10 Powerful 12V Air Compressors

Portable and compact, 12V air compressors make a handy tool. They can help you out in an emergency on the road, as well as inflate a wide range of objects around the house. Whether you need to blow up a pool float or pump up bike tires before a ride, a 12V air compressor can get the job done. Additionally, they are one of the most affordable types of air compressor.

But which 12V air compressor should you choose? There are a lot of different models out there, each offering similar features and promising top-of-the-line performance. It can be tough to figure out all of the differences between the units. That’s why we’ve made this guide to help you navigate all of the different options.

Here, we’ll walk you through all you need to know about 12V air compressorsto find the perfect unit for you. Remember, there isn’t one unit to suit all buyers. How much space do you have? What type of tires will you be inflating? How much are you willing to spend? Do you want a battery-powered unit? The answers to these questions will help determine which air compressor is right for you.

To help make the process easier, we’ve gone through all of the 12V air compressors out there and selected some of our favorite units. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses, so use our reviews to compare their main features and find the unit that best suits your needs.

12V Air Compressors Comparison
Top Rated

EPAuto 12V Air Compressor

  • 12VDC, 10 to 15 amps, 120 to 180W
  • Engine size under 3.5 liter
  • 12V-DC Cigarette Lighter Socket Plug
  • 1 AAA batteries required.

Tirewell 12V Tire Inflator

  • Maximum pressure of 150 PSI
  • 2 CFM at 0 PSI
  • 15 foot extension hose
  • Excellent warranty

Kensun AC/DC Portable

  • 12V car light plug and 110V wall plug
  • Maximum pressure of 100 PSI
  • Great durability
  • Weighs 3.95 pounds

Helteko 12V Air Compressor

  • Flow rate of 35 liters per minute
  • Weighs just 2.58 pounds
  • Bright LED display
  • Operates at less than 50 decibels

Tcisa 12V Air Compressor

  • 35 liters per minute
  • Weighs 5 pounds
  • Bright LED flashlight
  • 140 watts

Oasser 12V Air Compressor

  • Maximum pressure of 130 PSI
  • Weighs 3.42 pounds
  • Intuitive design
  • LCD pressure gauge

Planetico Cordless 12V

  • 55 liters per minute
  • 6 pounds
  • Bright flashlight
  • 150 PSI, 12V - 10A

Best 12V Air Compressor Reviews

EPAuto 12V Air Compressor

EPAUTO 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump, Digital Tire InflatorIf you’re looking for an all-round 12V air compressor, this is one of your best options. It combines high-level performance with portability and affordability in a durable package,and no other air compressor can beat it when it comes to value.

You’ll get a maximum pressure of 100 PSI, with an inflating speed of 1.06 CFM. The airflow won’t blow you away, and it can take a while to inflate tires,but its performance is comparable to most other units reviewed here and its auto shut-off works well, turning the device off once it reaches the set pressure. You won’t be able to use it to inflate truck tires, but if you’re looking for a compressor that can handle just about any car tire, this is a great choice.

The torch on the unit is bright to help keep you safe if you are inflating tires on dark roads. Additionally, at just 3.65 pounds, it’s ultra-lightweight and compact. If you need a unit that you can easily store in your car without taking up too much space, this is an excellent choice.

The EPAuto is one of the best options for those looking for an all-round affordable unit that will fit in any car. It doesn’t have the best airflow, but it will give you more than enough power to handle the tires on mid-sized cars.

  • Great airflow for the size, at 1.06 CFM
  • Lightweight at just 3.75 pounds
  • Affordable price

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Tirewell 12V Tire Inflator

TIREWELL 12V Tire Inflator-Heavy Duty Double Cylinders Direct Drive Metal Pump 150PSI, CompressorFor those looking to spend a bit more to get top-of-the-line performance, the Tirewell is one of the best 12-volt air compressors out there.

This compressor has excellent performance. You’ll get a maximum pressure of 150 PSI, making it one of the most powerful 12V units out there,and the pressure is backed up by excellent airflow. This means you’ll be able to inflate tires quickly. For most mid-sized cars, tires can be fully inflated within 2 minutes, making it the fastest 12V air compressor on this list.

The downside of this air compressor is its size. It weighs in at nearly 9 pounds, making it one of the heavier air compressors reviewed here. It’s still fairly compact, so you should be able to fit it in a small car,but it just isn’t quite as portable as some other options.

