Best portable air compressors for 2021 Leave a comment

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It’s usually easy enough to use the compressed air machine available at your local gas station, but despite that, too many people are still riding around on under-inflated tires. Luckily, it’s easier and more affordable than ever to get your own air compressor and top off your tires in your very own driveway, but with so many portable air compressors out there on the market, we decided to compile a list of some of the “best.” Of course, everyone has their own idea of what the “best” air compressor is, so this list is based on user ratings and reviews from all across the web.

TEROMAS Tire Inflator Air Compressor – $49.99 at Amazon

Key features

  • Plugs into a car’s 12V cigarette lighter port or a 110/120V wall plug
  • Includes four nozzle adaptors for use with cars, RVs, motorcycles, air mattresses, bike tires and more
  • Accuracy of shown pressure is +/- 3 psi
  • Up to 150 psi
  • Automatically turns off once the pre-set pressure has been achieved
  • Features a bright backlit LCD display

Featured five-star review:

This is a great choice for a compact tire air compressor. It is both AC & DC compatible [and] has a useful built-in light [for] using it at dusk or at night. The accuracy is stated to be + or – 3 psi. That is close enough and can be adjusted as needed if checked with an accurate tire pressure gauge. The time it takes to top off or inflate tires is quicker than I expected it to be… I had a seldom used vehicle that all tires were low [on]… one may have [had] a puncture with the nail still in. It was flat and registered zero pressure when I selected 30psi and started the Teromas unit… in six minutes the unit shut off with the tire inflated to 29psi on my tire gauge. The maximum continuous run time for the unit is 10 minutes… and cooling times between use to fill tires is recommended if total accumulated run times would exceed 10 minutes. I let the unit cool a few minutes between each tire serviced. It took about 2-3 minutes per tire for the three that registered about 15psi to start. I would definitely recommend this unit to a friend and I would buy this product again if it fails after the one year warranty the manufacturer offers if you register your purchase with them online.” – Amazon reviewer, grantg2

AVID POWER Tire Inflator Air Compressor – $59.99 at Amazon

Key features

  • For use with car tires, motorcycle tires, bike tires, inflatable sports balls, pool toys and more
  • Not suitable for large truck tires
  • Accuracy of shown pressure is +/- 1 psi
  • Automatically turns off once the pre-set pressure has been achieved
  • Powered by a rechargeable battery pack or a 12V car power adapter
  • Includes a carrying bag

Featured five-star review:

Just received it today from Amazon and took it to the garage to try. It was easy to use: Plug it in, attach to your tire, turn it on and select psi by pressing the ‘on’ button repeatedly. Set the air pressure you want with the “+” and “-” buttons, press the trigger and it adds exactly the psi you want and then stops. This item works as advertised. I used it to air up all four of my tires and the whole process took less [than] ten minutes.” – Amazon reviewer, MW

FORTEM Digital Tire Inflator – $29.99 at Amazon


Key features

  • Plugs into your car outlet
  • Includes three nozzle attachments for sports balls, air mattresses, bike tires and more
  • Includes a built-in LED flashlight for nighttime emergencies
  • Includes a one-year warranty
  • Includes carrying case

Featured five-star review

After years of procrastination and lazily driving to the gas station [to pay] for air, I’ve decided to finally go ahead and buy a pump. After a lot of research, I decided on this one. Honestly, all the air compressors on Amazon will inflate a tire and get the job done. But, what attracted me to this one was the size, the design and that it had its own storage bag. The reviews were great so I also trusted that. After receiving my air compressor I tried it out on my tire. The operation was simple. It pumped and stopped by itself. One thing I noticed, though, I set the PSI to 32, and after it arrived at 32, I wait[ed] it out for it to stop, and the display went down to 31.5. I unplugged the nozzle, checked my car’s sensors and it showed 31. I might have to set it to 33 PSI in the future to get 32 PSI. I’m seriously not going to lose sleep over that at this price range. After I was done with everything, I stored it under my cargo area and out of sight.” Amazon reviewer, Wayne C.

VacLife Portable Air Compressor – $29.96 at Amazon

Key features

  • Plugs into your car outlet
  • Automatically turns off once the pre-set pressure has been achieved
  • Includes built-in LED lighting
  • Includes three additional nozzles for sports balls, air mattresses, bike tires and more
  • “Not applicable for any large vehicles with tire pressure > 50 psi and tire width > 245 MM such as trucks, vans and off-road vehicles”

Featured five-star review:

I didn’t really know what to expect from this little air compressor, but let me tell you, it did a great job! It has a lot of great features and is very user-friendly. It has an LED light on it for use at night so you can see to inflate your tire if you get stuck out in the dark. One of the things I like the most about it is that it has a digital display, so when you put it onto your valve stem it automatically shows you what your tire pressure is, and then you just set it to whatever your desired pressure is and turn it on and it will automatically inflate to that set pressure. I definitely recommend!” – Amazon reviewer, Brandi P.

EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump – $28.97 (33% off) at Amazon

Key features

  • Best-selling air compressor on Amazon
  • Plugs into the 12V DC lighter port 
  • Includes additional valve adapters for sports balls, air mattresses, bike tires and more
  • Does not support truck tires
  • Includes a built-in LED flashlight
  • Automatically turns off once the pre-set pressure has been achieved

Featured five-star review:

Ha! I love this little guy. When I say ‘little guy,’ I mean that affectionately. I’ve [not] had a portable tire inflator since, well, I can’t remember when, but it’s been at least three cars. It was measurably bigger than this one and not nearly as impressive. I’m a big fan of avoiding gas stations for keeping my tires inflated. Beyond the awkwardness of the pumps, their effectiveness is sometimes sketchy. Now, with today’s tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS), you get the reminder if you’ve gone too long without checking, and what more perfect and convenient time to refill tires than on a rested and cool car outside your own front door.

This does everything you would ask of a portable inflator: it’s fast, it’s efficient and it’s quiet. My old inflator sounded as if I was tearing up my driveway when I used it and it probably took twice as long to work. I saw some questions about the potential lost air while detaching the connecting hose and it seems like the pump may run a little over the stated PSI as protection for that situation. The automatic shut-off when it reaches the pressure you set is a huge boon, as I can rumble around in the trunk or work inside the car without having to constantly monitor the pump.

I can’t say much about the carrying bag, it’s a silly little thing that’s likely to tear over time, but that’s meaningless when talking about performance and value. If I had any quibble at all, it would be that I don’t seem to be able to shut off the light on the pump. It’s not a big deal from a power perspective, just an OCD thing (why have it on in the daytime?) This is a great purchase at a terrific price.” – Amazon reviewer, Jeffrey D.

Since we based these selections on user reviews, we’d love to hear if you have anything to add. Do you agree with our picks? Anything else you’d like to recommend? Let us know in the comments! Happy tire inflating.

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