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A good air compressor is an essential part of any off-roading kit, no matter what kind of off-roading you are into.

In a recreation that involves taking a vehicle ‘off road’ and heading far from civilization, you can’t expect to rely on gas stations and automotive shops to be nearby if you get in a bind.

And when you are wanting to take your truck across multiple different (and often tricky) surfaces, you are going to need a machine that can alter the traction of your tires accordingly, or you may find yourself up the creek without a paddle – quite literally!

Even if you are into more gentle off-roading, and just enjoy going into the wilderness with family, you will still need a good air compressor in your trunk for emergencies – and for inflating the water-raft and camping equipment when you stop.

There are plenty of excellent portable and powerful air compressors on the market if you know what you are looking for.

We have put together a list of the 10 best air compressors specifically for off-roading needs, so you can make an informed decision and head off on your next adventure feeling pumped!

Table of Contents

The 10 Best Air Compressors For Off-Roading

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

ALL-TOP Portable Air Compressor

First up, we have this awesome ALL-TOP Portable 12 Volt Air Compressor. 

It has a maximum pressure of 150 PSI which is great for tires, running pneumatic tools and all your other off-roading needs, and will provide heavy-duty, fast inflation when you need it most.

It has a hollow metal shell and aluminium cylinder for better heat displacement, so you won’t have to worry about it constantly overheating, and it also has a thermal heating cut-off switch and safety valve to protect the motor from damage and ensure it has a long lifespan.

This means you will get your money’s worth out of this machine and won’t be replacing it after one expedition.

It has a sand-proof power switch, which is ideal if you are crossing dunes and desert terrain, and four anti-vibration rubber feet to keep the whole machine stable even on the bumpiest of rides.

Even better, it comes with a 6 ft power cord so you can connect to your vehicle’s 12 Volt supply, and a 26ft rubber air hose with 3 nozzle adaptors, so this compressor can supply a wide variety of tools and reach your tires easily.

Pros

  • Max 150 PSI – great for all your inflation needs
  • Aluminium cylinder and thermal cut-off – no overheating
  • Power cord and air hose included
  • Sturdy, durable design – ideal for off roading
  • Powerful, oil-free motor

Cons

  • At 16 lbs, it is pretty heavy.

Smittybilt 2781 5.65 CFM Universal Air Compressor

With a max PSI of 150, this machine will be able to perform all your essential off-roading tasks quickly and effectively, so you won’t be waiting around for ages while your tires inflate.

It also has an integrated, easy to read, PSI gauge, so you can keep a close eye on your pressure levels and get them just right.

The auto thermal cut-off switch protects the motor from damage so it will last longer, and this air compressor even comes with its own padded storage bag for protection on those bumpy drives.

Really, the Smittybilt is one of the most powerful compression units in its class, with a ⅓ HP oil-less motor, so you get a lot of bang for your buck. Plus, it comes with a 24 ft hose and 6 ft power cord included!

Pros

  • 150 PSI – for great inflation speed
  • ⅓ HP motor – for power and efficiency
  • Thermal cut-off switch – for long lifespan
  • Storage bag – for protection and storage
  • Power cord and hose included

Cons

  • Heavy at 20 lbs

GSPSCN Silver Dual Cylinder 12V Air Compressor

Next up we have a slightly cheaper option for those of you who don’t wish to spend quite so much. The GSPSCN Air Compressor is great for fast inflation with a maximum PSI of 150 meaning it can inflate a standard vehicle tire in around 1.5 minutes.

What’s great about this product is that it comes with in-built, long lasting LED lights, so you will be able to see what you are doing even at nighttime.

For this reason it is great in emergencies and instances where you may otherwise feel caught out.

It is particularly suited to trucks and off-roading vehicles as it comes with three nozzle adapters for lots of versatility and runs off the vehicles own 12 Volt battery supply.

What’s more, this product is pretty compact for great portability and storage, and comes with its own storage bag to protect it from wear and tear. 

It only weighs 6 lbs, so is much lighter than many alternatives and is therefore easy to lift, carry and move about, though it isn’t as powerful as other air compressors.

