Air Compressors For Jeeps

The Best Off-Road Air Compressors For Jeeps

​Hopping on an off-road adventure means being prepared for the unexpected. Rugged terrains, nights out in the open, closed trails, you name it. And for all those adventures, you need the right amount of traction and pressure from your tires — this is where your portable air compressor comes in. To help you find the right model for you, we’ve put together our picks of the top air compressors for Jeep Wranglers.

Table of Contents

What is an Air Compressor?

An air compressor allows you to inflate or deflate your tires in a matter of minutes. It is also helpful for other accessories that need inflating, such as mattresses, chairs, or even your mountain bikes.

Air compressors work with an air tank, a hose, a gauge, and an internal motor.

You will significantly increase the Jeep’s traction by letting air out of your tires. This comes in handy for rough terrains. Remember that you cannot drive at high speed when your tires are low in pressure. Whenever you hit easier terrain or paved roads, you will need to inflate them again. Thus the need for a portable air compressor.

The Difference Between Air Compressors

There are factors to consider when choosing an air compressor, but the first and most important choice you’ll have to make is whether you want an onboard or portable air compressor.

Onboard Air Compressor

These are installed directly under your rig. They add weight to the Jeep and take away space. However, they are fantastic accessories. Onboard air compressors have larger tanks and more robust motors, meaning they can provide better results faster.

Another upside of onboard air compressors is that you can also use them for air suspension.

It is a costly option, but it will save you up to ten or fifteen minutes every time you need to inflate your tires. This is great when you constantly change air pressure during an off-road trip.

Portable Air Compressor

As its name states, they are not installed on your Jeep; they are portable. This comes in handy if you wish to avoid adding weight to your vehicle and use them for other tasks elsewhere.

However, portable air compressors are not as strong as onboard ones. This means that you will take longer to inflate your tires since it needs downtime to cool down.

Yet, they are much cheaper than their counterparts, and if you don’t use them often, they are a better solution.

Other Things to Consider

There are also other ways to classify air compressors. Not all of these will apply to both onboard and portable, but they will give you a better idea of which one is good for you. Everyone’s needs are different; the more information you have at hand, the easier the choice will be.


PSI stands for pounds per square inch, while CFM stands for cubic feet per meter. It basically indicates the strength of the air compressor under specific air pressures.

PSI is the amount of air pressure that your tire has. If it’s fully deflated, it will be at 0. When fully inflated, the number will vary depending on the tire model. You will be able to retrieve the ideal PSI number for your tire from the manufacturer’s website.

CFM is the air compressor’s strength to add air to your tire. It will vary depending on the current PSI of your tire. Some air compressors’ CFM will also lower when they overheat. But we’ll get into detail lower in the article.

On average, a professional onboard air compressor should deliver 4 CFM when the tire is at 100 PSI. Keep in mind that this number will be much lower when referring to portable ones.

Tank Size

This is important, especially for portable units. The larger the tank, the higher the capacity to inflate your tires. Therefore, it will help you inflate the tires in a shorter amount of time, saving minutes here and there.

Motor Type

Just like cars, air compressors have a motor that provides the energy for the unit to function. It usually comes with one or two capacitors that control the voltage and current for the motor windings. Some use the car’s battery or cigarette lighter to power up and function correctly.

Even though air compressors’ motors also use HP units, it’s not as straightforward to understand as car ones. So, for reference, always use CFM/PSI, as we mentioned before.

Duty Cycle

This is a term that you will often hear when researching air compressors. The compressor will heat up when you inflate a tire; this is absolutely normal. Air under pressure and the particles around it will create heat.

The duty cycle refers to the number of minutes an air compressor can function every hour. Some brands indicate duty cycle using percentages and others using minutes. Inside the user’s manual, you will find both with specific examples. Once the air compressor reaches its maximum functioning time, you will need to wait for it to cool down and use it again.

Hose Length

This is an easy one, and yet, it’s essential. Most air compressors come with quite a short battery cable, making the hose length a vital thing to keep in mind. A longer hose will allow you to inflate all tires without carrying your portable air compressor around. All portable air compressors listed below come with a considerable hose.

