Welcome to our ultimate guide to the best RV air compressors available! Whether you want an onboard air compressor or something portable that is quick and easy to operate, this expert blog post will help you find the best air compressor to keep you safe and comfortable on the road.
There’s nothing worse than cruising down the highway only to hear a loud pop and discover that you have a deflated tire.
You’re miles away from any gas station, and taking it to an auto repair shop will only set you back hundreds of dollars (not to mention lots of time that could be spent driving).
Thankfully, you remembered to purchase an RV air compressor so you can inflate your tires by yourself.
Although it may seem like an unnecessary purchase, an air compressor is actually one of the most useful accessories you can take with you on the road.
If something were to happen during your journey, like a flat tire or airing down to avoid getting stuck on the beach, then you won’t have to rely on finding a gas station or repair shop to help you.
But an RV air compressor isn’t just for tires. It’s an extremely versatile product that can be used to inflate a variety of things, like mattresses, bike tires, kayaks, or whatever else you may need while traveling off the grid.
Even if you’ve never owned one before, using an air compressor is relatively easy and only takes a few minutes of your day before you’re back on the road.
So now that we’ve covered why you should get one let’s take a look at some of the best air compressors available for RV owners.
The Best RV Air Compressor
If you’ve never bought an air compressor to inflate your tires, then you might not know which product is the right kind for your RV.
But don’t worry because we did the dirty work and researched the different types of best portable air compressors on the market.
We looked at the efficiency, size/weight, power and price of dozens of air compressors to determine which ones are the best for van life living.
WHAT WE LIKE
THINGS TO CONSIDER
EPAUTO 12V DC PORTABLE AIR COMPRESSOR PUMP
PORTER-CABLE CMB15 AIR COMPRESSOR KIT
SUNVOOK AIR COMPRESSOR PUMP DIGITAL TIRE INFLATOR
VIAIR 400P RV PORTABLE AIR COMPRESSOR KIT
VIAIR 450P RV SILVER AUTOMATIC PORTABLE COMPRESSOR KIT
VIAIR 88P PORTABLE AIR COMPRESSOR
TIREWELL 12V 150 PSI RV TIRE INFLATOR
GSPSCN 12V SILVER TIRE INFLATOR
ARB (CKMTP12) 12V TWIN MOTOR HIGH-PERFORMANCE PORTABLE AIR COMPRESSOR
EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump
The EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump is a popular choice among van and RV owners. It has a 70 PSI rating and a flow rate of 1.06 CFM, which means it can be used on bike tires, cars, sedans, and most midsize RVs.
The easy-to-use LED screen displays the KPA, PSI, BAR, KG/CM so that you can monitor your tire pressure every step of the way.
To operate, you just plug the air compressor into the 12v cigarette lighter in your RV and press the on button. It’s as easy as that!
This air compressor also comes loaded with safety features. When the tire is completely inflated, it will automatically shut off to prevent overinflation. It also has an overheat protector that switches the unit off when the internal temperature reaches above 167 degrees Fahrenheit.
And although it’s one of the highest-rated RV air compressors, it’s still reasonably small and compact. The entire unit only weighs 3.8 pounds, which is significantly lighter than many other models with the same PSI and CFM range.
Not to mention, it’s on the lower end of the price spectrum, so you won’t have to break the bank just to have the peace of mind that comes with an RV air compressor.
|* Affordable price point|
* Decent safety features
* Easy installation
* Lightweight and portable
|* Hose could be more durable|
Porter-Cable CMB15 Air Compressor Kit
If you spend a lot of time on the road, then the reputable Porter-Cable CMB15 Air Compressor Kit is a no brainer. It is rated to provide 2.0 CFM @ 90 PSI, although it also has a storage tank that can hold up to 150 PSI in case of an emergency.
And the high CFM means it can recover faster in between uses so that you can inflate all your tires in record-breaking time.
At 20 pounds, it’s not the heaviest air compressor on this list, but it’s also not the heaviest. If you’d rather just leave the compression on the ground while you inflate tires, then you can use the provided 25-foot air hose.
