A Mini air compressor can come in handy in many situations, from inflating tires to blowing up pools and toys. 

The market is flooded with many generic options, which makes it hard to decide on the best option. When shopping for a mini air compressor, the primary criteria is the weight of the unit. The second factor is power (max PSI and CFM).  

Every compressor in the list below is not only a mini air compressor but also a portable air compressor. However, based on our research, Viair 45043 portable 12-volt air compressor is the best mini air compressor. For more choices, read on.

Note: If you like the portability but would like more power check out the portable compressors post or the small air compressors post.

Best Mini Air Compressors

Product nameCFMMax PSIWeight
EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump1.0670 PSI 3.8 lbs
Viair 4503 Auto Function 
1.80150 PSI13.05 lbs
VIAIR 85P Portable Air Compressor 1.26 60 psi 1 lb
ARB CKMP120.64 90 PSI16 lbs
Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 4.290 PSI 81 lbs

1. EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump – Cheapest Option

Our number one pick is the EPAuto 12v DC Portable Air Compressor Pump. This device is a plug-in portable air compressor that we find is perfect for car tires.

Not only does it run relatively quiet, but it also offers convenience with an automatic shut-off that activates when it reaches the pressure you need.

This compressor also features four easy to read displays that show psi, kpa (Kilopascal), bar, and kg/cm (kg force x centimetre distance).

It has a compact and lightweight design weighing less than 4 pounds and taking up less space than most of our other recommendations. It also has a 9ft cord with a 2.5ft filler and is affordable for the work it can do.

We wish that it had a quick-connect valve connector rather than a screw-in. We also noticed that it isn’t ideal for inflating truck tires and the unit doesn’t seem to fit very well in the accompanying carry bag. You can purchase the EPAuto 12v DC Portable Air Compressor for less than $100.

Pros

  • Quiet operation
  • Automatic shut-off
  • Compact and lightweight design

Cons

  • Screw-in Valve Connector
  • Not ideal for truck tires
  • The carry bag isn’t very useful
Sale
EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump, Digital Tire...
  • Convenience: Plug directly into Cigarette Lighter Socket of your Vehicle. 12VDC, 10 to 15 amps, 120 to 180W. Equipped with 12V-DC Cigarette Lighter Socket Plug, NOT 110V AC plug.
  • Multiple Uses: Inflate tires on cars, bikes, sedan and midsize SUV. (Engine size under 3.5 liter) Universal valve connector for schrader valve is ready to use. Additional adapters include needles value (for basketball, balls), short cone/long cone adapters (for inflatable kayak, swimming pool accessories, etc)
  • Capacity: Does NOT Support truck tires, for instance: light truck tires (LT), heavy duty truck tires or any truck tires.

2. Viair 45043  Portable Compressor – Most Powerful

The Viair 45043 portable 12-volt air compressor meets the demands for a large truck tire emergency portable air compressor. The features list is a clear picture of what you can expect from the Viair 45043 air compressor.

While most mini air compressors only reach a max of 70 psi, this unit has an impressive 150 max psi and 1.80 CFM. 

From emergency air compressors for your personal vehicle to hard-mounted air compressors for RV’s and commercial vehicles, Viair can supply them all. Viair even has a specialized set of compressors for the custom car industry made specifically to supply air suspension systems.

The Viair line of 12-volt portable air compressors is some of the best on the market.  When shopping for a portable emergency air compressor, there are several features that you should expect.

Reliable

You certainly don’t want to be stuck with a flat or low tire in a remote location or far from the nearest auto shop with a q12-volt air compressor that won’t run or won’t develop enough pressure to properly re-inflate your time.

Airflow 

Many inexpensive 12-volt air compressors may eventually inflate your tire, but it may take an hour or more because they just can’t deliver the airflow at the required pressures.

Duty Cycle 

Duty Cycle is the percentage of time a tool should be run between off times.  For example, a tool rated with a 60% duty cycle could only be run for 36 minutes each hour and would need to be turned off for the other 24 minutes.

Features

  • Thermal overload protector
  • Diamond Plate Sand Tray
  • Quick connection air hose with heat shield
  • Professional style large truck tire inflator
  • Dual compartment carry bag
  • 40-amp inline fuse
  • Dual battery clamps
  • Duty Cycle of 100% at 100psi
  • Maximum working pressure 150psi
  • Weighs only 13.05 lbs.
  • Power cord length of 8ft.
  • Hose length is 30ft.

Automatic Function

One downside to most 12-volt compressors is the need to start and stop the compressor manually when changing tires or checking air pressure during inflation.

