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Just like no one should travel without a sound spare tire, people should consider making a portable air compressor an essential part of their Jeep car kit as well—not only can they inflate your tires whenever needed, but they can also help you fix punctures in an emergency (such as when you’re off-road). They can also help when it comes to engaging air-locking differentials and help you re-bead a tire that has come off the rim. As an added benefit for 4×4 away ventures, they can even pump up your air mattress!
If you are seeking a reliable and portable air compressor, look no further. We have done the hard work for you and have given an in-depth bit of research on these seven best portable air compressors for Jeeps in 2022. First, let’s get up to speed with some of the air compressor terminology.
What to Look For in an Air Compressor For Your Jeep
The Duty Cycle of your Compressor
All air compressors are subjected to the heat created by pressurized air. The air that surrounds us is full of different molecules that release energy as heat when they are compressed and under pressure.
An air compressor’s duty cycle tells you how long the unit can run during an hour without having to cool down. The manufacturer can either express this as time—such as 25 minutes—or as a percentage, like 33 percent. A duty cycle of 25 minutes means that your air compressor can be run for 25 minutes out of 60 minutes, and it will need to rest the remaining 35 minutes. A duty cycle of 33% means that the compressor can run for a third of an hour (i.e., 20 minutes) before it needs to rest for the remainder of the hour.
The CFM Capacity
CFM is short for “cubic feet per minute,” and this measures how much air a portable compressor can send into a tire during inflation. Compressors with a higher CFM rating will inflate tires more quickly and draw more amperage from your vehicle.
This CFM level goes from the 0 PSI of a defeated tire and increases as the filling tire offers more resistance. That is why the Viair 400P has a 2.30 CFM at 0 PSI but only 1.54 at 60 PSI. When it comes to average 4×4 tires, a 20-minute duty cycle should be ample, unless you plan to share the compressor with more than one vehicle.
|Brand||Dimensions||Weight||Voltage||Maximum Continuous Cycle Time (Duty Cycle)||Includes|
|1. Smittybilt||16.1in. x 11.4in. x 10.8in.||20.3 lbs||12 Volts||40 minutes @ 40 psi||Pressure hose, carry bag||Shop Now|
|2. Viair 400P Portable compressor||11.25in. x 4.00in. x 7.00in.||8.5 lbs.||12 Volts||33% at 100 PSI||25-ft. air hose, Carry bag, 3-piece inflation tips, heavy-duty clamps||Shop Now|
|3. ARB (CKMP12) 12 Volt portable Air Compressor||17.32 x 9.84 x 8.66 inches||16 lbs.||12 Volts||50% @ 72 degrees Fahrenheit||19-ft. hose, quality hard case, two heavy-duty clamps||Shop Now|
|4. Tuff Stuff TS-150-CMP-XT Portable Air Compressor||13in. x 6in. x 9in.||12 lbs.||19 Volts||N/A||Hose, battery clamps, three air hose nozzles||Shop Now|
|5. Superflow 12 Volt MaxVolume Air Compressor||15.75in. x 11.5in. x 11.5in.||12 lbs.||12 Volt||20 minutes on, 20 minutes off||16-ft. coiled hose, 3-nozzle adaptor set, nylon carry case||Shop Now|
|6. GSPSCN Silver Tire Inflator Heavy Duty Double Cylinders||11.9in. x 9in. x 6in.||6.54 lbs.||12 Volts||20 minutes on, then rest for 10 minutes||11.5-ft. air hose with 11.5-ft. cigarette lighter power cord, carry case, 3 nozzle attachments||Shop Now|
You can air-up or air-down with this powerful and compact Smittybilt air compressor. It has an impressive 5 cubic feet per minute feed and the safety of an onboard circuit breaker to protect your car motor from damage.
The coiled 24-foot hose can easily reach all four wheels from your front bumper, and its anti-vibration rubberized feet prevent movement during operation. The duty cycle is not the longest on the market, but it makes up for it with a speed of 72 liters per minute.
This Smittybilt air compressor is sturdy and robust, and it has a solid construction, making it a dependable and sturdy alternative.
