An onboard air compressor is a device used to supply air in places where you do not have access to an external source of air.
It is designed to inflate tires, either of a vehicle or other inflatable devices that use compressed gas to enable their best performance. Due to their portability, they can be easily mounted on your jeep.
Onboard air compressors are available in various sizes and have different types. They can be mounted right below the vehicle or under the truck bed.
This will make your work easier by providing quick access to power tools whenever you need them, regardless of where you are working.
When searching for the best onboard air compressor, there are specific considerations you must keep in mind before buying.
Quick Comparison: Best Onboard Air Compressors
Top 10 Best Onboard Air Compressor Reviews:
1. ARB CKMA12 High Output 12V Onboard Air Compressor
When you need a high-quality onboard air compressor that’s simple to set up and offers a minimal compromise, then look no further than the ARB CKMA12 air compressor.
It has been specifically tailored for those who visit areas where they are likely to need quick access to an air compressor.
This air compressor is designed to make repairs easy on the go. It is solidly built to deliver consistent power and performance no matter what you use it for.
This product works great with most 12V vehicles, including cars, boats, RVs, and more. It can also be used as a standalone or in conjunction with other ARB products such as the ARB EOC valve and air tank.
Due to its slim design, you can place it almost anywhere inside your vehicle without taking up too much room.
This ensures that everything remains organized while still allowing you to have all the essentials readily available when you need them during an emergency.
This onboard air compressor is compact and powerful enough to handle tough jobs regularly.
2. VIAIR X’treme Duty Onboard Air System
The VIAIR X’treme Duty Onboard Air System (10009) is what you should go for when you require a unique onboard air compressor. It is made with the best quality materials that give it a strength other compressors cannot match.
This compressor features an aluminum cylinder lined with stainless steel to give people a long-lasting and durable product that makes it suitable for different vehicles.
It has an LCD that will show you how much pressure remains in your tank and the amount of time until the unit shuts automatically.
This way, you never have to worry about overcharging or misusing it in any way because it does what needs to be done.
Customers who have purchased this product had only good things to say about it.
They particularly liked that it was made from steel instead of cheap plastic, making it more durable and stronger than other similar products.
They loved how easy it was to install and how much power it has for inflating tires. Some mentioned how easy it is for filling several air-powered tools at once with no challenges.
3. HPDAVV Gas Driven Piston Onboard Air Compressor
This air compressor will give you the power you require to run tools on the job site or at home. The best part of this air compressor is an oil injection system that gives constant lubricant to bearings and piston rings.
You do not have to waste time on maintenance. It also comes with a dial gauge, pressure relief valve, and air intake filter for your unit’s best performance and longevity.
This unit has been specifically designed to maximize output compared to other models in the market. It can easily be connected to standard air hose connections found on any machine that runs on air power tools.
Its heavy-duty plastic coat will ensure that it lasts long even when exposed to harsh weather conditions such as heat, dust, and rain.
The compressor also has a built-in regulator, oil sight glass, pressure release valve, and aluminum alloy wheels for portability purposes.
You’ll never complain about performance levels when you get this onboard air compressor since it is powerful enough to inflate any type/size of tires.
It has a high-pressure capacity that can reach up to 125 PSI. It is ideal for inflating a wide range of equipment and heavy-duty applications that require power tools.
With a 30-gallon tank capacity, it has enough storage space for larger jobs and continuous use without needing to refill often.
4. VIAIR Constant Duty Onboard Air System
Many car owners don’t have a quality onboard air compressor, but there’s this one that meets all your standard needs.
All you need to do is piece together the VIAIR 10007 constant-duty onboard compressor that is best suited for your needs. It is not only suitable for cars but also trucks and SUVs, best for off-road tires.
This system helps you set up fast and easily because it’s already pre-wired with a 30 amp fuse. Also, it has an instruction manual that will guide you step by step throughout the whole process.
There is no need to struggle here because of the outstanding features that make it easy for you to blow up your tires anywhere.
5.VIAIR 10000 Onboard Air System
VIAIR 10000 Onboard Air system is your go-to system when looking for ultra-light-duty compressors for your automobile. It has a high-volume pneumatic air system that will allow you to extend the life of your car tires.
This product features a 1-gallon tank with four 1/4″ NPT port openings that can be linked up to fit almost any tire inflation. It features a 98C, 10% duty cycle compressor capable of providing a maximum working pressure level of 150 PSI.
It has a maximum flow rate capacity of 3 CFM at 0 PSI and 80 PSI rating when fully charged. It also has an easy-to-read pressure gauge with stable and durable construction for quick inflation of tires.
