The portable compressor is an ideal option for any car trip. Vehicle tires lose pressure when you drive several kilometers or suddenly get punctured. Having the right tools can make a difference in dealing with the inconveniences that can occur while traveling on the road.
To drive safely and keep the wheels in perfect condition, it is necessary to periodically check that the air pressure of the tires is that recommended by the manufacturer. We know that choosing a portable compressor can be complicated and we have prepared this guide with all the information you need to help you make a good purchase.
- Portable air compressors are designed to be carried in the trunk of the car. Some models are so compact that they can be stored in the glove compartment.
- The portable compressors have a power of about 5 bar, enough for any ordinary tire. However, it may not be enough for larger tires such as SUVs
- These tools work by connecting to the car’s cigarette lighter. Some models have power adapters, so you can plug them into home sockets as well. Most modern models have lithium batteries.
Our selection of the best portable air compressors on the market
The portable compressor is an indispensable tool in the car to maintain excellent wheel performance. There are different types on the market and to help you learn more about all their characteristics, we have prepared a ranking with the best products according to our criteria. We hope to help you in your choice.
- The best-selling portable mini compressor
- The best portable compressor according to reviews
- The best portable battery compressor
- The handiest portable mini compressor
- The most equipped portable mini compressor
The best-selling portable mini compressor
A portable compressor of small dimensions, but capable of inflating an R17 tire from 0 to 2.5 bar in just 5 minutes. It has an LCD digital pressure gauge that simplifies reading, the preferred pressure can be memorized and is useful for most cars, motorcycles, bicycles, balloons, etc …
The title of the article is wrong, it is not rechargeable, but it works by attaching it to the cigarette lighter. The manufacturer specifies that it is not suitable for truck tires. Reviews say it is very comfortable, easy to use and versatile given all of its uses. The value for money is among the best.
The best portable compressor according to reviews
This portable compressor has an airflow of 40 liters / min and can inflate the wheels in just 4 and a half minutes from 0 to 2.4 bars. Ideal for most uses (cars, bikes, inflatables, etc…). It is equipped with a digital pressure gauge with an LCD screen and it is possible to preset the pressure to automatically proceed with inflation.
The connection is made via cable to the car cigarette lighter. Reviews call it space-saving, robust and functional. It is particularly silent.There are 3 colors of LED lights, including the white one, which is very useful when used in the dark.
The best portable battery compressor
Compared to previous models, this portable compressor works both with the power cable from the car cigarette lighter, and with 12 V battery. It is light and compact and integrates a small display and an LED light useful for working in the dark.
According to reviews, it is comfortable and light to carry. They say it takes about an hour to fully recharge. More than recommended for cars and other tires or balls. However, it is not recommended for inflatables of a certain size (such as rafts). A bit noisy according to some.
The handiest portable mini compressor
The KYG portable air compressor has a 2000mAh fast charging lithium battery that you can recharge from the car cigarette lighter. It is a compact model weighing only 1100 grams. It has an inflation rate of up to 50 liters per minute, a maximum air intake of 7 bar and an accuracy of 0.5 psi. It has a backlit LCD screen with memory and a handy LED flashlight.
Reviews are only positive. They say it recharges in 2/3 hours, is easy to use and so compact that you hardly notice you have it. It has enough power to inflate everything a little, within limits of course, but it is perfect for the car.
The most equipped portable mini compressor
This small portable compressor has a 2000 battery which allows continuous use for about 15 minutes. It is recharged with the car’s cigarette lighter and the pressure can be preset. It has a display and an LED light to inflate the tires of cars, bicycles, motorcycles and medium-sized inflatables even in the darkest situations.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about portable compressors
The portable air compressor is a tool designed to keep your tire pressure at the right point even on the go. But you have to know a little bit before buying it. Below we have answered the most frequently asked questions asked by those who, like you, are looking for information on the portable compressor.
What is a portable compressor?
The portable compressor is a tool designed to increase the pressure of gases or vapors known as “compressible”. The compression process takes place through the exchange of energy between the machine and the gaseous fluid. When the flow of energy begins the gas pressure increases.
Portable air compressors are compact. They represent the evolution of manual air pumps used to inflate bicycle wheels. These models, more powerful and with digital functions, are designed to be transported in the trunk of the car or to be stored in the garage.
What are the characteristics of a portable compressor?
