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5 Best Portable Air Compressors for Your RV (2024)

| Updated Jan 5, 2024

Maintaining proper RV tire pressure for your safety and to protect your RV is essential. Here are highly-rated portable air compressors for your RV to help…

Your RV's tires are one of the most critical parts of your vehicle. They are the only things that stand between you and the road you are traveling on!  

That's why I recommend that every RV owner have the best tire inflator for an RV that you can find.

5 Best Portable Air Compressors

Now that you know what to look for to find the best portable air compressors for your RV, check out my top five picks!

1. Best Overall: VIAIR 400P-RV Portable Air Compressor for RV

VIAIR 400P-RV Portable Air Compressor for RV Good Portable Air Compressors

This VIAIR is high-powered yet lightweight. It is not too large, so it won’t take up too much space when storing it. This is the one I have, bought on the enthusiastic recommendations of several of my RVing friends.

It has an advertised flow rate of 2.3 CFM at 0 PSI, with a maximum rating of 150 PSI. As the pressure inside the tire increase from being inflated, the flow rate will decrease. Its lowest flow should 0.71 CFM at 150 PSI. 

This is okay and is designed to operate this way to prevent your tires from being over-inflated. This model also comes with an automatic shutoff feature to set your desired PSI when inflating your tires. 

The power cord is eight feet long. The primary air hose is 30 feet in length. But it also comes with an additional 30-foot hose extension hose that you can use without having to move the air compressor.

Finally, this portable tire inflator comes with a bevy of fabulous accessories. You will receive a quick tire inflation gun with an included tire pressure gauge and a 45-degree extended reach tire chuck. It also contains dual battery clamps that you can hook right to your RV car battery. 

BTW, there is a VIAIR 450P-RV, but it's significantly more expensive, and this 400P-RV one works great.

2. Best Compact: PORTER-CABLE CMB15 Portable Air Compressor Kit

PORTER-CABLE CMB15 Portable Air Compressor Kit Good Portable Air Compressors

The PORTER-CABLE unit is the best tire inflator for RV use if you are looking for a compact model. 

It is also fully shrouded, making it the quietest compressor on my list. 

This air compressor is rated at 2.0 CFM at 90 PSI and is capable of a maximum PSI rating of 150.

This model comes complete with a 1.5-gallon air tank size within the shroud, which means you will not have to attach it to an external air tank. 

3. Best Heavy-Duty: TIREWELL 12V 150PSI RV Tire Inflator

TIREWELL 12V 150PSI RV Tire Inflator

This TIREWELL model is what you want when looking for a heavy-duty air compressor.

As far as strength goes, it tops my list for best tire inflator for RV this year. 

The pump is rated at 2.12 CFM at 0 PSI, inflating a standard RV tire in approximately two minutes. Other adaptors can make it equipped to fill smaller items, like bicycle tires, pool toys, and other sporting goods.

4. Best Maintenance Free: Bostitch BTFP02012 Oil-Free Compressor

Bostitch BTFP02012 Oil-Free Compressor

The Bostitch model comes complete with a high-efficiency motor and can quickly inflate those RV tires. 

It can also stand up in cold weather climates! If you are a full-time RVer, this might be a good choice for you to withstand those months when the temperature dips below freezing. 

In addition, this model has a low operating noise level. 

It weighs about 29 pounds and is an “oil-free pump” with a 150 PSI rating. 

5. Lightest Weight & Most Affordable: GSPSCN Heavy Duty 12V Compressor

GSPSCN Heavy Duty 12V Compressor

This 12-volt air compressor is adequate for RVs. It'll get the job done if you're patient.

It has a double-cylinder design and can inflate to a maximum of 150 PSI.

It comes standard with a 150 PSI pressure gauge and can easily be hooked up to your RV’s battery. 

It’s lightweight, weighing about 20 pounds. That makes it easy to carry and store when not using!

Preview Product Price
GSPSCN Heavy Duty 12V Compressor GSPSCN Heavy Duty 12V Compressor $62.99Amazon Prime

How to Choose the Best Air Compressor for an RV

Finding the best RV air compressor may be more challenging than you think since there are several different options on the market. How do you choose? 

Here are 6 quick things you need to know for choosing the best tire inflator for an RV that you can find. 

If you buy something through our links, we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. It helps keep our lights on so we can continue to provide helpful resources for RVers. Read our full affiliate disclosure here.

1. Air Compressor Ratings

There are three air compressor ratings that you want to be aware of: 

  • Horsepower (HP)
  • Cubic Feet Per Minute (CFM)
  • Pounds Per Square Inch (PSI)

Understanding these three ratings can help you choose the best tire inflator for RV that reflects your particular needs. 

2. Horsepower (HP)

The concept of horsepower was invented by engineer James Watt. Watts are used to measure mechanical and electrical power. One unit of horsepower is equal to 746 watts. 

When it comes to air compressors, manufacturers do not always explain the term “horsepower” well to potential buyers. If you purchase an air compressor rated at 6-HP that operates using a voltage of 120, it would only actually be able to produce a horsepower rating of 2-HP. 

That seems counterintuitive, so let me explain. The 6-HP rating is the unit’s rating at peak performance. That peak performance only occurs when operating at a much higher RPM and would need a 240-volt circuit to run at that rate. 

Manufacturers advertise a higher HP rating, similar to that of cars. In the end, the 6-HP rating is more like a 2-HP. This is an excellent thing to keep in mind when reading stats. 

3. Cubic Feet Per Minute (CFM)

Knowing the CFM capacity of a portable compressor is essential. CFM is the measurement of the rate that a given air compressor can deliver a specific air volume. CFM can vary in different temperatures and humidity levels, and depend on atmospheric pressure.

