If your car or bicycle tire deflates, you need to find a tire inflator quickly. But there are many products in the market to choose from. This can lead you to wonder:
Where do I even start?
This article will help you discover the best 12v air compressors in 2018, including the best 12v portable air compressors.
These devices can help you quickly inflate everything from tires to air mattresses.
What is an Air Compressor?
Before buying an air compressor, it’s important to know what it is. An air compressor basically just stores air in a tank.(1) It will then release the right amount of air pressure depending on your specific project’s needs. You can use an air compressor to fill items like large truck tires and even basketballs.
- Best 12v Air Compressor Review
- 1. Slime 40022 – Best 12-Volt Digital Tire Inflator
- 2. Slime Pro - Power Heavy-Duty 12-Volt Tire Inflator
- 3. Viair (00077) 77P – Best value Portable Compressor Kit
- 4. Slime 40026 2X - Heavy Duty Direct Drive Tire Inflator
- 5. Slime COMP02 - 12-Volt Tire Inflator
- 6. VIAIR 85P – Cheap 12v Air Compressor
- 7. VIAIR 300P - Great 12v Air Compressor
- 8. Viair 00088 88P - Portable Air Compressor
- 9. Viair 0073 70P Heavy Duty Portable Compressor
- 10. Q Industries MV50 SuperFlow High-Volume 12-Volt Air Compressor
- What is the Difference Between the 12V Tire Inflators and Air Compressors?
- 12V Air Compressors Buyers Guide
- Final Thoughts
Best 12v Air Compressor Review
To find the best 12 volt air compressor, you need to look at its features and functions. These can help your project run both quickly and smoothly. There are many choices to choose from for the best 12v portable air compressors. Before buying one, check out ten of the best 12v portable air compressors for 2018.
|1||2.8 x 6.5 x 6.5|
|Slime Pro Power||6||7 x 7.1 x 9.2|
|Viair (00077)||5||9.5 x 6.5 x 5.8|
|Slime 40026 2X||9||9.5 x 6.5 x 5.8|
|2.8||3 x 5.7 x 7|
|VIAIR 85P||4||9.2 x 5.5 x 6.8|
|13||10 x 7.5 x 5|
|Viair 00088 88P||4.5||6.8 x 6.2 x 10.8|
|Viair 0073 70P||5||10.5 x 6.8 x 5.8|
|Q Industries MV50 |
|10||11.5 x 9 x 8|
The 12v air compressors listed above come with many different qualities. They have different power levels, for instance. These various power levels are important to keep in mind because they will each affect your project.
All of these are important factors that will impact the job you’re doing in a different way. The type of air compressor you should use, depends on the project you plan to do.
Sometimes a lighter and smaller 12v air compressor may be best to work with. However, a smaller 12 volt air compressor often won’t give you the same power and abilities as a large 12 volt air compressor will. This depends on the type of project you plan to use it with. Inflating a heavy duty truck tire and a beach ball each call for different pressure levels. However, these aren’t the only facts to know about these air compressors.
To find out more about these air compressors, keeping reading to find information and reviews about these 12v air compressors.
1. Slime 40022 – Best 12-Volt Digital Tire Inflator
This tire inflator comes with 12v accessory power and also Inflate Right Technology. This type of technology allows you to simply set a pressure level on the device and then press a button. Once the inflation is done, the technology will turn the inflator off. This makes your job of inflating tires easy and quick.
Besides these features, it also has a LED light and digital display. The LED light can help you see better when you’re working with the tire inflator, especially at night. Its easy to read digital display will also help with ensuring you know what PSI you’re currently working with.
Its maximum PSI is 35 and needs 15 amps to work properly. Inflation time takes about 6 minutes.
The Slime 40022 12-Volt Digital Tire Inflator’s hose lets you go out to about 12 feet from the power source. This power source can easily be the cigarette lighter port in your car. All you have to do is plug it into the lighter and then into the specific tire’s valve stem.
