Last updated: August 11, 2021

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Mini compressors can be a great support and all-round tool for your everyday life. There is a model for every user and with one of these devices you will never have to bother pumping things up with pure muscle power again. What's more, the operation is very simple and no problem even for non-professionals.

With our big mini compressor test 2021 we want to help you find the most practical mini compressor for you. We have taken a close look at what makes a good mini compressor and listed the most important criteria to make your purchase decision as easy as possible.




The most important

  • Mini compressors are light, compact air pressure devices that can make your everyday pumping work much easier. With a mini compressor, you can easily pump up things and save yourself tedious work, for example at the beach.
  • Nowadays, these devices cost no more than high-quality air pumps and some of them even run on batteries, which makes them just as mobile. What's more, you can achieve much more accurate and higher bar pressures with a mini compressor.
  • There is a suitable model for every need. If you are on the road a lot, battery compressors are the best choice, 230V models offer a lot and can replace many other electrical appliances in a household and 12V models are a good compromise.

Mini Compressor: Our Selection

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a mini compressor

What is a mini compressor?

Basically, compressors are machines that use compressed air to perform mechanical tasks. Depending on how big the machine is, it can do a variety of tasks.

Pumping jobs in particular are much easier for you with a mini compressor. The devices are easy to store and transport due to their small size.

Operating air tools, on the other hand, is difficult with most mini compressors. The devices simply don't have enough power for that.

You should also avoid using your mini compressor for too long at a time. Otherwise, your device will overheat and, in the worst case, break down. Most mini compressors also lack an air extraction function.

Advantages
  • In most cases maintenance-free
  • Compact and mobile
  • Surprisingly powerful
Disadvantages
  • Can't work for very long, otherwise they overheat
  • Usually no air extraction function
  • Problems with things with very large volumes

What are the alternatives to a mini compressor?

If you want to inflate tyres or the like with your compressor, air pumps are the only real alternative that can also deliver the corresponding bar figures.

The advantage is certainly that air pumps are even more compact and depend only on your own strength. You need neither a cigarette lighter nor a power socket to operate an air pump.

However, this is also the biggest disadvantage. Pumping by hand is very hard on the arms and legs and may not be the best solution for you. In addition, you don't really save money with a good air pump.

How do I use a mini compressor?

Using a mini compressor is very easy. Even if you have no experience with these devices, you should not have any problems.

The only important thing is that you have the right adapters for the valve you are using. If this is the case, you just need to follow these steps:

  1. Preparation: Make sure your compressor is charged or otherwise powered.
  2. Attach the hose: Attach the compressor hose to the valve. Most units have a small lever to tighten the hose.
  3. Inflate: Turn on the compressor and keep an eye on the pressure gauge on your compressor.
  4. Switch off: Once you have reached your desired pressure, all you have to do is turn the unit off.

When and how do I change the oil in a mini compressor?

Changing the oil in a mini compressor, like using it, is not very complicated and can easily be done at home. In general, you should change the oil once a year, even more often if you use the compressor frequently.

Be sure to switch off the Mini Compressor before you start changing the oil!

It is also important that you use oil recommended by the manufacturer. If you do not take care of the compressor or use the wrong oil, the unit may break down and the warranty may be voided.

The process is very similar to changing the oil in a car, so it's best to follow these simple steps:

  1. Drain the old oil: First you need to provide a container for the used oil. Then place the container under the oil drain plug so that there is no mess. If you want to make the job easier, you can use a suction pump or a suction syringe. Both are available separately and do not cost the earth.
Important: If you use a suction syringe, do not fill it to the top. Most syringes cannot hold the oil.
  • Dump the rest and close it: If you notice that there is still liquid in the oil container of the compressor, tilt the unit slightly. This will drain off the remaining oil. Be careful, though, as you can easily spill oil. Now screw the oil drain plug back on.
  • Refill with fresh oil: The last step can be easy or difficult, depending on the machine. If the oil tank of your compressor has an oil level indicator, you only need to fill up to the mark. If the tank does not have a mark, you must use the dipstick provided.
  • Decision: What types of mini compressors are there and which is the right one for you?

    What are the features of battery-powered mini compressors and what are their advantages?

    You can charge a battery-powered mini compressor, pack it and use it on the road without a power source. How long the compressor lasts depends on the battery power.

    With battery-powered compressors, you also have to distinguish between compressors with integrated batteries and compressors with external batteries.

    Internal batteries are more practical, compressors with external batteries can work longer.

    The former are the smallest and lightest devices, and they are usually the cheapest. However, the compactness goes hand in hand with a rather weak performance.

    Devices with an external battery have the advantage that you can replace the battery at any time if you need to work longer. However, the construction that is necessary to be able to change the battery also means that these mini compressors are a bit heavier and more unwieldy.

    Advantages
    • Smallest and lightest devices
    • if the device has an external battery, you can theoretically operate it endlessly
    Disadvantages
    • Less power

    What distinguishes 12 V mini compressors and what are their advantages?

    12 volt mini compressors are the all-rounders among the available devices. They are seldom much bigger than the battery-powered devices, but they are operated with the car socket or, if you have the right adapter, with a normal socket.

