Portable 12V Air Compressor Buying Guide

Portable 12V Air Compressor Buying Guide

A portable compressor can assist you quickly and make sure that your car tires are inflated to the right pressure.

When buying a transportable compressor, the foremost vital factors you would like to think about are how quickly it inflates tires and the way much money you’re willing to spend. Prices typically range from but $50 to $500 or more. We’ll help you choose the simplest compressor for your needs.

What is an air compressor? 

A compressor uses an electrical or petrol/diesel-powered motor to compress air. The energy stored therein air can then be utilized in the spread of the way.

Around the home, common uses for a compressor include:

  • Inflating car tires. 
  • Inflating kids’ toys, balls, sporting goods, and other items. 
  • Powering various air tools, like nail and spray guns, impact wrenches, and sanders. 

However, for the needs of this guide, we’re watching a portable 12V air compressor. Some models also can be powered from your car’s 12V sockets or cigar lighter.

There also are some battery-powered or cordless air compressors that use rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.

Pros and cons Pros 

Why get a transportable air compressor? 

  • They’re handy. Whether you would like to place air in your tires before an extended road trip or adjust tire pressure to enhance fuel economy, a compressor may be a useful gizmo to possess at your disposal. 
  • They’re versatile. Also, as adjusting tire pressure, you’ll use a portable air compressor to inflate pool toys, sporting goods, and more.
  • Essential for 4WDers. If you’re keen on taking your 4WD off the beaten track, it’s essential that you can regulate tire pressure to suit changing track conditions. But there’s also a genuine reason why you would possibly decide you do not need an air compressor.
  • You’ll pump up your tires elsewhere. While portable air compressors are not any doubt handy, you’ll refill your tires at your local servo and inflate other home items with an honest, old-fashioned pump. If you do not regularly head off-road and you do not mind the effort of inflating tires at a station, a transportable compressor could also be an unnecessary purchase. the way to compare portable 12V air compressors 

Before you begin shopping for a mobile compressor, take a flash to believe how often you propose using it. If you like to go 4WD adventure every other weekend with a trailer in tow, you’ll be wanting a compressor capable of fast inflation and a long time.

This means you’ll likely be willing to spend a touch entirely someone who is just looking to urge a little portable unit to use only in case of emergency and to pump up their tires before an extended road trip.

Once you recognize precisely what you would like from a transportable compressor, you’ll start comparing various products’ features. Below are the key factors you will need to think about when comparing portable 12V air compressors:


The only standard option is to connect it to your automobile battery using alligator clips. Still, they’re also are compressors which will be plugged into your car’s cigar lighter – these tend to possess less power and can take longer to end the work.

While less widely available, there also are cordless compressors that use rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. If considering one among these, check the quantity of power they will also provide as battery run time and charging time before you purchase.

Flow rate 

Flow rate, also referred to as Free Air Delivery, is expressed in liters per minute and refers to the quantity of air a compressor can produce.

If you would like maximum inflation speed, you’ll be wanting to choose a twin-piston compressor over a single-piston model.

Duty cycle 

The duty cycle refers to when a compressor can run before overheating or wanting to take an opportunity. This is often commonly given as a percentage of how long a compressor can run during a specified period. For instance, a 50% duty cycle means if you run your compressor for 20 minutes, it’ll then got to rest for 20 minutes.


As a simple rule, the more inflation power you would like, the more you will pay. Most portable 12V air compressors are priced between $50 to $500, but a couple of more powerful units exceed this $500 limit.

Hose length 

How long is that the inflation hose that comes with the compressor? These generally range from 2 to 10 meters, ensuring the supplied hose is adequate for your needs. Please search for a hose that’s long enough for what you would like, but not the goodbye that you can’t move or store it easily.


If choosing a transportable compressor to require with you on the go, check its weight and size to work out what proportion of boot space it’ll take up and the way easy it’ll be to maneuver.

Additional factors to believe 

• Pressure gage 

This displays the extent of pressure in PSI and wishes to be both easy to read and accurate.

• Cord length 

Check the facility cord’s length to form sure you will be ready to draw power from your car’s battery and still comfortably reach all tires and other items you would like to inflate.

• Accessories 

Does the compressor accompany multiple inflation nozzles so you’ll easily use it to inflate a good range of things aside from tires?

• Tank 

Some of the larger, costlier models accompany a tank for storing compressed gas. This provides you with increased inflation time even while you’re allowing the compressor to rest, and some portable compressors will be wont to power air tools.

• Storage 

Does the compressor accompany a durable carry case so you’ll quickly chuck it within the back of your 4WD? Some units also attend brackets so that they are often mounted in your vehicle.

• Light 

Some models accompany a built-in light to assist you to see exactly what you’re doing altogether kinds of conditions and at any time of day or night.

• Thermal cut-out protection 

This feature is meant to shut off power to the unit when it’s in peril of overheating.

• Base 

Check that the compressor features a reliable and durable base, so it remains stable in use. Many also accompany a handy tray, so you’ll use the compressor in sandy terrain.

• Deflating 

Keen 4WDers will lower their tire pressure regularly, so check what you will need to try when using the unit to deflate tires. Some models allow you to try to do this hands-free, but most require you to push a button.

• Warranty 

Check the manufacturer’s warranty and what kind of protection it provides. Most models accompany a guaranty of between one and five years.

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