This comes with a maximum PSI of 35. This makes it great to inflate large car tires, as well as bike tires and even inflatable air beds. The model comes with a needle adaptor so you can use the correct tip for that certain job. The Inflate Right Technology is also notable as you don’t need to keep turning it on and off and constantly adjusting the pressure level.
This device is also portable, which makes it a very convenient device to use. You can easily carrying it indoors and outdoors without the worry of it being too heavy to transport.
One of the biggest complaints about this product is that it’s very loud. The lifespan is also considerably shorter than most other 12v air compressor models
2. Slime Pro - Power Heavy-Duty 12-Volt Tire Inflator
With this heavy duty 12v air compressor, it only take 3 minutes to inflate a tire. This tire inflator comes with a 10 ft. power cord. This cord can then be plugged into your car’s cigarette lighter port, which will power it. However, for it to work properly the port needs to have at least 15 amps. Anything lower than this can cause serious issues with your port and machine.
It also comes with an LED light which is helpful if you have to use the device during the night. A 16 ft. air hose is also included. The air hose has a quick-release coupler, which helps to quickly remove the hose from the valve stem.
This product has a dial gauge that goes up to 150 PSI. This pressure dial gauge is an analog one, so you can easily see the pressure with it.
It also has a direct drive motor, which helps reduce the noise level and have a longer life span. There is also a thermal break feature which ensures the tire inflator does not get too hot while running.
This tire inflator is great because it can inflate many other things, not just tires. It comes with two tips, a ball and raft one. The ball adapter can be used to inflate sport balls, and the raft for items such as an air mattress. One of the best aspects about this product is that it’s heavy duty.
This means it can work with SUV’s and other large vehicles. Besides these features, it also comes with a canvas carrying bag. This will help protect the machine while in storage.
Some cons about this air compressor is that it can be very expensive. Also, it can take some time to completely fill up what you’re trying to inflate with it.
3. Viair (00077) 77P – Best value Portable Compressor Kit
This 12v air compressor works by being plugged into your car’s cigarette lighter outlet. It goes up to a maximum of 80 PSI and also includes a LED light.
Its Illuminated Pressure Display is easy to read and will inform you of the current pressure level. It also comes with vibration isolators.
These help to control the noise level as well as any movement of the device while it’s running. The power cord of this 12v air compressor can reach up to 16.5 feet and its air hose reaches 4 feet. It also runs on a magnetic motor.
Some pros about this product is that a carrying case is included. This will help keep it safe from any possible damage. Also, the Illuminated Pressure Display is a great help when it comes to adjusting and seeing the pressure level. Once the product is done inflating your tire, it will automatically shut itself off.
This can be a big help as you don’t have to worry about it over-inflating. It’s also portable, which makes carrying it around easy. It’s a quiet 12v air compressor, so you don’t need to worry about any annoying loud noises.
The product comes with an inflation tip kit to help with any differing tip types. This 12v air compressor is also very affordable. If you’re looking for something that works well and is in a reasonable price range, this would be a good one to try.
One thing to keep in mind though is that you need to make sure that the port you plug the product into is at least 15 amps. If it’s higher it could cause damage to both your 12 volt air compressor and the outlet.
Another downside to this product is that to use it, you need to keep your engine running while using it. Also, sometimes problems with the gauge are reported. Sometimes the gauge displays inaccurate levels.
4. Slime 40026 2X - Heavy Duty Direct Drive Tire Inflator
This product uses two sources (a dual piston motor) to quickly fill up your tires. These cylinders help make your inflating job quick and easy. The time it takes for this to fill up a standard tire is 2 minutes.
The clamps provided will fit tightly on your car battery, which powers this 12 volt air compressor.
It also comes with an LED light and a thermal feature which will help prevent your machine from getting too hot. It has an in-line dial gauge which has a shock-resistant housing.
One of the greatest things about this product is that it’s quick. So, if you’re looking for something that will quickly fill up your tires, this would a good product to try. As mentioned above, it can inflate a standard tire within two minutes.
