Top 9: Best Portable Air Compressor For Cars And Trucks

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best portable air compressor for cars
There are few events more frustrating than having trouble with your automotive tires. Whether the tire blows complete and has to be changed or simply goes flat and requires air, no one likes standing on the side of the road worrying about their tires.

That is why the best portable air compressor is a must have for any driver and their vehicle. With a portable air compressor, the power from the vehicle’s battery can either fix the problem in a matter of minutes or provide enough leeway until you can get to a mechanic.

Still, figuring out which model is the best portable air compressor for you can be difficult. That is why we have put together a list of the top 9 best portable air compressors for cars and trucks.

Portable Air Compressor Reviews

RANKINGIMAGEPRODUCT 
1.Viair 88P Air CompressorCheck Price
2.JACO Smart Pro PumpCheck Price
3.Bon-Aire Compact Air CompressorCheck Price
4.V! Motor Portable Mini CompressorCheck Price
5.Dynaplug Ultra Compact CompressorCheck Price
6.AAA 250 PSI CompressorCheck Price
7.VIAIR 480C 200 PSICheck Price
8.Brill's Air CompressorCheck Price
9.best portable air compressor for truck7°C Portable Tire PumpCheck Price

1. Viair 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor

best portable air compressor 2018
Viair has earned one of the best reputations when it comes to portable air compressors. Moreover, the brand offers a full suite of products suited to everyone’s needs. Of course, when it comes right down to it, most people will have roughly the same needs. Generally, they need the best portable air compressor for car or truck.

The Viair 99P offers arguably the best all-around value for this purpose.

First, this air compressor offers some of the longest cables and hoses we saw. This allows you to easily maneuver the compressor without having to worry about reaching your tire chucks.

In fact, with a 10’ power cable and 16’ hose, you may very well be able to entirely circle your vehicle and still be able to reach the tire, depending.

In terms of the compressor itself, this is also one of the quicker pumps we saw. A single tire takes about 1 ½ minutes to fill. Since you can run the Viair 88P for 4 ½ minutes before having to let it cool down, this allows almost a complete refill.

This is in a large part due to the fact that the Viair pushes a surprising 1.47 cfm at 0 psi–though, that CFM does drop significantly to about 0.5 at 120 psi. Still, this compressor offers an amazing value at its price point.

Pros

  • Extra long cables and hose for easy maneuverability
  • Incredibly fast for only 120 psi
  • Much more durable than most portable air compressors
  • Provides a solid 1.47 cfm at 0 psi

Cons

  • Does not provide a good display
  • A bit more expensive than some
  • Only connects via battery alligator clips
  • Does not come with a case

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2. JACO SmartPro Digital Tire Inflator Pump

best portable air compressor for car

While a fairly young company, having been founded in 2014, JACO has still quickly risen through the din of automotive air compressors to stand out as one of the best around. The family business located in Illinois makes it a point to provide the best attention to their products which generally focus on instruments and gauges.

The JACO portable air compressor continues this trend with the SmartPro. One of the best features of the SmartPro, and the one responsible for the name is its automatic shutoff system. Simply set the desired pressure and turn on the air compressor. Once the tires inflate to the desired pressure, the JACO SmartPro will shut itself off automatically.

That said, the psi gauge can be a bit finicky sometimes. Thankfully, this leads to the JACO over-inflating the tires by about 1 to 2 psi rather than under-inflating them.

Also, the display itself uses clear LCD that is backlit for easier recognition in dark or dim light settings. Of course, if you need more light for the surrounding area, the JACO compressor has a bright light built into its frame.

One potential concern involves the two connections. First, the JACO can only be powered by the 12V adapter inside the cabin of the vehicle. While this is not uncommon, it does leave room for failure or shorting a fuse.

Second, the hose does not come with a tire stem. Instead, you must screw the hose connection onto the tire chuck–a process which can be a bit time-consuming if you have to inflate more than one tire.