Now that you understand all the terms related to air compressors let’s review the best ones in the market.

VIAIR 400P Portable Off-Road Air Compressor

CFM/PSI: 2.3 CFM / 150 PSI

Motor Type: Car’s Battery + Magnetic Motor

Duty Cycle: 15 minutes (at 150 PSI), downtime 30 minutes.

Hose Length: 25 feet

Weight: 8.5 lbs

Voltage: 12 volts

Pricing: Medium

One of the most famous brands in the market, VIAIR created this air compressor to cover everyone’s needs. It is powerful and yet lightweight. Making it an excellent choice for those looking for a portable solution.


  • It is lightweight compared to its counterparts.
  • High-quality materials.
  • It provides high levels of PSI.
  • It comes with all the necessary accessories.


  • It can sustain short tasks, but not longer ones.

The Basics

The VIAIR 400P Portable Off-Road Air Compressor has everything you will need for effortless inflation and deflation. It is perfect for short tasks (under 15 minutes) and can inflate a tire from 0 to 30 PSI in under 5 minutes.

It comes with all the accessories you need, including a carry bag and heavy-duty clamps. In addition, its 25-feet hose is long enough to allow you to move around and inflate all the tires.

It is also lightweight, among the lightest on the list. This will help you use it in any situation without breaking your back.

What People are Saying

Most users confirm that it is an excellent investment, even if pricey. The quality of all the materials is impressive, and it comes with all the necessary instructions. In addition, it works well even with 35-inch tires.

A small number of users state that it failed after three or four uses, but their units might be defective. If this happens to you, make sure to contact the manufacturer for warranty services

Final Word

The VIAIR 400P Portable Off-Road Air Compressor is, all in all, an excellent product. Even though it is pricey, it will last for years, so it is well worth the investment.

Since the immense majority of its owners review it positively, we are sure that the VIAIR 400P will be one of your favorites from this list.

Oasis 12V OnBoard Air Compressor

CFM/PSI: 9 CFM (50 PSI) / 8 CFM (100 PSI)

Motor Type: Built-in (2.2 HP)

Duty Cycle: 100% Duty Cycle (at 200 PSI).

Hose Length: Not provided

Weight: 65 lbs

Voltage: 12 volts

Pricing: High

The Oasis 12V OnBoard Air Compressor is the final solution to all your air pressure problems. With a 100% duty cycle and its powerful motor, you won’t have to worry about downtime.

It is heavy; however, you won’t have to carry it yourself. Onboard air compressors are mounted directly on the Jeep. This will add some fuel consumption to your car, but it is very helpful if you are big on adventure trips.


  • I100% duty cycle.
  • Durability.
  • High-quality materials.
  • Very fast inflation/deflation.


  • High cost (above $2,000).
  • You will need your own hose.
  • A professional will have to install it for you.

The Basics

Even though this onboard air compressor is quite expensive, it is one of the best ones on the market. A professional mechanic or Jeep dealer will be able to install it for you, and its warranty will cover years of use.

Because of its extreme power, you will be able to inflate and deflate even the biggest tires in just a matter of minutes. Moreover, since its duty cycle is 100%, you won’t need downtime between inflating all your tires.

Its design is sturdy and compact, and it can withstand all the bumps, muddy, and rough tracks you wish to visit.

What People are Saying

The Oasis 12V OnBoard Air Compressor only has positive reviews and comments from its owners. Even though it’s pretty expensive, they all mention that it is well worth it.

The only negative thing people could say is that they wish they had bought it sooner. So, we think we can all agree this is a fantastic option if you are willing to invest some more money in it.

Final Word

For Jeep users looking for an all-in-one onboard solution, the Oasis 12V OnBoard Air Compressor is a winner. If you don’t mind spending around $2,000 to purchase it and a bit more to install it, then this is an excellent choice.

Just keep in mind that the 65 lbs of weight might add to the fuel consumption of your vehicle.

