Ultimate Guide 2020: Top 10 Recommended Best 12V Air Compressors Reviews

If you have a car, the longer it will last will depend on how you take care of it. The moment you don’t take good care and maintenance, or use low-quality tools, that is when it starts to lose value at a fast rate. It is the reason why you need to have some of the best tools, such as the best 12V air compressor. The market is flooded with all models and types of portable 12V air compressors. Some are of high quality and other below average, and you’re left wondering the one to choose. You are not alone, and this guide is for you.

Having an air compressor at your home is a great tool to help you with DIY jobs. It can also act well for business purposes. These 12V air compressors are versatile, and you can inflate many things such as your car tire, sports equipment, motorbikes, inflatable mattresses, among others.

It is a hassle to get the right 12V air compressor for your needs. Here is a review of our top 10 12V air compressors in 2020

A Quick Look At The Winners ( Updated In 2020 )​

1. Helteko Portable Air Compressor Pump

Helteko is a great option when you want to buy car accessories. However, its air compressor is lightweight and portable, with numerous essential features to suit your needs perfectly. The air compressor works using 150 PSI and 12 volts to inflate tires. If you have the 12v tire type, you need to consider the right inflation rate. However, if you need to inflate motorbike, cars, and other inflatable objects such as balls, this is the air compressor you need.

In addition, the device is constructed using high-quality ABS and LED on the front, which helps you to read the details at ease. If you want to inflate your car tires at night, you don’t have to worry about darkness. It has an emergency light to ensure you inflate your tires correctly. Besides, Helteko is a 12 volt air compressor that comes with an auto-shut off feature. The feature is vital because it will turn off your device completely after it has inflated the maximum level your tire need. But unlike its previous models, Helteko 12 volts air compressor gives you a 1.5-year warranty. 

If anything requires repair within the period, it won’t cost you an extra amount. It, therefore, makes this device among the best and reliable option to consider. And like other types of lightweight, portable air compressors, the gadget comes equipped with 120 watts power draw from your 12v power tool outlet in your vehicle. That well said, it means that the power draw is enough and can’t easily damage your car battery.

 

Best Features

  • LED flashlight
  • 10 feet power cord
  • In-built screen
  • Auto-shut off function
  • 5-year warranty
  • 120 watts power draw
  • 150 PSI

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Versatile
  • LED flashlight for use at dark areas and night

Cons

  • It tends not to be accurate
  • You can’t use on trucks

2. Viair 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor

Viair is a well-known company to manufacture high-quality car accessories, including air compressors such as this Viair 00088 88P air compressor model. This is one of the powerful types of 12v air compressors you’ll find in the market. Maybe you are looking for something you can use to inflate your tires after having a long day drive. Besides, it might be something that you want to use to top up the tires now and then. If you find yourself in either case, this model, Viair 00088 88P, is a portable air compressor that will offer you with solid components, excellent reliability, and compelling performance, all at an affordable price.

It’s not all air compressors that are created equal, including portable 12v air compressors models. Some models you’ll find in the market today have plastic components that will quickly overheat, seize up within some minutes of use, and lower their durability. Yes, these products are cheap, but they will not hold for long before you replace them. That is well said; some companies like Viair will come to play to prevent such frustration. Viair provides you with different compressors that vary from light-duty to heavy-duty models. Viair 00088 88P lies as the top best in a group of lightweight and portable compressors line.

Performance is something you’ll consider when you want an air compressor, and this model gives you quite impressively for its size. When it is at 0 PSI, this model will deliver 1.47 CFM of compressed air. If it is at 30 PSI, it also manages an impressive 1.25 CFM. However, it has 120 PSI as its maximum operating pressure and manages a modest 0.35 CFM. Is that not impressive? In addition, it is among the most powerful models in the market with its 240 watts power draw. It, therefore, means you can quickly inflate your car tires.

Nevertheless, something unique with the models is that it does not cost you an extra amount to add a horse pipe to reach all the car tires. It is equipped with a long 16-ft air hose and 10-ft power cord for easy maneuvering.

