An Air compressor is a necessary tool, as it’s useful for many purposes. You can quickly inflate your tire at any time without any need for professional help. If you’re on your vehicle where you need to drive off-road, then an Off-roading air compressor is a must-have tool.
Off-road compressors (tire inflating air compressors) are cost-effective, compact, and lightweight, easily storable under or backside of your seat. You only need to bring them out, and they are ready to use. However, choosing for best off-road air compressor might need some expertise.
The Best Off-Road Air Compressor for Rough Terrain Adventures needs to be efficient and capable enough to power all four tires (in the case of bicycle two-tires). To ensure they are the best, you should check their CFM, PSI, duty cycle, and their feature of being portable or on board.
- 1 9 Best Off-Road Air Compressor
- 2 What is an Off-Road Air Compressor?
- 3 Why do you need an Off-Road Air Compressor?
- 4 Reviews of Best Air Compressors for Off-Road Adventures
- 4.1 1. Smittybilt 2781
- 4.2 2. ARB (CKMP12) 12V High-Performance Portable Air Compressor
- 4.3 3. VIAIR 400P Portable Tire Inflator
- 4.4 4. TEROMAS Tire Inflator Air Compressor
- 4.5 5. GSPSCN Tire Inflator
- 4.6 6. TIREWELL 12V Tire Inflator-Heavy Duty
- 4.7 7. Kensun AC/DC Power Supply Portable Air Compressor Pump
- 4.8 8. VIAIR 300P Portable Compressor
- 4.9 9. ARB CKSA12 Air Compressor
- 5 Types of Off-Road Air Compressor
- 6 Factors to Look for in a Best Off-Road Air Compressor
- 7 Benefits of an Off-Road Air Compressor
- 8 Off-Road Air Compressor Parts
- 9 Off-Road Air Compressor CFM
- 10 Off-Road Air Compressor PSI.
- 11 How does a Portable Air Compressor Get Powered?
- 12 How to use an Air Compressor for tires?
- 13 Conclusion
9 Best Off-Road Air Compressor
What is an Off-Road Air Compressor?
An off-road air compressor is one of the best portable, compact, and lightweight compressors. This compressor model is great to use because it can quickly inflate your vehicle tires. This portable air compressor is an excellent option because it is cost-effective and ideal for inflating tires. You just have to Plug into the car cigarette lighter plug, and you’re good to go.
You cannot only inflate but can also deflate with this compressor. Being a portable air compressor, it is easier for the user to carry them around without having difficulty. You can blow a mattress, pool or vehicle tires with this compressor.
You can easily store this compressor under your car’s seat or put it behind the seat. You only need to put it out, and it is ready to use. They do not have large tanks. So, using an Off-Road Air Compressor for Trucks will take time because it is a heavy task.
Why do you need an Off-Road Air Compressor?
It is essential to have an air compressor while going on a road trip because if you do not have an air compressor. You can be left with a flat tire in the middle of the road without any help. Having a flat tire is dangerous in remote areas where you may not get any help for many hours.
Air compressor not only fix damaged or flat tire, but it has many more uses while off-roading. You can use your off-road air compressor for deflating your tire and reinflating your tire. How? While moving through different terrain, you can deflate your tire to save it from any damage.
Deflating softens the ride, and you can easily pass your rough surface areas. However, if you have deflated your tire, don’t you think you will need to inflate it when you get back to smooth roads? Reinlfating your tire is necessary, and otherwise, you can damage your tire permanently.
Other than that, for those working in mining or construction areas, this is an essential tool for you not only for tires but also for powering your tools that need high-pressure air.
Reviews of Best Air Compressors for Off-Road Adventures
- It has 72 liters per minute/ 2.54 CFM
- Pressure gauge with a maximum reading of 150 PSI
- Auto cut-off switch to prevent damage or overheating.
You are talking about the off-road air compressor, and you do not mention Smittybilt 2781; that would be unfair. This compressor comes first on the list of outstanding off-road air compressors, and there are only a few compressors that can compete with its great legacy.
It is an impressive 72 liter per minute maximum airflow capacity compressor. This is the CFM rating of the compressor in litres; it tells how fast an air compressor can inflate your vehicle’s tire.
It is a fantastic deal compressor with a 2.54 CFM rating and an affordable price. It comes with a pressure gauge of up to 150 PSI and is easy to use. A thermal switch that turns off the compressor automatically after sensing any danger or in case of overheating.
