Inspiring Ideas for Modern Home

6 Best 12V Air Compressors of 2023

Deciding to buy an air compressor is an easy task. After all, it’s one of the essential pieces of equipment you can have.

the car portable pneumatic machine.

Whether it’s pumping up a tire or inflating a soccer ball, air compressors can come in handy in a variety of situations. But the real challenge in buying an air compressor lies elsewhere.

Most air compressors come with a boatload of features. While some score high in portability, others offer unmatched air pressure. The decision of which one you should go with depends on a variety of factors.

That’s why, to make the task easy for you, today we’ve decided to go ahead and review some of the best 12V air compressors in the market. We’ll give you the complete lowdown on the features. And to make matters easier, we’ll also introduce a buyers’ guide to help you make the decision.

So, let’s get going and see what’s what!

Best 12V Air Compressors


Here's the list of the 6 best 12V air compressors of 2023, providing you with the complete lowdown on their features and a helpful buyers' guide to simplify your decision-making process.

1. Viair 00088 12V Portable Air Compressor - Best for Roadside Emergencies

Seeing as people usually look for the best first, we’ve decided to list the top product on the list at the beginning. And this 12V powerhouse from Viair is undoubtedly the best one on the list if not the market. Sleek, powerful, and handy, this is one air compressor you need to have in the trunk of your vehicle.

VIAIR 88P - 00088 Tire Inflator Portable Onroad/Offroad Air...
  • PORTABLE OFFROAD COMPRESSOR (Model: 88P, 120 PSI, 33" Tires)...

Why Did We Like It?

To be frank, it was the brand name that attracted us in the first place. Viair has been serving the air compressor market for over two decades, and being an ISO-certified business, they’re known for products that have impeccable quality.

If you’ve ever been stuck with a flat tire by the roadside, then you know the importance of a reliable air compressor. And this 12V wonder from Viair didn’t disappoint one bit. Viair has certainly distilled its 20 years of experience in this machine.

The device offers a 120PSI max operating pressure, which is enough for any make or model of car. We’ve tested it on several vehicles, including trucks and SUV tires, and the compressor provided an impressive performance on all tires up to 33 inches.

What’s more, the device comes with a 10-feet power cord and 16-feet air hose, which means you have an ample range of movement. It has even got a 3-piece inflation tip kit that improves its versatility. In short, this is a complete compressor for all vehicular needs.

What Could’ve Been Better?

The only thing we’d have improved in the device is the power sourcing mechanism. It’s powered by alligator clamps that must be attached to the car battery, which means your engine needs to be running for it to work. We’d have preferred if the device ran from a lighter socket, as this is more convenient.


  • Tough metallic construction
  • Long power cord and air hose
  • Versatile usability
  • Ample working pressure


  • Doesn’t work from a lighter socket

Maximum PSI: 120 | CFM: 1.47 | Weight: ‎4.5 pounds | Dimensions:‎ 9.8 x 3.2 x 5.6 inches | Weight: 4.5 pounds | Features: LED work light, thermal overload protector

2. EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor - Best for Compact Convenience

The second place on the list is occupied by EPAuto, another well-known manufacturer of portable air compressors. And convenience is the key operating word when it comes to this model. If you’re looking for a powerful compressor that fits your trunk and purse, then this is the one to go for.

EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump, Digital Tire...
  • Convenience: Plug directly into Cigarette Lighter Socket of...
  • Multiple Uses: Inflate tires on cars, bikes, sedan and...

Why Did We Like It?

When it comes to portable air compressors, the first combination that anyone looks for is that of convenience with power. And this model from EPAuto fits the bill perfectly.

With a maximum working pressure of 70PSI and inflating speeds of 1.06CFM, this is decidedly a powerful machine. What struck us the most, however, was that it delivers this power in a surprisingly compact body.

The compressor itself weighs merely a pound, which means you won’t have any trouble carrying it in your trunk. Further, it plugs directly into any car’s cigarette lighter socket, which means there’s no need to connect it to the car battery, like with the previous item.

Versatile in use, the device can be used for inflating tires on cars as well as bikes. What’s more, it’s even equipped with an easy-to-read digital display and LED flashlight. Add to that the auto-shutoff feature, and you’ve got a compressor that’s worth the money.

What Could’ve Been Better?

The only downside to this otherwise excellent product is that it’s not suitable for inflating truck tires. This is a damper for truck owners who’d like to get a taste of the ease of use that comes with it.