4. Pounds Per Square Inch (PSI)

For portable air compressors, the CFM ratings are provided in terms of PSI. For example, an air compressor rated 3CFM at 90 PSI should potentially deliver that 3 CFM at 90 PSI. However, like CFM, manufacturers sometimes advertise the overinflated rate. 

How does this affect your purchase? If your RV requires a specific CFM rating at 90 PSI, the advertised CFM likely will not produce that number. That means the advertised one may not be able to inflate your tires or will take a long time to do so. 

Keep this in mind when shopping for your portable air compressor. You may want to opt for one with a higher CFM rating than you need.

5. Duty Cycle & Run Time

You may also notice manufacturers advertising “duty cycle.” That simply means the amount of time the air compressor will provide pressurized air in a total cycle time. 

Run time is when an air compressor can be run on full load before needing a rest to cool down. 

6. Safety Check

We suggest making it a rule to check your RV tire pressure before any road trips. Just like Rule 330, it can help keep you safe on the road. 

To make checking tire pressure hassle-free, consider investing in a tire pressure monitoring system. Check out our podcast Episode 174: Do You Need a Tire Pressure Monitoring System for Your RV?

Other Uses for a Portable Air Compressor

Obviously, portable air compressors will pump up your tires. But that's not all they're good for! You can also use it for the following:

  • Blow dust and pet hair out of your vents and intake/exhaust tubes
  • Blow dust and debris off the campsite picnic table and your outdoor RV rug
  • Blow dust and debris out of your RV basement and off camping gear
  • Inflate your paddleboard, kayak, e-bike tires, etc.
  • Power tools that require compressed air (drills, sanders, etc.)

What You NEED TO KNOW About RV Tires

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 Properly maintaining your RV tires is one of the most critically important maintenance tasks. However, it's also the most overlooked! To fully understand the importance of your RV tires, please read the following:

What are Your Top Picks for the Best RV Tire Inflator?

We'd love to hear your recommendations! Please share in the comments.

Last update on 2024-03-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Mike Wendland

Published on 2024-01-04

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

10 Responses to “5 Best Portable Air Compressors for Your RV (2024)”

August 26, 2022at6:15 am, 5 Emergency Roadside Kit & Products For Your RV | RV Lifestyle said:

[…] (Already have an emergency kit, but want a portable air compressor? Check out these 5 Portable Air Compressors.) […]

Reply

June 18, 2022at11:24 am, 15 Best Things To Leave In Your RV | RV Lifestyle said:

[…] an air compressor for your RV really comes in handy. It can save you in a flat tire pinch! The last thing you want is to be stuck […]

Reply

July 31, 2021at9:02 am, Samantha Nichols said:

Thanks so much for sharing! It compared the best products on the market and this really useful for me. Great article!

Reply

July 29, 2021at8:11 am, Samantha Nichols said:

I use VIAIR to air up LT and RV tires to 80psi while on road trips. Works great, is fast and the combined length of the power cord and two air hoses allow me to tire of a 35 foot fifth wheel with no problems. Compressor shuts off automatically, allowing you to air tires a long distance from it without having to manually cut it off. This is the best compressor I have owned. It is pricey, but I firmly believe you get what you pay for.

Reply

May 24, 2021at1:56 am, Diwakar Thapa said:

For the TIREWELL 12V 150PSI RV Tire Inflator – How do you actually inflate the tires? Seems like this has a screw on type thing which works for cars and trucks, but my RV has duallys with ‘tire valve gator’ caps on them. Not sure what sort of adaptor I’d need to connect this to a long air chuck?

Reply

May 23, 2021at6:46 pm, Jim Sadey said:

Mike Wendland, I’m a 79-year-old senior who is by myself and (newbe to RV living – full-time) who wants and is trying to find the right RV Motorhome for me that is affordable within my limited budget. I’m still active and want to make the most of my time left which looks to be a while yet. I love all the posts from you and all the information is very helpful.
I don’t believe I have ever received the packing list you describe, and would appreciate you sending it to me. Thanks
I look forward to the packing list and more of your interesting and informative posts!

Reply

May 23, 2021at6:13 pm, Michael Nistler said:

First off, if you see a portable compressor that only has a cigarette lighter plug, its ability to fill a high PSI RV tire will probably be inadequate. The vehicle’s fuse on these circuits will be 5, 10 or at most 20 amps. And since your battery is around 13 volts, multiplying say 10A x 13V = 130 Watts, not enough to do the job! That’s why a more powerful air compressor like the Viair has alligator clips that connect DIRECTLY to your battery and have a 40 Amp fuse (40A x 13V = 520 Watts), many times stronger than a cheaper “plug in cigarette lighter” unit.

BTW, since we typically want a PORTABLE air compressor that we can hookup to our vehicle’s battery, forget the specs for units that discuss 120V or 240V A/C hookups (unless you have a big rig with a 120V A/C inverter).

Reply

May 23, 2021at6:06 pm, Russ Smith said:

I’ve had/used the Viair 400P-RV for 7 years. Not the cheapest but arguably the best value if you want reliability and durability.RV version has 2nd length (30′) of hose. Automatic shutoff feature is invaluable, allowing compressor to rest/cool when not actually inflating tires etc. Addition of their Winterization Kit 2 years ago was a bonus that includes a pressure regulator to ensure safe pressurization of RV water lines, purging them of water without use of glycol (except traps), especially convenient for quick turnarounds. Winterization kit’s best price then (and apparently now) was at Home Depot.

Reply

May 23, 2021at9:13 am, Jane said:

Could you please send me the packing list.

Reply

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