Best 12V RV Air Compressor/Tire Inflator With Gauge 2021

What Portable RV Air Compressor/Tire Inflator Should I Get?

We all worry about that moment when we step out of our RV, trailer, van, or skoolie and see that a tire is flat or close to it.

A lot of us only have one mode of transportation and if a tire starts to get low it means trouble. So you change the tire and put on the spare, but you discover the spare hasn’t been filled in years and is also flat.

A heavy-duty portable air compressor/tire inflator that is capable of reaching the high psi of truck, trailer, and RV tires takes away that worry.

Getting a portable air compressor not only saves you when you get a flat it also makes maintaining the proper psi easier. No more having to squeeze into a crowded gas station and getting the hose from the sketchy air compressor to reach, only to find that its max psi is 65.

See Also: Best RV 5th-Wheel & Travel Trailer Tires Review/Buying Guide

If you have a large truck or RV just any small tire inflator won’t do. Even if the psi rating is high enough that doesn’t necessarily mean the pump hefty enough to put out the volume of air needed for large weighed down tires.

All the portable air compressors in this review are heavy-duty and rated for trucks, RV’s, vans, and even busses. They are reliable, tough, and powerful enough to get the job done in any low tire situation.

A small word of warning. Heavy duty tire inflators are very slow and need to be taken care of properly to work. That means not letting them run for so long that they overheat. If your tires require a psi that’s on the high side expect the tire inflator to take a long time and take lots of breaks to let it cool.

Related: Slime Heavy Duty Tire Inflator Reviewed For Truck, Trailer, and RV Use

TIREWELL 12V Tire Inflator-Heavy Duty Double Cylinders Direct Drive Metal Pump 150PSI, Compressor with Battery Clamp and 5M Extension Air Hose, SUVs/Trucks/Vans/RVs
Most Versatile
Viair 40047 400P-RV Automatic Portable Compressor Kit
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
Best For Up To 80 PSI
Slime 40026 2X Heavy Duty Direct Drive Tire Inflator
Best Overall & High PSI
Smittybilt 2781 5.65 CFM Universal Air Compressor
ALL-TOP Heavy Duty Portable 12V Air Compressor Kit Inflate 180L (6.35Ft³)/Min Max 150PSI Metal Heat Dissipation ensures Duty Job for Pros Includes a 1680D Rugged Carry Bag for 4x4 Vehicle
Max PSI
150 PSI
150 PSI
150 PSI
150 PSI
150 PSI
150
CFM (Cubic Feet Per Minute)
2.12
2.3
2.5
1.9
5.65
6.36
Power Options
12 Volt Outlet & Alligator Clips
Alligator Clips (12V Battery)
12 Volt Outlet & Alligator Clips
Alligator Clips (12V Battery)
Alligator Clips (12V Battery)
Alligator Clips (12V Battery)
Inflation Hose Length
1.8 Feet
60 Feet
11.5 Feet
30 Feet
24 Feet
26 Feet
Power Cord Length
11 Feet
8 Feet
11.5 Feet
8 Feet
10 Feet
6.5 Feet
Weight
8.36 lbs
10.75 lbs
6.8 lbs
9 lbs
20 lbs
16 lbs
Class A & Bus Compatible (100 psi tires)
Auto Thermal Shut Off

TIREWELL 12V Tire Inflator-Heavy Duty Double Cylinders Direct Drive Metal Pump 150PSI, Compressor with Battery Clamp and 5M Extension Air Hose, SUVs/Trucks/Vans/RVs
Max PSI
150 PSI
CFM (Cubic Feet Per Minute)
2.12
Power Options
12 Volt Outlet & Alligator Clips
Inflation Hose Length
1.8 Feet
Power Cord Length
11 Feet
Weight
8.36 lbs
Class A & Bus Compatible (100 psi tires)
Auto Thermal Shut Off

