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LAST UPDATED: December 26, 2019

Best RV Air Compressor: Keep Your RV Tires Inflated

Keep your RV tires road-ready as you travel in your mobile home

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PUBLISHED ON December 26, 2019

Hitting the road in a recreational vehicle (RV) has many thrills. However, it’s important to be prepared for the unexpected. When you least expect it, you may get a flat tire. This can put a damper on your travel plans and also put you at risk. Since you’ll be gone for many days, it’s important that you carry the right tools for your RV, like an RV air compressor. It inflates your RV’s tires, ensuring you get back on the road as soon as possible. Here are three of the best RV air compressors to choose from.

  • Best Overall
    Porter-Cable CMB15 Compressor Kit
    Summary
    Summary
    This portable unit will give you the recommended 90 psi, discharging at 2.0 standard cubic feet per minute. It operates well in cold weather and is ideal for all-season travel.
    Pros
    Pros
    The tank stores up to 150 psi of air that you can use in case of an emergency. Weighing only 20 pounds, it is easy to carry around. The 25-foot coil hose makes it easy to inflate tires without moving the unit a lot. The oil-free motor that powers the unit stays gunk-free, extending its lifespan.
    Cons
    Cons
    The hose is highly susceptible to damage, especially if you travel in hot areas frequently. The air compressor is noisy. It is also not very stable, especially if you move around with the hose. 
  • Best Overall
    Porter-Cable CMB15 Compressor Kit
  • Best Value
    Viair 88p Portable Air Compressor
    Summary
    Summary
    This small air compressor connects directly to your RV’s battery for maximum power. It’s a highly portable unit that can be stored in small spaces.
    Pros
    Pros
    The 20 amp fuse protects your RV from electrical damage. The air compressor comes with a three-piece tip kit. The 10-foot power cord and the 16-foot hose are enough to move it to all tires. It delivers 1.47 cubic meters of air per minute, at 30 psi.
    Cons
    Cons
    It is difficult to replace the air hose and the power cord once they get damaged. The motor heats up quickly, even after light usage. The pressure gauge sometimes gives incorrect readings. 
  • Best Value
    Viair 88p Portable Air Compressor
  • Honorable Mention
    Tirewell 12V Tire Inflator
    Summary
    Summary
    This is a robust air compressor that puts out 2.12 cubic feet per minute at 0 psi. It connects directly to your RV’s battery or cigarette lighter to draw ample power.
    Pros
    Pros
    The screw connector keeps the inflator in place as you pump air. The compressor comes with three adapters that can fit cars or bikes that you carry in the RV. The fuselage is designed to reduce vibration and noise. The rubber tips keep the compressor on the ground during use.
    Cons
    Cons
    It takes a long time to inflate tires. The casing used in some units is plastic, making the air compressor vulnerable to extreme heat. The pressure gauge sometimes gives inaccurate readings.
  • Honorable Mention
    Tirewell 12V Tire Inflator

    Hitting the road in a recreational vehicle (RV) has many thrills. However, it’s important to be prepared for the unexpected. When you least expect it, you may get a flat tire. This can put a damper on your travel plans and also put you at risk. Since you’ll be gone for many days, it’s important that you carry the right tools for your RV, like an RV air compressor. It inflates your RV’s tires, ensuring you get back on the road as soon as possible. Here are three of the best RV air compressors to choose from.

    Best RV Air Compressor Reviews & Recommendations 2020

    Best Overall

    This is one of the best air compressors you can buy and get value for your money. It comes with a discharge rate of 2.0 SCFM and 90 PSI, which makes it suitable for fast tire inflation. Also, the machine comes with a 120V motor that will start easily, even in cold weather. 


    Unlike most air compressors, it comes with a longer power cord (25 feet) that makes it more flexible. You can use the machine to inflate your car tires without moving it around. The machine weighs just 20 pounds, making it more portable to carry around in your RV. Also, with a 150 PSI storage tank, you can always expect maximum air from this machine.


    What makes the machine a bit off-the-mark is the quality of its parts. It can be more susceptible to breakage if put through vigorous or frequent use. Also, it is a bit noisy when running. The design is also less stable, which means it can easily fall over.

    Best Value

    This is a small and highly portable air compressor. You can easily transport and store this machine because it is lightweight. It is also easy to start because it comes with alligator clamps that you can use to connect it directly to the RV battery. It takes up very little space in your car, thanks to its compact design.


