5 Best Portable Tire Inflators: Top-picks to Buy in 2019

08 Aug 2019

A small portable air compressor helps to pump up the wheel and shows the pressure in tires. Everything is straightforward. A large best portable air compressor is used for all the same purposes but in trucks. They are also able to help in painting the body. Unfortunately, some products are incredibly unreliable. If you buy a compressor of lousy quality, after a couple of months, it can only 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 rapid pumping of automobile tires and other equipment, which, in turn, can be of a piston and diaphragm type of operation. In tools where a membrane is used, the air is injected through reciprocating movements. These 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 the products on the market are of this type. The pressure in such compressors is pumped by a displaced piston in a particular 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 are located on a unique shaft (which in most cases are made of metal) without using new plastic bushings in the assembly, as well as various adapters. Besides, 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 broader 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 quickly pump a flat tire. Of course, many drivers 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 essential for independent repair of the wheel with the help of a repair kit. Besides, 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 entirely sufficient for popular 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, the indicator in any of the air compressors is the range of 20-30 minutes. After this, a break is necessary.

What is the best connection method?

Any portable compressor is basically connected to the cigarette lighter socket or to an onboard 12V outlet. Some models of 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 popular 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 specific value.

What is the average inflation rate?

Any best conventional compressor that you find on our list is entirely sufficient for inflating the wheels of a passenger vehicle effectively in just 2-5 minutes.

Top 5 Best Tire Inflators Compared and Reviewed



If you’re not into feature-packed inflators, then go for JACO. It’s user-friendly and easy to understand. It has large and simple buttons on the main unit that controls everything. It also has a very accurate digital gauge as well as a lengthy hose.
This inflator has built-in lights. They're bright enough to let you see all the important settings clearly, even at night. Its digital gauge also has a backlight of its own.
The only downsides to this product are its longevity and its lengthy build up time. It takes too long to build up and fill up a tire.

  • It’s compact but very efficient.
  • It has its own lights in case you need them. They’re also adjustable.
  • It has a 24-inch hose.
  • It doesn’t last long.
  • It has a long build up time.

2. Powerhouse

2. Powerhouse

For those who are heavy on safety, check out Powerhouse. It’s programmable. You don't have to worry about accidentally blowing up your tires with this inflator. Just key in the pressure that you want to achieve and let it do the rest. It will shut itself down once it finishes its task.

It has built-in lights, which makes using it at night easier. It also has a cooling fan to prevent it from heating up too much. It’s very user-friendly and has an additional nozzle and a sports needle just in case you need them.

This unit is just for regular-sized tires and smaller. It can’t take on large tires. It might give out so it’s best not to test it.

  • It’s easy to figure out.
  • You can program it to achieve the pressure that you want.
  • It has its own lights, to help you use it at night.
  • It has very helpful add-ons.
  • It can’t be used for large tires.

3. Slime

3. Slime

For a quick remedy on loose tires, get the Slime inflator. It works fast. It can get you back on the road in just two minutes. It’s one of the best compact inflators for drivers.

It comes with its own case and a couple of helpful accessories. It’s very portable and is extremely durable. You can just take it anywhere with ease. You can also use it for other smaller vehicles like bikes, motorcycles, or ATVs. It’s fairly cheap given its numerous features and has a pressure gauge already built into it. It also has a couple of lights on it in case you ever need to use the equipment in the dark.

Slime isn’t great with large tires. It has a good track record on working with small and regular-sized tires. However, it probably won’t work as well with anything bigger.

  • This inflator works fast.
  • It has a pressure gauge already built-in.
  • It has built-in lights in case you need them.
  • It has all the necessary accessories you’d need, even adapters.
  • Not for heavy tires.

4. Audew Cordless Handheld Inflator

4. Audew Cordless Handheld Inflator

If you want an all-around inflator, go for the Audew Cordless Handheld Inflator. It can work with anything-children’s pools, balls, bike tires, etc. It’s one of the only inflators that comes with its own LCD screen. It lets you see all of the settings about the tires you’re working with. It’s not corded and can work on a battery, which is rechargeable. It also comes with a couple of different nozzles and a car adapter that has a capacity of 12 voltages. It’s programmable. You can just easily input the amount of pressure that you want it to reach. Once this inflator has achieved that amount, it will shut itself down.

