7 Best Portable Air Compressor for Truck Tires of 2022

You’ve probably experienced tons of situations where you’re on the road, and you hear creaking noises coming from below your truck. The next thing you do is pull over to the side to find out what’s wrong. And to nobody’s surprise, you’re stranded with a flat tire.

It’s funny because this is such a common scenario that every trucker goes through almost every week. And most truckers solve the problem quickly with an air compressor. Here, we’ll help you pick the best portable air compressor for truck tires.

Although it can get tricky while choosing the best one, check these out. Every one of them will offer different features. So, it’s an entire library for you to choose from.

Top 7 Best Portable Air Compressors for Truck Tires

Let’s move on to the few top choices on the market. Check these out to find your next air compressor.

1. ViAir Portable Air Compressor – Best Overall

Let’s start the list off with a blast! Well, not literally, of course. ViAir has been in the game for quite a while now, and they are still going strong for a reason. This portable air compressor comes with fantastic value for money.

ViAir Portable Air Compressor

First of all, this one is the people’s champion. This 12V machine can whip up an astonishing 120PSI working pressure. Before you assume that this one has a battery of its own, let me stop you right there. You need to plug it in to continue.

The overall size can be considered compact since the biggest edge doesn’t exceed 11 inches. You will be blessed with the 1.47CFM free flow. There’s even a LED power indicator that helps out when you’re stranded in the dark.

An interesting thing about this product is probably the fact that it is powered via its battery. You get two alligator-clamped wires to plug it into the truck battery, and you’ll be good to go.

Whether you’re driving a truck or any smaller ATV or SUV, the ViAir portable air compressor will get you back on the road with ease.

If you’re worried about the provided power cord’s length, you can rest assured that the 10-foot-long cable will be enough for most truck tires. The air hose is a whopping 16 feet, so you can imagine how long it is.

Pros

  • 12V voltage
  • Up to 120PSI working pressure
  • Compact size
  • CFM rating of 1.47
  • LED indicator for power
  • Powered by the truck battery

Cons

  • Doesn’t power up from a lighter socket

2. JACO SmartPro Digital Tire Inflator – Best Value

Here, on our list of best portable air compressors for tires, is this beast from JACO. They’ve built up quite the reputation by making top-notch stuff, and this air compressor reflects their quality. Let’s find out why!

JACO SmartPro Digital Tire Inflator

The first thing that’ll blow you away is the SmartPro’s smart pressure technology. There’s a little LCD screen that shows all the necessary info you could ever wish for. The measurement is also pretty precise, so you don’t have to worry about accuracy.

And what’s more impressive is that the machine shuts off automatically when the optimum pressure is reached.

You’ll be impressed with the strength of this machine too. This little guy can inflate your truck tires up to 45 PSI. A brass connector nozzle on the air hose makes your inflation process a lot easier.

If you’re worried about the reach of the power cord, don’t fret because this compressor comes with a long 10-foot power cable. So, you can pretty much access all the tires of your vehicle without much trouble.

Another bonus feature of this air compressor is the huge built-in LED light. It goes pretty bright, so you can light up the entire surrounding when you’re stranded on a dimly lit highway.

Pros

  • Smart pressure technology
  • Digital air gauge
  • Bright LED light
  • Hard brass nozzles
  • Informative backlit LCD display

Cons

  • The pump could malfunction if you don’t take proper care

3. ViAIR 300P Portable compressor – Best for Off-Roading

Well, what do we have here? This entrant is another air compressor from ViAir. So, if you’ve underestimated the brand for some reason, you can stop now. This one is on its way to becoming one of the best portable machines for off-roading.

ViAIR 300P Portable compressor

Just like the first one from ViAir, this also comes with all the useful features and more! And all this comes in an even smaller package than the first one.

This monster is capable of inflating your large truck tires with ease. As it supports up to 33″ tires, you can pretty much use this for your smaller vehicles too. The rated voltage of the motor is around 12 volts, and you’ll get the full extent.

You can expect as much as a 33% maximum duty cycle at 100PSI, and you can let the thing loose. This champ will pull enough power to generate up to 150 PSI pressure.

If you’re buying one for professional use, you can consider this offering from ViAir. This air compressor can run nonstop for 40 minutes if you use it continuously at 30PSI.

Are you worried about overheating? Don’t! Because this one from ViAir comes with a safety-rated Auto Reset Thermal protection. So, the entire mechanism will reset itself if it feels like it’s about to heat up too much.

