Maintaining proper air pressure in your RV tires is crucial for RV living, and you won’t always have access to a portable air compressor at a service station when you need it most.
But, an air compressor is for more than just RV tire maintenance.
Camping trips often include pool, lake, or ocean time, and that means inflatables! Avoiding the huffing and puffing of manually filling floats is wonderful when you can quickly fill them using your air compressor instead.
A portable air compressor is also valuable for blowing out plumbing lines to winterize your RV and fill bike tires and sporting equipment. Having one of these is very helpful when you go motorcycle camping.
To help you navigate which models are best, we put together the top portable air compressors for RV living below. Check them out and compare features to find the one most suitable for your camping needs.
Best Portable Air Compressor Features
You want to look for these features in an RV air compressor:
- Cordless and rechargeable
- Simple and secure valve connection
- Powerful filling force
- Low noise
- Compact and Lightweight
- Easy-to-read pressure gauge
Why a Cordless RV Air Compressor Is Best
Keeping a full charge on a cordless air compressor for RV use is the best way to top off tires or fill inflatables no matter where you are.
While plug-in air compressors have a reliable and strong airflow, you won’t always have access to shore power during your RV travels.
Trying to fill RV tires often includes some crawling about and contorting the body and arms to attach to the valve stem. Having a power cord in your way only makes this task more difficult.
After cordless, the second-best option is getting a 12V compressor that you can hook to a battery for power.
The Best Portable Air Compressors for RV Living Is Easy to Use
Did we mention struggling to fill tires?
Trying to make a secure connection by flipping an awkward valve lock, straining to read a pressure gauge, and not having the correct adapters to fit various air-fill ports contribute to an unsatisfactory air compressor purchase.
A good air compressor for RV will offer a full array of filling adapters, a large or backlit gauge, a long fill hose, and an easy valve-locking mechanism to avoid user frustration.
RV Air Compressor Size, Weight, and Power Considerations
All RVers must consider weight when purchasing camping accessories not to overload their camper’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. Camper storage space is always at a premium, and you don’t want to take up more room in your compartments than you need to.
Choose the lightest air compressor you can find that delivers the amount of power you require to keep large RV tires ready to go.
The PSI rating of the best RV portable air compressors for RV tires will reach 120 or more.
Even if your RV tires don’t require such a high pressure, the robust power will fill the tires quicker and also gives you the ability to help out camping neighbors who may have larger RVs.
5 Best Portable Air Compressors For RV Living
1. Dewalt MAX DCC020IB 20V
- Air compressor tire inflator comes with high-pressure inflation mode with automatic shutoff
- Digital tire inflator has high-volume inflation and deflation modes
- LED light of the portable tire inflator for car helps to provide illumination
- Three power sources for inflation on a jobsite and on the go (e.g. 20V MAX battery, 12V DC, or 110V AC)
- Convenient onboard accessory storage
- Heavy-duty rubber feet help reduce walking when in use
- Threaded chuck for secure connection to inflation valve
- Weight: 5.5 lbs
- Top PSI: 160
The Dewalt MAX DCC020IB 20V air compressor gives you the option to power the unit through the battery pack, 12-volt DC, or 110-volt AC, so you’re never stuck without a way to fill your tires, inflatables, or sporting equipment while camping.
We like the simplicity of setting the air pressure where you want it and letting the machine automatically shut down when it hits that mark. The deflation port is another bonus that helps you quickly empty your inflatable kayak or large pool toys so you can store them immediately.
Constant road travel and the bumps and vibrations it entails are other reasons this portable air compressor makes our best-of list. The rugged build holds up against years of RVing trip abuse and usage, and the sturdy handle lets you move the unit about without strain.
Not having to baby your air compressor is a nice perk but having a reliable tool is even more critical. We find the threaded chuck secures tightly to the tire’s valve stem on the first try, and the high-volume hose inflates tires and other items faster.
Users also rate this unit as running quieter than others, with the rubber feet muffling vibration and sound, so you aren’t disturbing other campground guests. Lastly, the onboard LED light is helpful when filling tires after dark, making this the best AC/DC air compressor for RVing.
