Best Portable Tire Air CompressorSeptember 11, 2021
Tire Air Compressor or inflator is something every car owner should have. With some modern vehicles equipped with run-flat tires and tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS), a widespread misconception exists that a portable tire inflator or tire air compressor is no longer necessary. That is not true, as tires can lose air over time even without a puncture. Possessing your tire inflator enables you to conveniently and routinely check your tire pressure, ensuring it is within the recommended range. Underinflated or overinflated tires can have various negative consequences for your driving experience, including decreased fuel economy and increased tire wear. Investing in a tire inflator is a small investment that will help ensure your tires last as long as possible, ultimately saving you money.
There isn’t much that distinguishes portable tire inflators and air compressors on the market. However, some are better manufactured than others, making them more dependable and likely to last long. If you value your time, you’ll want to determine which products quickly inflate a tire while others have a maximum pressure limit. Finally, you’ll want to consider whether the product requires a 12-volt automobile outlet or a standard wall outlet. It’s more convenient to purchase a 12-volt air compressor, which you can store in your car and use on the go. However, keep in mind that some modern vehicles include a standard power outlet, and thus we include a few recommendations for those. The following are our top picks for portable tire inflators.
1. EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump – Editor’s Pick
The EPAuto 12-volt D.C. portable air compressor pump is one of the best-rated portable inflators on Amazon. This pump is rated at 120 watts and has a maximum working pressure of 100 PSI. In addition, it has an inflation speed of 1.06 CFM. A digital gauge measures pressure in four display units: PSI, KPA, BAR, and kg/cm. As with similarly priced products, EPAuto’s inflator automatically shuts off once the desired air pressure is reached. Additionally, the product includes an overheat protection feature that automatically shuts down the compressor if it becomes overloaded.
This compressor inflates tires on cars, motorcycles, sedans, and midsize SUVs. It does not support L.T., H.T., or truck tires. It does, however, include adapters for use with other inflatables. Additionally, a bright LED flashlight is integrated for nighttime use.
The EPAuto portable air compressor pump measures 9.6 inches by 7.8 inches by 5.4 inches and weighs 3.81 pounds.
2. The GSPSCN Tire Inflator is the best option for heavy-duty use.
This is our recommended model for heavy-duty use, as it features a double cylinder design and a maximum pressure of 150 PSI. This unit’s maximum airflow rate is 70L/min, enabling you to inflate a standard vehicle tire from zero to 40 PSI in approximately 1.5 minutes. We like this inflator’s rubber feet on the bottom to ensure the pump remains stable while operating. Several of our other recommendations vibrate quite a bit while in use, which may be bothersome for some.
It comes with an 11.5-foot air hose and a matching 11.5-foot cigarette lighter power cord, giving you a total reach of 23 feet to quickly inflate your tires front to back. Unlike some of our other recommendations, this inflator lacks a digital display, making it more challenging to read but is generally more accurate. In addition, the integrated handle makes carrying the tire inflator easy, and it can be flipped out of the way when not in use.
Battery clamps are included if you do not have easy access to a cigarette lighter receptacle. In addition, there are three adapters for inflating household objects and a bag for convenient storage.
3. Ideal for Domestic Use: Kensun AC/DC Portable Air Compressor with High Performance
The Kensun AC/DC Rapid Performance Portable Air Compressor Tire Inflator is one of the most expensive options on the list. As the name implies, Kensun’s inflator is compatible with both standard power outlets and the 12-volt cigarette lighter in your car. It’s equipped with a digital pressure gauge, LCD, and unit conversion to work with a variety of inflatables in addition to your car’s tires. Additionally, digital presets allow you to quickly deliver the optimal pressure to whatever you’re inflating.
According to Kensun, the unit can operate continuously for 30 minutes at 35 psi. The device’s front panel features a white LED light for convenient illumination in the dark. In addition, it includes two attachment nozzles for use with other inflatables.
With a 30L/min air flow rate, this is one of the fastest inflating pumps on the list. The black woven hose measures 23.6 inches in length, while the D.C. power cord measures 10 feet and 9.9 inches in length. The A.C. power cord measures 5 feet and 10.8 inches in length. This inflator is slightly heavier than most of the competition, weighing in at 5 pounds. It is 11.8 inches tall, 4.3 inches wide, and 6.7 inches deep. Finally, it includes a two-year warranty.
4. Best Cordless Option: Ryobi P737 18V ONE+ Portable Cordless Power Inflator
Ryobi, a well-known brand in the power tool industry, offers a cordless, battery-powered tire inflator. While the inflator itself is reasonably priced, keep in mind that you will need to purchase a separate battery and charger if you do not already own a slew of Ryobi tools. Capable of inflating tires and small inflatables between zero and 150 PSI, the tool’s cordless convenience allows you to move from the tire to tire without having to worry about power cords or air hoses.