- It has a 2.18 CFM rating
- It works on 12 VOLTS
- It is washable and comes with a bag.
- It has a kit that has 19 feet air hose length and battery clips.
An ARB 12 Volts air compressor is an excellent portable off-road air compressor, and this model comes with a 2.18 CFM rating. It might be a small but affordable off-road air compressor, and it is easily storable with its durable carrying bag.
The bag is ideal because it saves it from external damage, and the manufacturers made sure to increase its useability, efficiency and working. This compressor model is sealed for moisture, with the air element being sintered bronze to provide more protection.
This compressor is washable and has a splash-resistant cover. These features aim for only one thing, which is long-lasting usage. It comes with a kit with all the essential things: wiring and battery clips with a 19 feet long hose.
- It has only 10.4 pounds weight.
- It works on 12 volts.
- It has 2.3 CFM
- It comes with an anti-vibration storing bag
- Battery clamps with 40 AMP.
- It has a 33% duty cycle.
VIAIR is a fantastic lightweight off-road air compressor with only 10.4 pounds weight. It makes it convenient, easy to carry, and portable compressor. Having a speciality in working with only 12 volts allows its users to use it with a low power supply.
This model provides flexibility and more reasons to buy this model to its users. Having a 2.3 CFM rating but with less weight makes it ideal. It comes with a carrying bag; It is not a simple bag but an anti-vibration tray that ensures the compressor does not get damaged from shaking. This compressor is small and portable, and the bag is the cherry on the top feature. However, it is not for heavy-duty work.
- It is capable of working on both AC/DC with 12 Volts.
- Can plug-in cigarette plug or 110/120 volts
- It comes with three adapters to make the inflating process of cars, bikes, or motorbikes easier.
- It has a maximum of 150 PSI.
TERMOS portable compressors offer superb off-road air compressors capable of working with both AC/DC with only 12 Volts. Working in both cigarette plug or 110/120 volt for home makes this model more powerful and valuable, and you can use it anywhere.
Manufacturers added 3 adaptors, making it ideal for cars, RVs, bikes, motorcycles, and mattresses. Working on 150 PSI makes it more powerful, and it can inflate a tire in 4 minutes. This portable air compressor with a carrying bag makes transportation and storing easier.
The compressor has an automatic shutoff system that activates when needed to prevent any damage or over-inflating a tire.
- It has 70 Litre per minute/ 2,47 CFM rating
- It can inflate a typical tire in 1.5 minutes
- It comes with rubber feet to reduce vibration.
GSPSCN tire inflator is a great air compressor capable of inflating a typical vehicle tire in only 1.5 minutes. This feature of the compressor makes it outstanding. This compressor model has only a 2.47 CFM rating, but it is still considered to have a heavy-duty off-road air compressor.
The combination of fast-paced with the CFM rating is impactful, powerful, and with the amount as an initial investment. Manufacturers made rubber feet in this compressor to reduce vibration, and it also helps keep it stable.
- It has a 2.12 CFM rating
- It comes with a double cylinder to increase speed.
- Fewer noise levels.
TIREWLL, being considered the fastest off-road air compressor, is an ideal choice for many users. It comes with a 2.12 CFM rating which can deliver decent air, and it has a fast inflating mechanism which makes it likeable.
The compressor comes with a dual cylinder that increases efficiency and makes the inflating process faster. Having a four-rod design to keep the unit in place during pumping is excellent feature.
The noise level of this quiet compressor is minimized to make sure it does not give headache, and you can use it easily. It is ideal for cars, golf cars, motorbikes, etc.
- It has 18LPM/ 0.63 CFM
- It can work on both AC/DC
- It has only 3.38 pounds of weight.
Kensun ac/dc off-road air compressor is an affordable and lightweight air compressor. Coming with only a 3.38-pound weight, you can easily carry it around and transport it easily at home or the workplace.
This compressor is engineered with both AC/DC power cords, making it efficiently used indoors or outdoors. It has a 120 PSI range of analogue pressure gauges. This is a tiny compressor with only an 18 LPM/ 0.63 CFM rating, which may make it ideal only for households with small workings.
- It has only 8.70 pounds weight.
- It has a thermal overload protector.