Most Versatile

Viair 40047 400P-RV Automatic Portable Compressor Kit
Max PSI
150 PSI
CFM (Cubic Feet Per Minute)
2.3
Power Options
Alligator Clips (12V Battery)
Inflation Hose Length
60 Feet
Power Cord Length
8 Feet
Weight
10.75 lbs
Class A & Bus Compatible (100 psi tires)
Auto Thermal Shut Off
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
Max PSI
150 PSI
CFM (Cubic Feet Per Minute)
2.5
Power Options
12 Volt Outlet & Alligator Clips
Inflation Hose Length
11.5 Feet
Power Cord Length
11.5 Feet
Weight
6.8 lbs
Class A & Bus Compatible (100 psi tires)
Auto Thermal Shut Off

Best For Up To 80 PSI

Slime 40026 2X Heavy Duty Direct Drive Tire Inflator
Max PSI
150 PSI
CFM (Cubic Feet Per Minute)
1.9
Power Options
Alligator Clips (12V Battery)
Inflation Hose Length
30 Feet
Power Cord Length
8 Feet
Weight
9 lbs
Class A & Bus Compatible (100 psi tires)
Auto Thermal Shut Off

Best Overall & High PSI

Smittybilt 2781 5.65 CFM Universal Air Compressor
Max PSI
150 PSI
CFM (Cubic Feet Per Minute)
5.65
Power Options
Alligator Clips (12V Battery)
Inflation Hose Length
24 Feet
Power Cord Length
10 Feet
Weight
20 lbs
Class A & Bus Compatible (100 psi tires)
Auto Thermal Shut Off
ALL-TOP Heavy Duty Portable 12V Air Compressor Kit Inflate 180L (6.35Ft³)/Min Max 150PSI Metal Heat Dissipation ensures Duty Job for Pros Includes a 1680D Rugged Carry Bag for 4x4 Vehicle
Max PSI
150
CFM (Cubic Feet Per Minute)
6.36
Power Options
Alligator Clips (12V Battery)
Inflation Hose Length
26 Feet
Power Cord Length
6.5 Feet
Weight
16 lbs
Class A & Bus Compatible (100 psi tires)
Auto Thermal Shut Off

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Best RV Air Compressor/Tire Inflators Reviews & Info


1. Tirewell 12V Tire Compressor

TIREWELL 12V Tire Inflator-Heavy Duty Double Cylinders Direct Drive Metal Pump 150PSI, Compressor with Battery Clamp and 5M Extension Air Hose, SUVs/Trucks/Vans/RVs

Check Price at Amazon

Tirewell’s 150 psi heavy-duty 12V portable air compressor is the perfect no-nonsense way to maintain the air in the tires of your SUV, truck, RV, travel trailer, van, or bus. It will get the job done even if the tire is completely flat.

It has a maximum air pressure rating of 150 psi which is plenty for most RV tires. The air compressor has two cylinders that drive the motor at the same time for powerful airflow. 4 rods are connecting the cylinders to reduce vibrations and noise.

The CFM is around 2.12 which is not the highest rate of airflow from an RV air compressor in this review but it’s not the lowest. It’s not going to inflate tires super fast but it will be able to get to those higher psi ratings commonly found on campers (80 psi).

Some of the features of the Tirewell RV air compressor include a 1.8 feet long 5M hose that screws onto the tire stem for a secure air tight connection. There are also 3 adaptors included so you can inflate things as large as RV tires but also smaller things like scooters, bicycles, balls, and even pool floaties.

This is a tire inflator with a pressure gauge built in the body of the compressor so you don’t have to remove the inflation hose to make sure you have the correct pressure. It’s analog and uses a dial to show the current PSI.

See Also: Best Portable 12V Refrigerator/Freezer For Camping & Travel

The Tirewell is a 12V air compressor that uses a 12 volt plug with an inline fuse for protection. You can plug it directly into your vehicle’s 12V outlet or use the alligator clip adaptors to plug it directly into a battery. The power cord is 11 feet long giving you a lot of distance to work with.

For large tires with a high PSI, I suggest using the alligator clips to power the tire inflator directly from the battery. When using a lot of power 12V appliances can sometimes trip the fuses in 12V sockets. Not all 12V outlets are made equal. They can range from 5-20 volts.

Using the alligator clips to connect directly to the battery is a good way to avoid any problems with the 12V outlet.

