10 Best 12v Air Compressors in 2021

Stuart Wellbert
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They say that the key to happiness is not buying everything you need. However, I think that happiness is getting everything you need, especially if your work involves anything related to quality automotive tools or other heavy duty accessories.

You can go for a postman approach and use a siphon gun, but you will need to refill the tank after every one or two punctures.

Doing it as infrequently as possible, on the other hand, makes more sense to me.

My friend (who is an electrician) once told me about a complex and expensive compressor, which can hold up to 100 bar, or 135 psi of pressure. A compressor like that can fill up your entire car in a matter of minutes.

But what happens when you just want to tighten the nuts on your car axle, and you don’t have a compressor? If you have an air compressor at home, you just blast the nuts with compressed air.

So, you might be wondering what an air compressor consists of, and how it works. Let’s take a look at this handy DIY machine and its components.

NameCategoryProduct
VIAIR 400P Portable CompressorBest OverallVIAIR 400P Portable Compressor
Kensun AC/DC Power Supply Portable Air Compressor PumpBudget PickKensun AC/DC Power Supply Portable Air Compressor Pump
Kobalt 120v & 12v Portable Air Compressor Inflator Tire Pump Nozzle Needles 120 PSI LED DisplayUpgrade PickKobalt 120v & 12v Portable Air Compressor Inflator Tire Pump Nozzle Needles 120 PSI LED Display

1. VIAIR 400P Portable Compressor

Our rating: 9 / 10

VIAIR 400P Portable Compressor

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Pros:

  • Easy to store
  • Quiet
  • Good compressor for the price
  • Reliable
  • Airtight (even after a few years use)

If you enjoy working with tools or doing yard work, some type of air compressor is a must have. This VIAIR 400P Portable Compressor is a budget friendly option that has excellent reviews.

This air compressor is only 30 lbs. The tank is only 2.5 gallons. We like that it is on the smaller side and still can deliver over 400 PSI.

It has two gauges. The regulator/check valve is located on the top for easier access. The handle makes it easy to move around.

2. Kobalt 120v & 12v Portable Air Compressor Inflator Tire Pump Nozzle Needles 120 PSI LED Display

Our rating: 8 / 10

Kobalt 120v & 12v Portable Air Compressor Inflator Tire Pump Nozzle Needles 120 PSI LED Display

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Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Portable
  • Quiet Operation
  • LED Display
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Not Built To Last Long
  • Not as Powerful

If you are looking for a handy air compressor then Kobalt 120v will be the best bet for you. This portable air compressor from Kobalt can be easily moved around.

It’s lightweight, and compact. Its quiet operation makes it extremely easy to move around in your car or truck.

With this 12v compressor you can take this compact, powerful and portable unit anywhere you want.

3. Kensun AC/DC Power Supply Portable Air Compressor Pump

Our rating: 8 / 10

Kensun AC/DC Power Supply Portable Air Compressor Pump

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Pros:

  • Great for the price
  • Soft start for a slower and smoother air flow
  • Compact size to easily fit anywhere
  • Easy to assemble
  • Easy to fill the pump because of the large filler neck
  • Long cord for more flexibility
  • Cone piece is solid brass
  • 3 year warranty by the manufacturer

Cons:

  • One user found the power chord a little short
  • One user said that the air hose is short
  • With large vehicles, you have to wait longer for the optimal air pressure

And more.

There is no doubt that when it comes to quality, the Kensun brand name is at the top.

In fact, their compressors are so reliable that you can use them for tasks around the house and in your car, like inflating your tires.

4. 12 Volt Air Compressor

Our rating: 6 / 10

12 Volt Air Compressor

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Pros:

  • Packs quite a lot of features for such a small size
  • Maintenance-free battery that can produce 100 PSI
  • Easy to transport and comes with a shoulder strap
  • Excellent customer service
  • Reliable in all weathers
  • Comes with a variety of nozzles
  • Offers greater working pressure than most other air compressor pumps on the market

Maybe you’ve noticed that many of our best car products are made by MasterFlow. Although the company is relatively new, it’s grown rapidly into one of the rising stars in the auto industry.

This portable air compressor is a great product for you to own if you often find yourself flat-tired. It’s lightweight yet powerful enough to produce up to 140 PSI in just a few minutes. The battery pack is maintenance-free and recharges automatically. In this way, you don’t need to spend your free time waiting for your tire to finish pumping.

5. Tcisa 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump

Our rating: 6 / 10

Tcisa 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump

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For Car, Truck, SUV, Jeep, Motorcycles, Bicycle.

6. SuperFlow Portable Air Pump

Our rating: 6 / 10

SuperFlow Portable Air Pump

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Pros:

  • Gets the job done in a timely manner
  • Ideal for sports or any kind of tire inflation
  • Can fill up your tires even if you don’t have a Lighter Thing cable
  • It’s easy to use and light.

Cons:

  • There are some reports of faulty adapters, but they are few and far between.

For anyone looking for the best 12v air compressor, then this is it. SuperFlow Portable Air Pump is one of the most highly rated ones online and, with its excellent ratings, it’s easy to see why.

The SuperFlow Portable Air Pump For Sports is a perfect option for anyone looking for a 12V portable air compressor. It’s capable of reaching up to 140 PSI.

This one is perfect for car tires, bike tires, truck tires, as well as balls! The SupeFlow Portable Air Pump is ideal if you’re looking for a whip-like portable air compressor.

