Our vehicles are an expensive investment, so it’s to our own best interest to keep them running, and running well, and this includes tire maintenance.
Our tires can and do lose a bit of air each month, and if you do regularly check your tires pressure, you could end up with a flat on a lonely, dark and secluded highway at night, and no one wants that.
If your tires lose air, you have two choices: Go to your local gas station or mechanic shop and fill them up with air, or invest in an inexpensive, useful air compressor.
Below, we have gathered together some useful information, along with some of the words best air compressors, to assist you in choosing the best portable air pump for car tires.
List of Top Rated Air Compressor of 2018
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The 6 Portable Air Pump Reviews
The very versatile Porter-Cable 3.5 gallon 135 psi pancake compressor is a trim compressor that is great to use for inflating the tires of your motorized vehicle, bike, air mattress or other inflatables.
This compressor is also used for air brushing, cleaning, bolting, wrenching, brad nailing, stapling, finish nailing, framing nailing, inflating as well as spraying. It has an oil free pump that is built for extended use with little or no maintenance, a low 10 amp 120 volt motor the performs in the harsh conditions of winter as well with no problem.
This portable, compact air compressor weighs in at a nice, light, 26 pounds so it’s perfect for those of you who may need one for a small business as it is powerful enough to be used with high power tools, or simply for home use.
Air delivery SCFM at 40 psi is 3.5, and at 90 psi, 2.6. The unit has an on/off switch, a pressure switch, safety valve, tank pressure gauge, outlet pressure gauge, regulator, air compressor pump, drain valve.
This compressor has an advanced cooling system which uses an engineered fan, and the thermal overload protector protects your motor from overheating by shutting the compressor down if the motor gets too hot. All air compressors will create condensation, so the drain valve allows you to release the condensation when you are done with each job.
Summary- The Porter-Cable 3.5 gallon 135 psi pancake compressor is one of the best air pumps on the market. Durable, heavy duty, portable at 26 pounds, versatile enough for inflatables such as toys, air mattresses and some air driven power tools.
Performs well in winter, oil-free for no maintenance, safety valve, tank pressure gauge, outlet pressure gauge, regulator, and a drainage valve for condensation. This pump has an advanced cooling system, and thermal overload protector. We really like this air pump, and consider it one of our best, giving it a 5 star rating.
The EPAuto 12 volt DC Auto Portable Air Compressor Pump is a small, compact, portable air pump that has a modern, stylish design. Easy to use, simply plug the 10 amp, EPAuto 12 volt into your cars cigarette lighter, it’s just that simple.
When your vehicles tires need a bit of air, or you are getting your bike ready for spring, along with other inflatables, this air compressor will handle it all just fine as it comes with handy adaptors. You also have the peace of mind to know that this air compressor inflates very quickly, inflating a standard size tire to 30psi in less than 5 minutes.
While it has an easy to read meter, conveniently placed, you still might feel apprehensive so the designers included an automatic shut off, so you don’t risk over inflating the tire.
A very nice feature is the LED flashlight, which is just what you need in case you have the unpleasant duty of pumping up your tire on a dark, desolate road at night. This LED flashlight has 3 modes: Bright torch, emergency flashing and red warning. There is an auto shut off to prevent over inflating your tire as well.
Summary- The EPAuto 12 volt DC Auto Portable Air Compressor Pump is a small, stylishly designed, versatile pump for your cars tires. It has an auto shut off, three LED flashlight modes, inflates fast, and has adaptors for balls, toys and other inflatables. This uses your 12 volt cigarette lighter socket as a power source, and an easy to read meter. The EPAuto has a solid design, and customer reviews are generally favorable.
The VIAIR 300P Portable Compressor is one tire pump kit that its manufacturer says can inflate a 33 inch tire with ease. It comes complete with an inflator/deflator hose, 8 foot power cord, a 100psi gauge to monitor tire pressure, and a convenient, zippered carrying bag for easy storage.
This is a 12 volt air compressor, operating on a permanent magnetic motor, a duty cycle of 33 percent at 100 psi, maximum working pressure of 150 psi, heavy duty battery clamps with 40 amp inline fuse, maximum amp draw of 30 amps, ingress protection rating of IP54, and weighs in at 8.7 pounds with a 25 foot air hose.