The Porter-Cable CMB15 is oil-free, which prevents gunk buildup and extends the life of your air compressor. The kit also comes with eight different accessories (nozzles, needles, adaptors, etc) that you can use for a variety of inflation tasks, which makes the CMB15 a completely versatile product.
The only downside is the noise. It clocks in just under 80 decibels, which is considerably louder than many other models. But if you’re working with earmuffs or earplugs, then it shouldn’t be an issue to use the CMB15 as a tire inflator.
|* Oil-free pump|
* Quick recovery
* 25-foot air hose and accessories included
|* Relatively loud (79 decibels)|
This pancake-style RV air compressor is extremely stable, make it a decent choice for those traveling off the grid. It sits lower on the ground and has rubber feet, so it’s less likely to tip over while you’re inflating your RV tire.
It’s just a tad more powerful than it’s little brother (the CMB15), boasting 90 PSI at a 2.6 CFM rating, although both models are oil-free and seamlessly easy to maintain.
And if you need more juice, there’s also a 150 PSI attachable tank that can be used as a backup.
The low amp 120V motor guarantees a fast start-up and operation, even in the coldest of temperatures. It weighs in at just over 31 pounds, so it’s a little on the heavier side. However, there are a few space-saving features like the power cord wrap, so you won’t have to struggle when storing the unit.
We also love that it comes with two couples so that you can connect two hoses at one time. It’s a practical addition that will save a lot of time and effort when it comes to tire inflation.
Keep in mind that the Porter-Cable C2002 does not come with an air hose, so you’ll need to purchase that separately in order to start using the air compressor on your RV tires.
|* Durable and sturdy|
* Two couplers for dual-use
* Oil-free pump
* Quick recovery
|* On the heavier side|
* Hose not included
Sunvook Air Compressor Pump Digital Tire Inflator
At just 10.23 inches long and 6.22 inches wide, this ultra-lightweight RV air compressor is one of the smallest models we’ve seen. It’s perfect for those with limited space since it only weighs 2.1 pounds.
And because it’s effortless to use, it’s the perfect choice for first-time buyers or inexperienced travelers.
It plugs right into your cigarette lighter and automatically turns off when the desired tire pressure is reached. Everything is shown on the digital LED screen, so you can make sure you know exactly how much pressure is being used to inflate the tires.
We also love that it has a built-in emergency LED light, so you’ll be able to see what you’re doing even if you get a flat in the middle of the night. This is a great safety feature that is mysteriously lacking in many other high-tech RV air compressor models we’ve seen.
And we can’t talk about the Sunvook without mentioning the price. It’s one of the cheapest portable RV air compressors on this list.
Unfortunately, power and speed isn’t the Sunvook’s strongest feature. It only delivers air at 40 L per minute with a max of 150 PSI. In normal circumstances, that means the inflation time can be up to four minutes just for one tire, which is considerably longer than many of its competitors.
It may not be one of the best RV air compressors in terms of power, but it’s a decent option to have just for emergencies. At such a low price, you won’t have any excuse to be stranded in the middle of nowhere with flat RV tires!
|* Small and compact (only 2.1 pounds)|
* Affordable price point
* Digital LED screen and emergency light
|* Low power for an air compressor|
* Takes several minutes to inflate one tire
Viair 400P RV Portable Air Compressor Kit
This all-inclusive kit is one of the best options for part-time or full-time RV travelers. It’s easy to use (hooks directly to your RV’s battery) and has a powerful 150 PSI capacity that can inflate 35-inch RV tires to 30 PSI in just under five minutes.
Because the Viair 400P RV Air Compressor is meant for large vans or RVs, it also comes with a 30-foot primary air hose, so you can reach the tires without moving the unit around.
And if 30 feet isn’t enough, you can also hook up the 30-foot hose extension (which comes with the automatic portable compressor kit).
