It is always right to have your car and truck tires to always have the right amount of pressure. What will happen if you found yourself in a scenario where your car tire pressure is low and you are miles away from a gas station to inflate them?
When that happens, the best portable air compressor for car and trucks could come in handy. They are the type of inflators which will ensure that you inflate the tires in areas which are unlikely. Due to that, they tend to be a great part of the essentials which you should ensure that you have in your car.
Comparison Table of Products
Portable Air Compressor Reviews
1. Bostitch BTFP02012Oil Free Compressor
It is an air compressor which is quiet, small and thus, ideal for lower key projects and home garage workspace. It is still an air compressor which has a great power capacity, large tank capacity, and large PSI as well. It requires a power supply and it is oil free. For multi-tool usage and connection, it has two hoses.
On the overall, it is on the overall, very lightweight, easy to carry and also easy to store. Though small, it doesn’t stop it from being a very efficient air compressor. It has the advantage of being free of maintenance.
It is an electric portable air compressor which is useful for cleaning and inflation of applications and also for use on operating tools. It is a top rate compressor with 150 PSI, 6.0-gallon tank, and 2.6 SCFM which is at 90 PSI for run times which are longer and a quick recovery.
It tends to use a highly efficient 10.5 Amp motor which makes starting easy even when the weather is cold to ensure that, it remains a great air compressor which you can use in whatever season.
It is a pancake style compressor which uses long life oil free and the pump is maintenance free which makes it convenient due to the fact that there will be no need for daily maintenance and surfaces being stained.
It is rated at 78.5 dBA when it comes to noise and thus, it means that it is a compressor which is relatively quiet. Though you will hear some noises, it is very low as compared to others in its category. It also has a coupler and high flow regulator which plays a very important role in ensuring that the performance of the air tools is maximized.
1. Long runtimes and quicker recover
2. High flow couplers and regulators
3. Relatively low operating level of noise
4. Easy startup of the motor
5. Maintenance free pump and convenient oil.
1. Does not come with the accessory kit
2. Porter-cable PSI Pancake Compressor
This air compressor by porter cable is made as portable as possible, weighing only 26 lbs and energy consumption of 0.8 HP. It is measuring about 18 inches on all the sides which makes it easy to carry from one place to the next.
It is an air compressor which is ideal for framing jobs and small roofing as well as when you need to inflate stuff. It is one of the best 6-gallon air compressors of the pancake style which is on the market when you compare with others in the same price bracket.
When you purchase it, you will be able to get an oil-free pump which will be able to deliver 2.0 SCFM measuring at about 90 PSI pressure. It has a simple control system and a tank of about 3.5 gallons with a 135 PSI maximum pressure.
Although having a small tank makes it be quite compact and at the same time, portable, it creates for it a certain disadvantage as it limits its use with air tools which don’t require a lot of air.
1. To get regulated air, it comes with a quick coupler
2. It delivers 2.0 SFCM at 90PSI which could be ideal for most of the small jobs
3. The pump which is oil-free provides durability with a maintenance rate of zero
4. It is lightweight for easy portability – just at 26 lbs
5. It is compact for easy storage
1. The tank is small – at 3.5 gallons only.
3. Porter-cable oil free CMB 1.5 Gallon
It is a fully shrouded compressor which gives a 2.0 SFCM at 90PSI which is powerful, fast, and recovery time is reduced. Its tank is lightweight at 1.5 gallon, making it lightweight, portable and has feet of rubber to enable it to be able to stand by itself.
It is a tank which has a maximum pressure of 150 PSI, meaning it can store a lot of air and thus, will give you a longer service. For getting rid of the excessive water to enable to air compressor perform at its best, it has a water drain valve.
It is an air compressor which uses a pump which is oil-free and thus, you will be able to have easier maintenance and high durability in case you decide that, this is the air compressor you want to go for.
Its motor has a low amp of 120V, which ensures that it will easily start in cold weather, or even you use a cord extension. At 79 decibels, this particular air compressor operates silently and to provide for protection against moving and hot tools, it is enclosed.
