What is the best portable air compressor for trucks? A portable air compressor will save you from any troubles with your truck tire both in on-road and off-road situations. However, to be on a really safe side, you have to select a reliable and a handy tool. The air compressor for trucks should be strong enough to refill the larger tires up to the required pressure levels within a short and uninterrupted runtime. For better convenience most of the models are offered with backlit LCD displays. Besides it should have an auto-shutoff function, and a pressure gauge to enhance the safety and accuracy of use. VIAIR 400P air compressor includes all the above-mentioned features and even more!

Aside from reliability, it has an impressive performance. It can refill tires up to 35 inches, with a max working pressure of 150 PSI and an air flow of 2.3 CFM. These ratings contribute to the stability and quickness of the inflating process. This model has a duty cycle of 33% at 100PSI, that is, 20 minutes of a continuous operation before it has to be cool down.

It also features a tire inflation gun, a pressure gauge, an auto-shutoff, an air hose, multiple useful accessories, and a carry bag. Indeed, everything that you might need is right in the box; it means no extra costs to bear!

Why do you need a portable air compressor for trucks?

Tire puncture or flat tires are not something unexpected for the experienced drivers. In this regard, they have a binding rule of ensuring an air compressor within reach before starting the engine. The commonly used tool should be relatively lightweight and compact, providing the possibility to find enough storage space in your vehicle for it. Although such air compressors are small-size units they have to deliver enough power to handle hefty tire inflation easily and quickly.

In case of damage of the truck tire, the only right and efficient rescue option will be usage of a specific heavy-duty air compressor. Otherwise, this procedure will take a vast amount of time and a lot of efforts.

For instance, truck tire inflation with a weak and unsuitable compressor will bring no result at all. Thus, choosing the right portable air compressor for a truck is not an easy thing, as it seems to be. More than that, it will require plenty of various preliminary considerations from your side. So, let’s make the process easier for you!

How does it work? | The Essentials

As soon as you have activated your air compressor, it starts to suck the atmospheric air. Then the latter is exposed to compression by means of an integrated pump with further storage in a tank. As the air flow is coming from the compressor to drive air tools or inflate tires, the pressure level in the tank is gradually decreasing, and the motor is automatically reactivated by a pressure sensor and on/off switch. The motor starts the pump each time until the pressure reaches a preset level in the tank.

PSI and CFM generated by the portable air compressor are important factors influencing the result of inflation. The pressure required for the tires of your vehicle is usually specified by the manufacturer. Every new vehicle will have a pressure rating label located on the driver’s side door jamb. Otherwise, the correct tire pressure may be found in the user manual or from a local dealer’s service center.

Knowing the value you can avoid over- or under inflation, contributing to the safe and long-lasting life service of the tires.

CFM or cubic feet per minute is the most important measurement unit for a portable air compressor for truck tires. It shows how much air a compressor can deliver in a particular period of time. When filling a large cross-country truck tire, you would mostly appreciate if it takes as less time as possible. As truck tires are larger than those of the cars, they need bigger air volume to be blown into.

PSI or pounds per square inch is less important metric for a portable air compressor, because most truck tires rarely need more than 50-55 PSI. Every light duty pump can reach these volumes. Just bear in mind, it’s better to inflate quickly your tires to the right pressure than to generate an extra high pressure for a long period of time.

Portable air compressors for car and truck tires, how do they differ?

Overall, these tools have the same concept of operation and do not differ from each other considerably. However, the only difference is in the power ratings. For car tire inflation, a small compressor with as little as 1 CFM really does its job even when inflating flat tires.

Filling the truck tires requires higher PSI and CFM depending on the model of vehicle, type of cargo it is designed to transport and weight.

In fact, truck tires may be inflated with relatively big and heavy-duty air compressors. In average, the best portable air compressor should be able to deliver at least 1 – 2 CFM to inflate the large truck tires.

What to look for when buying a portable air compressor for trucks?

Below I have summarized the main features to bear in mind when searching for the best air compressor for truck tire inflation.


The features and specifications of a unit you are going to buy are highly important for considerations. Choose the one with more CFM and PSI, and other parameters which directly affect the efficiency of large tire inflation of different heavy-duty vehicles starting from RVs to off-highway trucks. If you are looking for a commercially oriented compressor, you would better select an option with larger tank. The latter will allow you operating the compressor for extended periods with the more intensive air flow which is critical for truck tire inflation.


It refers to the amount of time taken to cool down the air compressor entirely after each use.

For instance, if your air compressor has a 100% duty cycle, it means that the unit can be operated continuously without any breaks.


Tire pressure gauge is designed for checking the tire pressure, so you can easily inflate or deflate tires to the optimal pressure level as soon as it is needed.


This is of less importance for operation of air compressors for tire inflation purposes only, as most of the models come with an adapter which can be plug into the cigarette lighter of your vehicle. From the other side, it could be very useful to have both DC and AC adapters enclosed, as the air compressors for truck tires can be used for household purposes as well. Otherwise you can buy such adapter additionally. Besides, currently there are many options which are powered by rechargeable batteries.

The perfect air compressor for your truck should be suitable for any of the above-mentioned power supply.


