Quick Summary: Getting the best 12V air compressors in the market requires guidance on an air compressor that will work efficiently. The Helteko Portable Air Compressor Pump comes highly recommended for its unique features such as digitized display and automatic shut off features. It is essential to know what you are looking for. We can help you navigate towards making the best decisions when it comes to making a choice. Below, you will find a brief description of 10 of the top portable 12 volt air compressors followed by a buyer’s guide of the one that comes most recommended. Perhaps you will get some clues about the compressor that suits you.
I found it interesting when I wanted to buy a 12 volt compressor because of its different features and advantages. Outlining what I expect and need of my air compressor helps a lot in the selection process. These characteristics will help you too in making a decision about which product is best.
I discovered that it is best to look at a compressor’s features before deciding to buy one. A Plug-in remains intact in your cigarette lighter socket while you inflate the truck tires. A Plug-in compressor is more efficient than a battery-powered one.
Another consideration to make is the portability of the compressor. Portability is made more accessible by the weight and size of a compressor.
Select a portable air compressor depending on where it’s going to apply. A compressor meant for use on bicycle tires is different from the one that is usable on a car tire. There is a difference in the power of every pump.
The Units of measurement on the compressor should also gauge the pressure that best suits your tires. Other secondary factors that can help you determine the kind of compressor you need are the gauge’s legibility, accuracy, thermal protection mechanism, and tire inflation speed.
Reach out to us at HandyTools World to help you choose a 12-volt air compressor.
- 10 Best 12V Air Compressors Comparison
- Reviews of Top 10 12V Air Compressors
- How to Choose A Good 12 volt Air Compressor
- Final Verdict
Reviews of Top 10 12V Air Compressors
Here’s a list of the top portable air compressor we found on the market:
What You Will Love: The largest part of this 12v portable air compressor is digitized to make operation easy. The shut-off and display platforms have unique designs for user-friendliness. You are assured of safety when applying it since it has a fully functional alert system.
The materials used to make this gadget are high grade to ensure durability. Also, no part of it risks damage by air pressure or the elements meaning you can use it for a long time without any repairs.
You can use ii to pump air in cars, motor bikes, motorcycles, basketballs, SUVs, and bicycles.
Helteko Portable Air Compressor comes with an LED Digital display, which allows you to input the settings you desire for pressure. This compressor has an automatic shut-off mechanism. When the tire has enough compressed air, the pump shuts off automatically, making it convenient for a busy environment.
Another feature that makes it a suitable product is that it comes from durable material. Its body and internal parts are high-quality plastic and stainless steel.
Finally, it comes with a spare tire inflator. Part of this inflator is a 3.5M cable, which allows you to inflate cars, bikes, motorcycles, and SUVs.
- It is easy to use
- Equipped with revolutionary technology
- Usable on different types of truck tires
- It is exclusively 12v DC powered
What You Will Love: The cords are long enough to easily move around average size cars, and it is easy to use.
The Viair 88p portable air compressor is handy on the road tool. It provides 120 PSI and can inflate car tires up to 33 inches in size.
The 10 ft power cord attaches directly to your car battery and gives you enough leeway to move around your vehicle, as does the 16 ft hose.
At around $70, it falls in line with other 12V options, but there are a couple of concerns that make the price seem too high. First, a couple of units have arrived with air leaks somewhere.
Second, a few buyers complained that their unit quit after just a few uses. However, there is no certainty as to how many a “few” is in these instances, and there were even more buyers loving their choice.
- 120 PSI
- Powerful enough to inflate tires up to 33”
- 10 ft power cord- connects to battery
- 16 ft air hose
- Air may leak
- May not last long
Best Portable Compressor
What You Will Love: It has four easy to read displays for PSI, KPA, BAR, and KG/CM.
The EPAuto 12V DC Air Compressor can inflate small bicycle tires up to midsize SUV size tires. It comes with additional needles that fit inflatable pool items, sports balls, and more.
There are four easy to read displays that keep you informed of your levels. The auto shut off value prevents over-inflating and it has overheat protection when its overloaded.
EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor also comes with a bright, LED flashlight that can illuminate your workspace, making it much easier to inflate your tire and get back on the road.
There was a complaint about the threads inside the hose attachment eroding and a couple of faulty units dying too soon.
However, their replacement units worked fine. At less than $35, it is a great price that can squeeze into most budgets.
- Good price
- Good for up to mid-size SUV
- 4 easy to read displays
- Auto shut off
- Overheat protection
- LED flashlight
- Threads inside hose attachment may erode making it useless
Best Cordless Air Compressor
What You Will Love: This unit is designed to keep your hands free while inflating.
The Planetico Cordless Air Compressor is a wonderful choice for keeping in your car. The Li-Ion battery holds a charge up to 12 months when it is not in use.
