Man using portable air compressor for an inflated tire

Best Portable Car Air Compressors for 2023

A portable car air compressor is a must-have for anyone who drives around town or long distances. They are a convenient and affordable tool you can keep in your vehicle to inflate tires and much more. Keep in mind that tire maintenance is more than just a safety issue. Tires with the correct air pressure grip the road better for a smoother ride and help your car break faster. Improperly inflated tires won’t last as long as they should and can negatively impact fuel economy. 

Can’t you just check your tire pressure and inflate the tires at a gas station? Of course—as long as there’s one around when you need it. But what happens when you’re out on the road and need air? Or you’re adventuring off-road in your Jeep? If you’ve been proactive and have a car air compressor on board already, you blow up the tires and keep rolling. If you haven’t, you better hope you have cell service! Don’t let this happen to you. Here’s all you need to know about buying a car air compressor and our portable air compressor reviews.   

Portable Car Air Compressor Buying Guide

A good way to begin your air compressor comparison is by considering the features that are important to you. A tire pressure gauge, for example, is a must-have feature if you’ll be inflating tires. The power source of your air compressor is a factor, too. 

The best portable air compressors for tires must be compact and easy to use, and most available today meet those criteria. But when you have hundreds of options, how do you choose the right one for you? A handheld configuration is convenient, and so is a work light for working in the dark. A digital air pressure gauge and auto-shutoff are also desirable features. You’ll also want to look for air compressors with a 12-volt plug and securable valve connectors. 

With our wish list of car air compressor features in mind, here are our top five options to keep the wheels rolling. 

Top 5 Best Portable Air Compressors for Cars


Small but mighty, the Fortem digital tire inflator is lightweight but can inflate up to 150 psi. The 12-volt cigarette lighter power source provides plenty of versatility, and the 14-foot cables allow access to all four tires. The air compressor also features auto-shutoff, a LED work light, and a full one-year warranty. Thanks to the different sized nozzles, the Fortem is also handy for blowing up inflatables around the house. The portable car tire inflator includes a handy carrying bag and is available in several trendy colors. 


The Avid cordless tire inflator offers numerous desirable features at a highly competitive price point. Primarily powered by a 20V battery, the tire inflator can also be powered by your car’s 12V outlet. The easy-to-read digital readout, rubberized pistol grip, and variety of adaptors make the Avid cordless tire inflator simple and comfortable to use. Featuring auto-shutoff, a work light, and a compact size, the Avid may be the best portable air compressor for tires for budget-minded drivers. 


Trusted by DIYers and pros for generations, Black+Decker makes dependable, quality tools like the Black+Decker BDINF20C. The air compressor is one of the most versatile when it’s time to power up, featuring 12V DC, 120V AC, and 20V Max Battery options. The Black+Decker makes tire inflation easy with a large, bright digital display and is small enough to take anywhere. The versatility and power also make the air compressor ideal for blowing up sports balls, pools, and much more. 


The Dewalt DCC020IB 20 V Max Inflator is a high-pressure inflator featuring auto shutoff, three power sources, and a deflation mode. The controls are super easy to use thanks to the rotating dial and illuminated digital display. Rubber feet cut down on vibration and movement, and the threaded chuck provides a secure inflation connection. Because the inflator can be powered by a Dewalt 20V battery, your vehicle, or a household outlet, the unit is ideal for inflating camping mattresses, mower tires, and more. 


When you’re looking for a heavy-duty air compressor for your vehicle, look no further than the Slime portable air compressor. Thanks to the dual-cylinder design, the inflator can inflate a car tire in as little as two minutes! Not only is the Slime a versatile portable air compressor for car tires, the bright LED work light, available 150 PSI, and auto shutoff make the Slime convenient and easy to use. Included multi-purpose adaptors also make the unit ideal for all your household inflation needs. 

As long as you do your homework and are realistic about using an air compressor, this handy guide should give you more than enough options for a portable car air compressor. You’ll find the unit that will get the job done in the end and enjoy portable, on-demand air whenever you need it. 

Shane Vossough

There are good reasons people will buy their next used car in Tucson from Car Time Supercenter. But I think we are one of the most trusted used car dealerships mainly because we treat everyone like family. My family has provided quality, dependable local used cars to Tucson customers since 1984, and I'm proud to be a part of our continued success. Like many family-owned businesses, I grew up going to work with my dad. Falling in love with cars was natural because of my father's passion, and eventually, I came to love the car business just like him. I officially joined the Car Time Supercenter team in 2012, starting in the finance department. Over the past decade, I've learned the used car business and how to treat customers from my family and industry resources. Today, I oversee marketing, social media, inventory, and reconditioning, so I play an essential role in delivering local Tucson used car buyers the best experience possible. I also help our family business keep up with the times while providing old-fashioned customer service. From attending NADA classes to becoming Allstate certified for back-end products, I continue to learn and add skills to serve our customers better.