Features

  • 240 watts power draw
  • 120 PSI
  • 10 ft long power cord
  • 47 CFM
  • lED power indicator
  • High Power air compressor
  • 1-year warranty
  • 16-ft air hose

Pros

  • Suitable for 33-inch and below tires
  • You can inflate large SUVs, trucks, and more
  • Versatile
  • Lightweight and easy to transport
  • Strong power

Cons

  • Unreliable
  • Does not run on cigarette lighter sockets

3. EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump

EPAuto is among the top-rated brands in the market you will come across when you want to buy a portable air compressor. From the company, you should pick this great compact and lightweight model EPAuto 12v air compressor easy to store and carry around.  Besides, this portable air compressor is equipped with other essential features such as Cigarette Lighter Socket, and you can do your inflation in minutes. It is suitable for different types of vehicles, but don’t use in trucks.

The bright torch is of great assistance in dark areas or night when you can’t see properly. The auto-shutoff features present in this model is vital; you can set your reading to KPA, PSI, KG/CM, or BAR without being worried about bad luck.  This air compressor works perfectly on 12v as an auto portable inflator. The Cigarette socket provides you with convenience, and you can use it to inflate different tires such as motorcycle, bicycle, car, midsize SUVs, and sedan. Moreover, it can also inflate sports things such as balls.

The LED light present is an excellent facility for this model because you’ll see your pressure readings. So, you will balance the car’s tires with the correct PSI. This portable air compressor comes with a 180 watts power draw and 70 PSI maximum air pressure, meaning it will quickly inflate your car tires but not those that require higher PSI. It is the only downside of this 12v car air compressor because it will not inflate truck tires.

Best Features

  • Auto switch-off function
  • Display for air pressure
  • Blight LED torch
  • 180 watts power draw
  • 70 PSI

Pros

  • High-performance pump
  • Great build quality
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Easy to read
  • Convenience
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Can’t be used on trucks
  • Unreliable to last

4. AstroAI Portable Air Compressor Pump - Digital Tire Inflator

This is the best 12v portable air compressor and versatile type equipped with numerous essential features from the AstrolAI store. It is equipped with an over-heat protection feature, which automatically switches off after reaching 212-degree Fahrenheit. Another advantage of why it suits all users is because it gives you 30 minutes break-free operation time. Something that makes this AstroAI portable air compressor outstanding from the rest is because it is all-weather resistant. It will not cause your tire to explode or premature tire wear.

After setting your tire with the desired pressure, the auto-shutoff feature will automatically shut down the machine completely. It collects its power from a 12v cigarette lighter socket in your car. Nevertheless, it is a strong air compressor that will fill your tire within a minute, having a maximum air pressure of 35 PSI. With this AstrolAI inflator, it is versatile in application, and you can quickly inflate your bikes, sports equipment, vehicles, air cushion, among other inflatables items.

The air compressor has another advantage from the manufacturer. It comes packed with necessary nozzles; you can use to inflate all things without buying them separately. The AstrolAI inflator also comes with a digital LED display having backlit, which helps you to indicate accurate readings, thus making it one of the best air compressors in this list.

Best Features

  • LED backlight screen
  • LED flashlight
  • Auto-shutoff feature
  • Free accessories

Pros

  • Overheat and overload protection
  • High accuracy
  • Suitable for use in all weather
  • Versatile
  • 3-year warranty

Cons

  • Not suitable for trucks
  • Customers complain of gauge problems
  • Higher price list

5. Fortem the Extra Mile Digital Tire Inflator for Car

Fortem is another great brand you can choose as an air compressor. This Fortem 12v air compressor is affordable with the excellent value of your money. Besides its affordable price tag, the Fortem tire inflator provides you with 150 PSI max and 120 watts power draw. It, therefore, means you can easily use it to inflate your tires of bicycles, jeeps, motorcycles, and ATVs. After you buy this air compressor model, you will get a gift of multiple nozzle attachments.

It is not limited to the above things; you can also use it to inflate water toys, air mattresses, sports balls, among others. Something that makes this air compressor among the best in the market is its construction and design. It has a robust construction, compact design, and stress-free to fit yet lightweight. The compressor also comes equipped with auto-shutoff technology that helps you avoid over-inflating your tires.

