Best Portable Air Compressors For Jeeps – 2020 Guide

Cory
| Last Updated: February 5, 2021

If you use your Jeep for off-roading purposes, you already know the importance of refilling your tires after a day on the trails. While you can go to a gas station or borrow a friend's portable air compressor, having your own makes your adventures that much more convenient.

If you're not sure exactly what you need in a portable air compressor, we've outlined what to look for and have chosen a few of our favorites to help you get the best compressor for your needs.

Our Top Picks for Best Portable Air Compressors For Jeeps

  • Safe to use
  • Easy connection
  • High load capacity
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  • Durable bag
  • Inflates quickly
  • Stays in position
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  • Best for the Money
  • Safe to use
  • Reaches all wheels
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Comparison of the Best Portable Air Compressors For Jeep

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • A 40 amps inline fuse included for better protection
  • Heavy-duty dual battery clamps included for easy connection
  • Up to 150 PSI maximum work pressure on compressor
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  • A strong and durable bag included for safe storage
  • 150 PSI load pressure for quick inflation of tires
  • Strong rubber feet included to resist vibration and movement
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  • Best for the Money
  • An auto-thermal cut-off switch included to protect against over-heating
  • Long 24 feet coil hose included for maximum reach
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  • Uses direct alligator clamps to connect to battery
  • Can be used with all small and medium-sized vehicles
  • Made with a small and compact design for better portability
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  • Quick inflation of up to mid-sized tires in only 3 minutes
  • Easily plugs into the cigarette lighter plug
  • A compact and strong design to last longer
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When Would a Portable Air Compressor for Jeep Come in Handy?

Jeeps are built for adventure, and adventure often brings the need for extra equipment to keep your vehicle working at its best. Here are a few reasons why a portable air compressor should be on your equipment list.

Fill Your Tires

Keeping your tires at the right air pressure is an essential part of vehicle maintenance. In a Jeep, you may find yourself riding on rough terrain or moving between different climates, which can affect the air pressure in your tires. Low air pressure is not only bad for your tires, but it also consumes more fuel. A portable air compressor lets you do quick maintenance while on the road.

Other Uses

You can also use your air compressor to clean debris from your car, fill other inflatables, and power other tools. You'll be surprised at how much you may use it.

What Size Air Compressor Do I Need?

You'll want to choose an air compressor size based on how you plan to use it. If you just plan to use it sporadically to top off the air in your tires, you may be able to get away with a smaller model. If you plan to use it more frequently or fill larger tires, you'll want a bigger model.

What Size Air Compressor Do I Need to Fill Truck Tires?

If your Jeep has larger truck tires, you'll need an air compressor with around 50 psi, but you may go up to 70 psi for larger, heavy-duty tires.

What Size Air Compressor Do I Need to Fill Car Tires?

If you have smaller tires, an air compressor with around 40 psi should be sufficient.

How to Choose an Air Compressor for Your Jeep

When it comes to finding the right portable air compressor for your Jeep, the many options can make the decision seem overwhelming. Ultimately, your decision will come down to finding a compromise between the features you want vs. what you're willing to spend. Here are a few things to consider.

Consider How You Will Use it

How do you plan to use your portable air compressor? Do you just need something small that you can use to air up your tires after a day on the trail? Maybe you need something that can run for quite some time. You may also plan to use your air compressor for other tasks, such as supplying power to pneumatic tools. These factors will determine the amount of pressure and the amount of air you'll need.

VIAIR 400P (Source)

Size of Your Tires

The size of your tires will determine what size compressor you'll need. If you have large, heavy-duty tires, you want to make sure you have a compressor with enough output to fill them adequately.

Budget

Air compressors come in a wide range of prices. You can get one for under $100 at the low end and close to $1,000 at the high end. Higher-end models typically have more features and are more powerful. Once you determine exactly what you need and don't need, you can see what you're willing to spend.