In addition to the extension hose, this best portable air compressor comes with extra accessories so you can simply swap out the pieces to inflate your bike, car, or anything else that needs air. It also comes with a gas-station style inflation gun, battery clamps, and a 45 degree reach tire chuck to help you with those hard to reach valves.
While the Viair 400P is the fastest filling air compressor for RV tires that Viar makes, it does have it’s limitations. It only has the power to run at 100 PSI for 20 minutes at a time, which means it needs some time to cool down before it can start again.
It’s also more expensive than many other RV air compressors on this list. But for the power, durability, and included accessories, the 400P is easily the best air compressor for its size and power.
|* Powerful airflow rate|
* Automatic shutoff
* Included accessories
* Up to 60 feet of useable hose
* Lightweight (11 pounds)
|* Expensive kit|
* Requires large amperage and battery power
VIAIR 450P RV Silver Automatic Portable Compressor Kit
Another great air compressor for RV kit is the Viair 450P RV Compressor. This is one of the more robust models from Viair, so you can expect all the same great qualities of the 400P but with a little more spunk.
The 450P is quieter, smoother, and doesn’t need the same cool-down time that the 400P requires. In fact, it has a 40-minute continuous run time so that you can inflate your RV tires in a flash.
In other words, the lower CFM makes it a slower filling compressor, so it might take a little longer to inflate tires on your RV. But on the plus side, it’s able to run longer without needing to rest.
When it comes to tire pressure, the 450P provides 1.80 CFM with 0 PSI rating. We also like that it comes with numerous accessories, including a 90-degree twist-on chuck, a 45-degree air chuck wand, a three-piece inflation tip for other products, and an inflator gun with a pressure gauge.
You also won’t have to worry about lugging around this RV air compressor to each of your tires because it comes with two 30-foot coil hoses. That’s an impressive total of 60 feet worth of hose length!
|* Long run time for an air compressor (40 minutes)|
* Decent flow rate (1.80 CFM @ 0 PSI)
* All-inclusive kit with many accessories
* Two 30-foot hoses
|* High price point|
* Pressure gauge discrepancies
Viair 88P Portable Air Compressor
While Viair is known for making durable air compressors for large vans and RVs, they do produce a smaller model that’s ideal for cars, SUVs, and campervans.
So if you love Viaiar products but don’t need the power of their higher-end models, then consider the Viair 88P Portable Air Compressor! This guy is just under 11 inches long and weighs only 4.5 pounds, so it’s perfect if you’re short on space.
However, don’t let its small size fool you. It still provides 120PSI max working pressure with a 1.47 CFM rating for tires up to 33 inches.
And if you’re only using this portable RV air compressor on a small vehicle, then the 10-foot power cord and 16-foot hose should be more than enough to fill each of your tires. It’s also important to note that this air compressor needs to be hooked up directly to your battery.
However, it does come with a 20-amp fuse to protect you against electric shock and reduces the risk of damaging your electric devices.
It’s also worth mentioning that the air compressor tends to get hot quickly. Although it can inflate most tires in under 20 minutes, leaving it on for extended periods of time can be dangerous if it’s left unattended.
This all-inclusive kit comes with clamps for your battery, a twist-on tire chuck, a 120 PSI pressure gauge, and an LED power indicator. It’s the perfect kit for beginners, as it comes with everything you need to get started.
|* All-inclusive starter kit|
* 20-amp fuse protection
* Portable and lightweight
|* Expensive to replace parts if broken|
* Heats up quickly
TIREWELL 12V 150 PSI RV Tire Inflator
For fast tire inflation, Tirewell’s 12 RV Tire Inflator is one of the most robust models on the market. It can pump out 2.12 cubic feet per minute at 0 PSI, which is more than enough power to inflate your RV tire within two minutes.
It uses 12v power and only needs to be plugged into your RV’s cigarette outlet, although it also can be connected to your RV battery using clamps (which are included with this kit).
It’s good that the compressor comes with an 11.5-foot power cord because the inflation hose is only 1.8 feet.
