A 12v air compressor is one of the most popular 4×4 accessories to have installed in the back of your rig. They make tyre inflation so much easier and convenient when driving off-road. The best 12v air compressors come in different sizes, have different budgets, and suit different needs.

An air compressor fills up the air in any tyre, they come with a hose and connectors that fit all standard valves, allowing you to fill your tyres while on the move. Heavy-duty portable air compressors also fill air lockers, airbags, air suspension and can be used with air tools.

A 12-volt air compressor is also great for making sure tyre pressure is at the optimal level for 4WDs whether you are on or off-road. The best 4×4 air compressor is suitable for tyres ranging from the smallest to the largest and is the perfect 12v accessory that you should have in your rig at all times when travelling off-road.

You can have either have an onboard permanently mounted 12v compressor or a portable air compressor 12v. In most 4wd rig builds a mounted compressor will generally be permanently wired utilising a second battery system to run your compressor along with other 4×4 accessories. A must if you are travelling Australia and leaving the blacktop often or a keen offroader.

CLICK HERE if you are looking for a quick answer to find our TOP PICK for the best 12v Air Compressor

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ViAir 480C Air Compressor

The ViAir 480C Air Compressor is our TOP PICK for these reasons

  • Price point
  • Quality fittings
  • Lightest weight
  • An Aussie company
  • Excellent Duty Cycle
  • Great working pressure and amp draw

The Best 12v Air Compressor 2022 Comparison Chart

In this comparison chart, we’ve compiled a quick side-by-side air compressor guide for your reference. In our review section below we cover all functions and features at length.

BrandCFM PSI (Max)Duty CycleSize | WeightCheck Price
Viair 480CViAir 480C Air Compressor1.86@0 PSI200 PSI 100%@100 PSI276x107x172
3.9 kgs
Click Here
ARB CKMTA 12ARB dual compressor6.16@29 PSI150 PSI100%@100 PSI478x355x186
15 kgs
Click Here
ARB CKMA 12ARB Single Air Compressor CKMA123.08@29 PSI100 PSI50%@100PSI145x190x98
4.5 kgs
Click Here
Air Boss Air Pro 5Air Boss air compressor135 PSI100@100 PSI300x250x140Click Here
Dr Air Pro FlowDr Air Air Compressor5.29@0 PSI150 PSI45min @ 40PSI335x180x230
10 kgs
Click Here
Drivetech CompressorDrivetech Air Compressor6.35@0 PSI150 PSI15min/5 min coolN/AClick Here
Yaponcha Compressor
Yaponcha 12v Air Compressor
11.3@0 PSI150 PSI100@100 PSI300x150x200
6.5 kgs
Click Here
Kings ThumperKings Thumper Air Compressor10.5@0 PSI150 PSI10min@40 PSI365x220x
9 kgs
Click Here
Outbac OTB700Outbac 12v Air Compressor10.5@0 PSI150 PSI30min@40 PSI340x160x320
10.5 kgs
Click Here
Mean Mother AdventurerMean Mother Adventure 4 Air Compressor6.35@0 PSI150 PSI45min @ 40PSI325x150x265
8.7 kgs
Click Here
 

Comparing The Best 12v Air Compressors Australia 2022

There are many things to consider when shopping for a 12v air compressor. Plenty of companies have started to pop up over the years, but there are only a few that really stand out from their competition.

Companies have taken advantage of this opportunity by creating products that are designed with the consumer in mind, not just at the initial purchase, but throughout the lifetime of usage as well.

Before making your final decision on the best 12v compressor for your rig, here are some things you should think about.

How Much Can Your Tyre Inflate?

The first thing you should consider, is how much can your tyre inflate? Most of the 12V compressors on the market today are designed for smaller tyres.

For example, if you have a tyre that is around 30 PSI, a small 12v air compressor will do a great job at inflating it to the optimal pressure of 35 PSI. The problem occurs when you have a larger 4×4 car tyre, such as one that needs 40+ PSI; it will take forever for the compressor to finish. Therefore you will need a 12v air compressor heavy duty.

What Type Of 12V Compressor Do You Need?

You also need to consider what type of compressor you need. Some people, they prefer a small, portable and more compact style due to the limited amount of space in their rig.