2. Viair 40047 Portable 400P Air Compressor Kit
- Weight: 10.7 lbs
- Top PSI: 150
The Viair 400P Air Compressor Kit has the highest price point on our list, but don’t let that scare you away. The good news is that it’s worth the cost because it can safely fill tires up to 35 inches making it one of the best portable air compressors for RV tires.
You only need to connect the compressor to a 12V battery in your motorhome, travel trailer, or tow vehicle with the included jumper cables to power the unit.
We find it very impressive that the high flow rate tapers off as tires get close to being full. This feature prevents over-fills and tire damage. The easy-read pressure gauge lets you see at a glance the exact PSI, so you know how much more you need to fill.
We find for all the power that the unit is lightweight. This feature makes it much easier to move about when filling your RV tires or taking it along on other camping ventures to keep bicycle tires full or fill up an inflatable kayak. The compressor is simple to carry, keep organized, and store by keeping it inside the included carry case.
This air compressor portable unit offers auto-shutoff when hitting your set inflation PSI, which makes it very user-friendly because you don’t have to watch the unit during the fill. The feature also stops tire overfill which can lead to RV tire blowouts once you hit highway speeds.
The 30-foot coiled air hose is the longest of any model, which makes it a breeze to reach all the RV tires. This perk sets it above other models that require you to move the compressor close to each tire location to attach the hose to the valve stem. The hose retracts into tight coils for more compact storage, which all RVers enjoy.
Join Our Community
3. FORUP Dual Cylinder Air Compressor Pump
- Weight: 6.3 lbs
- Top PSI: 150
The FORUP Dual Cylinder Air Compressor Pump is a budget-friendly option for the best portable air compressor for tires. The super-fast inflation rate beats other models with a higher cost, giving you more time to enjoy your camping trip and less time waiting for tires or pool toys to fill.
We love that it automatically stops once it hits your set inflation PSI. You can attach it to a tire, start the fill and continue prepping for campsite departure. Once it finishes, you can move to another tire and ensure all your RV tires are at the proper inflation without wasting time monitoring the situation.
We really like the array of adapters and accessories that come with the kit. Not having to run to the nearest home improvement store to purchase compatible adapters for filling other types of equipment is a time and money saver.
The kit comes with both a cigarette 12V plug and jumper cables for direct battery attachment to power the air compressor. Reviewers mention the convenience of having the 10-foot extension hose and how the backlit digital pressure reading display really improves the ease of use of this air compressor for RV trips.
4. BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Portable Inflator
- Weight: 5.6 lbs
- Top PSI: 160
The BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Tire Inflator works both cordless and corded (12V & 120V) for more flexibility while on the road.
The lightweight yet powerful unit can raise PSI 10 pounds in around fifteen seconds, so you aren’t wasting time waiting for tires to reach proper fill. It’s easy to watch the progress of the fill on the sizeable digital display with a backlight for even more clarity.
The commercial-grade quality is durable for outdoor use, and you don’t have to be gentle with the compressor for fear of breaking it. We had one user comment they dropped the compressor more than once, and it still runs like a charm.
The kit includes an adapter assortment that even comes with a Presta valve for cyclists. We are fans of the high-pressure and high-air volume automatically stopping once the portable air pressure/compressor hits your pre-determined number, so you know you’ll have a safe fill, RV tires, or other items every time for RV living.
The price, size, and power combination make this unit one of our top picks for the best AC/DC air compressor for RVing.
5. RYOBI P737 18-Volt ONE+ Portable Cordless Power Inflator
- Includes (1) 18-Volt ONE+ lithium-ion cordless power inflator, (1) P102 1.3 Ah compact lithium-ion battery, (1) P118…
- Automotive Pencil Tire Gauge and an operator’s manual
- Fits in tight spaces and perfect for tires and small inflatables
- Compatible with over 100+ RYOBI 18-Volt ONE+ Tools
- Pencil tire gauge is handy for quickly checking tire pressure
- Weight: 1.6 lbs
- Top PSI: 150
The RYOBI P737 Portable Cordless Power Inflator with the charger and battery add-on doesn’t look like much but is a favorite choice amongst our RVing friends.
