When you are venturing off road to enable you to get maximum traction and be able to avoid sinking into the mud, beach sand, and trail dirt, there will be a need to deflate your tires. Upon the time you need to return to the pavement, your truck tires, which are deflated will re-inflate for safety, fuel mileage, and proper tire wear. Due to the fact that, there might be no air stations in the several areas that you will be traveling and that is why there will be a need to carry your own best portable air compressor for truck tires.
Here are some of what I tend to believe, are some of the best air compressors for truck tires that are portable.
Comparison Of Portable Air Compressors for Truck Tires
#1. PORTER-CABLE PCFP02003 3.5-Gallon 135 PSI Pancake Compressor
#2. PORTER-CABLE CMB15 (1.5 Gallon) Oil-Free Fully Shrouded / Hand Carry Compressor Kit
#3. VIAIR 400P-Automatic Function Portable Compressor
#4. EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump, Digital Tire Inflator
#5. Helteko Portable Air Compressor Pump 150PSI 12V
#6. Kensun AC/DC Swift Performance Portable Air Compressor Tire Inflator with Analog Display
#7. AstroAI Portable Air Compressor Pump 150 PSI, Digital Tire Inflator 12V DC Electric Gauge
#8. P.I. AUTO STORE - Premium 12V DC Tire Air Compressor Pump
1. Portable CABLE Air Compressor PCFP02003
This is an air compressor which is very powerful with a pressure capacity of 135 psi. It might be a good addition for your home use and you can use it on powerful tools including roofing top.
It has a quick recovery time, it means that it has more output, which can be drawn and due to the fact that, it is oil-free, then the durability is minimized. It is a well-built air compressor which comes with an inbuilt 2 gauges and connects coupler, making it hassle-free and easy to set up and maintain.
The compressor delivers 2.0 SCFM at a psi of 90 thereby reducing the recovery time by a couple of folds. The tank is about 3.5 gallons with a pump that is oil free thereby extending its life and reducing maintenance. Its noise production is a bit high that goes up to 82 decibels.
It is one of the lightest portable air compressors which weighs about 26 pounds and thus, you can carry it everywhere. It has a dimension that is compact; 18.1 x 17.2 x 18.5 inches.
It works on a very low power source which draws 120 volts, which enables it to use extension cords and can easily restart in cold weathers. It comes with a limited warranty of one year on the components of the compressor.
- It is easily portable
- It has a compact design
- It is lightweight
- A reliable brand
- A bit loud
- Doesn’t have an outer protective roll cage
2. PORTER-CABLE Compressor Kit CMB15
This could be one of the budget-friendly portable air compressors that you can get for your truck. It has a small tank which makes it easy for you to carry it around. It has a water drain valve which enables water drainage to be free of hassle.
The oil-free pump is durable and thus you might have a guarantee of zero maintenance. It is fully shrouded and an oil-free compressor which is capable of delivering up to 2.0 SCFM at a psi of 90, allowing the compressor a faster recovery time.
The tank is small, 1.5 gallons and it is capable of delivering 150 psi pressure. Its noise level is low, ranging at a maximum of 70 decibels and thus, it might be a smart option to buy. It has a compact size which measures 15.5 x 13.2 by 20.5 inches and weighs 20 pounds. Its power is at a low amp which draws 120-volt current, making it easier to start it when the weather is cold. It comes with a 1-year warranty.
- It comes with a 1-year warranty.
- It is portable
- It weighs 20 pounds, making it lightweight.
- It is easy to store due to its compact size
- It delivers up to 150 psi
- The power cord is too short.
- It is easy to fall over due to being lightweight
3. VIAIR 400P Portable Air Compressor
It is an air compressor which you carry for emergency repairs and regular maintenance. There is a carry bag made of heavy duty material which is included to make carrying and storage easy. It might be a good option for trucks and RVs which have 35 inches or tires which are smaller.
When on the road, you can easily connect it to the battery in order to use it to inflate your tires. Features that could be behind making it one of the best air compressors are: heavy duty dual battery clamps, automatic shut-off, tire inflation gun, 60 inches of hose, vibration resistant diamond plate sand tray, three inflation tips, heat-shielded quick connect coupling.