Pros

  • Small and lightweight
  • Supports up to 33″ tires
  • Up to 150 PSI pressure
  • Overheating protection named auto reset thermals

Cons

  • A bit on the expensive side

4. TW2003 TireWell Tire Inflator – Best for Fast Inflating

Just looking at this entry will overwhelm you. Introducing the TireWell heavy-duty Tire Inflator. If you’re thinking of buying the best portable air compressor for bike tires, you can take a peek at this one.

TW2003 TireWell Tire Inflator

The best part about this one is the fast inflation technology. Think about spending over 30 minutes on getting your tires back to the optimum pressure level. Well, those days are done for as TireWell can get you back on the road in minutes.

With its class-leading stability technology, this baby brings a new dimension. The entire fuselage has a unique four-rod design, so you can practically experience fewer vibrations.

Thus, if you’re worried about waking the kids up while you’re inflating the tires in the morning, you can pick this one out. The unique design, along with the rubber feet, also helps reduce noise and keeps the pump in place.

Another unique feature about this is the use of dual cylinders. This is specific to this model only, so you can assume this is a pretty big deal. The motor also has a direct drive technology, so along with the dual cylinders, the motor whips up a lot of power but manages to make minimum noise.

If you’re a geek and you can’t rest without the specific details, this baby has a maximum pressure rating of 150PSI. The 2.12 CFM rating is also pretty formidable compared to others, so that’s another positive.

Whether you’re working on SUVs, bike tires, trucks, or even RVs, you can inflate pretty much all their tires with this one. This also comes with a long 5m extension hose to give you maximum maneuverability.

Pros

  • Multipurpose use
  • Dual cylinder direct drive technology
  • Works for different types of tires
  • Fast inflation technology

Cons

  • Works slowly at a higher pressure

5. GSPSCN Silver Tire Inflator – Best for Stable Inflating

Here, we have this mammoth of an air compressor from the very best in the game. The brand has made quite the name for themselves by making some of the best vehicle equipment, and this one is no different. Let’s check it out.

GSPSCN Silver Tire Inflator

Just like the last product on the list, this one has fast inflation technology. The device is so good that it can be referred to as the best portable air compressor for jeep tires. It can get a tire back in shape in just one and a half minutes.

What’s more impressive is how stable the entire mechanism is while at work. Along with the noise control measures, the rubber feet keep this pump in place while you’re using this. You can find another similarity with the TireWell one here too.

This one also comes with the direct drive technology accompanied by the dual cylinders. So, you can expect a compact pump that will provide a more efficient work rate. You can also expect lower noise as the two cylinders work in unison.

If you’re thinking of using this for your truck, you can do so with quite ease. Keep this in the trunk, and you shouldn’t have to worry about being stranded with a flat tire on a lonely highway.

Considering the moderate price bracket, the 2.47 CFM rating makes this a great choice. You can also inflate standard tires quickly with a maximum pressure of 150 PSI.

Along with inflating truck tires, this one can work its magic with SUVs, RVs, minivans, and smaller vehicles too. But we did have one gripe about this. The pressure gauge of the air machine isn’t calibrated. So, you have to do it manually.

Pros

  • Fast inflating technology
  • Double cylinders for higher efficiency
  • Direct drive technology
  • Works with different tires

Cons

  • Pressure gauge not calibrated

6. AmazonBasics Portable Air Compressor – Best for Reliability

Whenever you see the name Amazonbasics at the beginning of a product name, you immediately expect a great product. The same goes for this great portable air compressor. As the brand name suggests, this is as basic as it gets.

AmazonBasics Portable Air Compressor

And I’m saying that as a compliment. Because this one does all the right things that a machine like this should do and gives you flawless results. You get a 12-volt power output and an above-average PSI rating of 120.

This one comes with a couple of hoses in the package. One of them is 2.26 feet in length, and you have to connect it to another 16.4 feet hose. The latter one is coiled, so you can pack it up and store it even in the smallest of trunks.

You can call this the best portable air compressor for Tornador. Tornadors are cleaning guns, and they work their magic in the presence of a good enough air compressor. They need constant pressure to work, and this one from AmazonBasics can assure that.

The machine also comes with a digital gauge and a pretty bright LED indicator light. When you’re done inflating your truck, you can move on to your kids’ basketballs or soccer balls while you’re at it.

