In this side by side comparison, we take a closer look at the best portable air compressors and what makes them special. See, small compressors come in an assortment of designs and specs to suit specific tasks. Plus, new models keep hitting the market now and then, making it relatively hard to narrow down your options.
We worked closely with a professional engineer, with over 15 years of hands-on experience in basic car repairs and maintenance. We’ve categorized the models on this list by PSI, voltage, and inflation speed.
Table of Contents
A Complete Guide to Choose the Best Portable Air Compressors
Click through as we dissect right through top-rated air compressors on the market right now.
1. EPAuto Air Compressor – Best Overall
Striking the right balance between price and features, the 3.65 pounds EPAuto is, well, portable. It will plug directly into your car’s 12 volts light cigarette socket.
We love the fact that this unit doesn’t have the whistle and bells you’ll find with high models. In essence, this makes it super easy to put EPAuto to work, whether you’re inflating your sedan, midsize SUV, sedan or bike.
EPAuto’s highlight is the shutoff function that ensures you don’t over inflate your tires. In other words, all you have to do is put the compressor into the nozzle and let it do it without worrying about overloading. How nice! Of course, you have to select the desired pressure.
Each unit comes with three extra connectors of different sizing. Think of this as a way of giving you the versatility you need to inflate tires with varying nozzle ends. Indeed, EPAuto isn’t the most powerful of portable air compressors. The 100 PSI working pressure, however, is enough to fill your tires with air pretty fast.
One of the most important considerations to make when choosing an air compressor is its level of noise. This one generates slightly over 60 decibels. It is relatively quiet, so you can use it without causing unnecessary disturbance to the people around you.
EPAuto’s maneuverability is on point too. It comes with a ten-foot cord to provide enough length to enable you to inflate rear and front tires of your vehicle. Plus, the cable has a 15 amps fuse to protect the compressor in case of short circuit. You’ll get a backup fuse in the package as well.
To top it all off, this unit includes a bright LED flashlight to allow you to use it at night. It displays the reading in four units PSI, BAR, KPA, and KG/CM.
2. Helteko Air Compressor – Runner Up
With a weight of 2.45 pounds, the Helteko is arguably one of the best handheld air compressors. It is an excellent pick if you’re in for a tire inflator that is adaptable enough to work with DC and AC sockets.
Like the EPAuto, it includes an auto shut off function to eliminate over inflating concerns. Even more impressive, it touts a strategically placed, backlit LCD so you can set (and see) the preferred pressure in a breeze. Further, the screen enables you to calculate the desired pressure in KPA, BAR, KG/CM², and PSI.
Apart from the stellar performance, the other thing that sets the Helteko apart from other models in its category is the multipurpose functionality. More specifically, this baby can inflate a standard mid-sized car tire in about five minutes. It will fill your basketball with air in less than two minutes! Yes, that’s how powerful this thing is, despite the compact size.
How long is the cable you ask? The Helteko has a long 11.5-foot cord. Add the LED lighting and what you get is an air compressor that will serve you in the dark or during low visibility.
You may want to know that this compressor also comes with an integrated battery. By extension, this implies that you don’t need electric power to use it, making it the ideal pick while on the go. Did we tell you that Helteko can work for 10 minutes straight?
Any air compressor worth your attention should be durable. Regarding reliability, this model doesn’t disappoint. It boasts long-lasting ABS plastic casing and stainless steel parts to give you months upon months of use. One more thing – it comes with a storage bag so you can carry it around conveniently.
With a noise rating of less than 50 decibels, we vouch for Helteko if you’re in pursuit of a quiet, dependable portable air compressor that will not disappoint.
3. Tcisa Air Compressor – Best for Powerful Inflation
With up to 150PSI working pressure, Tcisa is one of the most powerful portable air compressors on the market. It will inflate most tires you throw at it, even 33-inch commercial tires!
And, speaking of power, this is what we mean. Tcisa delivers air at a commendable rate of 35L per minute. What this implies is that it can inflate a 30PSI rated tire in two to three minutes. With such capacity, we recommend it if you’re a long distance driver searching for a reliable air compressor that will come in handy during slow puncture situations.
Tcisa is a smart unit. It will detect reset temperature and shut off automatically. On top of that, the long 10-foot cord ensures that you can reach a regular sized SUV from end to end. Moreover, the 25.6 air hose provide more room for you to move around the tire as you inflate.
Tcisa can continuously work for 20 minutes, reducing the time you need to fill your car, bike, or ball with air. You can’t fail to notice the 1.18″x 0.6″ LCD screen with a blue backlight for easier pressure reading. Be sure to press the “M” button right below the screen to toggle between KG/CM², KPA, BAR and PSI readouts depending on your preference.
