I am sure every truck driver has, at least once in their life, found themselves in the middle of nowhere with a flat tire, without the right tools and equipment to fix it. I know I definitely have.
It happened a few times before I realized I had to do something about it, so I began researching different onboard air compressors for trucks.
If you are looking for the best on board air compressor for truck, here are my top 10 picks that I have found through my research over the years. I have also included a buying guide that you can follow if you are not sure what you are looking for.
|Max Working Pressure
|VIAIR 00088 88P
|1.47 CFM @ 0 PSI
|3.08 CFM @ 0 PSI
|Vixen Horns 200PSI
|1.7 CFM @ 0 PSI
|0.97 CFM @ 90 PSI
|1.53 CFM @ 0 PSI
|VIAIR 200 PSI Ultra Duty
|3.5 CFM @ 100 PSI
10 Best On Board Air Compressor for Truck
Finding a good portable air compressor for your truck does not have to be a difficult task. Below I have listed the products that I believe to be the best on the market:
When it comes to onboard air compressors, VIAIR is quite a popular choice amongst many. The VIAIR 00088 88P is one such reliable product that many truckers prefer. This is a powerful portable air compressor that is offered at quite a reasonable price.
Here, you get a very high maximum air pressure of 120 PSI, and the device is powered using alligator clamps attached directly to the battery. This thing uses a powerful compressor of 240 Watts, making it a great option for truck tires. Since it is smaller in size and quite lightweight, it is easier to install and carry.
The only downside of this 12V on board air compressor for truck is that it could improve its inflating speed. However, other than that, this is a very reliable piece of equipment that comes with a 10 feet power cord for your ease of use.
Not just that, it also includes an LED power indicator, an air hose, and a 3 pc inflation tip kit.
- It offers great air pressure
- 10 feet power cord ensures ease of use
- Quite lightweight
- Could use better speed
Overall, this is an excellent product that will provide you with a long time of service. Despite being quite a simple and affordable onboard air compressor, this thing offers great performance. So, if you are looking for the best on board air compressor for service truck or any other vehicle, this can be a good option for you.
The ARB CKMA12 air compressor is a preferred choice amongst many professionals. This unit is made to last with its high-quality build, and it is a reliable one to have around. Since it is quite easy to work with, this is a good option for beginners as well.
This heavy duty on board air compressor has been made using light but high-grade materials. As it is also quite compact, this thing can be easy to carry around. Here, you will get air pressure going up to 175PSI, which makes it quick and easy to inflate tires using this.
For your safety, the manufacturers of this product have included safety features so that you can operate it without any worries.
One of these features is internal thermal protection that prevents high-temperature damage. There is no room for moisture or dust to enter the unit as it is securely fitted. The sturdy piston seal also ensures better performance and durability.
- Good quality build
- Includes many safety features
- Lightweight and portable
- It does not make a lot of noise
- Made to last
- Alligator clips can be a bit too small
Not only is this unit expensive, but the alligator clips it comes with can also be a bit too small. However, other than that, this is a great product that you can rely on whenever you are stranded with a flat tire.
If you are looking for an on board air system for trucks that are reliable but also affordable, the VXC8301 can be just the thing for you. Vixen Horns is known for its high-quality products and top-notch performances, and this particular product is no different.
The unit offers a maximum working pressure of 200 PSI and a fast response time. You will have little to no trouble setting this up as it is easy to install. This thing has been made to work with air tanks that go up to 5 gallons.
It operates using a 12V permanent magnetic motor and has a flow rate of 1.7CFM that helps inflate the tires up quite quickly.
To help minimize vibrations, the manufacturers of this product included mounting anti-vibration hardware. This unit includes a ¼” standard hose made of stainless steel with a ¼” NPT check valve and fuse.
It is perfect for any vehicle that makes use of a 12V system. The anodized aluminum alloy cylinder body and its thermal overload protection make it quite durable.
- Easy to install
- Reasonably priced
- Offers great air pressure and quick response time
- Features mounting hardware to minimize vibrations
- It can be a bit loud
All in all, this is a solid unit to have with you when you are out on a drive in your truck. Keep in mind that this unit can be very noisy, so if that is an issue for you, you might want to look elsewhere.