It might be small but it can do the work perfectly well and it makes storing it in your truck easy and carrying it anywhere you go. When on the trail, to increase the traction of your tires, you can use it to ensure that your journey continues without a hitch.
- It has a heat shield for quick connect coupling.
- It has an automatic shut off function.
- It comes with three piece inflation tips kit.
- It has a permanent magnetic motor.
- It has a vibration resistant tray.
- It cannot handle tires, which are more than 35 inches.
- It is unstable due to its small size.
4. EPAuto Air Compressor Pump 12V DC
Though it might be small, it could be one of the strongest air compressors to consider buying. It weighs 3.8 pounds, making it compact enough to store in the back of your vehicle as you move around.
The motor seems to be powerful with airflow, which is good. The LCD screen is easy to read and the auto cut off is excellent and it is inbuilt in order to protect against over-inflation.
There are several nozzle adaptors that you can use to handle a range of inflation. To protect against overheating, it has an inbuilt cutoff. It is important to note that, during usage, it can get pretty hot and if you don’t give it a break, it can blow the fuse or burn out. But with this particular model, you will not need to worry because, when it heats up, it automatically turns itself off.
- It protects itself from overheating
- It is simple to use.
- The LCD makes reading easy
- Cut off protects against over-inflation
- Can connect to the cigarette lighter socket
- It can not be used for big tires
- There is no adaptor for a wall socket
5. Helteko Portable Air Compressor
It is a digital tire inflator that is made to the modern standards, that has a stylish design and at the same time, keeps a design that is sturdy making it be robust. It is small enough to be handy but keeps all the other functions of a good air compressor.
Though it is small and weighs less, it is likely going to perform the duty of inflating your tires if you choose it among the many. Its construction is made of stainless steel combined with high-quality plastic material.
It comes with a cable of about 3.5 meters long. In the package, there are several adaptors which you can use to inflate different tire types. The LCD is bright and it also has an auto compressor cut off feature.
- It has a backlit LCD screen.
- It has an auto shut off.
- Long warranty
- High CFM
- Multiple nozzles
- It has a maximum of 150 psi
- It doesn’t have a storage case or bag
- It doesn’t come with an adaptor to connect to the wall
6. Kensun AC/DC Portable Air Compressor
It might be one of the most reliable, portable and it is very easy to operate it. It comes with an advanced functionality which you will not need to worry about looking for the nearest station for gas.
It is also versatile due to the fact that, you can use it at home as well as when you are driving off-road. Its AC/DC adaptability is one thing you might also like about this particular air compressor.
It has a pressure gauge which is analog and could measure up to 120 PSI. Its cable length is up to 10 feet, making it be convenient if you are using it in the outdoors. There are 3 nozzles which are attached to it that will allow you to perform several tasks.
You have an option of using both cigarette lighter socket and wall socket. You will need to ensure that the wall socket should be 110V to run this inflator. The cigarette lighter must be 12V.
It is this power which will help the air compressor to inflate and run for a maximum of 90psi air pressure. It inflates at a rate of 30 liters per minute. This means that you will be able to inflate your car tire within 5 to 6 minutes.
When it comes to operating this particular compressor, it is very easy. You will just have to connect the power cable to the source of power, connect the air compressor hose with the valve of the tire, ensure that you set your target pressure, turn the switch on and wait. Once it is done, it will automatically stop.
You will have to utilize the LCD display to help you in fixing the target pressure in different units. It can work continuously for at least 30 minutes. This means that you will be able to inflate all the four tires of your vehicle without having to worry about overloading and overheating. And the availability of different adaptors, it means you will be able to inflate various tires.
- Its maximum pressure is up to 120PSI.
- It is versatile and suitable for both home and car use.
- It is easy to transport and use.
- It comes with 3 nozzles which can be used for different types of inflating tasks.
- Good value for money
- Its performance is low
- You have to screw on before use.
7. AstroAl Air Compressor 150PSI
If you decide that this is the compressor for you, then it is important to note that, it has a high PSI and CFM. It can easily inflate all types of balls and tires. You can also use it for light duty pneumatic jobs, like when you are nailing, without any trouble.
