If your power tool requirements end at various inflation tasks, you might not need an air compressor which has an air tank. Instead, you are better off with an air compressor that pumps the air directly where you need it to go.
This is only suitable for small-scale tasks but on the plus side these compressors are much cheaper, easier to use, but most importantly smaller. You will also be able to carry it around in the trunk of your car, or even your bike’s storage space.
You may come across these by the name of tire inflators, but they are nothing more than air compressors so this is something worth remembering. There are plenty of tire inflators on the market today, so I understand if you’re having a tough time choosing one. That’s why I’ve decided to compile a buying guide, as well as a list that features the best air compressors:
Best Portable 12V Air Compressor for Tires
If I had to choose the absolute best portable 12V compressor for tires, my choice would be the Viair 00073 70P Portable Compressor which has a collection of outstanding features that will come in handy when inflating the tires on your car.
Unlike other competing models, this tire inflator is manufactured out of top-notch materials which provide it with an additional level of sturdiness. Suffice to say, this little compressor will last a long time. All it needs is a 15-amp power port in order to work. The unit is able to deliver up to 100 PSI of pressure which is an impressive number. Despite all that power it is extremely compact, measuring only 9.2 x 8.5 x 8 inches and weighing less than 4lbs. If you’re interested (and I’m sure you are), it’s capable of inflating up to 225/65/R18 tires.
When you buy the unit it comes in a carrying bag with all the necessary accessories which means you can put it away easily and keep it in the trunk of your car. Another advantage of this compressor is it doesn’t produce much heat allowing you to detach it almost immediately after it has been used.
Let me just give you an example of how good it is: This compressor is able to inflate 20 tires in under 40 minutes! That’s 5 cars! It uses a brass tire chuck with screw-on action ensuring the compressor is properly secured.
Best Tire Inflator for External Air Compressors
The Campbell Hausfeld MP6000 which comes with a gauge is the best tire inflator you can hook up to your air compressor. Basically, this unit is a combination of three different tools: An inflation gun, pressure gauge and a tire chuck. These three combined together make for an efficient and useful tool.
It features a clip-on design allowing you to keep your hands free. The unit’s body is made out of one solid piece of metal, (no more worrying about durability)! The gauge that is attached to the inflator is able to get a PSI readout of anywhere between 10 to 150 PSI. Getting the whole system to work is very simple. You just have to attach the tool to the appropriate compressor, connect the tire chuck, the stem of the tire, and keep pulling the trigger until the desired pressure value is reached.
What I also liked about this tire inflator is it has a built-in relief valve which acts as a safety measure. You see, over inflating your tires not only has a negative effect on the handling of your car, it can also shorten the life of your tires. A relief valve reduces the amount of pressure in case the tire has too much air in it. If you find yourself doing inflation tasks more often, you should definitely get one of these.
Best Budget Digital 12V Tire Inflator
The Slime 40022 12-Volt Tire Inflator is the right choice for you if you are looking for a capable tire inflator, but you don’t want to spend a lot of money. Its money-to-value ratio is simply unbeatable. When it comes to actually using it this model is fairly simple and accurate, giving readouts with a maximum variation of 0.5 PSI when checked with a pressure indicator.
The time it takes this capable little unit to fill up a single tire is around 120 seconds, but if you were to develop a habit of checking your tire pressure regularly that time period would become much shorter. The readout is displayed in digital form, and once the tire is filled to its optimum pressure the motor shuts down automatically.
You also get a good range of movement with this inflator thanks to the long lead wire which you hook up to your car’s cigarette lighter. If you happen to find yourself in a situation where you need to inflate a tire during the night, you don’t have to worry because the digital readout is backlit, and comes with a bright LED panel.
The Slime 40022 is equipped with a screw-on connection which means you don’t have to worry about compatibility since it will fit on any wheel rim. Another advantage of this inflator is it’s really quiet which might not mean much on the road, but when used indoors the lack of noise really makes a positive difference.
Best 120 Volt Home Inflation System
The Campbell Hausfeld Home Inflation System comes with a black plastic casing and a 10-foot electrical cord for 120V sockets which allows you to use it inside your home for jobs other than just tire inflation, and it excels in all areas.
When it comes to portability, this unit will set your mind at ease since it only weighs 5lbs which means you can pretty much take it anywhere with you. Despite its small weight and miniature dimensions, this little compressor is capable of delivering plenty of power. But, what you wouldn’t expect for the price is the way it inflates tires.
This thing is incredibly fast! For instance, this compressor is able to inflate an almost flat tire to about 35 PSI which is pretty awesome. Also, the Campbell Hausfeld comes with a built-in pressure gauge which is convenient because you don’t have to disconnect the compressor to measure the pressure with a stand-alone gauge.
With all that speed the unit is bound to heat up which is why it has a cooling fan. The Campbell Hausfeld is an oil-free unit so it is very low-maintenance. It is a bit on the noisy side, but since this compressor will not be used for extensive work you can hardly hold the noise it makes against it.
Best Compact Motorcycle Tire Inflator
If you are a motorcycle rider there are only so many items you can carry around with you, so you have to decide what it is you really need out on the road with you. I would definitely recommend you consider getting a tire inflator. More specifically, my recommendation would be the Airman C60A54 Tour Pump.
When you have a car, you can pretty much carry anything you need in the trunk. Motorcycle riders don’t have the same luxury, but thanks to compressors like this one you can still inflate tires while out on the road. This unit comes with a built-in pressure gauge, and it uses your bike’s battery power in order to function. All you have to do is plug it into your cigarette lighter.
This little air compressor takes about 7 minutes to inflate a tire, and its maximum pressure value is 150 PSI. If you do decide to get one, you also get adaptors which allow you to inflate balls and bicycle tires. In my opinion, if you had to choose just one accessory for your motorcycle, this tire inflator should be it. As far as compact, portable tire inflators meant for use on motorcycle tires are concerned, I think this one is the best.
Best 12-Volt/120-Volt Combination Inflator
If you are looking for a tire inflator that is flexible, and by flexible I mean you can use it for tires and inflation jobs around the home, I would recommend the Black & Decker Air Station Inflator ASI300 which is the best 12/120V combo inflator I came across while doing my research.
The benefit of this air compressor (apart from it being flexible) is it’s so easy to use, you can even teach your kids how to operate it. I think this is a great way to introduce them to road safety because they learn how to inflate a flat tire on their bicycle. When it comes to pressure, this compressor will automatically shut the motor off when the pressure inside the tire reaches optimal value.
All you have to do is dial in the desired value, that’s it! It is also very versatile since it is suitable for inflating not only tires, but balls, air mattresses, rubber pools and so on. If you happen to carry this one in your car, and you get a flat in the middle of the night the pressure gauge is backlit so you can operate it in the dark without any fuss.
This handy inflator comes with everything you need for various tasks such as a standard and extension nozzle, needle inflator as well as 12V/120V cords and plugs. And of course it’s made by Black & Decker, one of the most renowned power tool manufacturers in the world.