Unfortunately, this device is made of plastic. It wouldn’t last very long. It also gives off a loud sound when it’s on that other people might find irritating.

  • It comes with a storage for all of its extra accessories.
  • You can set the point at which you want the pressure to be at.
  • It has a monitor that displays all statuses.
  • It comes with multiple nozzles.
  • It’s a little loud when it’s functioning.

5. Viair00088

5. Viair00088

Here’s another high-quality inflator on the market. The Viair00088 is one of the best inflators out there. It’s used for a wide variety of things-from simple balls to objects as big as mattresses. It can’t work with huge tires, but it does a good job with regular ones. Sadly, it doesn’t come with any add-on accessories except for its bag.

This inflator is made inside the country. It’s affordable as well as high-quality. It’s easy to use and is very strong. You’ll be using this one for a very long time before you need to get yourself a replacement.

  • It's easy to use.
  • It's efficient and high-quality.
  • It's made in the country.
  • It won’t work well with large tires.
  • It doesn’t come with any accessories.

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 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 service 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 device. 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 functions. This will increase the amount of injected air in one cycle. In general, the overall performance of the air compressor depends on this parameter. Therefore, to transfer the power entirely from the piston structure to the membrane will be wrong. The most effective design is an apparatus with a minimum number of intermediate links. The 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. 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 compressors contributes to the accumulation of dust inside. This leads to a decrease in pressure, respectively, performance deteriorates, and 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 alloyed stainless steel with the polished internal surface have the maximum term of operation. Cheaper configuration cylinders are often made of galvanized steel, which provides a much smaller resource. When buying the air compressor, you can clarify this design feature.
A decisive factor for the piston compressor is the ability to pump significant pressure up to 8 atmospheres. Although in practice, such force can rarely be met in everyday life, this indicates the 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 any best portable air compressor is the membrane cloth. Its tension or weakening in both directions makes it possible to move the airflow. 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. Wintertime is an unfavorable season for the operation of such a device 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 portable compressor is a weaker performance compared with reciprocating compressors. This unit can 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 apparent benefits is the fact that 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?

Do you frequently drive over long distances? Do your tires not belong to the RunFlat family? Then surely the best portable air compressor should already be in your car. Well, you should at least add a best portable tire inflator to the “wishlist.” Let’s see what should be inside the best portable air compressor 2019 has to offer, 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 the technical characteristics. You need to understand the device’s functionality before buying it. Indeed, numerous portable air compressor reviews are a valuable source of information. However, there are several essential characteristics that you should pay attention to when choosing a portable air compressor for sale.


This parameter is measured in liters per minute. Therefore, when choosing the best portable air compressor for you, 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 tool that can pump up to seventy liters. Besides, 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. Therefore, 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 several 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 continually vibrates, which leads to an arrow jump on the analog screen. Besides, the presence of two scales on the dial gauge makes the scoreboard overloaded with data and challenging to read. Digital gauges provide information at a predetermined rate with maximum accuracy. Besides, the vibration is merely 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, the air compressor models come in two variations:
  • working from the automotive network;
  • working from the built-in battery.
The best portable air compressor for a car that runs on a built-in battery can be charged from a single outlet. However, 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 – and you don’t need to think much before buying them. However, in this case, you need to understand whether 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. 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:
  • Shut-off – 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 the best portable air compressor, pay attention to the presence of various adapters. They will allow you to inflate 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 a 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 compressor according to the best-enclosed instructions, and several simple recommendations should be observed.
  2. Check the gauge during operation, since air is continually being pumped, and it is easy to miss the moment when the maximum pressure in the wheel is reached.
  3. Do not exceed the manufacturer’s recommended time of continuous operation (usually 10-30 minutes). This is 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 compressor, you can make the right choice. Finally, we want to give some useful recommendations:
  • Choose the quality 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 extended 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, one which will meet all your requirements.
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