It has a long runtime of 30 minutes, making it a great choice if you want to utilize the air compressor for a longer time without having to lose the pressure or the need to take a break. One of the biggest drawbacks that this air compressor has is its occasional overshoot the target of its pressure, even though there is an automatic shutoff on it.
You will have to consider that if you are inflating something which is small like the bike tires as even a little extra PSI can destroy it and thus you will need to be careful. Another thing you will have to remember about this particular air compressor is that at times you will not get the accurate pressure gauge readings of the amount of air is in whatever you are refilling.
To alleviate this, you will have to consider purchasing a cheap pressure gauge at a hardware store near you.
- It has several nozzles
- It has a high maximum PSI
- It comes with a long warranty
- Long continuous work time
- It has a high CFM
- The hose is short
- Gauge is not always accurate
8. P.I Auto Store Air Compressor 12V DC
It is a 12V tire inflator which might just be the one to solve your air compressor problems. It comes with a 13-foot cord which might be the longest length for this particular group of air compressors and it also has a computer processor, which will ensure that you get the correct air pressure with a variance of one degree, making it quite impressive.
Its lights are very helpful, especially when you find yourself inflating a tire at night. You can use it to inflate any type of truck or car tire. It ensures that the tire goes from flat to 30 PSI in four minutes or less. You can conveniently carry it around as it comes with a carry bag and it comes with several adaptors to use on different tires.
Things you need to know about this air compressor before you commit your money is that it is pretty noisy but it is good that, you will only run it for a few minutes and you are done with the job. Although the manufacturer claims that it can inflate tires, which are 150 PSI, that is not happening. It is good for truck tires, car and many other RVs tires. So although it is an excellent air compressor, it is not 100 percent perfect, especially if you want to do big jobs. But with its price, it might be a good pick for you.
- It is lightweight
- Can use both AC and DC mode
- It comes with a carry handle making it easy to store and transport using one hand.
- It is computer monitored
- It is affordable
- The carry case is small and flimsy
- The AC adapter is sold differently
Read More: Best Truck Tire Repair Kit To Buy on Amazon
Why is Tire Pressure Important?
When you have tires which are properly inflated, it not only makes driving to be safe, but it is likely to impact positively on your wallet. If you have tires which are under-inflated, they will have an adverse effect on both premature wear and fuel economy, which will potentially cost you a lot of money in the long run.
Even if there is an air pressure monitoring system in your truck, you shouldn’t wait for the light to illuminate for you to check the pressure of your tires. This is because most TPMS gives a warning only when the pressure is at 25 percent below what the manufacturer recommended and by that time, you will be sacrificing fuel consumption.
You need not wait until you have a leak or a puncture to lose pressure. It is believed that, for every 3 PSI that is below what is recommended, your vehicle is using more fuel by one percent and the tire wear is at 10 percent.
This means that it is better to over-inflate your tires and avoid the worry about the loss of pressure. But you need to remember that, over-inflated tires when you drive on potholes, will easily be damaged due to the fact that, they are stiffer.
The best way to go is to ensure that, you keep checking your tire pressure on a routine basis once a month to ensure that, they are of the right percentage. If you do that, you will have your tires to last longer while at the same time, maintaining fuel economy estimated figures.
How To Know The Recommended PSI for Your Tires
On the driver’s side door jamb, you will be able to see a sticker with the tire pressure recommended. Ensure that you pay attention closely to all the listed values that are on the sticker due to the fact that, different vehicles have a different pressure recommendation for the rear and front tires. If you don’t get to see the sticker inside the door jamb on the driver’s side, then you can check your car manual as you will likely get the correct values for the recommended pressure.
How To Properly Inflate Your Tires
It is necessary that you purchase your own portable air compressor so that you can refill your tires on the go or at home. There are several types which are available in the market which you can choose from as indicated above in my reviews.
You will find out that, some use the 12-volt cigarette lighter while others utilize a standard power outlet. If you are looking for an air compressor for tires that will be able to fill them fast, then you will have to get one that hooks up to the battery of your car.
Most of the 12-volt inflators are not in a position to do the job faster but they seem to be more convenient and you will not have to pay for using a gas station’s air compressor. If you don’t have a portable inflator, you can get it at several gas stations with some charging for using it while others don’t. Once you have decided which way to go, this is how you are going to refill your tires.
