9 Best 12V Portable Air Compressor Reviews – Buyer Guide 2022
12 V Portable Air Compressors are a great tool for making your jobs go faster and easier. They can be used anywhere for filling a flat tire to running your favorite power tools.
Stationary professional compressors are used in gas stations and car shops, but portable air compressors are relatively common household appliances, and pumping up the football, to airing up bike tires, to doing small building projects that require a brad gun or stapler.
VIAIR 85P Portable Air Compressor
- 12 VOLT – 60PSI Max Working Pressure
- 1.26CFM Free Flow @ 0 PSI
- Engine must be running when in use.
- Easy to read tire pressure gauge
- Super bright LED work light included
Best of The Best
EPAuto Portable Air Compressor Pump
- 12VDC, 10 to 15 amps, 120 to 180W
- Engine size under 3.5 liter
- Universal valve connector
- 4 Display Units: PSI, KPA, BAR, KG/CM
- Inflate tires on cars, bikes, sedan and midsize SUV
- Bright Torch
SuperFlow Air Compressor Tire Inflator Ideal for Trucks, SUVs, RVs & Tractors
- 12 VOLT – 150PSI
- Air up a 44 inch tire from 25 to 35 PSI
- Inflate a 37” tire in 3 minutes
- 4 Display Units: PSI, KPA, BAR, KG/CM
- Inflates tires on cars, bikes, motorcycles, RVs, SUVs, ATVs and trucks
Here at Portable Air Compressors, you will find the best in compressors regardless the job you are trying to complete. With a portable air compressor as one of your many tools, you can finish that construction site project in no time or even use it for small jobs around the house.
What is the best portable air compressor for a car?
Here’s our list of the best possible choices for a car air compressor. Each one is highly reviewed and will easy fit in any car you own.
LifeLine AAA 300 PSI 12 Volt DC Air Compressor
If your first instinct is to go for a cheaper model that just works, this may be your purchase. It’s not intended for constant or heavy use, just emergencies and inflating the occasional tire at home. The AAA logo caught my eye first, since that’s the kind of endorsement that carries some weight.
Like almost all compressors of this type, it plugs into the cigarette lighter for power. These devices draw enough power that the engine has to be kept running, or you may end up with both a flat tire and a flat battery. The power cord is 10 feet long, so it should reach to where you need it.
Depending on how flat your tire is, it will take anything from 5 to 8 minutes to get it back up to normal pressure. However, its design is not sufficiently rugged to get rid of the heat generated by this amount of activity, meaning that you have to wait half an hour for it to be ready for the next job. Although it includes three different nozzle attachments to fit sports balls and the like, this thermal limitation also means that you can’t use it to inflate large objects like air mattresses.
- Stores quite neatly, so is not inconvenient to keep in the car for a rainy day.
- Good for what it’s intended to do, a few times but not on a daily basis.
- The 10 ft DC power cable
- Simply plug the DC power cable
- Very ruggedly built, intended for occasional to frequent use.
- Quiet (for an air compressor)
- Good quality air gauge, but only intended to be read when the unit is turned off.
VIAIR 85P Portable Air Compressor Heavy Duty
VIAIR knows how to make high-quality compressors and the VIAIR 85P is just one of them. The VIAIR 85P is a great portable compressor for emergency situations. Even though it doesn’t come with its carry case, you can quickly put it in the back of your car in its original box. It is very portable and doesn’t take much space anyway. Build quality is much much better than those $ plastic compressors that you often see in stores. The cord is long enough so you can reach all four tires from the cigarette lighter power socket on the dashboard.
This small air compressor is small but powerful, fast and not too noisy. The VIAIR 85P is almost twice as fast as the 70P, and it doesn’t move around when pumping. The built-in gauge is pretty accurate though you do have to turn off the switch first to get a reading. The brass screw-on tire chuck is also nice since it makes for almost no air loss
- Three-piece inflation tips kit included
- Solid brass twist-on tire chuck
- Super bright LED work light included
- Easy to read tire pressure gauge mounted at top rear of unit
- Accessory power port plug uses power directly from cigarette or power port
EPAuto 12V DC Auto Portable Air Compressor Pump
In contrast to the previous two products, “stylish” is not the word for this compressor. It’s neither small nor streamlined, but luckily has a fabric carry bag to store it in your trunk. Somewhat unusually, it’s rated for 120PSI, which is really irrelevant if your owner’s manual recommends 35PSI. Still, I won’t complain about the 3 to 4 minutes required to fill an average tire.