TIREWELL 12V Tire Inflator-Heavy Duty Double Cylinders Direct Drive Metal Pump 150PSI, Compressor with Battery Clamp and 5M Extension Air Hose, SUVs/Trucks/Vans/RVs

There is also a convenient carry bag included, to protect your RV tire inflator when not in use. The entire thing weighs only 8.36 lbs and is the perfect size to place out of the way in any size of vehicle.

Once taken out of the carry case there is a built in handle with a rubber coating on the top so you can easily carry it around.

The Tirewell 12V Tire Compressor doesn’t come with as many frills as other portable tire inflators but it’s tough and heavy-duty enough to fill almost any tire to the max psi.

It will be there for you when you need it and put your mind at ease when you head out into the unknown in search of the next perfect campsite.

PROS

  • Has Alligator Clips & 12V Plug
  • Basic Option
  • Long Power Cord
  • Tire Inflator With Gauge

CONS

  • Long Inflation Time
  • Will Need More Breaks While Inflating Large Tires
  • Not Good For Large Class A RV & Bus Tires

2. Viair 400P-RV Portable Air Compressor Kit

Viair 40047 400P-RV Automatic Portable Compressor Kit

Check Price at Amazon

Viair is on top when it comes to portable air compressors and their features are unmatched by other companies. The 400P-RV air compressor kit has everything you need to inflate the tires of an RV, truck, bus, van, and trailer.

The max psi of the Viair is 150 with an automatic shut off function when you use the tire fill gun. When the trigger is released the pump will turn off as you move from tire to tire. This extends the time the pump can run before it needs to rest.

The 400P-Automatic draws 30 amps and can output 2.3 CFM because of this it needs to rest after 20 mins of continuous run. This is perfect for tires that need a little air fast.

If you find yourself needing something that can run longer but won’t put out as much air the 450P-RV is a great option. All the features are the same except the 450 runs on 23 Amps puts out 1.8 CFM of air and can run 1 hour before needing a rest. Perfect for filling completely flat tires.

The CFM is actually kind of low for a premium option like the Viair. But slow and steady wins the race. You can trust the Viair to get to the high psi levels often found in Class A RVs and converted camper buses like skoolies.

See Also: The Best Portable Solar Panels To Charge Your RV Batteries

Viair has made this heavy-duty RV compressor kit custom to the needs of RV and camper owners. It comes with an inflation gun with a built-in pressure gauge, 3 adaptors for bicycles and floaties, a 90-degree twist on chuck, a 45 degree extended reach chuck for dual wheels, and a heavy-duty carry bag.

It also comes with two 30 feet air hoses that connect for an extra long reach of 60 feet.

The Viair is run with 12 volt power that connects directly to a battery using alligator clips. The power cable is 8 feet long and the engine must be running while the portable RV air compressor is on.

As I said in the previous review, alligator clips are better for 12V electronics like these since it’s easy to blow the fuse on the 12V outlets located inside.

The Viair 400P-RV Portable Air Compressor Kit is perfect for RV, bus, and dually truck owners because of the added adaptors made specifically for large dual tires.

It’s also fantastic for any other kind of tire and vehicle and a great option for those who need a dependable portable 12V air compressor that will fit every need.

PROS

  • Includes 2 Air Hoses
  • Air Gun With Gauge
  • Auto Shut Off
  • Extended Reach Chuck For Dual Tires
  • Can Run Continously For 20 Mins
  • Best Option For Large Class A Or Bus Tires
  • Built To Last
  • Tire Inflator With Gauge

CONS

  • Very Premium Option
  • Accessories Are Lower Quality Than Tire Inflator

3. GSPSCN Silver 12V Tire Inflator

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

Check Price at Amazon

The GSPSCN is a heavy-duty RV air compressor that doesn’t come with a lot of frills but it can reach up to 150 psi on an RV, bus, truck, van, and most other sizes of tires. The CFM is 2.5 which isn’t bad for a 12V tire inflator in this range.

There are two cylinders for maximum pressure output and the body sits on rubber feet to minimize vibrations and movement when the small air compressor is running.

The air hose is coiled to not be in the way but when fully extended it reaches 11.5 feet. There are 3 adaptors included to inflate bicycles, balls, and other inflatables.

The RV air compressor is strong, but light, weighing only 6.8 lbs and there is a carry bag included.

