Portable air compressors are highly useful for avoiding a roadside emergency or being able to quickly pump up sports equipment, air mattresses, and inflatable toys on holidays with the family straight from your car. Most portable air compressors plug into the 12V cigarette lighter socket that most vehicles contain, meaning you will be able to inflate anything from anywhere. Most of them also come with various nozzle adaptors, so it is unlikely that it will be unable to fit what you need it to.
Portable air compressors are just like normal air compressors. However, they are designed specifically to be transported and come in a range of sizes that are easy to store in your car either for holidays or for safety. They are powerful enough for car tires but also for smaller inflatables and are perfect take on your trip to use on bicycle tires to avoid the disappointment of being stranded with a flat tire.
With so many portable air compressors on the market, it can be hard to know which is best. Read on for our list of the 10 best portable air compressors and their unique features.
View the Best Portable Air Compressor for Car, Below.
- EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor
- VIAIR 400P Portable Compressor
- VacLife Portable Air Compressor
- Kensun AC/DC Swift Compressor
- FORTEM THE EXTRA MILE Electric Auto Pump
- Viair 00088 88P Portable
- Ryobi P737D Portable Power Inflator for Tires
- Kinverch Jump Starter Air Compressor
- Audew Auto Digital Tire Inflator
- HAUSBELL Portable Air Compressor
1. EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor
The EPAuto 12v DC Portable Air Compressor Pump is a digital tire inflator that plugs directly into a cigarette lighter socket in your vehicle for convenience. It runs at 12VDC between 10-15 amps and is 120-180Watts. It can be used for a range of tires for different vehicles such as cars, bikes, sedans and midsize SUVs. It is not suitable for LT, HT and truck tires but is not just limited to tire inflation, coming with adaptors for balls and inflatables.
The display is easy to read with 4 units: PSI, KPA, BAR, and KG/CM. The portable air compressor comes with a bright LED flashlight torch and has an auto-shutoff feature to prevent over inflation, so you don’t need to worry about knowing when it reaches the desired tire pressure. It also has automatic overheating protection and will stop if overloading occurs.
This portable air compressor is diverse, being suitable for a range of tire types as well as inflatables.Check Price on Amazon ➞
2. VIAIR 400P Portable Compressor
Best Portable Air Compressor and Tire Inflator
The VIAIR 400pm effortlessly inflates 35-inch tires with from 0 to 30 PSI in under five minutes. The air compressor has a working pressure of 150 PSI and has a maximum duty cycle of 33 percent. It can operate on a low power draw offered by any 12-volt battery. This is a favored air compressor for off-road enthusiasts. It comes with inflation tips and a 5-in-1 inflator/deflator open-ended air hose.
What We Liked About It: Easily operates for up to 15 minutes at 150 PSI.Check Price on Amazon ➞
3. VacLife Portable Air Compressor
The VacLife Portable Air Compressor is extremely durable, made with ABS plastic and stainless steel. The auto-shutoff technology is a useful feature which will mean the inflator will stop when the tire has reached the desired pressure. The LCD digital display is large and allows for precision which will make it easy to use and calculate the desired values.
These include. PSI, BAR, KPA, and KG/CM2. The multi-purpose air compressor is capable of inflating a mid-sized car tire in 3-5 minutes, making it one of the fastest on the list. The cable is also one of the longest, at 13FT, making it even easier to inflate all 4 tires of longer vehicles.
If speed is your priority, then this air compressor is ideal, being able to inflate a car tire in 5 minutes or less.Check Price on Amazon ➞
4. Kensun AC/DC Swift Compressor
The Kensun AC/DC Swift Compressor is made by a high-quality manufacturer and is unique in design because of its ability to plug into both home wall sockets and car cigarette lighter sockets in your vehicle making it possible to use everywhere. It comes with a selection of nozzle attachments that will fit almost every inflatable item such as heavy-duty tires, bikes, motorbikes, sports equipment, and inflatable toys and is perfect to be used inside or outside.
The advanced functions include an analog pressure gauge, a range of pressure selections and a continuous working time of 30 minutes a 35 PSI. The black woven hose is durable and measures at 80cm.
This portable air compressor is ideal if you will be using it at home as often as when you are away because it works with a wall socket which makes inflating smaller items convenient.Check Price on Amazon ➞
5. FORTEM THE EXTRA MILE Electric Auto Pump
This electric auto pump by Fortem is ideal for on-the-go convenience. It plugs into a cigarette socket in any vehicle and is operated by the flick of a switch. Once the PSI has reached the desired pressure, it will stop automatically to avoid over inflation. It is heavy duty and robust with a reliable digital tire inflator that comes with several adaptor attachments to fit a range of different vehicles such as cars, motorbikes, bicycles, ATV’s, Jeeps, sports equipment, air mattresses, and inflatable toys.
It is fast and simple to operate with a built-in LED light making it a vital product to keep in your car for roadside emergencies, making less hassle for you even at night. Storing and transporting this air compressor is convenient with the carry bag it comes with.
The body is made from durable yet lightweight plastic, and the hose is built to withstand pressure ensuring you will get long-lasting use out of it without it weighing you down. The hose length is 50cm, and the cord length is 300cm for easy to reach inflation.
You can be sure this air compressor is sturdy and durable with a strong hose and long cord length.Check Price on Amazon ➞
6. Viair 00088 88P Portable
The Vlair 00088 88P Portable air compressor is made from durable materials and is powered by alligator clamps that attach right onto the battery. The 12 volt – 120 PSI max working pressure can be used when the engine is running. It is suitable for small ATV’s, trucks and sedans with up to 33’’ tires. It features a LED power indicator for convenient use and a long 10ft power cord making it suit long vehicles with this long reach.