We find this handheld portable air compressor can fill even large RV tires to the correct PSI without the need to carry a bulky stand-alone air compressor.
We approve of the ONE+ system Ryobi has for its cordless tool line. If you already have the battery pack and charger from a compatible Ryobi tool, you only need to purchase the air compressor portion at a lower price.
Users feel the 20-inch fill hose can reach RV tire fill valves comfortably, even if it would be helpful if it were even 4-5 inches longer.
You will need to crouch alongside each tire to hold the compressor as it fills the tire as there is no preset to monitor the PSI level for you, but being able to travel with such a lightweight tool that can perform so well is worth the extra effort.
We know of many RVers (including me) who own this model and love it, but we admit that it may take a while to fill high PSI tires as it takes longer to force in the air as the tire PSI gets near the goal.
The trick to overcoming this issue is to swap out for a fresh battery pack that offers a boost of power to finish out the job.
Another hint is to get the Ryobi Quick-charger kit with two spare batteries that recharge a battery in about 30 minutes. Keeping the extra batteries on a full charge will save you if your RV needs to stop on the roadside due to a low tire pressure warning.
We find the pistol-style control is easy to hold during operation, and the accurate pressure gauge lets you easily see where you are in the filling process. The tool even has an onboard storage compartment to hold the extra adapters to prevent them from getting lost.
All in all, the Ryobi brand makes a great portable air compressor. The unit is easy to tuck into a backpack to top off tires during days biking the trails or even take to the shore to fill floats or a beach volleyball so you can enjoy your camping excursions even more.
Portable Air Compressors for RV Wrap Up
Nothing is as awful as getting ready for a travel day in your recreational vehicle only to discover one or more tires are low.
Driving when RV tires are at improper inflation can be dangerous and lead to expensive damage to the tires or even blow-outs and accidents. The best RVers prepare themselves with equipment to avoid such events by carrying a portable air compressor ideal for RV living.
Don’t be stuck on the road with RV tire damage and ruin your vacation. Get yourself one of the best portable air compressors from our list above and travel with confidence!
- What are the key features to look for when purchasing a portable air compressor for RV living?
When purchasing a portable air compressor for RV living, key features to look for include its PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) rating to ensure it can inflate RV tires, its power source (battery, DC, or AC), and its portability in terms of weight and size.
Additionally, consider the compressor’s noise level, durability, and the presence of additional features like built-in pressure gauges or automatic shut-off systems.
- Why is a cordless air compressor considered the best choice for RV use?
A cordless air compressor is considered the best choice for RV use primarily due to its portability and convenience, allowing users to inflate tires or other items anywhere without the need for a power source.
Additionally, it’s typically compact and lightweight, making it easy to store and transport within the limited space of an RV.
- How does the weight and power of an air compressor impact its suitability for RV living?
A lightweight and portable compressor is ideal for easy storage and transportation, while its power, measured in PSI (Pounds per Square Inch), determines its ability to inflate tires, power air tools, or run RV systems, with higher power generally enabling a wider range of tasks.
- Can you explain the benefits of having an air compressor with an automatic shut-off feature?
An air compressor with an automatic shut-off feature provides the benefit of energy efficiency and longevity of the equipment.
It automatically turns off the compressor when it reaches a certain pressure level, preventing overuse and overheating, thus saving energy and reducing wear and tear on the compressor.
- How does the PSI rating of an air compressor affect its performance and utility for RV living?
The PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) rating of an air compressor indicates the maximum amount of pressure it can produce, directly impacting its performance and utility for RV living.
Higher PSI ratings allow the compressor to inflate larger and heavier items, like RV tires, more quickly and efficiently, while lower PSI may be sufficient for smaller tasks like inflating bike tires or air mattresses.
"Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt."
-- John Muir