Best Small Air Compressor and Tire Inflator Reviews Buying Guide of 2023

Finding the best small air compressor today isn’t as easy as it was a few years ago. If you go through the numerous small air compressor reviews, you’ll notice that there are hundreds of different brands and models competing against each other. These air tools are becoming smaller, more efficient and powerful compared to early models. With so many features in common, it’s now becoming more difficult to choose the best model unless you use tire inflator reviews.

Small air compressors are becoming a popular investment for home use and vehicle owners. One feature that makes them an attractive alternative to portable and stationary air compressors is their small size. They’re highly portable and usually weigh less than 10lbs. these compressors are also cheaper compared to their larger counterparts. Their smaller size also means that they run on smaller motors which won’t generate loud noise. In addition, they don’t consume a lot of power.

Best Small Air Compressor and Tire Inflator Reviews

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If you’re looking for the best small air compressor, we’ve selected the top five units based on portability, efficiency, ease of use and popularity among consumers.

Comparison Table For 5 Best Small Air Compressor and Tire Inflator

Air CompressorPower SourceInflation PowerShippingReviewEditor's RatingPrice
VIAIR 85P Portable Air Compressor
Electric60 PSISee on AmazonOver 1436 customer reviews4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)See on Amazon
Master Flow MF-1040 Cyclone High Volume Portable Air Compressor
Gas150 PSICheck on AmazonOver 306 customer reviews4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)See on Amazon
Black & Decker ASI300 Air Station High Performance Inflator
Electric160 PSICheck on AmazonOver 2269 customer reviews3.7 out of 5 stars (3.7 / 5)See on Amazon
Viair 00073 70P Heavy Duty Portable Compressor
Electric100 PSICheck on AmazonOver 1866 customer reviews4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)See on Amazon
Slime 40022 12-Volt Digital Tire Inflator
Electric35 PSICheck on AmazonOver 1682 customer reviews4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)See on Amazon

Top 5 Best Small Air Compressor and Tire Inflator Reviews

For vehicle owners, there are specific essential tools and accessories that must always be carried in their cars. These ensure that in case on an emergency, you’re always sure that you’ll be able to drive home without having to cal for a recovery service. One of these is the tire inflator. It’s a portable air compressor that’s designed to inflate tires regardless of where you are. They usually require a 12 volt power source. There are many different tire inflators to choose from. Here are the top five on the market today.

VIAIR 85P Portable Air Compressor Review

Editor’s Rating:

4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

Hitachi NR90AE(S)

The VIAIR 85P portable air compressor is a lightweight unit that makes a great addition to your car maintenance arsenal. This electricity powered compressor has a 12 volt motor that draws power from an external power source such as your vehicle’s cigarette lighter power port.

Unlike traditional air compressors which store compressed air inside their tanks, this unit compresses air and directs it through the hose. The VIAIR 85P has a maximum pressure rating of 60 PSI and can inflate tires of up to 31 inch sizes. It also features a built in LED work light and pressure gauges. It comes with a 10 feet power cord that makes it easy to work with.


  • Lightweight and ultraportable design
  • Versatile unit inflates tires of different sizes
  • 10 feet power cord makes it easy to work with
  • 12 volt motor can be powered via your vehicle’s cigarette lighter power port


  • It doesn’t store compressed air meaning it will only work when connected to a power source
What customers are saying?

Master Flow MF-1040 Cyclone High Volume Portable Air Compressor Review

Editor’s Rating:

4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

Hitachi NR90AE(S)

The MF-1040 Cyclone is one of the popular units that you’ll find in many small air compressor reviews. It comes with a ton of useful features that make it one of the most sought after tire inflators on the internet. It’s a lightweight compact air compressor that will get the job done fast and efficiently. This small air compressor weighs 1 pound and comes with a small carrying bag. It features a direct drive 12 volt motor that can be powered via your car’s cigarette lighter power port.

Capable of producing up to 150 PSI, this compressor will inflate tires for small and medium size vehicles such as bike, car, truck, etc… within less than 4 minutes. It comes with a 16 foot coil hose and 10 foot power cord giving you extended reach when working with it. It also comes inclusive of 3 needle adapters for inflating different types of items.


