Best Air Compressor for Car Tires

porter cable pancake air compressor

Walking out to your car and seeing that one of your car or truck tires is low is a problem. You are either going to have to call for roadside assistance to inflate it or find a way to safely get your car to somewhere you can pump it up. Neither option is simple and both could be costly. 

That’s why one of the best tools you can have at home is an air compressor to pump your own tires. It’s quick and easy to use and will have you on the road in no time. Being able to inflate a tire on your own means you can quickly get to a tire shop to make sure there is no significant damage and get a quick repair or replacement if needed.

There are lots of compressors on the market, some portable, some compact, and some are even heavy-duty. Choosing the right one for these situations can be tricky. Here are some of the best air compressors you can buy for car tires. 

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EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump, Digital Tire Inflator 

This is a 12V DC air compressor that is 120W that inflates at 1.06 CFM. Its max working pressure is 100PSI which isn’t bad for a smaller pump. A digital indicator shows four types of measurements: PSI, KPA, BAR, and kg per cm. It also comes with an auto-shutoff that stops the pump when the tire reaches the appropriate air pressure and offers protection from overheating by shutting the pump off if it overloads. It can inflate most tires with the exception of LT, HT, and trucks and it comes with various adapters so it can be used with other inflatable objects. The LED flashlight is a great help if you have to use it at night or in a low light situation. It is portable weighing just under four pounds, measures approximately 9.5” by 5.5”, and comes highly rated. 

PORTER-CABLE C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor 

This portable air compressor pump is a great option for anyone who needs a little bit of power but doesn’t have a lot of room for heavy-duty equipment. This six-gallon air compressor is portable, simple to use, and fairly powerful at 150PSI which is the maximum tank pressure that allows for storage of more air for longer tool run times. It is great for inflating a flat tire as well as working with nail guns and impact wrenches. This means you can not only inflate your tires but you can also remove them if needed.

The PORTER-CABLE C2002 uses a power cord that runs from a normal household outlet and has a fast recovery time. Other features include a water drain valve, rubber footings, and a convenient cord wrap. It starts with ease, even in cold weather or if you have to use an extension cord and it’s easy to carry at under 30 pounds. That’s not all, it also comes with an accessory kit of 13 pieces so you can use it for different projects beyond inflating a flat tire. 

Campbell Hausfield FP2028 1 Gallon Air Compressor 

This model is perfect for car tires at 110 maximum pressure and .36 CFM. It comes with lots of accessories and has a great 25’ recoil hose and nozzles. The built-in storage is great because you know all the necessary parts are always close by. This model weighs in just at approximately 14 pounds and has a carry handle so it’s easy to move around your vehicle, especially with the long air hose. Its one-gallon tank is somewhat small but perfect if you want something portable for tire inflation. It has no oil so needs very little maintenance and the price point is great, much lower than many comparable air compressors. 

Bostitch BTFP2012 6 Gallon Pancake Air Compressor 

This pancake six-gallon 150PSI portable air compressor pump is one of the best in its size category. It has no oil so it needs very little maintenance and the high-efficiency starter works in any weather. It weighs under 29 pounds and has a handle so it’s easily portable. It also comes with dual universal couplers and the tank is narrow for easy storage. The 50’ air hose helps you reach any low or flat tire easily and includes a high flow regulator. Its maximum tank PSI is 150 and SCFM is at 90PSI, perfect for inflating tires and other inflatable objects around the house. 

While all these air compressors are great for inflating your tires, one has an edge over the others. The PORTER-CABLE C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor offers a little bit more for the money and is our top pick for a pump for car tires. Its price point is a little higher but it can be used for things beyond inflating tires, including some heavy-duty applications. The fact that it has enough torque to take the nuts off of tires is extremely helpful and can potentially save you more money and mechanic costs. If you really feel you don’t need something this powerful, then the best would be EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump Digital Tire Inflator. It is small, portable, perfect for tire inflation, and the price point is lower as well. Either one of these pumps can inflate your tire and get you on your way safely. 

Final Thoughts

Purchasing the best air compressor for car tires will save you time and money in the long run because you can refill low car, truck, or RV tires in minutes without having to call roadside assistance or a mechanic. While smaller tire inflators can be left in your trunk, air compressors are more powerful and take care of things faster. Air compressors are great for not only filling your low tires but other small household inflatables as well such as pool toys or air mattresses. Often, they come with adapters that let you do more. If you go with a slightly more powerful model, you may also be able to remove the tire off so you can take it for repair or put on your spare. There are lots of great air compressor options on the market so decide how much power you need then pick the one that best fits your budget. 

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