This gadget also has an in-built LED flashlight you can use to illuminate at night or in a dark environment when you need an emergency tire inflation. You don’t have to worry about how to operate as a first time user. It comes with an easy-to-read backlit display screen for accurate air pressure calculation.

Best Features

  • Free accessories
  • Display and LED light
  • 1-year warranty
  • 9-ft long power cord
  • 120 watts power draw
  • 150 PSI max

Pros

  • Value for money
  • Reliable for use at night
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Makes strong noise
  • Customers complain of durability

6. P.I. Auto Store - Premium 12V DC Tire Air Compressor Pump

If you have a car, you plan to take a road trip, remember to have a successful trip is when you take care of the wheels. That is why you find most car owners having a backup tire to help them in case of emergency. But as a cautious driver, you should carry an inflator. However, manual inflating can be tiresome and take much of your time. That is why you need this handy digital P.I Auto Store Air Compressors Pump.

P.I Auto Store Air Compressors Pump comes with a premium look and robust design. Despite helping you to inflate your car tires, the gadget has an emergency torch. It can be of great help in a dark area or at night.An added advantage is that you can use this P.I Auto Store Air Compressors Pump to inflate tires of your car, motorcycle, and bicycles. You can also inflate other objects such as sports equipment, inflatable mattresses, among others.For display, this P.I Auto Store Air Compressors Pump uses a digital LCD, which means you can automatically monitor your pressure amount.

It has been equipped with different premium features such as a powerful pump that can generate 38 l/min of air-flow. For a mid-size car, these air compressors will inflate to 30 PSI in less than 3-minute, and when done, the auto-shutoff feature will turn it off completely. Besides, it is easy to use. You only plug its cord into your car’s 12v cigarette lighter socket and set the pressure at the backlit LCD display gauge. Lastly, after you buy this gadget, it comes included with other gift accessories such as Schrader, Presta valve adaptor, four spare dust caps, and a carry case.

Best Features

  • Robust design
  • LCD display
  • Carry case
  • Included other components
  • Digital pressure gauge
  • Auto-shutoff feature
  • 30 PSI

Pros

  • Versatile
  • Easy to use
  • Superior, high speed and consistency pump

Cons

  • Noisy
  • You can’t use on trucks
  • Some customer claim not reliable

7. Kensun AC/DC Swift Performance Portable Tire Inflator

If you wanted an air compressor with useful features yet can use both power source, Kensun AC/DC tire inflator is what you need. This compressor comes with both power cords, and you can plug it into multiple sockets because it accepts direct current and alternating current power.The maximum air pressure of this air compressor will give you clarity because it has 120 PSI, which makes it an ideal model for multiple projects and tools. It also brings you an accurate analog display that you can use to identify the quantity of pressure.

An added advantage is how it has been constructed. The air compressor is compact and sturdy looking to give you a swift performance that allows you to inflate your tires within seconds. The AC/DC option helps you inflate your car and other inflatable products at ease. You can do it indoor or outdoor. Like any other competitors in the market, this product comes equipped with different nozzles. They will help you to inflate anything, including sports equipment.

One of the unique things regarding this air compressor is that you don’t have to buy a storage bag. It comes with a zipped pouch for comfortable storage and transport.

Best Features

  • 120 watts power draw
  • 120 PSI max
  • 2-year warranty
  • 32-inch long hose
  • Both AC/DC power cords

Pros

  • A powerful model
  • Highly reliable and durable
  • Uses both powers
  • Neat
  • Suitable for multiple projects

Cons

  • Not ideal for high PSI vehicles
  • Hard display to read

8. TireTek RX-i Digital Car Tire Inflator

What do you think about bells and whistles? TireTek RX-i air compressor has it all! The air compressor is lightweight and has a sleek design making it easy to transport. It features an 11.5 ft air hose that you can easily maneuver with, and with all features equipped, they make this gadget worth the price. It has an LED light, all-digital, and high tech, making it easy to read the pressure gauge. Not to mention, it comes with a power inlet port of 12v DC and an outlet USB port.