It’s also a bit pricey, costing more than any of the other plugin units reviewed here. But these aren’t empty dollars;you’re paying for performance and for a unit that is durable and reliable. Tirewell also has some of the best customer service of any brand featured here, with an excellent warranty.

If you’re looking for an air compressor that can handle larger tires and inflate them quickly, this is a great choice. Its excellent airflow and durable build justify its slightly higher price tag.

  • Maximum pressure of 150 PSI
  • 2 CFM at 0 PSI
  • 15 foot extension hose
  • Excellent warranty

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Kensun AC/DC Portable Air Compressor

Kensun Portable Air Compressor Pump for Car 12V DC and Home 110V AC Swift Performance Tire InflatorKensun makes some of the best 12V air compressors you can find, giving you an excellent mix of performance and affordability—and that’s exactly what you’ll get with this unit.

The compressor has a maximum pressure of 100 PSI, with decent airflow. It’s not the fastest compressor out there, but it offers great performance for the size and price. Its dual solid metal motors can inflate just about any car tires from flat.

It’s also very user friendly, with just a few buttons and a pressure gauge. This simplicity makes it easy to operate straight out of the box, and suitable for even the most inexperienced user. If you are looking for a tire inflator to keep in your car, this is a great choice.

What sets this compressor apart from other units is that it has both a 12V car light plug and a 110V wall plug. If you want a unit that can work both at home and from your car, this is a great option.

Kensun’s compressors all have excellent durability, so you can count on this unit to give you years of performance. It’s also quite light, weighing just 3.95 pounds, and the handle has great grip, making it easy to carry. All of the air hoses and cords can be stored in the unit, and it comes with a zipped carry bag, making it even more portable. It’s one of the most travel-friendly options on this list.

If you are looking for a versatile tire inflator to use in the garage and on the road, this is one of your best options. It’s not the most powerful unit, but should suffice for just about any car tire.

  • 12V car light plug and 110V wall plug
  • Maximum pressure of 100 PSI
  • Great durability
  • Weighs 3.95 pounds

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Helteko 12V Air Compressor

Helteko Portable Air Compressor Pump 150PSI 12V - Digital Tire Inflator - Auto Tire Pump with Emergency Led Lighting and Long Cable for Car - Bicycle - Motorcycle - Basketball and otherThis is one of the best ultra-portable 12V air compressors out there, giving you full performance in a lightweight design. It also happens to be one of the most stylish units out there.

At just 2.58 pounds, this unit is incredibly lightweight,but it doesn’t sacrifice performance for portability. You’ll get a flow rate of 35 liters per minute, which makes it comparable to most other units reviewed here. And it has a maximum pressure of 150 PSI. These numbers would be great for an air compressor weighing twice as much. It also operates at under 50 decibels.

The LED display is bright and clear, with 4 different readouts (PSI, BAR, KGA, KG/CM squared). It also has an LED light that can help you stay safe when inflating tires on dark roads. The cable is around 10 feet long. This is a bit shorter than some other units’ cables, but long enough that you should be able to reach the tires on most cars.

It offers a great range of features and performance while still having one of the lowest price tags of any air compressor reviewed here. If you’re looking for a blend of portability, performance, and affordability, this is a great choice.

  • Flow rate of 35 liters per minute
  • Weighs just 2.58 pounds
  • Bright LED display with 4 different unit readouts
  • Operates at less than 50 decibels

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Tcisa 12V Air Compressor

Tcisa 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump - Upgraded Digital Tire Inflator with Gauge 140W 150 PSIThis is another great option for those looking for an all-round 12V air compressor with excellent performance and a compact build. It’s one of the best value units out there, offering a blend of portability, functionality, and affordability.

The 140W metal motor pumps out air at 35 liters per minute, which is a moderate rate when it comes to 12V air compressors. However, it’s enough to inflate most car tires in around 3–5 minutes. Unless you need a compressor that can quickly fill large truck tires, then you’ll get more than enough performance from the Tcisa.

The auto shut-off works well, turning the unit off once you reached the desired pressure,and the LED display is crisp and clear, with 4 different unit readouts. You’ll be able to easily read it in the dark. It’s compact enough that you shouldn’t have any issues storing it in your car. Weighing 5 pounds, it’s not the lightest unit reviewed here, but it’s not the heaviest, either.

The built-in flashlight isn’t a useless throw in. It’s really bright, making it a great tool to have on dark roads. The Tcisa is an excellent all-round compressor, but doesn’t stand out much from some of the other units with similar features, like the EPAuto. It’s also a little bit more expensive, without added performance that would justify spending more money. But if you want an alternative to the EPAuto, it’s a great choice.