The 2 inch inline pressure gauge allows you to monitor the pressure during inflation of deflation of the tire, which means no more going back and forth between tire chuck and pressure gauge. The intermittent deflation feature allows for fast downward pressure adjustments.
This model has an automatic thermal overload protector. This prevents your air compressor from overheating, which will cause permanent damage, and automatically stops the flow of power to the compressor if it senses that the internal operating temperatures reach critical levels.
Summary- The VIAIR 300P Portable Compressor is a 12 volt compressor, permanent magnetic motor, a duty cycle of 33 percent at 100 psi, maximum amp draw of 30 amps, and IP rating of IP54, weighs 8.7 pounds with an 8 foot power cord, and an air hose of 25 feet.
Heavy duty battery clamps, Automatic thermal overload protector, inline pressure gauge, strong and durable zippered carrying case, make this a good choice for someone who wants a dependable, state of the art air pump.
The P.I. Auto Store Premium Digital Tire Inflater is a stylish, portable, durable and hardworking addition to ensure your vehicles proper maintenance. This versatile air compressor can be used on the families bikes, motorcycles, camping mattresses, and sporting equipment such as basketballs, footballs, and comes complete with adapters for each task and a Presta valve for bikes.
Fast and powerful, this air compressor has no problem inflating a standard tire from a flat to a full 30 psi in under 5 minutes. Another added plus, is the fact that this portable air compressor can work without an external power source, and instead is powered your battery, which comes in handy in case you become stalled on a road with no available power source.
Thanks to an internal microprocessor, this model also has an automatic shutoff, which means once you reach the desired pressure, the compressor will shut down. It has a 13 foot reinforced hose and rubber feet at the bottom of the compressor add to its stability.
Easy to use, simply plug into your 12 volt cigarette lighter socket and set the pressure on the back lit LCD screen. This model comes with a convenient carrying case for easy storage.
Summary- The P.I. Auto Store Premium Digital Tire Inflater is a 12 volt, DC air compressor is car battery powered, fast and powerful, inflates a standard tire in under 5 minutes. Maximum of 100 psi, automatic shutoff when pressure is reached, reinforced 13 foot hose, and made of durable, high impact plastic with rubber feet to add to stability.
Comes with a handy carrying case, easy to use simply plug into your cigarette lighter socket, set desired pressure on LCD screen. Versatile and can inflate bike tires, air mattresses, toys and rafts.
The Slime 40026 2X Heavy Duty Direct Drive Tire Inflator is a heavy duty, tough air compressor that is fast as well as powerful, and can inflate a standard vehicle tire in around 2 minutes by conveniently connecting to your vehicle’s battery.
The 22 foot, coil air hose comes with an in line dial gauge, and a twist connect fitting which means it is much more secure than a clip on hose, and to prevent the motor from overheating, it comes with an internal thermal breaker.
It has a built-in pressure gauge in shock resistant housing, a super bright LED light for night time use, aluminum locking handle, 8 foot power cord, and adapters which will allow you to also inflate toys, air mattresses and sports balls.
This air pump has a dual piston motor for maximum inflation power, a heavy duty carrying case, alligator clip power adapter, CFM is 1.9 cfm average, integrated folding handle, and standard Schrader style connections.
While this compressor may look formidable in design, it is extremely easy to use. Simply take the twist connect air fitting and hook it up to the compressor, then connect the opposite end connector to the tire’s valve stem, attach battery clips to your vehicles battery and inflate your tire.
Summary- The Slime 40026 2X Tire Inflator is a strong, tough, easy to use, and durable air compressor that inflates a standard tire in around 2 minutes. Powered by your vehicles battery, 22 foot coil air hose with in-line dial gauge and twist connect fitting. Internal thermal breaker, built-in pressure gauge, bright LED light, aluminum locking handle, 8 foot power cord, and adaptors for toys, balls and other inflatables.