    The advantage over the smaller mini compressors is the power of the devices. With a 12-volt compressor you can even inflate a car tyre and the operating time is only limited by overheating of the devices.

    If you plan to use your 12 V compressor to inflate a car tyre in the event of a breakdown, check beforehand whether your device can really generate the necessary air pressure!

    However, mobility is lost in the process. Even if a car socket is usually available on the road, you are still dependent on a power source with a 12-volt compressor.

    Advantages
    • Good all-rounders
    • very powerful devices can even inflate car tyres
    Disadvantages
    • Less compact and mobile
    • Depends on a power source

    What distinguishes 230 V mini compressors and what are their advantages?

    Pure 230 V compressors almost no longer fit under the generic term "mini compressor". But a few devices are still small enough to be mentioned here.

    230-volt compressors have considerably more power than the smaller models. Due to the significantly higher output power, you can also do much more with the devices, so a 230 volt compressor is suitable for painting or sandblasting, for example.

    Mini Kompressor-1

    With an attachment like this, you can even use a 230V compressor for painting.
    (Image source: pixabay.com / Glucolasa)

    On the other hand, you can't just stow most pure 230-volt compressors in a car. Even the more compact models that still fit in a boot need an appropriate power source to run.

    Advantages
    • Can replace many other devices
    • Very powerful
    Disadvantages
    • Quasi non-mobile
    • Can only be operated with a power socket

    What kind of compressor can you use for what?

    Battery compressors and 12V compressors have very similar fields of application. Inflating tyres, balls and other sports equipment works largely without problems with the smaller mini compressors. The bigger the task, the more you should tend towards the 12V device. Some tasks simply cannot be done with the battery-powered devices due to the shorter runtime.

    You can do much more with a 230V compressor. In fact, a 230V mini compressor can replace many other electrical appliances. Possible uses include sandblasting, airbrushing, sanding, painting, pumping up and much more.

    Compressor Possible applications
    Battery-powered Balls, bicycle tyres, small air mattresses and beach toys
    12 volts All of the above plus car tyres
    230 volts All of the above plus other possible applications such as sandblasting and painting

    Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate mini compressors

    In the following, we will show you which aspects play the most important role when deciding on a compressor model.

    The criteria you can use to compare compressors include:

    In the next paragraph, we explain what each criterion is about.

    Size & Weight

    Size and weight should be self-explanatory and are responsible for the "mini" in Mini Compressor. Which dimensions are best for you depends on where you want to use the device.

    Mini Kompressor-2

    The 230V compressors are the largest and most unwieldy. However, the mini versions are still much smaller than real compressors. This means they can still be stowed away easily.
    (Image source: pixabay.com / kropekk_pl)

    A compressor that is only intended to inflate a car tyre in an emergency should fit in your boot. You should consider a larger, more powerful device if you only want to use the compressor in your own household. Very small battery-powered devices are best if you want to inflate things on a sports field or at the beach, for example.

    Before buying, be clear about where and for what you want to use your mini compressor and decide accordingly.

    Power

    Two performance specifications are crucial for a mini compressor. The first is the maximum air pressure that can be achieved, which indicates how many bars of pressure the device can generate. The output capacity (l/min) is also important, as this indicates how much air your compressor can output.

    Rule of thumb: The higher the maximum air pressure, the better the mini compressor.

    The maximum air pressure is more important because it limits the application possibilities of your device. But a good output is also useful as it indicates how long your compressor will take to inflate things.

    Noise level

    Unfortunately, many manufacturers do not specify the noise level, but especially if you use your mini compressor at home, this value is quite useful. The volume is given in decibels.

    Compressors can be really loud and you might want to avoid that in your own home. So if you are looking for a compressor for your home, it makes sense to buy a quieter one.

    Oil or oil-free

    Most mini compressors do not use any oil at all for the technical elements. There are advantages and disadvantages to this, so if you are buying a mini compressor, you should be aware of what they are.

    A mini compressor that runs without oil does not need to be serviced often or even at all. This saves you time and stress, especially if you won't be using the compressor often.

    However, if you plan to use the mini compressor very often, then it is a good idea to buy a mini compressor with oil lubrication. These devices are much more durable and can deliver more power. However, you will have to check the oil level regularly and change the oil if necessary.

    Accessories

    Besides the pressure rating, the most important thing about a compressor is the accessories. Most compressors are supplied with many adapters for the hose in order to be able to operate as many valves as possible. Of course, you can also order hose adapters later, but the more that come with the compressor, the less you have to worry about missing the right adapter.

    Some units also have an automatic shut-off function. This is very useful because you can set the pressure at which the compressor stops working. Especially if you need to reach a very precise bar number (e.g. for car tyres), an automatic shut-off is very useful.

    For 12V models, you should make sure that they come directly with a socket adapter. You can also order this part, but make sure that you can connect it to the compressor.

    Mini Kompressor-3

    A mini compressor without accessories is not very useful. Longer hoses like the one in the picture are useful to have a longer range.
    (Image source: pixabay.com / stevepb)

    A working light on the device is also practical, especially if you want to use the mini compressor in case of breakdowns. In case you are stranded somewhere at night and need to inflate a tyre, you can save yourself a lot of stress if the compressor itself can serve as a torch.

    Image source: Maewnarm/ 123rf.com

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