You wouldn’t think that something as straightforward in its functionality as a portable air compressor would require thorough research on your part, but it does. We say this because these machines can be quite complex in their design and overall handling, which is why you need to take the time and figure out what exact features to look for. As we are about to find out, air compressors can differ quite a lot from one another in regards to construction, operation, and ease of use, thus the need to scout out the market thoroughly before committing to a purchase.
Although not as powerful as static air compressors, portable models can definitely hold their own when it comes to compression power, PSI, CFM, and horsepower ratings. That said, you will find that even among the good ones some models are more practical than others. This is precisely why you have to take the time and learn about what features recommend a good air compressor and what flaws to avoid. To give you a better idea of what’s out there, we put together a list of the ten best portable air compressors money can buy.
Best Portable Air Compressors – Reviews
9Autobots Portable Air Compressor Pump
Whether you’re inflating a car tire, a basketball, or an inflatable couch, the Autobots Portable Air Compressor Pump will get the job done efficiently and quickly. It houses a powerful motor that can deliver 0-35 PSI in less than 5 minutes for car or motorcycle tires. With its smart digital gauge, you can clearly read the display and it can be customized to provide information in 4 different units including PSI, BAR, KPA, or KG/CM. Fitted onto the compressor is a super bright LED flashlight that also has an SOS function.
8Yome Portable Dual Cylinder Air Compressor Pump
The Yome Portable Dual Cylinder Air Compressor Pump is made with a copper wire coil that is extremely durable and helps achieve faster and more efficient inflation. With this compressor, you can reach from 0 to 25 PSI in under 2 minutes. The LED display makes inflating tires and other products easier and more accurate as you can set the required pressure and have it shut off automatically. The display also gives you readings in 4 different units which makes it universally versatile.
7WindGallop Portable Air Compressor Tire Inflator
Designed for quick and efficient inflating, the WindGallop Portable Air Compressor Tire Inflator is a high-quality device that stands out from the others. Using a turbocharged movement, the compressor offers a stable and less noisy performance. This compressor can inflate a tire from 0 to 35 PSI in just 5 minutes which is ideal for emergencies. Furthermore, the compressor is made from high-quality plastic and stainless steel which ensures extended durability. The digital LCD panel lets you check the pressure readings in 4 different units and with the auto shut-off feature, you will never have to worry about over-inflating anything.
6JETHAX Air Compressor Tire Inflator
With the JETHAX Air Compressor Tire Inflator, you can inflate a car tire from 0 to 35 PSI in just under 4 minutes. It easily plugs into a 12V outlet and can be turned on with a simple flip of the power switch. You can check the pressure of the tire and its auto shut-off function ensures that nothing gets over-inflated. The compressor comes fitted with an LED light for working around dark environments while there is also an LCD screen that displays all readings. With this compressor, you get 3 different nozzles and a 10-foot power cord for better maneuverability.
5Joyroom Portable Air Compressor Tire Inflator
You can plug the Joyroom Portable Air Compressor Tire Inflator into your 12V cigarette and inflate any regular-sized tire from 0 to 28 PSI in just 2 minutes. With the unique shut-off feature, the compressor turns itself off when the tire reaches the required pressure. The compressor is made from high-quality ABS plastic and stainless steel and houses a bright display that offers clear visibility of all readings in 4 different units including PSI, BAR, KPA, or KG/CM. Finally, there is a bright LED flashlight fitted into the body which makes working in dark environments easier.
4Ontel Air Hawk Pro Automatic Cordless Portable Air Compressor
The Ontel Air Hawk Pro Automatic Cordless Tire Inflator Portable Air Compressor is a high-grade device that is designed especially for jobs on-the-go. It has a digital LCD screen that displays all the vital information so you never experience over-inflating again. The display provides information in various units such as PSI, KG/CM, and BAR. Thanks to the flexible pipe, you can inflate products that have their valves hidden or in hard to reach spots. One of the biggest advantages this compressor has to offer is its wireless portability as it runs on a rechargeable battery.
3Helteko Portable Air Compressor Pump
Made from high-quality ABS plastic and rust-resistant stainless steel, the Helteko Portable Air Compressor Pump is built to last. Featuring an auto shut-off feature on the compressor, it turns the power off when the tire reaches the desired pressure. Thanks to its bright digital LCD panel, you can control the compressor and the pressure being delivered easily. It even displays the pressure in up to 4 different units including PSI, BAR, KG/CM, and KPA. The air compressor is capable of inflating a regular car tire in less than 5 minutes and can also be used on bikes, balls, and inflatable products.
2VIAIR Portable Air Compressor
Featuring one of the most powerful motors available, the VIAIR Portable Air Compressor is great for all types of inflating jobs on cars, motorcycles, bikes, sports balls, inflatable products, and more. This compressor can be plugged into a 12V socket and offers a maximum pressure of 120 PSI. At the same time, this practical compressor is fitted with a 10-foot power cord, a 16-foot air hose, an LED power indicator, and a power switch, as well as 3 tip adaptors for inflating different products.
1EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump
The EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump is one of the best available options and conveniently fits into the cigarette lighter socket in the car. The compressor is suitable for all vehicles that house an engine under 3.5 liters including bikes, sedans, and SUVs. It also comes with a universal valve connector that can be used for inflating basketballs, footballs, and more while the short/long come adapters can be used for inflatable pools and kayaks. Last but not least, we should point out that it displays pressure in 4 different units including PSI, KG/CM, BAR, and KPA. Overall, it is one of the best portable air compressors money can buy.
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What To Look For In A Portable Air Compressor
If you are in the market for an air compressor, then you must already have a good general idea of what you can use one for and what needs such a machine can meet. Interestingly enough, many are those who are surprised to find just how versatile modern air compressors can be. While the most obvious use for such a machine would be to power pneumatic tools, you can also use such a machine to airbrush, pressure wash, sandblast, and inflate tires. In fact, this is such a versatile piece of equipment that you can adapt it to a wide range of similar purposes if you are smart enough to do it and if you possess the right tools. Let us then find out what exactly you can expect from a portable air compressor and what features to look for when buying one.
- Noise – Perhaps the first thing you need to consider when buying an air compressor is how much noise it makes and whether it might inconvenience you in the long run. Bear in mind that air compressors are quite noisy machines by most standards, and we’re not just talking here about the particularly noisy models. In fact, most air compressors are noisy, and yet some are somewhat quieter than others, especially the smaller, compact versions. You need to realize that compromising on the sound often means that the compressor delivers a lower PSI output, which may end up causing you some grief long-term.
- Portability – Make no mistake about it, portability is a huge concern when buying portable machinery, especially for such a versatile tool like an air compressor. One needs to understand that just a couple of pounds can make all the difference in the world when it comes to moving the machine around or storing it. The good thing about modern air compressors is that they tend to be equipped with handles that make them easier to carry. The portable models are also built to meet certain construction standards, making them easy to store almost anywhere. Then again, you don’t really want the compressor to take up too much space inside the toolshed or garage.
- Compatibility – Another thing to consider when buying an air compressor is whether it will work with any air tools that you may already own. In this respect, bear in mind that air compressors for industrial use usually involve a tank of sorts. With a portable machine, however, the design may be a bit more compact in shape, yet potent enough to still power most air tools. What you want is a machine that will meet the functional requirements of your tools, mainly in regards to pressure and volume. With that out of the way, you can focus on the portability issue and whether the machine can be carried around with ease.
- Functionality – With a decent portable air compressor, you can get anything from 1.5 to 6.5 horsepower depending on the machine. Even though air compressors designed for industrial use are usually stronger, your average portable unit can deliver a reasonable output to meet most of your household needs. That said, horsepower isn’t necessarily a primary concern for a portable machine because you should be more interested in sustained delivery. On a related note, a machine with a higher max PSI usually involves a smaller tank, one that can perform just as well as a unit with a larger tank without taking up too much space. Not just that but a decent compressor will also deliver a CFM that’s on par with the PSI for the most part.
- Construction – Big or small, an air compressor should be sturdy enough to withstand a fair amount of abuse before showing any signs of damage. At the same time, it needs to possess a construction that enables it to function optimally despite how intensely you use it. For the most part, air compressors come in pancake, pontoon, twin-stack, and wheelbarrow form. While pancake compressors are flat and round, pontoon compressors are horizontal and equipped with a single tank. With twin-stack compressors, you get two horizontal tanks intended to reduce space. Wheelbarrow compressors also have twin tanks, along with wheels and handles for increased portability and ease of storage.
- Power – Interestingly enough, some portable air compressors come equipped with electric motors of their own. This, of course, is the alternative to being powered by traditional means, mainly by plugging them into outlets or portable generators. As an alternative, you should consider investing in an air compressor with a gasoline engine or one that runs on batteries or other types of fuel. You do need to check the voltage, so as to ensure that it will operate smoothly in any setup you may design.
Benefits Of Using A Portable Air Compressor
- Conserving Energy – Most portable air compressors are energy-saving by nature, in the sense that they use up less power than stationary compressors. As we already pointed out, some of these compressors even pack their own power source, meaning that you won’t have to worry about finding an outlet at any point. Not just that but you also have to consider just how functional portable units are when compared with their stationary counterparts.
- Saving Time – By employing a portable air compressor, you can save yourself an awful lot of time and effort. While a static compressor might require that you improvise all sorts of contraptions in order to set it up in a functional position in the exact place where you need it, a portable device will perform the same duties without any additional hassle. In fact, modern portable air compressors are just as good at spraying, nailing, or sanding as most stationary models.
- Improved Mobility – The main purpose of using a portable air compressor is to gain a sense of mobility and practicality in motion. While large, bulky compressors may perform marginally better at certain tasks, portable air compressors can definitely hold their own in regards to quick delivery and reliability. Not just that but the fact that you can store these machines almost anywhere given their compact design is also a big plus.
- Better Maintenance – Last but not least, it should be said that portable air compressors have much lower maintenance requirements than larger units. Due to their reduced size and versatile functionality, these machines require little to no maintenance, making them perfect for any professional who earns a living employing air-powered tools on the go. As a matter of fact, regular checks are enough to keep these machines running smoothly for years.