Best Car Air Compressors

Review & Comparison, Last Update September 5, 2017
You are likely to know that car tires should be inflated properly for a safe ride. How to pump them quickly and easily? Use a car air compressor! We have reviewed 5 best car air compressors to help you find the right model for your needs. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Power source
Air hose length
Pressure
Power cord length
Weight
Pressure gauge type
Features
Airflow rate
 
PROS
The built-in battery lets the inflator work with no power supply. The LED indicator on the charger shows the status of battery charging.
CONS
A noisy operation.
OUR VERDICT
This compact air compressor with 2 operating modes will successfully inflate/deflate high-pressure tires, inflatable toys and other items.
detailed parameters
Power source
12V cigarette lighter, 120V AC outlet
Air hose length
1.64 ft
Pressure
160 PSI (10.88 atm)
Power cord length
10 ft
Weight
5.2 lbs
Pressure gauge type
Digital
Features
Internal battery, 3 nozzles, Bright LED light, 2 operating modes, Automatic shut-off
Airflow rate
40 l/min
PROS
Convenient and reliable air hose allows you to pump tires without dragging the compressor around.
CONS
The compressor is rather bulky, so it is unhandy to carry.
OUR VERDICT
This powerful and efficient car tire air compressor will easily inflate large tires of trucks and other large vehicles, being a great option for private repair shops.
detailed parameters
Power source
Сar battery
Air hose length
16 ft
Pressure
120 PSI (8.16 atm)
Power cord length
8 ft
Weight
10.25 lbs
Pressure gauge type
Mechanical
Features
3 additional nozzles, Nylon carrying bag
Airflow rate
57 l/min
PROS
The metal housing withdraws engine heat and provides stiffness of the whole construction.
CONS
Some consumers claim that 15 Amp fuse breaks, 20 Amp fuse is required.
OUR VERDICT
Viair portable compressor is able to work at -4°F, so it will be an excellent choice for those who live in cold regions.
detailed parameters
Power source
12V cigarette lighter
Air hose length
3 ft
Pressure
60 PSI (4.1 atm)
Power cord length
10 ft
Weight
4.30 lbs
Pressure gauge type
Mechanical
Features
3 inflation nozzles, LED Work Light/Power Indicator, Carrying bag
Airflow rate
51 l/min
PROS
The safety light lets you use the compressor in the darkness.
CONS
A short inflation hose.
OUR VERDICT
Being lightweight and small, this air compressor will easily fit into your car and can be easily carried wherever you want.
detailed parameters
Power source
12V cigarette lighter
Air hose length
1.25 ft
Pressure
100 PSI (6.8 atm)
Power cord length
10 ft
Weight
2.05 lbs
Pressure gauge type
Digital
Features
3 nozzles, Auto shut-off function, LED safety light, 4 operating modes
Airflow rate
25 l/min
PROS
A moderate price of compressor makes it very affordable. The device can be powered from both cigarette lighter and 110V AC outlet.
CONS
Due to a low power, the compressor is suitable for light vehicles only.
OUR VERDICT
This is a perfect air compressor for everyday use that will be great for light vehicle drivers.
detailed parameters
Power source
12V cigarette lighter, 110V AC outlet
Air hose length
1.8 ft
Pressure
40 PSI (2.7 atm)
Power cord length
9.85 ft
Weight
4.5 lbs
Pressure gauge type
Mechanical
Features
3 nozzles, Carrying bag
Airflow rate
11 l/min

What Is It

Modern technologies advance and facilitate our lives. When driving, many of us face troubles of deflating tires. Now, with the existence of car air compressors, you can say "Goodbye" to those troubles! A car air compressor is an electric device for pumping tires if they've got deflated or just need to be pumped after installation. Car air compressors are usually compact-sized and can be placed in car trunks. Car air compressors are divided into several types, and we will tell you about all of them in our review. 

If you need to replace a tire on the road, we recommend you to read our review on Best Car Jacks.

What Features to Compare

Performance

First of all, you need to pay attention to the performance of a car air compressor as it determines its compatibility with specific vehicles. The car air compressors of 40 PSI are appropriate for tires of motorcycles or R13 tires of passenger cars. Such compressors are usually powered by cigarette lighters and come in handy when tires need inflation right on the road. More powerful car air compressors are suitable for tires of big vehicles as they boast higher pressure. So, the air compressors up to 100 PSI are generally used to inflate tires of minivans, pickups, and jeeps. The most powerful air compressors are used for trucks since their tires are capacious and need a lot of time to get inflated. Therefore, it is important to know the airflow rate of a car compressor (measured in l/min) as this parameter determines the time you need to wait till inflation is completed.

Design

The design of an air compressor should be convenient for use. In particular, consider the length of power cord; it must be long enough to reach a source of power supply. The air hose should allow easy connection to the tire valve. Pay attention to rubber feet that absorb vibration and prevent moving of a compressor when it works. Lastly, check the type of a tire valve connector; it may be threaded or thumb-lock. Threaded connectors are reliable and durable, while thumb-lock models are more convenient and quick-detachable.