    The manufacturer has included a 20-amp fuse on the machine, which reduces the chance of electric shock and damage to the electrical components. It also comes with a 10-foot power cord and a 16-foot hose, which makes it more flexible. With a 1.47 SCFM and 30 PSI storage tank, it can inflate your RV tires faster. The three-piece compressor kit is also lighter, making it easy to transport and store.


    One downside of this air compressor is the quality of its parts. If one of the crucial parts such as the power cord or hose gets damaged, it can be difficult finding replacement parts. Also, the pressure gauge readings can sometimes be inaccurate.

    Honorable Mention

    The Tirewell 12V Tire Inflator is another high-quality RV air compressor with all the features you may need for ease of use and portability. It comes with a 2.12 SCFM technology that inflates the RV tires at 0 PSI. It also conveniently connects to the cigarette lighter or RV battery to start working.


    The compressor comes with a screw connector that will keep the inflator valve in the right position when you inflate the tires. It also has three adapters that make it applicable to different brands of cars and bikes. The base of the machine comes with rubber tips that will keep it stable. It has a fuselage that reduces the motor vibrations and makes it more comfortable to use.


    One of the main downsides of using this air compressor is that it does not inflate car tires very quickly. Also, because some parts of the machine are made of plastic, it can be more susceptible to damage and vulnerable to heat. Lastly, it sometimes gives inaccurate readings, which makes it hard to gauge the SCFM when inflating RV tires.

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    Benefits of RV Air Compressors 

    • Multifunctional. RV air compressors can be used for inflating your RV tires, trailer tires, truck tires, SUV tires, filling pool toys, inflating soccer balls, bike tubes, motorcycles, and other inflatable equipment. Since they come with compatible nozzles, you can use these compressors to inflate other applications aside from your RV. An RV compressor, therefore, acts as multipurpose and versatile equipment.
    • Easy to use. When using portable RV air compressors, you are exempted from the guesswork. You can simply set the air pressure for the car tire inflation and rest assured that your tires will not be over-inflated or under-inflated, thanks to the automatic shutoff. The compressor ensures the specified amount of pressure is inflated into the tires to keep you going throughout the journey.
    • Long-lasting. A quality RV air compressor serves you for the longest time. Most of the models are made of high-quality stainless steel material that is resistant to rust and corrosion. Also, some RV air compressors can withstand high pressure because they have insulated rubber valves. 
    • Convenience. Air compressors for RV tires make your traveling easy and convenient. They are easy to use for inflating your vehicle tires quickly. You can attach the compressor to the cigarette lighter or on your car battery, and it will automatically start inflating the tires. With a digital tire inflator, you do not have to visit the gas station anymore for tire inflation.

    Types of RV Air Compressors 

    Positive Displacement

    These air compressors for RV tires work by forcing air into an empty chamber until it reaches a specific volume. On reaching the specified volume, the compressor opens a port valve and discharges the air. It has an outlet system within the compression chamber that it uses to discharge the air when inflating the tires. In this category of air compressors, there are piston-type, rotary screw compressors, and vane compressors. 

    Portable

    Portable compressors are the most common air compressors on the market today. They come in different types based on their PSI, CFM, and horsepower. Portable compressors are lighter than most of the traditional compressors. They are mostly used by motorhome owners, campers, and other off-road enthusiasts. 

    Top Brands 

    PORTER-CABLE 

    This is a popular manufacturer of quality RV air compressors today. It started as a tool shop back in 1906 and has grown over the years to become a successful tool company. The company is based in Jackson, Tennessee. Some of the best-selling RV air compressors from this company include the Porter-Cable CMB15 Compressor Kit and PORTER-CABLE C2002 Oil-Free UMC Pancake Compressor. Most of the air compressors from this company are electric-powered and made of durable parts.

    VIAIR

    VIAIR is one of the leading suppliers and distributors of quality RV air compressors worldwide. The company has been in operation for many years now and is proud of its excellent reputation in the global compressor market. It is based in Irvine, California. Some of the best-selling products from this company include the Viair 40047 400P-RV Automatic Portable Compressor Kit and VIAIR 45053 Silver Automatic Portable Compressor Kit (450P-RV). The company has set a record in the provision of standardized 24-volt and 12-volt air compressors.

    Senco 

    Senco is also a leading supplier and manufacturer of quality air compressors based in Cincinnati, Ohio. The company has been in operation for many years and has established a large clientele worldwide. It was established in 1935 by Albert Juilfs. The company has been updating its products to make them more durable and better-performing. Some of its most sought air compressors include the Senco PC1010 Gallon Compressor and Senco PC1010N Portable Compressor. The company provides a warranty for its products, giving you some peace of mind when buying from its dealers all over the world.