When talking about the best truck mounted air compressor, there is no way we could not but include the VIAIR 10007. This product is a high-quality compressor that is offered at a relatively affordable price.
This equipment runs on a 12V permanent magnet motor with 1.66 CFM at 0 PSI. It is a powerful compressor, and it pumps the tire up fairly quickly. This is a great option for continuous heavy tasks that can run up to one hour at a time without interruptions.
The unit has been designed to inflate tires up to 37 inches in diameter and has a mounting mechanism with easy-to-follow instructions for installation.
You will find all the parts and components needed for installation included with the product, along with a VIAIR 450C and a pressure switch ranging from 110 to 145 PSI. With this, you get a maximum air pressure of 150 PSI and a full duty cycle of 100 PSI.
- Very well-built with high-quality fittings
- Fairly fast pump speed
- Easy to follow instructions
- Relatively quiet compared to other units
- Air tank a bit on the smaller side
One downside of this product is that the 2.5-gallon capacity air tank can be quite small, so you will need to fill it up a bit more frequently. Other than that, this is a solid and top-notch quality product for an affordable price.
Next, we have another VIAIR unit that is as good as any other. This is a great unit to have onboard so that your air lockers, air horns, or other systems do not run out of air.
The VIAIR 1000 uses a 1-gallon air tank along with a 98C compressor. This equipment runs on a permanent magnetic motor and offers a maximum working pressure of 150 PSI.
With a maximum flow of 2.54 CFM and a 10 percent duty cycle, this product also includes all the parts and components you need to keep up with your regular tire maintenance.
You can use this continuously without any interruptions for 15 minutes straight. It has a 40 amp relay, and it fills up the tank quite quickly. The whole thing is very easy to install, so it should not take you much time to set it up.
- Easy installation
- Tank fills up quite quickly
- Good quality
- Compact and lightweight
- Low capacity
This is a good compressor to have if you are looking for something lightweight. However, keep in mind that it has a low capacity of 1 gallon, and the compressor can get very loud. Still, with all that it offers, it is definitely worth the affordable price.
If you are looking for the best air compressor for heavy duty trucks, the VIAIR 300P can be just the thing you need. It is very reliable and should give you a long service without any issues.
This compressor is compatible with any vehicle with a 12V battery source and tires with a diameter ranging between 33″ to 42″. It has a max pressure of 150 PSI and a 2.3 CFM output, with a duty cycle of 33 percent at 100 PSI.
You will notice a fast inflation speed with this; even at lower pressure, it offers the same quick speed as it does at high pressure.
One thing some users have complained about is a certain aspect of the design. The unit requires you to turn the compressor off to get a precise pressure reading.
Although the power switch is positioned on the compressor, the pressure gauge is located on the tire way back. The coiled cord it comes with is also a bit on the smaller size.
- Great performance and highly reliable
- Excellent quality
- Offers fast inflation speed
- Very well-built
- Powerful compressor
- Short electric cord
The powerful compressor and the top-notch performance that it offers make this tire inflator an excellent one. It is well-built and of very high quality. If the design issue is not a problem for you, this can be a great option for the best air compressor for service truck.
When it comes to portable air compressors, the VIAIR 450P is an excellent choice for its high quality and outstanding performance. It is very convenient to use, which makes maintaining your vehicle’s air system and tires super easy.
The tire inflator operates using a 12V permanent magnet motor. It has the highest working pressure at 150 PSI and a maximum of 100 percent duty cycle at 100 PSI. At 0 PSI, you get a free flow of 1.80 CFM.
The inflation gun this unit comes with has a 200 PSI air pressure gauge, making it easy to read the pressure rating. This device turns off for your convenience when you are not actively pumping.
Along with the powerful compressor and inflation gun, the box includes a quick connect hose with a tire inflation gun so that you can easily reach all four tire corners. Here, you will find the set of dual battery clamps, an 8′ power cable, an inline fuse holder, and a 3 piece inflation tips kit to be quite useful as well.
It also comes with a zipper bag with storage compartments so that you can carry it easily and a heavy-duty anti-vibration sand tray.
- Very high quality
- Easy to stretch hose
- Quick and quiet
- It comes with a zipper bag
- A bit expensive
Overall, this is one of the superior options when it comes to air compressors for trucks. Although the unit can be a bit expensive, it is worth every penny! You should definitely check this one out.