The Smittybilt 2781 5.65 CFM Universal Air Compressor At A Glance
- Built-in circuit breaker to prevent motor damage
- A maximum duty cycle of 40 minutes at 40 PSI
- 1/3-horsepower direct-drive motor
- Quick-release 24-foot coil hose
- Easy-to-read pressure gauge (150 PSI)
- Maximum airflow of 72 liters a minute
- Built-in, cleanable air filter
- Anti-vibration, rubberized feet
- Storage bag included
Customers praise the Smittybilt 2781 as being fast and well-constructed. Many reviewers remarked how fast this compressor is compared to other—and even more expensive—options on the market.
While the quality of the pump itself was praised, many reviews pointed out that the proprietary hose connection is threaded for a metric fitting and cannot be replaced easily with the standard type hoses.
The Smittybilt 2781 air compressor (see Amazon) is sturdy and fast. The power does come with a cost, as the compressor heats up reasonably quickly and gets very hot. The duty cycle is not the best out there, but its size and price range are reasonable for a compressor that is impressively fast and durable.
The VIAIR 400P is compact and durable, and it is a great add-in on your Jeep adventures. This compressor will take your 35″ tires from 15 to 30 PSI in just over 5 minutes. The 33% duty cycle means that you need to rest the compressor between actions as this percentage reflects the compressor’s ratio of on-time with its off-time needs.
The online PSI air gauge has a connection that allows for airing up, intermittently airing up, airing down, and intermittently airing down. The VIAIR 400P also comes with a heavy-duty sand tray with vibration isolators for a quiet and smooth operation.
Viair 400P Portable Compressor Features At A Glance
- 150 PSI maximum working pressure
- 33% duty cycle
- PSI online gauge with variable functions
- 25-foot hose
- 2 heavy-duty clamps included
- 12-Volt motor
- Dual compartment carry bag
- 5-in-1 inflator/deflator with inline 100 PSI gauge
- Thermal overload protector
- Maximum Amp draw: 30 Amps
- Heavy-duty sand tray with vibration isolators
- A permanent magnetic motor
- 1-year warranty
Customers gave positive feedback about the VIAIR 400P and commended the quality of the design. A few people had problems with the intense heat that the 400P generated, but they may not have followed the 33% cycle-duty restrictions.
For its compact dimensions and comparatively lightweight of 8.5 pounds, the VIAIR is sturdy and dependable. The vibration isolators in the built-in sand tray make for a smoother and less noisy experience.
For its size, the ARB is one of the highest flowing portable compressors for its class. The device is fully sealed to prevent moisture or dust from damaging the interior components.
The compressor comes mounted in a high quality and durable, hard carry case for protection. The ARB has excellent safety features, such as a pressure limit cut off and a thermal cut off to protect your motor from heat damage. The ARB has enough output to air up four 35″ tires in a single duty cycle.
The ARB CKMP12 Compressor At A Glance
- Housed in a durable and hard carry case
- Moisture- and dust-sealed components
- Bronzed air filter in a splash-proof cover
- 100% ball bearings equipped motor
- 19 feet of air hose
- Corrosion-resistant hose couplings with one-handed push lock
- Extra nozzle attachments of various sizes
- High-grade alligator clips
- Anodized mounting bracket to dissipate motor heat
- 2-year warranty
Customers found the ARB compressor to be a high-quality item and were impressed by the speed at which it could air up their tires. Although there were many reviews of high praise, there seemed to be some dissatisfaction with the accessories that accompany this compressor. Users complained that the crocodile clamp had ineffective ridges and often slipped, and they also said that the air hoses had a minimal lifespan due to pressure and heat and needed to be replaced.
The ARB CKMP12 compressor is a quality instrument that is lightweight yet solidly built. The added safety features make the compressor a safer option, and the stylish case is a bonus, too.
The Tuff Stuff Xtreme air compressor packs a lot of punch for the price, and it’s ideal for Jeep tires that require 50 PSI of air (for those that are 35 inches and taller). The manufacturer designed a large volume cylinder to deliver maximum airflow (5.65 CFM), so you can air-up and be on the road in no time.
