Almost any motorist you question these days has at least one story to tell of the time they incurred a flat tire at the wrong place at the wrong time and oh how miserable that must have been. But again, that is probably because they are yet to come across a rather elegant solution that should eliminate those nasty occurrences altogether.

We are talking, of course, about the current range of portable air compressors. They are precisely what you would expect them to be. They are compact enough to accompany you and your car wherever you go. They use up a minimum amount of power to do what they do. And they should be able to have you up and running again in a jiffy, and save you the misery of being stranded alone waiting for help… if help even arrives.

It all sounds fantastic in theory, but not every manufacturer has quite been able to pull it off in reality. And so we have taken up the task of going through a large assortment of different air compressors that are portable and come up with a list of what we feel are the best of them all. And you can check them out one at a time right now!

1. EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump

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Why we like it: No matter where you are, it will fix that flat tire in pretty good time and will store away easily without much hassle.

This portable air compressor is easy to work with, taking all the power it needs from your cigarette lighter port. After all, it only needs 12 volts to fire up. The pressure gauge can indicate readings in four different units, namely PSI, KPa, bar, and Kg/cm. What’s more, it is not just good enough to inflate tires, you can also use it for inflating your playing balls – for which there is a special adapter – and cleaning up your home as well.

This device consists of additional comforts like a torch, which makes it user-friendly in the dark. It also has the clever function of automatically shutting down when the optimum tire pressure has been reached. The power outlets on it stretch to a handy 9 feet and the air hose measures around 20 inches. Maximum power is at 100PSI. Yet, it is quite small and easy to carry along. So it really is a good all-round performance from the manufacturer here, kudos.

2. VIAIR 85P Portable Air Compressor

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Why we like it: We like our air compressors small and punchy and it seems the makers of this one had similar ideas.

This portable air compressor will put the cigarette lighter on your car to much better use than helping you out with your nicotine cravings. It is quite a small 12-volt device but then it would be in order to be so portable. It will still blow up any tire of up to 31 inches. All you have to do is slot it into your cigarette lighter, ignite the engine, and connect the tire-chuck onto one of the tire stems that need attention and turn it on.

Of course, you can keep track of the pressure all the way through by referring to a pressure gauge atop the unit. The amount of pressure applied by this device maxes out at 60PSI and it is transferred through a 10-foot long power cord. But we already know it is capable of inflating heavy duty tires of up to 31 inches, so we are not going to question those figures. And it does not take up a lot of space which is very gratifying.

3. Factory-Reconditioned Porter-Cable

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Why we like it: It comes well equipped with some much-improved performance and is fantastically convenient to use.

It is certainly not pretty to look at but it is all functional. And besides who cares if it was pretty anyway? The Factory-Reconditioned Porter-Cable Pancake Compressor is so called because it has a pancake-resembling tank, which does more than just resemble a pancake. It is designed to ideally accommodate is water drain valve, rubber feet, stability, and 150 pounds PSI. You can have these tanks in a 13 piece set and a capacity of 6 gallons. But what impresses most here is performance.

First off, yes, this air compressor is certainly quite portable. But even if it is so easy to carry around, it gives up nothing about its performance. It packs a mean punch thanks to its induction motor, which not only offers improved functionality but durability as well. Its soft start motor can easily comply with your usual home electrical circuit and can run at 3.5 SCFM to recharge the tank even faster. Also included are a 25-foot nylon hose, a blowgun plus attachments, tire chuck and gauge, a quick coupler, and plugs, of course.

4. P.I. AUTO Digital Auto Air Compressor

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Why we like it: This device comes from a manufacturer that responds well to customer feedback. As a result, it fulfills all our expectations and more.

While most customers are aware of the basic requirements they can expect of a portable air compressor, there are those who desire a little more than that. Additional features like an automatic shutting down function and compatibility with a broad range of vehicles will peak the interest of the majority of customers nowadays. And those expectations are handsomely met by this, the P.I. AUTO Store air compressor. Its design and engineering have a lot to do with the feedback the manufacturer has collected from customers.

So what kind of feedback exactly have they been using with this device? For a kickoff, it is quite simple to start up and operate. It can be powered by a 12-volt power outlet in your vehicle. Once you have begun inflation, a microprocessor will make sure the tires are inflated to their optimum level, no more, no less. Once that level is reached, the device will shut down automatically. And you can rely on it to do this for you for a very long time thanks to its durable construction.

5. Kensun AC/DC Portable Air Compressor

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Why we like it: It is so incredibly convenient both at home and on the road and can liven up more than just a flat tire.

