the tank size (whether a pancake style or twin “bottles”) is immaterial if both hold enough air for your compressed air using applications.”

I wonder…on my twin tank machine, have noticed that unless it has been running a very long time the one near the output is much cooler than the one closer to the compressor.

This suggests that perhaps the first tank provides some “pre-cooling” by virtue of being somewhat thermally isolated from the second tank.

Then again, maybe not…

Sure, depending on the tank size and location, there could be some cooling, but really, on a small air compressor with a couple of 2 gallon tanks or so, the air is moving through so fast to the air tool that cooling doesn’t have time to happen.

If you wander through the section on compressor generated water, you will see that I do recommend a secondary tank be located as far away from the main tank as possible, and that is to aid in the cooling of the air.

That scenario is typically an industrial air compressor installation.

As it pertains to the fairly small pancake, twin tank, oval tank horizontal tank compressors, for all practical purposes, the tank shape is immaterial. Sometimes, you may wish to connect two air tanks together.

New comment? New question? Please add it here along with photos to help others help you with your compressor and equipment problem!

By Bill Wade

About Air Compressors has been helping folks with their Air Compressor Problems since 2002 online. We're a community of DIY and Compressed Air professionals who are keen to support everyone across the globe with their air compressor issues and troubleshooting. Whether you're trying to identify an old air compressor, or troubleshoot an error code on a sophisticated new industrial air compressor - the community at About-Air-Compressors.com is here to help you

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