An interesting part about this is it automatically shuts off when the optimum pressure is reached. So, you don’t have to worry about releasing it at a lower tire pressure.

Pros

  • 120 PSI rated
  • Best for a Tornador
  • Multipurpose use cases
  • Auto shutdown

Cons

  • Works slowly at 120PSI

7. Kensun AC/DC Portable Air Compressor – Best for Professionals

Here’s the last one on our list. And we’re ending this with a belter of an air compressor. Kensun products get a lot of praise across the world, and for a good reason. They make incredibly durable products, and they outlive their lifetimes too.

Kensun AC/DC Portable Air Compressor

This one from Kensun lives up to the reputation. Along with the highly-rated customer support, you will get a ton of value out of this one. The two-way power might be the best part of this inflating device.

If you’re a fan of brass nozzles on the heads of the hoses, then you’ll love this one. They keep the pipe in place and prevent any sort of leaks. You can expect up to 120 PSI rated pressure out of this one. So, it’s enough to inflate a flat 37-inch truck tire.

You can get around by calling this the best portable air compressor for 37″ tires. This will get you approximately 30 minutes of runtime when you’re using it with constant pressure. But the rated pressure then is 35PSI.

Although some people love digital gauges, Kensun keeps this simple by sticking with the analog gauge.

But it isn’t all good news. We didn’t like the fact that its hose was only 9 feet in length. A couple of more units wouldn’t hurt anybody.

Pros

  • Two-way power
  • Great for professionals
  • Durable brass nozzles
  • Up to 30 minutes of continuous work rate

Cons

  • Comparatively shorter hose

Things to Look for Before Buying

Now that we’re done with some of the top air compressors, let’s talk about a few things you should keep in mind before making your purchase.

Automation

The first thing to consider before buying a product like this is automation. While it might not matter to many people who are already used to manual compressors, it’s an excellent feature to have for most people.

Especially if you don’t have prior experience with pressure settings, you can genuinely struggle with it. Devices with automatic shut-off settings can work their magic and shut off when you need them to.

All you’ve got to do is enter the required pressure settings and configure the machine. The rest will be handled pretty much automatically by the system itself. These machines turn themselves off when they reach the specific pressure.

Portability

Since we’re talking about the best portable air compressors, it is essential to discuss the portability factor. Even if you’re getting your new machine for your large truck, it doesn’t hurt to save space.

And if you’re looking for an air compressor for a smaller vehicle, you need to make portability the top priority. You’ve to make sure that you can stuff it into the cargo space or the trunk of your vehicle without wasting too much space.

All the products on our list are based on the compact form factor. So, you probably won’t go wrong when picking any of these.

Maximum Air Pressure

Next up is the all-important air pressure or PSI rating. You’ll need to look at this before using the machine for your vehicle’s tire. We don’t need to get in too deep; just know that a higher PSI rating is better.

So which rating should you opt for? Usually, a device will be enough to fulfill your inflating needs if it has a 30-90 PSI rating. Larger vehicles like trucks and SUVs need around 70-90 PSI, while smaller cars will do fine with a PSI rating of 30.

Just make sure you match the rating up with your vehicle, and you should be good to go.

CFM or Air Flow Rating

The other technical factor that you should keep in mind is the CFM rating. This number confuses a lot of people, but it’s not that tough to understand at all. It represents how fast the device can push air into the tires.

Even when it comes to airflow ratings, higher means better. Getting a device with a higher rating will provide better performance.

If you’re a bit confused about the CFM ratings, it’s totally normal. You don’t need to know a lot; just make sure that the CFM rating is 1.5 times more than what your tire manufacturer recommends.

Tire Size

Another thing we tend to overlook while picking a portable air compressor is the tire size. A machine made for smaller and lighter vehicle tires will immediately struggle if you ask it to inflate a massive truck tire.

Likewise, if you buy a more powerful machine for your bike tires, you’re just throwing your hard-earned money down the drain.

Inflation Time

Imagine trying to reach a meeting, and you now have a flat tire. You’re already running late, and now you have to worry about waiting for about an hour to get back on the road. That can quickly help you lose a client, so you won’t want that.

Your waiting time can be significantly reduced if you opt for a portable air compressor with fast inflating technologies. Almost all the devices on our list come with this outstanding feature. They’re built to help you get back on the road faster.