This means that, unless it has been in your trunk for more than a year, it is ready to go when you are. It comes with both a short and long hose and a case that the compressor and accessories fit into for easy storage.
Cordless Air Compressor provides up to 150 PSI but tops out around 102 PSI on cars. It can be recharged at home in a regular wall outlet. The handle is ergonomically designed for comfort, and the built-in tire pressure monitor system will prevent over inflation.
The biggest downfall is that if it does the overheat protection shuts it off, there is a 10 minute cool-off period.
That would not be very fun if you are sitting on the side of the road. It is also a little pricey but within range of other options.
- Cordless with battery that stays charged for 12 months
- Battery charged in 2 hours
- USB power bank
- Short and long hose
- Fitted tool case
- Ergonomic handle
- Tire pressure monitor system
- Hands free
- 10 minute cool off period
Best Battery Powered Compressor
What You Love: You can charge it on the go with your car’s lighter outlet or at home with a regular wall plug.
The IdeaWorks Electric Air Compressor comes with a built in pressure gauge to let you know when you have reach the desired PSI.
Its cordless design provides a lot of mobility without worrying about stretching out cords far enough. The slim and compact design make it great for small storage spaces, or in your trunk without sacrificing space for other items.
There are some concerns about its performance, though. First, IdeaWorks Electric Air Compressor is reported to takes too long to fill regular car tires. Users have been becoming annoyed with the amount of time it takes.
Second, not everyone’s gauge came working. At under $40, it might make a good back up but you probably want a main one that is more powerful than this.
- Built in easy to read gauge
- Charge in car cigarette lighter socket or in a regular plug
- Slim and compact
- Good price
- Takes a long time to fill
- 116 Max PSI
Best for Versatility
What You Will Love: The 12 ft power cord provides space to easily move around a regular sized vehicle.
This Viair 90P Portable Compressor provides 120 PSI max working pressure. It comes with alligator clamps that connect directly to your battery clamps, and the 12 ft power cable provides enough length to get around most average vehicles.
For good results, you need to keep the car running while using the air compressor. Some people have only been able to use it this way, which means your gas is running out while you are pumping your car tire.
VIAIR 90P Portable Compressor is especially bad when users complain that it takes a while to fill up. Though it comes with a carry bag, it is a little big and clunky, so it may be difficult to store. At about $80, it is a bit expensive
- 12 foot power cord
- 5 ft air hose attached
- Deluxe storage and carry bag
- Plugs directly to battery clamps
- High price
- Should run car while in use
- A little clunky and slow
Best Hands Free Car Tire Air Compressor
What You Will Love: It inflates tires at a rate of 25L per minute, getting you back on the road quickly.
The JACO Superior Products SmartPro Air Compressor features Smart Pressure Technology that will shut the air compressor off when the desired PSI is reached.
It can inflates regular car tires up to 45 PSI and bike tires up to 100 PSI at a speed rate of 25L per minute. It is created to let you hook it up and step away instead of having to hold it the whole time.
There is a 10 ft power card and 24” woven air hose to give you the space you need to move around your car to each tire. It is equipped with a digital air gauge, and an LED light that has four settings: off, emergency SOS, flashing red, and flashlight.
JACO SmartPro Air Compressor is a great tool to keep in your car, small truck, or SUV. The one downside is the price- close to $100- but it is durable and accurate.
- Smart Pressure Technology
- Car tires up to 45 PSI
- Bike tires up to 100 PSI
- Inflates at rate of 25L per minute
- Built in digital air gauge with bright backlight
- Hands free
- 10 ft power cord
- LED light with 4 settings
- 24” woven air hose
Best Lightweight Digital Tire Air Compressor
What You Will Love: This compressor comes with a built in flashlight and a convenient carry case.
The FORTEM Digital Tire Inflator is an affordable, compact, and lightweight air compressor.
It plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter, and the power cord gives you 10 ft of leeway. The auto shut off system will prevent any over-inflating.
The bright LED flashlight provides a well lit workspace if you are stuck on the side of the road when it is dark. At approximately $34, it is an affordable small air compressor.
The downside is that it only provides six to eight minutes of continuous use before needing to be refilled. This may not be enough for use if you have more than one low tire.
- Carry case
- Auto shut off
- Multiple nozzle attaches
- Built in LED flashlight
- Durable yet lightweight construction
- Power cord right at 10 ft long
- Only provides 6 to 8 minutes continuous use
Best Heavy Duty Air Compressor with Long Cord
What You Will Love: This air compressor comes with stability technology that prevents the unit from moving while in use, which makes it quieter and more powerful.
This Tirewell 12V Heavy Duty Tire Inflator provides up to 150 PSI, and works well on everything from bicycles to trucks and RVs.
It has a double cylinder direct drive inflation pump, which improves the efficiency of the air compressor, and the stability technology uses a four rod design to reduce noise and vibration.