- You will have to pull the air compressor as close as possible, that is, if you are using the gas station compressor. This will make it possible to access all the tires on the vehicle without the need to move your vehicle.
- You will then remove from all the tires, the valve stop caps, and put them in your pocket or somewhere you will not be able to lose.
- Time to turn the compressor on and push the hose fitting down on the valve stem. You will be able to notice if the inflation of the tire is taking place.
- If you get a good air compressor, it will have a built-in gauge which you can use to check the pressure of your tires as you are doing the refilling. If you have a digital compressor, it will allow you to set your desired pressure for the tires and the compressor will be able to automatically shut off when it reaches that value.
- When you are using a compressor, it is advisable that you over-inflate your tires due to the fact that, some air will be let back out of your tires after some time.
- Do the adjustment of all the tires on your vehicle in a uniform way. If your tires have warmed up when you are doing the refill, then you will have to do 3 PSI over the value that is recommended. Ensure that you check the pressure of the tires once they are cold.
- After finishing with the refilling of all the tires on your vehicle, you will have to recheck the pressure using your digital gauge and this should be done when your tires are cold.
- Put back the valve stop caps on all the tires.
How to Check the Pressure of Your Vehicle Tires
- You will have to have a tire pressure gauge, with the digital one being what I think is preferable. Although the pressure gauges for tires which are standard seem to be cheaper and do the job, you will get accurate figures with a digital gauge and it’s easier to use.
- Get your tire pressure recommendation on the side door jamb on the driver’s side or you can utilize your manual and ensure to note down the rear and front tires as they have different values.
- It is recommended that you check the pressure of your tires when they are cold or when they have been lying idle for at least 30 minutes. When you drive, tires tend to heat, increasing the pressure instantly and thus, you will get readings which are inaccurate. The tire pressure, which is listed on the door jamb or in the manual of your car is for cold tires.
- When you remove the valve stem caps for your tire tires, you will need to place them in your pocket or in a safe place where you will not lose them.
- You will then have to place the pressure gauge on your valve stem and with that, you should be able to get instant readings on your pressure gauge for the tires. If it is a standard gauge which you are using, you will have to check more than once to ensure that you have readings which are correct.
- If you find out any of your tires have lower pressure than the recommended, there will be a need for you to inflate it to get the fuel economy that is best and also avoid premature wear on your tires.
- You should not forget to re-install your valve stem cap after you are done with the whole process.
What Is A Portable Air Compressor?
An air compressor is an air pump. But unlike a standard pump which only draws air and then pumps it directly, portable air compressor compresses the air to ensure that, it is delivered in your tire at a certain pressure and you can also use it to inflate various items, from a truck and car tires to sports balls at a faster pace than a standard air pump.
There are some air compressors which are big to the extent that, they come equipped with a wheeled trolley to make it easier for you to move them all over the place. This particular big air compressor is mostly used in homes or building construction sites to power tools, in fire departments, in emergencies, and thus, way overpowered for the normal car tires inflation.
For a portable air compressor, it maintains the balance between efficiency and having tire inflation power, and it is in a package which is compact to store in your car boot or in a shed or garage.
Types Of Portable Air Compressors
There are various sizes when it comes to air compressors with all having different features, specs, and methods by which they compress air. For larger compressors, they come with a tank where the air that is compressed is stored, pressurized and fed through the hose air doing the inflation of whatever it is supposed to.
When it comes to portable air compressors, they are different due to the fact that, they are compact in size. And although they are small in terms of their tanks, you only have to use it to pressurize the air before it is delivered through the air hose meaning, the vehicle has to be running during the process of refilling the air.
Due to their size, the portable tools are able to operate screw type machinery, where two screws are supposed to be turned together in order to create a vacuum which then sucks in air. That is how the small compressors work.
Things To Look For In A Portable Air Compressor
Depending on the type of portable air compressor that you settle for, the brand, type and model, there are various differences that each compressor comes with.
Here are what might be some of the important things that you will need to look out for.
1. LCD Screen
It needs to have an LCD so that you can be able to tell what pressure it has inflated. If you get a modern model, it will have an LCD screen. But if you get an older model, then it will have a traditional dial and the needle arrangement to use. If it has an LCD screen, it will enable you to get a more accurate reading and in case it has backlit, then even when it is dark, you will be able to read it easily.