It also has a powerful flashlight, and automatic pressure cutoff, plus the ability to turn itself off when overheating. Drawing up to 15 amperes, it is not suitable (or necessary) for smaller cars.
- Working voltage: DC12V
- Rating power: 120W
- Inflating Speed: 1.06 CFM
- Min. Amp: 10 Amps
- Maximum Amp: 15 Amps
- LED flashlight: Bright Torch
- Maximum Working Pressure 70 PSI
- Display Units: KPA, PSI, BAR, KG/CM
- Quiet yet powerful.
- Automatic shutdown supported by an accurate digital gauge.
- Over-temperature protection on the motor will extend its useful lifespan.
P.I. Auto Store Premium Digital Tire Inflator
This product makes no effort at pretending to be a budget product, being aimed at people who are serious about motoring. It feels quite solid in construction and can fill a tire from flat in 3 minutes, though reaching its maximum pressure of 150PSI will obviously take somewhat longer. The exterior design, sleek and dangerous-looking, includes a number of easily understood buttons and a digital display.
Its integrated flashlight is quite powerful, and can be set to function as an emergency beacon. A 12 foot power cord might just make the difference between ease of use and a geometry problem for larger vehicles, or when inflating the tires on an attached trailer. There’s no minimum target setting, which can be useful when you want to inflate a football or basketball to exactly the right pressure.
If you can buy this product without balking at the price, you will be highly satisfied. It’s easy to use, powerful, and something you can show off to your friends.
Kensun Multi-Use Tire Inflator Portable Car Air Compressor Review
Another favorite of mine, the Kensun D1002 tire inflator can operate under 12 Volts as well as 110 Volts, which makes it great and versatile for both at home or when enjoying time outdoors or on the road.
This compressor has a quite sufficient 21.7 inch air hose and a long AC electrical cord of 9 feet and 10 inches, as well as a 6 ft 7in DC 12 Volt cord. It can be used for effective tire pumping of tires up to 33 inches. It is offered with three different nozzles which fit any type of vehicle as well as for pumping up camping, beach and sports equipment and inflatable toys.
Its main pros are that it is of very high quality, with a professional build, also it is super portable and compact and yet a powerful appliance for the home or the car.
- Compact and Lightweight
- Quiet motor
- Easy to read pressure gauge
- 3 inflation adaptor nozzles
- Long-reaching cord 9ft 10in (3m) and air hose 2ft 7.5in (80cm)
- Convenient carry-case
Slime 40051 Digital Tire Inflator Review
The Slime digital tire inflator features a useful LED light perfect for night use. This tire inflator has a 12 ft reach and easily can be plugged into the lighter socket of your car. Also, it weighs only one pound and is just 2.8 x 8.5 x 6.5 inches big.
It is a low-cost 12V appliance, which has a screw-on inflation tip for easy attachment to the valve and better compatibility to the different types of tire rims, plus it has an auto shut-off function for regulating the amount of air to be discharged.
True, it can be somewhat noisy, and it does take more time to pump the tires than a professional compressor, but at this price and size. It is a great choice when choosing the best-valued air compressor, especially with its useful bright LED display, the auto-shutoff and the accurate gauge measurement it offers.
JACO SmartPro Digital Tire Inflator Pump
There’s almost nothing to choose between this product and the P.I. Both have accurate automatic shutoffs that display the current pressure while it’s pumping, beautiful design, integral flashlight, high power and the ball/bicycle adapters you’d expect from any product of this type. Neither is offensively loud, and they cost about the same, so I’m just presenting it as another option. Both are pretty compact at two pounds
It can be used continuously for 30 minutes, which is much more than you’ll need to inflate four tires. The Jaco is rated to 100PSI as opposed to 150, but so few people will need the extra power that this is hardly relevant.
Pros and cons: same as above, but the Jaco has an inline 10A fuse to protect your car’s electrical system.