The Viair 45043 comes with an automatic function that turns the air compressor off if you are not actively filling a tire with air. This saves wear and tear on the air compressor and makes filling multiple tires more convenient.

3. VIAIR 85P Portable Air Compressor

The VIAIR 85P Portable Air Compressor joins our list at number four. This plug-In compressor is a great mid-range option for most common household needs.  Motorcyclists will enjoy this unit since it offers fast inflation times when used as an air compressor for motorcycles.

The compact design is also the lightest weight on our list and boasts a maximum working pressure of 60psi. We enjoy the built-in heat sink that keeps the unit from running too hot. It also has a 10ft power cord, a 3ft air hose, and an LED work light as great extras.

The problems we noticed include how the LED light is not very strong. The pressure gauge readings are not always correct. Also, the unit is more for filling tires and isn’t very good at handling flats. 

What We Like 

  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Built-in heat sink
  • Fast inflation times

What We Didn’t Like 

  • The LED light is weak
  • Pressure gauge readings are sometimes off
  • Not ideal for flat tires
VIAIR 85P Portable Air Compressor , Black
  • Rated best tire inflator for most drivers by prominent product review websites!
  • 12 VOLT - 60PSI Max Working Pressure, engine must be running during use.
  • 1.26CFM Free Flow @ 0 PSI

4. Viair 00073 70P – The Best Small Electric Air Compressor

Viair’s 70P is the best small electric air compressor that our testers could find online. Its best application is as a tire inflator, and it can inflate tires of up to 225/60/R18 in size.

All you have to do is plug it into your cigarette lighter power port (Max: 15A/180W), connect it to a valve stem and turn it on!

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Switch Off to Read Pressure

While pumping up your vehicle’s tires, you can monitor the pressure using the gauge on top of the unit, but please note that to read the air pressure, you have to switch this compressor off.

The manufacturer recommends that you should always check your vehicle’s power port rating for maximum amperage before ordering this product. 

Includes Adapters For Everything But Presta

We found out that the 70P does not fit on Presta bicycle valves unless used with a Presta valve adapter. The unit comes with a sixteen-feet power cord and a four-feet hose and weighs just over 5 lbs.

Also included in the box is a carry bag and a brass twist-on tire chuck. This small air compressor has an electric motor with a thirty-minute duty cycle at 30 PSI (Pound per Square Inch).

It is capable of generating maximum working pressure and has a maximum amperage/watt draw of 15 Amps at 180 Watts. This air compressor has a wide operating temperature range between -4°F and +158°F.

Turn Your Engine On

It runs on a 12 volt DC supply, and the engine must be running during use. This applies to all car powered air compressors. If you don’t turn your engine on, you might end up draining your card battery.

Pros

  • Thermal overload protection
  • Vibration Isolators
  • Deluxe carry bag

Cons

  • Does not fit on Presta bicycle valves
Viair 00073 70P Heavy Duty Portable Compressor
  • 12 VOLT - 100 PSI Maximum Working Pressure, engine must be running during use.
  • 1.06CFM Free Flow @ 0 PSI
  • Deluxe carry bag included

5. Viair 00088 88P Portable Air CompressorBest Small Portable Air Compressor

Storage space can be a premium in some vehicles, especially some small ATV’s or motorcycles. Still, there can be times when you need a compressor that can do a big job, but you need it in that small package.

All too often, the small compressors with the cigarette lighter plugs just can’t get the job done.  The Viair 00088 88P compact portable air compressor is small and lightweight. Don’t let its size fool you.

This is no discount store cigarette lighter plug air compressor. The little machine packs features and performance that some bigger air compressors are hard-pressed to meet. Viair doesn’t skimp n features, even on its smallest and lightest portable air compressors.

  • 12-volt operation
  • Max pressure 120psi
  • Small footprint – 9.8” L x 3.2” W x 5.6” H
  • Weighs only 4.75 lbs.
  • 10-foot power cord
  • 16 ft air hose included
  • Built-in 120 psi pressure gauge
  • LED work light 
  • Dual battery clamps
  • Solid brass twist on air chuck
  • Three-piece inflator accessory kit.
  • 0.64cfm at 90psi 

The Problem with Heat

Compressing air creates heat.  In a small compressor, the heat can cause problems. Most small compressors don’t have the means to dissipate that heat fast enough to provide long duty cycles.

