- In A Hurry !
- Inflation Speed (CFM)
- Max Pressure (PSI)
- Auto Shut-Off System
- Power Type (DC/AC)
- Volts (AMPs)
- Weight, Size & Portability
- Flashlight For Night
- Power Cord Length
- Price & Warranty
- List of Best 12V Air Compressors
- VacLife 12V Air Compressor DC Portable (My Personal Recommendation)
- Viair 40047 400P-RV 12V Portable Compressor Kit (Best 12v Air Compressor For RV and Trailers)
- Kensun Portable Analog Air Compressor (AC/DC – Both Home & Car Supporter)
- EPAuto 12V DC Air Compressor (Good For Light Duty Work)
- Viair 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor (For Small ATVs, Light Trucks, SUVs)
Spending a good day out with your family is the real joy. So, you have to pack all the necessary things and do a careful checkup. A checkup about yourself and the ride you’re going to ride on.
Usually, at these times, the most common problem we folks face is tire inflation. So, in today’s hunt, I am going to address the tire inflation issue by giving you a smart solution for it.
If you ask me, there are some crucial things I always do before I go out with my family. I give a thorough check to my ride for any engine related bugs. Keep a car toolbox for precaution, etc.
But, in my book, the priority goes to tire investigation. So, you don’t need to get your car towing or drag it by yourself to a nearby service station. When the tire goes flat.
That’s why you should always keep a small air inflation device. More precisely, a small 12v air compressor in your car. That would be portable, powerful, lightweight, and small enough to fit in the car.
Thus, I and my TM team has put up the best 12 volt air compressor buying guide. For you and your car to get you back on your sweet holiday.
Best 12v Air Compressor [Buying Guide 2021]
Here, we are going to explain some of the critical factors that you should remember. When you are searching for the best 12v air compressor for your car.
Inflation Speed (CFM)
The inflation speed or CFM are the same terms. CFM is known as “Cubic Feet Per Minute”. Thus, the ability of a compressor to quickly transfer air in a short amount of time to the tool attached.
So, higher the CFM faster the transfer. This one of the most important factors that you should consider. When you are standing on the brink of buying.
Max Pressure (PSI)
PSI for your information refers to “Pounds Per Square Inch” or you can say “Max Pressure”. In simple words, the pressurized air generated inside the tank by the compressor.
Higher the PSI, the more air-holding capacity compressor has. If I put it in simple words, the air compressor with high PSI can perform like an air compressor with large tanks.
So, do check out the PSI of the best 12v air compressor you have your eyes on.
Auto Shut-Off System
After PSI I am going to shed light on the “Auto Shut-Off Mechanism”. It really does play a great role and makes your work breeze. Because you don’t need to keep an eye on the compressor all the time.
Auto functionality will eliminate many dangerous risks. Such as compressor overheating, tire over-refilling, motor burnout due to excessive use. And finally, the worst-case scenario is the tire rupture.
With that capability in hand, you can set the pressure according to your need and the compressor will do the rest.
Power Type (DC/AC)
Another thing you have to consider is the power type of your little compressor. It’s amazing that these little machines don’t suck up too much power. But, you know that comes with a condition.
The majority of these compressors are only built to run on DC power. DC is the power that comes from the “Cigarette Lighter” in your car. While AC is the power that emerges from “Electric Socket”.
But, there are compressors that run on both DC and AC. Such as Kensun 12V AC/DC Air Compressor (Analog). And do remember, you can’t put the DC into AC.
Further in our buying guide, the next candidate is the Volts. Well, the compressors that we researched are not the power eater monsters.
But, the fact still remains that if you have an old battery then you should be careful. The last thing you want is an empty battery in attempts of inflating the tires.
Another thing you need to consider is that the battery can handle the amps according to compressor needs. Well, the volt’s range of these compressors is low. So, you don’t need too much power.
On the other side, you don’t want to burn your compressor with too many amps. So, watch out and check if the compressor is up to the challenge.
Weight, Size & Portability
Weight and size go side by side with the portability. Since you are going to put the air compressor in your car. You have to make sure about 2 things:
- It should be compact and smaller in size
- It has a lightweight frame to enhance portability.
