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Top 5 Best 12V Air Compressor Australia [2023]

The 12v air compressor is a popular accessory for 4×4 vehicles. These compressors make it so easy and quick to inflate your tyres when you are driving off-road. There are many options for 12v compressors. They come in different sizes and budgets to suit your needs.

An air compressor can fill up any tyre with air. They come with a flexible hose and connectors that will fit most standard valves. This allows you to refill your tyres on the go. Portable air compressors that are heavy-duty can also be used to fill air lockers and airbags.

An air compressor at 12-volt is great for maintaining the correct tire pressure for 4WDs as well, whether they are off-road or on-road. A good 4×4 compressor can handle tyres from small to large and is a must-have accessory for off-road travel.

Either an onboard 12v compressor can be mounted permanently or a portable 12v compressor can be used. A mounted compressor is usually wired using a second battery system. This allows you to use your compressor with other accessories. If you’re a frequent offroader or traveller in Australia, a mounted compressor is a must.

Disclaimer: Just so you know, this post may contain affiliate links. That means that if you make a purchase through these links, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. But don’t worry, we only recommend products and services that we truly believe in and know you’ll love!

In a Rush? Here’s Our Top 3

After 39 hours of research, these 12V Air Compressors came out on top.

Top Pick

Viair 480c Compressor Kit

Viair 480C Air Compressor

  • The Auto function is a great inclusion
  • Low weight
  • Duty cycle

Best for off-roaders

Dr Air Pro Flow

Dr Air Pro Flow Heavy Duty 4×4 Air Compressor

  • Very fast inflation
  • Heavy Duty
  • 5 year’s warranty

Best Budget

Kings Thumper Max Dual Air Compressor

Kings Thumper Max Dual Air Compressor

  • Bluetooth capabilities
  • Smoke-free design
  • Collapsable legs

Our 12V Air Compressor Australia

  1. Viair 480C Air Compressor (Our Top Pick Air Compressor)
  2. Dr Air Pro Flow Heavy Duty 4×4 Air Compressor (Best 12v Air Compressor for 4x4s)
  3. Mean Mother Adventurer Air Compressor (Easiest to use 12V Air Compressor)
  4. Drivetech 4X4 Air Compressor (Air compressor with longest inflation hose)
  5. Kings Thumper Max Dual Air Compressor (Best Budget 12v Air Compressor)

Best 12v Air Compressors Reviewed

We’ve reviewed every top-ranking best 12v air compressors so that you can rest easy knowing you’ve got the perfect fit for your needs. These 12v Air Compressors are ideal for 4×4 vehicles and other camping vehicles, including camper vans, caravans and RVs.


Viair 480C Air Compressor

Our Top Pick 12v air compressor

Viair 480c Compressor Kit

Why the Viair 480C Air Compressor is our top pick?
Because it’s simply the best price value for the quality you get!

The ViAir by Bushranger is a continuous duty 12-volt, 115 PSI compressor. It can fill a 19L tank with 80 PSI to 120 PSI in just 2 minutes, and never pulls more than 17 amps (@ 13.8 V).

The standard 3.5cm stainless-steel braided leaderhose comes with a 3.5cm NPT check valve and insulated wiring.

Technical Specs: 

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

Pros

  • The Auto function is a great inclusion
  • Low weight
  • Duty cycle
  • Verify Valve
  • Vibration Isolators
  • Mounting Hardware
  • Has a Stainless Steel Braided Lead Hose
  • AirLine Remote Mount Air Filter
  • Remote Mount Air Filter Assembly
  • 2 x Replacement Air Filter Elements

Cons

  • Price point is quite high
  • Only has 1 year warranty
  • Lower flow rate

Mean Mother Adventurer Air Compressor

Easiest to use 12V Air Compressor

Mean Mother Adventurer Air Compressor

The Mean Mother Adventurer 4 Heavy-Duty 12V Air Compressor is loaded with inflation power for it’s low price. It can withstand 150 psi at maximum and a flow rate of 180 litres per hour at that pressure.

It has all the standard features that you would expect from a compressor, including circuit breaker protection as well as a thermal overload. It also features a wireless remote control that is superior to other models.

The remote lets you control the compressor without having to constantly turn it on and off. In just 2 minutes, the Mean Mother compressor can inflate a 4×4 tire (205/60R16) on average.

Technical Specs:

  • 60mm cylinder
  • Permanent magnet motor 0.73hp (0.54Kw), with cooling fins
  • 45-minute duty cycle (@40psi)
  • Sturdy In-line dial pressure gauge (0-150psi)

Pros

  • Very easy to use
  • Designed for Aussie conditions
  • Great price value
  • High quality battery clips
  • Can be permanently mounted
  • Separate quick connector fitting
  • Inbuilt tyre deflator
  • Protective thermal cut-out
  • Rubber feet on a metal sand tray
  • Heavy-duty Battery Clamps

Cons

  • No portable option
  • Reports of gauge accuracy variances
  • Hose length is short compared to other brands
  • Only 1 year warranty

The Exped Megamat is one of the best camping air mattresses when you need comfort and warmth. Elevate yourself from the cold ground with this highly insulated air mattress and feel the difference a great night’s sleep makes.