Pros

  • Comes with a large work light
  • Everything fits inside the case for easy storage
  • Includes automatic shutoff
  • The psi gauge is reasonably accurate

Cons

  • The air hose is a bit short
  • Only connects via the cabin power outlet
  • Does not come with automotive tire stem
  • Not ideal for larger, heavier vehicles

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Related: The Best Tire Inflator Reviews: Get One before a Flat Tire Gets You

3. Bon-aire Atp50 12 Volt 250 Psi Compact Air Compressor

best portable air compressor for truck

While they may not be one of the bigger names in the portable air compressor market, Bon-aire does have a bit of a specialty in the general field. Though, the lineup actually extends a bit further than simply air compressors and encompasses water pressure and blowers as well.

This is actually a good thing because it demonstrates that the brand is familiar with these types of systems across mediums and can accommodate each.

In regards to the air compressor, the Bon-aire Atp50 provides one of the greatest air pressure capacities we saw at 250 psi. This alone might position it at the head of the best portable air compressor for truck category. However, the Bon-aire Atp50 is merely content to allow its maximal power to suffice in a surprisingly competitive market.

Instead, the Bon-aire also provides one of the most powerful motors for their air compressor as well. In fact, this is likely the fastest inflating air compressor we reviewed that was not a Viair–and it is actually as a fast or faster than the Viair within its power range.

Even better, the Bon-aire uses a digital gauge which is easier to read than the Viair’s manual gauge. In terms of the actual inflation of the tire, the Bon-aire once again provides some nice features which set it out about the pack. First, the hose is thick and durable, while the tire stem is made out of metal.

These two qualities combined to provide for a leak-free inflation. Moreover, the Bon-aire also includes an automatic shutoff, so you do not have to constantly guess when your tires are inflated enough.

Pros

  • Handles an impressive 250 psi
  • Includes an automatic shutoff
  • The tire stem is durable metal
  • Inflates quicker than most other air compressors

Cons

  • The air hose is a bit short
  • Only connects via the cabin power outlet
  • It can be a pain wrapping everything in the body
  • Adapters must be stored separately

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Related: Best Tonneau Covers For Your Truck

4. V1 Motor Portable Mini Air Compressor for Motorcycle/ATVbest 12v portable air compressor

V1 Motor is actually a fairly specialized company that does not offer too many different products. Outside of their miniature air compressors, the brand focuses more on aftermarket cosmetic items for Corvettes. That said, the heart and soul of V1 Motor is easily this portable air compressor.

When compared to most other compressors on our list, this is by far one of the smallest models we saw. In fact, it is so small that it can fit underneath the seat of a motorcycle or easily store in a rear bag. That said, this is not necessarily the easiest air compressor to pack.

This is due to the absence of a carrying bag and no system for fastening down the hoses. Instead, you are expected to figure that out for yourself.

Regardless, this air compressor was designed for easy and efficient use. For one, the V1 Motor comes with a multitude of different connectors including a 12V cabin plug, alligator clips, and SAE connectors. This means you can use this air compressor to inflate the tires of virtually any vehicle, regardless its power source.

The inflation function is also similarly well-constructed. All of the relevant components on the V1 Motor are made from either metal or thick rubber. This provides a solid durability even after years of abuse.

That said, the tire stem does not include a locking function, so you will have to hold it in place while inflating your tires. Also, the motor is only partially covered, leaving some of it exposed to contaminants or potential burns.

Pros

  • Offers three different connectors
  • Much smaller than most competitors
  • Extremely quick inflation time
  • Meaningful components made of metal and rubber

Cons

  • Does not come with a bag or box
  • Motor is exposed with only half casing
  • Cannot inflate balls or non-tires
  • More expensive than most.

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5. Dynaplug Ultra Compact 12 volt Tire Inflator Micro Pro Model

best portable air compressor for car tires

Found in 1991, Dynaplug actually got its start specializing in tubeless tire maintenance, offering a wide variety of products for at-home repair with this tire type.

Over the years, Dynaplug has modified their products, so they can function effectively well for both tubeless tires and tubed tires. This versatility is on full display with the Dynaplug Ultra Compact portable air compressor.

If you need the absolutely smallest air compressor available on the market, then there is nowhere else to turn than the Dynaplug. This compressor is so small it will actually fit in your hand during use.