    RV Air Compressor Pricing 

    • Under $100: These are some of the most affordable RV air compressors you can buy. They are highly portable, lightweight, and compact in design. They have a lower air discharge rate of about 2 cubic feet per minute. However, these air compressors might not be suitable for large tires.
    • Over $100: Air compressors in this category are some of the best. They are equipped with specialized functions and equipment such as an automatic shutoff function, 100 percent duty cycle, changeable inflation gun, and a carrying case. Their air discharge rate is also a bit higher compared to other cheaper air compressors. These devices give faster inflation at maximum working pressure. Additionally, they are made of more durable materials and are suitable for inflating large tires.

    Key Features 

    Working Pressure 

    RV air compressors come with different working pressures depending on their model. The working pressure is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI). The PSI can range from 0-150 and determines the air discharge speed (CFM) of the compressor. Compressors with low working pressure have a low runtime and take more time to inflate tires.

    Power Cord 

    The power cord is an essential feature in every air compressor. Compressors with longer power cords are more flexible and easier to use. The power cord length ranges from 4-30 inches. Therefore, when selecting an RV air compressor, you should go for one with a longer air hose and power cord for ease of use. 

    Cylinder or Tank Size 

    When choosing the best air compressor for your RV, you must check for the right cylinder or tank size. Tank size determines the volume of air pressure the compressor can store. Ideally, air compressors with larger tanks store more air than those with smaller tanks. Also, those with large tanks are a bit heavier and difficult to transport. 

    Other considerations 

    • Noise Level. Some of the cheaper RV air compressors can be very loud, making it difficult to stay close when they are running. When buying an RV air compressor, you should go for one with a sound range below 65 decibels; this sound limit is safe for your ears. Most RV air compressors give off sounds between 40-90 decibels. Therefore, you should always find out the noise level before buying the machine.
    • Weight. RV air compressors come in various weights because they are made of different materials. If you are going to be carrying your air compressor in the car, then you should ensure that it is portable and lightweight. A lighter air compressor is easier to transport and store. The best portable air compressors are those below 40 pounds. 

    Best RV Air Compressor Reviews & Recommendations 2020

    Best Overall

    This is one of the best air compressors you can buy and get value for your money. It comes with a discharge rate of 2.0 SCFM and 90 PSI, which makes it suitable for fast tire inflation. Also, the machine comes with a 120V motor that will start easily, even in cold weather. 


    Unlike most air compressors, it comes with a longer power cord (25 feet) that makes it more flexible. You can use the machine to inflate your car tires without moving it around. The machine weighs just 20 pounds, making it more portable to carry around in your RV. Also, with a 150 PSI storage tank, you can always expect maximum air from this machine.


    What makes the machine a bit off-the-mark is the quality of its parts. It can be more susceptible to breakage if put through vigorous or frequent use. Also, it is a bit noisy when running. The design is also less stable, which means it can easily fall over.

    Porter-Cable CMB15 Compressor Kit}
    Amazon

    This is one of the best air compressors you can buy and get value for your money. It comes with a discharge rate of 2.0 SCFM and 90 PSI, which makes it suitable for fast tire inflation. Also, the machine comes with a 120V motor that will start easily, even in cold weather. 


    Unlike most air compressors, it comes with a longer power cord (25 feet) that makes it more flexible. You can use the machine to inflate your car tires without moving it around. The machine weighs just 20 pounds, making it more portable to carry around in your RV. Also, with a 150 PSI storage tank, you can always expect maximum air from this machine.


    What makes the machine a bit off-the-mark is the quality of its parts. It can be more susceptible to breakage if put through vigorous or frequent use. Also, it is a bit noisy when running. The design is also less stable, which means it can easily fall over.

    Click Here to See Prices on Amazon

    Best Value

    This is a small and highly portable air compressor. You can easily transport and store this machine because it is lightweight. It is also easy to start because it comes with alligator clamps that you can use to connect it directly to the RV battery. It takes up very little space in your car, thanks to its compact design.


    The manufacturer has included a 20-amp fuse on the machine, which reduces the chance of electric shock and damage to the electrical components. It also comes with a 10-foot power cord and a 16-foot hose, which makes it more flexible. With a 1.47 SCFM and 30 PSI storage tank, it can inflate your RV tires faster. The three-piece compressor kit is also lighter, making it easy to transport and store.


    One downside of this air compressor is the quality of its parts. If one of the crucial parts such as the power cord or hose gets damaged, it can be difficult finding replacement parts. Also, the pressure gauge readings can sometimes be inaccurate.