Another good thing is that it also can be used with a car battery to power it. This means it will work faster and use more power. This heavy duty tire inflator is also portable, which is good if you need to carry it around a lot. Because it is heavy duty it has a long life span, which makes it a good investment. Also, a few adapter tips are included.
While it might be a good thing that the product uses a car battery, it is because it needs a large power source. You should watch your car battery while using it as it uses lot of power.
Some tire inflators can be used with both the car battery and cigarette lighter port, but this can only be used with the car battery. Also, there are some problems with the carrying bag that comes with it.
This bag is not well made, which can mean if your air compressor is placed inside, it may not protect it fully from any damage.
5. Slime COMP02 - 12-Volt Tire Inflator
This tire inflator can be easily plugged into your car’s cigarette lighter port. When inflating a tire, it can take up to 8 minutes to fill a medium sized one. It comes with a maximum PSI of 100. It also features a built-in pressure gauge and uses an air-cooled motor.
The built-in pressure gauge helps you to easily see the pressure level.
The air-cooled motor will also ensure air circulation around the motor so it doesn’t get too hot. This 12v air compressor is also very portable, so it’s easy to carry where you need it.
If you have a small car, this is perfect for it. It’s quick and easy to inflate your flat tire with. Another perk is that it’s affordable. Many times a tire inflator will comes with a big price tag, but not this one. It also comes with a hose adapter kit. This includes an inflation nozzle and ball needle adapter. The inflation nozzle helps with inflating tires and the ball needle adapter will help with inflating things such as basketballs.
The built-in gauge is also great for being accurate with the pressure level. Overall, one of the best things about it is that it’s easy to use and doesn’t require a lot of set-up time.
However, while it might be affordable, it does come with some negative qualities. One is that is can very loud when you use it. Also, it’s not very powerful and doesn’t work well with large tires. Sometimes it can also run a little slow. More than likely, because of its low price, the quality is not the best that it could be.
When using it with any power source, be sure that source has at least 15 amps. Otherwise, it will not work properly and could cause damage. One major con about this 12v air compressor is that its hose is short. Because of this, you might need to buy an extension.
6. VIAIR 85P – Cheap 12v Air Compressor
This small 12 volt air compressor works great with large tires on heavy duty vehicles. With its magnetic motor, it can inflate tires up to 31 inches. Depending on the size of the tire, it can take up to 1-5 minutes to fully inflate it.
To power it, plug it into a cigarette lighter port. Make sure the port though has a maximum power of 14.5 amps. This product comes with a 10 ft. power cord and a 3 ft. air hose.
There is also a built-in LED light. This light will help you see at night when you use it or in any circumstances where you may need some more light.
This product also comes with a special knob so you can adjust the pressure levels easily. The pressure gauge on this air compressor clearly displays the pressure levels.
This makes it easy to see the current pressure level you’re using. It also comes with a solid brass twist-on tire chuck. This will help the device stay tightly on the object when it’s being inflated.
It’s a quick way to inflate a tire. Besides being great for large vehicles, it also works well with small ones. This device also has a long life, making it a good investment.
The product also is quiet, so it won’t make any loud noises while you use it. It is easy to carry around and its carrying case is well made. This means it will help to properly protect your device from any damage. It also comes with an inflation kit that includes three tips.
One downside about this product is that you can only use it with car tires. It could also destroy some fuses if the pressure level goes too high. The pressure levels are sometimes a little off, so you might need to carefully watch it while it’s in use.
7. VIAIR 300P - Great 12v Air Compressor
This product’s magnetic motor can both inflate and deflate tires. It has the ability to work with tires up to 33 inches. Usually it takes about 3-5 minutes for this 12v air compressor to inflate a tire. The maximum PSI of it is 150.
There are also vibration isolators and a sand tray built into this device. These will help prevent any loud noises from occurring and also keep the compressor from moving too much. There is also a thermal device built into it to prevent any overheating while in use. It is also dust and moisture resistant.
This helps ensure it will work properly without fear of dust or water collecting in it.
