Best Portable Air Compressor for Car Tires

Disclaimer: All claims are strictly my personal opinion. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases.

In the desert, we have to deflate car tires to move faster, but we should maintain proper air pressure to reduce friction on the road.

You are an off-rider like me, then an air compressor for a tire is a must to have tools in your trunk.

You are like a regular car user who still needs it on and off. Hilly areas & bad weather conditions are prone to reduce car air pressure.

If you are a speedy guy, then you must have the idea to have equal air pressure in all tires; otherwise, a severe vibration may break your dream in the middle of the road.

You need to have a portable air compressor in the trunk; this will help you to avoid any nasty situation.


QUICK PICKS

Here are my recommended products picked out through amazon you would be interested in depending on your budget…

BEST PICK
Viair 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor
Viair 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor
12 VOLT - 120PSI Max Working Pressure, engine must be running during use.; 1.47CFM Free Flow @ 0 PSI.Max. Amp Draw: 20 Amps
BEST BUDGET
Slime 40026 2X Heavy Duty Direct Drive Tire Inflator
Slime 40026 2X Heavy Duty Direct Drive Tire Inflator
Inflates standard car tire in 2 minutes; Dual cylinder inflator for maximum power inflation

7 Best Portable Air Compressor for Car Tires Reviews

I have compiled a list of the Best Portable Air Compressor for Car Tires;

1. EPAuto Portable Air Compressor Pump | Editors’ Choice

  • Performance: 1.06 CFM @ 0 PSI
  • Maximum pressure: 70 PSI
  • Power draw: 15 amps
  • Cord length: 9 feet
  • Weight: 2.4 pounds

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • Overheat protection enabled
  • LED bright torch
  • Digital display
Things to Consider!
  • Short cord length

Overview

This air compressor holds an average rating of 4.5/5 on Amazon and is labeled as Amazon’s choice, with nearly 24.5 thousand users already benefited from this product.

It works exceptionally well on cars and has a 12V motor that takes 15 amps for it to run. It doesn’t have an AC plug and can’t be used inside households.

For using it, all you have to do is first ensure that the compressor is turned off. Then, attach the air chuck to the tire valve stem. Plug the power cord in the 12V cigarette lighter socket, set your desired pressure setting, and then on the compressor.

You also wouldn’t have to worry about over-inflating the tires as they have an in-built shut-off feature that automatically stops working when the pressure level is reached.

It also doesn’t get too warm when working for a long period, but if it does, it can turn itself off on its own. This is because of its overheat protection feature, which saves the compressor from damaging itself.

The compressor can give airflow of 1.06 CFM and can hit a maximum pressure of 70 PSI. It works pretty fast and very consistent. It is a single-stage direct drive pump, and for that max PSI level, it’s quite enough to deliver a great performance.

However, the cord length is just 9 feet long, and it would become tough to fill the rear tires without having an extension. So, we recommend you purchase a coiled extension air hose for better access to all tires.

There’s also a digital LCD that can show you the pressure in four units (PSI, BAR, KG/CM, KPA) and makes it easy to view in dark areas. Speaking of visibility, it has a bright LED light at the front, making it super easy to work at night.

You’ll get 3 additional nozzles that you can use for inflating different types of tires. This also allows you to work on other inflatables like basketballs and swim pool accessories.


2. Helteko Air Compressor Car Tire Inflator | Compact Pump


  • Performance: 1.24 CFM @ 0 PSI
  • Maximum pressure: 80 PSI
  • Power draw: 10 amps
  • Cord length: 11.5 feet
  • Weight: 2.58 pounds

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • Long power cord
  • Comes with a black storage bag
  • LCD Display
  • 2-year limited warranty
Things to Consider!
  • A bit quirky

Overview

This one is made to be used for car tires, bicycle tires, and other inflatables. It has a rating of 4.4 out of 5 on Amazon, rated by 5.8k users. It is also affordably priced and very compact in size.

Talking about its performance, it can pump out 1.24 CFM and can quickly inflate your car tires. The maximum pressure level it can achieve is 80 PSI, and it stays relatively cool while working on the first 2 tires. The body is made out of ABS plastic and stainless steel for maximum durability.

It can only be powered by a cigarette lighter receptacle, and since the amperage draw is only 10 amps, there is little risk of blowing the car’s fuse. And like the first one we’ve mentioned, this too has an overheat protection feature.

There’s an LCD on top of the compressor that tells the pressure levels in a digital format. You can also convert the number shown into 4 other measurement units. For better visibility in dark areas or nighttime, you can also use the LED light on the front.