  • Small lightweight construction is easy to carry and store
  • 150 PSI max output enables fast inflation of different tire sizes
  • Versatile unit can be powered via your vehicle’s cigarette lighter power socket
  • 10 foot power cord plus 16 foot coil hose give you extended reach when working
  • Carrying bag included


  • The screw on valve adapter might be difficult to work with initially
What customers are saying?

Black & Decker ASI300 Air Station High Performance Inflator Review

Editor’s Rating:

3.7 out of 5 stars (3.7 / 5)

Hitachi NR90AE(S)

Weighing 6.1 pounds, the Black & Decker ASI300 is heavier than the other two small air compressors. However, it comes with a selection of useful features which make it a great investment for home and garage use. One feature that makes the ASI300 one of the best small air compressors is that fact that you can power it using a 12 volt or 120 volt power source. It has a maximum pressure output of 160 PSI making it an ideal choice for inflating a variety of items ranging from tires to rafts. It features an on board pressure indicator gauge. It’s also programmable to automatically shut off once a desired pressure is reached.


  • Versatile unit can be powered from AC or DC power source
  • Compact build makes it easy to carry and store
  • Auto shut off once desired pressure is reached
  • Up to 160 PSI supplied makes it ideal for different inflating jobs


  • The AC and DC power cords are a bit short making it difficult to use the unit across large areas
What customers are saying?

Viair 00073 70p Heavy Duty Portable Compressor Review

Editor’s Rating:

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Hitachi NR90AE(S)

This Viair 00073 is a 5.5 pound tire inflator that operates on a 12 volt power source. It’s rated at 70P but can produce up to 100 PSI working pressure. This makes it a versatile compressor capable of inflating 225/65/R18 tires. It has a built in permanent magnetic motor which requires little current to run and, doesn’t require special maintenance procedures. Operating this tire inflator is simple. All you need is to plug it into a 15 amp power port and turn it on. It’s worth noting that it will only inflate if it’s connected while the engine is running. This portable compressor features vibration isolators which ensure quiet operation.

The Viair 00073 portable compressor features a 16 foot power cord and a 4 foot air hose. This reach makes it easy to use to inflate all tires on your vehicle and even tires of a different vehicle. You can also use this compressor to check tire pressure by turning it off and getting the reading on the built in 150 PSI gauge. This tire inflator also comes inclusive of a brass twist on tire chuck which allows you to use it right out of the box. A deluxe carrying bag is also provided for easy transportation and storage. Overall, it’s a good tire inflator for tires of different sizes. The connector plug however seems a bit small for some vehicle cigarette lighter sockets.

What customers are saying?

Slime 40022 12 Volt Digital Tire Inflator Review

Editor’s Rating:

4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)

Hitachi NR90AE(S)

The Slime 40022 is an innovative tire inflator that’s easy to use. It weighs a mere 0.2 ounces and measures 2.8 X 6.5 X 6.5 inches. This makes it highly portable and easy to tuck away inside your car. A digital tire inflator, the slime 40022 is designed to make inflating your vehicle’s tires simple and straightforward. It features the unique Inflate Right technology. This allows you to simply set the pressure you want and turn it on. The unit will then automatically shout off when the set pressure is reached.

The Slime 40022 operates on 12 volts DC current. It comes with a cigarette lighter adapter which enables it draw power from your car battery. It’s worth noting that it will only operate from a port with a 15 amp fuse. It has a maximum pressure of 35 PSI making it suitable for inflating mid sized car tires. Its body includes a bright LED light which makes it easy to use at night. Its compact body includes rubberized feet which keep it stable and minimize vibrations. The air hose and connecting cable give this inflator a 12 foot reach. This allows you to use it to inflate all you’re vehicle’s tires with ease. It’s a good tire inflator for emergencies and medium size tires; however, there are reports of it displaying inaccurate readings although this doesn’t negatively affect performance.

What customers are saying?

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Benefits of the Best Small Air Compressor

Most people believe that tire inflators aren’t worth investing in. if they were to choose between a portable compressor and a tire inflator, the compressor might seem the obvious choice. However, tire inflators do come with a host of useful benefits which include the following.