The performance of this inflating tool is outstanding; you can fill different types of tires with any of the four nozzle adaptors it posses such as the Presta adaptor. It has been installed with noise reduction technology making it quiet when in use. The long 11.5-ft extension air hose makes it easier for you to maneuver in tighter areas. It also gives you the convenience to store in the case with other relevant accessories and transport at ease. It can pump 40 liters of air within a minute, and the digital pressure readout helps you quickly access the status of your tire. An added advantage is the power source of this gadget. You can plug it into your car’s 12v cigarette lighter outlet. That said, you don’t have to worry about charging your smartphone, tablet, or other devices. TireTek RX-i air compressor comes with USB ports for that purpose. 

Overall, this type of model is suitable for different things, such as mountain and racing bikes. Besides, it is a great air compressor for recreational vehicles, cars, and motorbikes. It is easy to use and neatly store in your deluxe carrying case. When you need to use, taking it out is a cinch. It will fill your tires within seconds.

Best Features

  • Auto-shutoff feature
  • Extra adaptors
  • LED light
  • Noise elimination technology
  • Portable carrying case
  • 11.5 ft cables
  • Addition power outlet
  • 12-month warranty

Pros

  • Fast inflation
  • Lightweight
  • Includes four extra adapters
  • Long cable for ease to maneuver
  • Portable carrying case for easy transport

Cons

  • Plastic valve connector
  • Some customers claimed not durable

9. SuperFlow Portable Air Pump 12 volt

Superflow Portable Air Compressor is a reliable type of inflating pump. Why this model is suitable and versatile is because you will not expect any problems, for whatsoever reasons.Many things people look at when buying an air compressor are portability for storage. However, despite having a compact design, this air pump is lightweight and easy to transport since it has a handle for extra grip. The lightweight allows you to move around hassle-free.

Besides, like others, it also comes with additional accessories such as adaptors and a carrier bag. It is easy to use this gadget; you only have to plug into your socket and work instantly.Choosing this air compressor not only gives you convenience but acts like a gift. When on the road, your safety is a priority. Therefore, this gadget stands to be a perfect gift for family or friends with cars on any occasion.

Best Features

  • 16-ft air hose
  • 140 PSI max
  • 5-foot power cord
  • 3.99 pounds

Pros

  • Sturdy
  • Portable
  • Reliable
  • Comes with accessories
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Some customers experienced power cord failure

10.  Kobalt 120v & 12v Portable Air Compressor

This air compressor model is the best you can get if you’re looking for a small 12v air compressor and compact. However, don’t think because it is small, it has less power. No! It is powered by a 120v power outlet from your 12v car outlet. It has a 120 PSI max making it useful for your car.The air compressor is suitable for different inflation, such as ATV, bike, and car tires. Besides, it is not limited to those; you can pump beach toys, air mattresses, and sex dolls.Inflating with this gadget is simple. You only plug into a standard 120v or your car’s cigarette lighting socket. Further, it has a digital gauge; it will show you current pressure inside your inflated tire and preset to your desired PSI.

In addition, it has an automatic shut-off function, which will switch your unit off after reaching the preset pressure level, and it prevents over-inflation of your items.The air compressor’s 26-ft hose is enough to provide you with broad reach for easy use of this device. With an in-built LED lights, you can use the gadget in areas with low light or at night perfectly.

Besides, the unit is equipped with a raft nozzle, two sports needles, and a Presta valve adaptor that ensures you get a secure connection. In the same pack, it has an accessory storage compartment that you can use to keep all things together

Best Features

  • The 26-ft hose
  • LED lights
  • Presta valve adaptor
  • Two sports needs
  • Raft nozzle
  • Two power outlets
  • 120 PSI max
  • Digital gauge

Pros

  • Inflates quickly different items
  • Small and compact to keep in your car
  • Preset pressure option
  • LED lights for dark areas and night
  • Long hose for ample reach
  • Powerful

Cons

  • Can’t be used on trucks
  • No carrying case

12V Air Compressor Buying Guide

It is confusing when you want to buy an air compressor, and there are options to choose from. This is confusing because they have a whole load of varying useful features, and you find some having amazing features than others.You have to pick the right air compressor model that will satisfy your needs. The confusion will be simplified after considering different features.That well said, there are some crucial things you may have to consider before purchasing an air compressor.