6. VIAIR 200 PSI Ultra Duty Onboard Air Compressor System
The VIAIR 200 PSI Ultra Duty Onboard Air System has a unique onboard technology. The best thing about this unit is that it is best suited for standard to heavy-duty applications. It can be used in trucks, vans, boats, snowmobiles, and more.
The maximum working pressure of the unit is 200 psi, and it has a high flow tank with a lightweight design that offers durability. It also comes with NPT openings which make it easy to add accessories as required by the user.
The best part is that it comes with a longer hose that makes filling up tires easier and faster. It features fill ports to make sure you always have enough air for those unexpected flat tires. It does not disrupt other compartments as well because of its compact design.
If you are using air horns that need high pressure on the road, this onboard air compressor is your best bet.
Another good thing is that it will not consume considerably much space compared to similar compressors. You can set it up easily and fast as well since it comes pre-assembled.
7. VIAIR 20185 Dual Stealth Black 485C Onboard Air System
VIAIR 20185 Dual Stealth Black 485C has an auto shut-off feature that makes it very efficient. It is very durable, and it’s effortless to use the auto on-off/shut-off switches. This switch allows you to turn the unit off or leave it on for continuous operation.
The onboard system gives you the flexibility to add more accessories depending on your needs. It makes refilling tires to their original pressure easy. This will save you time and energy.
Checking tire pressure has never been easier or faster; all you have to do is connect this onboard compressor kit to your inflatable tires. Then flip on the switch that will immediately start inflating them.
8. VIAIR Heavy Duty Onboard Air System
This onboard air compressor has a compact design that makes it easy to use, durable and operational. The built-in digital gauge makes reading the tire pressure effortless. This allows you to set and maintain optimum inflation levels in your tires.
The product comes with a relay used to power the onboard system from inside the vehicle when needed. It automatically powers off when the increased tire pressure reaches around 150 psi.
It can be used for various purposes like topping off tires, powering pneumatic tools, or filling inflatables.
Additionally, the dash panel gauge has an ON/OFF switch preinstalled to allow you to turn the system off. It cuts power to the pressure switch with a relay that you have already installed in your car.
The switch will enable you to turn off the system when not in use, thus protecting it from any possible damage caused by over-pressuring or overheating.
If you are looking for a compressor that will help maintain optimum tire pressure levels, then this model should be one of the best options to choose from. It is specially designed to work with trucks, cars, light trailers, and other recreational vehicles.
The automatic shut-off feature allows you to save on energy and prolong the service life of the onboard system. Its ergonomic design makes it easier for you to carry it around when going on a long trip.
9. VIAIR 20020 Dual 444C Onboard Air Compressor Kit
The VIAIR 20020 Dual 444C Air Compressor is convenient and ideal for any vehicle because of its inversion feature, allowing it to function efficiently. It is best for recreational vehicles such as an off-road truck, car, or boat trailer.
It is designed to provide excellent performance in terms of inflating and deflating tires. It also features fast recovery, which reduces downtime when the vehicle is being used.
The automatic shutdown ensures that there is no wastage of energy and the leveling feature makes it easier to store.
This compressor can also be used to power other onboard equipment such as tire inflator kits, nail guns, lights, and even portable campers.
10. Vixen Horns 2.5 Gallon 200 PSI Onboard Compressor Kit
This onboard air system is suitable for trucks and other application vehicles that require reliability, durability, and punctuality.
The system is of the best quality to satisfy the needs of customers around the world. With features such as a 2.5 gallon tank with 7 ports and 200 PSI heavy-duty compressor, this system will serve you endlessly.
It has a high accuracy pressure switch with a fast response. This provides smooth inflation on your wheels or other accessories without any harsh blowouts.
The safety valve comes will easily let off the air when there is too much pressure. This will prevent any possible damage from occurring.
All the connectivity, including the male and female couplers, are housed in a rubber boot to keep dirt, grease, and debris away. You need not worry about having limited options for outlets or ports.
You will get 7 outlets with 1/4″ NPT threads on both sides, allowing valves to be connected on both sides. This also allows you to connect multiple accessories at a time with no extra airline to connect them.
Things to Consider when Selecting an Onboard Air Compressor
There are various factors to consider when you are out to get an onboard air compressor that will best suit your needs.
Here, we will discuss different things you should consider before buying an onboard air compressor for yourself.
Durability is a factor that people often overlook, but it’s one of the significant features a person should look out for.
You need to get value for your money and consider the product’s safety. If the product is not durable, then accidents are bound to happen.
Most individuals don’t like complications; hence they always go for an easy installation process to not spend much time, energy, and money on installation.
Convenient to Carry Around
An onboard air compressor should be portable enough to easily carry from one place to another in a car without any hassle due to its weight and size.