If you are on a budget and looking for an inexpensive onboard compressor that does the job just fine, the VIAIR 10002 is a good option to consider. It can be used not only for tire inflation but also for air horns and airbags.
This device comes with a 2-gallon air tank and a 90 to 120 pressure switch. It runs on a permanent magnetic motor, with a duty cycle of 25 percent. You will find that it fills the tank quite quickly at 120 PSI which is the maximum working pressure for this. It can be used to inflate four tires up to about 31 inches in diameter.
To make the installation process easy and convenient for you, the manufacturers of this product have included all the hardware and parts you will need for setup. You can mount it on multiple different locations on your truck or SUV. It is suitable for driving through the mud or over rocky areas as well.
- Highly affordable
- Easy to install
- Fills tank quite quickly
- Tank might leak sometimes
There have been a few complaints about the tank leaking sometimes, which, although fixable, can be tedious. Just make sure to use thread sealant during installation to seal the machine.
However, even though it is not the highest performing air compressor, this unit is a good budget-friendly pick for the best on board air compressor for airbags.
The VIAIR 200 PSI Ultra Duty is an ideal compressor for heavy duty trucks and other vehicles. It offers good performance and leaves little room for disappointment.
This air system comes with a 480C compressor and a pressure switch that allows a maximum of 200 PSI working pressure. The air tank has a capacity of 2.5 gallons which can hold a fair amount of air.
It fills up the tank quite fast; you can use this to inflate a tire with a 37-inch diameter from 0 to 30 PSI in just about 7 minutes. The compressor operates using a 12-volt permanent magnet motor with a maximum current consumption of 20Amps.
The tire inflation gun has a 200 PSI gauge so that you can monitor the pressure easily. You will find this unit super easy to set up by following the installation instructions it comes with.
It includes all the hardware and components you need to set up the air system for your truck. However, there have been some complaints from users about the tank fittings being of poor quality.
- Simple to install and use
- Great kit
- Quick to fill up the air tank
- Very convenient
- Tank fittings could be of better quality
You may need to purchase some of the fittings separately if you find the ones included in the package are not up to the standard, so make sure you keep the possible extra cost in mind when making a purchase. However, overall, the air system is convenient to not only install but use as well.
10. Wolo (860-C)
Are you on the search for an air compressor that will be a great fit for your truck without making a dent in your pocket? Well then, the Wolo 860-C air compressor can be just what you need.
To make sure the compressor stays protected, the manufacturers of this product have built the machine with a metal mesh air filter. It uses a 12-volt permanent magnet motor that is specifically designed to be oil-free.
You will find that it fills the tank up in under a few minutes. The tank recovery time is also pretty short because of its high volume output.
Noisy compressors are one of the things most users are not comfortable with. If you feel the same way, you will be happy to know that this unit makes very little noise when running.
It also has anti-vibration hardware at the mounting base. The machine comes with a set of instructions that you can follow to make installation easy for you.
- Large capacity
- Easy installation
- Great quality
- It does not make a lot of noise
- Not the most durable unit
Overall, this is a great quality air compressor with a lot to offer. Even though it may not be the most durable compared to some other units, this one will get the job done just fine at a fairly affordable price.
Which One Is Better: Electric Or Gas Powered On-Board Air Compressor for Truck?
Now that you know all about these products, you may be wondering whether an electric or gas-powered onboard compressor would be better for you. Well, this mostly depends on your preferences and how and what you will be using it for.
Electric compressors tend to be a lot quieter than gas-powered ones. They run on either an induction motor or a universal one. Since universal motors tend to be lightweight, they are more flexible to use and easier to carry around. Although quieter, electric compressors often provide lower output as well.
Not just that, electric compressors are not a viable option when you do not have access to electricity. On the other hand, with gas-powered air compressors, you can operate them until they run out of gas and battery. They provide greater output but can typically be quite noisy.
So, although both are great air compressors, you need to decide which one would be a better choice to keep onboard for your truck.
Is There Any Drawback to Using an On-Board Air Compressor for Truck?
