Running a flat tire in your truck is never a good thing, especially as you may well be out in the middle of nowhere (and that’s off-road middle-of-nowhere, not your standard country roads middle-of-nowhere).

It’s not like you can roll on all the way to a garage to boost your PSI. Nope, you’re in what I’m sure nobody could dispute is one heck of a pickle.

Hopefully, you’ve got a spare tire hidden away for an occasion just like this, but if you’ve already used your spare…well settle in, friend, because you’re going to be there for a while.

That is, of course, unless you have a handy little air compressor loaded in or on your truck. 

Yep, with one of those babies on standby, you can fix your tire pressure right then and there and be on your way. So, we dedicated the last couple of weeks to researching the best air compressors for trucks you can buy.

Table of Contents

10 Best Air Compressors for Trucks

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Viair 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor

Viair is widely considered to be one of the most reliable air compressor manufacturers around, which is exactly what you want in a compressor for your truck.

With a sturdy build and well-placed rubber feet, it boasts enough stability to push out 120 PSI, which will get even the flappiest truck tire road-ready in record time.

You’re looking at a 240-watt draw when you hook up the alligator clips up to your truck battery, which is quite taxing, but it’ll be offset by the rate of inflation.

What’s more, as it arrives with a 10ft cord and 16ft hose, you’ll never have trouble reaching your flat tire.

Pros

  • 1-Year Warranty – Offers peace of mind.
  • 240-Watt – Incredibly powerful.
  • 10ft Cord and 16ft Hose – Tire is never out of reach.

Cons

  • 1.47 CFM – Not that juiced.

Viair 40047 400P-RV Automatic Portable Compressor Kit

Here we have a full kit from Viair designed for use with RVs, but it’s also an amazing choice for storing in the back of your truck in case you run a flat.

Boasting a mammoth 150 PSI rating, it’ll get your tire filled and you back in the saddle in no time.

It’s lightweight, hooks up to your battery via included alligator clips, has a respectable 33% duty cycle (roughly 20 minutes service per hour), and it comes with all the trimmings including a pressure gauge and a convenient carry case.

Pros

  • 150 PSI – Great pressure headroom.
  • Full Kit – No aftermarket purchases necessary.
  • 33% Duty Cycle – Long enough to get your tire in tip-top condition.
  • 18.61lbs – Won’t bring you to your knees.

Cons

  • Kit Quality – Compressor is great, but extras…not so much.

GSPSCN Silver Tire Inflator Kit

This GSPSCN kit is raring to go with a 150 PSI rating, meaning it can replenish even the beefiest truck tires and get you on your way.

Despite its portable dimensions, two heavy-duty cylinders galvanize the design, reducing running volume, while significantly boosting CFM capacity.

It’s capable of pushing out 70 liters of air per minute, and thanks to the extras included in the kit, you don’t need to make any other purchases.

Pros

  • 150 PSI – Speedy top-ups.
  • Heavy-Duty Cylinders – Increase stability and airflow.
  • Full Kit – One-stop flat tire fix.
  • 9ft Cord – Reaches all tires.

Cons

  • Single Power Type – If your battery dies, it’s useless.

AAA – 4024AAA Lifeline Air Compressor

If you’re looking for something more compact, check out this ridiculously powerful 300 PSI compressor from AAA.

Weighing only 1.5lbs and measuring 12 x 10 x 8”, it can be tucked neatly under a seat, ready and waiting to help you out during a time of need.

It has a 10ft power lead, so you’ll never have trouble reaching the problem tire, and thanks to the efficient CFM, it will have a completely flat truck tire ready to go before you know it.

Pros

  • 1.5lbs – Insanely portable.
  • 300 PSI – Snappy, powerful air pressure.
  • 10ft Cable Within Encloser – No clutter.
  • Nozzle Adapters – Versatile bundle.

Cons

  • 1.5ft Hose – Compressor must be next to the tire.

Joyroom Tire Inflator

Loaded with advanced features such as auto cut-off that shuts the compressor down once the desired pressure is reached, a digital LED display for detailed pressure readings, and an easy setup, 12V cable, this is an amazing value for money air compressor.

It also features a 10ft power cable for ease of use, a 150 PSI rating for speedy tire recovery, and putting the icing on the compressor cake…it’s nice and quiet too.

Pros

  • 150 PSI – Powerful enough for truck tires.
  • Auto Cut-Off – Safer for your tubes.
  • LEDs – Improve visibility after dark.
  • Price – Can’t be beat.