The stability technology will ensure desired durability of your portable air compressor. It is possible due to the ability to absorb vibrations and stay in one place while you are inflating your truck tires.

Besides as it will contribute to less vibrations, the noise level will be also reduced, which is always an advantage.


Since it is necessary to check the readings when inflating the tire, it’s preferable to choose the air compressor with a large LCD display. The LED lightening should be sufficient enough for a convenient use during night hours or under bad lights.


Right of the bat, the size and type of compressor you choose to buy is pegged on how deep you are willing to dig into your wallet.

You should realize that the more powerful and versatile an air compressor, the more expensive it may be. This simple cause-and-effect is pretty clear. However, you shouldn’t stick to this point. Instead, you should buy the one that is capable to handle your needs. Rely on trusted manufacturers, reviews, your own experience and this Buyer’s Guide, and you will definitely succeed in making the right choice!

How to define the right pressure for truck tires?

Trucks are usually classified differently than passenger cars due to the fact that they are designed for heavy duty work. They divided into two categories: light and heavy.

Light trucks like SUVs, pickups and RVs usually carry passengers like regular cars. The difference is that they have an off-road capability since their tires are designed for rough terrain.

Heavy trucks like fire trucks, buses, dump trucks, agricultural vehicles, tankers, etc., are designed for deal with heavier cargos. Their tires are also of the off-road type.

Thus the average tire pressure in a truck tire varies from model to model. It depends on the travelling speed of a vehicle, the type of cargo, and the environment in which it will travel. According to the Society of Automotive Engineers the average pressure in a truck tire can range from 30 to 100 PSI.

Best portable air compressors for trucks

1. VIAIR 400P - Best Heavy-duty

VIAIR Corporation, was established in 1998. Nowadays it manufactures a wide range of 12-volt and 24-volt DC air compressors and air accessories for medium-, heavy-duty, and industrial applications worldwide. It’s headquartered in Irvine, California.

Viair 400P is a portable model with its functioning in automatic mode. The unit comes with an onboard pressure switch which shuts off the compressor as soon as 145 PSI is reached.

It is delivered with a quick-to-attach adapter to any 12-volt power source. This 33% duty cycle unit can be continuously operated for up to 20 minutes at 100 PSI before it needs to cool down.

This air compressor has a range of useful attachments, such as a close-ended gas station-style air gun, which can be stored in a superior bag included in the scope of supply.

The 400P model is a portable compression system, complete with 200 PSI air pressure gauge to enhance accuracy of it use. Its heavy duty sand tray with vibration isolators contributes to its stability while operation and consequently to better reliability. Besides the compressor includes a kit of 3 inflation tips which makes it applicable for various tasks.


  • Pressure Max (PSI): 150
  • Air flow (CFM): 2.3
  • Type: Corded
  • Weight (lbs): 8.50
  • Dimensions (L x W x H) (in): 11.25 x 4.00 x 7.00

Pros & Cons

Pros: Cons:
  • Anti-vibration system
  • Versatile
  • High air flow
  • Automatic shut-off
  • Light-weight
  • Oil-free design
  • Getting hot during operation
  • High cost

This model is in a league of its own when it comes to portable air compressors for truck tire inflation. It is delivered with everything you need in the box. This is not a cheap option but it is of the top quality.

Last update on 2022-12-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

VIAIR 400P: Check the current price

2. VIAIR 00088 88P

As one of the leading manufacturer of the power tools on the US market, Viair has a wide range of portable air compressors which are suitable for truck tires. It gives you a great opportunity to choose from the multiple options made by one of the most trusted brands. In case if you want some lighter and less expensive option than the previous one, VIAIR 00088 will certainly meet your demands.

This model is offered with 25% duty cycle, which is enough for an efficient inflation of smaller truck tires before the required break for cooling down. It's suitable for small ATVs, trucks, SUVs, and sedans with up to 33-inch tires.

Due to its power ratings available, it can pump up the tires of your vehicle at a very quick rate.

It comes with LED indicator, a 10ft power cord, a 16 ft air hose and a 3-piece tip kit for various applications.


  • Pressure Max (PSI): 120
  • Air flow (CFM): 1.47
  • Type: Corded
  • Weight (lbs): 4.5
  • Dimensions (L x W x H) (in): 6.8×6.2×10.8

Pros & Cons

Pros: Cons:
  • Accurate gauge
  • High-quality battery clamps
  • Lightweight
  • Less expensive
  • For smaller truck tires only
  • Getting quite hot during operation

I recommend this reliable compressor for those who have a smaller truck. Besides it would be a great choice as your extra portable budget tool from the trusted manufacturer.

Last update on 2022-12-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

VIAIR 00088: Check the current price


Porter-Cable was founded in 1906 in Syracuse, New York. The company is focusing on manufacture of the power tools. They are known for pioneering the portable belt sander, helical-drive circular saw, and portable band saw. Besides it belongs to Stanley Black & Decker.

The Porter-Cable CMB15 with its 150 PSI max, delivers 2.0 CFM at 90 PSI allowing quicker inflating time. The 1.5 gallon tank is fully shrouded enhancing its reliability and provides protection from hot or moving parts. It is capable for storage of more air in the tank for a longer uninterrupted runtime. Its durable oil-free pump requires no maintenance.