Usability and Features

Here we can mention an automatic shut-off function. This feature stops a compressor when the required tire pressure is reached, preventing the tire from overinflation and keeping a compressor safe. Car air compressors may be equipped with mechanical or electronic manometers that show the current pressure in tires during inflation. Electronic models have the edge over mechanical ones since they measure the pressure more precisely and feature a backlight. Some car air compressor may come with special nozzles for inflation of household items like balls, inflatable mattresses or boats.

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Black & Decker ASI500

Truly Powerful!

The built-in battery is the main advantage of this air compressor as it allows pumping tires without connection to power supply. The battery charge is enough to inflate 4 full-size car tires. This is very convenient since there's no mess with wires and the work is not limited by a power cord - the compressor can reach all the tires. Whether powered by electricity or battery, Black & Decker ASI500 produces the power sufficient to pump tires of virtually any vehicle. We also noted that thanks to its low-pressure setting, this compressor will be handy for inflating mattresses and rafts.

Review of Black & Decker ASI500 Cordless Air Station Inflator

Superb Abilities

We would like to highlight the excellent functions this model provides. The automatic shut-off function is really useful and convenient since you can connect the compressor to a tire and do your chores while the tire gets inflated. The compressor will never feed too much air and will shut off automatically once the required pressure is reached. In such a way, the shut-off function will prevent tires from damage, saving your time and keeping the compressor safe. This is especially handy when you deal with capacious tires that need a lot of time to get pumped.

Black & Decker ASI500 Cordless Air Station Inflator in the use

Did You Know?

Black & Decker made a breakthrough after 7 years of its existence by patenting a portable electric drill in 1917. This event started the age of drilling and gave a birth to a multitude of models.

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Black & Decker ASI500 12-Volt Cordless Air Station
Black & Decker ASI500
Black & Decker ASI500
 

Q Industries MV50 SuperFlow

Powerful Does Not Mean Big

Q Industries MV50 SuperFlow is a highly powerful unit providing 120 PSI pressure. This is enough to inflate wheels of large trucks. The airflow rate of the compressor reaches 57 l/min, and this is a figure no other reviewed compressor can boast. According to our findings, this compressor inflates a truck tire in just 4 minutes and needs less than a minute to pump a car tire. Such performance really surprised us. Q Industries compressor should be connected directly to the battery of your car, so you don’t have to look for a power outlet to charge it. The compressor can’t be connected to a cigarette lighter since its amperage is too high for a car fuse. Note that the compressors of similar power are pretty heavy, but Q Industries MV50 SuperFlow weighs just 10.25 lbs. This is a bit more than most of portable models, but if you need a really powerful unit with medium weight, we recommend this air compressor.

Review of Q Industries MV50 SuperFlow High-Volume 12-Volt Air Compressor

The Best Driver's Assistant

We would like to point out that car air compressors have made the road trips easier and taken an important place at the service and repair stations. A deflated tire may bring you a lot of problems on the road, and Q Industries MV50 SuperFlow High-Volume 12-Volt Air Compressor is ready to solve them. A high power is an unquestionable advantage, yet this compressor provides an excellent usability as well. Pay attention to its air hose; it is 16 feet long and can reach every wheel without moving the unit. Moreover, the 8-ft power cord will let you use the compressor at a considerable distance from your car.

Q Industries MV50 SuperFlow High-Volume 12-Volt Air Compressor in the use

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TEKTON 5941 Digital Tire Gauge will help you measure tire pressure very precisely.

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


VIDEO
SuperFlow High-Volume 12-Volt Air Compressor - Review
Q Industries MV50 SuperFlow
Q Industries MV50 SuperFlow
 

Viair 85P Portable Air Compressor

Quality + Reliability = Key to Success

We'd like to draw your attention to the way Viair 85P has been designed. The metal used for the compressor construction is really rigid and it will serve you hand and foot for many years. Despite the metal structure, the compressor is pretty light and weighs just 4.30 lbs. The air compressor is equipped with a plastic handle that doesn't get hot and allows for easy transportation even after the compressor has been long in use. In addition, the rubber feet of Viair 85P absorb vibration of the engine and prevent the unit from displacement. The high-quality and dense sheath of the air hose will protect it from damages. The power cord features 15 Amp fuse that will prevent the wiring of your car from overloading. Finally, you can carry this compressor in a convenient bag that has a pocket for documents and nozzles.

Review of Viair 85P Portable Air Compressor

Goes a Long Way

The abilities of this cigarette lighter air compressor are not limited just by inflation of tires. Featuring the airflow rate of 51 l/min, Viair 85P can pump inflatable mattresses, balls or boats pretty quickly thanks to additional nozzles included in the package. The compressor inflates a 31" x 10.5" tire from 0 to 30 PSI within 4 minutes 50 sec (±15 sec). This is the performance you can’t be indifferent about!

