So you want the best small portable air compressor to inflate your tires? I bet you’ve tried some of the tire inflators you get from Walmart for $20 and found they are slow, loud, and ultimately break after a couple months just when you need them most. That’s what happened to me, I went through a few air pumps from Walmart, Kmart, Pep Boys, etc. All left me very disappointed. Now you’re wondering if getting a little more expensive air compressor is worth it. I actually race my car and end up having to fill the tires some every weekend. So I get a lot of usage out of these little tire inflators and I break them fast. Well, a couple years ago I finally found a good one. Viair
Viair Portable Compressor Comparison
Every one I’ve tried from this brand has been good. I personally have a 70P, which is the smallest tire inflator they offer. It still way outperforms anything you’d find at a big box store, and has lasted me for 3 years of abuse including being thunderstormed on, being dropped multiple times, and filling tires probably hundreds of times. Here’s a comparison table of all the Viair compressors, including their high end ones which are really aimed at the off roading market and not for normal consumers:
|Model||Connection||Max Pressure||Duty Cycle||Performance at 20 PSI||Size||Other cool features|
|Viair 70P||Cigarette Lighter||100 PSI||30 min @ 30 PSI||0.95 CFM||6.5"L x 3.6"W x 6.2"H|
|Viair 77P||Cigarette Lighter||80 PSI||30 min @ 30 PSI||0.95 CFM||7.35"L x 3.6"W x 5.4"H||LED work light, illuminated pressure display|
|Viair 85P||Cigarette Lighter||60 PSI||20 min @ 30 PSI||1.34 CFM||9.1"L x 3.1"W x 5.6"H||LED work light|
|Viair 87P||Battery Terminals||60 PSI||20 min @ 30 PSI||1.34 CFM||9.1"L x 3.1"W x 5.6"H||LED work light|
|Viair 88P||Battery Terminals||120 PSI||25 min. @ 30 PSI||1.58 CFM||9.8"L x 3.1"W x 5.6"H||LED work light|
|Viair 90P||Battery Terminals||120 PSI||15% @ 100 PSI||1.2 CFM||6.8"L x 3.6"W x 6.5"H||LED work light|
|Viair 300P||Battery Terminals||150 PSI||33% @ 100 PSI||1.76 CFM||9"L x 4.9"W x 7.5"H|
|Viair 400P||Battery Terminals||150 PSI||33% @ 100 PSI||2.12 CFM||10.9"L x 5.8"W x 7.5"H|
|Viair 400P- Automatic||Battery Terminals||150 PSI||33% @ 100 PSI||2.12 CFM||10.9"L x 5.8"W x 7.5"H||Automatic shut off, gas station style tire gun|
|Viair 440P||Battery Terminals||150 PSI||33% @ 100 PSI||2.37 CFM||10.9"L x 5.8"W x 6.5"H|
|Viair 450P- Automatic||Battery Terminals||150 PSI||100% @ 100 PSI||1.41 CFM||10.9"L x 5.8"W x 7.5"H||Automatic shut off, gas station style gun|
Viair vs Cheaper Tire Inflators
Don’t let the chart fool you into thinking the low end models are a bad value. Even the lowly 70P, their smallest and most portable compressor, fills a tire really really fast. Most tire inflation jobs take me well less than a minute, while with cheaper ones it can go on 15 minutes. It’s got great little rubber feet so it stays in one place while filling (as opposed to cheaper ones that will “dance” away as they fill). It’s small and light so I can fit it in my convertible without noticing it. Another nice thing about this Viair air compressor is that it’s very quiet. Most of these things are LOUD. The only thing you have to be careful of is these things get hot after heavy usage, so you have to pick them up by the handle. Other than that, I can’t think of any cons.
Here’s a video showing how some of the features and how to use the Viair 70P.
One potential issue is all of these compressors pull a decent amount of current. The 70P can pull up to 15A. Most cars can handle this but some have fuses around 10A on the cigarette lighter so it’s possible you’ll blow a fuse using the cigarette lighter. For that reason on the S2000 with the 70P I use this RoadPro battery clamp to cigarette lighter adapter. It’s super cheap at a few bucks and basically it converts the cord so you can connect the compressor direct to the battery, so there’s no chance of blowing a fuse. The viair has a nice long cord so you can still easily reach the tires. See the pic at left.
This is an optional item for most cars but it gives me peace of mind that I’m not going to blow a fuse on my little convertible with its puny fuses. Anyway I prefer running the compressor from under the hood as opposed to having to snake it through the interior when I switch sides.
Personally for most consumers I would recommend the Viair 70P wholeheartedly as the best tire inflator. If you need a little more air either for off roading or RV purposes, see the chart above and pick the appropriate one.