The air hose is 16ft making inflating tires even easier. The pressure gauge is placed on top of the unit to keep track of pressure easily. While this portable air compressor is good for larger vehicles, it does not work with bicycles.
This portable air compressor is extremely powerful and uniquely attaches to your car battery for inflating large tires.Check Price on Amazon ➞
7. Ryobi P737D Portable Power Inflator for Tires
Best Handheld Portable Tire Inflator
This battery-powered (battery not included) handheld portable tire inflator has the air pressure of a bit unit. The ergonomic pistol grip handle is easy to hold and you can effortlessly transport the unit. Keep it in your car or truck. You can even strap it to your bicycle.
What We Liked About It: It comes with two pressure nozzles, a sports needle, and an onboard digital pressure gauge.Check Price on Amazon ➞
8. Kinverch Jump Starter Air Compressor
Top Power Station Air Compressor Choice
The Kinverch Jump Starter Power Station Air Compressor provides 1000 peak and 500 instant amps. It is ideal for emergency situations and is fully transportable. The tire inflator and portable air compressor pump boast 150 PSI to easily inflate tires. It comes with numerous nozzle attachments for autos, bicycles, ATVs, air matters, water toys, and more. Inflates a tire in 6 to 8 minutes.
What We Liked About It: It provides two ways to charge - both DC and Ac.Check Price on Amazon ➞
9. Audew Auto Digital Tire Inflator
You can operate the Audew Auto Digital Tire Inflator easily by plugging it into the cigarette socket of your vehicle wherever you are. The cable is 3 meters to enable inflating all four tires with ease, and it works rapidly with automatic inflation. The one-touch switch makes starting and stopping it convenient. The Inflate Right technology allows for automatic shut-off when the right tire pressure is reached.
You can re-set the pressure needed before turning it on, and once this is reached, the inflator will turn off automatically. The LED lights are bright and long-lasting for ease of use even at night. The compact design allows for easy to carry with you, so you never need to worry about being caught with flat tires again.
It is also ideal for inflating bikes, motorbikes, RV’s, SUV’s, ATV’s, and trucks as well as cars and sports equipment. There are adaptors included for use with inflatables.
This portable air compressor is easy to use and will switch off when the ideal pressure is reached with a clear, digital display.Check Price on Amazon ➞
10. HAUSBELL Portable Air Compressor
The HAUSBELL 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump also has a pre-set option which will turn off when the desired pressure level is reached which prevents over inflation. Its powerful 120-watt metal motor is durable and can inflate a tire from 0 to 35psi within 5 minutes. You can easily plug into the cigarette lighter in any car to be used anywhere. The large LCD display is easy to read with high resolution.
The bright LED flashlight means you can easily operate in darkness when needed in an emergency and can inflate tires of all vehicles such as cars, bikes, sedans, SUVs, and motorbikes. There are 3 different adaptors for inflating sports equipment, balloons, and inflatable toys, and is equipped with 4 display units: PSI, KPA, BAR, and KG/CM2. It comes in a convenient travel bag to make it easy to carry.
This portable air compressor has a large light which is ideal if you will be needing it in darker lights and works at a high speed.Check Price on Amazon ➞
Each portable air compressor has different features to consider when buying. Some of the things to consider when you shop for an air compressor are:
Some portable air compressors have an analog screen, and some have a digital one. Usually, the modern air compressors have an LCD digital display which is much easier to see, especially in the dark. The analog displays aren’t always as accurate and can be more difficult to read.
Pre-Settings and Auto-Stop Feature
While most of the portable air compressors on this list do have a pre-setting option and an auto-stop feature, some don’t. These features will make your experience much easier and will enable you to avoid having to judge for yourself when your tires have reached the optimum pressure level. The auto-stop feature will ensure your tires reach the best pressure without the risk of under or over inflation which could risk causing damage to your vehicle.
Again, this is another feature that is common in most modern portable air compressors. It is worth checking this as the light is highly useful during roadside emergencies that might occur at night. This light could work both to help you inflate your tires, but also to keep you safe by alerting others to your presence.
If you choose a portable air compressor that comes with a selection of attachments, it will be more likely to fit a wider range of products. This will make your air compressor more useful in the long term as you won’t be limited to just inflating tires but also air mattresses, sports equipment and inflatable toys making it ideal for taking on holidays.
How to use a Portable Car Air Compressor?
Using a portable car air compressor is simple, although they do vary slightly, and it is worth checking the instructions. Once you have connected the plug in the cigarette lighter socket, it will be ready to use. If you have pre-settings on your air compressor, you can use the display to determine the correct pressure before you put the nozzle into the valve of the tire and secure it with a chuck.
Once this is done, you can begin to let the air into the tire. Keep an eye on the pressure gauge attached to the air compressor to make sure the pressure doesn’t exceed the desired levels even if it is fitted with an auto-stop feature.
How to Rewire From Car Plug to wall Plug Small Portable Air Compressor?
The easiest way to use a car plug in a wall plug is to invest in an adaptor which will safely allow you to use the wall plug while still keeping the car plug attached.
How long Should a Car Portable Air Compressor Last?
This will depend on how much it is used and how well it is looked after. Often it is worth checking if the air compressor has a warranty as this will ensure it can be replaced if anything goes wrong.
Even if your portable air compressor has an auto-stop feature, it is still worth keeping an eye on the pressure levels, especially if you are reaching the maximum level PSI your air compressor can reach.
Did you know?
When using a portable air compressor to inflate your tires, you will need a tire chuck to connect between the tire valve and the nozzle of the air hose. While most modern air compressors should come with everything you need, it is worth checking.