In this case, an air tank would not be very useful. But for others who have more room in their rig, then an air tank would be beneficial. This allows your 12V compressor to have its own separate space for storage, freeing up more usable space in your 4×4.

What Is The Accuracy Of The Compressors Pressure Gauge?

This can be very important, especially if you have a tyre that is around 45-50 PSI. If the compressor’s pressure gauge has a maximum of 50PSI, then it will probably not inflate your tyre to its optimal pressure unless you purchase a separate digital tyre inflator. It’s always best to check the accuracy of the pressure guage.

What About The Length Of Its Power Cord?

Another thing you need to consider is the length of its power cord. The longer it is, the more flexibility you have in terms of where you can use it if you chose a portable air compressor. However, most compressors don’t come with a very long power cord which means they are typically limited to being mounted.

How Many Accessories Are Included?

How many accessories are included in the kit may or may not be important to you. Some companies include a tyre pressure gauge with their compressor, some include an air hose, and some don’t include anything at all. Some companies include tyre mounting accessories which help with inflating your tyres more efficiently few will even include extra items such as tyre puncture kits.

Unfortunately, most 12v compressors on the market only come with a few different nozzles for inflation purposes.This can be a problem if you have a tyre that requires a special shape nozzle.

How Long Does It Take To Inflate A Tyre?

Let’s face it as quickly as possible is the correct answer for most. Nobody wants to spend more time than they have to on a dusty outback track in the heat waiting for their tyres to inflate.

For example, there are some 12v air compressors that come with an extremely fast flow of air which means they can inflate your tyre in less than 5 minutes. Spending a little extra on a compressor will give you a better flow rate. You do get what you pay for with air compressors as with most 4×4 gear.

How Long Can The Compressor Hold Power (Duty Cycle)?

The amount of time that your compressor can hold power during use is another important factor to consider before making any purchases. For example, many 12v compressors can cycle for 30 minutes or more while a few only have a max of 10-15 minutes.

Fortunately, most compressors can maintain stable air pressure up to 25-30 minutes before it needs to be refilled. These are just some of the many factors that you need to consider when buying one of these units for yourself.

What Is The Dispenser Range?

Some 12v compressors only allow you to maintain pressure up to 30 PSI in your tyre, which wouldn’t be sufficient for most 4wd’s. Fortunately, there are brands that offer a wider dispenser range up to 60 PSI or more.

Top 10 4WD Air Compressor Australia 2022

  1. ViAir 480c Air Compressor
  2. ARB Twin Air Compressor
  3. ARB Single Air Compressor
  4. Air Boss Air Pro 5 Air Compressor
  5. Dr Air Air Pro Flow Air Compressor
  6. Drivetech Air Compressor
  7. Yaponcha Air Compressor
  8. Kings Thumper Air Compressor
  9. Outbac OTB700 Air Compressor
  10. Mean Mother Adventurer 4 Air Compressor

How To Choose the Best 4×4 Air Compressor Australia 2022

caravan warranty

Types of 12volt Air Compressors

12v air compressors come in two different stage types: single-stage and twin-stage. A single-stage compressor pressurises the air in one cycle, whereas a twin-stage takes two cycles to achieve full pressure.

The difference between these two types of compressors is what happens to the compressed air after it is produced.

Single-stage compressors are the most popular type because they are inexpensive and easy to maintain. Any moisture that enters the cylinder during compression will condense at high-pressure.

Twin-stage compressors pressurise the air twice, once in each stage. The first stage is a high compression where moisture may condense out of the air, and be drained from the system after it passes through a wet/dry filter. It then moves to the second stage compressor which compresses the dry air again and pressurises it. This process helps to eliminate any moisture from the air before it enters the tank so you don’t have to drain and dry out your system as often.

Twin-stage compressors are more expensive than single-stage compressors. However, they do a better job of keeping their tanks clean and free of moisture which provides better air quality.

What are the benefits of using a twin-stage compressor?

12v air compressors are powered by a 12v fitting (cigarette lighter fitting) in your car, so they need to be small and light enough to be transported easily. A 12v air compressor that is powered by a cigarette lighter accepts amps from 10 – 15amps for starting up. Whereas a twin-stage compressor will only use 5 – 7.5 amps.

Twin-stage compressors provide faster recovery times than single-stage compressors because they don’t allow any condensation to form in the tank. This makes it much faster for your compressor to recover its high pressure, which is necessary when you are using it as a tyre inflator.