  • 35 liters per minute
  • Weighs 5 pounds
  • Bright LED flashlight

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Oasser 12V Air Compressor

Oasser Air Compressor Electric Inflator Portable Hand Held Pump with Digital LCD Rechargeable Li-ion 12V 130PSI P2If you are looking for an affordable battery-powered 12V air compressor, this is an excellent choice. It’s not quite as powerful as some of the top-of-the-line battery-powered units, but it’s not far off.

It has a maximum pressure of 130 PSI, which is more than enough for inflating tires. The downside of this compressor is that you won’t get as much airflow as with other units. This is to be expected, given its size and the fact that it’s battery powered. But you’ll still get enough power to inflate small to medium-sized car tires.

Designed like a drill, it’s one of the easiest 12V air compressors to operate. You’ll be able to use it straight out of the box, making it one of the most user-friendly units out there. It’s also one of the easiest 12V air compressors to store in your car, making it great for those who need a compact unit that can fit into tight spaces.

Battery-powered 12V air compressors tend to be a bit more expensive than plug-in units are, so the slightly higher price on this unit is to be expected. But compared to other battery-powered options, it’s a good value.

  • Maximum pressure of 130 PSI
  • Weighs 3.42 pounds
  • Intuitive design
  • LCD pressure gauge

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Planetico Cordless 12V Air Compressor

Cordless Air Compressor Tire Inflator - Powerful Portable PumpThis is another 12V air compressor that is battery operated. It offers a wide range of features, such as an LED screen, a powerful flashlight, and an auto shut-off feature. But none of these bells and whistles would matter without excellent performance,and that’s what you’ll get from the Planetico.

It pumps out 55 liters of air per minute—an impressive number for such a small unit—and you get a maximum pressure of 150 PSI. It also has auto shut-off once you reach the desired pressure.

It weighs 4.6 pounds, which makes it comparable to other battery-powered 12V air compressors. It’s also quite compact, making it easy to store. Like other battery-powered units, it’s very userfriendly. Its drill-shaped design is intuitive and simple, and feels comfortable in your hand.

The downside of this air compressor is its price. It’s the most expensive unit reviewed here. But it’s also the best all-round battery-powered option. If you need a portable air compressor that can handle large tires, it’s an excellent choice and more than worth the money.

  • 55 liters per minute
  • 6 pounds
  • Bright flashlight

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Air Hawk 12V Battery-Powered Air Compressor

Ontel Air Hawk Pro Automatic Cordless Tire Inflator Portable Air Compressor, Easy to Read Digital Pressure Gauge, Built In LED LightIf you’re looking for a battery-powered 12V air compressor that won’t cost you much money, this is a great option. The airflow isn’t exceptional, but it’s not bad, either. For a low price unit, you get plenty of power, and should be able to inflate most car tires. It just might take a while—this is one of the slowest units reviewed here. The built-in pressure gauge is accurate, and the auto shut-off is a nice feature to have in a budget air compressor.

The Air Hawk doesn’t give you as much power as the Oasser or Planetico, but it makes up for its average performance with a great price. This is the most affordable option out there if you’re looking for a battery-powered 12V air compressor that still has decent performance.

You’re not going to be inflating truck tires with this device, but it has more than enough airflow to handle small to mid-sized car tires. It’s an excellent choice for those who need to keep an air compressor in their cars in case of an emergency. And because of its low price, you can get one for all of your vehicles.

  • Weighs less than a pound without a battery
  • Auto shut-off at set pressure
  • Affordable price

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Extra Fast Air Compressor Tire Inflator Kit

Kensun Extra Fast Air Compressor Tire Inflator KitKensun joins the competition with this portable unit, which is one of the lowest priced units on the list. The price will fall within most budgets and it’s extremely portable. As one of the best reviewed products on the market, it has a carrying case and dimensions that make it great for storing. It can be used to inflate tires, rafts, mattresses, pool toys, athletic balls, and other equipment around that size. Once out of the box, it’s so easy to operate that a first-time user could manage easily. The instructions are very clear and nothing is left to the imagination. The main cord is almost 10 foot long — more than sufficient for most situations, even emergencies. The included air hose with 3 inflation adapter nozzles is about 2 7/5 foot long.