It comes with 3 adapters that can be used on other inflatables and other types of tires. There’s an extra fuse in the box, just in case something goes wrong while operating. For storing all this, you would also get a nice black carrying bag.

A 2-year limited warranty has been offered on this product which is, of course, subject to some terms and conditions.


3. Avid Power Tire Inflator Air Compressor | Digital Pressure Gauge

  • Performance: 1.6 CFM @ 0 PSI
  • Maximum pressure: 100 PSI
  • Power draw: 15 amps
  • Cord length: cordless
  • Weight: 3.96 pounds

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • Powerful rechargeable battery
  • Digital gauge and LED light
  • Auto-stop feature
  • Carrying bag
Things to Consider!
  • No air hose extension
  • A bit expensive

Overview

This compressor is designed like an air tool and is exceptionally powerful and portable for inflating tires of cars, SUVs, and other inflatables.

It is primarily powered by a 1.5Ah 20V Lithium-ion battery that is rechargeable and can run for a long period. You can charge the battery by connecting the charger to the USB port.

With the indicator, you’ll know how much charge is left in the battery.

You can also connect the inflator to your car’s cigarette receptacle. All you have to is first remove the battery pack and slide the inflator to the 12V power adapter till you hear a click.

Then you can insert the lighter into the car’s cigarette receptacle and turn on the car.

It has a pre-set value function, which means it remembers the settings you’ve set previously. This saves time when you use it again later on. It also has a shut-off feature that prevents damage due to overheating and over-inflating your tires.

The size is incredibly compact, and you can use it from the battery to fill all 4 tires easily. But in case you run out of power, you can always connect it to your car.

The pressure levels are shown digitally, and it features an LED light as well.

You would get an air tap, one sports ball needle, and one bike valve adapter, along with a quality storage bag that would fit perfectly in your car’s trunk.

There’s a 2-year consumer warranty on the compressor, which is subject to some terms & conditions which you can find on the company’s website.

There is, however, no air hose extension included in the deal. So, you should buy one separately, just in case you have to use the cigarette lighter. The price is also a bit expensive when compared to others.


4. VIAIR 74P Portable Compressor for Car Tires | Best Pick

  • Performance: 1.06 CFM @ 0 PSI
  • Maximum pressure: 100 PSI
  • Power draw: 15 amps
  • Cord length: 16 feet
  • Weight: 5.05 pounds

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • Comes with a deluxe carrying bag
  • Vibration isolators
  • Thermal overload protector
  • Reliable and heavy-duty use
Things to Consider!
  • No LED lights
  • Expensive

Overview

This compressor by VIAIR works with a 12V permanent magnetic motor that is made for long working times. It has a duty cycle of half an hour at 30 PSI and can hit a max pressure level of 100 PSI.

You can connect this compressor to the cigarette lighter, and there’s little risk in using it as the amp draw is less than 15. Per the tech specs on their official website, this inflator can fill a 195/70R14 tire from 20 to 30 PSI in under a minute (at 30 PSI). For a 225/60R18 tire, the times increase by 20-25 seconds under the same conditions.

The power cord is 16 feet which is more than enough to reach all 4 tires of a car or SUV, especially considering the 4 feet air hose attached to the compressor. We recommend buying a 6-feet extension air hose for longer vehicles.

It also has vibration isolators installed in its base, giving a less stressful experience and stability to the air compressor.

You’ll get 3 extra adapters for using this on other inflatables, similar to the ones we’ve mentioned earlier in this article. To keep all of this together in one place, you would get a deluxe carrying bag that is zippered and is of high quality.

There are no LED lights in this compressor, and it’s also a bit expensive to purchase compared with others in the market. If any part gets damaged, you can always use the 1-year consumer warranty that you’ll get on this product.


5. Breezz Air Compressor Auto Tire Pump Bicycle & Car

  • Performance: 1.6 CFM @ 0 PSI
  • Maximum pressure: 150 PSI
  • Power draw: 10 amps
  • Cord length: 10 feet
  • Weight: 2.27 pounds

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • LED light
  • LCD display with a digital gauge
  • The smart way to wrap cord underneath
  • Affordable and lightweight
Things to Consider!
  • The pressure gauge isn’t accurate enough sometimes

Overview

This air compressor has been reviewed by more than 4.7k customers on Amazon and has given an average rating of 4.4/5. It is also affordable and compact in size, with an attractive design. It is available in red and yellow color.

It can reach up to 150 PSI and takes 4-5 minutes to inflate a 195/65R15 tire from 0 to 35 PSI. In winters, this time may increase, and you might have to do it every day or two.

This applies to all tire inflators as the pressure level drops significantly during winters.