It has a low noise level of 79 dBA for a quieter work environment.

This model includes a 25-Feet hose and 8-attachment kit which allows performance of a number of inflation tasks.


  • Pressure Max (PSI): 150
  • Air flow (CFM): 2.0
  • Type: Corded
  • Weight (lbs): 20
  • Dimensions (L x W x H) (in): 15.5 x 13.2 x 20.5

Pros & Cons

Pros: Cons:
  • Oil free pump
  • Quiet
  • No maintenance is required
  • Easy-to-start at low temperatures
  • Low quality attachments
  • No onboard storage compartment for the hose

If you're searching for an oilless and maintenance-free air compressor, then this would be a perfect option for you as it will help to make your life easier. Besides its bigger volume tank will ensure longer continuous operation thus making fulfillment of the inflation tasks faster.

Last update on 2022-12-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

PORTER-CABLE: Check the current price


Kensun, Inc. appeared on the US market in 2009. Their most popular products include vehicle headlights such as HID and Xenon bulbs. Besides, the company manufactures tire inflators, such as the Kensun AC/DC Portable Air Compressor.

This powerful highly portable air compressor is one of the best user-friendly options in terms of its simplicity in operation.

This Kensun model is capable to work by 110-volt (AC) and 12-volt (DC) power sources, so you can use it both by connecting to the cigarette lighter of your vehicle, and to the regular power outlet at your premises. The clamps and their cords are packed in the onboard compartments.

The unit comes with the analog gauge to monitor the current pressure level.

The other benefit of this Kensun air compressor is that it is really lightweight and compact.

In addition, this tire inflator comes with two accessory tips. They can be used for pumping up sports balls and other inflatables.


  • Pressure Max (PSI): 120
  • Air flow (CFM): 0.7
  • Type: Corded
  • Weight (lbs): 3.38
  • Dimensions (L x W x H) (in): 11.8 x 4.3 x 6.7

Pros & Cons

Pros: Cons:
  • AC and DC power cords
  • Lightweight
  • Affordable price
  • Low air flow
  • Short cords

This model is highly compact and handy. I would recommend it for those who values quality with no considerable affect to the budget.

KENSUN: Check the current price

5. RYOBI P737 18-VOLT

The Ryobi Tools is a well-known brand in the US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, which is owned by Techtronic Industries, Hong Kong, an original equipment manufacturer for brands such as Craftsman, Milwaukee, AEG, Ryobi, etc. Ryobi Die Casting, USA, is a Shelbyville, Indiana manufacturer of goods for the automobile industry.

A trusted brand in the power tools industry, offers a cordless tire inflator. RYOBI P737 makes you independent from any cords. Thus you can easily reach the tires of your vehicle, and use it inside or outside.

This battery-powered unit fits to the Ryobi ONE+ battery system. It means that the batteries are interchangeable.

A pressure gauge is integrated to enhance the accuracy of measurements.

This model is more compact than most its counterparts. It comes with an ergonomic pistol grip handle for easy use and transport.

This inflator is versatile as it is delivered with high-pressure nozzles for different applications.


  • Pressure Max (PSI): 150
  • Air flow (CFM): 0.95
  • Type: Cordless
  • Weight (lbs): 2.5
  • Dimensions (L x W x H) (in): 9 x 2.9 x 6.4

Pros & Cons

Pros: Cons:
  • Cordless
  • Compatible with Ryobi’s ONE+ batteries
  • Onboard storage compartment
  • Does not include battery
  • Gauge readings are not precisely accurate

This is the right choice for you among a wide range of cordless and ergonomic air compressors. Besides it is convenient and easy to use.

Last update on 2022-12-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

RYOBI: Check the current price

10 Best-Selling portable air compressors for trucks Comparative Table


How to check the pressure using the air compressor?
Most of the popular air compressors are offered with a pressure gauge included.

Once you place the tool on your tire’s valve and push the button, you should get a reading of an amount of pressure. Besides you will be able to monitor the pressure build-up during the inflating process to get the accurate level needed.

What is the benefit of air compressors with digital displays?
A compressor with an LCD display is designed for more convenience. Clear readings in different metrics, which can be selected from the list, are displayed on the screen. Besides the LED lights allow using the unit even at night or at a low light.

How to connect and store the air hose?
In order to connect an air hose to your tire, remove the valve stem caps on the latter and install the air chuck of the hose for further refilling.

The air hoses of good air compressors are usually made of rubber and brass. They are flexible and durable enhancing their long service life. Thus, it is quite simple to store them whether in an onboard compartment of your air compressor or in a storage bag together with other attachments included.

What other accessories do air compressors for truck tires have?
If you want to use your tool for other needs than tire inflation, than you should foresee specific attachments and adapters. With them you will be able to inflate other stuff depending on the capabilities of your compressor, starting from bicycle tires, balls or inflatable toys to some of pneumatic tools at your garage. It’s better to purchase the accessories from the same manufacturer to avoid any discrepancies.

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