Here is information to consider from our 12v air compressor buying guide:

Power Capacity

When you want to purchase an air compressor, power capacity is a useful feature to consider for the best 12 volt air compressor. The power capacity will determine your compressor’s efficiency. If you buy a model with less power capacity, it will be a useless air compressor.

The power capacity is measured using horsepower (HP). For most 12v air compressors, their horsepower ranges between 2 and 10HP. Besides, other models will have more than 10HP horsepower. If it uses the standard electric power, the best option will be 2 HP rating.

  1. Maximum Air Pressure

One of the significant factors to consider is the maximum air pressure of the tires. Using this factor, you can understand the types of tires you can inflate using a specific air compressor. Air pressure is measured using PSI. If you choose an air pressure lower than your tire requirements, it will not perform effectively as expected.If you need to avoid such mistakes before buying an air compressor, we recommend getting one having a higher PSI rating. Depending on the air compressor, most models range from 25 to 150. Choosing one with a higher rating means you can use it in all tires such as trucks, cars, among others.

Looking at this factor will depend on why you need an air compressor; if it is for your car’s tires, then one with 50 PSI will serve your needs perfectly. Most car tires range at 30 PSI max.If you look at some larger vehicles such as SUVs, Sedans, and RVs, they will require a higher PSI air compressor to inflate their tires. These types of cars have a higher PSI ranging between 70 to 90 PSI.

So, before you choose the type of air compressor you need, consider the PSI or your vehicle requirements. In that way, it will be easier to select the model from a 12v air compressor you need.

  1. Duty Cycle

The duty cycle represents the amount of time you can operate your air compressor continuously at a standard temperature of 72°F and 100 PSI. A duty cycle is represented as a percentile.Duty cycle % = off time + compressor on time.If your duty cycle, for example, is present at 25%, it means you can operate it continuously for approximately 10 minutes and restart after 30- minute break.

However, you have to determine your compressor’s duty cycle because light-duty models will not have enough volume tanks. With that, it means the device will run out its compressed air before you complete your task. Choosing an air compressor, having a higher duty cycle rate provides you with better and efficient services. On the other hand, running a compressor more than the required duty cycle will reduce its efficiency. And if you repeat more times, you will decline its lifespan. 

  1. Air Flow

Airflow refers to the total air volume output that an air compressor can emit. In simple terms, airflow refers to the speed your air compressor delivers. Airflow is measured in CFM.When analyzing this factor, remember that the higher the CFM rating, the better the air compressor will perform. So, the best model to choose is one having 1.5 times CMF than what you require. However, the buffer space helps prevent the overload of your air compressor.

  1. Tank Capacity

The capacity of the tank is an essential feature to consider before you purchase a 12v air compressor. A model having an in-built tank and adjustable regulator is the best. According to contractors, they attest that a compressor with a 2-gallon surge tank will be sufficient to inflate a tire quickly.The tank size is also considered because it will be stored in a toolbox or below the seat.

  1. Power Draw

A compressor operated with 12v requires you to consider its power draw. If the air compressor has a high power draw, it means you can easily inflate your tires quickly.Unfortunately, such an air compressor having a high power draw will affect your car battery. So, it is recommended to choose one having a lower power draw than 120 watts.

  1. Different Sockets types

Most air compressors have been designed such that they will run only using DC power. It is the same power type that cars using the cigarette lighter emits. These 12v air compressor models are perfect when they use a cigarette lighting socket. The will not be helpful if they only use an AC power socket. That is because AC power is only present at your home’s electrical outlets.If you have an AC type, you can buy an inverter and convert the DC power to AC and vise versa, only that this option will cost you more.

If you want to use one for both options, then the best portable type with both AC and DC sockets will fulfill your needs. Such are available that have both power plugs, AC and DC. So, getting such an air compressor type will give you both power convenience.

  1. Power Source

The power source applies depending on your usage. If it is a 12v air compressor, it uses a cigarette lighter socket. Such will be perfect for inflating your car tires anywhere.The other option you can choose is a rechargeable battery-powered type of compressor. This is a perfect option because when you travel for long and regularly, you will not look for an outlet plugin.

