Air Compressor

9 Best Portable Tire Inflators: Comprehensive Guide 2019

08 Aug 2019

And actually, everything is very simple. A small portable air compressor helps to pump up the wheel and shows the pressure in tires. A large best portable air compressor is used for all the same purposes but already for tires in trucks. They are also able to help in painting the body. Unfortunately, the thing is extremely unreliable. If you buy a compressor with disgusting quality, after a couple of months it can simply break down. If you are going to buy the best portable air compressor in the nearest future, then pay attention to our article. We have collected the best models with only positive portable tire inflator reviews on the Internet.

What Is a Portable Air Compressor?

A portable electric air compressor is the best device for a rapid pumping of automobile tires and other equipment, which, in turn, can be of a piston and diaphragm type of operation. In devices where a membrane is used, air is injected through reciprocating movements, which are performed by a membrane, usually made of rubber and located on the piston. Such a portable air compressor for sale is the piston-type device, and most of them are of this type. The pressure in such compressors is pumped by means of a displaced piston in a special volumetric cylinder of the device.

According to numerous portable tire inflator reviews, the best and well-proven air compressor in terms of performance and reliability of the design is a piston type device. In such a compressor for tire inflation, an electric motor and a connecting rod, which in most cases are made of metal, are located on a special shaft, without using additional plastic bushings in the assembly, as well as various adapters. In addition, the service life of piston air compressors is the largest, and on average it is about 5-7 years. Also, note that the use of Teflon ring on the piston in compressors of this type further increases the service life of the device by 20-25 percent.

Why Do You Need This Product?

In the life of a motorist, there are often situations when the presence of the best portable air compressor for car tires becomes vital. Inflating a flat tire or spare wheel, an inflatable boat – all this is much easier to do with this simple and effective device at hand. Of course, in practice, the scope of use of compressors is much wider and includes car body painting work, the operation of pneumatic tools and much more. However, an ordinary motorist often encounters with domestic compressors, with which you can easily pump a flat tire. Of course, many motorists will wonder if there is a point in purchasing a portable gas air compressor. As practice shows, the reason for such a purchase is significant, and it lies not only in the comfort of use. The main advantage of a tire compressor is its performance, which is often a fundamental factor. In particular, this moment is important for independent repair of the wheel with the help of a repair kit. In addition, the efficiency of the entire wheel inflation procedure increases, which also plays a significant role.


What are the main benefits of using the best portable air compressor?

The first and most important advantage is the ease of working with it. Moreover, electrical products are more powerful (you can pump the wheels up to 8 atmospheres) and the possibility of an all-season operation.

What is the maximum tire pressure to look for in the best portable air compressor?

A gap of 2 to 3 atmospheres is quite sufficient for middle-class passenger cars, the bulk of the best products meet this requirement.

What performance should be looked for?

For cars with wheels with a diameter from 14 to 17 inches, where the pressure is maintained at 1.8-3 kg / cm², it is enough that this indicator is equal to 30-40 liters per minute.

What time of operation is the maximum?

On average, this indicator in the the best portable air compressor is in the range of 20-30 minutes, after which a break in work is necessary.

What is the best connection method?

Medium capacity of best portable air compressor are basically all connected to the cigarette lighter socket or to an onboard 12V outlet. Some models of best portable air compressor have the opportunity to be powered from 220V, which will be very useful at home.

Is the length of the hose significant?

This figure should guarantee free access to all wheels. Usually, for a middle-class car, 1.2-1.5 meters of hose and 3-4 meters of electric wire are enough. For the best portable air compressor with its battery, this is not so important, but it still has a certain value.

What is an average inflation rate?

The best conventional compressor is quite sufficient for inflating the wheels of a passenger vehicle effectively in just 2-5 minutes.