It should also have an ergonomic design that will make it easier for the user to hold the device or use it when needed. Portability is crucial for those people who are constantly traveling.
They need something they can easily fit into their cars to always inflate their tires all by themselves. It would be best to get all these features in a single onboard air compressor set.
When it comes to air compressors, you would expect all of them to be worthy of praise but sadly, most of them fail somehow. They either have an inconvenient design that makes it difficult for the user to carry.
A compressor needs to have a high level of pressure so that it can help in blowing up several tires at the same time.
So, be sure to check for one capable of pumping up all your car tires within a short time.
An ideal machine must come with a pressure gauge for indicating the exact status of pressured or low air in different tires. It should store more compressed air and have a wide range of PSI to carry out many tasks.
You must, therefore, ensure that this feature is available in the unit you want to purchase for better performance later on. Hence, make sure you check it out before buying any product.
What is Onboard Air Compressor?
A typical onboard air compressor has a high-pressure tank and an engine-powered device with enough capacity for inflating automobile tires and some other uses.
They are mostly designed with multiple outlets to support different types of tires i.e. bicycles and motorcycles with just one machine.
Onboard Air System delivers compressed air via engine-driven hydraulic pump or electric motor, a pressure regulator, filter, storage tank, and several outlets.
These systems have evolved from simple portable tools mainly used by professional mechanics to top-grade machines that can also be used at home.
Types of Onboard Air Compressors and their uses
Here are some of the types of onboard air compressors and their functions:
Hydraulic Onboard Air Compressor
This compressor can be mounted where you need power for your tools and provide the best performance in drilling, tire repair, and changing. It is best for trucks and bigger vehicles.
They are perfect for construction work, drilling, or towing jobs because they can supply large amounts of air to power tools.
On-board air compressor with smaller storage tanks is best if you want something less noisy. On-board air compressors with a built-in gauge will help you monitor the tank capacity.
This will ensure that it does not run out suddenly, leaving you with no choice but to stop your operations.
Electric Onboard Air Compressor
These air compressors are best fitted to those whose daily activities do not require much pressure. They are instrumental in small jobs like airing up tires, powering nailers/staple guns, etc.
These electric on board air compressors have a battery pack attached, so there is no need to connect them to an external plug point. Hence, they can work even when you’ve parked your vehicle far from an external power source.
You can also make use of such small air compressors when you’re on your roof and want to install solar panels. This is because they come with long extension cords that you can plug into the car’s cigarette lighter to conserve energy.
This type weighs less, so it will be easier for you to carry around. Due to its low weight, this onboard air compressor does not need a separate tank or gas/oil supply line.
Gas-Driven Onboard Air Compressor
If you want to use your onboard air compressor in a gas-powered vehicle, then it is best that you get one designed for it.
Such air compressors can be plugged into the car’s 12V cigarette lighter socket and don’t need any additional tools (e.g., an extension cord) to function.
They are also smaller, so you won’t have any problem carrying them around. Gas-driven onboard air compressors can produce up to 90 PSI of pressure but cost more than their diesel counterparts.
Why do you Need a Built-in Air Compressor in Your Truck?
Built-in air compressors are best suited for people who own a truck, SUV, or other vehicles.
Creating a garage at home is so expensive that some people don’t find it worth investing in.
Most of the time, you go through uncomfortable situations when doing car maintenance because your tools cannot be used directly due to compatibility issues.
These systems are best suited for people who travel a lot and want to save money and time.
On-board compressor saves you cost on paying for compressed air. You only need to pay initially to buy the system. This will enable an automatic supply of compressed air whenever your vehicle is running.
Hence, no need to stop your engine every time you want to use power tools.
It is best for small business owners who want to save on operating expenses and maintenance costs. You can do all your work at the same time without driving from one place to another for tools.
They offer a high-pressure supply for power tools and also reduce the noise made by air compressors.
An onboard air compressor will enable you to use increased high-pressure levels, resulting in faster work.
Onboard Air Compressor in Toolbox
If you are just after a small onboard air compressor to inflate tires and other items, then getting one designed as such is perfect.
These tools are smaller and can fit into the toolbox compartment of your vehicle. They offer only around 35 Psi of pressure but cost less than diesel or gas-fueled ones.
It should also be noted that they are not built as powerful as their bigger counterparts. You can expect a lesser life span for these units than the other types of onboard air compressors.
How to Wire Onboard Air Compressors
Turn off all power sources before working with any wires or switches to avoid damage from electrical shock.
Find a suitable mounting location for your new pressure switch by referring to the actual unit’s dimensions.
Locate the fuse box under the dashboard.