1. Small compact design

Many of the leading small air compressors weigh less than 10 pounds. That means that they’re easy to carry around. For vehicle owners, having small tools that can easily fit inside their car’s trunk is a must. A tire inflator is designed to meet this need. Its light weight design doesn’t add any unnecessary weight to your car.

2. No need to worry about your power source

Small air compressors are usually rated at 12 volts. This means that your car’s battery is all you need to get the compressor running. If it were a portable compressor, you’d be worrying about finding a 110V, 240V or gas to power the unit.

3. No regeneration needed

Many of the tire inflators don’t feature a tank. This means that pressurized air is fed directly into the item you’re inflating rather than first being fed into the tank. You therefore don’t need to worry about having to wait a few minutes while the compressor regenerates.

4. Easy to maintain

The best small air compressors are stripped down versions of the larger portable air compressors. Having fewer parts makes them easy to maintain. With tire inflators, maintenance tasks such as draining water, breaking-in and replacing oil aren’t necessary.

Maintenance of Small Air Compressors

Compared to their larger counterparts, small air compressors are fairly easy to maintain. This however doesn’t mean you should overlook some of the most important maintenance tasks that include the following.

1. Always refer to the user manual when using the air compressor

The user manual acts as your guide about how to use a particular tire inflator model. It explains the conditions that you’ll need to meet to ensure that the compressor functions properly. The user guide also explains the conditions that need to be met to ensure that you can benefit from the manufacturer’s warranty. If you’re ever in doubt about how to use your compressor, always refer to its manual.

2. Always use the recommended power outlet

Many of the best tire inflators are rated at 12 volts. This however doesn’t mean that any 12 volt power outlet is ideal. If your tire inflator is designed for use with your car’s cigarette lighter socket, you should not attempt to connect it to another 12 volt outlet such as a phone charger. Not only do you risk damaging the 12 volt outlet, it might lead to damaging your tire inflator’s motor.

3. Store your tire inflator in dry clean environments

Being a motorized product, small air compressors can be easily damaged by moisture. When not in use, always keep your compressor in a dry place. In addition, keep your compressor away from dust. Dust particles accumulating within the unit can make the motor less efficient and prone to overheating.

4. Use your small air compressor for inflating only

Small air compressors are designed to handle simple to complex inflating jobs. Although some might be quite powerful, they shouldn’t be used to operate small air powered tools. This job is reserved for the larger portable air compressors.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What is the best place to buy the best tire inflator?

  • “Tire inflators can be purchased from a variety of stores including manufacturer’s websites. However, if you don’t have a specific unit in mind, you should consider purchasing from Amazon. The online retailer offers some of the best prices. In addition, you can easily compare among the many different compressors on sale at the store.”

2. Why do manufacturers offer shorter warranty periods for tire inflators compared to portable air compressors?

  • “There are several factors that contribute to how long a warranty period lasts. In the case of tire inflators, a shorter warranty period is usually offered since they are cheaper, smaller and easier to maintain compared to larger air compressors.”

3. Can a small 150 PSI air compressor be used to operate small air tools?

  • “Theoretically, yes. However, given that this air compressor doesn’t come fitted with a tank it probably won’t provide enough pressure (CFM) to run an air powered tool.”

4. How long will it take to receive my tire inflator?

  • “This depends on where you buy your air compressor. For example, orders placed from Amazon arrive within 5 days. Amazon also offers next day delivery.”

5. My tire inflator arrived damaged. What do I do?

  • “Depending on where you purchased your tire inflator, you should be able to return it for refund or replacement. In addition, many manufacturers offer free repairs and replacement for damaged items. You should contact the retailer’s or manufacturers support team to report the issue.”

6. What should I consider before buying a small air compressor?

  • “The main considerations you’ll need to make before buying a tire inflator include maximum PSI output, power requirements, size, brand, warranty and price. All of these factors are important if you’re to find a compressor that meets your specific needs.”


Finding the best air compressor requires identifying specific features which would be necessary to ensure that the unit works as necessary. For example, if you own several vehicles and other inflatable products, you’ll need a powerful inflator that can be powered using both AC and DC outlets. This means that you might have to go through several tire inflator reviews to identify the best models available today.

From the five products we’ve featured in this review, you can see that each unit has its own unique features and design. It’s these differences that you need to look at when comparing among different tire inflators and deciding which to invest in.

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