TOP 9 Best Portable Air Compressors Compared and Reviewed

1. Best Overall: Air Compressor EPAuto 12V DC

1. Best Overall: Air Compressor EPAuto 12V DC

EAPAuto 12 DV DC is the best portable air compressor with most car owners. Thanks to its high-performance and affordability it is the best option, especially in winter. This product will provide you with a better travel experience according to the epauto review. This inflator comes with an auto-off feature, so you may not monitor the device in the process of inflating tires. It will shut off automatically as soon as it reaches the necessary PSI level. The inflating speed of the unit is 1.06 CFM. With tires that are as small and compact, this tire inflator is an excellent choice. The unit comes with a LED flashlight, which is quite essential when you need to operate in low lit areas.

  • Auto shut off
  • Three LED flashlight modes
  • Three display units
  • Adaptors for balls and sports equipment are included
  • 12V cigarette lighter plug power source
  • It takes some time to raise its pressure levels according to some portable air compressor reviews
  • It has a short cord

2. Best Queek Mid-Sized: P.I. AUTO STORE Premium PIAS002

2. Best Queek Mid-Sized: P.I. AUTO STORE Premium PIAS002

P.I. AUTO STORE Premium best portable air compressor is not only the best in its class pump, but it is also the less noisy in this category. The compressor can inflate a mid-sized car tire in under 3 minutes. You can use a cigarette lighter socket or other 12 Volt outlet. The unit is equipped with a backlit LCD display gauge and a shutoff feature to stop inflating when the necessary pressure is reached according to the 12-Volt air compressor reviews. So, you do not need to check the pressure during inflation yourself. Thanks to its compact design, you will have no problems storing it in your trunk.

  • Quiet portable air compressor
  • Backlit LCD display
  • Versatile
  • LED light
  • Durable materials
  • 15 amp fuse
  • Quite loud and noisy

3. Best Low Noise Motor: DBPOWER 12V DC 150 PSI Tire Inflator with Gauge

3. Best Low Noise Motor: DBPOWER 12V DC 150 PSI Tire Inflator with Gauge

DBPOWER best tire inflator can be used not only for inflating tires, but also other inflatable nozzles products like balls, swimming rings etc. Manufactured from ABS plastic and aluminum alloy, the inflator guarantees fast heat dissipation. This best portable air compressor also has a low noise motor; therefore you will not get fretful during the process of inflating. Due to its compact design, the compressor is easy to store.

  • Fast and powerful
  • Long charging cable
  • A wide range of uses
  • Easy operation
  • No shutoff

4. Best LED Lights: JACO SmartPro Premium 12V Air Compressor

4. Best LED Lights: JACO SmartPro Premium 12V Air Compressor

JACO SmartPro Digital Tire Inflator with the best digital air gauge is perfect for night time thanks to its bright LCD display. The unit is equipped with a unique twist-connect nozzle for hands-free inflation. This air compressor can also be used for other inflatables thanks to the 2 adapters included into the package. A long power cord guarantees that you will easily get access to all four tires. The best portable air compressor also has a bright LED light with 4 settings.

  • LCD display
  • Long cord
  • Adapters for inflatables
  • LED light
  • No wall socket adapter

5. Best Durable and Portable: Tcisa 150 PSI, 12V 140W Tire Inflator with Gauge

5. Best Durable and Portable: Tcisa 150 PSI, 12V 140W Tire Inflator with Gauge

This best portable tire inflator is equipped with a smart preset inflation feature, which means that you need to specify the desired PSI and it will automatically shut-off when the target is reached. Thanks to the built-in digital air gauge, you can monitor tire pressure with large bright LCD backlit display. Bright LED lights are of great help at night. The inflator works from any DC 12V cigarette lighter socket and can be used for all tires of your car, bike, motor, etc. and other inflatables thanks to three nozzle accessories included in the package.

  • Smart preset inflation
  • LCD display
  • LED light
  • Three nozzle accessories
  • Not for big trucks and motor lorries
  • Becomes hot during use

6. Most Accurate: BLACK+DECKER ASI300 Inflator

6. Most Accurate: BLACK+DECKER ASI300 Inflator

Black & Decker is a well-known manufacturer of best special tools. The company is constantly improving their models, paying great attention to modern stuffing and appearance. The Black Decker tire inflator has a low weight, an inclined display and the ability to connect to 220 and 12 V. The most attractive feature of this best portable air compressor : high-precision pressure gauge, auto stop function, when the specified tire pressure is reached, the device shuts down, cooling system.