What is the difference between three-stage and twin-stage?

A three-stage 12v air compressor is even better than a twin-stage because it is more efficient and provides cleaner air. A three-stage draws the same amount of amps from your lighter socket to power the compressor as it does with a twin-stage compressor.

The first stage of the three-stage 12v air compressor uses a standard piston cylinder. It pressurises the air just like a single-stage compressor by cycling the air through the cylinder.

When the compressed air gets to the second stage, there is a piston diaphragm installed with an oil cavity. The compressed air goes up to vents in this chamber, which charge it with oil droplets that are dissolved into the compressed air.

This oil charges your compressed air with lubrication that will prevent rust and corrosion, which is perfect for inflating tires. The third stage of the three-stage 12v air compressor uses a rotary screw compressor to pressurize the compressed air once more. This extra step ensures that your tire will be properly inflated with clean oil-charged air.

Are 3-stage compressors more efficient than single-stage or twin-stage?

3-stage compressors are more efficient because they recover the air to its original pressure in one cycle, while a single-stage compressor takes two cycles to achieve full pressure. This extra step ensures that your tyre will be properly inflated with clean oil-charged air.

12 Volt Portable Air Compressors

12v air compressors come with different accessories and nozzle tips, which are used for different applications like inflating tyres, air mattresses, pool toys etc.

Before you purchase, make sure to check if all parts are included, especially connectors. Most portable air compressor 12v have common attachment types, but some brands have unique attachments so be sure to double-check. Some come with heavy-duty clamps that allow you to attach the air hose without having to detach the connector from the tyre valve.

Some 12v air compressors have built-in digital pressure gauges, which allow you to monitor the pressure level of your tyres. Gauges that come with the compressor are almost always in the 20-50psi range which is perfect for inflating tyres. Make sure you have a standard tyre gauge in your 4×4 toolbox when needed.

12 Volt Hard Mounted Air Compressors 

When you hard mount an air compressor you’ll have to give some thought to where the compressor will be mounted. Plus, how it will be wired.

Most 4×4 owners have a set of drawers, a camping ridge, perhaps a cargo barrier and a 12v air compressor. Some air compressors are hard mounted along the side of 4wd in the quarter panel. The nozzle then connects to the outside of the drawer area where switches and USB ports are typically housed.

Once you choose a mounting spot you can then choose how your compressor will be wired. To the second battery in a dual batter stem or to the starter battery?

Most 4wd owners choose the starter battery as it is designed to have fast recovery rates and handle high outputs of power. It’s also a good idea to keep your 4wd engine running to ensure you don’t run the battery flat.

An Anderson Plug is commonly used to connect the power supply wiring of your 4×4 to the power supply wiring of the air compressor. An Anderson Plug will ensure a good electrical connection is maintained especially if there is a decent length of wire between the compressor and battery.

Size 

The size of your compressor is important whether you want a portable compressor or a hard-mounted compressor. Space is a premium in any rig due to the other 4×4 accessories, i.e. camping fridges, draw systems etc. Therefore a compressor that is compact is best.

Weight

Most 4wders are weight conscious about the many 4wd accessories for their rigs and 12v air compressors are no different. Weighing less is definitely best when considering any addition to your rig.

Quality

Apart from the quality of the compressor itself and its components, there are other quality issues for consideration.

What Is The Quality Of The Compressor’s Housing?

Another thing to consider is the quality of the housing unit itself. For example, some compressors have a plastic housing which can be fairly easy to damage and crack after repeated use. However, there are some companies that build their housing out of metal and provide a much higher quality unit.

What Is The Quality Of The Compressor’s Cords And Hoses?

Another thing you need to consider is the quality of its cords and hoses, which are usually included in the kit. If the hoses aren’t of a great standard and quality they can easily blow. Makes sense as there is high-pressure air travelling through them when you are inflating your tyres.

Fortunately, most brands offer an excellent warranty for their products which usually covers the power cord and air hose that is included in the kit.

Best 12v Air Compressor Reviews Australia 2022

Best 12v Air Compressor Reviews

ViAir 480C Air Compressor Review

ViAir 480C Air CompressorThe ViAir (by Bushranger) 480C is a truly-rated continuous duty, 12-volt, 115 PSI compressor.