2. Cigarette Lighter Charging Cord
When you find yourself in a place far away from home while driving off-road and there is a need to inflate your tires, there will be a need to power the air compressor to power, and the cigarette lighter charging cord will come in handy to attach it to the cigarette lighter port that is found on the dashboard of your vehicle.
3. Auto Cut Off
Auto cut off is an important feature on any portable air compressor. With it, you will be able to set your desired PSI which will run until the desired inflation for your tires is reached with the desired pressure. It will be easier to use an air compressor with an auto cut off as you will be able to avoid the danger of over inflation and a tire burst.
4. Build In Lights
When in a roadside emergency, built-in lights in an air pressure will be of great help especially at night. This is a feature you will mostly find in LED-based air compressor. This will be able to provide lighting for you as you inflate your tires as well as alert other drivers that you are in that spot.
5. More Nozzle Attachments
You will have to choose a model that has several nozzles and a tool which can be used for various purposes when you are around the house. This will enable you to get value for money on your investment
6. Tank Size
This determines the type of job you are going to use the air compressor for as the air is pressurized and stored in them. Its capacity is measured in gallons. If you want your air compressor for small jobs when you are around the house, then a small tank will just be fine for you.
But if you want to do some sanding, painting or work which requires continuous power and pressure, then you will need to go for a larger tank. If you want it to pump your bicycle or hammer nails, then a 3 gallon will do. So if you are going to use your tank for non-commercial purposes, then 6 gallons will be okay as it will be able to allow you to have some continued supporting you.
7. SCFM and PSI
Power is another important thing to consider when looking around for an air compressor. Pounds or PSI per square inch is normally used in order to measure the maximum pressure, which an air compressor can work.
The SCFM stands for stands for standard cubic feet per minute and it the value that represents the pump’s flow. They are numbers that work in tandem. When the PSI value is high, then you get a flow value that is low due to the fact that, you are using air that is compressed at a faster rate. But when the PSI is lower, then the flow rate goes up.
Each air compressor has its own specs to show what it can handle with most of them working up to 90 PSI. If the tires are demanding, then there will be a higher flow rate that will be required or the SCFM.
Ensure that your compressor has at least 1.5 times SCFM value as compared to the tire it is going to be used on for it to produce good results. Check your tires first and then the production you want from your air compressor.
Noise seems to be very important for all machines and tools which use power. When you are communicating normally to one another, it is at 60dBA with 85dBA for a bulldozer. If you want to use the air compressor for more time, then there will need for the dBA to be low. The higher the noise level, the more harm you are likely to cause to yourself.
When you get a lightweight model, you will be able to move it easily from one place to the other. The disadvantage of having a lightweight is that they will fly all over the place when they are needed to be stationary. They can easily lean and then fall due to the fact that, their legs are small or are poorly placed. The lighter machine in most cases means that the motor is small, the tank is small and less power.
When you get a heavier model, it will be more stable and firm. They also come with specs that are powerful but moving them around becomes a problem. With the change in technology, there are companies which are producing lightweight machines with high performance.
10. Power Source
The motor is the one which supplies the power that runs the air compressor when you power it to a power source. It can be fuel powered to make it mobile or corded with limited mobility by powering it via the electricity.
Some manufacturers make their machines, durable and with a capacity that they can run in harsh weather. Such machines will come with a motor which has a low amp start. It is an important feature due to the fact that, the beginning can throw out the circuit breakers during the machine startup or after it has been used for a short time. With a higher amp, then it means more power which can be a drawback at times.
Things To Consider Before Purchasing a Portable Air Compressor
1. Tire size
There are air compressors which can only inflate smaller tires while other can do all types of tires. You will have to choose an air compressor that will be in a position to inflate the tire size of your vehicle otherwise, it will not be of use to you if you choose the wrong one.
Most of the portable inflators range between $15 and $100. I would recommend that you get one that has a minimum price of $25 so that you don’t get something which won’t work for you. There are some which are cheap, too weak to inflate a tire in the proper way and their gauges at times are inaccurate and thus, risking your inner tubes.