Quick Take - Best Portable Air Compressors for Jeep

Before you get too far, here's a quick take of the best portable air compressors for Jeep:

  1. VIAIR 400P
  2. GSPSCN Tire Inflator Heavy Duty Double
  3. Smittybilt 2781 5.65 CFM

Review of the Best Off-Road Air Compressors

After thorough research, we've found some of the best portable air compressors for Jeeps on the market. These options offer a balance between budget and features, and this guide should help you pick the one that is best suited for your needs.

Best Overall:
VIAIR 400P

VIAIR 400P Portable Compressor

PROS

  • Good value for the money
  • Easy to hook up to your car battery
  • Air hose and battery line are decent lengths
  • Easy-to-use inflation gun with 160 PSI gauge
  • Automatically shuts off after a few minutes of not being used

CONS

  • The pump can get very hot
  • Not the best option if you have bigger projects

What Recent Buyers Report

Users are overall impressed with the quality and the output of the VIAIR 400P. Many are surprised that such a small, lightweight compressor has an output that can rival that of professional-grade machines. While some were a little wary of the higher price tag, most felt that the quality more than made up for the cost.

Why it Stands Out to Us

One of our favorite features of the VIAIR 400P is just how portable it is. It weighs in at under nine pounds and comes with a hand carrying bag, making it easy to stash in the back of your Jeep until you're ready to use it. 

Everything about this compressor is easy to use, and it's an excellent option for those who mainly want it for outdoor use, especially those interested in off-roading and camping. It has a maximum PSI of 150, making it comparable with other more expensive compressors. It's safety features include an automatic shut off if it's left idle or gets too hot.

Bottom Line

Overall, the VIAIR 400P is a speedy compressor that gets the job down with little to no fuss. It's easy to hook up and use, so you should be able to operate it easily, even if you're not the most mechanically inclined.

GSPSCN Silver Tire Inflator Heavy Duty Double Cylinders with Portable Bag, Metal 12V Air Compressor Pump 150PSI with Adapter for Car, Truck, SUV Tires, Dinghy, Air Bed etc

PROS

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Several types of nozzles for various uses
  • Rubber feet cut down on noise and vibration
  • Can power using your car's battery or cigarette lighter
  • Quick inflation, especially for such a small compressor

CONS

  • Not as capable of very large jobs
  • Only runs for ten minutes before needing a cool-down break

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers seem highly impressed with how quickly this air compressor will inflate their tires. Most find it very useful while off-roading, as they need to get their tires inflated fast so that they can be back on the road. Buyers also like that its operation is intuitive and straightforward.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The GSPSCN Tire Inflator packs quite a punch for such a small air compressor. It's less than seven pounds, yet has an output of 150 PSI. While it may not handle every job, it should be more than enough for your Jeep. 

We also like that it has rubber feet, making it easy to use when you have a roadside issue and cutting down on the noise and vibration typical with most air compressors. It has multiple nozzles, lengthy extension cords, and is easy to use. Not only does it have many of the features you're looking for in an air compressor, but it's also a great value for the price.

Bottom Line

Overall, we like the GSPSCN Tire Inflator. It's small yet powerful and is the perfect fit for a Jeep that's already full of your other outdoor gear. The rubber feet improve safety and reduce noise, and it's easy to hook up to your car's battery or cigarette lighter.

Best for the Money:
Smittybilt 2781 5.65 CFM

Smittybilt 2781 5.65 CFM Universal Air Compressor

PROS

  • 40-minute cycle time
  • Convenient storage bag
  • High CFM means more air
  • Automatic shut-off if it overheats
  • Can be hard-wired into your vehicle

CONS

  • Can only use Smittybilt connectors
  • Heavier than some of our other options

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers like the output and convenience of the Smittybilt 2781 air compressor. Many chose the Smittybilt over other options because of its higher CFM, which indicates the amount of air the compressor can move at a specific PSI.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Smittybilt 2781really stands out because of its high CFM, and it's long cycle time. At 40 minutes per cycle, that's among the highest you'll get with a portable air compressor. While the output isn't high enough to power your tools, it's more than enough to refill your tires after a day on the trails. 