- Aluminium sand tray to reduce vibration
- Dual battery clamps
- Can inflate the 33-inch tire
- Has a maximum pressure of 150 PSI.
VIAIR has a 300P air compressor which is ideal because of its unique features. An affordable and larger air compressor is an excellent choice for many users, and this compressor is capable of inflating 33-inch tires quickly.
This compressor has a pressure gauge that can quickly check its inflator/deflator pressure. This compressor has both features of inflating and deflating a vehicle’s tire. Working on 12 V makes it easier to use at less power.
This compressor has a permanent magnetic motor and has a duty cycle of 33% at 100 PSI. This compressor has 150 PSI with a 40 amp motor.
- It has a hard-anodized cylinder bore to reduce friction
- It is a lightweight and compact compressor
- It comes with Teflon impregnated carbon fiber piston seal
An ARB air compressor is quite popular, and one of the other off-road models of this brand is CKSA12 which is designed especially for air locker activation. It comes with a sealing from moisture and has dust resistance.
This is a compact onboard air compressor that simplifies installation and plug-in connectivity. It works on 12V. This excellent compressor has a pressure switch control system.
Types of Off-Road Air Compressor
Off-road air compressors are superb to help as you know their uses in inflating your tires or deflating your vehicle tire. However, there is not only one type of off-road air compressor, and there are four different types of off-road air compressors with specialization and features. These four types of off-road air compressors are:
On-Board Air Compressors
An onboard air compressor is a great and ready-to-use compressor. It is mounted to your vehicle and has a wire connected to the vehicle’s battery. It is a convenient air compressor because of being all-time ready to be used.
Large onboard air compressors can quickly provide power to air tools: impact wrenches, etc. While installing, switches can be integrated anywhere in your vehicle. It is done to lock differentials inside a cab.
It has multiple uses and is convenient
It is expensive, might need modification to fit in engines, and repairing is way too much expensive.
Portable Air Compressor
Its name says: it is portable and easy to carry in a bag air compressor. You can take it with you anywhere. When you need it: just clip it to battery terminals, and small models can get power from cigarette lighter scokets in the vehicle.
Portable air compressors are flexible relatively to onboard air compressors. The wires will allow movement, and it is not needed to stretch air hoses. You have to unpack your compressor, let it cool down after use, and then pack again. It can be a hassle too.
Pros: not an expensive compressor, no need to install it, and flexible.
Cons: small for large trucks, Hassel (pack and unpack again and again),
Portable CO2 and Nitrogen Tanks.
It is an air compressor that is filled with carbon dioxide or nitrogen. Mostly scuba divers may use it. This compressor offers inflation. These gases can expand when it goes into a tire, and these are a great help when it comes to large tires (because thaey take time to fill).
These compressors save time. However, the gas in the compressor’s air tank is limited, which means you will have to take the backup compressor powered by the engine’s battery.
Pros: easy to inflate the tire, fill 35-inch large tire quickly.
Cons: Expensive, needs refilling, which requires money and time, takes space in the car.
Factors to Look for in a Best Off-Road Air Compressor
Onboard or Portable
It does not matter whether you choose an onboard or portable it depends on the axle differential having air lockers. If you want air lockers, you need a large capacity air compressor. So, you can also do inflation with it. A portable air compressor is enough if you do not have air lockers.
Consider manufacturers, select reputed and famous brand air compressor because they have more sense of responsibility. Select according to your budget and requirements,
The filling speed of the air compressor depends on the size of the tire and your compressor’s capabilities. If you have a small compressor, it will take longer to inflate the truck tire. Make sure to have a speedingly filling air compressor.
The tire size of the tire is an essential factor to consider before buying an off-road compressor. Your compressor should be able to handle your vehicle’s tire. Always buy an air compressor with more inflating capacity, and it should be more than the tire requires.
Some air compressors have built-in mechanisms to release air without the need to hold the valve stem and stand there. Make sure your compressor has it.
Check your compressor weight before buying. Usually, portable off-road air compressors have less weight but check and consider it because the compressor takes more space and will make it difficult for the users.
The noise of the air compressor Noise level of the compressor should be low, which portable air compressor has. Your compressor’s decibels should be less than 50.
The PSI of the compressor is the force of air the compressor is capable of delivering, and PSI is necessary to run air tools and pneumatic tools. However, an off-road air compressor usually has plenty of PSI to deliver and inflate truck tires, and you may not need to worry about it.