Read Also: Best Quiet Air Compressors

This is a small, cheap, efficient 12v air compressor. It can draw up to 15, but that is unlikely and, usually, unnecessary. If for some reason the unit fails, it’s not costly to replace. As one of the most versatile units on the list, it still lacks some power but it handles a multitude of smaller tasks just as well as any on the list. If used within the confines of the directions, the unit won’t overheat or malfunction. The biggest surprise is that the noise level is average at best. When looking for a portable and efficient unit for home or away, this is a good choice. Users will be surprised with just how much one little unit can handle.

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ARB (CKMP12) 12V High Performance Portable Air Compressor

ARB (CKMP12) 12V High Performance Portable Air CompressorAs the de facto do-it-all system on the list, the ARB 12V High Performance Portable Air Compressor combines everything you would want in a portable air compressor all in a small, portable carrying case. The case is one of the highest quality ones available on the list and rivals some mid-range tool boxes. The compressor itself is just as durable and sealed to resist moisture and dust, with an easy-access air filter element behind the splash-resistant cover. The cylinder bore is hard anodized and the mechanics inside the unit are constructed to reduce friction and prolong the life of the unit. Included in the kit is a 19-foot air hose, wiring loom, battery clips, and other accessories geared towards inflation.

The cost of this air compressor is a little on the high end, but then again, it is one of the better portable units on the list. It’s convenient to have everything you need in a single grab-and-go box. It weighs an acceptable 16 pounds and it’s as easy to store as a toolbox. Due to the way it is constructed, it’s a lot quieter than expected, and hums along quite nicely while it handles whatever smallish load you throw at it. It’s also quite fast — impressive considering its small stature. Having all of the necessary tools in one place does have its advantages, and apart from a slight lack of power, there are few features that this unit is missing. The power is good, though, and it gives as much as you could need from the small unit. This is a good system to have with you, no matter where your project takes you.

Viair 40040 400C Air Compressor Kit

Viair 40040 400C Air Compressor KitThis unit is in the mid price range but includes a lot of high-end materials to complete the package. Features include a 150 PSI MAX, a 2.54 CFM free flow at 0 PSI, an oil-less design, and easy mounting. The system is not intended for beginners and is designed to be mounted on the vehicle for use in an on-board air system or air suspension system, with the ability to also power air horns. Despite some loss of versatility in overall use, this is still a very durable air compressor. It includes permanent magnetic motors, brush DC, and mounting hardware with vibration isolators. The wiring is freeze resistant and accessories also include a remote mount air filter assembly, air line for remote mounting air filter, and heavy duty terminals. The entire system is loaded with features from top to bottom so you will definitely get your money’s worth.

Despite all these added features, it clocks in well under 10 pounds, which is a testament to its portability. This isn’t your normal air compressor and relies on an on-board air system to be used. This is more for an intermediate to advanced user, even with the manual included. Its uses are also limited as is its functionality. For the brave beginner, there are numerous help documents and videos online, and to be honest, after using it a couple of times, it’s no different than a regular run-of-the-mill air compressor. There’s a 1-year limited warranty attached, but the high quality parts most likely won’t need to be replaced anytime soon. This is an awesome option for those that have the means to use it.

Campbell Hausfeld RP3200 12-Volt Inflator and Worklight

Campbell Hausfeld RP320000AV Air CompressorThe Campbell Hausfeld RP3200 12-Volt Inflator and Worklight is a good example of an air compressor that people either love or hate. The PSI is a massive 150 for this portable unit, and the novelty of this model is that it has a built-in work light for emergencies. The usefulness of this feature will depend on the user, as most modern cell phones either come with a built-in flashlight or can have one downloaded. The unit isn’t restricted to just tires and roadside emergencies, and is ideal for sporting equipment as well. Accessories include a 3-mode inflation nozzle, universal adapter, cigarette lighter plug, built-in pressure gauge, and flashing hazard light. The flashing hazard light also raises the question of how useful it will actually be, but it doesn’t hurt to include it.

Other great features include the minimal weight — 3.5 pounds total — and incredibly it’s the cheapest item on the list. It really is baffling why this air compressor is so low priced, but the price has dropped considerably over time. The electric cord is long at 11 feet and the clamp-on design for the hose is a very nice change.

The negative aspect of this unit is that it is a cheap, ultra-portable unit that may have issues with PSI adjustments. Of course this will require the user to figure out how to properly adjust, and if necessary, disconnect and reconnect it while playing with the dial to get it to work correctly. Granted, this is not always the case, but for the select few that have to go through it, it can be a baffling exercise in patience. If used as a starter set or as an emergency backup, there really is no reason to turn away from this product. It does what it needs to and at a killer price.