  • Convenient and reliable
  • Does not heat
  • Small weight
  • Accurate pressure gauge
  • Long power cord
  • Noisy
  • Below -20 C, the pump does not work well

7. Best Selling: Ryobi P737 18-Volt ONE+

7. Best Selling: Ryobi P737 18-Volt ONE+

Ryobi P737 runs on the power sources used in Ryobi's ONE battery system. It is smaller than most best portable air compressors. Thanks to its ergonomic pistol grip handle, you can use and transport it with ease even with your bicycle! The unit is furnished with 2 high-pressure nozzles, a sports equipment needle, and an onboard pressure gauge. The inflator has a rather long hose, and it can work without the cord

  • 20" hose
  • 2" pressure gauge,
  • Cordless operation
  • Accessories
  • You need to buy the battery

8. Best Price: Helteko 150PSI 12V Digital Tire Inflator

8. Best Price: Helteko 150PSI 12V Digital Tire Inflator

Helteko Portable Air Compressor is equipped with the best auto-shutoff feature to stop automatically when the pre-set tire pressure is reached to avoid over inflation. Thanks to its digital LCD display you will have no problems with reading the pressure even at night and LED light will illuminate your car even in the darkest place. This best portable air compressor has 3 additional nozzles for cars, bicycles, motorcycles, basketballs and also other inflatables.

  • Compact and lightweight
  • LCD display
  • LED light
  • 3 additional nozzles
  • No wall socket adapter

9. Best Features: DBPOWER Tire Inflator with Digital Gauge

9. Best Features: DBPOWER Tire Inflator with Digital Gauge

DBPOWER air compressor can easily inflate a middle-sized car tire in just 4.8 minutes! This is faster than other top tire inflators available on the market. You can choose a pressure preset so that your tire inflator switches off automatically as soon as the chosen pressure is achieved. A bright LCD display with backlight helps with inflating at night. The power cord is long enough, so you can add some air into any of your wheels. To make the device even more versatile the manufacturer included three additional adaptors.

  • Versatile
  • Fast inflating
  • Shutoff feature
  • LCD display
  • No wall socket adapter

Types of Best Portable Air Compressors

There are two types of best portable tire inflator designs. The first is used to operate the membrane using a vibratory structure. The latter is used for pumping with a reciprocating piston. In both cases: the membrane and piston units are powered by the vehicle battery. Sometimes there are instances with an additional battery built into the compressor unit.

Piston Compressor

The air in the best portable air compressors is injected with a piston mounted on a crank mechanism. The crankshaft is driven by the operation of an electric motor. The high-quality electric motor ensures uninterrupted operation for a long time. It is considered that the effectiveness of this best design is higher than the membrane mechanisms due to the reduced losses. Also, piston compressors deliver more pressure due to the stable operation of the mechanism. However, this depends on the specific apparatus, the quality of manufacturing components, the fit of the mating parts and assemblies.

An important criterion is the volume of the working cylinder in which the piston “walks”. This will increase the amount of injected air in one cycle. In general, the overall performance of the best portable air compressor depends on this parameter. Therefore, to transfer the primacy from the piston structure to the membrane completely will be wrong. The most effective design is an apparatus with a minimum number of intermediate links. Then losses on different sites of a chain decrease.