It can be hard-wired into your vehicle, making it even more convenient for frequent fill-ups and camping trips. The only issue is that all of the fittings are Smittybilt proprietary fittings, but the other great features easily outweigh this minor annoyance.

Bottom Line

Overall, Smittybilt 2781 is a great value for the price. You get many high-end features, such as a bigger CFM and the ability to hard-wire for a budget price. Rubber footings help with vibration and noise control, and the output is sufficient for refilling your tires.

Editor's Pick:
Viair 00088 88P

Viair 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor

PROS

  • 45% duty cycle
  • High-quality materials
  • Solid product for a low price
  • A lightweight 4.75 lbs and very compact
  • Long piston stroke prevents loud noise and vibrations

CONS

  • Gets hot fairly quickly
  • Cables are attached to the pump, so can't be replaced

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers are impressed at the performance and quality of the VIAIR 88P, especially in relation to the cost. Most consider it a good value. While it isn't the fastest or the most powerful, it can get the job done for the price.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The VIAIR 88P is ideal for vehicles with tires up to 33". It comes with a set of alligator clamps to connect to your car battery. The duty cycle averages 25 minutes for 30 PSI, meaning it's not quite as powerful as some of the other compressors listed here, but it is still more than adequate to fill your tires. It's lightweight and easy to store and transport, especially with the convenient carry bag. 

Bottom Line

If you're in the market for an affordable air compressor that is high quality and affordable, the VIAIR 88P is a good option. While it's not the most powerful compressor on our list, it's still highly capable and gives you great value.

Honorable Mention:
P.I. Auto Store PIAS002

P.I. AUTO STORE Premium Air Compressor Tire Inflator for Automobiles and Bikes. Portable 12V DC Electric Car Tire Pump, Auto Shut Off, Digital Pressure Gauge, LED Light. New improved version

PROS

  • Lightweight for easy storage
  • Valve adapters for various uses
  • Digital pressure gauge with LED display
  • LED flashlight and red SOS light for emergencies
  • Automatically shuts off when desired pressure is reached

CONS

  • Car engine must be running for use
  • Not as powerful as others on the list

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers like that the PIAS002 is easy to use and has a feature that lets you set the pressure and then shuts off when the correct pressure is reached. They are also impressed with how quickly it works for its size.

Why it Stands Out to Us

While it's not the most powerful on our list, PIAS002 is an impressive pump for the size and the price. If space is an issue, it takes up very little space, and the cables can be stored inside the housing. The flashlight and red SOS light are excellent safety features, making this compressor a must-have in a roadside emergency.

Bottom Line

PIAS002 is a great product for the price. It is compact and surprisingly powerful. While you won't be able to use it for power tools and other heavy-duty uses, it's perfect for stowing in your car for the occasional tire fill up.

What is an Air Compressor Used For?

There are several ways you can use an air compressor. It's quite a versatile piece of equipment. Here are a few of the most common uses for an air compressor.

Filling Inflatables

If the air in your vehicle's tires is low, you'll need an air compressor to fill them. Having an air compressor at home saves you a trip to the gas station. You can also use the air compressor to fill tires on other ride-on, like bikes, golf carts, and four-wheelers. Other inflatables, like air mattresses, pool floats, and bouncy houses, can be filled with an air compressor.

Powering Tools

An air compressor can power many pneumatic tools. In this case, the stored, pressurized air is converted to energy and used by the tools. An air compressor is often a more energy-efficient alternative than plugging indirectly.

Other Uses

You can use your air compressor to clean away debris, especially in hard-to-reach areas, or it can be used for sandblasting. If you're trying to get your grill going quickly, you can use your compressor to stoke the flames. Some people use their air compressors to power a paint gun and paint the exterior of their houses.

Air Compressor Troubleshooting - Aspects to Remember

As with any equipment, an air compressor can face some minor issues. These issues are typically easily fixed. Here are our tips to keep your air compressor in its best condition.

Compressor Not Working 

Ensure that the compressor has an adequate oil level and ensure that the pressure switch is making contact. You may need to replace the pressure switch.