This Tuff Stuff air compressor comes in at a much lower price than its competitors. They have also added aluminum cooling fins to cool the piston under the increased heat generated by the extra-large volume airflow.
Tuff Stuff Overland Xtreme Portable Air Compressor At A Glance
- Up to 5.65 CFM airflow (160 liters/minute)
- Extra-large cylinder for maximum airflow
- 150 PSI starting pressure (Max. 120 PSI working pressure)
- Thermal overload protection
- Anti-vibration rubber-mounted sand tray for stability
- Removable air filter for easy cleaning
- Compact and sturdy
- Can be hard-mounted
- Easy-to-read gauge
The reviews were mostly complimentary about the compressor’s fast and powerful performance at such an affordable price. There were a few complaints about the unit’s heat, but that seems par for the course concerning air pressure effects.
A few users complained that the carry bag was far too flimsy for the device’s weight and that it tore when moving the unit from place to place.
The Tuff Stuff Xtreme air compressor is an excellent value for the money, and it is sturdy and fast in its performance. The increased air capacity speeds up the airing-up process considerably as well.
The Superflow MaxVolume compressor is designed to inflate a variety of tires, including those on 4x4s and RVs. Imagine what it could do for your Jeep with the power to inflate full truck tires from 25 PSI to 35 PSI in under 2 minutes. With a 20-on/20-off duty cycle, you can quickly fill all four tires and be back on the trails in no time.
It comes in a sturdy nylon carry case with a 16-foot air hose and clamps. Its compact frame lets you store the compressor easily in your Jeep.
The Superflow 12-Volt MaxVolume Air Compressor At A Glance
- Inflates a 37″ tire in under 2 minutes
- 12-Volt 2/3-HP motor
- 10-foot, heavy-duty power cord
- Easy-twist brass inflator
- Durable carry bag
- 3,500 cubic inches of airflow
- Compact design for easy storage
- 1-year warranty
There were some issues with the length of the hose attachment, making it difficult to use in extended cabs and larger vehicles. However, this problem can easily be solved with an extension, so it’s not a structural complaint.
The all-plastic frame certainly doesn’t match up to some of the other compressors in its class. However, it does do the job it was made to do, and it’s a popular mid-price-range choice.
This GSPSCN air compressor is small but sturdy, and it has an impressive 70 liters of air per minute output. The machine is lightweight compared to the other compressors in its class, which gives it top marks for portability.
The dual cylinders pump air for robust and fast inflation, and the low rotation of the direct-drive motor makes for a more stable and quiet performance.
The GSPSCN Silver Tire Inflator Heavy Duty with Dual Cylinders At A Glance
- Powerful 12-Volt engine
- A capacity of 70 liters of air per minute
- Dual cylinders for extra power
- Inflates standard tires in under 2 minutes
- Rubberized feet stabilize and reduce noise
- Durable nylon carry case
- A direct drive inflation pump
- Quality clamps included
- 11.5-ft. coiled air hose
- Cigarette lighter attachment with built-in 25A fuse and spare
- 12-month warranty
Several Jeep customers highly recommended the GSPSCN air compressor and claimed that their 35″ tires aired up from 15 to 30 lbs. in just three minutes. Many users claimed that it is great for off-roading needs.
A few users down-rated the unit due to missing attachments in the delivery, but there is generally a positive user response.
The compressor looks very sleek and seems to deliver in most aspects of its specs. This unit is a good value for its class, and it’s a solid choice as a handy addition to your Jeep. It seems a shame that such a reliable product has been let down by consistently missing parts, though.
What is an automatic air compressor?
An automatic air compressor is a handy tool that allows you to move between your tires without switching your compressor on and off whenever you need to air them up or down. You will also not have to switch off your pump to read your tire pressure accurately either.
What pressure should your tires be?
There are many different types of tires, and you would have to refer to your manufacturer’s provided information to find your ideal tire pressure. This information is essential to know before attempting to use a portable air compressor.
