Last Updated on May 12, 2022 by Chris and Lindsay
Buying the best RV air compressor is essential for your safety and convenience on the road. Our guide will help you understand what to look for in different models and help you pick the best one for your RV!
An air compressor is one of the most overlooked RV essentials that should be included in any RV roadside emergency kit. You definitely don’t want to hit the road this RV season without owning the best RV air compressor.
You can trust us from the experience of having a flat tire on the Dalton Highway and helping numerous people get out of situations in soft sand, owning an air compressor for your RV is worth its weight in gold when it comes to getting you out of a bind.
Air compressors fall under the categories of both safety equipment and preventative maintenance. Keeping your RV tires inflated to the proper air pressure is incredibly important when your entire life literally rides on those tires.
Plus if you enjoy going off-road for any amount of time, having an air compressor kit is essential for any time you need to air back up when you return to the pavement. And an air compressor comes in handy for things like blowing up bicycle tires and other inflatables that make life on the road an outdoor adventure.
In short, RV air compressors are one of the most important investments you can make to ensure peace of mind while traveling.
Affiliate Disclaimer: This post may contain links to products we think you’ll like. If you purchase any of the products through the links below we’ll receive a small commission. As full-time RVers, we know our RV products well and only recommend those that we either own or would consider owning ourselves.
OUR TOP RV AIR COMPRESSOR RECOMMENDATIONS
Best Product // Our Top Picks at a Glance
10 x 7.5 x 5
$175 - $250
16.1 x 11.4 x 10.8
$150 - $200
10.9 x 5.9 x 7.5
$350 - $400
19.5 x 14.5 x 7.8
$900 - $1,000
16 x 16 x 17.5
$150 - $200
15.5 x 13.3 x 20.5
$100 - $175
9.9 x 4.3 x 8.3
$50 - $75
8.7 x 7 x 3.1
$50 - $90
The 8 Best RV Air Compressor Reviews
Here are the top air compressors we recommend you consider purchasing before you hit the road again!
Our Honesty Disclaimer: In the course of living in our RV full time for over 4 years we have thoroughly researched all of these products before making the choice on our own. So we’ll give you honest information that allows you to make the best decision for which product is right for you.
WHAT WE LIKE
WHAT TO CONSIDER
VIAIR 300P Portable Compressor
RUNNER UP: Smittybilt 2781 5.65 CFM
Viair 400P-RV Automatic Portable Compressor Kit
BEST ONBOARD COMPRESSOR
ARB (CKMTP12) 12V Twin Motor Portable Air Compressor
BEST 110V COMPRESSOR
DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor, 6 Gallon, 165 PSI
RUNNER UP 110V
PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor Kit, 1.5 Gallo
BEST BUDGET COMPRESSOR
TIREWELL 12v Tire Inflator
BUDGET RUNNER UP
GSPSCN Silver Tire Inflator 12V
BEST OVERALL: VIAIR 300P Portable Compressor
Our pick for the best overall RV air compressor, the Viair 300P, provides a permanent air compression solution at an affordable price, anywhere the journey may take you.
Hook the compressor straight to your RV battery with included alligator clamps, and you’ll be back on the road in no time.
The included kit has a working pressure built to inflate RV tires and provides various nozzles that will allow you flexibility along with high power. Easy to use, this compressor can inflate up to 150 psi and provides a 25-foot hose to reach virtually anywhere around your RV.
VIAIR’s heavy-duty air compressor took care of the details while still keeping the costs down to make this product stand out. This product ships with a 1-year warranty and various accessories designed to help you get to your destination safely.
Because of its small size and lightweight, we travel with this compressor in whatever vehicle we are driving when we’re not in our RV.
- High quality, powerful and reliable air compressor
- Can be run at 150 PSI for up to 15 continuous minutes at a time
- Portable and extremely quiet
- Thermal overload protector
- Compressor must be turned off to get an accurate tire pressure reading
- The included 25′ hose may not be long enough for some applications
RUNNER UP: Smittybilt 2781 5.65 CFM Universal Air Compressor
It doesn’t get much more lightweight than Smittybilt’s 20-pound oil-free RV air compressor.
