As we’re sure you’ll agree, an air compressor is a great tool for more than just blowing up backyard pools or inflating tyres. You can use these machines for everything from getting leaves off the back porch to using your nail gun to add new panelling to a wall.
However, there are a tonne of these compressors on the market and it can be hard to figure out which one will work best for you.
At Current, we’ve gone over a tonne of the leading air compressors on the market and made a list of the best 12V air compressors available this year. Whether you’re looking for some unique features like LED system status lights, added attachments or anything else, we’re sure there’s something on our list below for you.
Take a look at all the best 12V air compressors below.
The EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor
Coming in at number one on our list, EPAuto’s compressor is our top choice for those who need a small and easily portable air compressor for the car or the truck.
Not only does it offer a tyre inflation time of around three minutes, you’re also getting a few handy features here such as over-inflation protection so you don’t run the risk of blowing things up.
As we mentioned, this is a model which does come with an LED spotlight, so you’ll be able to make use of this compressor in the dark without an issue.
It’s also good to note that there are some different adaptors you can use for inflating things beyond just tyres, which is ideal should you need a portable compressor that can do a whole range of jobs on a worksite.
VIAIR 400P Portable Compressor
One of the more niche products on our list is the 400P by VIAIR, which is designed only to suit a few vehicles. That said, this is your option if you do own a car or motorcycle with the supported attachments.
However, it’s good to keep in mind that some inflatables do require a rather specific type of compressor to ensure there’s no damage when it comes to inflating tyres or other elements.
This model of air air compressor is also an ultra-portable model like the one above, which means that it’s easy to store in a car or even carry with you on a worksite should you need to do that.
Again, there are a few accessories here you can make use of, which means you’re not stuck with just one use case, and can do things like blow leaves and dust off vehicles, etc.
FORTEM Portable 12V Tire Pump
The Fortem model is making an appearance on our list near-solely for its appearance. It doesn’t offer too much in the way of unique features, however, there is a design here that we love.
The air compressor comes with a display too, which means you’re getting a good look at exact air pressure measurements as well as the fill status of whatever you’re looking to pump up. To add, there is a testing feature which you can make use of to gauge inflation levels in tyres rather than just pumping them up — which is a good tool for tyre checking before a road trip, for example.
We’re happy to say that for newbies this air compressor is ultra-easy to use too and can be easily plugged into your 12V outlets or cigarette sockets.
To end, the model is also small and well-designed for handling and carrying, so keeping it on your person when you’re on a job site isn’t a struggle here.
Master Flow MF-1040 Portable Air Compressor
Getting up to the models with a little more commercial viability, the Master Flow 1040 is our top choice for businesses who need a reliable air compressor but don’t want a full-fledged mounted model that sits on the side of a vehicle.
You’re able to inflate a standard sized tyre within around 60 seconds and there are plenty of attachments to do a whole lot more than just inflation. You’re able to blow off dust from vehicles or path ways, use your nail guns and other tools, too.
Like the other models on this list, it is a 12V air air compressor which means it’s rather small and portable and we’re happy to say that this makes it another good buy for those who need a compressor for a workplace.
Although it’s not essential to the operation of the machine, there is an option and a design feature that allows you to mount this commercial-friendly compressor to a vehicle if you do want to do that.
Kobalt 120v & 12v Portable Air Compressor
To what is quite possibly the most portable and slim compressor out there, the Kobalt model is our top pick air compressor for those looking to just slide their air compressor under a car seat when it’s not in use.
It does have a little less power than the 150PSI models on our list, though for such a small size, we’re happy to turn a blind eye to this. Being so small and compact also means it’s easy to take this compressor anywhere without any trouble at all.
As for powering the machine, there’s a 120-volt plug here, or you can use the 12-volt adapter to use it in the car or work truck.
A digital display is also included here too, which means everything your inflating and info on whatever you’re doing is right there in front of you — lowering your chances of accidentally over inflating something or even blowing it up.
Kensun Portable Air Compressor Pump
One of the more versatile air compressors on our list, the Portable Pump by Kensun is our top choice for anyone who needs a plug-in model that can work with a wall outlet and a car outlet too.
With that said, this model does support both AC and DC currents, so you have the option of using either when you’re at a workplace.
The PSI rating is a little lower at 120 which means things may take a little longer to inflate when compared to the 150PSI models on our list, though this isn’t too much of a big deal.
To make up for the lower PSI rating, the Kensun team have thrown in a few accessories like clips and nozzles that make sure you’re able to get the most out of the compressor without having to buy added parts.
SuperFlow MV90 Portable Air Pump 12 volt
Landing on our list for its incredible reliability ratings, the SuperFlow model is our top choice for those who need something that will simply last — essentially forever.