See Also: Best Portable Power Station/Solar Generator For Camping

It runs on 12 volt power and can be plugged into a 12 volt outlet or directly to a battery using an alligator clip adaptor. The power cable is 11.5 feet long and there should be plenty of cables and air hose to work with.

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

It’s a tire inflator with a pressure gauge built directly into the pump so there’s no need to stop and check the pressure with a different instrument. The handle on the compressor is a metal bar that extends across the entire compressor.

The GSPSCN Silver 12V Tire Inflator is a more basic air compressor with just the necessities included for any tire and other inflation needs.

It’s lightweight which is a pro for full-time campers and a great addition to any emergency kit or to use for maintaining tire air pressure on smaller RVs, vans, trucks, or camper trailers.

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • 12V Plug Or Alligator Clips
  • Tire Inflator With Gauge
  • Sits On Rubber Feet
  • Good Basic Option

CONS

  • Long Inflation Time
  • Will Need More Breaks While Inflating Large Tires
  • Not Good For Large Class A RV & Bus Tires

4. Slime Heavy-Duty Tire Inflator

Slime 40026 2X Heavy Duty Direct Drive Tire Inflator

Check Price at Amazon

If you own a bicycle you’ve probably heard of or used slime in your tires to stop small leaks. The company that makes tire slime also makes a heavy-duty tire inflator for trucks, camper trailers, or small RV’s.

The portable air compressor has dual cylinders connected with 4 rods to reduce vibrations and noise. The max inflation is 150 psi and the CFM is 1.9. That means it’s powerful but inflates tires very slowly.

It’s a powerful tire inflator with a pressure gauge but if you own a big Class A RV or bus it may not have quite the power you need to inflate a large tire from flat to the max psi. The slime is a great option for truck, van, trailer, and small RV owners though.

I use it on my own Dodge 2500 and travel trailer that both have 80 psi tires and it’s had no problems. I could even go higher but it would probably take a little time and need a few breaks in between.

To see my full review of the Slime 2X Heavy Duty Tire Inflator With Gauge check out this post here.

There is a handle on the unit so you can easily carry it around. The inflation hose is 22 feet long. There is a pressure gauge included that is placed inline with the hose so you can see what pressure the tires are at without having to remove the inflation hose. 3 adaptors are included for different kinds of inflatables and balls.

Slime 40026 2X Heavy Duty Direct Drive Tire Inflator

Something unique to slime portable air compressors is the LED light on one side of the pump. It’s perfect for emergency lighting for flat tires at night.

See Also: Best 12 Volt RV Lithium Battery Reviews + How To Charge

The power source is a direct battery connected via alligator clips. Everything fits neatly in a plastic case which is more durable than the nylon bags most other portable RV air compressors come in.

The Slime Heavy-Duty Tire Inflator has some nice features like the built-in LED light and the hard carry case. The only downside is it’s not quite as powerful as some of the other portable tire inflators on this list. That being said it’s still heavy-duty enough for large trucks and small RVs.

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • Tire Inflator With Gauge
  • Good Basic Option
  • Long Air Hose
  • Hard Carry Case
  • Built-In LED Light

CONS

  • Long Inflation Time
  • Will Need More Breaks While Inflating Large Tires
  • Not Good For Large Class A RV & Bus Tires

5. Smittybilt Portable Air Compressor For Tires

Smittybilt 2781 5.65 CFM Universal Air Compressor

Check Price at Amazon

The Smittybilt 2781 RV tire inflator is one of the most powerful and heavy duty in this review. If you have a larger RV like a Class A or a bus camper this is going to be the best choice for you. It can easily reach very high tire pressures and it’s also a fantastic option for those with large trailers with lots of tires like toy haulers.

The integrated pressure gauge is on a separate hose making it easier to access and read when inflating tires. It’s analog and goes up to 150 psi.

The CFM on the Smittybilt is really high at 5.65. The only other RV air compressor in this review that beats it is the All-Top reviewed below. It outputs more than twice as much air as the Viair, which is considered the most premium option for portable tire inflators.

The main use this 12V tire inflator was built for is adventurers who like to travel off road. It has the ability to not only inflate heavy duty tires to a specific psi it can also deflate them as well. This is useful for OHV use and offroad vehicles like Jeeps.

