The Best Air Compressors

An air compressor is a convenient tool to have on hand for the unexpected low or flat tire, and with models in all shapes and sizes, there’s one for nearly every application. Whether you’re filling tractor tires, ATV/UTV tires, or truck tires, an air compressor makes fast work of getting your wheels pumped up and getting you back on the road again.

Finding the best air compressor for your needs means reading reviews, studying product features, and diving into the ins and outs of available styles and configurations. With the right air compressor, ensuring your tires are always at an optimal pressure can become a quick, over-and-done with task.

We reviewed dozens of air compressors to identify the best of the best, based on Amazon reviews, how well they performed in tests, cost, and other considerations. We narrowed our search down to 5 of the top-rated air compressors people can purchase to ensure they can always keep their tires at optimal pressure.

Top Pick
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Kensun Portable Air Compressor Pump

Dual solid metal motors provide superb power for fast inflation.

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$79.99 USD

We’ve identified Kensun Portable Air Compressor Pump as the best air compressor out there. Lightweight and portable, it comes in a convenient carrying case that also protects the air compressor from dust and moisture. It works by 110V (AC) and 12V (DC) power; both cords are neatly stored in the back of the unit. These benefits allow you to get your wheels pumped up quickly and easily, so you can get back on the road again in no time.

The 5 Top-Rated Air Compressors

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Best OverallKensun Portable Air Compressor Pump4.3
Runner UpHelteko Portable Air Compressor Pump4.5
Best Budget BuyEPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump, Digital Tire Inflator4.4
Best Electric Air CompressorFORTEM THE EXTRA MILE Digital Tire Inflator4.3
Best Small Air CompressorDBPOWER 12V DC Portable Compact Tire Inflator3.6

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change

Our Top Pick: Kensun Portable Air Compressor Pump

The Kensun Portable Air Compressor Pump took the top spot on our list of the best air compressors. It features a unique AC/DC switch with 12V car cigarette lighter plug, in addition to a 110V wall plug for standard electrical outlets. This versatility means you can use this air compressor anywhere. The integrated carrying handle and lightweight design makes this unit highly portable.

Those who purchased and reviewed this air compressor appreciated that it was so versatile, and found it especially useful in light applications. Some people said they wished the power cord was a bit longer and that there was an automatic shut-off, but overall found it offered the right balance of cost and performance. Those that needed to contact customer service found them excellent to deal with.

With a price tag of about $70, it doesn’t come cheap, but the quality craftsmanship associated with the brand, as well as the ease of setup and use more than justifies that price. It has a rating of 4.3 on Amazon with more than 185 people reviewing it, which we think goes a long way in convincing people to make the investment.

Kensun Portable Air Compressor Pump Key Features:

  • Includes a set of accessory nozzles
  • Large, easy-to-read pressure gauge measures up to 120 PSI
  • AC/DC power options
  • Portable and easy to store

Our Runner Up Pick: Helteko Portable Air Compressor Pump

Runner Up
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Helteko Portable Air Compressor Pump

Made of durable ABS plastic and stainless steel for longevity.

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$44.97 USD

The Helteko Portable Air Compressor Pump took the runner-up spot on our list of the best air compressors, and boasts a durable ABS plastic and stainless steel construction for added longevity. It features a large, easy-to-read digital display, and can be used for measuring PSI, BAR, KPA, KG/CM². A bright, integrated LED light is useful for signalling for help in case of a breakdown.

Those who purchased and reviewed this air compressor appreciated that it features an automatic shut-off, to help prevent over-inflation once the pre-set tire pressure is reached. People found the storage bag helpful for keeping everything together and easy to access, and felt is was well made.

At a cost of around $35, it’s a pretty affordable choice as far as air compressors go, and the quality craftsmanship associated with the brand, as well as the ease of setup and use more than justifies that price. It has a rating of 4.5 on Amazon with more than 1,000 people reviewing it, which we think goes a long way in convincing people to make the investment.

Helteko Portable Air Compressor Pump Key Features:

  • Adaptors for balls and inflatables included
  • Available in a choice of colors
  • Includes an 18-month warranty

Best Budget Pick: EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump, Digital Tire Inflator

Best for Budget
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EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump

A budget-friendly option with a sleek and simple design.

