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Portable Air Compressor Buying Tips

Updated on April 14, 2013

A portable air compressor is a smaller and lightweight version of an air compressor that could be transported easily. This compact designed air compressor could be used to pump air into multitude of sources such as pumping up a deflated tire, inflate an air mattresses and inflatable toy quickly and easily.

There is actually no quite right definition of a portable air compressor as the word portable can means a lot of different things to different user. Some people might have the opinion that a portable air compressor should be the one that could be easily carry in hand while some other say that as long as it can be easily lifted into a car, that is portable, it doesn't necessary have to come in handy.

A portable air compressor is normally refer to the one that can be carried in hand; just grab it in the handle and you are ready to move. This type of lightweight air compressor is often used for emergency roadside situation, such as when a tire needs to be inflated. Using this compressor is very easy as all you need to do is just plug it in to the 12V DC socket that houses the car cigarette lighter. Alternatively, it can also be powered up by connecting it directly to the batter's poles.

Viair 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor
Viair 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor | Source
Portable Air Compressor
Portable Air Compressor | Source

If you are planning to buy a 12 volt type of portable air compressor, perhaps you should look into a couple of things:

  • Find out the requirements of the air tools that you will use with the 12v air compressor. The most important that you need to know is the Pound per Square Inch (PSI) requirement and different tool will have different requirement. For example, if you want to use it for air brushing, then you'll need a 12v air compressor with a 5 liter tank capacity with at least 30 PSI of sustained air pressure.
  • Do consider a the size of the applications. Larger applications will require larger volumes of air and therefore, you will need to purchase a tank that has a higher volume and pressure. Otherwise, you will always have to wait for the tank to fill up before you are able to continue with your job; this decreases your work efficiency.
  • The weight and design of the air compressor. If you mainly use the 12 volt compressor for car emergency, perhaps a compact and lightweight one will do the best. On the other hand, if it is to be used in the garage or your workshop, then you can consider getting a bigger one.
  • For conveniency, consider buying an electric powered portable air compressor that could be run on batteries or be connected to your vehicle's cigarette lighter socket. You might also want to think about getting a cordless one where it is run by a built in rechargeable battery.
  • The last thing that you need to consider is your budget. Don't get the one that is above your budget if it is not necessary. It would be a total waste if what you buy surpasses your needs.

VIAIR 90P Portable Compressor
VIAIR 90P Portable Compressor | Source

You can buy the portable air compressor at places that sells automobile parts and accessories, hardware stores, specialty retail stores, some hypermarkets (Wal-Mart and K-Mart have them) or even through online store, Amazon. Shopping online is more convenient and hassle free. Besides getting a better deal, Amazon might even ship your portable air compressor free or charge, under certain terms.

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