As an off-roader, you surely understand the need to inflate your tires adequately. This is why investing in an off-road air compressor is always a good idea.
But the problem is that sometimes you aren’t sure about which to purchase as there are various brands on the market. Don’t worry; we are here to help. In this article, we will review the best off-road air compressors while highlighting their key specifications, pros, and cons. Also, a buying guide that will help you to make a right purchase decision has been provided.
I. Best Off-road Air Compressors
The best off-road air compressor is the VIAIR 400P Portable Compressor. If you are looking for a portable yet powerful off-road air compressor, the VIAIR 400P portable compressor is your go-to item.
It features the I-Beam Sand Tray, which helps improve stability while ensuring lightweight. With the VIAIR 400P air compressor, you are guaranteed a powerful air inflator kit with the ability to inflate a 35-inch tire within 6 minutes from 0 – 30 PSI.
Among other things, this air compressor comes with a deluxe dual compartment carry bag, dual battery clamps, and a 5-in-1 inflator/deflator air hose. Thanks to the inline 100 PSI gauge, you can accurately measure air pressure. Additionally, the VIAIR portable air compressor offers you a stress-free tire inflation process and has a maximum working pressure of 150 PSI and a 33% duty cycle.
That’s not all. This off-road air compressor features an automatic thermal overload protector, which helps prevent it from overheating. You should know that the VIAIR 400P portable air compressor makes use of a permanent magnet motor which ensures its performance. It has a maximum current consumption of 30 amps at 12-volts and 15 amps at 24-volts.
The VIAIR 400P compressor is convenient, powerful, and portable. With its ability to inflate tires up to 35-inch in less than 6 seconds, this is one of the best off-road portable air compressors as it offers you the power of a heavy-duty product.
+ Key specs
❖ Maximum working pressure: 150 PSI
❖ Two configuration options (12V and 24V)
❖ Amp draw: 30-Amps
❖ Ingress protection rating: IP54
❖ Air hose length: 25 ft.
❖ Power cord length: 8 ft.
● Lightweight air compressor kit
● Moist resistance
● Dust resistance
● 1-year warranty
● Air hose can’t be used in sub-zero or freezing conditions
1.2. Smittybilt 2781 Air Compressor
A heavy-duty air compressor comes in handy if you need to inflate or deflate your tires to handle certain terrains, and the Smittybilt 2781 air compressor offers you that.
This air compressor comes with a 30 amp inline fuse, a maximum voltage of 13.8 volts, and a 1/3 horsepower oil-less direct drive motor, giving it enough power for any task. With this air compressor, you can inflate tire sizes up to 37×12.50×15 from 5 to 30 PSI in less than 15 minutes. The Smittybilt 2781 features an easy-to-read pressure gauge (150 PSI) and a maximum airflow of 160 liters per minute.
Furthermore, it makes use of an auto-thermal cutoff switch to combat overheating, which could damage the motor. This air compressor’s duty cycle/maximum continuous cycle time also contributes to its power and efficiency. The smittybilt 2781 air compressor has a duty cycle of 40 minutes at 40 PSI at 75 degrees Fahrenheit. To add to its already impressive features, a built-on cleanable air filter, a 10-foot power cord and a storage bag come with the smittybilt air compressor,
As a heavy-duty item, the Smittybilt air compressor would be a worthy companion when driving off-road. It allows you to adequately deflate and inflate your tires (up to 37 inches) depending on the terrain.
+ Key specs
❖ Auto-thermal cutoff switch
❖ Built-on cleanable air filter
❖ Maximum pressure: 150 PSI
❖ Maximum voltage: 13.8 volts
❖ Maximum air flow of 160 liters per minute
● Heavy-duty motor
● Universal application/use
● Storage bag included
● 1-year warranty
● It is a little heavy
1.3. ARB (CKMTP12) Portable Air Compressor
Designed to meet commercial and industrial standards, the ARB (CKMTP12) portable air compressor is built to survive harsh off-road conditions.
This air compressor comes with a dual cylinder and a 12 volts compact twin motor making it the high-flowing compressor. You can rapidly inflate large tires at 174 liters per minute thanks to these features. The ARB air compressor uses a pressure switch and an integrated aluminum air tank to regulate pressure (135 PSI and 150 PSI).
You wouldn’t have to worry about damage due to excessive heat with this product. It utilizes anodized aluminum motor mounting brackets and ducted IP55 sealed brushed DC cooling fan to prevent it from heating up unnecessarily. This allows for a 100 percent duty cycle. Its kit includes a 20-feet air hose, waterproof case, air tank, blowgun, and other essential tools. Also, unlike some air compressors, this one isn’t noisy, thanks to the sound deadening feature integrated into the mount.
With an airflow of 174 liters per minute, this air compressor is easily the best high flowing portable air compressor out there.
+ Key specs
❖ Maximum voltage: 12 volts
❖ Maximum air pressure: 150 PSI
❖ Amp draw: 26 to 35 Amps
❖ Duty cycle: 100 Percent at 100 PSI
● Universal use
● Not noisy
● Replacement parts are available
● Moist and dust resistance
● No pressure gauge
2.1. Onboard vs. Portable Air Compressors
Depending on the selected kit, onboard air systems are meant to carry out various tasks. This air system is for smaller compressed air requirements with a much shorter duty cycle need. Also, you should know that the onboard air system is permanently installed in your car for use in various applications. They include tire inflation, load leveling, air horns, air tools, air suspension, and air lockers.
On the other hand, portable air compressors are intended for portability, suggesting that you can carry them around easily. Unlike the onboard air system, portable air compressors aren’t mounted permanently to your vehicle. Also, it doesn’t have a wide array of applications as Its primary function is to inflate and deflate tires
What Are Your Tire Sizes?
You need to know your vehicle’s tire size before choosing any air compressor. If you have a small tire (passenger tire), just any air compressor should be able to inflate it from 0 PSI to the recommended 32 – 36 PSI. However, in the off-road world, bigger is often better when it comes to tires, implying that having a larger tire would require a more capable air compressor.
This is why knowing your tire size is a good idea as it helps you decide on the off-road compressor that will work for you. You can use an online tire size calculator for this.
If your car battery dies easily, you should check out the best jump starters with air compressors.
2.2. How Much Is Air Pressure Or PSI Unit?
Before purchasing any air compressor for your tire, always ensure to check the maximum air pressure it can produce. You do not want an air compressor that cannot adequately inflate your tires—for example, the VIAIR 400P Portable Compressor has a maximum working pressure of 150 PSI, allowing it to inflate a 35-inch tire from 0 – 30 PSI in less than 6 minutes.