Onboard air compressors can be very helpful, especially since you never know when you might end up with a flat tire. It uses a tank to store compressed air for a significant amount of immediate volume. This makes these machines quite expensive compared to others.
Onboard air compressors are also typically not portable which limits mobility. Even though these machines tend to have a greater airflow, they can sometimes have a lower PSI level, especially for a truck.
They are often exposed to outside elements like dust and intense light, which means they need to be properly maintained if you want them to last you a long time.
What to Look for Before Buying On Board Air Compressor for Truck
With all the options available, searching for BEST can be quite overwhelming. No need to worry, though, because I am here to walk you through it. Below I have prepared a guide that you can follow to find the perfect onboard air compressor for your truck if you are not sure what to look for.
The air pressure level from the compressor determines how fast the tire is inflated. It is measured in pounds per square inch, PSI in short. A fast inflation speed not only saves you time but can also prevent the motor from overheating.
The PSI level typically ranges somewhere between 30 to 150. A maximum air pressure level is the highest PSI the compressor can reach. Before making a purchase, you need to decide what PSI level you want.
It is better to choose a compressor with a higher or just the right level of PSI because that way, you get a high maximum PSI, but you can also adjust the level if you need a lower PSI level.
The airflow is another important factor you need to consider, which measures how much air the compressor can provide under a particular amount of time, and it is measured in CFM.
Although portable compressors do not always have a high-pressure level, they normally come with a large cylinder that ensures a higher airflow.
Onboard air compressors usually have a high airflow that helps to fill tires up quickly. You should go with a unit with a 1.5 CFM level or higher.
Even air compressors need a break while inflating tires to cool off a bit. This air runtime of the machine is known as its duty cycle, and it is usually measured in percentage.
Suppose your compressor offers a duty cycle of 50%; this means its runtime and the time taken to cool off are equal and about 30 minutes each. This duty cycle time can also help you figure out which product you should buy.
The tank capacity is another factor that decides how many times the compressor will need to take a break. A bigger tank requires a less amount of breaks. The capacity your compressor should have mostly depends on your vehicle.
For a truck, you should go for one with a greater capacity, like 4 gallons or more. However, 2 gallons can get the job done as well, although they are better suited for smaller vehicles.
We all know how noisy air compressors can get, which can be very tedious. So, when making a purchase, you might want to look for something that is more on the quieter side.
Compressor Size and Weight
An onboard compressor has to fit in your vehicle, which means it should be a bit compact. As you will be installing the machine onto your vehicle, it will obviously add to the overall weight. That is why you will want to go with a lightweight product so that your truck can easily withstand the weight.
These air systems usually include a gauge that you can use to monitor the air pressure level. This is a good feature to have since it allows you to keep an eye out on the pressure output.
Ease of Installation
Installing an onboard compressor or air system on your own can be tricky, especially if you have never done it before. That is why you should probably go with a product that is quite easy to install and preferably comes with instructions for installation that you can follow.
All the factors stated above are valid ones to consider before making a purchase. However, none of it matters if the price of the compressor takes you way out of your budget.
Although most of the high-performance units tend to be a bit on the expensive side, there are a lot of cheaper but excellent options as well, some of which have been mentioned in this article.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where do I install my onboard air compressor for truck?
Trucks normally have allocated space for the installation of compressors. However, you can install it pretty much anywhere you want in your truck. Just make sure the space is not too shaky or prone to vibrations and is easily reachable.
How do I inflate tires quickly?
The time it takes to inflate a tire depends on the air compressor itself, or more specifically, its PSI. A higher PSI level can help pump the tires at a faster rate.
Are belt-driven air compressors a good choice?
A belt-driven air compressor for truck can be a good choice as they are usually quieter, allowing you to adjust speed and power easily.
Does my air compressor have to be perfectly sealed?
Onboard air compressors are typically exposed to dirt, dust, and light, which can wear them down or make them unsafe. That is why you should pick an air compressor that is properly sealed so that it is durable and lasts a long time.
Are VIAIR compressors waterproof?
VIAIR compressors can be moisture resistant, but they are not waterproof.
All of the products mentioned above are some of the finest you will find on the market at the moment. Just make sure to go through the buying guide and decide on your requirements before purchasing. I hope this article helps you on your quest to find the best on board air compressor for truck.