Its PSI rating allows it to churn out 40PSI for 40 minutes straight, more than enough to get most tires back to top shape.
But it also keeps on cranking up to 150 psi for RV tires that need the extra pressure to maintain safety on the road.
Smittybilt’s easy-to-use RV air compressor stands out as an affordable option that encompasses every feature you should look for in an RV air compressor, with a mighty max working pressure.
They sorted through all the details. This portable air compressor comes with a carrying case that can easily fit in any nooks or crannies in the corner of your RV to save some space, and the 24-foot hose length lets you stay well away from the noise as the air compressor does its work.
All this comes with a lifetime warranty to give you a product that can handle anything life on the road throws your way.
- Fast, quiet and ultra portable
- Can be permanently mounted on your truck or motorhome
- Has an auto-thermal cut off switch
- Struggles beyond 50 psi
- Some of the fittings are poorly made
- Some consumers complained of the compressor and fittings getting extremely hot after use
MOST POWERFUL: Viair 400P-RV Automatic Portable Compressor Kit
If you want an air compressor that can do it all, choose this Viair 400p automatic portable compressor kit.
These hefty RV air compressors won’t leave you stuck on the side of the road.
The Viair 400p RV air compressors boast a combination of power, and lightweight portability makes it our pick for the most powerful all-around air compressor.
The product churns out a 150 PSI rating for 15 minutes at a time, which should be more than enough time to fill your RV tires. It’s equipped with a 12-volt air compressor motor, giving it the power it needs to provide an efficient and powerful solution to flat tires.
The compressor kit includes with alligator clamps that allow you to hook up the air compressor straight to your battery or through the cigarette lighter.
When you have to call upon your air compressor, you can rest easy, letting this VIAIR model take care of your tire troubles.
- Perfect for large RVs and trucks with oversized tires
- Can operate for up to 40 minutes at a time
- Has automatic shut off function
- Some of the included accessories are cheaply made
BEST ONBOARD COMPRESSOR: ARB (CKMTP12) 12V Twin Motor Portable Air Compressor
If you want maximum peace of mind, pair your RV tires with this ARB 12V Twin Motor compressor to be sure you’ll never be stuck on the side of the road.
The ultra-compact model is the highest flowing portable compressor on the market.
The air compressor comes with an air tank and 20-foot air hose, all shipped in a waterproof case built to last.
The two motors provide working pressure that will fill even the most heavy-duty RV tires to the brim in moments. Every other facet of the design ensures your investment will last.
You could stick this compressor in the corner of your RV and forget about it for five years. But when its day comes, it will be ready.
- Perfect for permanent mounting in a pickup truck pulling a 5th wheel or large TT
- Great customer service
- Powerful pump capable of airing up large RV tires
- Best if permanently mounted and attached to an air locker to use
- The included air inflator/gauge is not the best quality
- The included alligator clips are very small
BEST 110V COMPRESSOR: DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor, 6 Gallon, 165 PSI
Dewalt designed this all-around portable air compressor for construction, but co-opting the compressor for RV tires will provide a solid solution to your air pressure needs.
The pancake compressor reaches 165 pounds per square inch max and has a built-in 6-gallon tank for unparalleled cubic feet per minute fill.
Carrying the 30-pound compressor is a breeze thanks to the sturdy carrying handles, making this an excellent portable option.
Two universal couplers allow you to fill up multiple RV tires at a time. You’ll need a 110V power cord to use these air compressors as they can’t connect to a cigarette lighter or your vehicle battery.
If your pressure gauge is looking low, Dewalt’s best air compressor will make sure to be the tire inflator you need.
- Extremely powerful pump 2.6 SCFM delivered @ 90 PSI enables long run time and fast recovery
- Perfect for airing up larger tires and using tools
- Oil free pump means no maintenance required
- It is bulky and heavier than most portable compressors
- Requires 110V power source
- Some consumers reported issues with the tank and/or fittings leaking air
RUNNER UP 110V: PORTER-CABLE Air Compressor Kit, 1.5 Gallon, Oil-Free
The Porter-Cable CMB15 brings everything you need to fire up your RV air compressor to your right while staying lightweight.
