A portable and compact air compressor can come in handy both at day and nighttime in case of emergencies or just to inflate your car’s tires to the correct pressure. Air pumps can also be used for inflating bicycles and other inflatables you have around the house.
In this carefully curated list, our car-lovin’ wefoundthebest editor has found the best portable air compressors and pumps on the market today.
#1: VacLife Portable Air Compressor DC 12V
Our first item in this collection is the Vaclife Air Compressor. It is an auto tire compressor that plugs into the 12V power outlet. Attach the stem, set the desired pressure level, and the compressor will do all the work for you. It comes with auto-shutoff, night-time lighting and different nozzles. In reviews, buyers like it for being easy to use, well made and having a low noise level.
#2: TEROMAS Tire Inflator Air Compressor DC/AC or 12V DC
Another similar looking choice is the Teromas Air Compressor. This product has the added benefit of having a 110/120 wall plug besides the 12V for the car. It will inflate up to 150 PSIs, which will also take care of trucks etc, and comes with 3 adaptors for other inflatables. You can get it in black or bright red as shown.
#3: Avid Power Air Pump with Rechargeable Li-ion Battery
The Avis Battery powered Air Compressor can be recharged in the car and taken anywhere in the practical carry bag and used for all inflatables, something buyers really love in many reviews. Avis also makes a more conventional 12V / 110 AC/DC model.
#4: TACKLIFE X1 Rechargeable Battery Cordless Inflator
If you are looking for something real compact and portable, consider the Tacklife Rechargeable Inflator. It can be powered directly by the 12V car outlet, or charged in the car or in the house via Micro USB – and then taken anywhere for good use. In reviews, buyers love this little life saver for working like a charm, and for being easy to use and portable. It has a battery gauge and digital display.
Tacklife also makes a very popular, more conventional 12V inflator.
#5: FORTEM Tire Inflator
The Fortem Inflator is a very durable, versatile and powerful choice. In comes with all expected features such as auto-shutoff, digital display, different nozzles and a practical carry bag. It is liked by buyers for being solid, fast and quiet.
#6: Kensun AC/DC Tire Inflator Portable Air Compressor Pump
The Kensun Inflator is another popular choice with stylish, practical design and an analogue gauge that is very easy to read. Is can be used both in the car (12V) and around the house (110V)
#7: TACKLIFE M2 12V DC Air Compressor Pump
The Tacklife M2 is an updated, practical design providing up to 80PSI of pressure. It connects to 12V and comes with many different adaptors, so this can be used for almost any inflatable. It also has a practical light. In reviews, it is liked for being a great quality must-have.
#8: EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump
Our final choice is the EPAuto 12V Compressor. It plugs into both 12V and 120 AC. It has both over-heat and over-inflation protection as well as a practical light. It comes in a practical carry bag. In reviews, buyers love the high quality of effectiveness of the unit. It is not as lightweight as some other units, but it makes up for that in terms of quality and low noise,.
Guide: Things to consider when buying a portable air compressor
Auto Shut-off: With this feature, you can the desired pressure level and start inflating. The air compressor will shut off automatically at the desired level.
LED lighting: Some pumps comes with a LED-lighting feature to support your inflating needs in low-light environment. This can come in very handy in case of night-time emergencies.
Power Source: Portable air compressors often run off the car’s 12V “cigarette lighter” outlet, but can also be battery powered or running off 120V AC/DC from your house. Battery powered air compressors need to be pre-charged (some also work from outlet), but can be easily taken to jobs with other inflatables. Check that the power source matches your need.
Noise level: Check reviews to learn about the noise level of the compressor. It might not matter to all buyers, but if you use it frequently, a quiet compressor is something you will appreciate.
Over-temp protection: When an air compressor works, it will heat up. Some compressors have protection against over-heating and will tell you when the unit needs a break, and sometimes even start a little fan close to the pump engine.
Display: Most inflators offer a digital display of some sort. When battery operated, also a battery gauge.
Max tire pressure / Max tire width: When buying a portable air compressor, check specs for maximum pressure and tire width. Many portable air compressors have a maximum ranging from 50 to 150 PSI.
Vehicles types: Some portable air compressors are not applicable to large vehicles such as trucks, vans and off-road vehicles. Check specs for maximum tire pressure and tire width. Most compact air compressors are usable for compact or midsize Sedans, SUVs, ATVs, bikes, motorcycles, air mattresses, inflatable boats and entertainment devices such as balls.
Nozzle types: A compact air compressor can often be used for inflating bicycles and other inflatables, so they come with different nozzles that can be changed according to you need.
Warranty: Check if your product comes with a warranty in case anything breaks. Also check reviews to learn about the friendliness of the brand’s customer service department.