Large air compressors can incorporate lots of cooling fin area and fans to drive air across the top of the air pump cylinder. Small compressors lack these features. In the case of the Viair 88P portable air compressor, the cylinder head has generous colling fins and the aluminium alloy is capable of quickly dissipating heat.

This alloys a longer duty cycle than most comparable ultra-small air compressors. The Viair offers a duty-cycle of  25 minutes. With the capability of filling a 225/60R18 tires to 30psi in a minute, you will never have problems with heat or duty cycle when you carry the Viair 88P in your vehicle.

Viair 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor
  • 12 VOLT - 120PSI Max Working Pressure, engine must be running during use.
  • 1.47CFM Free Flow @ 0 PSI.Max. Amp Draw: 20 Amps
  • Portable air compressor powered via alligator clamps direct to battery.

6. Dynaplug Micro Pro Inflator – The Best Small Air Compressor For Your UTV

UTV’s (Utility Task Vehicles) are off-road vehicles that can seat between two and people. Some larger models can seat up to six people.

UTVs Best Friend

UTV’s are generally constructed for rougher terrain, on which they still have enough power to haul massive loads. These workhorses have massive tires, which need to be pumped up every once in a while.

Extremely Durable

After a long and thorough search, our tireless experts picked out a special air compressor – the formidable Micro Pro Inflator by Dynaplug. This unique device comprises features that are an industry first. 

It is a small but durable tire-inflation system that would meet and surpass your anticipations!  This is a powerful and extremely lightweight tire inflator that can deliver steady and reliable airflow. 

Highly Versatile

It will quickly and easily inflate all UTV (Utility Task Vehicle) tire models, thanks to its zero-Loss inflation valve. The inflator comes with a polyurethane heavy-duty air hose, and a bright LED (Light Emitting Diode) work light.

The four different types of power cords mean that you’ll always be able to connect to the power grid, no matter where you are. All components of this unit fit neatly into the zipper case, which is made of ultra-strong ballistic nylon.

Made in The USA

This mini air compressor was reviewed and favored by Rider Magazine. Its the most compact 12-volt air compressor and its packaged in a durable ABS case.

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Its got a decently accurate air guide that can read up to 100 PSI and runs on anything between 12 14.8 volts DC. Dynaplug is located in Chico, California, and proudly manufactures all of its components in the United States of America.

Pros

  • Delivers incredible inflating power for its small size
  • Manufactured with unrivaled precision
  • Can be operated at night thanks to its LED (Light Emitting Diode) light

Cons

  • Only one year of the limited warranty
Dynaplug Ultra Compact 12 volt Tire Inflator - Micro Pro...
  • OVERVIEW: Reviewed in RIDER MAGAZINE. Designed and engineered by Dynaplug, small/robust package delivers efficient, reliable performance to quickly and easily inflate tires when you're on the go.
  • FEATURES: Most compact 12-volt system packaged in an ABS case; polyurethane air hose with zero-loss valve stem connector; real-time pressure measurement. 100PSI, 12-14.8VDC, 4.5AMP @ 40psi.
  • INCLUDED IN THIS DEAL: Inflator, coiled air hose, 4-power cords, zippered case, pencil gauge (reads in PSI and BAR).

7. ARB (CKMP12) 12V High-PerformanceMini Air Compressor for Off-Roading

Off-roading is one of the most popular past times in the US. No matter whether you are running a high-performance ATV or a full-sized 4×4, you know that air pressure in your tires can be a huge issue depending on the conditions and terrain you are trying to traverse.

Being able to adjust air pressure can be vital at times. Removing air from tires is no problem. Adding air pressure back can be an issue unless you have the forethought to include a top-notch 12volt air compressor in your kit.

ARB is well known in the off-road world as the producer of quality 12-volt compressors designed just for rough country use. The ARB CKMP12 is the perfect addition to your off-road tool kit to ensure that you have air anywhere you might find yourself.  

Features

  • Sealed construction for moisture and dust resistance
  • The cylinder bore is hard anodized for less friction
  • Carbon fiber piston seals
  • Equipped with an overpressure safety valve
  • Internal thermal protection for the motor
  • Inline fuse protection
  • Comes packed in a hard style case
  • 19 ft air hose
  • Fittings kit for all your compressed air applications
  • Includes a washable air filter element
  • Available accessories include an air tank and a mounting kit

Keeping things in place in your all-terrain vehicle, no matter the vehicle size is always a problem. Rough country can soon have parts and tools rattling around and scattered around the vehicle no matter how diligent your efforts to contain it. 