It’s easy to handle and carry with you on your journey. But that doesn’t mean it can’t pack a punch.
Porter-Cable ensured a 150 PSI rating, ready to fill up all four RV tires before it needs to rest.
The details of this machine make it an incredibly worthwhile addition to any RV and its oil-free design gives you one less thing to worry about.
The power cord length lets you do more, and the product’s year-long warranty gives you plenty of time to make sure this portable RV air compressor does its job reliably.
The compressor comes with an eight-piece accessory kit and a hose to top it off, giving you a complete package for your RV air compressor needs.
If you want a portable compressor kit that can inflate tires, mattresses and pool toys, this is one of the most affordable and best RV air compressors on the market.
- All-in-one air compressor and 1.5 gal tank in a convenient small package
- Oil-free pump capable of 2.0 SCFM @ 90 psi
- Compact and lightweight make it easy to store out of the way
- Requires 110V power source
- It’s loud
- Some consumers noted failed regulators after minimal use
BEST BUDGET COMPRESSOR: TIREWELL 12v Tire Inflator – Heavy Duty Direct Drive Metal Pump 150PSI
Our favorite budget RV air compressor packs almost everything you need into an incredibly affordable package.
The Tirewell 12v tire inflator can inflate your tires in around 3 minutes and comes packed full of features made to work with recreational vehicles.
An included LED light makes night inflations a breeze, and a variety of different battery clamps allow you to power your compressor in whichever way you see fit.
The product even ships with various nozzles that will enable you to inflate bicycles, pool toys, or air mattresses on the go. You’ll need to supply your own hose. But the Tirewell 12 v tire inflator will inflate everything you need on the go.
- Decent little tire inflator for the price
- Comes with a two year warranty
- Built in LED light for easy operation in the dark
- Air hose it comes with can be leaky
- May not handle oversized tires
BUDGET RUNNER UP: GSPSCN Silver Tire Inflator 12V Air Compressor Pump 150PSI
This air compressor includes all parts needed to inflate RV tires of all shapes and sizes.
There are tons to love about this very portable tire inflator.
The 12-volt air compressor is capable of inflating your RV tires in 1.5 minutes. Dual cylinders double the RV compressor’s max performance capabilities, and the 150 PSI rating signifies its high-end ability.
Built for the road, the compressor ships with rubber attachments to the bottom of the compressor, allowing it to stay in place during use even on hot asphalt.
Connect it directly onto your battery or to your RV’s cigarette lighter, and you can leave your pressure gauge woes in the rearview mirror.
- Double cylinder designed pump can inflate standard vehicle tire in 1.5 minutes
- At just under 7lbs it’s super lightweight and portable
- Includes a swingable handle for easy carrying
- Has a cigarette lighter adapter with built in fuse
- Can not be used for longer than 20 mins of continuous use
- May not handle oversized tires
- Has lots of plastic pieces that could easily break
Air Compressor for RV Buying Guide – What To Look For When Buying An Air Compressor
Like most essential RV products, air compressors come in all shapes and sizes. They vary in how much air they can supply in cubic feet per minute and can range from lightweight to heavy-duty.
You’ll also find that air compressors have a variety of power sources – from 12-volt cigarette lighters or battery power to 110-volt shore power or generator power.
That said, let’s quickly run through the most important things to consider when selecting the best RV air compressors on the market.
Types of Air Compressors
There are 2 main types of RV air compressors: portable and onboard.
Portable air compressors are by far the most popular and practical type. As the name suggests, these are typically smaller and lighter in weight and allow you to move the compressor as you see fit.
So whether you are inflating your tires or those of a stranger in need, topping off the bicycle tires or even filling up an air mattress, you can take the air compressor wherever it is needed. This is important because the power source, power cord and air hose will vary among air compressors so being able to take it where you need it is important.