  • Lightweight build
  • Power-cable with backup fuse included
  • Overheat protection
  • CE certified


  • Doesn’t work with truck tires

Maximum PSI: 70 | CFM: 1.06 | Weight: 1 pound | Dimensions: ‎13.5 x 8.1 x 5.6 inches | Weight: 3.8 pounds | Features: Auto shut-off, digital display, LED flashlight

3. Slime 12V Portable Air Compressor - Best Budget-friendly Option

The final item on our list comes from Slime, but don’t be turned away by the name. Though not as renowned as Viair, Slime’s got a reputation for turning our quality products that get the job done. And this highly portable device from their end is decidedly compact but delivers power enough to blow you away.

Slime 40050 Tire Inflator, Portable Car Air Compressor, with...
  • This Analog Tire Inflator is a lean, mean inflating machine...
  • With the push of a button, the inflator springs to life,...

Why Did We Like It?

We’ve already seen some of the top performers in the 12V air compressor category. So for the final item, we’ve got one that strikes the perfect balance between compactness and affordability.

Weighing in at a little under two pounds, it’s got all the necessary features without the added weight. Just plug it into your car’s 12V port and voila! You’ve got a full tire in under eight minutes flat (pun intended!).

Another useful aspect of Slime inflators is that they are tire-sensor safe, which makes them perfect for regular use. The built-in pressure gauge measures up to 100 PSI, and the single-touch startup button makes for smooth operation.

It’s even got a long enough air and power hose, with cord storage facilities built into the product. And for the price, it packs sufficient power to fulfill all your inflatable needs. The best budget buy, in our opinion.

What Could’ve Been Better?

We all agree that this is a rather nifty product, but there are two minor points that we’d like to improve. First, we’d like the housing for the power cords and hoses covered, as this helps to maintain the aesthetics. Secondly, it’d be more power-efficient if the LED light had a dedicated on/off switch.


  • Remarkably slim and compact design
  • Built-in pressure gauge
  • Standard 12V operation
  • Storage compartments for power cords and air hose


  • No on/off switch for LED lights
  • Storage compartments lack cover

Maximum PSI: 35 | CFM: N/A | Weight: ‎1.85 pounds | Dimensions: ‎8 x 2.75 x 6.13 inches | Weight: 5.05 pounds | Features: Built-in pressure gauge, LED work light, inflatable adapters

4. AstroAI Portable 12V Air Compressor

Up next, we’ve got the AstroAI 12V air compressor, which boasts of being made from high-quality materials. Fast and straightforward to use, it makes inflating tires a comfortable and enjoyable task. Promising and delivering unmatched accuracy of pressure, this is an option you should seriously consider.

AstroAI Portable Air Compressor Pump, Digital Tire Inflator...
  • INCREASED SAFETY: Properly inflated tires provide better...
  • ADVANCED ACCURACY: Professionally calibrated to always...

Why Did We Like It?

Our primary reason for including this product is its advanced accuracy and safety features, which make this a secure option for most users. The highlight of the piece is an integrated inline fuse that improves the safety of the device.

And while we’re on the subject of safety, we need to mention the overheat protection feature that ensures the device turns off automatically on overheating. Also, its simple operating mechanism means that anyone can use it without much difficulty.

Coming to the accuracy levels, we were glad to note that the device has been calibrated to give readings that are correct to 1% of the desired pressure. This eliminates all the guesswork from the inflation process and ensures proper tire pressure.

Finally, we must mention the LED-backlit measurement screen, built-in LED flash, and additional adapters for inflating anything from air cushions to balloons. In short, a complete solution for all your inflation needs. And it also comes with a three years warranty, so that’s a bonus.

What Could’ve Been Better?

The only downside to this product is the fact that it can only run on 12V DC. This means you shouldn’t risk using the device with home electricity supplies, as this might damage the fuse. Stick to your car’s 12V port, and you’ll be good to go.


  • Integrated inline fuse
  • Highly accurate measurements
  • Three years extended warranty
  • 100PSI max pressure


  • Works only on 12V DC supply

Maximum PSI: 120 | CFM: 1.06 | Weight: ‎4.61 pounds | Dimensions: ‎10.51 x 7.64 x 4.92 inches | Weight: 2.2 pounds | Features: Auto shut-off, digital display, LED flashlight, overheat protection

5. Kobalt Portable Air Compressor

Portability is the crucial component of this portable air compressor by Kobalt, one of the better manufacturers of air tools. And this two-in-one portable air compressor is perfect for all your on-road as well as in-house requirements. Wondering what we mean by that? Just read on to find out more.

Kobalt 120v & 12v Portable Air Compressor Inflator Tire Pump...
  • Kobalt Portable Air Compressor Inflator provides up to...
  • Perfect size to keep in your car, quickly inflates items...

Why Did We Like It?

One look at this product and you’re sure to want one for your car, or whatever use it needs to fulfill. This versatile air compressor isn’t limited to being good enough for only inflating tires. It’s also great for several other applications.