If you can get a rechargeable type of air compressor, you can use it to inflate two tires once when fully charged. Besides, it is the best option to check with and adjust all tires.

  1.  Display and Lights

Display and light are some of the vital features to consider. However, they are only available in a few portable air compressors. It is beneficial to have these features because you might need to use the air compressor at night or dim lighting.A suitable 12v air compressor model has a highly accurate display to provide appropriate PSI, BAR, and others.

If you need to inflate your car tires at night, LED light is something essential. Besides, you can also consider using emergency lights.The display, on the other hand, is a feature that allows you to check your tire pressure. Depending on the model, there are some that you can use to set their auto-off function.

  1.  Cord Length

The length of the cord is another essential factor to consider. After you have connected to the air compressor to the power socket, the next step is to connect the air hose with your tires for inflation. You need to have a decent cord length as it ensures the compressed air will reach all your car tires at ease.

Most models, those for 12v compressors, tend to be shorter than for AC models. It might not be a major deal, but if you have a large vehicle, you need to purchase one with enough cord length. Picking one with a short cord will be challenging to reach all tires.The ideal air hose length should range between 10 – 12 feet long. If it will not come having enough air hose length, purchase an extension.

  1. Auto-shut Off

Auto-shutoff is an essential feature, but it is only available in some 12v air compressor models. After the air compressor has reached the absolute desired air pressure, the feature will shut down your device completely.It is an excellent feature for beginners because they lack enough experience using air compressors. As this feature is only available to some models, read the features of a compressor carefully before you can purchase.

  1.  Design and Material

Air compressor manufacturers use different types of designs. If it is about durability, you have to be keen on the material used to make the 12v air compressor.What is important is for the casing to handle heat range because overheating will damage your compressor. The most used durable materials include steel and cast iron because they can comfortably heat in a better manner than other materials such as plastics.

  1. Warranty

When buying other products like electronics, you consider their warranty. It should be the same as this 12v air compressor before you make a purchase. A warranty will distinguish a reliable product.During that time, you will not have to pay an extra amount for repair. And it will be efficient even after you purchase it online. Depending on the model and manufacture, most have warranty periods ranging between 1 to 3 years and forget to check the privacy policy from the manufacturer.

  1. Weight and Portability

Choose a lightweight and portable 12v air compressor. It is the reason why these types of air compressors are best suited. Lightweight, compact size and portable not only help to store the air compressor but also help to ease mobility.

Frequently Asked Question

How to Choose the Best 12V Air Compressor?

When you want to choose the best 12v air compressor, it will depend on what you want to use it for. If it is for small car tires, you have to look at the PSI and other vital features. Choose the perfect 12v air compressor model depending on your needs.

How to Buy the Best 12V Air Compressor

When buying a 12v air compressor, you will spend some dollars. So, it’s worth thinking about how to use it and for what purpose. As a motorist, you have to ensure all your tires have the right pressure. This is the most sensible thing and easiest, so you don’t require a mechanic to inflate your tires for you. When you keep the tires at the required pressure, you will extend their life.

What to Look For in a 12V Air Compressor

A 12v air compressor has many essential features you can consider. Some of the important features include maximum air pressure, hose length, display and lights, duty cycle, and tank capacity. All these play an important role and are worth considering.

How to Use a 12v Air Compressor?

It is simpler to use this 12V air compressor compared to a larger one. The first thing is to plug it in the correct lighting socket (those without a rechargeable battery), adjust its setting to use the right settings, and start to use. The device will begin to work straight away.

The Final Verdict

When you search for a 12V air compressor, there are many on the results page. However, it is confusing because they all come with different types of features. Many have useful and unique features. It will depend on what you want to use the tool for, and after making a valid conclusion, considering all factors, you will choose the right one hassle-free.

If you’re to buy an air compressor, one thing to remember is that you can’t use it on tools requiring more air pressure; therefore, consider the PSI. An air compressor is versatile and can help you with other tools you have. So, think about why you need to buy an air compressor as the main reason before purchasing one of the top best 12V air compressors.