Though, that is both a blessing and a curse since you actually have to hold down a trigger button for the Dynaplug to function. Still, if space is limited, this is likely your best option.

That being said, the Dynaplug is inconvenient in a couple other ways. First, due to its small size, the Dynaplug air compressor has no gauge of any sort to tell you how much pressure you have already pumped into your tires. While they do provide an analog pressure stick, this is not even as convenient as an analog pressure gauge.

The small compressor did manage to get a work light built into the body to provide better visibility while inflating.

Another potential concern is the length of the hose and cords. While the Dynaplug offers connections for virtually every vehicle with a 12V, alligator clip, and SAE connection, the cords are fairly short. To make matters worse, the Dynaplug’s hose, while exceptionally durable, is also on the short side.

Pros

  • The smallest portable air compressor we saw
  • Incredibly durable tubing and tire stem
  • Comes with a mounted work light
  • Comes with numerous connection options

Cons

  • A bit more expensive than most
  • Does not have a pressure gauge
  • A bit low with 100 psi capacity
  • Cables and hoses are fairly short

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Related: Snow Tires vs All Season Tires: Pros and Cons

6. AAA 250 PSI 12 Volt 6 In 1 Air Compressorbest portable air compressor for truck tires

AAA may be known more as a roadside assistance company, but they are actually a full-service automotive company. They offer everything from vehicle insurance to driver’s education courses. Of course, in terms of products, AAA specializes in ma

This is one of a couple air compressors we reviewed which is rate for a maximum of 250 psi. This means that the AAA air compressor can handle whatever vehicle you throw at it–a car, truck, motorcycle, or even a dirt bike.

Moreover, this is one of the few portable air compressors that does not suffer too much of a drop off in air flow as the tire pressure increases.That said, this is definitely not the most comfortable or convenient air compressors. What is provides in power and reliability it pays for in speed and volume.

To prevent the motor from bogging down, the AAA air compressor limits the cfm a bit so that it remains constant throughout. While this is fine for times when you need significant air pressure, it means that the AAA will take longer for most vehicles.

Still, the AAA air compressor considers safety and versatility as one of its primary functions. This product, like many others we reviewed, comes with a light embedded in the case for better visibility.

However, this light also comes with the option to flash for signaling and a red cover to signal to other drivers at night. Finally, the AAA also comes with three different chucks, so you can inflate the tires of virtually any vehicle you may have.

Pros

  • Handles an impressive 250 psi
  • Includes a work light with flashing warning conversion
  • No issues with high-pressure inflation
  • Can inflate three different types of chucks

Cons

  • Does not provide a good display
  • Only connects via the cabin power outlet
  • Does not inflate as quickly as others
  • Is one of the louder compressors

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7. VIAIR 480C 200 PSI Dual Performance Value Pack

best portable 12v air compressor 2018

Beyond the veritable sterling reputation VIAIR has already earned in the air compressor market, the company produces products of such a high quality that they are even contracted for air compressor work in the aerospace industry.

That being the case, it should come as no surprise that VIAIR is the only brand on our list that offers an air compressor which can provide inflation purposes well-beyond tires.

Whether it is for construction, RV, or other automotive purposes, the VIAIR 480C is a heavy-duty air compressor that has you covered.

While not the greatest pressure capacity on our list, this air compressor can handle up to 200 psi. Of course, if you are simply using the 480C to inflate your tires, you will not need nearly that much.

This is where the VIAIR 480C truly shines. With an incredibly powerful motor and fairly large tank, the 480C can put out 1.76 cfm at 0 psi. While that number decreases to a third of its total at the highest pressure levels, it still maintains well over 1 cfm for most vehicle’s tires rated between 30 to 40 psi.

Much like other VIAIR compressors, this allows the 480C to inflate tires much quicker than most other air compressors.

Unfortunately, as a heavy-duty compressor, this product does come with some unique installation requirements. For instance, this compressor is only safe to use if bolted down.

This means that it is not ideal for car use, but can still be the best portable air compressor for truck. Still, this compressor’s power requirements also necessitate that it be hardwired to the vehicle’s power supply.