TIREWELL 12 volt air compressor is also very compact and has an 11.5 ft power cord. Though it is powerful and can inflate many tire types and sizes, it id not very fast about it.
Also, after about ten minutes of use, you should give it a break. It plugs into a 12V cigarette lighter and has alligator clamps to connect directly to the battery. At under $70, it is a mid-level price. It is nowhere near the most expensive, but there are cheaper options, too.
- Up to 150 PSI
- Stability technology
- Rubber feet
- Double cylinders direct drive
- Compact & quiet air compressor
- Great for bicycles to RVs
- 11.5 ft power cord
- Not very fast
- Mid-level price
Best Air Compressor with LED Lighting
What You Will Love: It is very fast, very compact, and has built in hose storage.
The Cartman Car Air Compressor is a very budget friendly option that has four LED lights built in for visibility at night time. It is compact and has a carry handle for easy portability.
This tool also has built in storage sections for the air hose and the adapter, making it even easier to store out of the way and keep up with all of the parts.
CARTMAN Car Air Compressor has two adapter nozzles for versatile use, including sports equipment. It is said to be more powerful and faster than normal compressors. Quite a few users have stated that it does not last very long, so it probably should not be considered a permanent solution.
However, at about $30, it is no surprise that it is not built to last long term. The low cost means that some things will be sacrificed.
This might be a good back up compressor, or, as it is so low cost, it might not be a bad idea to buy a few at a time if you like its features.
- Budget friendly
- Built in LED lighting
- Built in air hose and adapter storage
- Compact size
- Carry handle
- Inflates fast
- Not a long term unit
How to Choose A Good 12 volt Air Compressor?
When you are shopping for a portable air compressor pump, consider the following factors:
Two common types of portable air compressor pumps are:
The plug in type will remain plugged into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter compartment as you inflate your tires. Plug in ones are more powerful than the battery powered ones, but you have to make sure that the plug can stretch from inside your car to each tire.
Battery-powered options are more compact than plug in options, but they are less powerful and have to be charged. These are not good for large tires, and they will take a while to inflate regular tires.
The most common use for 12 volt compressors is keeping them in the car for tire emergencies. Due to this, most of them are compact and lightweight.
The smaller your storage space in your car, the more compact you want you 12 volt air compressor to be. There are also less compact ones that are more powerful for those with more space.
Pumping bicycle tires takes a lot less power than pumping a car’s tires. Likewise, a car’s tires require less power than bigger tires. The level of power you choose should match what you will be using it for.
Units of Measurement
There are a few units of measurement that affect the quality of the compressor.
PSI means pounds per square inch, which basically tells you how pressurized is something or needs to be.
Cubic feet per minute, or CFM, measures the amount of air coming out of the compressor.
Decibels refer to the noise level created by the compressor. While compressors, in general, can be pretty loud, some of them- including 12 volt air compressors- are much quieter.
You need to be able to easily see and read the gauges so that you do not over or under inflate.
The 12 volt air compressor’s gauge is what will tell you when you have reached the desired inflation point. You need it to be accurate so you do not under-inflate or over-inflate.
If you are stuck on the side of the road at night time, you want a work light so you can see what you are doing.
Thermal protection means that the air compressor shuts down before it gets too hot to function properly.
Tire Inflation Speed
An air compressor’s tire inflation speed refers to the amount of time it takes it to get the tire from flat to inflated.
A carrying case is not a necessity but it can be handy. All of the attachments and accessories can be kept together with the compressor.
What size air compressor do I need?
The size you need depends on the tire size or other project. For tires, you can easily check the side for the maximum PSI and look for the correct size.
When purchasing, the max PSI the compressor gives can be more than the required PSI. However, if you purchase one that provides less, your tire will remain flat.
How much is an air compressor?
The prices vary greatly. Some are around $30 and others go into the hundreds or thousands. For personal use, you can use something on the cheaper side. Remember that more expensive is not always better. At the same, going too cheap means you will be sacrificing other features.
What is the best portable air compressor for a service truck?
The best we have found so far is the Tirewell 12V Double Cylinder Heavy Duty Compressor. It is powerful enough to inflate large truck and RV tires, and it comes with a long cord to move around you service truck.
Where can I buy a 12 volt air compressor?
You have a lot of options. You can always purchase online at stores like Amazon. Any stores that are geared toward outdoors will likely have some.
What is the top portable tire inflator for auto?
We consider the VIAIR 85P Portable Air Compressor to be the best for auto. Viair 85p connects to your battery for a direct power source, can inflate tires up to 33”, and it has long cords for moving around your vehicle with ease.
Final Verdict: Best 12V Air Compressors
There are many great options for 12 volt air compressors, but not all will be right for you. Through this buyer’s guide, we have discussed features and characteristics to consider and looked at nine great options to help you find the best 12 volt compressor for your vehicle.
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