On the other hand, onboard air compressors for RVs are incredibly practical if you only want to worry about your RV tires. These air compressors are installed typically beneath the RV on the chassis or storage bay and can be hard-wired into their power source for quick and easy use.
A drawback of onboard air compressors of course is that they are permanently attached to your RV. So if you don’t have an air hose that reaches the item you want to inflate then it will not serve you well.
We LOVE the versatility of a high-quality portable air compressor that allows us not only to keep up with our tire pressure, but also to be able to take it to assist others wherever we may travel and in whatever vehicle we may have.
PSI stands for “pounds per square inch,” which is a unit of measurement for air pressure. This is a very crucial factor to consider when purchasing an air compressor for your RV because you want to ensure that your air compressor can handle the largest loads required.
You can determine how many PSI you need in a compressor by looking for the PSI ratings on the tires and other items you may need to inflate when you are traveling. Tires will almost always have these ratings listed on the sidewalls and typically range between 60-80 psi for most tires.
But tires may not be the only thing that needs inflating. For example, our flatbed truck camper had airbag suspension that could inflate to over 100 psi. Our tires, on the other hand, were fully inflated at 80 psi.
So we had to make sure that our air compressor could handle inflating our airbag suspension to the required 100 psi in order for us to travel safely.
CFM, or “cubic feet per minute,” is a way to measure the amount of air that flows through the compressor. This is an important factor to consider because higher CFM ratings mean that you can inflate an RV tire quicker than one with a lower CFM rating.
In other words, higher CFM ratings are more powerful and will allow you to get back on the road faster than lower CFM ratings.
Operating Time and Recovery
Operating time and recovery refer to the amount of time that the air compressor can effectively run before it needs to cool off. Operating time is pretty straightforward. The longer the operating time the longer you can use the air compressor before it needs to rest.
If you select an air compressor with a tank, this will largely determine the operating time (although a high-quality compressor will also refill the tank during use as well and require little to no recovery).
Nearly all air compressors will require some time for recovery, which is the amount of time needed to rest before you can run it again. Even the best air compressors will get hot the more they are used.
So whether the compressor has a formal operating time and recovery or not, you’ll still want to give it a chance to cool off before packing it away.
You may not think about how important your air compressor power source is until you need to use it. But choosing an air compressor that operates on your preferred power source is important both for general function as well as for convenience.
For example, some air compressors require a 120-volt power source while others can run on 12 volts either from a cigarette lighter or directly from the battery. If you require 120-volt power then you’ll need to consider having a generator capable of handling the load.
We have owned both kinds and can say that we definitely prefer our Viair air compressor because of how simply and easily we connect it to the battery using alligator clamps.
Hose length is not the most important factor to consider because you can typically find hose extensions or longer hoses to use if necessary. But it is something to consider when shopping for an air compressor for your RV.
Depending on your power source, hose length can become an even more important factor.
For example, if you do need to power the compressor using your RV or vehicle battery then the power cord length and hose length might limit your ability to inflate your tires or other items.
Weight / Size
The weight and size of the air compressor is an easy consideration based on your RV storage capacities and personal preferences for how quickly and easily you want your compressor to function.
Owning a pancake compressor that takes up quite a bit of space but provides high CFM and requires little recovery may be a tradeoff that you are willing to take.
But if you don’t have much storage space you’ll want to look for a smaller air compressor that may not have as high a CFM rating, lower operating time and require recovery time between use.
We started with a large pancake compressor that took up a lot of space but gave us the ability to inflate our tires and airbag suspension quickly. But we later decided that storage space was too valuable and we opted to trade our bulky compressor for one that took up less than a fifth of the space.
Noise Level (40-90 decibel)
Air compressors tend to be relatively loud during operation. And while you will only use it for a short period of time, the noise level may be a factor you want to consider when making your purchase.
Most compressors will range between 40 to 90 decibels, which ranges from loud conversation to heavy traffic and shouting volumes. Note that 85 decibels is considered harmful.
An ideal decibel level is somewhere in the middle at the level of an air conditioning unit or vacuum cleaner.