RV Lifestyle

5 Best Portable Air Compressors for Your RV (2021 Reviews)

best portable air compressors

What are the best portable air compressors for your RV? It's essential to maintain proper RV tire pressure for your safety and to protect your RV.

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 is why I recommend that every RV owner have the best tire inflator for an RV that you can find!

To keep your tires operating at the optimal level, you need to keep them inflated at the proper tire pressure for your rig. Be sure to check your owner’s manual for the appropriate air pressure for your specific RV. 

You will also want to know how to check it before hitting the road this season! If you don’t, your tires might be too hot before you have time to correct them. 

You may also 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?

6 Tips for Choosing the Best Air Compressor for an RV

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

Here are my 6 tips for choosing the best tire inflator for an RV that you can find! 

1. Air Compressor Ratings

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

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 the engineer James Watt. Watts are used to measuring 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 that can deliver a specific air volume. CFM can vary in different temperatures, humidity levels and depending on the 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 CSM at 90 PSI. However, like CFM, manufacturers sometimes advertise the overinflated rate. 

How does this affect your purchase? If your RV requires a specific CSM 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 that 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. 

For a great conversation starter, you can get one of our Rule 330 t-shirts from our shop.

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

The Best Tire Inflator for RV in 2021

I have outlined the five top portable air compressors on the market today! 

1. VIAIR 400P-RV Portable Air Compressor for RV


This VIAIR is considered by many to be the best tire inflator for RV on the market. This 12-volt air compressor should be compatible with most RVs.

It 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;l 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. 

2. PORTER-CABLE CMB15 Portable Air Compressor Kit

The PORTER-CABLE unit is the best tire inflator for RV 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. 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. 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, is an “oil-free pump” with a 150 PSI rating. 

5. GSPSCN Heavy Duty 12V Compressor

This heavy-duty 12-volt air compressor is adequate!

It has a double cylinder design and can inflate to a maximum of 150 PSI without issue. 

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! 

What are Your Top Picks for a Portable RV Air Compressor?

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

RV Travel Guide Bundle

If you're pumped up and ready for your next RV adventure 🙂 check out our bundle of 7-day RV travel guides. They include suggested itineraries, things to do, places to stay, and much more! You can get NINE of our travel guides for ONE low price! Get My RV Travel Guide Bundle Today

Need a FREE RV Packing List?

How many times have you arrived at your destination to realize that you forgot to bring something?

So frustrating - right?

That's why we put together a special RV packing list for you!

Subscribe to become an RV LIFESTYLE INSIDER and we’ll send you an instant download of our packing list. Save it to your computer, print it out and use it for every trip.

First thing every Monday morning you’ll get the latest RV News, bucket list trip ideas, tech tips, DIY projects, and RV videos, and more.

And you'll get our popular DAILY RV Lifestyle updates with the latest post from our (award-winning) podcast and blog!



Exit mobile version