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$34.87 USD

The EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump, Digital Tire Inflator is an excellent choice for those looking for a air compressor that won’t break the bank. It boasts a large, easy-to-read digital display, and comes complete with an integrated emergency light for signalling help in the event of a breakdown or other emergency. It plugs into the cigarette lighter of your vehicle, and includes an automatic shut-off to help prevent over-inflation.

Those who purchased and reviewed this air compressor appreciated that it performed well in spite of its compact size. People found that the cord was long enough for their needs, and liked that it came with a storage bag.

With a cost of approximately $34, this air compressor is a solid choice for those looking for an air compressor option on a budget. It has a rating of 4.4 on Amazon with more than 5,100 people reviewing it, which we think goes a long way in convincing people that this budget-friendly pick is just as good at inflating things as its more expensive counterparts.

EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump, Digital Tire Inflator Key Features:

  • Adaptors for balls and inflatables included
  • Available in a choice of colors
  • Overheat protection helps prevent overloading by turning the unit off

Best Electric Air Compressor: FORTEM THE EXTRA MILE Digital Tire Inflator

Best Electric Air Compressor
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FORTEM THE EXTRA MILE Digital Tire Inflator

Includes multiple nozzle attachments for a variety of applications.

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$34.99 USD

The FORTEM THE EXTRA MILE Digital Tire Inflator plugs into any car lighter outlet, and boasts an automatic shut-off to help prevent over-inflation. The digital display makes it easy to set and read pressures, and is suitable for use with motorcycles, bicycles, ATVs, and more. It includes an integrated LED light in case of emergencies. The plastic construction is durable and lightweight for ease of portability.

Those who purchased and reviewed this air compressor appreciated that it was quiet and compact, and found it easy to set the desired pressure. People said that it inflated their tires faster than expected, and liked that the power cord was long enough for them to easily reach rear vehicle tires.

With a price tag of about $45, it doesn’t come cheap, but the quality craftsmanship associated with the brand, as well as the ease of setup and use more than justifies that price. It has a rating of 4.3 on Amazon with more than 700 people reviewing it, which we think goes a long way in convincing people to make the investment.

FORTEM THE EXTRA MILE Digital Tire Inflator Key Features:

  • Adaptors for balls and inflatables included
  • Includes a bonus carrying case
  • Includes a 1-year warranty

Best Small Air Compressor: DBPOWER Digital Tire Inflator

Best Small Air Compressor
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DBPOWER Digital Tire Inflator

Inflate tires and check pressure anytime, anywhere with this compact unit.

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$17.99 USD

The DBPOWER 12V DC Portable Compact Tire Inflator is a great option for those who want an air compressor in a compact design. It boasts an 9.8-foot long power cord, and easily connects into any vehicle lighter socket. The easy-to-press valve makes it simpler to not let out excess air when removing the air hose. It features an easy-to-read digital LCD display screen, and it couldn’t be simpler to use: set your desired tire pressure, start inflating, and it will automatically shut off when the desired pressure is reached. It can inflate a mid-sized vehicle tire from 0 to 35 PSI in just 4.8 minutes. The flexible air hose is 20 inches long, and the power switch on the front of the unit is easy to use.

Those who purchased and reviewed this air compressor appreciated that it was easy to use, and found it to be lightweight and compact. Some cautioned that the lightweight design was not as durable as other options, and it’s not suitable for use for inflating ATV tires, RV tires, or pickup and truck tires. For drivers of smaller vehicles, however, the usability and portability make this air compressor a solid choice. Reviews also mentioned that customer service was very helpful in the event of any issues.

At a cost of around $20, it’s incredibly affordable, and the quality craftsmanship associated with the brand, as well as the ease of setup and use more than justifies that price. It has a rating of 3.6 on Amazon with more than 175 reviews.

DBPOWER 12V DC Portable Compact Tire Inflator Key Features:

  • Adaptors for balls and inflatables included
  • Automatic shutoff when desired pressure is reached
  • Bright LCD display is easy to read at night

Who Should Buy an Air Compressor

An air compressor is an ideal choice for those who want to be able to inflate their tires without having to stop at a gas or service station. Often, air at compressor machines cost money, and can quickly add up. This makes investing in an air compressor a smart financial decision for those who want to stop paying others for air. For anyone who does their own vehicle maintenance, including tire changes, an air compressor is a helpful tool.