Pros

  • An extremely durable air compressor
  • Handles a solid 200 psi
  • Provides 1.76 cfm at 0 psi
  • Inflates quicker than any other we saw

Cons

  • Prohibitively expensive compared to others
  • Does not offer a great display
  • Must be mounted and hardwired to the vehicle
  • One of the loudest air compressors reviewed

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8. BRILL’S DAC12 Digital Air Compressor

best tire inflator 2018

BRILL’S is a bit of a unique company in that it goes well-beyond specializing in automotive solutions. In fact, it goes one step further than specializing in portable air compressors. As it turns out, BRILL’S only makes a single product–this air compressor. As such, you can expect that they put their heart and soul into the only product they manufacture.

In that vein, this air compressor is actually designed more for a general purpose homeowner than it is for automotive uses. It is not that the compressor is a poor product, it simply has been designed to be used in a multitude of situations around the house.

That being the case, this air compressor provides a reliable function, but it will take a bit longer to inflate your vehicle’s tires than some of the other products on our list.

Of course, being made for the homeowner, it does at least offer a wide range of convenient features. For instance, this air compressor features a digital gauge that is backlit in green for easier viewing. Moreover, to help with seeing the workspace, the BRILL’S air compressor also comes with a bright light embedded in the casing.

That said, the connections do leave a bit to be desired. For one, the tire stick is made out of plastic and does not include any locking mechanism. This can lead to air leaking out of the side of the chuck if you are not paying attention. Also, this air compressor can only be powered by a DC 12V outlet–though it does include an AC adapter for home use.

Pros

  • Comes with a work and emergency light
  • Includes an automatic shutoff
  • Includes various adapters and a USB charger
  • The digital gauge is fairly accurate

Cons

  • The air hose is a bit short
  • Only connects via the cabin power outlet
  • Takes longer to inflate than some others
  • Housing is made from glass-filled nylon

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Related: Whats The Best Floor Jack For Trucks

9. 7℃ Portable Tire Inflator Pumpbest tire inflator for cars

Much like some other brands on our list, 7℃ does not offer many products, instead preferring to focus on providing the best product they can. In this instance, that is a 12V 150 psi portable air compressor.

While this is reasonably similar to many of the other air compressors we have reviewed, it actually provides a feature that makes it far more ideal for use outside of the United States.Like many of the air compressors on our list, the 7℃ can only be powered by the 12V DC outlet in the cabin of your vehicle.

That said, this air compressor does at least come with a wide variety of adapters to fit different types of tires. On the flip side, the adapters are plastic and may leak air if you are not careful. This also means that you must hold the hose while inflating the tire.

Thankfully…

7℃ has taken all of the guesswork out of that process by providing one of the best digital pressure gauges we saw. First, this uses bright LEDs to display the pressure readouts–rather than lighting the back and letting the numbers stand in negative relief.

But even better, this is one of the only air compressors we saw which would display the pressure readouts in five different values: PS, /BAR, KPA, KG, and CM².

Of course, you may not even need to worry about the different pressure readouts since this compressor features an automatic shutoff function that is one of the more accurate we saw.

This air compressor also provides the second-longest power cable and air hose on our list, so you do not have to worry about the compressor reaching your tires comfortably.

Pros

  • Comes with a work and emergency light
  • Includes an automatic shutoff
  • Includes various adapters
  • Longer wiring and hose than most
  • Best display we saw

Cons

  • Not the most powerful pump
  • Tire stem is only okay
  • Only connects via the cabin power outlet
  • Housing is plastic without rubber feet

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Conclusion

Ultimately, the best portable air compressor will depend heavily on the vehicle you purchase and your budget. While there are plenty of models priced reasonably, you may have a vehicle that fares better with a more specialized model.

For larger vehicle like trucks, the VIAIR is likely the most powerful and quickest, but it does have a more complicated installation. Cars will similarly appreciate the VIAIR power, except this time coming from the smaller, more manageable 88P

Of course, if you are looking for a portable air compressor for your motorcycle or ATV, you may want to look at either the Dynaplug or the V1 Motor. Both are exceptionally small and can also be used to inflate the tires of cars and most trucks.

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