Black & Decker ASI500 12-Volt Cordless Air Station Inflator

BLACK+DECKER ASI500 12-Volt Cordless Air Station InflatorOne of the more respected brand names enters the list with the low-priced Black & Decker ASI500 12-Volt Cordless Air Station Inflator, proving that big things come in little sizes. With a built-in battery, this is the first unit on the list that has a cordless option. The battery is of high quality and fully charges in 4–5 hours.

This unit can be used for a range of things like tires, rafts, mattresses, pool toys, athletic balls, and just about any small application that can fit one of the adapters. The digital gauge on the front that indicates the pressure accuracy is easy to read. Black and Decker made sure to make the unit an all-in-one solution, and you can see that with the on-board accessory storage. The quick-connect hose makes the process straightforward, and on a single charge, the battery can inflate 4 full-sized car tires from completely flat to full capacity.

Versatility is key with the Black & Decker ASI500 12-Volt Cordless Air Station Inflator, which also gives buyers the option of using the 12V portion if the battery is out of juice. It has two settings for inflation: low and high power. Use the low setting for smaller tasks and the high power setting to handle heavy jobs like filling a tire. With the ability to preset the PSI and have it shut off when it reaches that setting, this is one of the best air compressors on the list. For all tasks, this is really one of the top three units you can purchase.

Master Flow MF-1040 Cyclone High Volume Portable Air Compressor

12 Volt Air Compressor, Portable Air Pump 12 Volt, Tire Inflator 140 PSI, Air Compressor by MasterFlow for Cars, Trucks, and BikesAs one of the more interesting additions to the list, the Master Flow MF-1040 Cyclone High Volume Portable Air Compressor is a low-priced portable unit that inflates up to 150 PSI, with over 30 liters of air per minute. The power makes it useful to cars, but can be used on SUVs and trucks as well. Features include an integrated pressure gauge, coil hose with inflating nozzle, and a really good-looking storage bag. The storage bag is really nice, not that it would matter with a portable unit, but for aesthetic reasons, it is great to have. The greatest innovative achievement is the Master Flow that can be modified and installed permanently. In the right hands, this is a killer feature that could possible be done by a beginner if researched properly.

There are plenty of helpful videos available; whether or not the individual user will be able to successfully follow them is another story. Of all the units available, the Black and Decker would be more preferable for this task, but Master Flow is one of the few companies that even allow this with its air compressor. It runs quieter than some of the other products on the list, but there is the issue of it having a screw-on adapter rather than a clamp or quick release. Fiddling with the screw-on portion can release some hard earned PSI, wasting your time and everyone else’s. This is a really interesting unit with a permanent modification, by itself, it’s on the average side. Still worth a look, though, especially if you want something compact and quiet. If the idea of the archaic screw-on setup doesn’t sit well with you, then you will definitely want to look for a more modern solution.

Goodyear i5000 Cordless Tire Inflator and 12-Volt Power Pack

Goodyear i5000 Cordless Tire Inflator and 12-Volt Power PackThe brands on this list like Black and Decker and Goodyear really speak for themselves in terms of why they’re the best. This is the second unit on the list to have a built-in battery with the 12v option. An entire 14-inch vehicle tire can go from flat to 28 pounds of pressure in under 4 minutes — an impressive feat. Users have the option of using the battery’s juice or working off of their car power. A unique feature of this unit is that the on-board battery can be charged by your car or through a wall outlet. Adapters are included for both household and vehicle user, which saves a lot of time and doesn’t transfer extra accessory costs to the customer. Another unique feature is that it has a built-in 12 volt power outlet, so can operate anything with a 12 volt plug.

A lot of these special features really make the Goodyear i5000 Cordless Tire Inflator and 12-Volt Power Pack stand out from the rest, including the Black and Decker version. It is also priced lower than the Black and Decker air compressor, so that is something to think about if you’re on the fence about which unit to choose. For the adventurous user, the battery is also easier to replace in this unit if it fails. There are only 5 screws holding it together, so although not supported, you could theoretically carry as many extra charged batteries with you as you wanted. That setup gives you a lot of wiggle room in tight situations, so this is another brand-named air compressor that tops the list.