For RV and camping use it doesn’t get much better than the Smittybilt. It can easily inflate over 100 psi and it’s perfect for RV tires of all sizes including large Class A RVs, camper buses, and big trucks.

See Also: Best Weight Distribution Hitches With Sway Control

If you have airbags on your tow vehicle this RV air compressor can also be mounted and hardwired.

The unit is powered using alligator clips that attach directly to a 12V battery via a 10 foot cable and there is a 30 amp inline fuse for added protection. The 24 foot coiled air hose uses quick connect brass ends. The pressure gauge is a separate part that can connect to either end of the hose depending on where you want it.

There are also smaller inflatable adapters included as well as a thick canvas storage bag.

The body is big, strong, and heavy weighing around 20 lbs. There is a cleanable air filter which is a unique feature you won’t find with many other portable air compressors and there is an automatic thermal cut off to protect the motor from overheating.

The Smittybilt Portable Air Compressor For Tires is honestly one of the best made and strongest RV tire inflators on the market today. It can easily reach psi levels well past 100 on large tires.

It’s heavy but it’s going to be the best portable tire inflator for large RV tires and rugged outdoor use.

PROS

  • High 5.65 CFM
  • Can Run For A Long Time Before Overheating
  • Long 24 Foot Air Hose
  • Can Reach PSI Levels Over 100
  • Good For Class A & Bus Tires
  • Heavy Duty Build
  • Tire Inflator With Gauge
  • Rubber Anti-Vibration Base
  • 30 Amp Fuse

CONS

  • Heavy
  • No Dual Tire Accessory

6. ALL-TOP Portable 12V Air Compressor Kit

ALL-TOP Heavy Duty Portable 12V Air Compressor Kit Inflate 180L (6.35Ft³)/Min Max 150PSI Metal Heat Dissipation ensures Duty Job for Pros Includes a 1680D Rugged Carry Bag for 4x4 Vehicle

Check Price at Amazon

The All-Top is another fantastic heavy duty RV air compressor made for all sizes of tires and pressures up to 150 psi.

The CFM is the highest in this review at 6.36. It can inflate tires to a high pressure, and it can do it fast.

The body is built to take a beating. It weighs 16 lbs and has a hollow metal case with an aluminum shell for extra protection. The built in handle to carry it around is on top.

For motor protection, there is a thermal cut off switch to keep the RV tire inflator from damaging itself from overheating. The unit is mounted on a platform on rubber feet to reduce vibration. There is also sand proof power switch to keep to insides safe from debris.

See Also: Best 5th Wheel Hitches (Reese, B&W, Curt, Andersen, Blue Ox)

Included with the RV air compressor is a 26 foot rubber air hose, alligator clamps with a 6.5 foot cord for connecting directly to a 12V battery, an inline pressure gauge with a built in deflator (a button you press to release air), 3 adapters for small inflatables, and finally a nozzle with a thumb lock you can use to start and stop inflation.

ALL-TOP Heavy Duty Portable 12V Air Compressor Kit Inflate 180L (6.35Ft³)/Min Max 150PSI Metal Heat Dissipation ensures Duty Job for Pros Includes a 1680D Rugged Carry Bag for 4x4 Vehicle

A thick nylon bag is also included to store everything in one place.

The ALL-TOP Portable 12V Air Compressor Kit is made to be used outdoors in any temperature. It works well in hot climates and it has no problem inflating large RV tires to 100 psi or more.

It’s another fantastic choice for a premium RV air compressor that can do it all.

PROS

  • High 6.36 CFM
  • Long 26 Foot Air Hose
  • Can Reach PSI Levels Over 100
  • Good For Class A & Bus Tires
  • Strong Aluminum Outer Shell
  • Tire Inflator With Gauge
  • Rubber Anti-Vibration Base
  • Lots Of Accessories

CONS

  • Pressure Gauge Is Low Quality
  • Needs Lots Of Breaks To Prevent Overheating

What To Look For In An RV Air Compressor/Tire Inflator

Pressure Gauge

Pretty much every portable tire inflator on the market today comes with either a digital or analog pressure gauge that is either connected to the air hose or built into the body of the compressor.