Connect the compressor to the existing electrical system.
Proceed with wiring each component together per manufacturer instructions.
Test the compressor by hitting the pressure switch on your dash.
2 Stage Air compressors for trucks are best connected to the battery of the vehicle using wires. The best way to wire the onboard air compressors is by connecting them directly to the positive and negative terminals of your car or truck battery.
Suppose you have more than one unit or some other electrical component in your vehicle. In that case, a fuse must be used ahead of the connection point to prevent any damage due to overload.
Some automatic onboard air compressors come with inverters that can plug into cigarette lighters or accessory sockets inside the cabin compartment of your truck.
To achieve the best performance, your air compressor must be able to deliver a high volume of compressed air. It must have a specially designed tank that can retain high pressure without any leakage.
The onboard air compressors have an advanced technology design, which makes them suitable for all types of weather conditions.
Numerous vehicles manufactured today use onboard air systems to fill tires with compressed air in the event of flat tires and other related reasons. On-board air compressors are very useful because they provide a quick tire fill.
How to install an ARB Air Compressor
ARB air compressors are best known for converting empty space in your vehicle with a high-pressure compressed air source for tire inflation.
It is one of the top onboard air compressors for trucks as well as cars and RVs. If you want to install ARB onboard air compressor, then here we provide you with some guidelines on how to do it properly:
Select a kit that best suits your vehicle so that it can be easily installed in different locations of the car or truck. If you already have an ARB compressor, then first read the user manual carefully and check if it’s suitable for your car.
Select a backup battery that best fits your device, depending on the time taken for best performance. Should you want the best performance, it is recommended to use a battery with the best CCA rating.
Mount the compressor in your preferred location.
Attach the wiring to the switch for turning it on or off.
Attach the connector ends.
Connect to a power source
It is important to know if there are any safety precautions or warnings about using the particular onboard air systems.
Also, read our latest guide: 7 Best Air Compressor for Plasma Cutter 2021 – Reviews & Buying Guide.
How to Use Onboard Air Compressors for Tire Inflation:
Onboard air compressors are best utilized for tire inflation. So, how do you best use one?
First off, go through the user manual to check on what best suits your device and be sure to follow it duly. Devices with larger sizes usually raise a higher psi than those with smaller sizes, thus suitable for larger cars or trucks with bigger wheels.
If you want to inflate your tires with compressors, have them assessed by an expert to determine whether they are still in good condition. Afterward, you can get them fixed, and inflate your tires using the compressor.
Get an air hose long enough to reach your tires. This will help you in inflating your tires best with much ease.
Attach the air hose onto the compressor and attach it to one of your tire valves.
Remember, before attaching any connectors, be sure to check on what suits your car or truck best. Once done, slowly turn on the compressor.
As soon as you turn on the compressor, make sure that you start looking at its psi or pressure gauge. You have to turn on your engine for the compressor to work.
When there is enough psi inside your tire, remove the connector from the tire valve.
Close up the connection means using an air chuck key to avoid losing air while driving uphill or downhill. You can also use a sealant for better safety and convenience.
You have successfully pumped your inflated tire.
You can use a tire gauge to determine how much you need to fill up the tire.
1. Can I Install my Portable Air Compressor as On-board One?
Answer: Yes! You can easily install your portable air compressor in your car, off-road truck, or boat. You have to use a set of two-way air couplings and the best 12v power supply to do this.
But remember that this type of equipment should be lightweight, easy to carry around and use.
2. Does it Matter where I Install my Onboard Air Compressor?
Answer: Yes! It is best to install it in your trunk or the back of a pickup truck. You can safely mount and connect a portable air compressor under any seat, depending on the power supply available, including your 12v outlet.
Suppose you are installing an off-road air compressor for some serious work around the house. Then, it is best to use a permanent installation method, such as welding.
3. Is it Important to Buy a Perfectly Sealed Air Compressor?
Answer: Yes! The best onboard air compressors are those with a built-in seal, preventing dust and moisture from getting inside the air compressor.
This will ensure that your compressor will be able to run optimally for many years without the need for repairs or maintenance.
So, What is the Best Onboard Air Compressor?
Whether you need an air compressor for home repair, construction, or car maintenance, it always pays to do a little research before purchasing.
An onboard air compressor can be used for operating small to large-sized air tools depending on the air demand you require. They make it easy for you to keep your equipment functional and usable for a long time.
Even though onboard air compressors have different specifications and performance, ARB CKMA12 High Output 12V On-Board Air Compressor is still your best bet.
It is not only cost-efficient but also provides you with thousands of usable hours without needing repairs or servicing, provided proper maintenance is done.