Also, the rule of thumb is to always check your tire pressure when it is cold because the manufacturers base their recommended pressure on a cold tire PSI (or kPa) reading. The friction between the road and your tires builds up heat and heats the air inside your tires, thus building up a higher pressure.
Other Features to look out For in an Air Compressor for your Jeep
Quality and length of the air hose and power cord
The length of your power cord should safely reach from your battery to outside of your vehicle. Likewise, your hose length should be adequate for you to be able to reach your tires with ease.
The air hose has to put up with a large amount of pressurized air, so it shouldn’t be flimsy. Your power cable should be robust enough to stand up to your compressor’s power load and also have high-quality connections.
A legible and accurate gauge
Make sure you have a high-quality gauge with clearly marked gradations.
The duty cycle refers to how long your compressor can operate in a one-hour cycle period without having to cool down. Make sure that your duty cycle length is long enough for the amount of inflation you may need to perform.
Output in CFM
CFM, or cubic feet per minute, refers to how much air flow your compressor will deliver into your tire. Make sure that your CFM is at least 1.5 to 2 CFM to inflate your tires at a reasonable rate.
Thermal protection is essential to protect the motor of your compressor from becoming too hot and burning out.
This factor dictates the speed of your tire inflation.
Good quality storage bags/containers
Having storage options that are of a good quality for your compressor will protect your compressor and improve its longevity and portability.
The type of chuck
The kind of chuck your compressor has can make your life easier. A chuck is the part of your compressor that attaches to your tire valve. The chuck comes in a twist-on version, a screw-on version, or a press-on version.
The screw-on versions provide a tighter and more reliable seal, whereas the press-on chucks are more easy to connect and disconnect. The press-on chucks do, however, tend to suffer more from exposure to debris and sand and may not be ideal for extreme conditions.
12-volt outlet or direct battery clamps
These are the options you might encounter when looking for the best air compressors for a Jeep. Your 12-volt cigarette lighter socket may have the necessary voltage to power some compressors, but specific air compressors need at least 15 amps or 180 watts of power, which a standard 12-volt plug simply cannot supply.
If you are unsure of your outlet’s amp capacity, it might be stamped above or below the opening, or you may have to find it in your owner’s manual. Generally, the amps for a standard 12-volt socket are around 13, and it will probably blow a fuse if you link it to your air compressor.
Decibels may not seem like a critical feature when choosing your air compressor, but some of them can be uncomfortably loud. When you may have to kneel close by for several minutes at a time, you should definitely look out for compressors that include noise reduction features. Built-in heavy-duty sand bars help stabilize a unit and reduce noise, and rubberized feet also work to dampen sound.
Portability and size
These are both factors to take into account when buying an air compressor for your Jeep. Ensure the measurements fit your designated “spot” for the compressor so that it does not become a headache when you’re loading up for a long drive.
A decent warranty is a must when planning to invest in an air compressor, especially considering that most of them come with quite a hefty price tag. Warranty is an expression of faith by a manufacturer that the goods you buy are of high quality. You should expect a year’s warranty at least when you purchase your compressor.
Why Buy an Air Compressor for Your Jeep?
Besides giving you the freedom to air-up and air-down your tires as needed to suit the climate and terrain, portable air compressors make your tires last longer—and we all know how expensive Jeep tires are to replace. The biggest culprit behind the wear and tear on your tires is either inner air pressure that is too high or too low.
There is no monetary value that can be given to peace of mind. Especially if you travel out far into isolated areas with your Jeep, your portable air compressor is not only handy, but it will also help you in emergencies. If you have the correct tire repair equipment, portable air compressors can help you repair your tires too.
There are many portable air compressors on the market, and you need to know what exactly you need before you commit to buying one. Do your homework and know what specs will perfectly suit your needs.
Pay attention to manufacturer specs regarding cycle duty, and use your compressor responsibly to increase its lifespan. Clean the filters often, and make sure to clean off any debris that made its way onto your unit. Hopefully, you may have already found the perfect fit in one of the above seven of the very best, and we wish you many happy trails.
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