Q Industries HV-35 SuperFlow 12-Volt 140 PSI Air Compressor

SuperFlow Portable Air Pump, 12 volt Air Compressor, Tire Inflator 140 PSI, 12v air compressor for Cars, Trucks, and BikesThe Q Industries HV-35 SuperFlow 12-Volt 140 PSI Air Compressor, a low-priced 140 PSI unit with the ability to inflate a tire in less than 3 ½ minutes. With a capacity of 25 liters of air per minute, it’s powerful but still on the average side when compared to the other units on the list. The included carrying bag is spacious and sturdy, while the 10-foot power cord should give you enough room to maneuver around any task you see fit. The unit can handle tires, air mattresses, and pool toys. The 3-foot hose was a good decision and the included adapters to inflate sports equipment are also really beneficial to the customer. Everything about the unit is average, so it isn’t bad, it just doesn’t stand out.

Notable missing features are an auto shut off, which is nowhere to be found on the unit. By not including that feature, users are left with a trial and error process, or are faced with using separate tools to gauge the current configuration. The unit looks cheap and it is clearly not one of the most high-end air compressors available. The price reflects the quality, and even the plug that comes with the unit is on the flimsy side. Simply put, the unit is very fast for what it needs to do but is cheaply made, to the point where it may cause you some headaches in the future. Worth the look if you don’t already have an air compressor, otherwise move on.

Nippon Thsy3075c 12v Air Compressor

The Wholesale House Audiopipe Pipeman Train Horn Air Compressor - THSY3075CAt the mid price range, this 12v compressor is a pretty good unit that hasn’t had as much coverage as it should. This is a 12v 0.79-output air compressor with a max PSI of 120. It’s a small unit that comes with air lines, and just about all of the default items you would expect from an air compressor of its size. As a stationary gas powered unit, it only weighs 11 pounds and is pretty adequate as far as power goes for a unit that size. The dimensions are small enough so that it can be tucked away unnoticed, so from a design standpoint it is a really nice buy.

There may be an issue with setting this up if you’re a beginner, even with the included instructions. The included air lines are generically made and not of the highest quality. Gas units are expected to be noisy, but this unit is exceptionally noisy to the point where it can be an annoyance, especially if it’s sitting close by. For the asking price, there are many better units on the list to choose from that are much more powerful than this one. Nippon is still a good brand to choose an air compressor from, but this particular item is not one of their hottest products. However, if noise isn’t a huge deal-breaker for you, then this is a decent unit that will get the job done.

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Q Industries MV50 SuperFlow High-Volume 12-Volt Air Compressor

Another air compressor on the low end of the price scale, the Q Industries MV50 SuperFlow High-Volume 12-Volt Air Compressor has the ability to inflate a tire in less than 2 ½ minutes. The power is adequate, and it has a 120 PSI with a 16-foot coiled hose. A nice storage bag is included with the purchase to help carry the unit. This is one of the lightest on the list weighing only 10 pounds, making it hard to beat for portability. The unit is small enough to be tucked away in the most remote places, so for users with off-road vehicles this will fit right in with the other equipment. The power cord is a massive 10 foot long with additional access to a 16-foot hose that connects from the compressor to the tire. A built-in pressure gauge is available and easy to read, and the unit has alligator clips so it can connect directly to the battery.

Read Also: 9 Ideal Air Compressors for Inflating Tires

The specifications note that this is built for trucks, SUVs, 4x4s, RVs, passenger vehicles, and UTVs. It’s actually handy for a range of other tasks, so this is really an awesome product. The entire system was designed with all levels of user in mind, and it’s one of the easiest to get used to. There are some issues with non-standard fittings, so in the case where they get damaged you will have to do a bit of research to find the correct replacement. Getting a new hose won’t fix the issue, so unless the buyer wants to modify the equipment to make it fit, they will have to contact the company directly online or through customer service. As air compressors go, this is still a really good bargain for various small tasks.

Buying Guide

Best 12V Air Compressor ReviewsIt can be hard to find the right 12 volt air compressor if you don’t know what to look for. There are many different units out there, each claiming to offer excellent performance. How are you supposed to tell them all apart?

Finding the perfect 12V air compressor doesn’t have to be a headache. Here, we’ll walk you through all you need to know when choosing a 12V air compressor.

12V Air Compressors: The Basics

Designed to be portable, 12V air compressors are mainly used to inflate car tires, although they can also be used to inflate a wide range of objects, from air mattresses to pool floats.

They work by connecting to your car battery through a cigarette plug (with the exception of battery-powered units). Once plugged in, you simply run the hose to your tires. Most units have a built-in hose, so connecting to your tires is easy.

Main Types of 12V Air Compressor

Best 12V Air Compressor ReviewsThere are two main types of 12V air compressor: plug in and battery powered.