Pros

  • Lightweight and compact – only 6lbs
  • LED lights – for visibility no matter what
  • 150 PSI – for all your inflation needs
  • Storage bag and adaptor nozzles included

Cons

  • Not as powerful as some other models

VIAIR 300P Portable Air Compressor

The 3000P from VIAIR is able to inflate 33-inch tires with ease due to its high performance design.

It has a maximum PSI of 150 for up to 15 minutes continuously which will allow you excellent tool runs and rapid inflation – however, the unit does require 30 minutes to cool down afterwards.

This machine is powered by your vehicle’s 12 Volt battery, and it comes with power cord and alligator clamps to help you make a fuss-free connection.

It also comes with an open-ended air hose with air pressure gauge included and multiple functions including air-up, air-down, intermittent and tire pressure check.

This makes the 3000P a really handy and easy to use option for off-roaders.

What’s more, this machine comes with a heavy duty carry bag for protection and an anti-vibration tray so that it can withstand even the more adventurous of rides. At 8 lbs it is also pretty maneuverable and lightweight.

Pros

  • PSI 150 for 15 mins continuously – so long air run great for inflation
  • Powerful motor  – able to take on 33 inch tires
  • Air hose with multi-function gauge 
  • Storage bag and anti-vibration tray – for protection and long lifespan

Cons

  • Takes 30 mins to cool down after extended use

TIREWELL 12V Air Compressor

Tirewell’s heavy-duty tire inflator is specifically designed with off-roaders in mind, and the double cylinder motor is direct-drive, making it high efficiency, compact and quiet. 

It has a maximum air pressure of 150 PSI and can inflate an average vehicle tire in only 2 minutes, so is speedy and powerful.

It also has great stability due to its squat design and four rubber feet, which stop it jumping around during operation and therefore increase its overall performance.

It comes with a 5 metre extension hose and battery clamps, and will connect easily to your truck’s 12 Volt battery in order to run. At only 7.6 lbs it is lightweight and makes a very convenient and useful addition to any off-roading kit.

Pros

  • 150 PSI – for speedy effective inflation
  • Very stable design – so stays grounded whilst running
  • Compact and lightweight – so perfect for your trunk

Cons

  • Not suitable for very hefty tiers

VIAIR Constant Duty Onboard Air System – 10007

Now for another offering from VIAIR, but this air compressor is for serious off-roaders who want an in-built, onboard option with enough power to instantly lock the differential on all four tires and create intense traction over any  terrain.

The 10007 is designed to be installed and mounted in your vehicle and therefore comes with all the tools you will need for a smooth and successful installation.

It is capable of inflating tires up to 37 inches in diameter, and has a 110 – 145 PSI pressure switch so that you can adapt the pressure speedily to suit whatever task is at hand.

What is more, this beast is designed for continuous use for up to an hour, so you will be able to achieve all that you need to do without having to wait for the air compressor to recover between runs.

Pros

  • Very powerful and speedy with long air runs
  • Pressure switch for multi-purpose use
  • Installation kit included for onboard convenience and power
  • 150 PSI for all your air compression needs

Cons

  • Will add 32 lbs to your vehicle’s weight
  • More expensive than portable options

ARB High Output Air Compressor

For another onboard option, let’s have a look at the High Output Air Compressor from ARB.

This machine is incredibly popular among off-roaders because it is constructed entirely of high-grade, lightweight materials and at only 13 lbs, is considerably lighter than other onboard air compressors which stand to weigh your vehicle down.

It has a class-leading flow rate, and has been designed especially for speedy tire inflation, air locker activation, and a wide range of other functions that you may encounter whether you are out in the wilderness or back home in the garage. 

It comes with a full wiring loom and mounting hardware so you won’t have any issues installing it in your vehicle. Plus, it is sealed for moisture and dust resistance, which is vital considering the crazy environments it will be exposed to. 

The motor has an internal thermal protection system to prevent damage caused by any of the extreme temperatures it may encounter, and there is also a pressure safety valve, which extends the lifespan.

Pros

  • High quality, lightweight design – for great performance and durability
  • Onboard installation kit – easy to use
  • Powerful motor designed for air locker activation
  • Air inflation accessories – for versatility and multiple use
  • Thermal protection and pressure valve – for safety and longevity

Kensun Portable Air Compressor

This product has been highly reviewed for its durable construction and multi-purpose capabilities.