The build is durable and made out of ABS plastic, making it resistant to corrosion and physical impacts. The compressor pump is made from stainless steel, which is made to last long.

You can set your desired pressure level and by using the buttons below the LCD panel. These settings would be stored for you for later use. It turns itself off when the tire reaches your custom pressure level.

This helps to prevent any possible damages to the internal tire sensor due to over-inflation.

The cord is very smartly wrapped underneath the compressor and is 10 feet in length. You would probably have to purchase a separate air hose as you might face some difficulty reaching the back tires.

You can power the compressor using the cigarette lighter, and it requires an amperage draw of 10 to start it. It has an LED light on the front, but it isn’t powerful enough, per some customer reviews.

There are 3 additional adapters for inflating sports and swimming pool accessories and other different types of tires. There is no bag for keeping all this together as you get in the previous products.

It also gives a continuous runtime of just 10 minutes before requiring a cooldown.


6. GSPSCN Portable Automatic Digital Car Tire Inflator

  • Performance: 0.9 CFM @ 0 PSI
  • Maximum pressure: 100 PSI
  • Power draw: 15 amps
  • Cord length: 10 feet
  • Weight: 4.1 pounds

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • Digital interface
  • Bright LED light
  • A cooling fan built inside
Things to Consider!
  • Low airflow

Overview

This compressor can work at 100 PSI and requires a 12V DC cigarette lighter to power up. The air hose connector can be connected to the valve stem via twisting.

Then, set the desired pressure level on the compressor and hit start (red button).

The airflow is pretty low (0.9 CFM @ 0 PSI), but as per technical specifications, it can inflate a 195/65/R15 car tire from 0 PSI to 35 PSI in 4 minutes.

Initially, it may perform close to that number, but the time may increase to well over 5 or 6 minutes after several uses.

It has a bright LED light on the front and a small LCD for showing details about current pressure and the target pressure. This can also be converted to other measurement units that help in conversion.

The weight is also pretty light (only 4.1 pounds) and comes with a 10 feet cord length and 2.58 feet hose, so you’ll have to purchase an air hose extension. The cooling fan built inside the compressor helps keep it cool, allowing it to work for a long period.

However, it has a low airflow rate (0.9 CFM @ 0 PSI) which takes longer to fill the tire. It has an average rating of 4.2/5 on Amazon (rated by 1,483 users) and comes with a 1-year limited warranty.


7. JACO SmartPro Digital Tire Inflator | Portable Air Compressor

  • Performance: 0.88 CFM @ 0 PSI
  • Maximum pressure: 100 PSI
  • Power draw: 10 amps
  • Cord length: 10 feet
  • Weight: 2.05 pounds

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • Anti-vibration rubber feet
  • LED light with 3 different settings
  • Quality bag for storage
Things to Consider!
  • Faulty cases regarding auto shut-off feature

Overview

This compressor is pretty similar to the others concerning features. It is powered by a 12V DC cigarette lighter that can be easily connected to your car.

The amp is pretty low, and the cord length is reasonable, so there won’t be any issues working with it.

There are anti-vibration feet installed at the bottom of the compressor to keep it stable when operating. It also has an LED light at the front.

What’s different about this is that it has 3 different settings: flashlight, red light, and emergency SOS.

For inflating other things like basketballs, you can use the 2 adapters that come with it. There’s one storage bag as well for keeping all this together safely.

However, some customers have reported that when you set the pressure to your desire level and start the compressor, it sometimes stops before that level is reached.

And when you increase it by an extra 10 PSI to get some more air in, the pressure reading becomes inaccurate.

Overall, it gets the job done and has been rated 4.4/5 on Amazon by 1.6k users. Not to forget, the user manual is also elementary to read.


Buying Guide for Car Tire Inflator

This exclusive buying guide mentions what you should look for when buying an air compressor for inflating car tires.

From defining terminologies to discussing features and their benefits, we’ve tried covering them all. This would definitely help you pick the product that best matches your needs.

So, let’s look at these factors in detail, and you’ll be in a better position to understand for yourself and guide others.

Max Air Pressure

Your pressure gauge generally states the max level of pressure that the compressor can hit, or you can find it in the product’s technical specs.

A compressor with a higher maximum pressure often is understood as the rate at which it can pump out air. This is not true. It simply shows the max level it can achieve at any given rate.

But this is also important as this would save you valuable time when filling larger tires, e.g., of an SUV. The normal range in compressors is between 50 to 150 PSI.

Air Flow (CFM)

The speed at which an air compressor can pump out air is called airflow and is often denoted in CFM (cubic feet per minute) or LPM (liters per minute).