ARB CKMP12 Portable Air Compressor High Output Kit

CFM/PSI: 2.56 CFM (0 PSI) / 2.18 CFM (29 PSI)

Motor Type: Built-in (thermal protected) + Car’s Battery

Duty Cycle: 60 minutes

Hose Length: 19 feet

Weight: 15 lbs

Voltage: 12 volts

Pricing: Low

ARB is known worldwide for its car accessories. Being so, they also have several models of portable air compressors.

This one is not too heavy and easy to carry around. With a more than correct 19-feet long hose, it should be able to cover most Jeep models’ needs.


  • It includes all the necessary accessories and a hard case.
  • Lightweight materials.
  • 100% duty cycle.
  • It is quiet when in operation.


  • Not high-quality materials.
  • Possible leakage from the hose.

The Basics

The ABR CKMP12 is a 12-volt air compressor that stands at a low price and is light. In addition, it comes in a sealed hard case to prevent moisture from reaching the air compressor when you’re out and about in your off-road adventures.

Even though it’s not very strong, it has a 100% duty cycle, meaning you can use it long enough to cover most tasks. Even though it’s not extremely strong, it provides for the basic needs of deflation and inflation.

What People are Saying

Even though there are many happy customers, there are also several disappointed ones. The CKMP12 stands at a low price point compared to its counterparts, and many users comment that it has so many issues that it is not worth even the low price. Many mention some hose leakage.

However, those happy with this air compressor mention that it is straightforward to use and lightweight, and they would repurchase it.

If you do notice issues with the hose when you purchase it, contact ARB for support. However, this seems to happen only with specific faulty units.

Final Word

Even though it is an affordable option, it might not be the best one. Because by spending just a bit more, you would access better products.

However, if your budget is reduced, it can still do the job, and you are covered by ABR’s warranty.

TIREWELL 12V Tire Inflator

CFM/PSI: 2.12 CFM (0 PSI) / Max. 150 PSI

Motor Type: Car’s Battery or Cigarette Lighter

Duty Cycle: 10 minutes on and 15 minutes off

Hose Length: 16 feet

Weight: 8 lbs

Voltage: 12 volts

Pricing: Very Low

The TIREWELL 12V Tire Inflator is perfect for those that want a simple and cheap option for their Jeeps. It is extremely lightweight, which makes it easy to carry it around. Additionally, it offers all the essential accessories to cover your Jeep’s needs.


  • It comes with all the necessary accessories.
  • It includes a 16 feet extension hose.
  • Up to 150 PSI.
  • Lightweight.


  • Very short duty

The Basics

If you wish to have a portable air compressor just in case, then the TIREWELL 12V Tire Inflator could be the one. Standing at only 8 lbs, it has enough power to inflate your tires, yet it’s easy to handle.

However, keep in mind that its duty cycle is very short. You can use it for 10 minutes before waiting for 15 minutes for it to cool off. This can be a real issue if you plan on deflating and inflating your tires often during the day. It could set you back for over an hour in total.

It can be connected to your car’s battery or directly into the cigarette lighter with an adaptor. It will work with the same power in any case.

Even though it’s lightweight and small, it can still provide the same performance as bigger and more expensive ones. Keep in mind the duty cycle to calculate possible waiting times between switches.

What People are Saying

Most people are happy with it since it is incredibly cheap compared to the other portable air compressors. Users comment that it is a perfect emergency inflator.

However, on the downside, some users mention that it does not provide the full strength that it advertises, being short on the 150 PSI max. stats.

Final Word

If you need something cheap and fast, just in case you ever need it, the TIREWELL 12V Tire Inflator will do the job.

However, if you need something that works fast and long, using it several times, then it might not be the best option. Consider this when making your final choice.

GSPSCN Portable Heavy Duty Tire Inflator

CFM/PSI: 2.47 CFM / Max. 150 PSI

Motor Type: Car’s Battery or Cigarette Lighter

Duty Cycle: 20 minutes on and 10 minutes off

Hose Length: 11.5 feet

Weight: 6.5 lbs

Voltage: 12 volts

Pricing: Very Low

One of the lightest in the market and with a very affordable price, the GSPSCN Portable Heavy Duty Tire Inflator is an option for those that want a handy product. However, even if it is light and small, it is still powerful and will do the job.


