Last updated: August 18, 2021

Today we will present information to people interested in buying portable compressor, having more benefits and less costs. There is a mini compressor that is ideal for every job. For example, to inflate truck tyres it is necessary to use a certain more powerful device than the models aimed at light and popular cars. We will go in depth to reveal the characteristics of the main portable compressors. You will also learn about some of the most reputable brands, average prices and other knowledge that will enhance your ability as a conscientious consumer.


  • The most powerful portable compressors have plenty of capacity to calibrate and fill tyres quickly.
  • Mini compressor is used to inflate tyres or other inflatable objects. There are also versions intended for painting.
  • Powerful portable compressor has high PSI (pound-force per square inch) rating

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The best Portable Compressor: Our Picks

Buying Guide: everything you need to know about the best portable compressor

When you least expect it, your car tyre goes flat on your journey. The situation becomes even worse when we notice that the tyre is flat. At these times only a portable compressor can save us! See what you should know before choosing a portable compressor option! Read on.

Um homem usando compressor portátil para calibrar um pneu em um carro.

The best portable compressor makes it easier to keep the right pressure in your tyres (Source: Alexsey Kurguzov/ 123RF)

What is a portable compressor?

Tyres, balls, inflatable pools, bladders, floats, air mattresses and many different inflatable items can be inflated with a portable compressor. The most popular versions represent tools that are almost always intended for cars, so they are plugged into the vehicle's lighter. Portable compressors are available in different types, sizes and capacity. Thanks to the models drivers no longer need to frequent gas stations to use calibrators and keep the calibration up to date, optimizing the life of the tyres.

How does the portable air compressor for inflating tyres work?

You have probably already asked yourself, "How can a 30 centimetre portable compressor inflate my car tyres?". It works as follows: After being connected to the power source, electricity is converted by mechanical movements in the device. This constant work generates compressed air at different power levels, depending on the model. Using a portable compressor is simple. Just connect it to the tyre using a cable and a nozzle. See more in the video:

What are the advantages of the mini compressor?

How nice it is to have a mini compressor in the car to inflate tyres or other things when you need it. Light product, simple to take to different places, making life simpler for users. You can keep it together with the tire iron, the jack and the hand hoover in the car. With the product even bicycle tyres can be inflated. In practice, only larger trucks and cars require the use of a large compressor for calibration, which is a more expensive model. Small compressors are the multi-purpose type. They have additional features to help drivers in case of emergencies. There are versions that have torches, some of which are plugged into the car lighters only, not the sockets. There are so many options available in the market that you can opt for less or more powerful models, for economy and for the need of use. The pros and cons of the portable compressor you also see in the table:

  • Compact
  • Lightweight
  • Fills car and bicycle tyres
  • Can fill different inflatable products
  • Has additional features
  • Variations in nozzle adapters
  • Different types of performance
  • Can deflate
  • Connect only to the car's igniter
  • Low-priced versions are less powerful
  • Does not fill all types of tyres

What is the best portable air compressor for cars?

The best portable air compressor for cars is the rotary version, since the centrifugal models are bigger, have more power and cost more. To understand with more awareness the difference between the two models, read on.

  • Portable rotary air compressor: A 30 centimetre or slightly larger device. You find this model in 3 power levels: low, medium and high. Powerful versions in low or medium power level are used to inflate car or bicycle tyres and small inflatable products. High powered models not only work for several hours at a time, but can also inflate larger structures.
  • Centrifugal air compressor: This is a larger, more powerful version, intended for work in different branches of industry that require pressure power. This product can be called radial or turbo-compressor. Sandblasting, part fixing, plate lifting and dosing are just some of the jobs that can be done with this compressor.

Notice the differences in the air compressors by analyzing this table:

Rotary portable air compressor Centrifugal air compressor
Size Small Large
Power Low High
Price Cheap Expensive
Compatibility Yes No
Weight Light Heavy
Use Bicycle, motorbike or car tyres, plus inflatable products Truck tyres or industrial processes
Connection Car cigarette lighter Vehicle socket or battery

Purchaising criteria: How to compare portable compressor models

The purchase of a portable compressor is becoming increasingly popular among adventure travellers. It protects drivers against the effects of out-of-round tyres and can also be used to calibrate their bikes. Want to buy with more certainty that you take to your trip the right product? Then keep an eye on the key points to compare mini compressor models:

Read on to learn about each criterion.


Generally the power of the portable compressor is measured according to the pressure level of the product, measurable through the acronym PSI. If you want to calibrate your car tyre in less than 10 minutes, the suggestion is to buy a device with at least 300 PSI. Models of 250 PSI also work for this purpose, although they require more time to perform the calibration.


As important as the power of the portable compressor is the characteristic of the cable. Besides it being protected with several layers, it should also have different adapters to the nozzle, which allows you to fill several things with just one device. Keep in mind that often the portable compressor becomes unfeasible when the cable develops problems, especially in the cheaper models. This portable compressor attachment can reach up to 3 meters.

Um compressor portátil enchendo um pneu de carro em uma estrada de terra e pedras.

Quality cables are able to withstand even intense sunlight, generating more durability to the portable compressor (Source: Ð'Ð "аÐ'имир Комок / 123RF)


Got a flat car tyre at night on an almost isolated road? This happens more often than we can imagine! This is why the best mini compressors come with a torch attached. The torch does not make the model too expensive, so it is worth looking for compressor promotions that have this light as an additional that makes the difference in time of emergency.


Many people buy a compressor and when they take it out of the box they get an unpleasant surprise: the model can only be connected to the battery or to the vehicle's cigarette lighter! This means that to use these versions you need a car. Beware, because portable compressor sellers are not in the habit of returning your money for mistakes of this kind. (Featured image source: alexlmx/ 123RF)