It is capable of filling a 19L tank from 80 PSI to 115 PSI in 2 minutes consistently, while never pulling more than 17 amps of power (@ 13.8 volts).

Features include a standard 3.5cm stainless steel braided leader hose with a 3.5cm NPT inline check valve and insulated wiring.

The 480C Features Include:

  • Check Valve
  • Vibration Isolators
  • Mounting Hardware
  • Stainless Steel Braided Leader Hose
  • AirLine for Remote Mount Air Filter
  • Remote Mount Air Filter Assembly
  • 2 x Replacement Air Filter Elements

Important Information and Specs

  • Duty Cycle: 100% @ 100 PSI (50% @ 200 PSI)
  • Working Pressure: 115 PSI (max)
  • Air Tank Size: 19L (max)
  • Amp Draw: 17 Amps 12v (max)
  • Ingress Protection Rating: IP67
  • Dimensions: 276x107x172mm
  • Weight : 3.5 kgs
  • Warranty: 1 year

Installation instructions included.

CLICK HERE for more information and price for the ViAir Air Compressor

ARB Dual Air Compressor CKMTA 12

ARB dual compressorThe ARB CKMTA 12v high-performance air compressor is the most powerful compressor of its class on the market, thanks to the twin motor, dual cylinder design. at 174LPM [6.16CFM]. This enables it to fit into smaller spaces, something competitor compressors cannot achieve.

It is made entirely of lightweight, exceptionally strong engineered components, including military and aviation-grade parts.

Due to the regulation of the air manifold system 930kPa [135PSI] and 1030kPa [150PSI], this compressor is suited to air lockers and air tools. The compressor uses energy at a lower rate because it is more efficient. The compressor consumes just 56 Amps when the airflow reaches its maximum.

The unit is waterproof and for moisture and dust resistance, it is constructed of sealed components. The PTFE (Teflon) impregnated carbon fibre piston seals and hard anodized cylinder bores.

The motors, heads and electronics are effectively cooled by a Ducted IP55 sealed brushless DC cooling fan and anodized motor mounting plates, allowing for a full duty cycle (under room temperature conditions).

The mount is fitted with anti-vibration/noise dampening materials and the air filter element is made of high density and high flow washable sintered bronze.

Air filter housing with a relocatable splash-proof design for cleaner, cooler air supply and versatile waterproof air intake positioning.

The air filter element is made of high density and high flow washable sintered bronze.

For simpler installation and easy plug-in connection to Air Locker control solenoids, the wiring loom is already included.

Dual heavy-duty Maxi-Fuses for professional in-line circuit protection and true circuit redundancy in the event of a failure

Motors are water sealed, 100 per cent ball bearing-equipped (no bushings), and come with a unique linear brush pre-load system for longer life, low heat, and quiet operation throughout the unit’s lifespan.

The internal cooling fans are protected against severe temperature damage by being thermally isolated.

The Compressors’ cylindrical roller bearings are from Europe and have a high shock tolerance.

Equipped with an over-pressure safety valve.

All replacement components are easily accessible and serviceable.

Comprehensive 2-year warranty.

Also Included Is

  • Fully assembled and tested 12v air compressor
  • The harness has been fully wired and includes Air Locker solenoid plug-in contacts
  • A dash switch with OEM-quality IP54 protection
  • Two relocatable splash resistant air filters with washable high-flow sintered bronze filter cartridge
  • Bolts and washers for mounting
  • A step-by-step, illustrated procedure is provided to assist you in installing your air compressor

CLICK HERE for more information and price for the ARB Twin Air Compressor

ARB CKMA 12  Air Compressor Review

ARB Single Air Compressor CKMA12The ARB CKMA 12v high-performance portable air compressor is a world-class recreational product that meets commercial, industrial, and military standards while also providing dependability.

This 12v air compressor ARB is the most efficient portable compressor in its class, thanks to its ultra-compact design.

Made entirely of lightweight, high-strength engineering-grade materials and has fully sealed components for dust and moisture resistance.

The motor is entirely ball-bearing equipped and includes a unique linear brush pre-load system for longer life, less heat, and quiet operation throughout the unit’s lifespan. The motor is also protected from damage caused by high-temperature use with a thermal cut-out.

When not filling, the electric system’s pressure switch and 40 amp automobile relay with integrated electrical system prevent run-on. It also protects the compressor and hoses against harm caused by a kinked air line’s pressure.