The attached hose is 20 inches long and can be stored on the tool. A two-inch pressure gauge is integrated for easy reading. A needle for sports equipment and two high-pressure nozzles are included with the device. The Ryobi P737 18V ONE+ Portable Cordless Power Inflator has a three-year limited warranty.
Various packages are available online if you’re shopping for the Ryobi P737 and require a battery and charger. There is also a 12-volt charger available, which allows you to charge the P737’s battery directly from your car.
5. Pittsburgh Air Inflator with a High Volume
Pittsburgh Tool’s High Volume Air Inflator is a very popular compact electric air compressor which we like for its included storage bag, and three had inflator nozzles, the solid steel pump body, and screw in connection. The interior features a solid aluminum direct drive is connecting rod, piston, and solid metal sleeve for extreme durability. With a length of fewer than seven inches and a weight of slightly more than four pounds, it’s a compact compressor that fits almost anywhere in your car. The self-coiling cord eliminates the biggest complaint with tangling we have with other compressors we’ve used, although at five feet with a 10-foot power cable, you will have to relocate it if you’re filling more than one tire.
It’s also nice to see a portable air compressor that uses standard air compressor fittings, making it easy to change or replace the hose and other parts. Please remember that Pittsburgh specifies that you must connect and turn on the unit in a specific order or risk blowing the replaceable 15-amp fuse. Pittsburgh’s little tire inflator is one of the best tire inflators on the market and has performed excellently testing, and has thousands of excellent reviews.
6. AAA Lifeline 300 PSI 12V DC Tire Air Compressor
The American Automobile Association (AAA) offers a branded air compressor that is a 12-volt option that plugs into the cigarette lighter in your car. AAA claims that its product can inflate a standard spare tire in eight minutes, making it one of the more affordable options. It comes equipped with a robust and powerful motor, a ten-foot power cable, and a 1.5-foot quick connect hose. The compressor measures eight by six by 4 inches and weighs only 2 pounds.
The product is portable and can be stored in your car, ensuring that you always have access to it while on the road. In addition, it comes with three nozzle adapters that accept a variety of different size inputs in case you need to inflate something other than your car’s tire. And, like the majority of portable inflators, it features an exterior-mounted pressure gauge.
7. H Helteko Tire Air Compressor Pump Portable
While this is merely a portable tire compressor, H Helteko’s portable air compressor pump is an excellent choice if you’re looking for something stylish and attractive. This portable tire inflator is durable ABS plastic and stainless steel and comes in red or yellow. In addition, it features an LCD digital display that displays tire pressure in PSI, BAR, KPA, and kg/cm.
This air compressor can inflate a standard, midsize car tire in three to five minutes due to its 35L/min capacity. You can program this unit to the desired air pressure, and it will automatically shut off when it reaches that value. It connects via an 11.5-foot long cable to any vehicle’s 12-volt cigarette lighter receptacle. It includes three additional nozzles for inflating household items like basketballs and other sporting equipment.
Additionally, H Helteko offers a two-year warranty on its portable tire inflator.
Pros/35L/min air flow rate, auto shutoff, LCD, 11.5-foot long power cable, includes an additional nozzle, good construction, two-year warranty.
- Continuous work time rated at 10 minutes
- Some reports of early failure
8. Fortem Digital Tire Inflator
If you care about how your inflator looks, then Fortem’s digital tire inflator might interest you. Featuring a stylish design, this 12-volt system comes with a built-in LED flashlight and a bright LCD for easy reading. The product is simple to use with controls on the face with cord storage on the back, so everything stays nice and tidy when it isn’t being used.
The product comes with three nozzle attachments, an extra fuse, and a carrying case along with the air compressor. The power cord measures 9.84 feet, while the hose is 1.64 feet. Those figures are a little shorter than some of the competition, but the inflator only weighs 1.9 lbs, so it’s not as big of a deal to move around. Overall dimensions are 8 inches by 6.5 inches by 3.3 inches, making it one of the more compact inflators available.
It has a maximum pressure value of 150 PSI, although only for bicycle tires. It can continuously work for 8 minutes before needing to cool off.
9. P.I. Auto Store Premium 12V D.C. Tire Air Compressor Pump
The Premium 12-volt D.C. tire air compressor from P.I. Auto Store boasts a 35L/min airflow rate and a best-in-class pump. This enables it to inflate a mid-sized car tire from flat to 30 PSI in less than three minutes. According to the company, it is also the quietest in its class.
Because it is a 12-volt inflator, it is powered by the cigarette lighter in your car. This unit features a backlit LCD gauge that makes it simple to read your car’s tire pressure, as well as an auto-shutoff feature. It weighs 2.3 pounds and measures 7 inches by 3 inches by 6.5 inches, making it a compact unit. It is priced in the middle of the pack, making it a competitive offering when all its features are considered.
The unit has a total reach of 13 feet, and the hose features a snap-on connector for easy attachment to your tire valve. A carrying case, four spare dust caps, a valve adapter for bicycles, and a complete digital guide to tire care are included with the unit.
Several users have complained about this inflator overheating.