Viair 85P Portable Air Compressor in the use

A Few Facts and Helpful Hints

  1. The manufacturer's recommendation is often a good compromise. This compromise is reasonable and you should trust it in most cases.
  2. Even the slightest tire pressure change affects the fuel consumption.
  3. The more frequently the outdoor temperature changes, the more frequently you should check the tire pressure. Mind a spare tire! Check the pressure before starting the engine.
  4. If you are going to drive over rough roads, it may be useful to deflate tires a bit. But after that, don't forget to inflate tires back!
  5. The overinflated tires are common to grand tourers and trucks. Yet if you overinflate the tires of your light vehicle, you can save on fuel, but it won't cover the cost of repairs.

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User Manual     Manufacturer


VIDEO
VIAIR 85P Air Compressor Unboxing and Review
Viair 85P Portable Air Compressor
Viair 85P Portable Air Compressor
 

JACO Premium Digital Tire Inflator - Portable Air Compressor Pump

Usability Above All

First of all, we have paid our attention to the power source of Jaco and found out that this device should be connected to a cigarette lighter, which significantly facilitates its use. Moving to the next aspect, the LED safety light proved itself very handy when the compressor was used in the darkness. Featuring 3 settings, this light is able to illuminate the needed zone, indicate your location on the road, and send emergency SOS signal. After all, a flashlight is always nice to have at hand. Additionally, this air compressor features an auto shut-off function; the unit will stop inflation automatically when it reaches the target pressure you can set on the display. This feature might be helpful if you've forgotten to disconnect the compressor from a tire. The inflator will do the job and switch itself off, taking care of your safety.

Review of JACO Premium Digital Tire Inflator - Portable Air Compressor Pump

The Greatest Tiny Masterpiece

JACO Premium Digital Tire Inflator is incredibly lightweight and compact. Thus, it can be placed in any place of your car, even in a glove compartment. So, from what we've seen, this air compressor copes with its job well and is able to inflate tires up to 100 PSI.

JACO Premium Digital Tire Inflator - Portable Air Compressor Pump in the use

Did You Know?

Do you know that every tire loses 0.69 bars per month under normal conditions? Moreover, this number is higher when the weather is hot. Check the tire pressure at least once a month and pay attention to the tread. The recommended tire pressure is usually specified in the car manual or on tires. When the tire pressure is not right, the fuel consumption and braking distance can be increased. The overinflated tires adversely affect a suspension - a car bounces on road bumps and the suspension is the first to suffer.

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Additional Info

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Best Digital Tire Inflator & Portable Air Compressor
JACO Premium Digital Tire Inflator - Portable Air Compressor Pump
JACO Premium Digital Tire Inflator - Portable Air Compressor Pump
 

Kensun YS-205

Aid for Everyone

The main distinguishing feature of Kensun YS-205 is that it can be powered both from cigarette lighter and power outlet. Besides, the compressor doesn't lose its power when connected to a cigarette lighter as compared to the mains. We also concluded that this portable air compressor is an excellent assistant not just for car owners but for motorcyclists. What is more, the compressor is relatively cheap, being designed to inflate. And it does its job well!

Review of Kensun YS-205 Portable Air Compressor Tire Inflator

Did You Know?

If a tire is pricked, the water can help! Still, you'll have to take some steps, too; you need to unscrew a core from a valve stem and pour a few glasses of water into the tire with a syringe or other means. Then, inflate the tire and go. The centrifugal force will "smash" water over the tire interior, and the water will block the hole of a tire, preventing the air escape. As water is a dense substance, it will leak out of the tire slowlier than air. In such a way, you'll get a couple of hours to reach a service station. Yet, keep in mind that this method is helpful when the tire is punctured but not torn.

Kensun YS-205 Portable Air Compressor Tire Inflator in the use

Tips

The air pressure should be checked only in cold tires. The tires can be deemed cold if a car hasn't been used for at least 3 hours. Even after several miles of driving, tires get hot and their pressure rises by 30–40 kPa (4-6 PSI). No panic, that's not a fault. Don't reduce the pressure in warm tires. Otherwise, the wheels will be used with insufficient tire pressure.

Detailed review of Kensun YS-205 Portable Air Compressor Tire Inflator

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Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


VIDEO
Kensun YS-205 (Home 110V)/ DC (12V Car) Portable Air Compressor Tire Inflator
Kensun YS-205
Kensun YS-205
 

Sources:

1. Air compressor, Wikipedia.

2. Automotive Air Compressor Buyer's Guide, About Autos.

3. Graham Byrne, Air compressor buying guide, CHOICE.

4. Cold inflation pressure, Wikipedia.

5. Thomas Klenck, How It Works: The Air Compressor, Popular Mechanics. March 18, 2015.

6. How to Choose an Air Compressor, wikiHow.

7. Chris Woodford, Pumps and Compressors, Explainthatstuff. February 28, 2016.

8. Types of Air Compressors, The Engineering ToolBox.

 

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