Minuses of such air compressors:

  • During compressed air cycles, the unit is subjected to significant stress. This can often be seen when pumping large wheels of minivans or SUVs. Such overloads can unexpectedly disable the compressor. In order to prevent the apparatus from reaching such a state, it is necessary to allow it to cool down every quarter of an hour. If this is not done, the electric motor will burn and a new device will be required.
  • The frequent absence of best ventilation systems in some reciprocating best portable air compressors contributes to the accumulation of dust inside. This leads to a decrease in pressure, respectively, performance deteriorates, more time is spent on inflation.
  • With significant development or mechanical breakage of the piston or cylinder it will not be able to replace this pair. Such a compressor is not repairable.
  • Cylinders from stainless alloyed steel with the polished internal surface have the maximum term of operation. In a cheaper configuration cylinders are often made of galvanized steel, which have a much smaller resource. When buying the best portable air compressor, you can clarify this design feature.

A positive factor for the piston compressor is the ability to pump significant pressure up to 8 atmospheres. Although in practice such pressure can rarely be met in everyday life, this indicates reliability and possible performance of the device. Also, the piston design has no seasonal restrictions for use. Even in severe frost, the device will not lose its working capacity.

Diaphragm Air Compressor

The working element in such best portable air compressor is membrane cloth. Its tension or weakening in both directions makes it possible to move the air flow. Only a pair of bearings is involved in working with the membrane. In the event of failure of this cloth, you can replace the membrane even independently. An unfavorable season for the operation of such a device is winter time with low temperatures. The material of the cloth loses its elasticity and “coarsens”. This can lead to ruptures in the rubber.

The drawbacks of this type:

A negative factor of this best portable air compressor is a weaker performance compared with reciprocating compressors. This unit is able to dial only up to 4 atmospheres. However, most mid-size sedans need tire pressure of 2 atmospheres. It is also ineffective in frosty weather. However, it can be used in garage conditions in everyday life. Most often they are used for wheels less than 14 inches since its performance is lower than that of the piston.

Among the best evident benefits is the fact that the breakdowns happen very rarely. If a rupture of the membrane occurs, it can be exchanged for another rubber sheet. The cost of the device is much lower than that of reciprocating compressors.

Best Portable Air Compressors – What to Look At?

If you are traveling by car or drive frequently over long distances, and your tires do not belong to the RunFlat family, then surely the best portable air compressor should already live in your car. Well, you should at least add some best portable tire inflator to the “wish list.” Let’s see what should be inside the best portable air compressor 2019, how to use it, and how to get the most out of it.

It is necessary to approach the choice correctly to purchase a high-quality best portable tire inflator that will last a long time. In the case of acquiring a poor-quality device, there is a risk of facing a breakdown after only a couple of months. To choose the right portable tire inflator and with an optimal price-to-quality ratio, you need to know and understand what technical characteristics and the device’s functionality to pay attention to before buying. Certainly, numerous portable air compressor reviews are a valuable source of information, but there are a number of basic characteristics that you should pay attention to when choosing a portable air compressor for sale.


This best parameter is measured in liters per minute. Therefore, when choosing best portable air compressor, its fit diameter and performance should be taken into account. For example, a device with 40 liters per minute is enough for 14-inch tires. For larger tires, it is advisable to purchase a device that can pump up to seventy liters. In addition, manufacturers often indicate the figures of volume, without specifying whether it is the usual volume or under pressure. The first indicator is usually applied, so this aspect needs to be clarified with the seller.

Injected Pressure

When choosing the best portable tire inflator, many car owners prefer compressors with the maximum pressure, but this is not always correct. The problem is that most manufacturers overestimate (sometimes very significantly) the characteristics of their products. So, on some devices, the pressure of 20 atmospheres is indicated, but this is simply unrealistic. The present limit is eight atmospheres. As for cars, 3 atmospheres are enough for them.

Availability and Type of Gauge

By type of pressure, gauges are digital and turnouts. Accuracy, in this case, is the defining indicator. Therefore, the accuracy of the device should be minimal. There are a number of classes of gauges, depending on the error: 0.2; 0.6; 1.2; 2.5; 4. The best portable air compressor will be the device with the lowest number. As for accuracy, it is desirable to purchase a compressor with a digital pressure gauge. Why? Because when the wheels are pumped up, the device constantly vibrates, which leads to an arrow jump on the analog screen. In addition, the presence of two scales on the dial gauge makes the scoreboard overloaded with data and difficult to read.