If you end up picking a good device, you will need a maximum of two minutes to inflate each tire. So, if you have just one flat tire, you can pretty much get back on the road in around a couple of minutes.

Duty Cycle

Finally, you have to consider the duty cycle of a portable air compressor before buying it. If you don’t know what a duty cycle is, let me enlighten you.

This term basically refers to the cool down time after every use. You can check the work rates of the devices to see how long you can use them before they start to get a little toasty.

After they reach that period, you have to let them cool down a bit. Some air compressors even come with automatic resetting. This feature resets the machine to prevent it from overheating.

How Does an Air Compressor Work?

With that out of the way, we can get into the juicy bit. If you’re already experienced, and you want to skip this, be my guest. But I still think you should check it out as you might learn a couple of new things now.

Air compressors are multipurpose devices. You can do a lot of things using a perfectly functional machine. Heck, you can even blow a balloon with it if the balloon is big enough. But let’s find out how the entire thing works.

These devices do their best to force air into a container. They work their magic in such a way that the air starts to get pressurized. This pressurized air is then moved into an opening of a larger tank. The pressure gradually builds up inside the tank.

But there are a few different types of air compressors, and they might have slightly varying mechanisms.

Types of Displacement

Nowadays, all the mechanisms of air compressors depend on different methods of compression. The first method is a positive displacement, while the other is dynamic displacement. They both achieve air compression, but they prefer to take different routes.

Positive Displacement

This focuses on the compression of air by decreasing the volume. The volume of air is reduced when the process forces air into a bigger chamber.

Even when two different air compressors use the same air compression method, they have different ways of achieving it. You can see a pretty wide range of mechanisms using the same positive displacement method.

Some use traditional rotary screws, while others stick with rotary vanes. The newer ones that follow the positive displacement process come with the piston or reciprocating style.

Dynamic Displacement

This one is a bit simpler than the first process. Don’t get me wrong, there is still a lot of physics involved, but you probably won’t feel as lost when reading about dynamic displacement.

A significant part of dynamic displacement is the rotating blade. There’s a motor that powers this blade to generate high airflow. When the air from this airflow is restricted, a specific amount of kinetic energy gets stored inside the machine.

Even when it comes to the dynamic displacement method, you can see different types of devices. Some of them follow the principles of axial compressors, while others opt for centrifugal systems. Let’s not get in too deep.

You’ll see the portable devices on the list don’t use this mammoth of a system at all. That’s because it’s not efficient enough, and you won’t see this method being used for inflating truck tires, let alone balloons.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do portable air compressors last?

There’s no fixed answer. But buying an air compressor is a reasonably long-term investment. You can expect around 50000 hours of a lifetime for a good portable air compressor. But you need to take good care of them to reach maximum potential.

What size air compressor do I need to inflate tires?

A typical vehicle tire can be inflated with an air compressor rated 1-2CFM. You truly don’t need to go overboard. Expect to inflate any tire to 32-35PSI with a standard rated air compressor.

Can you use an extension cord with a portable air compressor?

Although it might look like attaching wires together, we don’t usually recommend connecting extension cords. Some motors need special wires, or else they burn out soon.

Can you paint a car with a portable air compressor?

Yes, you can indeed paint a car with an air compressor. This is one of the crazier uses of this type of machine. Just make sure you don’t overspray it.

Can air compressor inflate tires?

Yes, air compressors are great at inflating different types of tires. Whether you want to inflate an ATV tire or an RV tire, a good device will get the job done.

Can I connect two air compressors together?

A lot of people may not know this, but you can indeed connect a couple of air compressors together. The process is quite simple too.

Can I run two air compressors together?

Many professionals tend to work with dual air compressors. This technique allows them to generate a higher-powered air tool that can do double the work.

Can you leave an air compressor full?

Even though a lot of people tend to ignore this step, we recommend that you should drain an air compressor after every use. But if you plan on using it immediately, you might leave it full.

Can I use an air compressor to inflate balloons?

It depends; some balloons aren’t well made to withstand the force of air compressors. But you can use them to inflate big sized balloons. They actually make the work a whole lot easier.

Final Words

Trying to find the best portable air compressor for truck tires can be a handful. There are so many to choose from, and they all seem very similar. What isn’t similar is the price. So, we’ve put together this list and buying guide to guide you through your picking process.

You can pick any one of the products on this list. All of them offer unique features and quirks. So, be sure to choose the one with features that coincide with your needs. You can’t go wrong with any one of these.