An air compressor can also be especially helpful for people who are on the road quite a bit and don’t want to be caught off guard in the event of a flat or under-inflated tire. Since those with cigarette lighter-compatible plugs provide a portable means to inflate tires from anywhere, they can provide added peace of mind to drivers.

While the majority of air compressors we looked at are for vehicular applications — inflating tires and other items — there are also air compressors which can be used to run air tools such as nail guns and spray painters.

Top Pick
Buy Now
Kensun Portable Air Compressor Pump

Dual solid metal motors provide superb power for fast inflation.

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$79.99 USD

Important Features to Consider

Not all air compressors are created equal. An air compressor should be powerful enough to quickly handle the task at hand, yet compact and light enough to move it where you need it. Here’s what to consider when evaluating the options in search of the best air compressor for your needs:

  • Type. There are a few types of air compressors available: those that use rotating impellers to generate air pressure, and positive-displacement compressors, which use reciprocating pistons to pressurize air. Most home-based units are positive-displacement compressors, and use single or dual cylinders.
  • Power source. Next, consider how you want your air compressor to be powered. If you just need something to keep in the trunk in case of a flat tire while out and about, a DC-powered air compressor is a good choice. However, if you want faster inflation or need to power air tools, then an AC-powered air compressor is your best bet. Some models can switch between the two power sources, and there are even some models that are battery-operated.
  • PSI. The PSI, or pounds per square inch, lets you know what sort of pressure the air compressor will provide. If you’re using it to run air tools, you’ll also need to check the minimum required PSI for the tool to ensure your compressor is adequately powered. Maximum working PSI also helps determine what applications your air compressor can be used for.
  • CFM. The deliverable CFM, or cubic feet per minute, measures the amount of “free air” an air compressor uses while running, with air at atmospheric pressure (0 psig). Again, check your air tool for minimum requirements.
  • Noise level. Air compressors can be quite loud, so look for models that are rated quiet. Anything rated below 80 dB is considered quiet.
  • Attachments. Another important consideration when it comes to buying an air compressor is if it comes with additional attachments. While most people use their air compressor to inflate vehicle tires or power air tools, they also make fast work of filling inflatable items such as sport balls, air mattresses, and pool toys. Look for models with additional attachments that are compatible with whatever application you intend to use it for.
  • Price point. Finally, consider how much you are willing to spend on a air compressor. Air compressors vary in price from $20-$200 or more.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an air compressor and how does it work?

An air compressor is a device that converts power into potential energy stored in the form of pressurized air. An air compressor uses either an electric motor, diesel, or gasoline engine to achieve this, and is useful for both inflating and tool applications. When the valve is opened, the pressurized air is released into whatever you’re inflating or powering.

What type of air compressor do I need?

The type of air compressor you need will depend in large part what you’re planning on using it for. If you’re looking for an air compressor to simply inflate your vehicle tires and toys or camping gear, a compact or portable air compressor should more than suffice. However, if you’re wanting to power tools using an air compressor, you’ll want to opt for a larger, high capacity model.

What size air compressor do I need to run air tools?

If you want to run air tools, you’ll need to first know the PSI (pounds per square inch) and CFM (cubic feet per minute) requirements of your air tools. The performance of compressors is measured using both PSI and deliverable CFM. Ideally, you want a compressor with 1.25 to 1.5 times more CFM airflow at the recommended PSI than your air tool(s) require. So for example, if an air tool requires 5.0 CFM at 90 PSI, then you should look for a compressor that delivers between 6.25-7.5 CFM at 90 PSI. If you choose a compressor that isn’t powerful enough, your tool will be under-powered and won’t perform properly, and the compressor will be overworked. Keep in mind that the sample calculation was for a single tool — if you plan on using multiple tools at once, you’ll need to consider the combined total CFM and PSI requirements.

What can an air compressor be used for?

An air compressor can be used for many different tasks, including inflating tires, pool toys, balls, and other such items. An air compressor can also be used to power tools such as nail and staple guns, as well as spray painters, sanders, and drills.