Its AC/DC ability means that not only can it be plugged into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter plug when you are off-road, but can also suit an 110 Volt wall plug if you are back home and working in the garage, so you really can use it anywhere.

It provides fast inflation for your tires due to the dual metal motors which have a maximum PSI of 100, so can take on most off-roading tasks easily.

And the screw-on air hose makes for a very tight and secure connection, so you won’t lose pressure unnecessarily.

It also has an easy to read pressure gauge with large, bright design to provide you with maximum clarity at first glance. 

Pros

  • Small, compact and convenient
  • AC/DC capabilities for use wherever you may be
  • Accessories and storage bag for versatility and protection

Cons

  • 100 PSI – not suitable for heavy duty off-roading tasks

IKER Portable Air Compressor

For something a bit more heavy duty, IKER’s portable offering has a double cylinder design that is capable of inflating faster than its single cylinder competitors.

This machine has a maximum air pressure of 150 PSI so can handle all your off-roading needs, and can inflate a standard vehicle tire in only 2 minutes, so you won’t be left standing around with your arms folded. 

This compressor doesn’t just inflate tires, it has an in-built digital air gauge so it can also check and monitor your tire pressure. And the machine has bright LED lights so you can use it at any time, day or night, and still see what you are doing. 

This portable compressor matches multiple nozzle sizes for multi-purpose use, and it comes with a convenient storage bag that has reflective lights so you won’t lose sight of it.

And best of all, it has a tire repair kit, so you will be able to solve any unexpected tire leaks along the way.

Pros

  • 150 PSI – so speedy inflation time
  • In-built air gauge – so you can check tire pressure too
  • Storage bag with reflective strip for visibility
  • Tire repair kit included – for emergencies

Kobalt 12 Volt Air Compressor

Finally, the Kobalt 12 Volt Air Compressor is the perfect size to fit in your car and, with a maximum pressure of 120 PSI, will inflate your tires as you so wish, so that you can take on whatever terrain you like.

What is more, the digital gauge lets you track the pressure in your tires so that you get exactly the traction you are after.

It’s AC/DC function means that you can plug it into your vehicle’s power source, and additionally plug it into the wall back home.

At only 6 lbs, this is a really lightweight and portable option and will assist you on off-roading day trips brilliantly.

Pros

  • Nifty lightweight design – so portable and compact
  • AC/DC capabilities – so can be used anywhere
  • 120 PSI – so will inflate your tires with good speed
  • Pressure gauge – so you can achieve perfect traction

Cons

  • Plastic casing is less durable than metal alternatives

Buyer’s Guide

Onboard or portable?

First of all you need to decide whether you would prefer an onboard unit installed in your vehicle,, or a portable unit to keep in your trunk.

For serious off-roading, an onboard unit will allow you the ability to power your air lockers and therefore lock the differentials on all four tires.

This is very useful when going over extreme terrains, because you will want to deflate your tire pressure to create traction on some surfaces, and then inflate again afterwards.

However, for less extreme off-roading, a portable air compressor that connects to your vehicle’s 12 Volt supply will allow you to air-up and air-down tires and power small air tools when necessary – and it will be much more lightweight than the onboard alternatives so will pack away nicely.

Power Cord And Hose Length

Most off-roading air compressors come with an attachable air hose and power cord, and depending on the size of your vehicle you want to be sure that these are nice and long so that you can easily reach all your tires and inflate any other fun apparatus you may have without having to stay closely tethered to the car battery.

Durability

It goes without saying that you are going to be taking your air compressor on some bumpy rides, so look for products that have stabilizing feet or trays, and padded storage bags for extra protection.

These details will really increase the lifespan of your machine and help you get your money’s worth out of it.

CFM And PSI

The CFM (cubic feet per minute) rating of your air compressor refers to how much air it can output at speed and you really want this to be high so that you can fill your tires quickly and efficiently. 

This rating works in relation to the air compressor’s PSI (pounds per square inch), or pressure rating, and again you really want this number to be between 100-200 for off-roading to ensure that your machine doesn’t lose pressure after each run and cost you time while it recovers between blasts.

Frequently Asked Questions

What size air compressor do you need for off-roading?

To be able to inflate your tires quickly and efficiently it is best to look for an air compressor with a minimum tank capacity of 6 gallons, and ideally it should have a maximum PSI of 150 or more.