The illuminated isolating switch is simple to view at night, and it also protects you from dangerous sparking when connecting the alligator clips to the battery terminals if you are using the compressor as a portable unit.

Heavy-duty Maxi-Fuse power leads for industrial in-line circuit protection.

Hard anodized cylinder bore and PTFE (Teflon) impregnated carbon fibre piston seal for less friction and longer life.

A German-made high shock rated roller bearing is included in the compressor piston. Washable sintered bronze air filter element with a higher density and greater flow than standard sintered bronze air filters.

The pressure chamber is equipped with an over-pressure safety valve as backup protection against either pressure switch failure or thermal overpressure produced in a hot vehicle. Meaning there is no need to empty the pressure chamber when finished. The pressure safety valve also protects against an accidental connection to an external high-pressure source.

Other Features include;

  • Lightweight, high-grade materials
  • Available in both portable and vehicle-mounted configurations
  • Class-leading flow rate
  • Designed for Air Locker activation (on-board model)
  • Fast tyre inflation
  • Comprehensive 2-year warranty

The hard-mounted kit includes

  • A full wiring loom
  • Mounting hardware for easy installation

The portable kit includes

  • 6-metre air hose
  • battery clamps
  • Inflation kit
  • Durable carry case

CLICK HERE for more information and price for the ARB Single Air Compressor

Air Boss Air Pro 5 Review

Air Boss air compressorThe Boss Air Pro 5 Compressor Kit is suitable to inflate 4×4 tyres, small air tools, run air lockers and other applications where a high air volume is required.

The Kit Includes

  • 700mm Teflon Coated Stainless Steel Braided Hose
  • PX-07 3/4 hp 12 volt BOSS Air Compressor
  • AT-05 16ltr Boss Aluminium Air Tank
  • Drain Tap and 1/4”NPT Bung
  • 110-135psi Pressure Switch
  • 100% Duty Solenoid
  • 1-year warranty
  • Check Valve
  • Flare Fitting

CLICK HERE for more information and price for the Air Boss Air Compressor

Dr Air Pro Flow Air Compressor Review

Dr Air Air CompressorThe Dr Air air compressor 12v 150 PSI PRO-FLOW has one purpose and that is to inflate your tyre quickly. It boasts a 150psi output which should be more than enough for any 4wd tyre and it only takes around 2.5 minutes to do so.

It’s housed in an ammo box for added toughness and comes with thermal overload and circuit breaker protection. It’s certainly not the most powerful compressor on the market but it is one of the most popular with off-roaders.

Other Features Include;

  • 150PSI Output
  • CFM is 5.29 @ 0 PSI
  • It has a 45 Minute duty cycle @ 40PSI
  • Thermal cut-out and circuit breaker protection
  • 0.73HP (0.54kW) Permanent magnet motor
  • 60mm Diameter cylinder
  • Built-in air filter
  • 5m Rubber hose with quick connectors
  • 5-year manufacturer’s warranty

CLICK HERE for more information and price for the Dr Air Air Compressor

Drivetech Air Compressor Review

Drivetech Air CompressorThe Drivetech Air Compressor Kit contains an air compressor, tyre repair set and a tyre deflator. The air compressor has a maximum pressure of 150psi and can deliver 180L/min of compressed air.

The maximum working pressure is 40 psi. It has a 2m power cord with battery clamps. The rubber air hose is 6.5m long with snap fittings. The duty cycle is 15 minutes at 24°C and a five-minute cool downtime. It uses 12V – 45Amp.

There are the following items in the tyre repair kit: 20 Tyre Plugs, 2 Puncture-proof strips, 1 Rubber cement tube, 1 Tube repair glue, 1 Tyre groover, 1 tool case.

The tyre deflator is easy to use with an all in one mechanism. It has a rubber protection sleeve around the gauge head and a handy pouch for storage.

Drivetech 4×4 Air Compressor Kit is easy to use, with an excellent design. This product is well suited for 4WD owners who are often out 4wding either on the sand or in the bush. It has many useful compartments to keep things organised and it contains everything you need in case of a puncture.

CLICK HERE for more information and price for the Drivetech Air Compressor Kit

Yaponcha 12v Air Compressor Review

Yaponcha 12v Air CompressorThe Yaponcha 320L/min Portable Air Compressor is a reliable ally for flat and under-inflated tyres. Now you can inflate your tyres as soon as you reach the blacktop.