This is one of the smallest air compressors which comes with an accessory kit of 8 pieces and a coil hose measuring 25 feet to help with the tasks of inflation. If you are looking for an air compressor which is small and which at the same time can work indoors without your family being disturbed, this could be the right choice. It is one of the quietest compressor found on the market.
1. Gives top-notch performance
2. It is a quiet air compressor
3. It comes with an 8 piece accessory kit
4. Comes with a 25 foot coil hose
5. It can easily start in cold weather.
1. At times it has an internal leak, letting the air out.
4. VIAAR 400P portable compressor with an automatic function
This might be one of the best portable air compressors for car and truck tires which is powerful and capable of filling in tires up to 35 inches and with a PSI range of 0-30 in five minutes or less. It tends to be easy to operate which will allow you to use less time in inflating the tires.
It is possible for you to monitor the tire air pressure through inflator hose or inline inflator and gauge, which comes with your purchase. But it is necessary that you ensure that the unit is turned off so that you get pressure readings which are accurate.
This portable compressor comes with a compression which is powerful, reaching up to 150PSI and thus, allowing easy tire inflation. It comes with all the necessary accessories to ensure that, you enjoy using it. The items are held together in a handy bag; has also tray which is vibration resistant which enables you to control any vibration, and in the process, offering an operation which is quiet.
Due to the fact that it operates 12 volts, you can utilize it on recreational vehicles. It is an air compressor which operates at a 0 PSI and 2.3 CFM free flow.
1. Has a vibration resistant tray
2. Has a bag to carry in the items easily
3. It can be used on tires up to 35 inches
4. It has a maximum working pressure of up to 150PSI
5. It comes with dual battery clamps and which is heavy duty
1. It is expensive
5. EPAuto Portable Air Compressor Pump 12 V DC
This particular air compressor is designed in such a way that, it might just be the right one to meet your inflation needs from rafts to car tires, to ATV tires to the footballs. Though small, it is very powerful and thus, able to accommodate the various needs making it fit in your car trunk without much space being taken.
For it to work, you will only need to plug it into the socket of the cigarette lighter and turn it on. Though it tends to be a little bit bigger as compared to its box style counterparts, at just 3.8 pounds it is not very big.
If you decide that this is the air compressor you are going to purchase, then you will be able to get a motor which is very powerful and which will provide good airflow. It comes with an easy to read LCD screen and auto cut off built in to be able to protect against any over inflation. It comes with several nozzle adaptors which are capable of tackling several inflation needs.
Overheating is prevented by its built-in cut-off. Remember that, at times the air compressor can get very hot while using it and if you don’t give it a break, it might blow a fuse or burn out. but with this model, there is no cause for alarm as it automatically cuts off power when its highest operating temperature is reached.
1. Connect to cigarette lighter socket
2. Simple to use
3. It protects itself from overheating
4. LED flashlight
5. Good performance
1. Doesn’t have an adaptor for a wall socket
6. Helketo Portable Air Compressor Pump – 150 PSI 12V
It is one of the modern air compressors in the market which is small and self-contained without having any external storage box or case as everything is stored internally.
To make it one of the best air compressors for the car, it is manufactured from high-quality materials. This is to ensure that, it is capable of delivering some great performance all the time. It uses durable stainless steel and ABS plastics. When it comes to overall functionality, it works great making it one of the best models available in the market.
Another great feature that made it make to the list of some of the best portable air compressor for car and truck tires is that it comes with an auto shut feature. It is a feature which allows you to set the tire pressure that you desire for the machine to be able to inflate. Once you reach the pressure, the pump stops automatically. This helps in ensuring that there are no issues such as tire over inflating.
It comes with a great LCD display, which has a bright display and a large high precision. This will help in ensuring that, you have ease of calculating the values which are required so that you enjoy great usability. Being a powerful compressor, it will be able to make faster inflation and thus, you should be good in the shortest time possible.