Make sure the size of the compressor is small because the large compressor will take up more space, and it is a great deal. The portable and compact compressor are great because you can quickly put it under or on the backside of the seat.
To prevent overheating in an air compressor, compressors alternate their duty cycles. What is the duty cycle? It is a ratio of on and off the time required during the per hour cycle. If your compressor has a 50% duty cycle, it will run for 30 minutes and need to rest for 30 minutes. However, the compressor takes time to cool down in summer, which makes their duty cycle less.
Benefits of an Off-Road Air Compressor
Now that you’ve seen all the products and know how to select the best air compressor for your off-road adventure. Let us tell you some of the soft benefits you can get by using off-road air compressors.
- It is essential and saves money by making trips to tire shops less.
- They are reliable
- They have great speed to inflate tires.
- Some can be expensive but worth the investment.
- They can do inflation at any place.
- You can deflate your tires to improve traction
- The deflation can prevent tire damage
- It makes deflation easier, which softens the ride.
- It can power an axle differentials lockers and air tools.
- You can clean your tire with the air from the compressor.
Off-Road Air Compressor Parts
Motor: it provides power to the piston in the compression process.
Valve: During compression, a valve in the compressor allows air to be drawn into a cylinder.
Air hose: air is thrown into a tire through the hose.
Tire chuck: As a part of the compressor, it is connected to the valve stem of the tire
Power cord: It combines the compressor with the power source (battery or outlet).
Off-Road Air Compressor CFM
CFM is cubic per minute. It is an air volume that an air compressor is capable of supplying. It tells the maximum how fast the compressor can inflate your vehicle’s tire. The speed of inflation is measured while running of compressor: run time depends on the duty cycle.
If you are going to use your off-road air compressor for inflating truck tires or big wheels inflation. You must have a high CFM compressor, and a higher CFM will help you fasten your inflating process.
High CFM will help you save your time, and you can be done with your inflation process in the middle of the road fastly without wasting too much time. Always choose a high CFM compressor of at least 10-15 CFM in off-road air compressors.
Off-Road Air Compressor PSI.
PSI is the force of pressure that a compressor can deliver, and it is an essential factor to consider while buying an air compressor. However, nowadays, air compressors are mostly built considering this requirement, and all compressors have enough PSI to deliver. At least your compressor should have 100-150 PSI to fulfill your needs.
How does a Portable Air Compressor Get Powered?
Portable air compressors are mostly electric. They require electricity to work. You plug your compressor in a standard outlet and use an electric motor. It pressurizes the compressor’s tank, turns electric energy into kinetic energy, and then works. Electric motors require less maintenance, and they are compact and lightweight.
How to use an Air Compressor for tires?
- Check your vehicle’s manual and ensure the pressure of the tire.
- Check both rear and front wheels’ pressure before starting because they are usually different.
- Use a tire gauge to know the pressure requirement of your tire and do this while it is relaxed position. Heating affects the reading, and overinflating damages your compressor.
- Find an outlet to power your compressor.
- Now turn on your compressor.
- Plug a hose in your compressor
- Let your compressor build the pressure and keep it ready before doing anything else.
- Remove the stem valve of your tire and keep it safe.
- Use a quick coupler.
- Attach your hose to the tire stem valve
- It may take 2-3 minutes, depending on the requirements of the air.
- Digital compressors turn off when the required air reaches its limit.
- After inflating quickly. Check the Tire pressure and close the steam valve of your car again.
- And de attach the compressor and the tire, which is connected through a hose
- Unplug your compressor from the outlet.
Having an air compressor while going on a trip is an essential need because it saves your time and saves you from being stuck in an unknown place or the middle of the road. Nowadays, in the market, the manufacturers have a special off-road air compressor that can inflate your tire according to your need.
Choosing the best off-road air compressor needs. You should consider their CFM and PSI, especially considering your tire size and needs. These off-road compressors are easily storable, especially the portable ones.
Off-road air compressors are easy to use, and you only need to plug them in your vehicle’s tire and let them do their job. It works by either the battery or the engine of your car.
Hamza is a founder of Compressors Insights. He is an Electrical Engineer having strong experience in Technical and Power tools. He has been helping electricians, and HVAC technicians regarding tool selection, and how to use power tools (Compressors, Pressure Washers, Multimeters, etc)