But you know, with a compact design you have to make a sacrifice. Large portable air compressors provide more CFM and PSI as compared to smaller ones.
Flashlight For Night
Now, the next issue I want to discuss with you is the “Flashlight”. Remember, your little car buddy should be equipped with a small handy-dandy light.
Because at night you don’t want to work in the dark blindly. Since your not a bat or owl, that can see in the dark.
Or in another case scenario with one hand inflating tires. While with the other hand holding the torch. That’s difficult. So, consider “Flashlight For Night” when you are owning a 12 volt air compressor.
Power Cord Length
The 12v compressors have a relatively short length power cord when compared to AC ones. If you have a large vehicle but a short cord. Then it becomes a pain to go around all tires to fill the air.
So, get an air compressor with a lengthy cord in case you have a big ride. Or else get an air compressor with an optimal length power cord. If you’re the owner of a slim, smart car.
Now, if you and I debate about the extension cord for any type of air compressor. Then from me, it’s a no-no. Because extension cords are neither recommended for small air compressors nor for large ones.
Using a too long or too short cord will result in overheating of the compressor. And in a further scene burning of the compressor motor. In the below video section, Gary also explains why you shouldn’t use an extension cord for an air compressor.
Well, we are nearing the end of our buying guide for the best 12v air compressor. Keep in check if the compressor has extra attachments with it.
Because with more accessories you can work on different types of tires. Plus, with other inflatable objects like inflating balls, pools, kayaks, etc.
Price & Warranty
Before I discuss the price, there is another concern I have to address. That is the company’s warranty/refund.
Do check the compressor warranty before you take it home with you. So, even if the product gets damaged due to a mishap you can return or get a refund :).
And finally, the thing we all rack our heads about is the price. Well, surely I say this is one of the important factors to consider.
If the price is too high it would be a budget killer for us. I always consider price as a factor because I don’t want you to go through a money crisis.
Best 12 Volt Air Compressor Reviews [In 2021]
So here we are in our phase 2, the air compressor reviews. Well, we fellows did deep research and it took some major number of hours and brain wrecking. And finally, we reached to these 5 best 12 Volt air compressors.
List of Best 12V Air Compressors
Below is a checklist for you to check.
|No||Best 12V Air Compressors||Our Ratings|
|01||VacLife 12V Air Compressor DC Portable||4.8 / 5.0|
|02||Viair 40047 400P-RV 12V Portable||4.7 / 5.0|
|03||Kensun Portable Analog Air Compressor||4.5 / 5.0|
|04||EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor||4.3 / 5.0|
|05||Viair 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor||4.1 / 5.0|
VacLife 12V Air Compressor DC Portable (My Personal Recommendation)
This dynamic 12v digital air compressor has a fast inflating speed for standard car tires. The multi-purpose nozzle will help you inflate as well as deflate fast.
Powerful enough with a continuous runtime of 10 minutes to fill tires from cars to RVs. As well as for other inflatables like balls, kid bikes and air mattresses for guests or camping.
Constructed with an “Intelligent Auto Shut-Off Pressure System”. That serves with 150 PSI max pressure. The system immediately turns off when the compressor reaches the desired pressure. Keeps your care safe from rupture problems, over-inflation.
Plus, there is an advanced gauge system. It shows all readings like PSI, BAR, KPA, KG/CM is a digital format.
No, doubt it’s a DC power type. Built with cigarette lighter socket. Thus, free you from the hassle of carrying an extra power source with you.
Equipped with a system like 12V it’s not a power-hungry beast. This is beneficial as you can save a lot of energy and bill costs.
Well, VacLife deserves my respect. Because of its lightweight, compact and strong body. With only weighing about 2.41 lbs it is an easy transport choice.
Plus, the SciFi body is built with ABS plastic and heavy-duty metal. Which improves durability and ensures longevity. It just looks like a “Robot” from the Transformers movie… 🙂 Just joking around.
Oh! Sorry for not mentioning earlier, It does have sneaky little bright LED light. I must say a good companion for dark nights. Saves you from hazardous things. The name made me remember the “Dark Knight” movie. It was a good watch.