1. It has a compact, ergonomic layout
2. It is a strong build which makes the unit long lasting
3. It has a maximum pressure of 150PSI
4. It comes with an extended warranty of 18 months
5. You can easily power it from the car cigarette lighter
1. It doesn’t come with an adaptor to connect to the house wall
7. Kensun Portable Car Air Compressor Pump – 12 V DC
It is a compressor which can work on both AC and DC meaning, you can be able to plug in your car or directly into the electricity at home. Its inflators will be able to bring you an analog display where the pressure quantity can easily be identified.
It has a sturdy and well-built design, with a performance that is swift to inflate tires in the shortest time possible. The AC/DC options make it very convenient for you to decide whether to inflate and put your vehicle or use it to inflate other products either outdoor or indoor.
Just like other air compressors, it is an air compressor which comes with different types of nozzles which you can use to inflate anything from bikes, cars, and sports equipment.
1. With safety, you will be able to carry it with ease
2. It doesn’t have plastic parts
3. It is capable of reflecting light as it is able to work in the dark
4. It is easy to store
5. It is a design which is compact
6. It can be used for many items thus, versatile
1. Too Loud
What Should I Look For When Buying An Portable Air Compressor?
1. Horsepower (HP): Before you purchase a portable air compressor for your car and truck, you have to check the horsepower rating. There are some marketing companies which tend to exaggerate the horsepower ratings to ensure that, they make sales in the stores.
The good news is that the industrial air compressors mostly are accurately rated. This is the reason why you will find an industrial compressor with a lower horsepower tends to be more expensive as compared to a highly rated hobby type
The best way to tell if a horsepower of the air compressor you intend to purchase is overrated or real is by trying to look at the amount of electrical power that it uses to run. A true rated horsepower will run on a higher volt circuit of a single phase as compared to an overrated one, which will run on a lower volt circuit.
The electric motor HP tends to be rated differently from the gas engine HP.
2. Cubic Feet Per Minute (CFM): There is a certain volume of air which is required by air tools in order to make them keep going. The volume of air which a compressor is capable of producing is normally rated in CFM, cubic feet per meter. It is possible to see various ratings of CFM at different pressures on your compressor. You might see a high rating for CFM displacement which is normally calculated using the speed and size of the compressor pump.
When you see such rating, it doesn’t add up to anything much since it is at zero pressure, and thus, the pump’s inefficiencies are not considered. When you have a smaller compressor, the most important CFM rating is 90PSI because, at this PSI, most tools can be able to run. Just like the HP ratings, PSI tends also to be overrated at times.
3. Single-Stage and Two-Stage Air Compressors: Single-stage compressors have one or more cylinder with each cylinder having to pump air in a direct manner to the tank. When it comes to two stage air compressors, they have two or more cylinders with the air pumping from one cylinder to the next and then directed to the tank.
A two cylinder, two stage pump will ensure that the air is pumped through tube for cooling and taken into the cylinder for second stagewhich is normally smaller at 90PSI and then, it is finally directed into a tank at 175PSI. Why buy a two-stage compressor is that, if you are in need of high pressure. But since most applications don’t require high pressure, there will be no need for it.
There are those who believe that a two-way compressor is more high quality as compared to a single stage one but that doesn’t always is the case. For most applications, you are better off using a single stage quality compressor instead of going for a low quality big two-stage one.
4. Moisture Problems: When the air in your compressor gets hot, whenever it cools down, there is water which condenses from it. The more work the condenser does, the more the number of problems concerning moisture you are going to encounter.
At times, the best way to be able to solve the moisture problems is to ensure that, you have a bigger compressor to avoid it overworking and getting hot. Some inconsistency moisture problems can be sorted out through control of humidity in the air.
Compressors are built in such a way that, they collect water droplets and not water vapor. So when the water gets hot, it will carry the moisture through and the water vapor will then condense in the hose. All you have to do is to make sure that, the air becomes as cool as possible before it is trapped as moisture.
5. Air Pressure (PSI): Air pressure is normally rated in PSI or pounds per square inch. Most tools which use air to require at least 90 PSI in order to be able to run well. But in order to maintain the 90 PSI, there is a need to have a compressor which has a high shut-off pressure.