In our opinion, that’s a huge drawback, especially if you have a large RV. However, the air compressor only weighs 8.3 pounds, so it’s light enough to carry around to each of your RV tires.
On the plus side, this Tirewell RV air compressor is far less noisy than many of its competitors. It has a direct drive motor and sturdy metal double cylinder, so it actually rotates at a slower speed. The four-rod fuselage also helps to reduce the vibration and noise while it’s operating.
As an added bonus, your tire inflator compressor also comes with three different adaptors so that you can use it on normal cars or bicycles. For the price, the Tirewell 12v 150 PSI RV Tire Inflator is a great option for most RV and campervan owners.
|* High flow rate (2.12 CFM @ 0 PSI)|
* Less noisy
* Includes 3 adaptors for versatility
* Affordable price range
|* Only has a 1.8-foot rubber hose|
GSPSCN 12V Silver Tire Inflator
A good alternative to the Tirewell 12V Tire Inflator is the wallet-friendly GSPSCN 12V Silver Tire Inflator. It has a maximum pressure of 150 PSI and an airflow of 70 L per minute.
That means it can inflate a tire in just 1.5 minutes. Like the Tirewell model, the GSPSCN also has a dual cylinder inflation pump (which means it can rotate slower), so it’s less noisy and more efficient.
This also helps to extend the life of the motor, so you can take it with you on road trips for many years to come.
Air pressure can be read using the attached dial. While some RV owners prefer the readability of an LED digital screen, others swear by the analog dials because they tend to be more accurate.
The GSPSCN does come with a few other nifty accessories that make it a worthwhile purchase. In addition to the 11-foot extension hose, it also has battery clamps, inflation adaptors, a spare fuse, and a carrying bag.
|* High flow rate (2.47 CFM @ 0 PSI)|
* Less noisy
* Adaptors and extension hose included
* Affordable price range
|* Needs a cool-down period|
ARB (CKMTP12) 12V Twin Motor High-Performance Portable Air Compressor
If you’re on the road for most of the year, then it might be worth investing in a more permanent solution for inflating your RV tires. In that case, you’ll want a mountable air compressor, so you can take it with you wherever you go.
The ARB CKMTA12 is one of the top-rated permanent RV air compressors for van life living, making it a solid choice for full-time RV travelers.
The dual cylinder/twin motor design gives this air compressor an extra boost of power, delivering an impressive airflow rating of 6.16 CFM @ 0 PSI.
And because the case is waterproof and the motors are thermally protected, you won’t have to worry about it getting damaged from hot climates or torrential rainfall.
To use this RV air compressor, you’ll need to connect it to a 12-volt or 24-volt DC electrical system, so it’s not out-of-the-box ready. However, it does come with all the necessary mounting brackets and wires to get started (in addition to the 20-foot hose and the inflation gun.)
The obvious downside is the high price point. At almost seven times the cost of other air compressors on this list, the ARB CKMTA12 isn’t the most affordable model we’ve seen. But between its superpowered airflow, high-quality materials, and ability to be mounted out of sight, it’s a reasonable product for certain full-time RV owners.
|* Very high flow rate (6.16 CFM @ 0 PSI)|
* Can be mounted and installed for permanent use
* High quality, waterproof materials
* Efficient and quiet dual motors
|* Very high price point|
* Not the most portable solution
Choosing the Best RV Air Compressors
You’ve worked your way through our expert guide to figure out exactly what the best portable air compressor for RVs and campers is on the market. But now let’s break down the finer details of the features and things you need to look for.
A 12-volt air compressor is the most common type of compressor for van life living. They must be connected to your RV’s 12v port (like a cigarette outlet), so it’s not the most portable device unless you have a long power cord or extension hose.
However, they provide a constant source of power so you can fill up your RV tires without spending extra time waiting for the batteries to recharge. 12v air compressors are also relatively affordable, which makes them a great choice for budget travelers or first-time buyers.