The latest version of this air compressor features powerful twin cylinders with a maximum airflow of 320L/min and a maximum restart pressure of 230PSI. This air compressor can quickly and easily inflate your 4WD tyre in around a minute.

It comes with a premium deflation valve and a 5m PA hose for simple access to all of your wheels. Together with an easy-to-use pressurized burst hose and a high-pressure booster gauge to help you quickly refill your tyres.

It’s built to tackle Australia’s tough conditions, and it has overload protection with a simple reset option. Also, included are 3 inflatable head attachments.

Included with the Yaponcha 12V Air Compressor is;

  • Coil Air Hose with Pressure Gauge
  • 2 Mufflers
  • Tyre Repair Kit
  • 3 Bonus Inflatable Head Attachments
  • Carry Bag
  • User Manual

CLICK HERE for more information and price for the Yaponcha Air Compressor

Kings Thumper Air Compressor Review

Kings Thumper Air CompressorThe air King air compressor offers 33″ 4WD tyres the ability to be inflated in about 2min 30sec, allowing you to get back on the road quickly.

The powerful, 300L per minute Thumper Air Compressor is ready to go in your 4×4. All you have to do to use it is connect it to your vehicle’s battery with the alligator clips and start your 4wd.

With a 300 litres per minute output and up to a maximum of 125psi, the Thumper Max Air Compressor means less time waiting for your tyres to air up.

It has a bigger, faster aluminium cylinder head and a more robust chassis for better strength and cooling.

The Thumper Air Compressor’s 60mm alloy cylinders and cylinder heads include built-in cooling fins to guarantee long life and performance.

In the box you get

  • Thumper Max air compressor with thick power cables
  • alligator clips to connect to any 12v battery
  • 8m heavy duty rubber hose with inline pressure gauge
  • adapters for a variety of toys, airbeds and balls
  • quick-connect air chuck to instantly connect to your tyre valve

The Thumper Max MkII includes the same tried-and-true electronic pressure cutoff as the previous Thumper Max, allowing you to turn the compressor on and off with your inflator in hand – like you can with the Adventure Kings 3in1 Ultimate Air Tool.

  • High airflow rating of 300L/min and the compressor is also equipped with twin 60mm high-speed reciprocating pistons for optimum power
  • The cylinder heads are made of aluminium and have heat sinks built-in.
  • The pump’s pressure switch cuts the power supply automatically as soon as the pressure reaches a certain level, preventing over-pressure. Circuit breaker and automatic thermal cut-off are also included
  • Quick connect tyre chuck and metal fittings
  • Inline pressure gauge within the 8m heavy-duty rubber hose
  • 1-60psi pressure gauge that is large, easy to read and accurate
  • 400GSM canvas bag
  • 1-year warranty

CLICK HERE for more information and price for the Kings Thumper Air Compressor

Outbac OTB700 Air Compressor Review

Outbac 12v Air CompressorThe Outbac portable 150-litre air compressor is a must-have tool for caravans, 4WD’s and motorhomes.

With its ultra-portable design and impressive power, it packs this little beast should be one of your ‘essential’ purchases. You can use it to inflate tyres, toys or other sporting equipment.

It is easy to use and with its 3 different heads and comes equipped with its very own carry bag as well as a 12 month’s warranty.

The Outbac PortableAir Compressor is your essential 4WD tool for all adventures. With its compact and lightweight design Outbac is easy to carry yet it packs a punch with 300L of air per minute.

It comes equipped with an extralong power cable which provides you with the freedom to work on your vehicle anywhere within 10 meters of a power outlet.

The exclusive to Outbac Acu-flat deflation valve control’s inflation and preset deflation, allowing for fast deflating and is unique to the range.

Deflation valves allow for quick and easy inflation/deflation –a must-have for a busy 4WDer.

It also comes with a fabric carry bag, so once you’re done pumping up your tyres or if it is in storage, everything can fit inside.

CLICK HERE for more information and price for the Outbac Air Compressor

Mean Mother Air Compressor Review

Mean Mother Adventure 4 Air CompressorThe Mean Mother Adventurer 4 Heavy Duty 12V Air Compressor has plenty of inflation power. It has a maximum pressure of 150 psi and boasts an impressive 180 litres per minute flow rate at that pressure. It’s made for serious off-roaders.

