When your “check tire pressure” light goes on, you don’t want to be that guy without a portable air compressor stowed behind your seat. This is especially true when you’re travelling the outback and haven’t seen another vehicle all day, not to mention a gas station with an air pump. With the reasonable cost of many portable tire inflators, you just can’t afford to be without one. Check out these key points when considering what’s best for you.

Compressor Speed and Capacity

This inexpensive portable compressor is designed for standard auto tires, runs on batteries (AAA) or a 12V lighter socket, inflates at 1 cfm and has a maximum working pressure of 70 psi. EPAuto

You don’t want to wait out in the rain while your portable unit s-l-o-w-l-y refills your tire, and you don’t want to find out your compressor is under-rated for those new mag wheels you’ve just put on your truck. Be sure to check a compressor’s inflation speed and capacity before you buy.

Portability and Storability

This portable compressor weighs less than 2 pounds and features its own carrying case. FORTEM

Most portable tire inflators come in amazingly small packages, making stowage easy unless you’re driving a Mini-Cooper. There are many small compressors on the market that should fit your vehicle.


This powerful compressor not only inflates tires quickly; it features a highly visible digital display and intuitive programming. Avid Power

The last thing you need in the pouring rain is to be trying to decipher how to run your portable air compressor to inflate a flat tire. Ease of use, a visible display, simple psi programming, and over-inflation prevention are all factors to consider. Imagining yourself trying to use the compressor in bad weather is a great way to make a choice about which portable tire compressor is best for you.