7. Tire Inflator

Our rating: 5 / 10

Tire Inflator

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Pros:

  • Added Convenience
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  • Extreme Weather Conditions
  • Quality Construction
  • High PSI

Cons:

  • Smaller Than Average Compressor
  • The Best 12v Air Compressor For Sale On The Market

LED Lights.

When it comes to selecting an air compressor, there is no reason to settle for anything less than the best, and TSC Offroad’s 12v Air Compressor is definitely worthy of the title.

The power you need to fill your tires and whatever else you need is no problem for this portable air compressor. It works with a 12-volt DC power source, so you can power it up in your car, boat, truck, or ATV.

8. Lanxtech Tire Inflator Air Compressor Automatic Cordless Air Compressor

Our rating: 5 / 10

Lanxtech Tire Inflator Air Compressor Automatic Cordless Air Compressor

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Pros:

  • Great speed
  • 2 nozzles
  • Works as advertised

If you’re looking for an affordable alternative to an expensive high-speed compressor, the Lanxtech Tire Inflator might be the one for you. Its pressure doesn’t exceed 120 PSI which is great for car tires.

You can really feel the high-quality workmanship of this product. It’s made with top-quality materials and has an elegant appearance.

Its compact size makes it easier to store or bring along with you. Its powerful 12-volt motor makes it easier to inflate objects such as tires, balls, mattresses, and even wheelbarrows.

9. Amagle Portable 12V DC 120W Tire Air Compressor Pump Auto Tire Inflator

Our rating: 5 / 10

Amagle Portable 12V DC 120W Tire Air Compressor Pump Auto Tire Inflator

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Pros:

  • Compact and portable, perfect for inflating tires on the road
  • Completely free from the annoying glue found in most traditional tire sealant, making future repairs or inspection easy and convenient
  • Provides 120 PSI / 8.3 Bar pump pressure, ideal pressure for lightweight and car tires. Can inflate up to
  • There's a LED light on the front-end of the inflator that indicates operation status
  • Comes with a 12-month warranty and a lifetime of customer support

Cons:

  • While the pump provides excellent performance and is built to last, the battery takes a long time to recharge
  • May work a bit harder on thicker tires

Glue Free Tyre Sealant.

Amagle Portable 12V DC 120W Tire Air Compressor Pump Auto Tire Inflator for Car Motocycle Bicycle wheels, Glue Free Tyre Sealant.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What's the best 12v air compressor?

As with most things, there isn't a best one for everyone, but these should be a good place to start:

The Victron BMV-712 is incredibly accurate, easy to use, and relatively quiet. It also works well as a tire inflator and will smooth out annoying bumps at the very least.

The Slime 40032 inflates well and is compact and lightweight. It is very efficient and easy to transport.

The XtremeAir IV 12 is a solid choice, as well. It's a bit less accurate, but quick and easy to use and includes a bright LED that will help you see exactly how much air your tire has received.

What is the best 12v tire inflator?

There are thousands of 12-volt air compressors on the market, so how do you know which is the best one?

We hope you put the abovementioned criteria at the top of your list when seeking out a versatile and effective tool for your car.

If air compressor isn't a product we sell directly, we have plenty of experience with it. I spent the better part of a decade working as an auto and motorcycle mechanic and have seen compressed air in many forms.

I can confidently say that the Nifty! compressor is the most versatile, efficient, and well-made 12v inflator on the market.

I've put everything from pneumatic tires to sex toys to NERF guns to test its limits and have had only positive results and a few laughs.

How big of a compressor do I need to run air tools?

Most, if not all, air compressors in the 120V class ship with extension cords right out of the box. That stands to reason since you will need a pretty large extension cord to get 120V power from a typical wall receptacle near your project to where you are actually working.

If you plan to have the compressor at the same location as the project, the extension cord shouldn't be a problem. However, if your project is somewhere else, like in a different room of the house, a house without an accessible wired outlet, or outdoors, the extension cord is less than ideal.

The length of the extension cord will dictate how far away from the power source you can reasonably operate. If you don't have a ton of space, or if you work on somewhat of a daily basis, it is a good idea to consider a cordless electric compressor.

What is the best on board air compressor?

Finding the best compressor for your vehicle is an important decision. If you do decide on a compressor instead of an air tank, then make sure you choose a model that is the right size for your tire. Depending on the size of your truck, SUV, or commando-mobile, youʼll probably need a 110v compressor that plugs into your cigarette lighter or a 12v compressor that plugs into your vehicleʼs power outlet.

Conclusion

Air compressors are devices that use Engines to deliver air for a variety of jobs. They are divided into two categories: portable air compressors and stationary air compressors. Stationary air compressors are the hard-working, heavy-duty engines that are found in concrete plants, car shops, pressure washers, gas refilling stations, among others. Portable air compressors are used for your home or small business and are often smaller, lighter units that can be easily transported from one place to another. There are many brands of air compressors in the market today, and this guide should make it easy for you to find the best 12v air compressor for your needs.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
VIAIR 400P Portable CompressorBest OverallVIAIR 400P Portable Compressor
Kensun AC/DC Power Supply Portable Air Compressor PumpBudget PickKensun AC/DC Power Supply Portable Air Compressor Pump
Kobalt 120v & 12v Portable Air Compressor Inflator Tire Pump Nozzle Needles 120 PSI LED DisplayUpgrade PickKobalt 120v & 12v Portable Air Compressor Inflator Tire Pump Nozzle Needles 120 PSI LED Display