Nowadays auto manufacturers, including BMW, do not include spare tires in most of their cars. The reasons behind this strategy is to save some weight of the already pretty heavy cars. The run-flat or zero-pressure tires can support the weight of a vehicle for a short time and over a fairly short distance. The range, in most cases, varies from 50 to 100 miles. But there is a common misconception: if your car has run-flat tires, you don’t need a portable air compressor or tire inflator.

In some cases, the air can still leak out of a run flat tire without having a puncture. So not only you can use a portable air compressor to fill up the tire to the right spec, but you can also use the built-in gauge to see the current PSI. Therefore, in many cases, the portable air compressor or air inflator can be a life saver. Or in best case, a very useful tool that should be in everyone’s BMW. The portable compressors are inexpensive, have a long lasting life and they almost always pay for themselves.

Today, we wanted to take a look at some of the best portable air compressors, based on our own experience and also on customers’ reviews. First and foremost, you should almost always look for a 12-volt air inflator. Of course, there is always the option of buying an air compressor with a standard power plug, or even a cordless one.

EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump, Digital Tire Inflator

Our own Chuck Vossler swears by this EP Auto 12V Portable Tire Inflator. What we like about this one is that it hooks up to your cigarette lighter and then screws onto you cars Schrader valve. It will also tell you the pressure in your tire as you fill it up. We also enjoy the standard LED light, in case you experience a low tire pressure situation at night. This one is a great insurance policy on trips and doesn’t cost much, especially compared to having to call AAA or a company to help you out.

The EP Auto12V is rated at 120W with an inflation speed of 1.06 CFM. The maximum pressure is 100 PSI. It can also be used on bikes. Furthermore, it comes with overheat protector which will shut of the unit when it exceeds 167°F. The air inflator only weighs 3.81 lbs while measuring 9.6 inches by 7.8 inches by 5.4 inches.

Powerhouse Digital Inflator, Portable Compressor, Auto Shut-Off, 12V 100 PSI & Safety Light

This particular air compressor is often highly rated on Amazon and other reviews websites. The Powerhouse Digital Tire Inflator can inflate up to 100 psi. It features a digital interface and, just like the previous unit, it shuts off automatically when it reaches the desired pressure. Of course, it can be plugged into the 12V socket in your car and it can inflate a standard vehicle tire in 2 minutes (195/65/R15, 0-35psi).

The company says that this particular portable air compressor is suitable for SUVs, trucks, vans, RVs, crossovers, MPVs, campers, trailers, minivans, also can use for cars, motorcycles, golf carts, bicycles, and more. The safety light provides plenty of visibility at nighttime and flashes for emergencies. It weighs 8.36 lbs and measures 12.67 x 6.91x 8.19 inches.

Ryobi P737 18-Volt ONE+ Portable Cordless Power Inflator for Tires


So you hate cables and you don’t feel like running them through your car. Not an issue, there is an option for the cordless-type of customers. The Ryobi P737 18V ONE+ Portable Cordless Power Inflator gets rave reviews on Amazon and aside from the catchy lime color, it can also inflate tires up to 150 PSI. It can inflate tires and most small inflatables found around the house. Kiddie pools, sports equipment, bike tires, even car tires are within this power tool’s reach. There is one drawback though – you have to purchase the battery and charger separately. But in the long run

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