We hope our list of portable air compressor for a car helped you kind the best one for your needs. We’ve looked at several of the available models here, suiting most people’s requirements for either regular top-ups or when your only other option is walking home. Take stock of what you really need: something you can use intensively or many times, or just once or twice in case you don’t have any other choice? Is it for a small sedan or a heavy SUV?
Most likely, you’ll buy your preferred model, toss it in the trunk and forget about it until you need it. At that point, it will suddenly be your best friend, so spend a few minutes thinking about which will suit you best.
In general, when shopping for the best air compressor, there are several main functions and characteristics which you should take into consideration, depending on your specific needs. Some of these include portability and size, power, discharge pressure (PSI), compressed delivery rate (CFM), price and others.
How air compressors function
Before you head to the store, I would like to give you some general guidelines about how tire inflators and portable air compressors work, the types which are being offered and what to look for when choosing the best one for you. I have also included reviews of my top picks according to their different main functions and characteristics.
The various air compressor types and designs
There is a big choice of different types, sizes, shapes and designs of air compressors. They also vary in power, discharge pressure, air flow and other functionalities.
Portability, size, CFM, and power
The power of a compressor is a combination of different factors, including the air tank size, the horsepower and its discharge pressure (CFM). So, when you are selecting one for yourself, you should be aware of the fact that it is the combination of these factors and not only the horsepower which you should take into consideration.First, and foremost always pick your air compressor to suit your actual needs. The bigger its tank, the more work can be performed before it has to fill up with air again. But also, the more gallons the air tank is, the bigger the air compressor, and the higher the price of the unit will most likely be.The horsepower of the motor can vary, but in general, if the compressor uses a standard 110v outlet, the actual horsepower will reach 2hp.Along with the above characteristics, also look at the CFM and PSI values and the combination between the two.
The different power source options â€“ gas and electricity
The ultimate benefits of air compressors which are gas powered are their mobility and their continuous operation. Obviously, they donâ€™t need cords or a power outlet so they can be used anywhere. They are usually preferred for heavy duty jobs for outdoors since the fumes produced are rather toxic, and the gasoline is very flammable.The electrically powered compressors are more common for home and non-professional use. They are cheaper, and usually, they are smaller and safer to use. They are more fitted for occasional, non-heavy duty use.
Buy The Best Rated Portable Air Compressor
Are you Looking for the best handheld compressors? Here is a list of some great 12v portable air compressors and tire inflators. One of them could be the one you’ve been looking for. We have 12-volt air compressors from Viair, Goodyear, Q Industries, Slime, Masterflow, etc.
Further notes and information
Main features of the air compressor
Always look for the type of motor, the power and the type of maintenance it requires when choosing the best portable air compressor.
Possible extra features
Some air compressors come with wheels, roll cages, handles for carrying, air filters and other extras which can be very convenient both at home and when on a trip.
You should get to know the safety requirements for using the air compressor, to stay safe, avoid injuries and also to help keep the appliance working efficiently for longer.
Power Tools attached to air compressors
There are different power tools which are most commonly used along with air compressors, some of the main ones include:
- Impact Wrenches
- Nail guns
- Tire inflators
Now that you are done reading the information which I have summed up for you, I truly hope that I have helped you develop a clearer understanding of what to look for when picking the best portable air compressor and the most suitable one to fit your specific needs.
How To Fix A Flat Tire With An Air Compressor
An air compressor is a great way to fix a flat tire. We all have those days when something at the last minute goes wrong and needs a quick fix, such as a flat tire. And most likely you have a spare one on hand, but if you don’t here are a few easy steps to inflate your flat tire.
What you will need:
- Tire chuck
- Air compressor
- Air gauge
- First, check your tire to see how many pounds of pressure per square inch that it holds.
- Use your tire gauge to see how much air is already inside your tire, and how much needs to be added.
- Attach tire chuck to the end of the air compressor hose, insert tire chuck into your tire valve and inflate.
* Things to be cautious about are making sure air is not leaking out from around the valve and tire chuck while inflating the tire. Be sure not to over inflate or under in flat tire.
A flat or depleted tired usually indicates that there is something defective with the tire itself or the tube within the tire, and should be replaced as soon as possible. Using an air compressor is a way to make a quick fix if you have no spare tire available.