The main characteristics of a portable compressor are its size. These tools are designed to be carried, so they need to take up little space. Most have a clamshell shape, which allows you to store accessories inside. Other models have the shape of a pressure gauge, which makes them even lighter.
Another feature is to have the DC power connection. These sockets allow the compressor to be connected to the car’s cigarette lighter. Some models have lithium batteries, backlit LCD screens, memory for programming tire pressure, and even emergency flashlights.
What is a portable air compressor used for?
The primary use of a portable air compressor is generally to maintain a car’s tire pressure. Vehicle manufacturers recommend keeping wheels within a safe pressure range. The compressors are used to control this pressure and inflate the tires when necessary. This pressure should be checked periodically and maintained.
In fact, we can use the portable air compressor to keep all types of tires inflated, such as those of a bicycle or motorbike. Being compact and handy we can use them to inflate balls of all kinds, floats and other toys. They are also the ideal complement for camping, as the mattresses can also be inflated.
What are the benefits of portable air compressors?
The main advantage of portable compressors is their portability. Being compact we can carry them in the trunk of our car and have them ready for any eventuality. All it takes is a puncture in the middle of the road and you will understand how important it is to have one of these compressors with you. In addition, they have the light to be able to intervene even at night.
Other advantages we can add to their portability is that most models have built-in memory that allows you to program tire pressure. Here is a list of the advantages of this type of compressor:
- You can take them in the trunk of the car, which will allow you to solve any unexpected problems or punctures on the road.
- They have built-in LED lights, which allow you to work at night.
- Most models have LCD screens that make reading data easier.
- They have a memory that allows you to program the pressure of your tires
- You avoid trips to the gas station or auto repair shops just to check your tire pressure.
- By keeping the wheels within the pressure recommended by the manufacturer, you can drive safely.
What are the differences between stationary and portable air compressor? ?
The main difference between traditional air compressors and portable air compressors is their size and usage. Air compressors are large and complex tools, with an air storage tank and an oil motor, they are often used to connect other pneumatic tools, thus saving energy.
Here we present a table with the most notable differences between a stationary and a portable air compressor.
|Portable air compressor||Fixed air compressor|
|Supply||Electrical connection and accessories for connection to the car cigarette lighter.||Electrical connection. Some industrial models can run on fossil fuels (diesel).|
|Capacity||They have no tank, so they do not store compressed air. Some models may have small tanks, between 1 and 2 liters.||Industrial models have tanks up to 100 liters. Traditional models have capacities ranging from 8 to 20 liters.|
|Use||They are ideal for maintaining the tire pressure of our car and for inflating the wheels of bicycles and motorcycles, beach toys or mattresses||They have all kinds of industrial uses. For operating pneumatic tools. Cutting, cleaning, vacuuming or painting.|
|Engine||They have electric motors||Mechanical lubricated motors.|
|Portability||They are very compact, placed in the trunk of the car or in the glove compartment.||The larger industrial models cannot move. They need to be installed and left.|
|Flow and pressure||They have pressures ranging from 2 to 5 bars. Enough to inflate the tires||Industrial models have very powerful flows, since they are connected to other tools.|
What are the best brands of portable air compressors?
Among the best brands of air compressors we find the Stanley Black & Decker group, recognized worldwide for the highest quality production tools, with the best materials and technologies.Einhell is another of the leading brands, with over 60 years of experience in tool making. Other brands such as KYG or Ring Automotive are recognized for creating the highest quality tools, currently have a range of over 2000 products.
What are pressure and inflation capacity?
Tire pressure is essential if you want to optimize a vehicle’s performance and ensure high wear resistance and a better life for your tires. First of all, you need to know that tire inflation pressure has a direct influence on the safety and load capacity of the vehicle.
A correctly inflated tire stabilizes the structure of the vehicle and distributes the supported load evenly, this allows to optimize performance and guarantees greater safety.
What is airflow?
How do you use a portable air compressor?
The first step is to mark the correct pressure on the indicator screen. In portable compressors it is very easy to set it according to your needs, as it is usually adjusted via buttons or the pressure gauge. Once you have marked the optimal pressure you can memorize it for the next time.
Once this is done, you need to attach the compressor nozzle to the air valve in the wheel. Wait a moment for it to sync and start inflating. Digital models stop automatically when they reach the indicated pressure. Remove the nozzle and store the compressor again. It is really easy.