When you go for tire inflators, always see how much CFM it can deliver. This would allow you to get the job done quickly. A problem with these portable compressors is that they are not equipped with large air cylinders that keep compressed air in storage.

So, the amount of air these portable versions generate is simultaneously pumped into the tire. This makes the compressor go hot quickly, resulting in overheating issues or a foul smell of burnt plastic. Plus, it can’t achieve higher airflow because of no reserves.

But we’re only discussing portable compressors that can fit inside your car easily and are lightweight. This would help you in great cost savings and give you a nice companion for your trip.

Duty Cycle

The duty cycle tells you the time period the compressor can run without requiring a cooldown. It takes into account the cooldown period plus the continuous runtime that it delivers.

This detail is mentioned in the technical specifications section of your user manual and is shown as a percentage. It is measured by keeping the PSI level at 100 and taking a temperature level of 72° F.

So, a 100% duty cycle would mean that the compressor can operate continuously for 1 hour without any breaks. A duty cycle of 50% means that it can run for a good 30 minutes straight, then you would have to leave it for the next 30 minutes before using it again.

Power Source

In the article related to truck inflators, we saw that these portable compressors featured a 12V cigarette lighter and alligator clips for connecting them to the battery. This was primarily because of the higher amp draw that the compressor required to power it up.

For these car inflators, you would find that they all come with a 12V cigarette lighter, while some of them feature a battery source as well.

Like the Avid Power, ACAP110D had no cord; rather, it was powered by a 20V battery just like an air tool. It did have an adapter for plugging it into the cigarette lighter receptacle.

So, consider the way you’re planning to work with and choose accordingly. Since the amp draw is pretty low, the risk of damaging your car’s fuse is reduced. Plus, nearly all of these compressors come with an extra fuse, so you’re pretty safe to use them.

Amperage Draw

This is the required amperage that the compressor would need to kickstart the compressor. You would find it easily on the manufacturer’s website or technical specifications.

We can also calculate amp draw on our own. We know that a 12V DC (direct current) compressor works from the portable version’s category on cars. So, we have to take the watts and divide them by volts (12 volts) to arrive at the amperage amount.

This figure is important to help prevent any possibility of short circuit incidents, blowing fuses, or tripping a breaker. Many people often use it inside their homes by purchasing an AC/DC power socket adapter.

If the amp draw is more than 20, then you can’t use it from your normal household outlet without tripping the breaker. So, knowing the amperage draw saves you from possible accidents and injuries.

If you’re using the battery-powered inflator, then you wouldn’t have to worry about this at all.

Cord Length

Always go for a compressor with a long enough cord length for you to easily reach all 4 tires of your car. The cord length should always be above 9-10 feet.

But if the wire length is short, you should see whether there is an air hose extension to compensate for that. It’s better if you buy one, in case it’s not included in the deal.

Placing the compressor near the tires while inflating them makes it safer to use. It prevents damages to the air hose and also provides airflow efficiently.

Display

Nowadays, these portable compressors have an LCD for showing the pressure levels. They tell you about the pressure in the car tire and what’s the custom setting you’ve set.

Some of the models can save these settings, and then when you use it the next time, you would directly start it, which saves a bit of time.

There are, however, some cases where the digital display shows inaccurate readings a lot of time. They are either overstated or understated by 1 or 2 PSI, but it’s the same case for analog pressure gauges.

LCD panels benefit from reading them in the dark due to their backlight, while analog ones are cheaper.

Tire Size

Check out what the size of your car tire is. This is when you’re planning to use it on a wide variety of tire sizes ranging from golf cart tires to SUV tires.

For a standard car tire, the timings are airflow rate is mentioned in pretty much every product you come across online. For larger tires, it would take a long time, obviously. This means both a longer runtime and a cooldown period.

Auto Shut-Off Feature

You should look to have this important feature in your tire inflator. By having this, you wouldn’t have to attend to the compressor while it’s pumping in the air. The risk relating to this that we all know is over-inflating the tire or bursting it.

The compressor turns off when the pressure level you’ve set is reached. This helps prevent the above risk and also saves time monitoring it all the time.

You can safely do other work while your car tire is inflating.

Besides, over-inflating your tire can ruin the fibers of the tire to an extent where it cannot be repaired. They deform and stay that way permanently.

Also, there are sensors installed in tires to help check the pressure level that the tire currently has. Modern cars have this, and you get a sign on the dashboard whenever you start your car. Filling in too much air could also render them useless.

LED Lights

Having a light on the front helps in navigating your way at night or in dark areas. You can also use this function as an emergency flashlight by turning it on & off to signal others.

