Can a Pancake Compressor Inflate Tires?

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Are you wondering whether a pancake compressor can inflate tires and other things? To quickly answer that, yes, it can. Unfortunately, very few people remember to mount this equipment in their vehicle before they set on a journey. There are also some details to remember.

Car owners who lack this item tend to rely on conventional pressures for all driving conditions, thus putting their suspension and tires at risk. This can be a dangerous and expensive mistake. In case they have a flat tire, they may have to wait for many hours before help arrives. The same can be said of owners of snow blowers, ATVs, motorcycles and small tractors among other devices. Having a pancake compressor is a very piece of equipment to have.

Let us first see how inflation is possible. 

Tire Inflation Requirements and Compressor Capability Compared

The tire of a regular car requires pressure of around 35 PSI (pound-force per square inch.)  Some large cars can use 40-45 PSI. Trucks and other larger machines will need slightly more than this. 

On average, a pancake compressor produces around 100-PSI pressure, which is well above what your car tire will need. The compressors that I have checked so far can even produce 150-PSI maximum, a good example being the BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor, BTFP02012

This shows that a good pancake air compressor will comfortably inflate tires. The good thing with this type of inflation is that it is moisture-free. The equipment also inflates at the desired temperature. 

Inflating a Tire with a Pancake Compressor 

So how does a pancake compressor inflate tires? This question may seem simple, but it can be confusing if you have not attempted the task before.  

Here is how to do it right.

First, do not worry that the compressor can generate over 100 PSI. That is a plus. 

You need to ask yourself a few questions. Do you have a regulator and a pressure gauge? Do you also have a tire chuck? Then you are good to go. 

A regulator ensures that the pressure stays within the recommended parameters. It stands between the compressor output and the tire, making sure that the pressure does not jump to 100 PSI instantly. 

Alongside the regulator, you need a pressure gauge to keep track of pressure inside the tire. This gadget tells you when you have enough pressure. It offers the best means of continually assessing the pressure so you do not overdo it.

A tire chuck is also necessary for the connection and flow of air from the compressor to the tire. It has an air connector to make this linkage possible. 

Now, set the recommended pressure, say 35 PSI if you have a medium truck. Please note that you can always confirm the right pressure on the tire. Connect everything together in the right order, ending with a tire chuck on the tire fill valve and compressor output on the other. Switch on the compressor and monitor. 

This video gives an idea of this procedure.  

Best Pancake Compressor for Inflating Tires- BOSTITCH Pancake Air Compressor, BTFP02012

The Bostitch brand is renowned for reliability and quality. You can rely on this unit to inflate a wide range of tires in any weather.  A high efficiency motor means that the unit can start easily even in cold weather. It produces 2.6 SCFM at 90 PSI thanks to a powerful motor.   

One of the appealing features of this 31-pounds item is definitely portability. You do not need a lot of effort to move it from one place to another. The unit has an ergonomic handle and rubberized stands, so whether you are carrying it by hand or placing it on a cart, chances of falling are minimized. 

The compressor also boasts of an oil-free pump, sizeable 150-PSI tank and quick recovery. These features outline a device that is not only suitable for contractors and do-it-yourselfers, but also a driver. 


There you have it; a pancake compressor can mean the difference between completing your project or journey and waiting distressingly for help to arrive. What has been your experience so far with your unit? Let us know how it goes the next time you inflate the tires for your car, wheelbarrow, lawn mower, mattress etc. 

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