Tcisa uses a premium rubber cover to protect the screen from scratches and the rigors of consistent use. In the meantime, the robust metal body guarantees durability. And then there is the anti-slip base to make sure the compressor stays in place during use.
Tcisa weights about 8 pounds. Make no mistake about it though. It is reasonably compact, with dimensions of 11.2 x 8.7 x 5.7 inches. It will fit into your car’s trunk without taking a lot of space. And so you may know, it features a super bright torch to provide illumination whenever you need it.
4. Fortem Air Compressor – Best Budget
Fortem has everything you’d want the best portable air compressor to have. For starters, it weighs a mere 1.9 pounds, making it the lightest option on this list. And who says you have to splurge to get a good handheld tire inflator? Certainly not Fortem!
While this unit is inexpensive, it is amazingly functional. To begin with, it sports a minimalist design that makes it incredibly easy to use. Simply plug it into your car’s 12 volts outlet, flip the convenient switch and boom! It will shut off automatically upon reaching the desired pressure threshold.
Fortem is as adaptable as you’d want it to be. Each package comes multiple nozzles (four to be exact) attachments. That way, you cannot only use it for your car but also water toys, air mattresses, and more. It is quick too, completing most tasks in less than five minutes.
Never used a handheld air compressor before? Not a problem! The makers of Fortem had your safety in mind when designing it. It features a built-in fuse that prevents current overflow. And, in case of emergencies, the integrated LED flashlight will come to your rescue.
At 19.4 x 15.6 x 7.5cm, Fortem offers a comfortable grip during air pumping. The reinforced, high-quality materials will last for years while the included case provides convenient carrying and storage. Meanwhile, the robust hose will handle high pressure, while enabling maximum air flow.
More than that, this air compressor comes with an extended one year warranty. In essence, this means that Fortem is confident of their product and aren’t scared to stand by it. There’s even a 100% satisfaction guarantee so you can spend your money with confidence.
Those who have used it praise the speed at which it works and the assortment of features. Many say it is quiet too. Fortem is nice little air compressor – be sure to check it out!
5. P.I. AUTO STORE Air Compressor – Best for Fast Inflating
The P.I. AUTO STORE is fast, super-fast. It features a best-in-class pump, with a capacity to blow air into your tires at a trailblazing speed of 35L per minutes. It can inflate a commercial truck tire in less than five minutes.
While there’s no denying that this thing is a beast, it is also the quietest in its class – it makes less than 30 decibels of sound. An upgraded version for 2021 has a 13 feet cable – one of the longest you can get. Like the models above, P.I. AUTO STORE comes with a flashlight. However, this one has a little twist to it. The torch runs on 100 LED lumen LEDs, making it one of the brightest.
What’s more? This unit is all about giving you the ease of control. It has a connection valve that attaches faster to the nozzle than a screw thread. And the beauty of it is that you don’t have to support the valve once you have it in place. The ripple effect is accurate pressure and quick inflating (since there are no disconnections as is the case with screw threads).
We love P.I. AUTO STORE’s red emergency light to notify you when the unit has malfunctioned or in case of leaks. You’ll want to know that each package comes with extra adapters for your sports inflatables and equipment. You also get a Presta valve adapter for your bicycle and a spare tire valve cap.
P.I. AUTO STORE measures 7 x 3 x 6.5 inches with a weight of 2 pounds. It has a well-though-out compartment inside the housing to store cables and hoses. And then there is the quick starter guide to help you make the most of what this compressor can do.
Other notable highlights include a large LCD screen to set pressure time and a built-in microprocessor that will stop that pump once it gets to your predetermined setting.
P.I. AUTO STORE brings us to the end of our best portable air compressors 2021 reviews. We hope that you enjoyed reading what makes each of our pick tick. Most importantly, we trust that we’ve helped you pinpoint a handheld compressor with the functions and working power to meet your demands.
As always, we have our eyes set on the market. We will keep reviewing this list now and then to ensure that it remains as relevant and up-to-date as possible. In other words, we will strive to make sure that this is the only article you’ll want to read every time you’re scouting for a portable air compressor.
Speaking of which, here are a couple of things to have in mind when looking for the best small air compressor. Ask yourself if the model you want to purchase is compact enough. See, there’s a reason for the using term “portable.” So, choose a unit that you can carry and store conveniently.
Also, make sure the compressor is powerful. At the very least, it should inflate your tire, bike, ball and so on in five minutes or less. Of course, it is essential to know what previous users think of the unit so don’t forget to read air compressor reviews.