Keeping a quality air compressor in your vehicle’s trunk is a good idea, especially in the event of tire emergencies or during cold months when your vehicle’s tires lose air pressure due to falling temperatures. There’s a great deal of variety in the world of portable air compressors for car tires, so here are some of the best models that you can buy.
Why buy a portable air compressor?
While it’s possible to inflate your vehicle’s tires at a gas station or car wash, these machines often suffer from inaccurate pressure readings, high prices, and long lines that will leave you wanting a more convenient solution. A great portable air compressor, on the other hand, is a relatively inexpensive way for you to accurately inflate your tires whenever you’d like. A portable air compressor for your car’s tires will also give you peace of mind in a roadside emergency and can be conveniently stored in your vehicle’s trunk so that it travels everywhere your car does.
What should you look for in a portable air compressor?
- Features: Many portable air compressors come with convenient features to set them apart from the pack. Auto-shutoff functionality is now a common feature for portable air compressors. This allows the device to shut down automatically after a tire’s pressure reaches a preset value. A built-in LED light can also be immensely helpful, as anyone who has experience pumping a car tire at night likely knows. Finally, the length of an air compressor’s power cord can greatly add to or diminish its ease of use.
- Inflation Speed: If you plan on keeping an air compressor in your car’s trunk in the event of an emergency, the speed at which it inflates your tire may not be a great concern. However, if you plan on using your new air compressor frequently and for a variety of inflatables, you will want something that gets the job done quickly.
- Durability: Your new air compressor will probably call your vehicle’s trunk its home. That being the case, durability will become a huge factor in determining whether your air compressor will last. Rugged metal models will generally be more durable than plastic ones, but a compressor’s design will also play a big role in its overall durability.
Should you opt for a cordless air compressor?
Battery-powered cordless air compressors are quickly gaining speed as a solution for inflating car tires but are not a perfect solution for everyone. On one hand, their cordless design makes it easy to reach your tires, even on extremely large vehicles. However, these products tend to cost more than corded alternatives and can be inconvenient for extended periods since you will likely need to recharge the lithium-ion battery before completing a time-consuming job.
EPAuto 12V Portable Air Compressor
This reliable air compressor stands out for its compact size and quiet operating volume.
Pros: The EPAuto 12V Portable Air Compressor plugs directly into the cigarette lighter of your vehicle with a 9-foot power cord and delivers powerful inflation for its compact size. Its easy-to-read display features four display units (PSI, KPA, BAR, and KG/CM), a rarity for portable air compressors. While this isn’t the most powerful unit on the market, it stands out for its quiet operating volume. Its auto-shutoff feature and bright LED light make it a great value that will appeal to many at its price point.
Cons: Some reviewers have noted that this product runs fairly hot, so be careful not to brush your hand against its housing after it’s been running for a while. Also, its 9-foot power cord will accommodate most vehicles, but those with large passenger vehicles will probably want to seek out a product with a longer cord.
Bottom Line: If you’ve got tires that need inflating on a car, sedan, midsize SUV, or even a bicycle, this little workhorse is up to the task. It also can’t be understated just how quiet this air compressor is compared to similar models. That being said, those seeking a heavy-duty air compressor will likely be disappointed by this model’s underwhelming inflation speed.
AstroAI Air Compressor
This rugged portable air compressor inflates tires quickly and lights up for night use.
Pros: Thanks to its backlit LCD and impressive LED light, the AstroAI Air Compressor is incredibly easy to use day or night. Its 10-foot power cord leaves little to be desired in terms of length, and the price is good given its impressive durability and speedy inflation. It also comes with a number of attachments so that you can quickly inflate everything from car tires to sports balls and even inflatable rafts.
Cons: This product doesn’t sport a designated hose, cord storage compartment, or storage bag, so finding a place to safely store your portable air compressor might present a challenge. Also, while this isn’t the loudest model on the market, you might not want to operate it close to where your children are blissfully asleep.
Bottom Line: The AstroAI Air Compressor has a lot to offer, particularly its budget-friendly price tag and speedy inflation. Finding an ideal spot to store this unit in your vehicle is imperative in order to maximize its lifespan.
Avid Power Tire Inflator
This compact air compressor comes with a 20V battery and 12V power adapter for added convenience.
Pros: Featuring an impressive accuracy of measurement at +/- 1psi, the Avid Power Tire Inflator is a nifty choice for cord-cutters who prefer battery-powered devices. Its rechargeable 20V lithium-ion battery comes with a convenient battery life indicator, and a 12V power adapter is also included in case the battery dies while on the road. Unlike some cordless air compressors, this one remains stable when set on the ground during operation. It also comes with a handy storage case that is perfect for storing in the trunk of your car.
Cons: Like most battery-powered tools, this one only gets so much life out of a single 20V lithium-ion battery, and possibly even less than that on an especially cold night. Also, a few reviewers noted that the 12V power adapter did not work for them, so be sure to test it out if you opt for this portable air compressor.
Bottom Line: The stellar rating of this air compressor is indicative that most users found it well worth the investment. Just note that those who live in colder regions might face some issues when leaving it in their trunk for extended periods.
Slime 40050 Tire Inflator
This reliable air compressor stands out due to its affordable price tag and easy-to-use design.
Pros: Those seeking a budget-friendly portable air compressor that is every bit as reliable as much pricier models will likely love the Slime 40050 Tire Inflator. This product stands out for its simple design and doesn’t include any programmable functionality to complicate the process of inflating your car’s tires. Despite its low price, it also includes some nice features, such as its long, 10-foot power cord and LED light.
Cons: Unlike most modern portable air compressors, this one will not allow you to program a target air pressure so that the device turns off when your tires are properly inflated. It’s also worth noting that this product inflates noticeably slower than most of the other products featured here.
Bottom Line: While this isn’t the most technologically sophisticated air compressor you will find on the market, you wouldn’t expect it to be at its bargain price point. It makes up for its lack of convenient features with its reliable design and sturdy build quality, making it an excellent choice for its asking price.
Asani Double Cylinder Air Compressor
This heavy-duty portable air compressor stands out for its fast speed of inflation.
Pros: Looking for a more powerful air pump with amazing features? If so, the Asani Double Cylinder Air Compressor is a great buy. Producing a flow of 70L/min, it inflates tires much faster than other portable air pumps in its class. It also features metal construction for increased durability, a copper connector to prevent rust, and an analog pressure gauge that promises a high degree of accuracy.
Cons: This is another portable air compressor that doesn’t sport an auto-shutoff feature, so users will want to monitor the device’s progress as it inflates a tire. Luckily, this product inflates quickly enough that this won’t present much of a problem for most people.
Bottom Line: For those who prefer to routinely check their tire pressure, the Asani Double Cylinder Air Compressor’s advanced speed and rugged design make it an excellent choice.
Having a quality portable air compressor in the trunk of your car can make life a whole lot easier. These selections are dependable options to keep around in case of emergencies and routine tire pressure checks.