Compressors are one of the most useful tools to have in the workplace or at-home DIY workstation, which is why it is so important to find the best portable compressor for your situation and the job.
Air compressors are used to power industrial tools in the workplace or in construction such as an air sander, jack-hammers, impact wrenches and grinders, and even for everyday house-hold use.
Anyone could benefit from this tool, with it's versatility, durability and reliability, it's a fantastic addition to any tool-kit. More importantly, the safety aspect meets all necessary requirements.
To help you find the right type of portable compressor for your construction needs, we've put together a handy list of the absolute best 5 portable compressors on the market.
1. Bushranger 55X23 Max Air III
Keep your tyres pressurised at all times with the Bushranger Air III (Model 55X23) portable compressor.
This is a must-have for all those who love road trips with their RV’s or caravans or simply want to keep their vehicles in top-notch driving condition in respect of traction, handling, braking and tyre health.
This model is a powerful 12V motor and air pump which can deliver 66 litres of air per minute, allowing you to pump up your tyres quickly.
It’s fast and reliable. It features a 2.4-metre lead which attaches to your battery vis clamps. An in-line fuse protects your vehicle’s fuse box.
There’s a large On/Off switch at the end of the compressor where it attaches to the tyre, and a convenient LED light which illuminates the tyre area.
The compressor has a strong and sturdy alloy air chuck with a thumb-lock attached to the Schrader valve wheel inflation point. This is compatible with all vehicles, motorcycles and most bicycles.
A deflation valve is also part of the compressor, next to the thumb-lock connector, for driving in sand, mud or rocky terrain.
This deflation mechanism allows for both continuous and intermittent deflation for accurate pressure measurement.
The digital backlit pressure dial is securely built into the compressor housing and measures both psi (accurate to 0.1psi) and kPa pressure scales in an easy-to-read circular monitor.
The compressor can reach a total of 11.5m from your battery to the tyre with both the power cord (2.5m) and the air hose (9m).
The compressor can be mounted permanently using the supplied kit. And it can be used to inflate balls, mattresses etc. A convenient tough carry case stores the whole kit for easy storage in your car-boot or other space.
2. Michelin Digital Compressor
The Michelin Superfast Programmable SUV Tyre Inflator is a handy and affordable portable compressor to have in your car or RV/caravan for keeping your tyres at the correct pressure.
Doing this maintains traction and keeps your vehicle’s handling in top-notch performance., especially when you’re doing long road trips. This is designed with SUV and 4X4’s in mind.
Simply plug the machine into a 12V power outlet and you’re ready to go. The compressor can deliver up to 35psi in under one and a half minutes.
You can switch the measurements between psi, BAR and kPa. It’s programmable to deliver the precise psi to suit your vehicle so you get fast, accurate inflation.
A unique digital gauge, which is backlit at night, gives easy to read measurements of your tyres' psi (within +/- 1psi) up to 50psi. It shows the inflation progress as well as the readings. A three-piece adaptor set for inflating balls and other small inflatable items is included with purchase.
A 68cm hose allows you freedom of movement between the compressor and your tyre. And the unit is a compact 30.4*17.9*12.2cm for easy storage in your car-boot or other space in its supplied case.
3. Bushranger 55X12 Black Max
Bushranger’s range of portable compressors for 4X4’s, SUV’s, caravans and other vehicles, as well as general inflation uses, are a very handy accessory for those who love road trips or simply keeping their tyres in peak condition.
Doing this maintains your vehicle’s traction, handling and general performance. The Black max (Model No 55X12) is one in the range which has all the features you’ll need.
The compressor has two battery clamps for power with a long 2.4m power lead to the unit.
An in-line fuse eliminates any risk of damage to your vehicle’s fuse box. The main unit features an inbuilt pressure dial with an easy-to-read dial with psi and kPa pressure scales. It has a large On/Off switch and a convenient LED work light.
A strong alloy air chuck with a thumb lock attachment to the Schrader valve wheel inflation valve point makes inflation easy. The unit is fast and reliable, with a 12V motor. It can deliver up to 66l/min up to 150psi.
It also has a deflation mechanism for lowering tyre pressure when driving on mud, sand or rocky terrain. The combination of the power lead and the air hose gives you a total of 9.9m reach.