Most of the units reviewed here are plug-in air compressors that run on your car’s battery, connecting through a car light plug. They are less flexible than battery-powered options, as you have to run a cord to reach the tires,but they tend to be a bit more powerful, with better airflow. This means they will inflate tires more quickly.

Battery-powered 12V air compressors usually look like drills. They have a battery pack that connects to the bottom of the device’s grip. They are a bit more compact than plug-in units, although they tend to be just as heavy by the time you add the weight of the battery.

They aren’t as powerful as most plug in units, so you’re going to have to wait longer for your tires to inflate. They also aren’t a good choice if you plan on pumping up large truck tires. But they make up for modest power with portability and convenience,and they’re really user friendly, making them some of the easiest 12V air compressors to operate.

Who Should Get a 12V Air Compressor?

Those looking for a portable air compressor to inflate tires may wonder if a 12-volt compressor is the right type of air compressor for them.

If you need an air compressor that you can easily keep stored in your car and run when needed, then they’re your best option. They aren’t the most powerful tire inflators you can find, but they make up for modest power with portability.

They’re an excellent tool to keep in your car in case of emergencies, and one of the cheapest types of air compressor, so you can buy one for each of your vehicles.

However, if you need a dedicated tire inflator that you plan on using frequently, you may want to consider a unit that connects to your car battery. This will give you more power and allow you to inflate larger tires.

They also can’t be used to run pneumatic tools. If you need an air compressor to drive nails, this isn’t the right type. Instead, you should consider a handheld or portable air compressor that can hookup to a wide range of tools as well as inflate tires.

Some Units of Measurement You Should Know

Best 12V Air Compressor ReviewsWhen looking for a 12V air compressor, you’ll find a lot of numbers thrown around by companies trying to sell their unit. To help you make sense of the numbers and better compare compressors, we’ll walk you through some of the important units of measurement.


PSI, or pounds per square inch, is one of the main units you should look at when choosing an air compressor. It tells you how pressurized the air is as it’s pumped out of the device.

Many brands emphasize a unit’s maximum pressure,but keep in mind that PSI isn’t always that important. You’re buying a compressor to inflate tires, not run a specialized air tool. And a high maximum PSI means little if the compressor can’t deliver much air.


The other main measurement unit you should know about when shopping for air compressors is CFM, or cubic feet per minute.This tells you how much air the compressor is pumping out at a given pressure. This number is, in many ways, more important than PSI, as it tells you how much air the compressor is delivering. A 12V air compressor with a higher CFM will be able to inflate tires more quickly.


Decibelis the unit used to measure the sound produced by an air compressor.

12V air compressors are some of the quietest air compressors out there, owing to their modest power. Most units will operate at less than 50 decibels. To put this number into perspective, a typical conversation is around 65 decibels. With a 12V air compressor, you’ll be able to hear yourself think, as well as talk to the people around you.

What to Look For in a 12V Air Compressor

Best 12V Air Compressor ReviewsWhen you are choosing a 12V air compressor, here are some important factors to keep in mind:


Most users of 12V air compressors will keep them stored in their car. That means you’re going to want a unit that is compact and lightweight, especially if you have a small car.

The 12V air compressors reviewed here are all portable, but they vary in weight and compactness. You’ll want to consider where you will be storing the air compressor before you choose a unit. If you have a sedan without much room, you should opt for one of the lighter, more compact units such as the Helteko.

If, however, you have a van with more storage space, you may benefit from one of the heavier but more high-powered units, such as the Tirewell.

And it’s not just about weight. Some units, like the Kensun, have excellent handles that make them easy to move around, whereas other units are clunky and not as comfortable to carry.


As one of the most portable types of air compressor, 12V units tend to be a bit less powerful than other types of air compressors. But you’ll still find a range in the power of 12V air compressors, with some units designed to pack a serious punch, and others built only to inflate small tires.

All of the units reviewed here can inflate small to mid-sized car tires without too much trouble,but only some will work if you need to pump up larger tires. If you need a unit that can inflate truck tires, you’ll want to choose an air compressor like the Tirewell. But if you don’t need this much performance, save yourself some money and get one of the less powerful units, like the EPAuto.

Also, note the multiple ways that companies try to advertise the power of their air compressors. Some will brag about the maximum pressure of the unit, while others will emphasize the airflow of the compressor. In general, you should care a bit more about airflow than max pressure, especially when looking for the best 12V tire inflator.


One of the most portable options out there, 12V air compressors are also some of the most affordable. You’ll still find plenty of range in prices, however, depending on how much performance you need.