Industrial compressors normally have two-stage, meaning, they are able to build up to shut off pressure in two stages. The first stage is able to build to about 90 PSI while the second stage builds up to 175 PSI. Most smaller and hobby, commercial duty compressors are normally single stage and they are shut off is between 125 to 135 PSI.
It seems like it is a lot of air pressure, but they are normally able to kick in when at about 110 PSI, and if you go considering the pressure drop which is caused by restrictions in the couplers and the hose, it is possible that, you might end up not having enough pressure at the tool.
6. Air Compressor Tank Size: Does the size of the air compressor tank matter? Not much. It is not the compressor tank which produces air. Its work is only to store air. It is important to have a big enough motor and pump since when more air is produced for use, there will be no single time you will be minus air irrespective of the size of the tank.
But there are some situations where you will need to save money by ensuring that you get a smaller compressor which has a tank which is large if your use of air is intermittent. But a scenario where you need to run a tool steady, like a sander, then it will be important if you produce as much air like the one you are going to use. A tank that is small in size tends to be more portable as well as it gets up the pressure in a quicker style. A compressor with a tank which is big doesn’t stop and start as often and air cooling is better.
When a tank is big, it doesn’t add up that, its compressor is running less, it stops and starts less often, but its running time is similar to that of a tank which is smaller. Most sizes of tanks can usually measured in the US gallons .
7. Duty Cycle: Before you buy a portable air compressor, it is important that you know about duty cycle. It is normally expressed in percentage and it is the one which let you know the number of minutes which the compressor will be able to run effectively out of a period of 10 minutes.
If you happen to exceed the duty cycle, chances are that the pump will become too hot and before long, it will be destroyed. The most compressors of the industrial type have a duty cycle of at least 75% with some being as higher as 100% meaning that, you can be able to run them continuously without getting damaged.
8. Life Expectancy: You will need to consider the life expectancy of the compressor before you consider purchasing. Besides getting a high-quality compressor for your money, you can also decide to buy a larger compressor.
Portable Air Compressor Buying Guide
1. How Air Compressors Function
The most common air compressors are single stage, piston type. You can use it for work as well as home applications or workshop. A piston is driven by a gasoline or electric motor, which then compresses the air and pushes it up the tank.
As more air is forced by the piston, the pressure of the air rises. Once a specific level of pressure is reached, the compressor stops running. As you utilize the air which is stored, to ensure that the tool is powered, the air pressure is rebuilt back up by the compressor.
For a compressor which is two stages, it has two pistons. The first piston compresses the air and ensures that it is pushed through a valve for checking to the second piston which then compresses it further and then sends it to the tank.
The compressors for the two-stage are commercial models, heavy duty, which ensures that a greater amount of air is delivered to a higher pound per square inch levels. They tend to be the best for use in shops or multiple power tools all at once.
2. Air Compressor Power Supply
There are gasoline and electric powered compressors. The electric power compressors tend to be the most common in the market. This could be due to the fact that their maintenance is low as compared to gasoline powered ones. They are quieter and you can easily work with them in any dry area so long as there is electricity supply which is available.
Electric air compressors can be good when you are working indoors. Most of the compressors used in the homes normally operate on 120volts of the currency of the house but if you get a larger model, then you will require a different amount of currency supply.
The gasoline-powered air compressors are the best when it comes to outdoor activities, or when you are working in an area with unavailable or limited electricity. They tend to have more horsepower as compared to the electric powered and thus, they are likely to generate a higher PSI.
3. Air Compressors and Air Tools
An air compressor’s key function is to power air tools. You will need to consider the tools which you will use with the air compressor now and in the future. You could need it for functions such as:
- Staple and nail guns
- Impact Wrenches
- Air chisels and hammer
- Rotary grinders and tools
- Paint Sprayers.
Most air tools tend to depend on specific requirements for air pressure and volumes a compressor needs to be in a position to meet the requirements for the tool you have in order for it to function properly.