Cons

  • Plasticky Construction – Store it wisely.

JACO SmartPro 2.0 AC/DC Digital Tire Inflator

This Jaco air compressor has a similar feature set as the Joyroom inflator, such as auto cut-off and a digital display, but it packages them in a more robust enclosure to enhance stability and longevity.

However, the trade-off for the enhanced structural integrity is a lower maximum PSI of 100, which is going to slow the inflation process a little, but features such as the LED safety light with 3-modes definitely sweeten the deal.

Pros

  • Auto Cut-Off – No over inflation.
  • 10ft Cord – No length restrictions.
  • LED Safety Light – Increases visibility at night.
  • Built-In Air Bleeder – Easy deflation.

Cons

  • 2ft Hose – Has to be next to the tire.

TIREWELL 12V Tire Inflator

This little beauty has a heavy-duty twin motor design capable of pushing out air up to 150 PSI, which is enough for pretty much any chunky truck tire.

Marry that with the 2.12 CFM rating, and you’re looking at full inflation in 2 minutes flat, with a 180-watt draw.

The four-rod design reduces vibration and noise, so you don’t have to develop tinnitus in order to keep your tires topped up.

At 5ft, the power cord is a little on the short side, but Tirewell compensates with a 5ft hose extension. It’s also built like a tank, which is why Tirewell has the confidence to stick a 3-year warranty on it. 

Pros

  • Build Quality – Can roll with the punches.
  • 150 PSI – Powerful enough for most truck tires.
  • 2.12 CFM – Inflates a tire in 2 minutes.
  • 3-Year Warranty – Tirewell has confidence in its products.
  • 4-Rod Design – Fairly quiet.

Cons

  • 5ft Cord – We’d prefer at least 8ft.

Kensun Portable Air Compressor

Featuring an ergonomic carry handle and weighing in at only 4lbs, this diminutive dynamo is fantastic if you drive a few different trucks and constantly need to lug your compressor from one to another — it’s a total back saver!

It comes with both AC and DC power cords, but don’t worry about storage, as they reel into the enclosure for a clutter-free flat tire lifeline.

Pressure maxes out at 120 PSI, so don’t expect the fastest inflation ever, but the durable enclosure and user-friendly design still make it a pretty amazing compressor.

Pros

  • Retractable Cords – No clutter.
  • Ergonomic Handle – Easy to carry.
  • Sturdy Enclosure – Can handle the off-road life.
  • Full Kit – Comprehensive flat tire recovery bundle. 

Cons

  • 120 PSI – Not as powerful as others.

Slime 40026 2X Direct Drive Tire Inflator

It’s a little pricey, but this Slime compressor can pump out air at 150 PSI, getting pretty much any truck tire ready to go in as little as 2 minutes, and as it only draws 180 watts, your battery won’t suffer in the slightest.

It also comes with a 30ft cord and hose network, which is the longest on the list, making it a shoo-in for those with extra large and long vehicles.

Pros

  • 150 PSI – Quick of the mark.
  • 180 Watts – Won’t drain your battery.
  • 30ft Connections – Great for large trucks.
  • Build Quality – Stable and sturdy.

Cons

  • Price – May be more than you’re willing to spend.

Ryobi P737 18-Volt ONE+ Lithium-Ion Cordless Power Inflator Kit

Fueled by an integrated lithium-ion battery, the P737 can inflate your tires without siphoning power from your truck battery.

It has a maximum pressure rating of 150 PSI – strong enough for most truck tires – and it’s incredibly lightweight, so you don’t have to hit the gym in order to set it up when you run a flat.

Our one grip is that the activation trigger is easy to push accidentally in transit.

Pros

  • Integrate Power Source – Doesn’t draw from your battery.
  • 150 PSI – Enough power to replenish beefy tires.
  • 4lbs – Portable as they come.
  • Capacity – Inflates around 6 tires on a single charge.

Cons

  • Activation Trigger – Easy to push accidentally.

Buyer’s Guide

Not sure what you’re looking for? Don’t sweat it. Here are the key considerations.

Air Pressure – PSI

Every air compressor has a PSI rating, which is essentially just a measure of its maximum pressure output. It’s normally between 35 and 150.

The lower the PSI rating of an air compressor, the longer it will take to refill a tire — especially your beefy truck tires.

As I’m sure you’re aware, your truck tires also have a PSI rating, and typically speaking, it falls between 35 and 45.

To provide the quickest possible pressure, we recommend opting for a compressor that either matches your tire PSI or exceeds it.