Clip mounted sports inflation needles allow you to inflate sports balls, bicycle tyres and other inflatables. A tough but flexible carry bag allows for easy storage and transportation.
4. GIANTZ Air Compressor
From GIANTZ we have the 320L/Min 12V portable car air compressor, ideal for 4X4’s, SUV’s, caravans and other inflation uses.
Having a compressor on hand when you explore off-road and need to deflate and re-inflate your tyres to suit different terrains is almost essential. It’s also pretty useful on long trips cross country.
This is a powerful 540W unit which is also quite light and compact for easy transportation – it has a handle on the top for precisely that and it measures 40*31*30cm.
This compressor can deliver up to 320litres/minute @ 220psi. The compressor uses power from the car battery via the supplied battery clamps. The air hose is long enough to reach the whole distance around a 4X4 or SUV
It is leakage-free through use of top-quality NPT materials and has inbuilt power overload protection. It also features auto-reset thermal protection. The snap-on fitting at the air outlet point is easy and quick to attach and you can pre-set the air inflation and deflation level.
An accurate dual pressure reading dial ensures that you’ll know the precise pressure of your tyre or other inflatables. And the kit comes with three multi-purpose head attachments and tyre repair kit, as well as a durable carry bag.
5. Ridge Ryder Air Compressor Ultimate
The Ridge Ryder Air Compressor Ultimate is a well-priced heavy-duty all-purpose portable air compressor. This is an ideal accessory for 4X4, SUV, caravan and off-roader’s, as well as anyone who likes to look after their vehicles, trailers, quad bikes etc at home and/or pump up other inflatables such as sports balls.
Outback, country and farm residents will also value one of these.
The Ultimate is an extremely powerful 12V machine, capable of pumping out 160 litres per minute of compressed air. It also has a deflation capability. It draws power from your car battery so is extremely portable.
It can run for a 45-minute session at 40psi/min, allowing you to inflate/deflate all your inflatables before needing to refill the unit. This is excellent for garages.
The psi delivery and pressure of the tyre etc can be monitored using the gauge, which shows the rate and pressure levels between 0 – 150psi.
A 5m rubber hose with quick connector is supplied – his will suit all vehicular purposes. A sand-trap base is supplied to prevent the compressor from sinking down when in operation on soft surfaces. A strong storage bag is included with purchase.
Where to buy portable air compressors?
There are many places to buy these products here in Australia. Our favourite is Amazon which offers fast delivery. Additionally there are many products available from SupercheapAuto including the Slime, SCA Homebrand, Ridge Ryder and XTM brands.
XTM is also stocked by BCF (Boating, Camping & Fishing).
Bunnings also sell compressors but they don't seem to stock portable ones. Most are belt or direct drive and cost upwards of $599.
Repco, another automotive store offers Maxi Trac branded options, as well as Gearup and GV Tools.
Finally some other online retailers we've seen them sold at include Kogan, who stock Outbac and Giantz portable air compressors starting from $69 with free shipping.
Other brands available in Australia, but not mentioned here include Beaver and Sherpa.
How much do air compressors cost?
During our market research we found prices from $50 to $400. You definitely don't need to pay top dollar if you want something compact for your road trips, or to keep in the garage.
Kogan for example had a few options from $69, while SupercheapAuto was averaging around $200. Amazon had various brands starting from $59.
Why do you need an air compressor?
Keeping your tyres at the right pressure is crucial and is often overlooked by most motorists. This will ensure you have a safer car on the road.
Additionally you might inflate or deflate your tyres if you're going off-road, so having a portable air compressor can help with this.
Lastly, checking your tyre pressure in the comfort of your own home, without having to share the public facilities at gas stations, will ensure you are getting accurate results, as well as keeping your hygiene in order too. Goodness knows who's used that machine before you!
Do I need a portable air compressor for 4WDing?
An air compressor is a must have for anyone who is going off-road. You can quickly change the tyre pressure to suit different surfaces.
If you get stuck in the mud, or venture into the sand, you'll need a different tyre pressure than if you were using your car on an asphalt road.
You don't want to hunt for a local service station after the fun either, so having an air compressor handy is definitely the most important thing to buy when 4WDing.
Now you know our thoughts on the best portable compressors, please checkout some of our other guides and let us know if you have any questions.
Last Updated: December 3, 2021 by Rhys