  • Fast inflation (0-40PSI in 1.5 minutes).
  • It includes all the necessary accessories.
  • It is incredibly lightweight.
  • It includes a carry bag.


  • Short duty cycle.
  • Some users mention it does not provide the strength it should.

The Basics

The GSPSCN Portable Heavy Duty Tire Inflator comes with all the basics that you need to inflate your tires. In addition, it is incredibly lightweight and has the strength to inflate tires from 0 to 40 PSI in about one and a half minutes. They refer to this as their “Fast Inflation” feature.

It comes with a car battery charger as well as a cigarette lighter adaptor. Its rubber feet help you keep it stable even on uneven surfaces. It is also very quiet, so you can use it even during the night without bothering anyone.

Since it is so light, the nylon carry bag that comes with the kit will be more than enough to transport it safely.

What People are Saying

Most GSPSCN Portable Heavy Duty Tire Inflator owners are pretty happy with its performance. With such a small price tag, it can provide the right services. In addition, many claim its fast inflation feature actually works even on larger tires.

Some users comment that the pressure gauge does not read the pressure right. Other users also mention that it is not as powerful as advertised. If any of these two occur, always make sure to contact the manufacturer.

Final Word

The small but robust GSPSCN Portable Heavy Duty Tire Inflator seems to be a good product for the price. Its materials might not be the best, but it surely can deliver its fast inflating promises.

However, if you need something to deflate and inflate very often, it might not do the trick for long enough. Yet, with its price tag, it’s worth having it for emergencies.

Smittybilt 2781 5.65 CFM

CFM/PSI: 5.65 CFM / Max. 150 PSI

Motor Type: Car’s battery

Duty Cycle: 40 minutes (40 PSI).

Hose Length: 24 feet

Weight: 20 lbs

Voltage: 12 volts

Pricing: Very low

Smittybilt is another well-known brand for Jeep accessories with more than 50 years of experience. With model 2781, they have increased the CFM that used to be their standard until its predecessor, model 2780.

More powerful and compact, the Smittybilt 2781 is definitely heavier than other portable air compressors. Yet, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue to carry it around the car.


  • It comes with all the necessary accessories.
  • It is sturdy and heavy-duty.
  • It works up to 40 minutes, helping you cover even longer tasks.
  • It has a 10-feet power cord as well as a 24-feet hose.
  • Rubber feet to provide stability.


  • Carry bag materials are cheap.
  • The gauge is not precise.
  • It is heavy for a portable model.

The Basics

The Smittybilt 2781 comes with all the necessary accessories, even a carry bag. The moment you see it in person, you will notice that it is very compact and made of high-quality materials. And even so, the price tag is not high at all.

With a 5.65 CFM, it can hold well for up to 40 minutes at 40 PSI. And it has a maximum 150 PSI capacity.

It boasts high-quality rubber feet that will grip on any terrain. This will help you keep it in place while using it to inflate your tires. In addition, its power cord is 10-feet long, allowing you to locate it in the position you want. That, together with the 24-feet hose, are a great feature for comfort and safety.

What People are Saying

Most users are happy with their Smittybilt 2781, mentioning that it can really do the job of inflating even big tires. However, they also say that the carry bag is unfortunately too small and thin, so it breaks easily. Another downside is that the air gauge is not precise, constantly shifting 10 PSI up and down.

However, on the upside, those using it for a long time say that it still works just as fine.

Final Word

Even though it is quite heavy compared to other portable air compressors, the Smittybilt 2781 is still perfectly comfortable to use.

With enough strength to fill up even large tires, it is a good option for those who want to have something sturdy and trustable at hand. If you choose to go with the Smittybilt, always keep another air gauge at hand to double-check the results of your inflation and deflation.

ALL-TOP Heavy Duty Portable 12V Air Compressor


Motor Type: Car’s battery

Duty Cycle: 40 minutes (40 PSI).

Hose Length: 26 feet

Weight: 16 lbs

Voltage: 12 volts

Pricing: Low

Quite on the heavy side, the ALL-TOP Heavy Duty Portable 12V Air Compressor is a powerful all-in-one solution. Ready to stand steady even on rough terrains and provide you with the proper levels of deflation and inflation.