Other Air Compressors We Reviewed

Top Pick
Buy Now
Kensun Portable Air Compressor Pump

Dual solid metal motors provide superb power for fast inflation.

buy now
$79.99 USD

We looked at 20 other air compressors. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best air compressors list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for your home and automotive needs. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.

  • Small Air Compressors
  • Car Air Compressors
  • Quiet Air Compressors

Small Air Compressors

Avid Power Cordless Air Pump

Avid Power Cordless Air Pump

This small air compressor boasts a cordless design that makes it conveniently portable for a variety of applications. The automatic shut-off helps to prevent over-inflating.

Key Features:

  • Available with or without extra battery packs
  • Includes a 12V car power adapter
  • Integrated bright LED emergency light

Cost: $60

Viair 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor

Viair 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor

This small air compressor boasts a portable and compact design that is ideal for use while out and about. It is suitable for use with ATVs, trucks, SUVs, and sedans with up to 33-inch tires.

Key Features:

  • Power cord is 10 feet long
  • Air hose measures 16 feet
  • Includes a 3-piece inflation tip kit

Cost: $66

Lifeline AAA 300 PSI 12 Volt DC Air Compressor

Lifeline AAA 300 PSI 12 Volt DC Air Compressor

This small air compressor boasts an easy-to-read pressure gauge that measures up to 300 PSI, and features a 10-foot long power cord.

Key Features:

  • Includes a 3-piece inflation tip kit
  • Integrated power cord storage
  • Cigarette lighter power adapter

Cost: $17

AstroAI Portable Air Compressor Pump

AstroAI Portable Air Compressor Pump

This small air compressor boasts a large, easy-to-read digital display, and inflates at a rate of up to 35 liters per minute.

Key Features:

  • Professionally calibrated for accuracy
  • Integrated in-line fuse prevents overloading
  • Integrated bright LED emergency light

Cost: $30

AUDEW Portable Air Compressor Pump

AUDEW Portable Air Compressor Pump

This small air compressor boasts a backlight digital display that is easy to read, and comes complete with automatic shut-off to help to prevent over-inflating.

Key Features:

  • Integrated bright LED emergency light
  • Power cord is 10 feet long
  • Includes a 4-piece inflation tip kit

Cost: $35

JOYROOM Portable Air Compressor Tire Inflator

JOYROOM Portable Air Compressor Tire Inflator

This small air compressor boasts a 150 PSI maximum working pressure, and runs off of a 12V power source thanks to the included lighter adapter.

Key Features:

  • Automatic shut-off helps to prevent over-inflating
  • Integrated bright LED emergency light
  • Includes a 3-piece inflation tip kit

Cost: $33

EPAuto AC 110V / DC 12V Dual Power Portable Air Compressor Pump

EPAuto AC 110V / DC 12V Dual Power Portable Air Compressor Pump

This small air compressor is compatible with both AC 110V and DC 12V power supplies, and features an easy-to-use digital display.

Key Features:

  • Automatic shut-off helps to prevent over-inflating
  • Choice of display units: PSI, KPA, BAR, KG/CM
  • Includes a 3-piece inflation tip kit

Cost: $45

BLACK+DECKER BDINF20C 20V Lithium Cordless Multi-Purpose Inflator

BLACK+DECKER BDINF20C 20V Lithium Cordless Multi-Purpose Inflator

This small air compressor boasts a choice of three different power sources — AC, DC, and battery — for added convenience and portability.

Key Features:

  • Easy-read digital gauge
  • Automatic shut-off helps to prevent over-inflating
  • Includes a 2-year warranty

Cost: $102

Car Air Compressors

ANNSO Air Compressor Tire Inflator

ANNSO Air Compressor Tire Inflator

This car air compressor boasts a compact and quiet operation, and features a backlit digital gauge display. It can be used in a variety of applications, including for cars, bikes, ATVs, and more.

Key Features:

  • Automatic shut-off helps to prevent over-inflating
  • Integrated bright LED emergency light
  • Includes a 3-piece inflation tip kit

Cost: $35

Breezz Air Compressor

Breezz Air Compressor

This car air compressor boasts a backlit digital gauge display, and comes complete with integrated power cord storage for added convenience.

