Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the VIAIR 300P or if you have a very large truck or RV I recommend the VIAIR 450P. These two compressors are not cheap, priced at 134 for the 300P and 254 for the 450P but they are top notch tools.
And guys I have looked and looked for a decent and reliable portable compressor that could be had for under 50 bucks, there are some that are okay but I have yet to find one I would recommend though. I personally own the 400P and I am really happy with it. I went for the larger compressor because I drive a very large truck with very big tires, and I wanted something that could fill one without over heating.
The 300P should be sufficient for most vehicles though. When you get your hands on one of these you understand instantly why it is more expensive than your typical portable compressor. Because it is built like well, a true air compressor. Solid and heavy duty, proper cooling fins.
Note that it DOES NOT have a 12vdc plug rather it clips onto your battery posts. This means it can draw enough power to run a tool of this wattage. As Steven Harris would tell you, you can only pull about 120-150 watts across a cigarette lighter plug. Any more and you will pop the fuse to it. So higher power tools need to be clamped to the battery. Yes this means raising the hood but trust me for the power you get, it is worth it.
Along with your compressor you want to make sure you have some 40 amp fuses. These compressors have an inline fuse of standard Bussmann design. You will also want a tire plug kit. This is some vehicle prep that really can save your butt! We are talking making a real pain in the ass into a minor inconvenience.
So what if you just can’t afford the expense of one of the VAIR compressors or say you can for one vehicle but not two? Here is the best sub 50 dollar compressor I could find. It is the Q Industries HV35. At least it has a 10 foot cord so you can likely reach any tire on your vehicle, but you want to check for sure if you have a quad cab truck.
That is the other thing I love about the VAIR, you have long power cables but you get a really long air hose, I have filled up tires on a trailer without having to drop it with mine. But hey the HV35 will in most instances at least get you off the side of the road and to a service station, so it is better than nothing.
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P.S. – Note that the only weakness the VIAIR compressors have is the air hose. It works really good and stores very easily. But after several years mine did get brittle and sprung a leak. I upgraded to this braided hose, man this thing is built like a tank!