It also provides quite a high duty cycle time compared to other portable devices.


  • It comes with all the necessary accessories.
  • It has a reasonable duty cycle of 40 minutes.
  • It has the capacity to work at 150 PSI.
  • It has a lot of safety features to prevent overheating.
  • Rubber feet.


  • It might not be able to deliver the full strength it promises.
  • The gauge might indicate wrong numbers at times.

The Basics

If you like heading off to the desert or the beach, you will be happy to hear that the ALL-TOP has a sand-resistant power switch. This might sound trivial, but many other models don’t have this feature.

Its rubber feet will also help you keep in place. In addition, its design, made of metal and aluminum, helps dissipate heat. Even though its power cord is only 6.5 feet, they compensate for it with a 26-feet rubber hose.

The ALL-TOP Heavy Duty Portable 12V Air Compressor motor is oil-less, meaning you won’t have to worry about it. However, like every other air compressor, you will need to check the air filter periodically.

What People are Saying

There are mixed reviews for the ALL-TOP. However, most users are satisfied with its performance. They mention that it is faster than other air compressors and saves them time.

Some users mention that it does not reach its maximum strength capacity at 150 PSI. Instead, it shuts down around 110/120 PSI because of its auto-thermal cut-off switch. This is something that ALL-TOP has not confirmed. However, it is always a good option to contact the manufacturer if you think your unit is defective.

Final Word

Even though it could be an attractive solution, the ALL-TOP might fall into the sack of heavy portable air pressures. However, if it provides the full strength specified in its stats, then it’s definitely a product to consider.

Our Top Pick

The VIAIR 400P Portable Off-Road Ait Compressor stands out from the crowd, and it’s our pick for the best air compressor for Jeep Wranglers.

Here are the factors that led to our decision:

  • Weight: If you’re going for a portable air compressor, you want it to be heavy-duty yet light. The VIAIR 400P checks all the boxes. Weighing barely 8.5 lbs, it is easy to carry around.
  • Duty Cycle: It provides excellent and steady airflow for up to 15 minutes straight. This is more than enough for most users to fill up their Jeep’s tires to the desired PSI.
  • Accessories: The 25-feet long hose is lengthy enough to cover the entire surface of the Jeep. Additionally, most users report no leakage and have no complaints about its quality compared to other brands.
  • Materials: All of the materials used for the VIAIR 400P are high-quality and stand the test of time.
  • Customer Service: VIAIR customer service is really top-notch. If you ever need to contact them for spare parts or repairs, they will help you find a solution.

If you are looking for a product that checks all the boxes, the VIAIR 400P is the right one for you.

Air Compressor FAQs

Here are some common questions and answers about air compressors that you may be asking yourself.

What Does 100% Duty Cycle Mean?

Even though it sounds as if you could use it non-stop, that’s not quite it. It means that it will deliver the same performance during the entire time.

However, all portable air compressors need some time off. This will be clearly stated in the user’s manual of your chosen air compressor.

As a general rule, if it overheats, it’s about time to let it cool down until the next use.

Should You Turn Your Car Off When Using An Air Compressor?

You should turn off your vehicle before you connect the battery clamps. This is for your own safety. Once the clamps are set, you should turn on the Jeep so that the air compressor doesn’t drain the battery. Then, turn the Jeep off again before removing the clamps.

How Long Does an Air Compressor Last?

If you take care of your air compressor, it could last for years. If you tend to use it in very dusty environments, make sure to replace the air filter often. For any other parts or liquids maintenance directions, please refer to the user’s manual of your model.

Can You Plug an Air Compressor Into an Outlet?

No, most air compressors work on much lower voltage than the supplied from home electrical plugs. Additionally, air compressors don’t have any power plug adaptors. You will have to use the car battery or cigarette lighter when available.

Can I Use a Different Hose?

Most included hoses are long enough to cover even large vehicles. However, should the hose break or not be long enough, the answer is usually yes. This is because most air compressors use standard 1/4-inch air hoses, which you can easily swap out. But, to be sure, check with your manufacturer to confirm the exact measurements.

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