Consider what you plan to use the unit for before deciding to spend more on one of the higher end units. Are you buying a 12V air compressor mainly to inflate small tires in an emergency? Then you should choose one of the less pricey air compressors, such as the Helteko. If, however, you need something that will give you top-of-the-line performance, then you should consider an air compressor like the Tirewell.


When you are choosing a compressor, take note of what accessories are included in the package. Some units will come with multiple connectors so that you can use the compressor on different types of tires and objects.

Types of Portable Air Compressor

Best 12V Air Compressor ReviewsIf you’re looking for a 12V air compressor, you may wonder how it differs from other types of portable air compressor. Here are some of the main types of portable air compressors and a breakdown of how they compare to 12V units.


These compressors are one of the best options for those who need an ultra-portable unit that can be taken just about anywhere. Unlike 12V compressors, they are meant to be used with a variety of pneumatic tools. These are a great choice if you need a portable air compressor that will still allow you to run air tools.


Unlike 12V air compressors, these portable air compressors are meant to perform a wide range of serious jobs, such as nailing, trimming, or sanding.

You’ll want this type of air compressor if you plan on running pneumatic tools, such as a brad nailer, but need a unit that you can transport between job sites. They are heavier than both 12V and handheld air compressors. They resemble standard air compressors, but with slightly smaller and less powerful builds.

Tire Inflators

Most 12V air compressors are used to inflate tires,but they aren’t the only option if you want a compressor to pump up a tire. There are units that operate by connecting to a car’s battery directly, rather than through a 12V plug.

This can make them more powerful. However, they tend to be much heavier and less compact. They are also less user-friendly, as you’ll have to pop the hood of your car and connect the unit to your car battery.

These are a great choice for those who plan to frequently inflate tires on the roadside and need something more powerful, durable, and high performance.

Brands You Should Know

Best 12V Air Compressor ReviewsThere are many companies out there making 12V air compressors. Unfortunately, a lot of them produce units that aren’t worth your money. To help you find the best 12V air compressor, we’ve highlighted some brands that you can trust.


This is one of the leading makers of 12V air compressors. All of its units feature a blend of affordability and performance, making it one of the best brands to look for if you want the best deal for your money.

EPAuto also offers excellent customer service. Should you have a problem with your unit, they will resolve it quickly and professionally.


Best 12V Air Compressor ReviewsKensun is another leading producer of 12V air compressors. Its units have a great blend of portability and performance, and always have a reasonable price tag. Plus, it has one of the best warranties of any company out there, should you ever have any problems with your unit.


This is a newer company, without the reputation of EPAuto or Kensun, but it is still a great option if you are looking for an affordable 12V air compressor.

Helteko’s build quality isn’t as great as some other companies, but it packs a good amount of performance into its units.


Like Helteko, Oasser is a new company. Its build quality is a little less reliable than some other brands, but it offers a nice blend of performance and affordability.

Powerful 12V Air Compressors Comparison Chart

Air CompressorPSIVoltageWeightRating
EPAuto 12V DC7012V1 pounds9
TIREWELL 12V15012V7.95 pounds 9
Kensun AC/DCN/A12V5 pounds 9
Helteko15012V2.58 pounds 9
Oasser LS4029 13012V3.42 pounds 8
Planetico Cordless 15012V4.3 pounds 8
Ontel Air Hawk N/A12V2.93 pounds 8
Kensun Extra FastN/A12V3.9 pounds 9


A 12V air compressor is an excellent tool to have in your car or garage. It’s lightweight, compact, and gives you enough power that you can quickly inflate your car tires in an emergency. You can also use it to inflate balls, bike tires, and just about any other object with an air bladder.

But finding the right unit can be hard. There are a lot of options out there, many of them promising similar features. Understanding how one unit is different from another can be difficult. That’s what this guide is for.

There isn’t one 12V air compressor that will suit everyone perfectly. You’ll need a unit that meets your specific needs. What type of tires are you inflating? How much room do you have in your car? Do you need a unit that you can plug in to a wall outlet? The answers to these questions will help determine which unit you should choose.

With our reviews and guide, you’ll be able to find the 12V air compressor that is right for you. Whether you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, or want the best performing 12V compressor out there, you’ll find it here.

And if you have any more questions about compressors, head over to Air Compressor Talk. Whether you’re looking to find the best air compressor to inflate tires, or looking for the best air compressor out there for air tools, you’ll find all the information you need to pick the perfect unit.