Air compressors are the new every-project tool self-proclaimed handy people need in their garage. They can winterize your sprinkler system or provide the perfect amount of air for different parts of your car. What size air compressor do you need to fill truck tires?
Generally speaking, you should use an air compressor with a 20-gallon air tank and a PSI maximum of 50 for pick up trucks will be enough. Use an air compressor with a 50-gallon air tank and PSI maximum of 110 for larger commercial vehicles. A CFM of 10 will serve both. However, the truck’s size and PSI requirements will dictate what size compressor you need.
Every car is different, but knowing what size tire your truck has and what PSI is needed for inflation is key. This will give you a rough idea of what size air compressor you need to fill truck tires.
Keep reading to learn about different air compressors and their capabilities and how to fill up your truck tires. We’ll also go over the best compressors on the market!
- For Road Service Application for semi trucks, you should use truck mounted air compressors.
- For Pickup trucks and ATVs, you should use onboard air compressor.
Factors to Consider When Selecting an Air Compressor
An air compressor’s features determine how well it works and what sized projects it’s suitable for. Your truck will determine the necessary requirements.
The factors to consider when selecting an air compressor are:
- Vehicle size
- Air compressor PSI capability
- Air compressor tank size
- Air compressor cycle time
- Air compressor CFM rating
- Air compressor power cord length
Let’s get into the nitty-gritty details.
There are many truck sizes with different amounts of tires, from an everyday pickup truck to semi-trailers.
The size of your vehicle and its number of tires will determine the air compressor required. Generally speaking, the larger the tires are, the more powerful your compressor, the larger the tank size, and the longer the cycle time should be.
We’ll discuss all of these below!
Air Compressor PSI Capability
You can find out what PSI your tire needs for inflation by looking at the size of the tire on your truck.
Most vehicles will have tire PSI indicators and will notify you when tires are low. An average personal truck needs 36 PSI. Semi-trucks need a little more pressure at 95 PSI.
Knowing this number will help you determine if the compressor you’re considering can handle your needs, and it’s a good place to start!
Air Compressor Tank Size
The size of your air compressor’s tank will dictate its run-time and the PSI it’s able to output.
The bigger, the better; this will give you more range for what you can use the compressor for. Typically a mid-sized portable air compressor will suffice for a personal truck.
However, it really depends on the needs of your vehicle!
Air Compressor Cycle Time
Cycle times are typically measured by percentages.
The duty cycle percentage will determine how much downtime a compressor needs in between cycling. This will vary by compressor.
For example, if an air compressor has a 50% duty cycle, it can provide compressed air power for exactly one-half of its total cycle time.
Therefore, if the compressor cycles for a total of 6 minutes, you can use your machine for a duration of 3 minutes. Then, you will have to wait another 3 minutes before using the pressurized air again.
Air Compressor CFM Rating
The air compressor has to fill up 6.8 cubic feet of air in order to create 1 PSI.
This is where the CFM (cubic feet per minute) rating, as it relates to cycle time, comes into play. To calculate this, you take 6.8 cu ft and divide that by your machine’s CFM rating. Then multiply that by your desired PSI, and that number will tell you the time it takes to fill your tires!
For example, if your compressor has a CFM rating of 5, it will take roughly 49 minutes to fill to 36 PSI. The greater the CFM, the quicker you’ll be able to fill your truck tires. However, the duty cycle percentage will also contribute to this.
Unless you’re manufacturing your own truck (which is doubtful), it’s unlikely that you’ll ever have to fill tires from scratch. Moving up or down 3-5 PSI should only take a few minutes.
Air Compressor Power Cord Length
When filling tires, air compressor portability is key. If you have a larger machine without wheels, you’ll need a longer power cord to be able to move the machine outdoors and maneuver your car accordingly.
If your power cord isn’t long enough, you can use an extension cable. Just beware that the longer power has to travel to your machine, the more diluted it will be. Your air compressor may not be able to operate at its highest potential.
What Size Air Compressor Do I Need to Fill Truck Tires?
Filling your truck tires at home is a fairly easy feat if you have the right tools. So, what size compressor is necessary?
You should opt for an air compressor with an air tank of 20 gallons for a personal truck and 50 gallons or more for a semi-truck. Your machine should have a PSI of 110 or greater and a CFM rating of 10 or higher to serve both.
These capabilities will generate enough power and force to fill a truck’s (big or small) tires!
The 5 Best Air Compressors to Fill Truck Tires
There are a few standout compressors when it comes to filling truck tires.
The 5 best air compressors to fill truck tires are:
- Viair 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor
- GSPSCN Silver Air Compressor
- Asani Portable Air Compressor
- TIREWELL 12V Tire Inflator Air Compressor
- Kensun Portable Air Compressor
Each of these has features best fit for filling tires.
Viair 0008888P Portable Air Compressor
This air compressor is popular because of its small size but mighty capabilities.
The Viair compressor has a maximum pressure of 120 PSI, has 12 volts of power, and only weighs 4.5 pounds. It comes with attachment clips that allow it to be hooked up to your vehicle’s battery.
It’s the best option for small or industrial-sized trucks!
GSPSCN Silver Air Compressor
The GSPSCN comes with a collection of accessories, including alligator clips and a carrying bag. This makes it a versatile option for any car.
The GSPSCN air compressor has a high-pressure capability of 150 PSI, 12 volts of power, and has two cylinders to quickly pressurize air. It weighs about 5 pounds.
This model is an especially great option for a large vehicle like a 16-wheeler because of its quick motor and high PSI performance.
Asani Portable Air Compressor
The Asani Portable Air Compressor earns the third spot because it has a lifetime warranty.
Its power voltage is 12, and the PSI maximum is 150. It weighs 7 pounds, and it’s specifically marketed for off-road tires, trucks, trailers, and heavy SUVs.
Asani claims this air compressor is 4x faster than the rest!
TIREWELL 12V Tire Inflator Air Compressor
The TIREWELL compressor is a close fourth. It comes with a 3-year warranty.
This air compressor provides 150 PSI and 12 volts of power. Its standout feature is that it’s completely cordless and runs on the power from your cigarette lighter.
It weighs 8 pounds and is perfect for portable truck tire inflation.
Kensun Portable Air Compressor
Last but not least is the Kensun Portable Air Compressor.
This model is incredibly lightweight at just over 3 pounds. It produces 100 PSI and 120 watts of power.
The Kensun model is best used for smaller trucks and bicycles due to its limitations.
How to Fill Truck Tires with an Air Compressor
As long as you’re well-versed with your air compressor, filling your truck tires is easier to do at home than at the gas station.
Steps to fill truck tires with an air compressor:
- Power up your air compressor (via an outlet or your car battery).
- Allow for it to build air pressure and kick-off.
- Unscrew the cap on your first tire, and measure the PSI using a small PSI reading device.
- Attach your air compressor pump tubing to the nipple on your tire.
- Using the calculations above to determine the time it should take to move up 1 PSI, periodically use your pressure measuring device to check your progress.
- Once your tire is at optimal PSI, put the cap back on.
- Allow your compressor to recover appropriately in between cycles.
- Repeat for the rest of your tires.
The best part about filling your tires at home is that you never have to wait in line again!
The Final Takeaway
Be sure to consider the size and PSI requirements of your truck when you’re looking for an air compressor. What size air compressor do you need to fill truck tires?
If you have a smaller pickup with lower PSI needs, then we recommend an air compressor that has a 20-gallon tank and maximum pressure of 50 PSI. A larger commercial vehicle requires a 50-gallon tank and a PSI max of 110, if not higher.
To calculate how long it will take, use the equation above!