When you are choosing an air compressor, you will have to consider the tools which you will use it for. find out which one will need the highest CFM at a PSI which is higher then you add at least 50% to the CFM which is required as a safety margin.
4. Types of Air Compressors: There are stationary and portable compressors available in the market. The stationary type is one which is designed for placement in garages or shops. They are models which are high powered with big tanks to be able to allow for the use which is uninterrupted for a very long time. They have a design which is vertical to ensure that, the amount of floor space requirement is reduced.
For portable compressors, they tend to have a storage tank which is small, and wheels or handles which enables them to be easily moved around. They tend to be more compact compared to the stationary models and are available in different styles:
- Pancake compressors: Which have storage tanks that are flat, rounded, and mounted on the bottom of the units. Their design ensures that they are stable and occupies lesser space as compared to the other designs.
- Hot dog compressors: They have a design which is horizontal with one tank which is cylindrical in shape.
- Twin stack compressors: They have two tanks which are cylindrical which have a horizontal design. Its design adds the capacity of air without the need for increasing the space of the floor which the unit requirements.
- Wheelbarrow compressors: They have two cylindrical designs tanks with handles and wheels for fast mobility.
Portable compressors are good for quick, light applications like powering and airbrushing most types of nail guns.
Inflators are compressors which are the most tin of them all. It doesn’t have a tank for storage of air and thus, in order for air to be supplied, there will be a need for the motor to run continuously. It is one which you can use to inflate tires, small floats, and sports equipment.
5. Air Compressor Specifications
The power engine of a motor or engine for a compressor is indicated by its horsepower rating. Great air pressure is created by a higher horsepower which is normally measured in PSI. when the PSI is high, it means that the compressor is capable of storing more air in its tank which then means that, you will be able to operate more air tools for a longer period of time.
Standard cubic feet per minute (SCFM) and cubic feet per minute (CFM) are what describes the volume of air at specific PSI levels, which the air compressor can be in a position to deliver. When the PSI output is lowered, the CFM goes up. More air which is suitable to run heavy applications such as framing nail guns and air wrenches will be supplied when the CFM rating of a compressor is high.
Smaller compressors have around 4 to 6 gallons, which are enough to run various projects such as operating brad nailers and airbrushing or nail guns. More compressed air is able to be stored by larger tanks at higher pressures. They tend to be suitable for large tasks which require a lot of air flow for a longer period of time such as in remodeling projects and automotive tasks.
6. Air Compressor Features
When you are in a position to understand the features of an air compressor, then you will be in a better position to choose a model which will handle your job well and make your work simple. Some of the main features to look out for include:
- An oil-free pump which will be able to reduce maintenance costs and ensures that no oil mixes into the air of the compressor
- As compared to a direct drive system, a belt drive system tends to provide an operation which is quieter
- Damage from overloads of the motor is prevented by the thermal protection.
- An exhaust which is adjustable allows for direct exhaust to get away from where you are working.
- You will have to consider buying accessories such as nailers, hoses, and blowguns, as they will be able to add some value to your investments. You have to know that, air hoses are not part of the package for all air compressors.
- To increase the air compressor’s storage capacity, you can go ahead and purchase auxiliary air tanks.
Why Is Tire Pressure Important?
Your car rubber takes an important role in your car safety, comfort, and control. Due to these reasons, it is important that you give your car tires the desired attention. You have to ensure that they are inflated with the right PSI, which is the standard pressure within a certain tire. You will be able to get this number inside your owner’s manual or on your driver’s door jamp.
But it is important that you ask your local auto maintenance professionals what the right rating for the new tires that you might have purchased with them. You can purchase a small air pressure gauge which is inexpensive to keep tabs on your tire pressure.
If you don’t monitor your tire pressure, then the following might happen:
- You might have problems with overinflation: In case you over-inflate your tires, they will become rigid and stiff and the tire which contacts the road will be reduced greatly. This is the process, will reduce the control you have with your car, and the tire will be put at risk of being damaged when it comes into contact with debris or potholes on the road. When a tire is over-inflated, it can explode due to excessive air pressure. An accident is likely to occur if your tire pops as it will cause massive control issues.