Exceptional power cord length of 11.5ft. 1st benefit – Long enough to reach both front and rear tires. 2nd – Removes you from the “Unplug/Plug Again Situations” when going from one tire to another.
Now, we come to the accessory part. The VacLife is also packed with 4 additional nozzles for different needs. 1st for all types of tires (Car, motor, ATV, midsize SUV). 2nd for sports equipment like boats, balls, and other inflatables.
Hmm, now VacLife is the best budget buddy and cheapest of all in our review. The Gold is the “Customer Service”. They support you with a “Full Refund” and “Life Time Replacement” under your normal use.
- Strong and durable plastic body construction
- Full Refund/Replacement Warranty for lifetime
- Auto Shut-Off System to avoid over-inflation of the tire
- Compact and lightweight to easily carry around everywhere
- Tetra nozzle kit for car, bikes, bicycle tires, toys, and other inflatables
- Lengthy power cord reaches front/rear tires to avoid plug/unplug hassle
- The company is extremely responsive with there brilliant customer service
- There is no carrying case in the pack
- The LED light is a bit on the weaker side
- The compressor motor is not built for longevity
- Requires rest at regular intervals when filling heavy-duty truck tires
>> CHECK PRICES ON AMAZON <<
Viair 40047 400P-RV 12V Portable Compressor Kit (Best 12v Air Compressor For RV and Trailers)
Off all the heavy-duty 12 volt air compressors in our review. The Viair 40047 400P-RV has the highest inflation speed of 2.3 CFM free flow.
Gives the fastest inflation speed continuously with a duty cycle of 33% for 20 mins at 100 PSI. Great for RV and trailers with 275/80/22.5 tire size.
The Viair serves you with a max working pressure of 150 PSI. Moving forward there is an automatic shut-off system to use this pressure to its full potential. In simple words, set it and forget it.
The compressor will shut down after it reaches the destined pressure. So, you don’t need to run laps back and forth just to inflate and check your tires. And the overheating, overfilling, and motor burning problem is also eliminated.
Now for power source, this 12 volt air compressor is packed with “Heavy-Duty Dual Alligator Clamps”. These clamps are built with “Inline Fuse” that attach to your exotic ride’s battery.
Now, this small beast has a heavy demand. It sucks up 30 Amps which is double compared to EPAuto, VacLife, Viair 88P.
As for the weight, it’s quite the hefty one with a weight of 18.61 lbs. The compact body design with a durable handle makes it easy to carry and move around.
Ow, there is a unique thing about the Viair 40047 400P-RV. That is a Diamond-Plate Sand Tray which makes it vibration-resistant during use.
It has 2 coil hoses of 30ft which makes up a total of 60ft in length. On the other side, the power cord lengthens up to 8ft. Acceptable length for any size of RV or Trailer.
Amazingly, the accessories are exceptional. The RV tire inflator has a 45° Chuck and a 90° Twist-on-Chuck. These chucks make your work easy when dealing with rear dual tires. Because its hard to get to the inner valve system.
There is more, the kit also has a “Gas Station Style Inflation Gun”. The gun will support you with a 160 PSI inline gauge and a built-in pressure switch.
Finally, this huge powerful kit has to be stored in a durable case. For that, the Viair is benefiting us with a “Heavy-Duty Deluxe Carry Bag”.
But, for the price. Huff, I am getting a sweat on my forehead. It’s pricy. But, you know “With Greater Power Comes The greater Price”. Plus, it is built for heavy rides like RVs and Trailers. So, I say it is a fantastic deal when the Viair is gifting us so much in one package.
- High CFM for faster speed with a 33% duty cycle
- Brilliant well-mannered customer service with quick response
- Dual Coiled Long hoses each up to 30 ft and power cord up to 8ft
- Serves 150 PSI max pressure to easily fill heavy RV and Trailer tires
- Exceptional Accessory kit with inflation gun and durable carry case
- The user manual is quite easy and user-friendly if you study it carefully
- Intelligent auto shut-off system to avoid tire rupture and over-inflation
- Solid and durable metal construction increases the compressor lifespan
- Powerful dual-alligator clamps for stronger grip and electrical connection
- Guage gives 2 to 3 PSI off readings
- Cases of missing accessories on delivery
- Hoses and chucks are of adequate quality
- Gets hot after usage. Don’t touch it with bare hands
>> CHECK PRICES ON AMAZON <<
Kensun Portable Analog Air Compressor (AC/DC – Both Home & Car Supporter)
Next on our hit list is the “Kensun Portable Air Compressor”. Sounds like a Japanese name to me, correct me if I am wrong?