The air hose pressure gauge is the easiest to use since it’s normally right next to where you connect the hose to the tire. You can monitor the connection to the tire and see the pressure at the same time.

The included pressure gauges are a great thing to have but one thing to note about them is they aren’t always the most accurate. Even the high end RV air compressors sometimes have faulty gauges that are a little off and won’t tell you the exact psi.

I recommend always having a separate high quality tire pressure gauge like this one (click to view on Amazon) you can use to measure the psi after using a portable air compressor.

That way if the built in gauge is off you will know by how much and you will also have a quick and easy tool to test the psi of your camper or vehicle’s tires regularly.

Thermal Cut Off Feature

Will any kind of portable machine overheating is a big issue. A regular air compressor has lots of space between parts to help release heat but a compact tire inflator doesn’t have that option.

If you run a 12V tire inflator for too long in high temperatures there a huge risk for the inner parts to start breaking or even melting.

Many portable air compressors have a thermal cut off that will automatically turn off the inflator if it starts to reach dangerous temperatures. Not all of them have this feature though and you should still be careful not to run the inflator for too long.

Being patient and giving the portable RV air compressor lots of breaks is a great way to make sure it never overheats and to keep it running at full capacity for longer.

Airflow

The airflow on an RV tire inflator is measured in CFM (cubic feet per minute). The higher the CFM the more air the compressor puts out.

A high CFM is great for low psi inflatable and filling tires from flat to full but it isn’t always the best thing for reaching high pressures like 80 or 100 psi.

You may have noticed that the more basic RV air compressors have a very low CFM. This is so the motor can actually reach a high psi but it’s going to take awhile.

If you want a faster RV air compressor you are going to have to go with a more premium option like the Smittybilt or All-Top reviewed above.

Actual PSI Capabilities

Every RV air compressor in this review has a built in pressure gauge that goes up to 150 psi, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the inflator is capable of going that high.

This is a good example of getting what you pay for. The more basic options like the Tirewell and Slime are heavy duty and are capable of reaching at least 80 psi but when you try and reach the 100’s they may start to overheat right away and start to get damaged.

If you have large Class A RV or bus tires getting a high quality 12V RV air compressor that you know can reach those pressures is the safer way to go.


rv air compressor and tire inflator connected to a truck and travel trailer
RV air compressors are great for maintaining the psi in camper tires even when out in the wilderness.

Conclusion & My Recommendations For RV Air Compressors

Portable RV air compressors/tire inflators are a must have for full-time RVers and adventurers. Maintaining tire pressure is key to reducing the risk for flat tires and blowouts.

Most gas station tire inflators only go up to 65 psi, which isn’t enough for most campers, RVs, and trucks. Most of the time you will need to have your own portable tire inflator to get to 80 psi and up.

There are a few different kinds of RV air compressors in this review. Some are the more basic ones that are best for reaching 80 psi and others are good for 100 psi and over but they tend to be in the more premium range.

The RV tire inflator that is best for you largely depends on how often you plan on using it and what kind of RV you have.

No matter what you end up getting understand that these small machines are made to be very portable which means the parts inside are pressed together which means it’s easier for it to overheat. Portable tire inflators aren’t like regular air compressors and it takes time for them to work.

With that being said here are my recommendations for the best RV air compressor/tire inflators based on certain needs and uses.

Slime 40026 2X Heavy Duty Direct Drive Tire Inflator

Best For 80 PSI Applications – Slime Heavy-Duty Tire Inflator

This is the RV air compressor I use with my own camping set up and so far it has been a real life saver in some of the flat tire situations I’ve gotten into.

I mostly use it to maintain the 80 psi pressure in the tires of my travel trailer but it’s also been helpful in keeping my 3/4 ton truck at the right pressure as well.

I’ve even used it to top off a low spare tire I had to use when I got a flat tire one day while driving around in the desert.

It does work slowly but it has no problem reaching 80 psi and it seems like it could even go further if needed.

I normally let it run for about 10 minutes before giving it a break to not let it overheat.

For truck and camper trailers the Slime tire inflator is a fantastic choice.