Noise

The noise produced by the air compressor should be bearable. Anything above 80-85 dBA becomes painful to the ears and causes a headache. Silent ones often underperform, but they also allow you to have a conversation with someone while this happens. This is incredibly useful when inflating tires in the garage or any indoor area.

Weight and Size

These portable compressors are very lightweight and range from 2 to 5 pounds. They’re also very compact in size, which makes them easy to store in cars.

You should only consider this factor when deciding between your shortlisted products that you’ve selected based on other important features mentioned earlier. That is, the other features should be primary in deciding which compressor to go for.

Extra Accessories

These extra accessories make or break the deal. Sometimes you get a nice compressor with the right features, and that too, of your favorite brand. But then, some other product shows up and has an extra air hose in there. This could save you some extra money and also makes the deal more attractive.

  • Set of nozzles: A set of adapters that you can use to inflate other objects like swimming pool accessories or different types of tires.
  • Carrying Bag: This definitely helps in placing the compressor and its accessories all in one place. Some bags even have compartments for this that makes it even easier to locate these items.
  • Needle Kit: These needles are used to inflate basketballs and other inflatable balls, and different tires.
  • Extension Air Hose: It is instrumental in having, especially when the cord length is short. These are often coiled up to save space and stretch out to reach all the tires easily.
  • Extra Fuse: having an extra fuse saves you in the event of a fuse blowing out

Price

Well, the price of the compressor is probably an important factor. Let’s admit it, the first filter we apply to shortlist any product is the price. We slowly climb up from the cheapest one out there and make our way through to the one that has better reviews.

This way is better in comparison to just buying the cheapest one out there. There are fake customer reviews too that manufacturers leave to rank their product up on charts. A lower price doesn’t always mean cheap quality, and a better rating (with fewer customer reviews) doesn’t always mean it’s the best one for you.

But generally, we’ve seen that the cheap ones oftentimes wear out quickly and they don’t have even come with any warranties. So, ensure that there are many good genuine reviews, and it’s also the one that has everything you want. Again, price should be secondary in making your selection.

Final Verdict

Having a compact, lightweight, and affordable air compressor in your car comes in handy during road trips. And as discussed earlier, this would prove to be even more useful during winters when the pressure level drops.

You can easily keep it in the back of your car and can use it for multiple purposes. It’s probably one of the things you should take with you every time you hit the road.

So, keep these points in mind when going through specs and choose the right one that best suits your needs. We hope you found our list and buying guide useful. Do give us your feedback and suggestions!

Related Posts:

You may also love to read these my reviews and the buying guides…


FAQ’s about Car Air Inflators

Here are a few questions that people ask about Car tire inflators;

What is the Best Portable Air Compressor for Car Tires?

I have compiled a list of the Best Portable Air Compressor for Car Tires;

  1. EPAuto Portable Air Compressor Pump | Editors’ Choice
  2. Helteko Air Compressor Car Tire Inflator | Compact Pump
  3. Avid Power Tire Inflator Air Compressor | Digital Pressure Gauge
  4. VIAIR 74P Portable Compressor for Car Tires | Best Pick
  5. Breezz Air Compressor Auto Tire Pump Bicycle & Car
  6. GSPSCN Portable Automatic Digital Car Tire Inflator
  7. JACO SmartPro Digital Tire Inflator | Portable Air Compressor

How do I check the air pressure in my tire?

You can use a pressure gauge to check the current air pressure level that your tire has. All you have to do is remove the valve stem cap, attach the gauge, then press it against the tire nozzle, and you’ll get the reading. Gauges can be bought online at a low price.

Why is the right tire pressure important for my tires?

People often think that more pressure means better performance and traction. However, to get the most out of your tire set and ensure tread wear, it is recommended to fill the tires to their recommended PSI level.

How to pump car tires rapidly?

This is dependant upon the compressor you’re working with. A compressor with a low CFM rating would obviously pump out air slowly. The size of the tire is also a factor when considering inflation times.

One of the tricks for ensuring that the performance remains great and stays consistent is checking your air hose, connector, and the ground you’re keeping the compressor on. Sometimes, this results in disrupted airflow and leaks, which increases the overall runtime.

What pressure level should I keep my car tires at?

The best and most recommended way is to look at the sticker located on the driver’s side doorjamb. It tells you the range within which you should keep the pressure levels. Some old cars have this information on one of the tire’s sidewalls.

Generally, we can say that 32-34 PSI is a good range for keeping your standard car tires. Just never over-inflate them.

David Houghton
Latest posts by David Houghton (see all)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top