Choosing one with a little bit of extra headroom means it won’t have to work so hard to inflate your tires, thereby extending its service life.

Maximum Airflow – CFM

Often confused with PSI, CFM stands for cubic feet of air moved per minute. Combined with PSI, it determines how quickly you’ll be able to fill your tire and get back on the road.

When it comes to CFM, you’re once again best off choosing an air compressor that has a decent buffer.

The general rule of thumb is that it should have 1½ times the CFM rating of your truck tire, but you could go a little higher if you really wanted to kick things into gear.

Duty Cycle – Give ‘em A Break

Expressed as a percentage, the duty cycle of an air compressor is simply how long it can run and how long it needs to rest in every hour.

For example, let’s say you chose an air compressor with a 50% duty cycle. That means you can run it for 30 minutes straight, or 50% of the hour. You will then need to set aside the second 30 minutes of the hour as downtime.

Adhering to the duty cycle is essential, otherwise, your air compressor could overheat, crap out, and leave you stranded.

Power Type

Some portable generators will have their own dedicated battery power source, which is great, but most will hook up to your truck’s battery via a 12-volt power connector.

If your battery doesn’t have such an outlet, you may have to utilize an alligator clip power cable to link the devices up.

Power Consumption

Air compressors usually run on anything between 120 and 240 watts.

The higher the wattage, the better they perform, but the quicker they’ll drain the battery in your truck. It’s up to you how you want to balance performance with power consumption.

Cord and Hose Length

You need your air compressor hose to reach your tire, which means you have to be wary of both cord and hose length. If one is overly short, the other needs to be longer than usual.

Display – Digital vs Analog

We’re just going to come out and say it…if you can afford it, go digital. Digital displays give you far more information, including…

  • Output pressure
  • When the tire is full
  • Available air pressure within the tire
  • Power level

Matching the Compressor with Tire Size

We’ve sort of already covered this with the PSI and CFM sections of the guide, but yeah…just a gentle reminder that you should be matching up the air compressor with the size of your tires. Some are only capable of inflating smaller units.

Auto Cut-Off – A Godsend

While auto cut-off isn’t an essential feature, we can’t speak highly enough of it, so it’s definitely worth your consideration.

Basically, it allows you to set the required tire pressure level, so when it reaches it, the air compressor automatically shuts itself down.

This takes out the guesswork in terms of timings, reducing the chance of overinflating your tire, which can damage the tube and reduce the stability of your vehicle.

Tank VS Tankless

Tank air compressors are larger, heavier, and more powerful than tankless designs, but a tankless compressor should still be able to handle filling your tires in an emergency.

Tank Size

6 gallons should be enough to give you peace of mind on the road, but you can go a little smaller if you are dealing with budgetary restrictions.

Noise Level

Here’s the thing…air compressors are noisy sons o’ guns, so do your ears a favor and look for one that incorporates noise-reducing technologies.

The Portability Problem

A portable air compressor is key when you’re lugging it around with you wherever you go, but the lighter they are, the less stable they are in action, increasing the chances they’ll topple over.

You’ll also need to keep it upright while it’s in storage in your truck, so if you take the bumpy track less traveled more often than not, a heavier unit is definitely the way to go.

Frequently Asked Questions

Got time for a quick truck air compressor FAQ section?

How many tires will a 5-gallon air tank fill?

An air compressor with a 5-gallon tank should fill all four of your tires once, but it depends on how big they are and how flat they’ve become.

What happens when the tank of an air compressor runs dry?

When your air compressor tank runs out of air, it will automatically shut down the output, and the motor will begin refilling the tank.

How do you pump up truck tires quickly?

The PSI and CFM of an air compressor, combined with its duty cycle and the size of your tires, determine how long it will take to inflate them.

So, if you’re looking to inflate your tires in a snap and get on your way, you’ll need a higher-end compressor model.

Is a 1-gallon air compressor enough to fill tires?

A 1-gallon air compressor may be suitable for inflating bike tires, but it’s not really a viable option for truck tires.

Sure, you might be able to use it for the odd pressure top-up before a big journey, but it’s not wise to rely on something this diminutive to completely replenish a flat tire.

Summing Up

That’s your lot from us, folks. I hope you saw something on our list that can help you out next time you’re running a flat.

As long as you think carefully about the features we mentioned in our buyer’s guide, you’ll be able to pick out the perfect air compressor for you and your vehicle. Keep on truckin’, pard!