It’s equipped with all the standard features you’d expect in a quality compressor including circuit breaker protection and a thermal overload. Plus, a superior wireless remote control.

Instead of having to go back and forth to the compressor to continually turn it off and on, the remote allows you to stop and start the inflation process and get accurate tyre pressure readings. The Mean Mother air compressor will inflate an average 4×4 tyre (205/60R16) in about 2 minutes.

Other features include

  • Thermal cut-out protection
  • Metal Sand Tray with rubber feet
  • Heavy-duty Battery Clamps
  • Inbuilt tyre deflator
  • Separate quick connector fitting
  • Screw or thumb lock valve adaptors
  • Can be permanently mounted
  • Heavy-duty storage bag included
  • 60mm cylinder
  • 0.73hp (0.54Kw) permanent magnet motor with cooling fins
  • 45-minute duty cycle (@40psi)
  • 2.4m power leads with
  • quality battery clips
  • 5.0m rubber inflation hose
  • Sturdy In-line dial pressure gauge (0-150psi)
  • 1-year warranty

CLICK HERE for more information and price for the Mean Mother Air Compressor 

Air Compressor Terminology Explained

12v air compressors descriptions will include numbers and acronyms such as PSI and CFM. Then there is duty cycles and other terminology that can be confusing.

Let’s take a look at what it all means. Then you can make an informed decision about which 12-volt air compressor is best suited to your needs.

PSI

The “PSI” in the 12v air compressor stands for “pounds per square inch,” and indicates how much pressure is being produced by the 12v compressor.

Generally, the bigger the PSI, the better. A compressor with higher PSI will be able to more easily inflate tyres. A 4×4 tyre usually requires around 35-40 PSI, depending on the load, i.e. towing a caravan.

*Note – Check with the tyre manufacturer or tyre supplier for the best PSI for your tyres

The size of the 12v air compressor is indicated by how many litres per minute it can inflate a tyre. If you’re going to be using a 12v air compressor, it’s a good idea to find out the maximum tyre size and PSI for your specific compressor.

Most common compressors have a max tyre size of 165/70R13. If you have higher-profile tyres or want to inflate car tyres, you will need a higher PSI.

Note! Always use a pressure regulator with a 12v air compressor to prevent damage or injury to yourself and your car tyres.

Pressure Regulator

A pressure regulator will keep you safe by preventing excess air from being pumped into your tyre and can be used with all 12v air compressors.

Look out for a built-in pressure release valve on the compressor that allows you to let off some of the excess air if needed. This is an important safety feature! The pressure gauge should read the correct pressure for your tyre.

CFM

The “CFM” in the 12v air compressor stands for “cubic feet per minute,” and indicates how much air is being moved by the 12v compressor.

Generally, the bigger the CFM, the better. It’s important to note that PSI affects tools directly — you’re able to use higher PSI power tools with a higher PSI 12v air compressor.

CFM is a bit different, as a powerful 12v air compressor will still be limited to around 20-30 CFM (depending on the tank size). This could mean that you won’t actually really notice a difference between two 12v compressors rated at 20 or 30CFM — it will depend on what type of 12v compressor you’re actually using.

Duty Cycle

The “duty cycle” of a 12v compressor is the amount of time it can be run before it needs to rest for an extended period of time.

This will vary depending on the type of 12v air compressor, however, generally speaking, lower duty cycles indicate that you’ll have less time to use the compressor before it needs to rest.

For example, a 30-minute duty cycle means that you can only use the 12v air compressor for half an hour before it will need 10 minutes of downtime. This could be a pain if you are on a hot dusty road in the middle of nowhere.

What does this all mean? When sizing up 12v air compressors, you’ll want to know about CFM, PSI and duty cycle. The size of the compressor will depend on what you’re using it for — but generally, more is better.

Wrap Up

We’ve covered a range of 12v Air Compressors currently available in Australia. Whether you are a  serious off-roader, touring Australia full-time or love to hit the beach on the weekend, you’ll find an air compressor that suits your 4×4 in our guide.

We hope this review of the Top 10 12v Air Compressor’s covered in this buying guide has helped you reach a decision about which one to buy that suits your needs and lifestyle.

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