Chose your Options

The ARB CKMP12 comes in two different configurations. The portable unit comes with a hard storage case that resembles a plastic toolbox. All the loose parts, air hose, and compressor fit into the box. A hard box is much easier to strap down to a vehicle than a soft-sided case.

You can opt to purchase the ARB CKMP12 as a hard-mounted kit. The kit comes with the compressor, the wiring loom, air hose, and all the extra attachments. Once mounted, you never have to worry about being without a compressor or having a box or bag full of compressor and parts sliding and banging around your off-road vehicle.

ARB (CKMP12) 12V High Performance Portable Air Compressor
  • Compressor housed in a durable carry case for easy storage and versatility
  • Sealed for moisture and dust resistance; washable sintered bronze air filter element housed in a splash resistant cover
  • Hard anodized cylinder bore; Teflon impregnated carbon fiber piston seal for reduced friction and maximum trouble free life

8. Ninja Jet – The Best Small Tankless Air Compressor

Iwata’s Studio Series Ninja Jet compressor is powerful, compact, and quiet. Its oil-less piston motor requires almost no maintenance, and its retail price is quite reasonable.

Great For Making Cakes

This product is built to work with the finest airbrushes made by Iwata. They are used for nail art or decoration of gigantic wedding cakes. The low-pressure option allows you to use this compressor for body art and cosmetics.

We were a bit disappointed to find out that this particular model comes without a built-in air pressure gauge.

Allow a Cool Down Period

This small air compressor by Iwata is suitable for mobile or occasional use for up to 30-minute sessions. You should allow the motor to rest for at least 20 minutes after each cycle of continuous use.

The compressor also comes with a built-in airbrush holder and a pressure adjustment knob. Its 10-foot coiled vinyl hose is designed for high flexibility and durability in mind. This air compressor includes an airbrush holder, which is a nice touch.

Build Strong

Build quality is no issue with this air compressor. It has an excellent metal design that feels sturdy and reliable in hand. Its carry handle is in the center, so it feels well balanced when being transported.

Iwata-Medea Studio Series Ninja Jet Single Piston Air...
  • Zero-maintenance, oil-less piston air compressor
  • High-strength polyurethane hose fits Iwata airbrushes
  • Includes a built-in airbrush holder and a carrying handle thats ready to go anywhere

What Are Mini Air Compressors

Best Mini Air CompressorMini Air compressors are handy devices to have around the house. Many compressors are built for job sites and construction work but portable mini air compressors are designed for everyday use. 

Compressor powered airbrushes make painting fences easier. Compressors are perfect for inflating tires, toys, and balls. Let’s not forget the many air tool options that DIY enthusiasts could use to speed up work with less stress and strain.

For all these reasons and more, it’s important to choose the right air compressor. But how do you know which compressor is right for you?

What Mini Air Compressors Are Good For?

When you are online at Amazon, eBay, or any other retailer looking for a mini air compressor 12v unit, you have a specific tool or purpose in mind. Many retailers will tell you that you should buy a compressor because it can handle heavier-duty jobs, but savvy shoppers will avoid buying more than they actually need, especially for in-home use.

If you want an air compressor to keep balls, inflatables, or toys inflated and pressurized, you’ll have different needs than a user who has work or hobbies that need air tools. As you’ll see when you see our top five list below, some mini air compressors are cheap and affordable because they are only for limited or emergency use.

Generally speaking, here are a few common household reasons for owning a mini air compressor.

  • You have in-home hobbies or jobs, such as painting, that require air tools to get the job done
  • For DIY projects faster, easier, and more professional

No matter why you are shopping for a new air compressor, it will likely fall into one of the above three reasons. Once you know why you want an air compressor, you can use that information to determine if you really need compressors with extras such as LED lights, automatic shut off, or extra hose connections.

The Efficiency of Mini Air Compressor 

We mentioned earlier why cfm, gallons, hp, and other ratings matter when selecting your mini air compressor. Compressors with lower horsepower ratings tend to reach their maximum cfm a lot slower than more powerful options.

This could spell the difference between minutes of waiting before you can do the work you need. Generally speaking, DIY experts will want higher hp, cfm, and will likely want compressors that feature higher gallons in their tanks.

Mini Air Compressor Are Ultra Quiet 

Many air tools and compressors generate a lot of noise. If you want to avoid disturbing your friends and family while you work, you will want to purchase quieter compressors.

For many shoppers, how a device sounds in operation is an important convenience consideration. That’s why most of our top five mini air compressors below are quiet during standard operation. 