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10. Portable Tire Air Compressor VIAIR 85P
If you’re familiar with the automotive aftermarket, you’re probably familiar with VIAIR’s air suspension systems. Additionally, the company offers a portable air compressor that weighs 4.3 pounds and measures 9.1 by 3.1 by 5.6 inches. It can fill a 225/60/R18 tire from zero to thirty pounds per square inch in less than three minutes and has a maximum working pressure of sixty pounds per square inch. It operates on a 20-minute duty cycle, which must cool down after 20 minutes of use.
The compressor comes equipped with an LED work light, a pressure gauge that reads 100 PSI, a solid brass twist-on tire chuck, an accessory power plug, a three-piece inflation tips kit, and a deluxe carry bag. The 85P compressor can inflate tires with a diameter of up to 31 inches. The power cord is ten feet long, while the air hose is three feet long.
It is the most powerful compressor that VIAIR offers a 12-volt automotive outlet powers that. If you want something more potent from VIAIR, it will need to be powered by the vehicle’s battery.
What Is the Importance of Tire Pressure?
Not only does having adequately inflated tires make driving safer, but it can also save you money. Underinflated tires have a detrimental effect on fuel economy and premature tire wear and can cost you hundreds of dollars if not checked regularly. Even if your vehicle is equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), you should not wait until the light illuminates to check the pressure in your tires. That’s because most TPMS warns you when the pressure falls 25% below the manufacturer’s recommendation, at which point you’ve already sacrificed fuel economy.
Your tire does not have to have a puncture or a leak to lose pressure. It is estimated that for every three PSI below the recommended level, your vehicle consumes 1% more fuel and adds 10% to tire wear. Doesn’t this mean you can overinflate your tires without fear of pressure loss? Not entirely, as overinflated tires produce a harsher ride and are more susceptible to damage from potholes due to their stiffness.
You’ll want to develop the habit of checking your tire pressure once or twice a month to ensure they’re as close to specification as possible. This will prolong the life of your tires while maintaining the estimated fuel economy figures.
How do I determine the PSI recommended for my tires?
Almost all vehicles have a sticker with the recommended tire pressure located on the driver’s side doorjamb. Keep an eye on the sticker values, as some vehicles have different recommended tire pressures for the front and rear tires. If you cannot locate the sticker inside your driver’s side doorjamb, the car’s manual also includes the recommended tire pressure values.
How to Check Your Tire Pressure Properly
- To begin, you’ll want to acquire a digital tire pressure gauge. While conventional tire pressure gauges are less expensive and functional, a digital gauge is more accurate and convenient to use.
- Locate the recommended tire pressure in the driver’s side doorjamb, or you are manual, noting any discrepancies between the front and rear tires.
- Check your tire pressure when the tires are cold or have not been driven in at least 30 minutes. As you drive, the tires heat up, and the pressure increases, giving you an inaccurate reading. Tire pressures recommended on the doorjamb sticker or manual are for cold tires.
- Remove the valve stem caps from your tires and store them in your pocket or another secure location where they will not be lost.
- Press the tire pressure gauge against the valve stem, and a reading should appear on the gauge. If you’re using a standard gauge, it’s not a bad idea to repeat the check two or even three times to ensure the reading is accurate.
- If any of your tires have pressures lower than their recommended values, you should inflate them to maximize fuel economy while avoiding premature tire wear.
- Replace your valve stem caps immediately if you forget!
How to Inflate Your Tires Properly
It is recommended that you purchase a portable tire inflator or air compressor to allow for tire refilling at home. There are numerous portable inflators and air compressors available, some of which operate on the 12-volt cigarette lighter built into your car or via a standard power outlet. More powerful compressors that fill tires faster will require a connection to your vehicle’s battery. While most 12-volt inflators are not quick, they are more convenient and eliminate the need to pay for an air compressor at a gas station.
If you do not wish to purchase a portable inflator, the air compressors at most gas stations will suffice. Some stations charge while others do not. Once you’ve decided on a method for refilling your tires, follow these steps:
- If you’re using a compressor at a gas station, pull in as close to it as possible. This allows for easy access to all four tires without moving the vehicle.
- Remove the valve stem caps from all four wheels and store them in your pocket or another location where they will not be lost.
- Begin by turning on the compressor and pressing the hose fitting against the valve stem. Then, you should determine whether the tire is being inflated properly.
- Most air compressors include an integrated gauge that allows you to check your tire pressure while refilling. In addition, digital air compressors, which are available at some gas stations, allow you to program your desired tire pressure, and the compressor will automatically shut off once it reaches that value.
- It is preferable to overinflate your tires when using a compressor, as it is easy to let the air out of them afterward.
- Adjust each tire in the same manner. If you are refilling your tires after warming up, you should inflate them about 3 PSI higher than the recommended value. Check your tire pressure after your tires have cooled.
- Once you’ve refilled all four tires, use your digital gauge to perform a final pressure check.
- Replace the valve stem caps.