Now, this smart guy has dual powerful metal motors. That grants an inflating speed of 0.64 CFM. Ample speed to inflate your sedan, car, bike, or mid-size SUV tires.
It has a max pressure of 100 PSI with a flow rate of 18 – DC & 20 – AC liters/minute. That gives a continuous working time of 30 minutes at 35 PSI.
What marvelous about this 12v compressor is its dual nature. It works on both sides, AC and DC. A 12V car cigarette socket for DC power source. And with a 110V AC plug for home use.
There is also a big bright dial like pressure gauge with a unit conversion system. Which gives you a clear view and converts KPA/BAR/PSI. As compared to the above EPAuto and Viair, this handsome guy only suck-up 10 Amps maximum.
Now, let me shed a light on its portability. With a moderate weight of 5 lbs, it’s a breeze to carry around as compared to the Viair 88P. On top of that, the sturdy handle gives you a strong grip to lug it around easily.
The first thing you should know is that the black woven inflation hose is small. As for the cord lengths, they are quite long and cover-up for the short hose.
On the DC side, the power cord is up to 10ft while on the AC side the cord is about 3ft.
The Kensun Company is generous to provide us with a smart little carrying bag for the compressor. Also, there are nozzles for swimming inflatables and different tire types (cars, bicycles). Further on for sports balls like soccer balls, basketballs, volleyballs, etc.
Hmm, now I have some concerns about the price. Well, let me think… Good for you :). It’s indeed an affordable little compressor. Now for the icing on the cake. There is also an “Awesome Life Time Customer Support” the Kensun is entrusting you with.
- It has both AC and DC power sources
- Analog gauge with stable and accurate readings
- Built to work in winter against temperature drops
- Lightweight and compact design for easy transport
- Long warranty with lifetime fantastic customer support
- Comes with a nice and handy-dandy durable storage case
- Screw-on connector to prevent air escape during connection
- Convenient nozzles for cars, bikes, bicycles, and other inflatables
- No auto shut-off functionality
- Low CFM as compared to others
- Slightly slow when comes to filling car tires
- Air hose and AC power cord are of adequate length
- Compressor motor burnt cases when used for heavy-duty work
>> CHECK PRICES ON AMAZON <<
EPAuto 12V DC Air Compressor (Good For Light Duty Work)
EPAuto is a well-known 12v portable air compressor among the community. It has an inflating speed of 1.06 CFM. That’s a good speed to inflate the tires of your beloved car, bike, sedan or midsize SUVs.
Now, this little fellow has a moderate PSI of 70 with an auto shut-off intelligent system. A great characteristic to avoid overheating problems. The system will shut down the compressor upon reaching the desired pressure.
The EPAuto is a 12v dc air compressor with a “Cigarette Lighter Socket”. This makes it so much easy that you can just plug into the socket and start inflating.
Another great feature of this rowdy fellow is the amps it runs on. It consumes a maximum of 15 Amps and a minimum of 10 Amps. Plus, there is an additional backup fuse to help you if things go wrong. Not the power-hungry tyrant as compared to Viair 40047 400P-RV.
EPAuto compressor is built with “Tetra Digital Display”. That shows the 4 units PSI, BAR, KPA, and KG/CM. This makes it very easy to read as compared to Analog ones.
Amazingly, it only weighs about 3.75 lbs with a compact size. A very convenient choice to transport anywhere.
Further on it has a bright LED torch that turns on/off with the power switch. The flashlight will support you in the darkness of night.
Well, if we talk about the cord length of the compressor. It has an adequate length of 9ft. Which is plentiful to move around your fancy ride to inflate the tires.
There is a universal valve connector to take down all types of tires. Oh! and also include the extra adapters (both long and short cone) with needles. These are user-friendly for inflating balls, inflatable kayak, balls, swimming pool accessories, etc.