Some models can also be connected directly to your car battery with the use of battery clamps. While these air compressors are generally more robust and powerful, they can also drain your battery if left on for too long.
If space is a big concern in your RV, then you might consider opting for a battery-powered air compressor instead. These lightweight, handheld models are extremely efficient, making them the ultimate portable air compressor device for your RV tires.
Most cordless air compressors use a lithium battery, which can be charged at home or by a cigarette lighter if you’re on the road. Price-wise they aren’t much more expensive than a 12v air compressor, so it’s a decent option for budget travelers.
However, it’s crucial that you purchase a battery-powered compressor with enough power to inflate RV tires. Some models are meant specifically for smaller products, like bikes or balls.
When an air compressor is operating, it needs some sort of lubrication to help draw air into the piston chamber. For some types of air compressors, oil is used for lubrication. While oil compressors tend to be more durable, they are also bulkier, more expensive, and require oil changing and maintenance.
While some homeowners swear by oil compressors, we believe that it’s not a practical choice for RV owners.
Instead, you should opt for an oil-free compressor, which has a pre-lubricated coating to protect the pump. Not only are they lighter (they have fewer parts), but they are also cheaper and much easier to maintain in the long run.
Air compressors come in a variety of sizes and weights. Of course, some of the most popular RV air compressors are the ones that can be easily transported from one place or another without taking up too much space or weight.
Although heavy-duty models are more powerful, they also tend to take up more space, which can be a problem if you’re driving a small campervan or RV.
If you’re looking for a compressor that can be carried, you should have no problem finding one in the 10 to 15-pound range. Compressors of this size and weight are generally sufficient for most campervan or RVs.
Air pressure is measured by PSI, or pounds per square inch. When looking for the best RV air compressor, the PSI rating refers to how much the compressor is able to fill the tire.
The PSI of your tires should be located on the sidewall, although it can also be found in your user manual or online. Generally speaking, you’ll want a compressor that has a PSI that’s relatively higher than the PSI for your tires, so it’s important to keep those numbers in mind when shopping for an air compressor.
When researching air compressors, you’ll also notice that it has something called a CFM. CFM, or cubic feet per minute, is how much airflow comes out of the compressor.
A compressor with a higher CFM can fill your tires faster than one with a lower airflow rate. But since the motor runs at a higher speed, it will often have a shorter run time. If you have to inflate multiple wheels, these cool-down breaks can eat up a lot of time.
Unfortunately, air compressors aren’t known for their quiet operation. In fact, most of them are rather loud. Even the best air compressors will still make a high level of noise, which means you should always travel with earplugs or heavy-duty safety earmuffs.
The noise level of an air compressor usually falls within the range of 40 to 90 decibels of noise. In general, sounds above 85 decibels are considered harmful, so it’s in your best interest to look for something with a lower noise level.
Anything around the 60 to 65-decibel range (the sound of a vacuum cleaner) is reasonable for an air compressor.
The length of your air compressor’s hose is almost as important as the unit itself. A hose makes it possible to inflate the tires without constantly moving the unit. This isn’t a big deal if you purchase a portable, lightweight model, because you can simply lift and rotate the compressor around to each of your tires with only a short hose.
However, this is more difficult for heavier compressors since they aren’t as easy to carry. For this reason, it’s important to have a long hose that can reach each of your tires without having to move the air compressor.
Most RV air compressor models come with a hose, although some of them may only be 2 feet long. Ideally, you’ll want to look for something with a hose length of 20 to 30 feet, especially if you don’t want to lug the compressor to each tire. If you purchase an air compressor with a short hose, you can always look for a hose extension as well.
The cost of a decent RV air compressor varies wildly depending on size, power, and portability. The average price of an air compressor can cost you anywhere from $75 to $100.
These models are sufficient for most RV owners since they should have more than enough power to inflate all four tires when needed.
Most expensive air compressors can cost several hundred dollars. These models might have a higher PSI rating, which produces more air pressure in your tires.
They might also come with more features or additional accessories to make it more versatile with other inflatable products.
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