There is some low end, which seems to be cheaply built, and thus, it might be impossible to find it helpful in case you get a roadside emergency. For a budget of about $25, you are sure to get something that might just work for you.
Most casual drivers go for the price range of between $25 to $35. This can work for you if you don’t drive long distances. But at this price, you don’t expect to get an air compressor that is sturdy to handle frequent use. You will also need to be aware that, with such a compressor, you might be forced to use more time to compress your tires with air.
At a budget of around $40-$50, you are likely going to get a pump that you can use regularly, they are built in a sturdy way using parts of metals, the motors are strong which makes them work faster. This can be a good choice for adjustments and top-ups.
But you will need to ensure that the tires are cold before using them. If you want peace of mind, then you need to have a budget of at least $50 where you can get some of the most powerful portable air compressors.
It will be able to pump a tire that is flat without the need to wait for it to cool down and they tend to be quick, and efficient to operate. Due to the fact that they have more durability, reliability, and efficiency, I would gladly recommend if you have several cars to look after or if you do a lot of off-road traveling and you need peace of mind in case of an emergency.
3. Portability and Storage
Your compressor needs to be easy to move around in your vehicle. It is obvious that what you choose has to be able to reach all the tires on your vehicle with a little effort. During storage in your vehicle, it should be able to store well when not in use. You need to ensure that it is small enough to avoid taking a lot of space in your trunk.
Convenience is also what differentiates high quality and low-quality tire compressors with the more expensive one in most cases, turning out to be more convenient. It is easy to purchase cheaper models, but when it comes to its use, they don’t provide any convenience.
They are slow and you will require a lot of cooling breaks while you do the pumping. Due to this, you will, likely, during inflation of your tires, spend more time as compared to a top end model.
So if you intend to be servicing your tires quite often or have several vehicles to maintain, then I would advise you get an air compressor that is efficient to use. But if you are buying the air compressor as an emergency tool to get you off the road, then you can go for a cheaper model.
It will feel good to have a tool which knows what you require of it. Get an air compressor that has a few settings already programmed in it as compared to one that uses PSI settings which you will need to input manually. Get a unit that will be able to turn itself off when the desired pressure is reached instead of having to do it manually. Although these features will make it a bit expensive, it will good value for money.
6. Durability and Reliability
The way the portable air compressor performs over time and hold up is what differentiates the high end of low-end models. When you get a cheap one, it will be made of plastic materials and small motors and thus, not durable or reliable.
They are delicate and the plugs or casing could easily fall apart or break due to extended use. They lack thermal overload protection and thus, can easily become hot, burn out or melt. They can only last a bit longer if you use it less frequently and with a lot of care.
For more expensive models, they seem to have a larger motor that is powerful which has a cooler and work faster, and this might be what helps them to last longer. They also boast of having thermal overload protection caution which ensures that the motor is shut down automatically if it happens that you are overrunning the machine.
I can say that this might be the model which are durable and reliable to have in your car in case there is a breakdown while on the road. Their track record and quality control seem to be super during their working life.
7. Inflation Time
When shopping around for a portable air compressor for your truck, then you will have to find out how long it will take you to inflate your tires using it. This will enable you to get an indication of how long you will expect to wait when you get a flat tire along the way. If the inflation time is small, then it means that you will not take long stranded on the road and this should be considered a matter of safety if you are caught in bad weather or neighborhood that is risky.
8. Duty Cycle
This is the time that it will take for the inflator to cool down after you have used it for a while. The longer the duty cycle is, the longer it will take before you can be able to use the inflator again. If your air compressor is listed at a duty cycle of 50%, then it means that you can use it continuously without the need to cool it down.
When you are doing the comparison, you will need to consider how expensive it is by comparing its reliability and durability. If you are having routine maintenance or you travel off road more frequently, then you will need to get a good one for your money.
You might count on a cheap model for minimum use or for it to get you back on the road on one to three occasions, but you cannot rely on it for a long time. I will recommend you get a nice portable air tire compressor that you can afford, but at the same time, remember that the cheaper models are expensive in the long run as they are disposable after use just to say the least.
Get one of the best portable air compressors from the least of my product reviews or you can go to Amazon to check out some of the best selling models.