The Best Air Compressor for Tires

Maintaining the correct air pressure in your tires makes them last longer, saves you gas and makes your drive safer. It’s pretty easy to run down to your local gas station or convenience store to get some free air, but sometimes their air machines aren’t well maintained. An even more convenient and reliable solution is to have your own air compressor for your tires. With the best air compressor for tires you can ensure you have the right tire pressure day in day out. This saves you money on fuel, tire wear and maybe even saves you a crash.

The Best Chart for Tire Air Compressors

The best air compressor for tires can take on many different forms. Some of them are extremely portable. They might need to have a 12v connection from your vehicle to operate. Some of them are powered by their own batteries. Which one of these meets your needs today?

PictureNameOur RatingPrice
Slime 12v Digital Tire Inflator 4.1
P.I. Auto Store Digital Tire Inflator 4.2
Windek Digital Tire Inflator 4.7
Kensun Multi-Use Tire Inflator & Portable Compressor 5.0
Goodyear 120v Direct Drive Tire Inflator 4.1
Kensun Portable Multi-Use Air Compressor 4.9
Slime 2x Heavy Duty Direct Drive Tire Inflator 4.3
Jump-N-Carry Jump Starter w/ Power Source & Air Compressor 4.5
Stanley 1000 Peak Amp Jump Starter w/ Air Compressor 4.2
Slime Motorcycle Tire Inflator 4.4
PictureNameOur RatingPrice

What Is an Air Compressor for Tires and Why Do I Need One?

Maintaining a proper air pressure in your tires is critical to the health of your vehicle. For every 1 PSI lower that you run in each tire than the recommended amounts listed for your vehicle and the tire brand, you lose 0.4% of your fuel economy. Although that doesn’t seem like much, it can add up quickly. If you have 4 tires that are 5 PSI lower, say you’re running 25 PSI instead of 30 PSI you will lose 8% of your fuel economy.

At 30 miles per gallon, that means you could drop down as far as 25 miles per gallon. If you do uphill driving on that tank of gas, it will be even less.

The best air compressor for tires will help you to properly manage the pressure in your tires so that you receive the maximum level of fuel economy and proper tire wear possible for your vehicle. Many of these compressors can ride along with you in the vehicle, operating off of the 12v connection in your car.

You know – the place where the cigarette lighter used to be kept. Maybe it’s the place where you run your satellite radio connection now.

What about over-inflating your tires? In 2009, Popular Mechanics measured whether or not over-inflating your tires could improve your fuel economy even more. They drove the same distance with properly inflated tires and compared that to the same drive with tires inflated 15 PSI above normal. Their fuel economy was almost exactly the same.

What does this mean? That the best air compressor for tires needs to have certain features included with it so you can verify what PSI your tires actually have.

How to Find the Best Air Compressor for Tires

What is unique about this type of compressor is that there are some features that you’ll find with different brands and models. Many of them are designed to be emergency compressors that can give you a trickle of air so you can fill your vehicle’s tires, your bicycle tires, or the inflatables you might be taking along for a camping trip.

One unique type of air compressor for tires is called a “jump pack.” These compressors operate off of battery power and are typically charged by connecting to a standard household outlet. Once charged, you can fill your tires to a proper PSI because there is an included pressure gauge on the compressor. You’ll also be able to jump-start a vehicle if your battery has died. Some of the newer compressors come with a USB charging port so you can connect your smartphone to give it a charge. Lights and other features may also be available.

The best feature to have is clearly the air pressure gauge. You don’t need to invest in a jump-start compressor to get one. If you want to invest in a basic compressor only,  make sure you purchase a separate tire pressure gauge so you are running at the proper pressure. Then make sure to get one that works with the power source you have to receive the advantages this type of air compressor can provide you.

The Advantages of the Best Air Compressor for Tires

Outside of your improved fuel economy and tire wear, the best air compressor for tires gives you a portable compressed air source that can often be used in a number of different ways. Take it camping and fill up your air mattress. Take it to the beach and fill up your tow inflatables, your inflatable raft or boat, or other floating items. Bring your bicycle along to fill up its tires as well. ATVs and other recreational vehicles also benefit.