Whether you need to inflate an air mattress or set up the kiddie pool for your toddlers, this can be the go-to device. Apart from the standard air hose, the product includes a pair of sports needles, a raft nozzle, and even a Presta Valve Adapter.

This only leads to a quantum increase in the versatility of the device. Plus, the compact design ensures you can store and carry it in your car or even on a motorcycle for emergencies. It’s also got a digital gauge that displays the air pressure you are using.

When it comes to power, this device has the dual capability of operating from a 12V power outlet as well as a 120V one. This means you can use it as quickly at home as on the road for your vehicle.

What Could’ve Been Better?

There are two things that we’d like to improve in the product. First, the air hose, which is only two feet long and needs to be increased substantially. Secondly, it doesn’t come with an on-off switch; you have to plug and unplug it for operating. This can lead to unnecessary hassles.


  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Auto shutoff feature
  • Quieter operation than many other models
  • Additional storage compartments for accessories


  • Short air-hose
  • No on/off switch

Maximum PSI: 120 | CFM: 2.6 | Weight: ‎6.21 pounds | Dimensions: ‎9 x 12.75 x 7 inches | Weight: 29.1 pounds | Features: Oil-free pump, 2.0 HP motor, vertical design for storage

6. Wagan Digital Air Compressor

The next item we have for you is by Wagan, an all-American firm located in Hayward, California. And with over 35 years of experience under their belt, every product they make is imbued with unmatched expertise. Just take a load of this air compressor from their stable and see for yourselves.

Wagan EL7315 Digital Display Dual AC/DC 110V/12V Air...
  • Two in one AC & DC Powered: Both AC (wall outlet) and DC...
  • Digital display: Easy to read Display Modes: PSI/bar/kPa &...

Why Did We Like It?

As you might have already picked up, the highlight of this product is the twin AC/DC operation. This simply translates to the fact that you can use it with the cigarette lighter socket of your car as well as any standard 110V wall outlet.

The dual operation gives the compressor an added advantage over cigarette-socket-only models. The twin operation means you can use the unit at home and on the road for emergencies with equal ease.

The digital display ensures that you get exactly the pressure you need, and shows readings in multiple units. Plus, the auto-shutoff feature protects your tires (and other inflatables) from over-inflation.

With a 100PSI max pressure and flow rate of 15 liters/minute, this is indeed a powerful air compressor. What’s more, the lengthy power cords ensure restriction-free operation, and the price is reasonable enough, so it’s a steal deal either way.

What Could’ve Been Better?

 The warranty, which only extends for a year and is a bit too little, in our opinion. Another concern that we’d like to point out is the flip-down lever that attaches to the tire stem. It’s a bit flimsy looking, but we’ve used it without significant problems till now.


  • Works with both AC as well as DC power
  • Automatic operation
  • Sufficient cord length
  • Versatile operation


  • Only one-year warranty
  • Flimsy flip-down lever

Maximum PSI: 100 | CFM: 1.8 | Weight: ‎3.8 pounds | Dimensions: ‎9.5 x 5 x 7.5 inches | Weight: 4.4 pounds | Features: Auto shut-off, digital display, LED work light, multiple nozzle adapters

Best 12V Air Compressors Comparison Table

ProductMaximum PSICFMWeightDimensionsWeightFeatures
Viair 00088 12V Portable Air Compressor1201.474.5 pounds9.8 x 3.2 x 5.6 inches4.5 poundsLED work light, thermal overload protector
EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor701.061 pound13.5 x 8.1 x 5.6 inches3.8 poundsAuto shut-off, digital display, LED flashlight
Slime 12V Portable Air Compressor35N/A1.85 pounds8 x 2.75 x 6.13 inches5.05 poundsBuilt-in pressure gauge, LED work light, inflatable adapters
AstroAI Portable 12V Air Compressor1201.064.61 pounds10.51 x 7.64 x 4.92 inches2.2 poundsAuto shut-off, digital display, LED flashlight, overheat protection
Kobalt Portable Air Compressor1202.6‎6.21 pounds9 x 12.75 x 7 inches29.1 poundsOil-free pump, 2.0 HP motor, vertical design for storage
Wagan Digital Air Compressor1001.8‎3.8 pounds9.5 x 5 x 7.5 inches4.4 poundsAuto shut-off, digital display, LED work light, multiple nozzle adapters

Buying Guide For The Best 12V Air Compressor

Wait a bit! If you’re ready to rush out and get the first item on the list, then be advised: it might just not be the best for your needs.

12V compressors come with a bevy of features, all of which are comparable. Yet there are a large number of factors that play an essential part in the choice of the right device. Unless you pay attention to them, then you might just end up with the wrong compressor.