Key Features:

  • Automatic shut-off helps to prevent over-inflating
  • Integrated bright LED emergency light
  • Includes a 3-piece inflation tip kit

Cost: $30

CREMAX Air Compressor Pump

CREMAX Air Compressor Pump

This car air compressor boasts a 3-in-1 design that allows you to quickly and easily check, increase, or decrease your tire pressure.

Key Features:

  • Integrated bright LED emergency light
  • Includes a 4-piece inflation tip kit
  • Built-in cord storage

Cost: $23

EPAuto 12V DC Auto Portable Air Compressor Pump

EPAuto 12V DC Auto Portable Air Compressor Pump

This car air compressor plugs directly into the cigarette lighter socket of any vehicle, and is suitable for use with cars, bikes, sedans, and more.

Key Features:

  • Compatible with Presta valves
  • Dial gauge measures up to 120 PSI
  • Integrated cord storage

Cost: $15

VIAIR 45053 Silver Automatic Portable Compressor Kit

VIAIR 45053 Silver Automatic Portable Compressor Kit

This car air compressor boasts a 150 PSI maximum working pressure, and offers 1.80 CFM of power. It comes complete with a tire inflation gun and gauge, RV accessories, and a carrying case.

Key Features:

  • Automatic shut-off helps to prevent over-inflating
  • Includes primary and extension air hoses
  • Includes a 3-piece inflation tip kit

Cost: $442

Quiet Air Compressors

TIREWELL 12V Tire Inflator

TIREWELL 12V Tire Inflator

This quiet air compressor boasts a maximum working pressure of 150 PSI, with air flow of 2.12 CFM at 0 PSI. It features stability technology which helps reduce vibration and noise.

Key Features:

  • Rubber feet help prevent slipping
  • Powerful direct-drive motor
  • Includes a 16.5-foot extension hose

Cost: $66

P.I. AUTO STORE Premium Air Compressor Tire Inflator

P.I. AUTO STORE Premium Air Compressor Tire Inflator

This quiet air compressor provides up to 35 liters per minute of airflow, and runs on 12V DC power. The backlit digital display is easy to read and set.

Key Features:

  • Integrated bright LED emergency light
  • Includes inflation tip kit
  • Built-in hose and cable storage

Cost: $45

Goodyear i8000 120-Volt Direct Drive Tire Inflator

Goodyear i8000 120-Volt Direct Drive Tire Inflator

This quiet air compressor boasts a 120 volt direct drive motor, and features whisper-quiet operation for added convenience. It comes complete with inflation adaptors for all sporting equipment and rafts.

Key Features:

  • Maximum working pressure of 150 PSI
  • Power cord is 6 feet long
  • Large dial gauge

Cost: $52

Viair 40047 400P-RV Automatic Portable Compressor Kit

Viair 40047 400P-RV Automatic Portable Compressor Kit

This quiet air compressor boasts a maximum working pressure of 150 PSI, and provides 2.54 CFM free flow at 0 PSI.

Key Features:

  • Automatic shut-off helps to prevent over-inflating
  • Includes a 3-piece inflation tip kit
  • Carrying case included

Cost: $290

TACKLIFE Tire Inflator ACP1C

TACKLIFE Tire Inflator ACP1C

This quiet air compressor boasts a large, easy-to-read digital display, and provides 40 liters per minute of airflow. It plugs directly into the cigarette lighter socket of any vehicle, and operates below 80db.

Key Features:

  • Includes a 5-piece inflation tip kit
  • Includes a 2-year warranty
  • Carrying case included

Cost: $36

GSPSCN 12V Metal Compressor Pump

GSPSCN 12V Metal Compressor Pump

This quiet air compressor boasts a heavy duty design that is suitable for use in a number of applications, including SUVs, trucks, vans, RVs, and more.

Key Features:

  • Maximum working pressure 150 PSI
  • Provides 70 liters per minute of air flow
  • Carrying case, extension hose, and multiple inflation tips included

Cost: $59

TACKLIFE Digital Tire Inflator

TACKLIFE Digital Tire Inflator

This quiet air compressor boasts a compact and lightweight design, and provides up to 150 PSI working pressure. The digital display is easy to read and adjust, while the 10-foot long power cord helps you reach rear tires with ease.

Key Features:

  • Integrated bright LED emergency light
  • Includes a 3-piece inflation tip kit
  • Built-in cord and hose storage

Cost: $35

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