And lastly, the price…
The EPAuto has a decent price to behold. Not a major impact on your pocket. Also, add their brilliant customer support. I think the no warranty is not a problem here because of how caring they are.
- Highly compact design for easy transport
- Easy to read and set digital pressure gauge
- Auto Shut-Off system to avoid over refilling
- Built-in LED Flashlight for support in the night
- The company has an excellent customer support
- Overheat protection system to avoid motor burnout
- Extremely quiet in nature to eliminate bothering noise
- It has a slow inflation rate
- The storage bag is of poor quality
- It does not support LT, HT, and truck tires
- Not built for tires with 40 PSI or above. Sputter or smoke incidents
- It gets too hot with continual usage and the motor might become overheated
- No separate button for light. It only turns on/off when the unit itself is turned on/off
>> CHECK PRICES ON AMAZON <<
Viair 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor (For Small ATVs, Light Trucks, SUVs)
Viair 00088 88P is one of the renowned 12v air compressors on the battlefield. Construct with a powerful inflation speed of 1.47 CFM. It’s a robust option for small ATVs, light Trucks, SUVs, and Sedans.
The Viair compressors serve you with 120 PSI maximum pressure on a longer duty cycle of continuous 25 minutes. This means fewer concerns about quick motor burn out.
This raw power can fill up to 33-inch tires. A wise choice for inflating large tires. Plus, there is a top monitoring gauge to help you monitor the PSI.
Now, Viair makes a distinction here. It doesn’t have any DC socket. Instead, it is combined with dual alligator clamps. You can attach these with your car battery for swift tire inflation.
These “Dual Alligator Clamps” draw up to 20 Amps max current from the battery. Which is more powerful than the 12-volt socket outlet. One important thing you should have knowledge about. That the engine must be running during compressor use.
If I talk about the weight of this little beast. Then it’s on a hefty side with a weight of 4.75 lbs. A good balance between power, pressure, and portability.
Guess what that this model of Viair has a “LED Work Light”. That’s very helpful. You don’t need to worry about the dark anymore. A tire and user-friendly compressor.
What I love most about the 88P model is its cord and hose length. The power cord is about 10ft long. While the hose is about 16ft in length. A decent amount of length to cover smaller ATVs, SUVs, Sedans, and Trucks. But, the length will be a hassle for larger vehicles.
Another humble thing I want to mention is the Viair 88P has a “3-Piece Inflation Tips Kit”. There is also a twist-on tire chuck made with solid brass. The brass protects the chuck from damage during the inflation connection.
As for the price, It’s indeed an affordable buddy to have around. On the positive side, there is also the 1-Year Limited Warranty to cover your back.
- Built-in flashlight to work in dark moments
- Brass screw air hose fitting to prevent leakages
- Super quiet nature saves you from annoying sounds
- Powerful metal construction heightens the durability
- Long power cord/air hose removes the again “plug/unplug” hassle
- Heavy-duty dual alligator clamps provide a strong electrical connection
- High CFM/PSI with a longer duty cycle for 33” tires and other inflatables
- No auto shut-off functionality
- The unit usually heats up quickly
- The built-in light is not that powerful
- Not for large tires at much higher PSI
- There is no storage bag in the package
- The power cord is short for larger vehicles
- Weak inline fuse blows up when got beyond 60 PSI
- The pressure gauge doesn’t give the exact accurate reading
>> CHECK PRICES ON AMAZON <<
My Personal Recommendation
Well, it’s a bit hard to decide. But, I’ll go with the VacLife 12V Air Compressor DC Portable. It’s a cheaper and a good choice for doing all types of inflation chores.
As for RV and Trailers, I’ll own a Viair 40047 400P-RV. Because it is more powerful than all other 12v compressors. There is a heat issue. But, I have heat-resistant gloves for it. That’ll save my hands from burning.
On the other side, the Kensun is more suitable because of its “Dual Usage”. It would be a nice choice for house chores and light-duty car jobs.
Yeah! VacLife has some issues but that is just normal. Because no product is absolutely perfect, at least not in this world.