The best air compressor for tires will also help you out during an emergency. If you have a flat, you can use the air compressor to clean out a space for your jack to go so you can get a safer lifting experience. You can make sure your spare is also at a proper PSI.

Many of these compressors also come with an air tool kit. This allows you to fill up basketballs, footballs, and other sports equipment with ease.

What Are the Prices for the Best Air Compressor for Tires?

The price points in this category are dependent on the features the air compressor contains. As a general rule, more features in this category equates to a higher cost. For example: a basic air compressor designed for emergency air that does not have a pressure gauge can be found for around $20. On the other hand, an entry-level jump-start air compressor with a pressure gauge and jumper cables will cost about $70.

If you want a top of the line jump-start air compressor, which lets you, fill your tires up anywhere, then you can expect to pay around $150. For a more basic air compressor that is rich in features, but won’t start your vehicle in an emergency, expect to pay around $50.

What Do Our Reviews Have To Say?

PI Auto Store

We really like the design of this compact, yet still power air compressor. It can inflate a completely flat standard vehicle tire in just under 4 minutes at 22L per minute of air flow. Your reach is a little over 10 feet, which might not be the best in the industry, but is still pretty good. The automatic shutoff digital pressure gauge is the nicest feature. Just tell this compressor how much pressure you need and once it reaches it, the compressor shuts off. You don’t have to deal with all of that starting and stopping action that other tire inflators require.

Click here to compare pricing on Amazon and find the best deal.


This is another one of those automatic digital pressure shutoff tire inflators that you’re going to want in an emergency. As an added advantage, there’s a built-in LED work-light and the digital display also has back lighting so you can see it if you’re working at night. This inflator also has one of the best flow rates we’ve seen in this category: 35L per minute. You’ll receive a keychain tire gauge and a carrying bag with your purchase, so although it comes with a premium price, you’ll also receive a premium user experience.

Click here to compare pricing on Amazon and find the best deal.


Have you ever hooked up a tire inflator and immediately cringed because of how loud it was? The entire neighborhood knows when you’re using your device or the entire campground suddenly doesn’t like you very much. The whisper quiet experience of this direct drive tire inflator is going to make you smile instead. Take a tire from 0 PSI to 28 PSI in 150 seconds. The rubber hose is only 12 inches long, but a 17 foot PVC air hose with a quick connect valve supplements the experience. Inflate up to 150 PSI from any standard 120v outlet and you’ll be ready to go.

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Jump N Carry Jump Starter

One of the nicest innovations in this air compressor category is the jumpstart compressor. Not only can it fill up your tires, but it can also jumpstart a dead battery if need be. This particular model offers 1700 peak amps and 425 cold cranking amps if you forgot that the headlights were on when you parked for the night. The cables are 68 inches long for the jump and the coiled air hose gives you 12 inches of length. The screw-on chuck takes some getting used to using and you’ll want to charge the unit for 24 hours after using it, but otherwise you won’t believe how helpful this little compressor happens to be.

Click here to compare pricing on Amazon and find the best deal.

Stanley 1000 Peak Amp Jump Starter

We’ve been using this particular jump starter since it first came out. It’s been used to jump start over 50 dead vehicles in our travels. We’ve used to fill up countless flat tires or firm up a spare. It’s great because the battery can also charge two USB devices so you won’t need to deal with a dead smartphone. The 120 PSI compressor with a brass tipped nozzle is a little slow and a bit noisy, but it keeps chugging along. We highly recommend this particular tire inflator for all the reasons listed above.

Click here to compare pricing on Amazon and find the best deal.

The best air compressor can take on several different forms, so it is important to review what your needs may be before making a purchase. From being a portable power source to an all-in-one emergency roadside assistant, life becomes a lot easier when you’ve got one of these compressors helping you out.

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