Viair 40047 400P-RV Automatic Portable Compressor Kit

Most Versatile (Also 100 PSI & Over Applications) – Viair 400P-RV Portable Air Compressor Kit

Because this is a review of the best portable RV air compressors the Viair 400P-RV is one of the most versatile tire inflators due to its RV focused accessories.

A lot of large RV’s, buses, and trucks have dual tires that need a special chuck to make reaching the inner tire easier. Viair has you covered and their gas stations style inflation gun that makes it quick and easy to go from each tire and to reach the inside dual tire.

It’s also one of the best tire inflators for over 100 psi tires commonly found on Class A RVs and buses.

Viair is also known for its durable compressors that last for years. When you buy the 400P-RV you get high-quality parts and unmatched dependability.

Smittybilt 2781 5.65 CFM Universal Air Compressor

Best Overall – Smittybilt Portable Air Compressor For Tires

While the Viair is one of the most versatile RV air compressors due to its accessories and heavy duty build the Smittybilt still overtakes it when it comes to overall performance.

It puts out a ton of air which makes inflating tires from flat to full psi much quicker and easier and it can easily get to pressures well over 100 psi.

The outer cover is extra heavy duty and made for outdoor and camping use. It’s also the heaviest in this review but it still has a small portable body.

I also like that you have to option to mount it to your vehicle or RV and hardwire it to the battery.

People change camping set ups often, you may go from a small travel trailer with 65 psi tires to a large Class A with 100 psi tires. An RV air compressor like the Smittybilt will be the only tire inflator you ever need and it’s my top choice.


Frequently Asked Questions About RV Air Compressors/Tire Inflators

Why do portable RV air compressors take so long to inflate?

To make portable air compressors portable they need to be very small but powerful. Because of their small size and rapidly moving parts they can overheat very quickly.

Normally the lower the quality of the tire inflator the shorter the run time it has before needing a break.

Also, portable tire inflators that release larger amounts of air need to rest more than slower working inflators. When you turn on a portable air compressor and it starts to inflate a tire it can start out inflating quickly then start to slow down as pressure builds.

That’s why extra large tires on buses and RVs can take a while to fill to the correct psi.

How long can my 12V tire inflator run before needing to rest?

The amount of time your portable air compressor can run before needing a rest depends a lot on the quality of parts it’s made of and how hard it’s working.

Be sure to check the instructions that came with your compressor so you know exactly the time the manufacturer recommends.

If you don’t have the manual a standard run time at a low psi is 20 minutes. The higher the psi gets the shorter the run time gets.

To be safe make sure you are aware of how hard your portable air compressor is working and how hot it’s getting. When it’s starting to get hot. Turn it off and let it cool for 10 minutes.

What makes a small air compressor RV compatible?

Most small air compressors only have one cylinder and less power than the larger dual cylinder RV air compressors.

Because RVs have large tires air compressors need a lot of power to get the large volume of air to a high psi. That’s why you won’t be able to use just any small air compressor for your RV, bus, truck, or van.

How to use a portable 12 volt air compressor.

You can connect 12 volt air compressors to the battery of your vehicle or sometimes the 12 volt outlet located inside your car. Connecting directly to the battery gives you the most power and is the recommended way to get the most out of your small air compressor.

Always have your engine running to supply the proper amount of electricity to the tire inflator while it is running. Once the compressor is hooked up to power, attach the inflation hose to the tire and let it begin inflating. Keep an eye on the pressure gauge and don’t leave the compressor running unattended.

How do portable RV air compressors work?

Small air compressors for filling tires don’t have an air tank like standard air compressors. Instead, they create air flow using a spinning rotor that slowly pushes out a small amount of air. This style of air compressor is perfect for tire inflators because they can be very compact and easy to store.

The only drawback is the slow air output can make inflating a tire a slow process and the small air compressor can overheat quickly.

For more information on centrifugal compressors like tire inflators check out this article here.

How to use the Slime Tire Inflator.

The RV tire inflator I know the most about is the Slime 2x Heavy Duty. I use it with my own truck and travel trailer set up. I’ve done a full review and how to instructions in this article here (click to view).

Have any more questions about RV air compressors? Leave a comment below.

by Jesse
Jesse has always had an interest in camping, technology, and the outdoors. Who knew that growing up in a small town in Sweden with endless forests and lakes would do that to you?

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