    <strong>Viair 88p Portable Air Compressor</strong>}
    Amazon

    This is a small and highly portable air compressor. You can easily transport and store this machine because it is lightweight. It is also easy to start because it comes with alligator clamps that you can use to connect it directly to the RV battery. It takes up very little space in your car, thanks to its compact design.


    The manufacturer has included a 20-amp fuse on the machine, which reduces the chance of electric shock and damage to the electrical components. It also comes with a 10-foot power cord and a 16-foot hose, which makes it more flexible. With a 1.47 SCFM and 30 PSI storage tank, it can inflate your RV tires faster. The three-piece compressor kit is also lighter, making it easy to transport and store.


    One downside of this air compressor is the quality of its parts. If one of the crucial parts such as the power cord or hose gets damaged, it can be difficult finding replacement parts. Also, the pressure gauge readings can sometimes be inaccurate.

    Click Here to See Prices on Amazon

    Honorable Mention

    The Tirewell 12V Tire Inflator is another high-quality RV air compressor with all the features you may need for ease of use and portability. It comes with a 2.12 SCFM technology that inflates the RV tires at 0 PSI. It also conveniently connects to the cigarette lighter or RV battery to start working.


    The compressor comes with a screw connector that will keep the inflator valve in the right position when you inflate the tires. It also has three adapters that make it applicable to different brands of cars and bikes. The base of the machine comes with rubber tips that will keep it stable. It has a fuselage that reduces the motor vibrations and makes it more comfortable to use.


    One of the main downsides of using this air compressor is that it does not inflate car tires very quickly. Also, because some parts of the machine are made of plastic, it can be more susceptible to damage and vulnerable to heat. Lastly, it sometimes gives inaccurate readings, which makes it hard to gauge the SCFM when inflating RV tires.

    Honorable Mention: Tirewell 12V Tire Inflator

    <strong>Tirewell 12V Tire Inflator</strong>}
    Amazon

    The Tirewell 12V Tire Inflator is another high-quality RV air compressor with all the features you may need for ease of use and portability. It comes with a 2.12 SCFM technology that inflates the RV tires at 0 PSI. It also conveniently connects to the cigarette lighter or RV battery to start working.


    The compressor comes with a screw connector that will keep the inflator valve in the right position when you inflate the tires. It also has three adapters that make it applicable to different brands of cars and bikes. The base of the machine comes with rubber tips that will keep it stable. It has a fuselage that reduces the motor vibrations and makes it more comfortable to use.


    One of the main downsides of using this air compressor is that it does not inflate car tires very quickly. Also, because some parts of the machine are made of plastic, it can be more susceptible to damage and vulnerable to heat. Lastly, it sometimes gives inaccurate readings, which makes it hard to gauge the SCFM when inflating RV tires.

    Click Here to See Prices on Amazon

    Tips

    • Turn on your RV’s engine when using an air compressor. This makes sure that you get the correct tire pressure reading or the closest possible reading. However, use the compressor once the tires have cooled off. 
    • To check the tire pressure, allow the tires to cool off if you’ve been on the road. This is because hot air and friction increase tire pressure. You can deflate the tires a little to make sure you get the best reading. 
    • Don’t go beyond the manufacturer’s recommended maximum inflation pressure. Overinflation compromises traction, which might lead to a tire burst. Even if the tires don’t burst, their lifespan may be shortened. 

    FAQs

    Q: How does an RV air compressor work?

    A: An air compressor has a tank filled with air. This air is passed from the tank to your RV’s tires through an air hose. When the tank is connected to a power source, it automatically fills with air. You can use the stored air the next time you need to inflate your RV’s tires.

    Q: How long does an RV air compressor last?

    A: The longevity of RV air compressors depends on their usage and storage. Regularly cleaning the air intake and draining the receiver tank keeps a compressor dry and reduces the possibility of rust. A well-maintained compressor can last many years. 

    Q: Does the tank size limit the usage of an RV air compressor?

    A: The tank stores the air needed to inflate an RV’s tires. While a bigger tank holds more air than a smaller tank, it may not be very easy to store. A small tank can be stored in a small compartment in an RV.  

    Final Thoughts

    Porter-Cable CMB15 Compressor Kit’s 1.5-gallon tank and speedy operation make it a reliable option for RV users. We also like its oil-free pump. 

    However, the Viair 88p Portable Air Compressor is a great fit if you are traveling in a smaller RV and would like an affordable and lightweight air compressor.