Reviews

Best RV Air Compressor: Keep Your RV Tires Inflated

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

Entering our 7th season of /DRIVE on NBC Sports, and with millions of YouTube and Facebook followers, The Drive is a leading authority of all things automotive.

The Drive on NBCThe Drive on YouTubeThe Drive on Facebook

  • Product Network

    14 Products

  • Clock

    8 Hours

  • Reviews

    11 Reviews

How We Decided

The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.Read more.

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 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. 
  • 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.

Why Trust Us


All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

Learn more

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.