You should also consider storage since you aren’t always going to be using your mini air compressor. Models range in size and weight from pocket-sized models that weight less than a few pounds to workhorse models that weigh close to 100 pounds.

The heavier models also tend to be larger, requiring more garage space. The top five list below also includes a chart that tells you the dimensions and weight of our chosen devices so you know what to expect.

How Do They Compare 

Whether you are shopping for an air compressor for tire filling or if you need a unit that can handle work on a construction site, there four things you should consider before you start shopping for compressors.

  • Know the exact ratings you need
  • Decide what you need an air compressor to do
  • Consider if the low-financial cost is worth extra time
  • Figure out where and how you will store your device when it’s not in use

Buyers Guide: What To Look For When Shopping For Mini Air Compressor 

The best way to shop smart for your mini air compressor is to be informed. That means knowing what ratings are important to look at, understanding what you actually need, and whether or not your compressor will be convenient to store or use.

Let’s dig in and see what that looks like. When you are shopping for any tool, there are certain key things that you need to know. Listed below are certain terms that you must check out first before making any purchasing decision.

Cubic Feet per Minute (cfm)

The CFM of an air compressor is the volume of air being delivered to the air tool. This rating is the most important in choosing a compressor.

Higher cfm ratings are better for larger jobs since they provide more air to tools. Some air compressors or air tools will offer a Standard cfm rating instead.

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This rating refers to the expected cfm under standard pressure and temperature conditions (68 degrees Fahrenheit and 36 percent humidity at sea level.)

Pounds per square inch (psi)

Psi is a measure of the air force delivered by air compressors. Air tools require a certain amount of psi to operate efficiently. Most air tools require psi of 40 to 90 to get the job done.

Gallons

Gallons refer to the tank size and are only important for tools requiring a constant flow of air. Examples include spray guns or sanders. Larger tanks let you do longer jobs before you have to pause to rebuild pressure in the tank.

Horsepower (hp) 

Horsepower is all about the capacity of the motor or engine driving the compressor pump. This rating directly influences cfm output. Generally speaking, higher hp generates greater cfm.

Judging By The Numbers 

mini air compressor GallonsWhen you’re shopping for a mini air compressor, you always have to keep in mind the ratings above.

We recommend that you shop for air compressors by looking at the tool you own with the highest scfm rating and purchase a compressor that has an output of 1.5 times the rating.

Let’s say you have a tool that requires 4.7scfm, you would want to purchase an air compressor that puts out at least 7.05 cfm. 

If you want a compressor that can supply multiple tools at once, add up all of the scfm ratings together then multiply them by 1.5 for the cfm you need. Our list is based on price, weight, usefulness, and ease of handling and storage.

Since most home users don’t want to deal with heavier models that take up a lot of garage space, the options we’ll post below are all designed with the average user in mind. You can read a brief excerpt of the coming reviews with the following chart.

Final Words 

Whether you work from home, enjoy DIY projects, or want to handle household chores fast, finding the right mini air compressor is important. These devices save you time and energy, increase the quality and professionalism of your work, and offer convenience and portability that can’t be denied.

Our recommendations during this shopping guide are based on what we believe the average home user needs. But there are a lot of choices on the market for compressors so it’s always a great idea to shop around.

Use this guide and our recommendations to help you make the best shopping decision for your needs. We hope this guide will get you started in making the best shopping choices for your budget and needs.

EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump, Digital Tire Inflator

$42.99
$29.87  in stock
1 new from $29.87
6 used from $25.56
Free shipping
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as of May 12, 2021 10:39 pm

Features

  • Convenience: Plug directly into Cigarette Lighter Socket of your Vehicle. 12VDC, 10 to 15 amps, 120 to 180W. Equipped with 12V-DC Cigarette Lighter Socket Plug, NOT 110V AC plug.
  • Multiple Uses: Inflate tires on cars, bikes, sedan and midsize SUV. (Engine size under 3.5 liter) Universal valve connector for schrader valve is ready to use. Additional adapters include needles value (for basketball, balls), short cone/long cone adapters (for inflatable kayak, swimming pool accessories, etc)
  • Capacity: Does NOT Support truck tires, for instance: light truck tires (LT), heavy duty truck tires or any truck tires.
  • Easy to Read: 4 Display Units: PSI, KPA, BAR, KG/CM; LED FLASHLIGHT: Bright Torch
  • Prevent Over Inflation: Auto shut off when reaching the desired tire pressure. Overheat protection shuts off automatically when overloading. USPTO Patent NO:D875,788

Last update on 2021-05-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API