One of the best things about this product besides its powerful pressure levels, is that it comes with extra parts. This is good as many times it can be difficult to find parts for air compressors. These extra parts include an air and power hose as well as a battery clamp. It also comes with a long power cord and a carrying case to store the device in. Another positive thing about this air compressor is its usages.
It can not only inflate tires, but also items like air mattresses and beach balls. Also, this is a very portable 12v air compressor, so you can carry it around easily when you need to.
A negative aspect about it is that the air hose is often very short, which could end up being a little problematic. It’s been noted that sometimes the hose can’t reach all the tires. Also, it can take a while to inflate tires sometimes. This product’s pressure gauge also sometimes doesn’t accurately display the current pressure level.
While it has a thermal device built into it to prevent overheating, it sometimes doesn’t work properly. Sometimes the product will overheat when in use.
8. Viair 00088 88P - Portable Air Compressor
This portable 12v air compressor can inflate things up to a PSI of 120. Because of its magnetic motor, it can inflate a tire of up to 33 inches in a short amount of time.
The product comes with a 10 ft. power cord and a 16 ft. air hose.
There is a pressure level gauge on the top, which helps you easily read the pressure level. To use this product, you need to put the alligator clamps included on your car’s battery. The car battery will then power your device.
As with many 12v air compressors, this also has a built-in LED light. This LED will help you to see when using the device at night or whenever you need some extra light.
The duty cycle of this device is 25 min. @ 30 PSI. It runs with a gearless direct-drive motor, and has a solid brass twist-on tire chuck.
This 12 volt air compressor is affordable, which is one of its greatest aspects. It’s also very quiet when being used and is lightweight. The pressure level gauge built into it is very good with being accurate with the current pressure level. An air hose and ball needle are also included with this product.
One negative quality about the Viair 00088 88P is that the battery clamps may be too small. So, if you try to attach them to the car battery, they may not fit and therefore could cause problems. Also, you can only use this product when the car engine is running.
This 12v air compressor doesn’t come with a carrying bag. This means there isn’t a special place to both protect and store it. When putting it away, make sure to put it in a safe place where dust and other elements can’t harm it.
9. Viair 0073 70P Heavy Duty Portable Compressor
This 12 volt air compressor can work up to a PSI of 100. It comes with a 16 ft. power cord and a 4 ft. air hose. This product can be plugged into your car’s cigarette lighter port to be powered.
Be sure the port has at least 15 amps, which is needed to ensure this product works correctly.
This device includes a pressure gauge at the top so you can see what the pressure level is. It also has a brass twist-in tire chuck so you can tightly secure it to your tire to inflate it. When using it, you can turn it on to inflate, but to check the pressure level you need to turn it off.
Vibration isolators and an accessory power plug are included. This power plug can be used instead of the cigarette lighter plug.
One positive thing is that this heavy duty 12v air compressor comes with a carrying bag, which will not only help store your device but protect it. This 12v air compressor is also very quiet when it runs and it rarely overheats. It’s also a great 12v air compressor to use to inflate sport tires.
Another thing that makes this a great 12v air compressor is that it is portable. This can easily be carried to the place where you need to inflate a tire. The product comes with an inflation kit and this kit contains 3 different tip types.
One negative thing about this product is that you do need to turn if off to check the pressure levels. This could end up being an inconvenience sometimes. Also, the gauge can sometimes incorrectly report the current pressure level. It is also only best to use for tires, so it wouldn’t be good to inflate other things with it.
10. Q Industries MV50 SuperFlow High-Volume 12-Volt Air Compressor
This 12 volt air compressor comes with a 120 PSI level and a 30 amp air compressor. This 12v air compressor can be used with large tires, so if you have a heavy duty vehicle, this is a good product use with your tires. It comes with a 16 ft. hose and uses your car battery as a power source.
To inflate something using this, you just need to clip the clamps onto the car battery. Then, you can put the tip into the tire valve stem.