Digital gauges provide information at a predetermined rate with maximum accuracy. In addition, the vibration is simply absent. Another advantage of electronics is the ability to limit the required pressure (for example, two atmospheres). The compressor will shut itself off when the wheel is pumped.

Connection Method

In this regard, best portable air compressor models come in two variations:

  • working from the automotive network;
  • working from the built-in battery.

Best portable air compressor for car that runs on a built-in battery can be charged from a simple outlet, but its charge will not last long – you can pump two or three wheels, but then you will have to recharge the device. Of course, electric compressors are preferable. Such devices can be connected to the cigarette lighter or to the battery. Compressors that are connected to the battery have more power, so their purchase looks more appropriate.

Cord Length

The length of the best cord should be such that you freely reach all the wheels of the car. There are models with a built-in battery, when purchasing which you do not need to think about it at all, however, in this case, you need to understand how much the battery charge will be enough, and you shouldn’t forget about its loss of capacity over time.

Built-In Modern Gadgets

The best portable tire inflator can be used not only for pumping wheels, but it also is not always necessary to inflate them up completely. Many functions can be much more popular than it seems when you purchase. A portable air compressor for sale can be equipped with the following options:

  • Shutoff – this option is triggered either when pumping the wheel to a certain degree, or when the device overheats if it is equipped with a special thermal switch;
  • Air exhaust – this will help the owner in those situations when you need to roll an inflatable mattress or similar equipment;
  • Air blowing off – a special valve is responsible for this function;
  • LED lighting – built-in flashlights are the most common, which is especially useful at night.

Adapter Kit

When purchasing best portable air compressor pay attention to the presence of various adapters that will give you the opportunity to pump a variety of rubber products – toys, boats, mattresses, balls, and even turn the car compressor into a vacuum cleaner.

Device Reliability

To make sure that the purchased best portable tire inflator is reliable enough, pay attention to its design features indicated in the datasheet:

What metal is the cylinder made of? The best option is high alloy steel; the best option is stainless steel, the cheapest option is alloyed with aluminum.

Installing the piston rod. A reliable option is on a metal shaft; the worst option is through plastic bushings and adapters.

The existence of the air filter on the intake opening of the air compressor.


If we talk about the cost of 12v portable air compressor, its price varies. It is not recommended to buy the cheapest product, because its quality leaves much to be desired. They may upset the owner at the most inopportune moment, for example, when the tire is flat, but there is no tire service nearby.

Tips when Inflating your Tires with an Air Compressor

  1. It is necessary to use the best portable air compressor according to the best enclosed instructions, and several simple recommendations should be observed
  2. Check the gauge during operation, since air is constantly being pumped, and it is easy to miss the moment when the optimum pressure in the wheel is reached.
  3. Do not exceed the manufacturer’s recommended time of continuous operation of the best portable air compressor (usually 10-30 minutes), because the piston and cylinder heat up, and if the compressor runs too long, the compressor may fail.
  4. Make sure that the best compressor works in the position recommended by the manufacturer (when tilted or in an inverted position, its operation may be disturbed).
  5. Do not subject the compressor to shocks or other mechanical stress. The average compressor brings the pressure in the wheel to 2 atmospheres in one to three minutes, which saves time and effort of the car owner.

The Best Portable Air Compressor: Final Advice

  • Knowing and studying all the parameters of the best portable air compressor, you can make the right choice. Finally, we want to give some useful recommendations:
  • Choose the best portable air compressor with a thread on the hose; it is the most reliable.
  • The plastic case must be non-flammable, frost-resistant and shockproof.
  • The power cable should be long enough to reach each wheel.
  • Pay attention to the long warranty.

After the research, we can say that our pick is EPAuto 12V DC, based on its features and characteristics. However, given the above tips, you can easily choose exactly the best portable air compressor, which will meet all your requirements.

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