You would have to concede that there are very few plausible circumstances where this air compressor would be out of its depth. The Kensun AC/DC Rapid Performance is not only compatible with your home voltage of 120V but also the 12V you get from your car. Its flow rate of air is a decent 30 liters per minute. Plus, its usability just keeps getting better thanks to integrated digital presets and a lavish assortment of different nozzles that can seal around and pump up just about any kind of tire.

There is an LCD display that dishes out the readings on pressure levels. It can also use alternative units of measurements when necessary. The maximum amount of pressure you can expect from this device is at 90PSI. Interestingly, you can also have it keep up the pressure at around 35PSI for up to half an hour. You also get a nice and bright LED light so you can see what you are doing in low light conditions and also 3 different nozzles that make it applicable to things other than vehicle tires such as sports gear.

6. LifeLine AAA 300 PSI 12 Volt DC Air Compressor

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Why we like it: Only gets 12 volts to play with, still, generates some sensational air pressure able to have that flat over and done with in under 10 minutes.

It may only need a 12-volt power supply, but make no mistake, the LifeLine AAA air compressor is a real heavy duty device. And how do we know that you ask? How about the fact that it generates air pressure up to 300PSI. As a result, it will pump up your average tire from 0PSI to 35PSI in no more than 8 minutes. Plus, you do not have to worry about what type of tire you are using because this air compressor comes with 3 different attachments, so it can be securely attached to any tire valve.

The power cord extends for a useful 10 feet, which enough in almost any circumstance. The air hose is pretty neat. It can be connected to the compressor in a matter of seconds. And of course, it would not be complete without an air pressure gauge to keep you posted on what 300PSI could be doing to your tire. It is one of the most powerful air compressors we have come across and that is saying a lot considering how many we looked at before compiling this list.

7. Tcisa 12V DC Auto Car Air Compressor Pump

Why we like it: Super small, super lightweight, and will fill up your tire at the same rate as a shrew eating its dinner.

As a motorist, one your most dreaded situations would be incurring a flat in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone reception and no gas station in sight. But if you have got the Tcisa air compressor pump hiding in the boot, feel free to go ride ahead and give your karma the finger. This device is both compact and lightweight, hardly taking any space at all. The biggest thing about it really is the difference it makes by simply being available and ready to go when your tires encounter a crisis.

It may be hugely economical on its size but you cannot say the same about its power output. You get 120W powering 27 liters of airflow per minute. So that equals just 5 or 6 minutes to fully inflate each tire. And it will even shut down automatically if there is too much air going into the tire. Its bright backlit LCD screen will give you accurate readings in PSI, BAR, KPA, and KG/CM². You can also work with it efficiently in the dark thanks to its 5 integrated LED lights.

8. JACO Superior Products Premium Air Compressor

Why we like it: Brings back the charm of the old-school analog pressure gauge and features a heat dissipating metal construction.

Of all the other portable air compressors out there, why would you choose to go with this one, the JACO? We took a look at some of its main features to try and answer that question. First off, we like that it was made of some high-quality metal with heat dissipating properties. It uses an old-school analog tire pressure gauge. But that does not mean you would not be able to read it in the dark, partly because it uses a luminous dial and also it has a bright LED light.

The air hose on this thing is 25 inches long, which is quite ample. Even the nozzle is made from premium-quality metal components that form a super tight seal on the tire valve. And it will not be just tires that you can inflate with it. You also get 3 adapters to help you pump up sports gear and other inflatable devices. And it all comes in a properly compact, easy to shift, efficiently functioning package. Really, you can’t ask for much more than that.

9. Suaoki Mini Air Compressor Pump

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Why we like it: This takes the lightweight-ness of air compressors to a whole new level but retains all of the usual functions of heavier models.

Can you believe it? It weighs just 330 grams. We know we said light, but we were certainly not expecting… this light. This is pocket size, really. And that is taking into account its 9.84-foot long power cord, which can also be plugged into your car’s cigarette lighter. The air hose is a cute 4 inches long so none of that tangle or trippy madness. You also get the 3 nozzle adapters: a valve adapter, bicycle valve adapter, and a needle.

The display allows you to observe readings in 3 different units of measure which are PSI, BAR, and KPA. The integrated LED light gives you additional support with the whole inflation process. With the weight and dimensions of this thing already mentioned, it goes without saying how easily portable this air compressor is. And even though it is such a featherweight, it sacrifices nothing of what its heavier rivals possess. Now that, in our books, is just an incredible achievement.