Compressor is Louder Than Usual

Air compressors are loud, but if yours gets exceptionally loud, something may be loose. Tighten everything. If that doesn't work, it may be low on oil. If the piston is striking the valve, you may need to remove it and check for debris.

Types of Air Compressors

There are several different air compressors, each coming in at different price points and sizes and serving different functions. Below, we'll highlight a few of the most common.

Single-Stage vs Two-Stage Air Compressor

In a single-stage air compressor, also known as a piston compressor, the air is only compressed once. In a two-stage air compressor, sometimes called a dual-stage compressor, the air is compressed twice. As a result, the air output has twice the pressure.

Oil vs Oilless Air Compressor

All compressors need lubrication. Some use oil, while others are self-lubricating. These compressors' parts are covered in chemicals that reduce friction. While both have their advantages, oil-free tends to be better for portable compressors.

Air Compressor Safety

While air compressors are generally safe, it is always important to take safety precautions when using machinery. Follow these tips to stay safe while using your air compressor.

Be Careful With Fumes

If your air compressor runs on gas or diesel, it can produce toxic fumes. Make sure only to use your compressor outdoors.

Don't Breathe in Air From the Compressor

It may seem like a given, but it's important not to breathe in air from a compressor. The air can contain dangerous gases, dust, and debris. Always use in a well-ventilated area.

Keep Your Air Compressor Well Maintained

All equipment will need maintenance over time. Follow the manufacturer's guidelines and frequently check the compressor to ensure it is in good working order.

Conclusion

Now that you know what to look for in an air compressor, you should be ready to choose your favorite and hit the trails. All of these compressors should be more than sufficient to give your tires a fill-up after a day of riding. Several also have additional features to make them even more convenient or functional.

People Also Ask

Do you have a few more questions about air compressors? Check out our answers to some of the most common questions. 

What is an Air Compressor?

An air compressor is a machine that compresses air and then releases the pressurized air. The air can be used for various purposes, such as filling tires or other inflatables, such as an air mattress. Air compressors can also be used to supply power to tools such as drills, sanders, and nail guns.

How Does an Air Compressor Work?

An air compressor pushes air into a tank and builds pressure by compressing the air into a small space. The air is compressed through either positive or dynamic displacement. The pressurized air can then be released to fill inflatables or convert to energy to power tools.

How to Quiet an Air Compressor

Air compressors can be incredibly loud but can be quieted with the addition of an intake silencer. You can also fit the compressor with anti-vibration pads or build a soundproof box to house the compressor. You can move away from the compressor as much as possible and wear hearing protection like noise-reduction headphones or earplugs when you have to be near it.

What is SCFM on an Air Compressor?

SCFM stands for standard cubic feet per minute and refers to the amount of air an air compressor can release at a specific pressure. Since air compressors vary at locations, SCFM is a standardized way to measure an air compressor's power. The higher the SCFM, the more powerful the air compressor.

What is a Two-Stage Air Compressor?

In a two-stage air compressor, the air goes through two compressions, creating double the pressure. Two-stage air compressors are often larger and more expensive than single-stage air compressors and are typically used in commercial capacities rather than at home. These machines usually aren't portable.

How Much is an Air Compressor?

Since there's quite a range in the types of air compressors you can buy, there's also quite a range of prices. Dual-stage air compressors and air compressors with a higher SCFM can be much more costly, up to $1,000 or more. For personal use, such as at home or in your car, you can get a decent air compressor for between $200-400, with budget models running closer to $100.

Cory

Cory epitomizes the 'function over form' debate. His XJ Cherokee has taken many a beating due to his lust for climbing the tallest ledges he can find and is armored to the max. Welded on sliders, tube fenders, and no bumpers allow him to achieve some pretty crazy approaches. We regularly tease him that there's more rust than paint on his rig, but that’s his style. Cory's favorite new mod is a larger winch he bought off a buddy after his Smitty cooked itself, trying to yank his buddy out of a ravine.