It’s designed with longevity in mind, and that means it’s robust and able to take any workplace in its stride. It does feature a nice handle grip too, which means those who need to carry the compressor to and from workstations won’t be caught up or irritated by a bulky model.
To add to portability and the small size, it also weighs next to nothing, which means throwing it in the back of a ute and getting it set up at work won’t be an issue at all.
One final thing to note is that there are plenty of different accessories here too, which means you’re able to get more use out of the compressor. Things like adapters and a carry bag all come in the box, so you’re all set for work right out the box.
VacLife Tire Inflator 12V
Moving away from small and compact now, the VacLife air compressor is or top choice for those who need something that looks good, but also has plenty of features too.
If you work in a space that doesn’t have anywhere to store your compressor, you’ll want one that looks good on show — and this one certainly does. It looks high-tech and is wrapped in a durable plastic, making it a tough option for those who might be a bit too rough with their tools and machines in the shed.
There are a couple of nifty features that come with this model too, like auto-stop when things get a little too inflated or ‘full’ and you’re risking an explosion, for example.
The compressor is also powerful enough to inflate a whole tyre in less than five minutes, which means you’re not left waiting all too long for a flat.
To end, there are some other features like an LED light here too, which keeps things well-lit at nighttime. A few adapters are included too, which means you’re able to do a little more than just inflate tyres.
Avid Power Tire Inflator Air Compressor
One of the air compressors on our list that has been designed explicitly for handheld use is the Avid Power Air Compressor.
As the design of the compressor is the shape and size of a pistol, you simply hold the grip and use the compressor that way. And with that in mind, it’s safe to say that this thing is absolutely tiny — perfect for any workplace.
This model is battery powered too, which means it’s more portable than anything else above, as you can take it anywhere and not need a 12V plug or outlet. The downside to this, however, is that there’s a little less power coming into play here — with a compressor power of only 100 PSI. That in mind, things may take just a little longer to pump up.
To end, there’s automatic shut down features that come into play when the compressor detects that you’re going to over-inflate or damage something that you’re inflating.
Oasser Portable Hand Held Air Compressor
To end our list of the best 12V air compressors, the Oasser comes in with a handheld design and a 130PSI compression rating.
It’s the option if you’re looking for a battery powered and lightweight model to use at work or at home that you won’t need to make a whole lot of space to store. One rather incredible perk of this compressor is the fact it hits a 130PSI with such a small size and battery — reaching up to the power offered by the mains powered models.
There’s a few nifty perks here too, like a pressure gauge that’s displayed digitally, so you’re able to see how well-inflated something is before you damage it.
The compressor is also one of the easiest to use and comes with a simple trigger that you can use to begin inflating. It really has been designed from the ground up to be easy to use in all aspects, from storage to use.
Our 12V Air Compressor Tips
With our list of the best air compressors out of the way, it’s time to take a look at what you need to know before making a purchase.
If you’re new to using an air compressor, or just need to know a little more about the attachments and features offered by these products, we have a list of a few of the things you need to consider below.
One of the first things you should look for are the additional attachments. These will make sure that you’re able to do more with your compressor than just blow up tyres.
A few of these attachments and sockets include those for:
- Air blowing or leaf blowing
- Using tools like nail guns and even drills
- The ability to inflate niche tyre sockets
- Attachments for inflating basketballs and footballs, etc.
With those out of the way, you’ll know whether your 12V air compressor can get the job done for more than just tyre inflation.
The PSI Level
One big factor that needs to be looked at before you buy is the PSI offered by your compressor. The higher the PSI the more air you’ll get out of your compressor per second.
In short, the PSI should be as high as possible if you’re looking to inflate big ‘things’ like tyres or outdoor inflatable pools for example. The shorter the time it takes for these activities, the better.
However, some models that offer high PSI can be a little more bulky and power hungry, so you’re going to have to weigh up whether portability or PSI is more important for you.
Voltage and Input
As our list focused on the best 12V air compressors, all of these models will work in a vehicle-only environment through a car socket or a cigarette outlet, however, some models accept both car and mains inputs.
It’s always good to look for an input that suits your needs best and there are three options to choose from; 12V, battery powered or mains powered.
As you’d expect, the battery powered models are the least powerful of the bunch, with 12V coming in second place and then the mains powered models offering the most kick.
To end, our final aspect to look for in a 12V compressor is auto-shut-off or any safety feature that prevents the over-inflation of a product.
These features will stand in and turn off your compressor if you walk away from it and it’s going to damage a tyre for example. They’re also handy if you’re not too sure how much pressure to put in a tyre and you accidentally leave it inflating for too long.
And there you have it! All of Current’s best 12V air compressors for 2020 and the models we suggest you invest in for either work or home!