- The problems with under-inflation: A tire which is underinflated can cause several problems to your vehicle. It will lose its form and there will be a lot of tires exposed to the road surface, reducing the life of the tire by25%. Fuel economy will also be reduced by at least 5% or even more because of excessive power which is needed in order to run the rubber which is softer. You will also have to deal with the lack of vehicle control. When a tire is well inflated, it will allow you to be able to do precise handling and cornering but low tires might end up causing a ride which is uncomfortable and bumpy.
When you are able to do proper tire inflation, you will be able to have excellent control of your vehicle and your fuel efficiency will be great. To make sure that, your car tires are well inflated, you will need to find out the correct PSI and then utilize the use of an air pressure gauge which is quality to measure it from time to time. If at any given time you find that your air pressure is low, there are several gas stations which have air horses and they will readily allow you to use it.
How To Check Your Car's Tire Pressure and Inflate Tire
Here is how to check your tire inflation pressure with the least amount of fuss and muss.
- Ensure that your glove box has a digital tire gauge. Record your tire’s pressure and check out the increased fuel economy and note it down.
- Find out the right pressure level for your tires. You will get this information on a yellow sticker on the door jamp of your car or in the owner’s manual. The rear and front tires might require different pressure levels.
- Ensure to check the pressure when the tires are cold. After driving, it will take like 30 minutes for them to cool down. Or you can make sure that you check the tires in the morning when its ambient temperature is lower.
- Unscrew the valve cap and keep it in a safe place where you will not be able to lose it.
- The tire gauge should be pressed onto the stem of the valve. As you press down, you might hear a slight hiss on the valve stem and also when you release it. You have to do it only for a second, just long enough to be able to get readings which are accurate.
- Read the pressure of the tire on your digital gauge. You can note the pressure of the tires as you move around from one tire to the next. You will have to refer to your notes when you are filling up your tires.
- You can check the readings and compare them with the specifications from your manufacturer. If the level is low as compared to what is specified, you will have to fill the tires with air.
Filling your tires
There are two ways in which you can refill your tires in order to ensure that they are up to specification. You can get to the store and purchase a portable air compressor. If that is your option, then you will be able to refill your tires at your garage or home.
You will find out that, some of the portable compressors are cheap and not to the task of inflating your tires faster. You can do an upgrade and buy a more expensive but quality high-level compressor which you will be able to connect to the terminals of your batteries instead of the ones you connect to your cigarette lighter.
Being able to adjust your tires
Here are the steps which you will need in order to adjust your tire pressure:
- Ensure the hose reaches to all the four tires by pulling in close to the air compressor
- Turn the air compressor on
- Remove the stem caps and keep them safe
- The hose fitting should be pressed down on the valve stem and then the lever pressed. When you do that, you should be able to feel the air flowing through the hose as the tire is being inflated. It might require some effort to ensure that the hose is held on the valve stem.
- Keep checking to ensure that the right air level has been reached by releasing the inflation lever. You can use your own gauge to check it again. When you are doing this, it best to slightly inflate it.
- Ensure that all the tires have been pressured the same. If the tires are warm then you will have to inflate the tire pressure to at least 3 PSI over the amount which is specified.
- Ensure all the valve caps are replaced back.
If you develop the habit of ensuring that you check your tire pressure at least once in a month, you will be able to locate a gas station which has an air compressor which is conveniently located.
To buy the best portable air compressor for car and truck tires is much like buying a new computer or car. There are various choices which you will be able to find in the market and that is why you will need to take your time and check out as many options as possible. They come in a range of types and styles and horsepower, noise and how portable they are, are some of the things that you will have to compare and contract and get what works for you.
You will need to consider where you will use it and what you will use it for. When you have the right knowledge, you will find it easier to purchase an air compressor. Air compressors are now commanding the market with so many improvements coming, bringing in some high-quality products. They tend to be quieter, smaller, and faster than before. The prices are also becoming very competitive and thus, there is something for every budget.