Here is a step-by-step list of how to use a portable air compressor.
- Turn on the air compressor
- Mark on the screen, using the buttons, the correct pressure of your tires.
- Remove the valve cap and leave it in a safe place.
- Apply the compressor nozzle to the valve
- Wait for the compressor to stabilize.
- An automatic compressor will stop when it reaches the indicated pressure. In case it is not, look carefully at the pressure gauge to stop the compressor at the right moment
- In case of overinflation, use the compressor to eliminate excess pressure until the value indicated by the manufacturer is reached.
- Once the wheels are inflated, close the valves and turn off the compressor.
To buy a portable air compressor, you need to take into account your needs and characteristics. There are many different models that make it difficult to choose. To make it easier for you, below we explain the most important criteria to consider. Read on if you want to buy the best portable air compressor on the market.
- Work pressure
- Dimensions and weight
- Scope and light
To choose a portable compressor it is necessary to evaluate several factors that directly affect the performance of the equipment. One of the most important is the power of the compressor. Hand or portable compressors usually have powers between 1.5 and 5 HP, they are suitable for home and professional use.
Portable compressors are designed for household work, such as inflating toys or sleeping mats, and most importantly, car tires. If you have a large car you should check if the compressor power is sufficient, otherwise any compressor can be used to inflate the wheels of a car, a motorbike or a bicycle.
Portable air compressors don’t all have the same type of power source. There are some that only work via the cigarette lighter. Other models have the possibility of being connected to electricity. The models with the best features have both options and lithium batteries are also available.
Most machines and equipment need a pressure that does not exceed 6 bar for their operation. Portable air compressors usually have pressures ranging from 2 to 6 bar. While it may seem like little, this air pressure is enough to inflate most tires, even those of an SUV.
While it is true that portable air compressors are ideal to take in the car to always have optimal tire pressure, that does not mean that it is the only way we can use them. Most models have nozzles and adapters that allow you to inflate balls, mats and all kinds of toys.
Some models also include compressed air guns that work perfectly, such as blowers, and you can use them to blow up balloons or clean your computer keyboard.
Staying in the middle of the night on a road to inflate a tire because you have a puncture can be very dangerous. Thinking about such moments, the inflation speed of the compressor is a determining factor for the choice. Among the fastest are the compressors which take only 3 minutes to fully inflate the wheel.
The most common portable air compressor models take between 10 and 15 minutes to fully inflate a wheel to approximately 35 PSI. The advice we give you is to look for the fastest one with the lowest price. In case your budget allows you to buy a quick model, always choose that one.
Dimensions and weight
Generally all portable air compressors are compact, but before deciding which one to choose you need to know that these devices come in different sizes. It is important that you know very well how much space you have available, whether you want to put it in the trunk of your car or if you intend to store it in your garage or closet.
These tools are small, but very powerful. Most usually don’t exceed 500 grams, although some models can reach a kilogram. The little ones can be kept in the glove compartment, while the most common are those to be stored in the trunk of the car.
What you want when you buy a tool with these characteristics is that it lasts as long as possible. Therefore, an important factor when choosing which portable compressor to buy is its robustness.This will largely depend on the materials used in its manufacture.
Portable air compressors are usually made of durable plastic and have aluminum frames. This is because they shouldn’t be heavy. Although these materials are lightweight, the resulting tools are tough and durable and have warranty seals and manufacturing standards to confirm this.
Most modern portable air compressors have an LCD screen, these are very convenient, because they show the data clearly. In models with a pressure gauge, the pressure is indicated by a needle, which is not always easy to read. Again, if you can, choose a model with a digital backlit screen.
Many models also have built-in LED lights. This type of light is ideal for night emergencies, as inflating the wheels in the dark can be tricky and dangerous.
Scope and light
Choose portable air compressors that incorporate hoses that are at least 3 meters long. This way you can work comfortably on all wheels, without limiting the size of the tire or the vehicle itself. If the tube is short, the inflation operation will be very complicated and inconvenient and, if your vehicle is very large, you may not reach all the wheels.
As for the light, the compressor incorporates a flashlight, this is an extra safety that should not be overlooked. Many models have powerful LED flashlights, ideal for night use, others have emergency mode with flashing red lights to call for help.