The VIAIR 85P Portable Air Compressor is a piston type, CFM 1.83 compressor with a durable, heavy duty, compact design, easy to carry at 5 pounds, and is can function for up to 20 minutes at 30 psi.
It comes with high strength stainless steel valves, anodized aluminum alloy cylinder, 3 piece set of inflation tips, and a 120 psi air pressure gauge. it has a heavy duty, direct driven motor, the entire design is oil-less and so maintenance free, maximum ap draw of 14.5 amps (12 volts), and a maximum working pressure of 60 psi.
This portable air compressor operates on 12 volts DC, and is versatile enough to not only handle tires, but also sports balls, air mattresses and rubber rafts. For tires, it works great for standard tires up to 31 inches in diameter and up to 60 psi.
This compressor includes a screw on, 36 inch inflator hose, pressure monitoring gauge, built-in LED work light and dual heavy duty battery clamps with a 40 amp inline fuse.
Summary- The VIAIR 85P Portable Air Compressor has a heavy duty, gear free, direct driven motor, 120 psi air pressure gauge, maintenance free, oil-less design, and portable and compact at 5 pounds.
It has a 3 foot long inflation hose with a 10 foot long heavy duty cord, built-in LED work light, dual heavy duty battery clamps, and can function for 20 continuous minutes at 30 psi. This is a nice basic model, that is low maintenance and is designed to give you years of trouble free service.
How to Use Air Compressor to Inflate Tires?
Before we begin our basic guideline on how to inflate your tires using an air compressor, a few items should be mentioned. PSI means pounds per square inch, and your tires will normally lose about 1 psi of air a month.
It is for this reason, that you should always include checking your tires pressure every month part of your regular vehicle maintenance check. Not only will you be able to check pressure, but if there is a slow leak you will detect it while in the garage, and not out on a desolate road.
NOTE: Your tires should also be cold before you inflate, so don’t inflate them right after a drive, or if they have been parked in the sun.
Step 1: The first step, is to purchase a tire gauge if you do not already have one, and check the pressure of each tire. These are inexpensive tools and are necessary in doing a proper job. There are a variety of different gauges on the market, from basic models to expensive digital ones, but for most needs, the basic is fine.
Step 2: Now that you have checked the pressure in all of your tires, it’s time to see exactly how much air you will need. Find your vehicles manual, or look the specs up online, as you are looking for your specific vehicles, make/model recommended tire pressure. You are ready to begin to inflate your tires, so get your protective goggles ready. This is extremely important in the case of an accidental over inflation, which can cause you serious injury.
Step 3: Now it’s time to connect your air compressor to a power source. Remember to check your manual for the correct method. Some air pumps simply plug into your vehicles cigarette lighter socket. Other air pumps require that you attach battery clips to your vehicle’s battery and power it from there.
Step 4: Following the instructions in your manual, attach your air hose to the tire valve stem, taking care to put the valve stem cap in your pocket so it does not get lost. Switch your inflator on. Keep checking the gauge to make sure that your are inflating the tire to the recommended pressure level. Depending on your compressor model, you may be instructed to only do a reading when you pause the compressor.
Step 5: Once you reach the proper tire pressure for the make and model of your vehicle, do a final check for your standing pressure, which means you check the pressure when the compressor is off. If the standing pressure is fine, you may now turnoff your air compressor. Proceed to disconnect your air compressor from your vehicles battery or cigarette lighter socket, as well as the tire stem, remembering to seal the stem with the valve cap.
The Final Thought (Conclusion)
Tires are something many vehicle owners seldom think about, and only have their pressure looked when they take their vehicle in for a routine maintenance check, or notice that a tire may seem a little flat. In both cases, the risk of waiting until it is too late means being on the freeway with a flat, waiting for a tow truck to arrive.
These portable air pumps that we have presented today are all top of the line, fully functioning, versatile and above all, portable, so in case you do lose air while driving, you can at least give yourself a fast pump, enough to get you to a garage or home.
We truly hope you found our review of the best portable air pumps for car tires helpful, and hope you’ll join us soon for another one of our fabulous reviews of helpful products geared to helping your vehicle serve you for many trouble free years to come.