It can inflate a tire in less than 2 minutes with its Direct Drive Single Cylinder
This is one of the best 12v air compressors to use if you plan to go on a road trip. This will help inflate your tires if they end up deflating. It fills them up quickly and easily.
It’s also very portable, which is good for road trips. So if you are driving a RV or UTV, this would be a good 12v air compressor to have. A heavy 12v air compressor would be a hassle to carry around, but this one is lightweight and portable.
It also comes with a nylon carrying bag. This will help keep it safe in storage and also help with quickly transporting it around.
While it may be portable and great for any adventures you take with your vehicle, many of its parts are hard to find. Often when parts break or aren’t working properly, it can be difficult to find a replacement for them. This means you might have to search for another one or send out a special replacement order.
This also weighs 10 pounds, making it one of the heaviest 12 volt air pumps on this list. While it is still portable, it will be a little heavier to carry around.
What is the Difference Between the 12V Tire Inflators and Air Compressors?
While many of the products listed above have the same purpose, there are some differences. A 12v tire inflator works best with small things. It can quickly fill up a car tire, an air mattress, and things like footballs. However, a 12v air compressor is much more powerful than a 12v tire inflator. This will quickly inflate large tires for heavy duty vehicles.
Often these 12v air compressors will need to use a car battery to run. This is unlike the 12v tire inflators which only need something like a cigarette lighter port to work.
12V Air Compressors Buyers Guide
There are many important aspects to look at when buying a 12 volt air pump. These include power, motor, and tank capacity, performance, and features. Listed below are more about these considerations to keep in mind.
Power, Motor, and Tank Capacity
There are many different power and motor sources a 12v air compressor can use. As listed above the power can come from an electric source, like a cigarette lighter port or a car battery. There are also other options. You could buy a gas-powered 12v air compressor. However, these compressors are very big and bulky and aren’t often as portable as an electric one. Gas compressors are also much louder than an electric one.
If you want something powerful for outside, a gas compressor would be best. However, if you’re working indoors you should use an electric powered one. This will prevent any gasoline fumes from entering the room and are easy to move around.
Also, the tank capacity is something you should look into. A large tank holds more air, but these tanks are often very expensive. A large tank though is good for a big project and when you need to use a lot of air.
To ensure your air compressor has a good performance, look at the CFM levels. You want a large CFM level amount if you plan to use many things at once with the 12v air compressor.
Horsepower is also important. This will show you how much work you can get out of your 12v air compressor. High horsepower means you can get more done.
The pressure level is also something to look at. If you plan to use your 12v air compressor for a small project, this won’t necessarily be important. But if you plan to use it for larger jobs and objects, you want to have a high pressure level.
There are many features that 12v air compressors can come with. Some to look for though is a LED light, cooling abilities, noise reduction, and if it’s portable.
An LED light built into the air compressor is good to have. This will help you see more clearly when you need to use it at night.
A cooling ability is also very important. 12v air compressors work hard, which means they generate a lot of heat. If they generate too much, it could end up blowing a fuse or destroying things. Having a cooling feature will help ensure it doesn’t overheat and ruin itself and the items it’s plugged into.
Noise reduction is a good feature to look for too. You don’t want to have a loud machine running, so a 12v air compressor that works hard and quietly is a good investment.
One of the most important features to look for in a 12v air compressor is portability. When you need to use a 12v air compressor you need to be able to carry it around easily. Having to carry a large and heavy machine isn’t helpful. So, be sure the air compressor you buy is easy to carry around when you need to use it. Otherwise, it could become a burden and hassle to use.
Shopping for a 12v air compressor can be a daunting task. However, it doesn’t have to be anymore. This article included the 10 best 12v portable air compressors on the market.
When buying one, be sure to look at the power, motor, and tank capacity. These are crucial for your project to run smoothly.
An air compressor with a small power amount or tank may not be the right fit for your project. The performance and features are also very important to look into as well. When you find the right 12v air compressor, it will help you get your job done quickly.
Whether that is inflating a flat tire or air mattress, your job will get done in an efficient manner.