That’s why we’ve decided to simplify the task with this handy buyers’ guide. Outlined here, you’ll find all the information that you need to make the right decision when it comes to 12V air compressors. 

Let’s see what factors you need to keep in mind.

Socket Type

The socket type determines the kind of power input that your air compressor requires. Most portable 12V compressors come equipped with a cigarette lighter connector that plugs into the 12V port of your car.

There are certain compressors, however, which can also be plugged into standard wall sockets. The choice depends on where you plan to use your device. If you’re primarily interested in using it on the road, then go for the cigarette lighter type.

However, if you also need to use it at home for inflatables, then make sure the compressor has a wall socket connector. As an alternative, you can even go for ones with rechargeable batteries.

PSI Levels

The PSI levels determine the maximum pressure levels that your compressor can deliver. Usually, the higher the PSI levels of your compressor, the greater its inflating power. However, you must take care to adjust the PSI levels on your device according to requirements, as too high a pressure can lead to damaging your inflatables.

Safety Features

When buying a 12V compressor, you must keep in mind the safety features of the device. One such important feature is auto-shutoff, which ensures that your tire doesn’t get overinflated. 

The auto-shutoff feature works by turning your device off automatically once the desired pressure level is reached. This helps to maintain the correct tire pressure and also ensures the device’s safety.

Compressors tend to get hot with repeated operation; this means they need to cool off between use. The best way to ensure this is to go for a model that has an overheating protection mechanism, which indicates when the device is getting heated above the safety levels.

Cord And Hose Length

The next thing that you should keep in mind when deciding on a 12V air compressor is the length of the power cord and air hose. Unless these two are amply long, you’ll have trouble maneuvering the compressor and reaching complicated tire orientations. 

Take care to ensure that the air hose, as well as the power cord, is at least ten feet in length. This way you’ll have enough room to move around and won’t have to attach the compressor in an awkward position.

LED Lights

Let’s face it: tires don’t go flat only at opportune moments, as anyone who’s been stuck with one on a dark highway will testify. In such a situation, it can become confusing, not to mention hazardous, to get out on the dark road and inflate your tire.

That’s why, if you’re planning on using your compressor on long road trips, then we recommend getting one with LED lights. This not only helps you to see the tires correctly but will also make you visible to any oncoming vehicles and thus avoid accidents.

Additional Attachments

Finally, we’d like to mention that if you want to use the compressor for inflating anything other than tires, make sure it comes with the right attachments and pins. Otherwise, you might face difficulty in using the product to its fullest possible versatility.

12V Air Compressors FAQ's

  • What are the different types of 12V air compressors?

    There are two main types of 12V air compressors: tire inflators and air compressors. Tire inflators are designed specifically for inflating tires and typically have a lower PSI rating, while air compressors are more versatile and can be used for a variety of tasks.

  • What is the maximum PSI rating for a 12V air compressor?

    The maximum PSI rating for a 12V air compressor varies depending on the model. Some models have a maximum PSI rating of 100 or 120, while others can go up to 150 or higher.

  • Can a 12V air compressor inflate a car tire?

    Yes, a 12V air compressor can inflate a car tire. However, choosing a model with a high enough PSI rating to handle the pressure required for car tires is important.

  • Are 12V air compressors loud?

    The noise level of a 12V air compressor can vary depending on the model. Some models are designed to be quiet, while others may produce a higher level of noise. It is important to check the noise level before purchasing to ensure it meets your needs.

  • How long does inflating an object with a 12V air compressor take?

    The time it takes to inflate an object with a 12V air compressor depends on the object’s size and the compressor’s PSI rating. In general, smaller objects such as sports balls and air mattresses can be inflated quickly, while larger objects like car tires may take several minutes.

  • Can a 12V air compressor be used to power pneumatic tools?

    No, a 12V air compressor is not powerful enough to run most pneumatic tools. These tools typically require a higher PSI rating and a larger tank size to function prop

  • Emergency tire inflator isolated on white background with copy space


    Now that you know all there is to know about 12V air compressors, you can take the leap and choose the best one. Before you do that, however, here’s a quick recap of our best picks from the list.

    The overall winner is the Viair 00088 model, which is the first item on our list. This model provides unmatched power and value for money. Coming at a close second is the EPAuto model.

    And yes, if you’re looking for a budget buy, then you can’t do better than Slime. It’s slim, sleek, and has all the power you need, minus the unnecessary frills.

    With that, we’ll take our leave, hoping that you enjoyed going through this compilation as much as we enjoyed putting it together. Here’s wishing you find the best air compressor that money can buy.

    Till next time!