Drivetech 4X4 Air Compressor

Air compressor with longest inflation hose

Drivetech 4X4 Air Compressor

The Drivetech Air Compressor kit includes an air compressor, tyre fix set, and a deflator. The maximum pressure for the compressor is 150psi. It can also produce 180 liters per minute of compressed air.

Maximum working pressure is 40 PSI. The power cord is 2m long and has battery clamps. The rubber airhose measures 6.5m in length and has snap fittings. The duty cycle lasts 15 minutes at 24degC with a 5-minute cool down. It draws 12V to 45Amp.

The tyre kit includes the following: 20 Tyre plugs, 2 Punctureproof strips, 1 Rubber cement tub, 1 Tube repair glue and 1 Tyre groover.

The Drivetech 4×4 air compressor kit is simple to use and features an excellent design. This kit is ideal for owners of 4WDs who frequently go 4WDing on the sand and in the bush. You will find everything you need in the event of a puncture.

Technical Specs: 

  • 180L/min Air Compressor
  • Working pressure – 40psi
  • Maximum pressure – 150psi
  • Pistol grip inflator trigger with inbuilt deflator
  • 2m power cord with battery clamps
  • 6.5m rubber air hose with snap fittings
  • Duty cycle is 15min (at 24°C) with five minute cool down time
  • 12 volt – 45amp
  • Heavy duty bag with pockets

Pros

  • Lots of extra features in the kit
  • Great flow rate
  • Twin-piston design
  • Long inflation hose

Cons

  • Air compressor not as good and powerful as other air compressors on the market

Kings Thumper Max Dual Air Compressor

Best Budget Air Compressor

Kings Thumper Max Dual Air Compressor

The air King compressor can inflate 33″ 4WD tyres in under 2 minutes 30 sec, which allows you to get on the road quickly.

You can now use the powerful Thumper Air Compressor, which is capable of compressing 300L per minute in your 4×4. It is easy to connect to your vehicle’s batteries using the alligator clips, and then start your 4×4.

The Thumper Max Air compressor can pump out 300 litres per hour and produce a maximum pressure of 125psi. This means that you won’t have to wait as long for your tyres get aired up.

The cylinder head is larger and more powerful in aluminium, and the chassis is stronger for greater strength and cooling.

Thumper Air Compressor’s 60mm alloy pistons and cylinder heads have cooling fins built in to ensure long-lasting performance and reliability.

The pressure switch on the pump cuts off power automatically when the pressure exceeds a certain level. This prevents over-pressure. Also included are a circuit breaker and an automatic thermal cutoff.

Of course, not every camper can spend hundreds of dollars on a portable fire pit. If you are looking for a budget without getting a shoddy portable fire pit, the UCO Flatpack fire pit is a great choice. It’s also good for backpackers and solo campers, as it’s extremely small and portable. There are small and regular options for even lighter camping.

Pros

  • Thumper Max air compressor equipped with thick power cables
  • Alligator clips to attach to any 12v battery
  • Heavy duty rubber hose 8m with an inline pressure gauge
  • Accessory for many toys, airbeds, and balls
  • Quick-connect air chuck that connects instantly to your tyre pump
  • Quick-connect tyre chucks and metal fittings
  • An inline pressure gauge is included with the 8m rubber hose.
  • Large, easy-to-read and accurate 1-60psi pressure gauge

Cons

  • Only 1 year warranty

Choosing the Best 12V Air Compressors Australia 2022

When shopping for a 12v compressor, there are many factors to consider. There are many brands that have started popping up over the years. But, there are only a handful that stand out from the rest.

The brands mentioned above are those who have created products that are designed with the user in mind.

These are some things to consider before you make your final decision about the best 12v compressor that will fit your needs.

How much can your tyres inflate?

First, you need to know how high your tyre can inflate. The majority of 12V compressors available today are made for smaller tyres.

A small 12v compressor can be used to inflate a tire with a pressure of around 30 PSI. Problem arises when your 4×4 vehicle tyre is larger than 30 PSI. The compressor will take a long time to complete. A 12v compressor heavy duty is required.

Which type of 12V compressor do you need?

It is also important to determine the type of compressor that you require. Because of the small space available in their rig, some prefer compact, lightweight, and portable compressors.

An air tank wouldn’t be of much use in this situation. An air tank is a good option for those who have more space in their rig. This gives your 12V compressor its own storage area, which frees up space in your 4×4.

What is the accuracy of the compressors pressure gauge’s measurement?

This is especially important if your tyre pressure is between 45-50 PSI. The compressor’s maximum pressure gauge is 50 PSI. If it has less than that, the compressor will not inflate your tire to its optimal pressure. You can purchase a separate digital inflator. It is always a good idea to verify the accuracy of your pressure gauge.

How about the length of its power cord?

The length of the power cord is another thing to consider. If you choose a portable compressor, the longer it is, you will have more freedom in where it can be used. Most compressors come with a short power cord, which limits their reach ability.

What Accessories are Included?

It may not matter to you how many accessories are included in the kit. Some companies include a pressure gauge for the tyres, while others include an airhose. Others don’t have any. Some companies offer tyre mounting accessories that help inflate your tyres faster. Others will not include additional items like tyre puncture kit.

Unfortunately, 12v compressors are limited in the number of nozzles available for inflation.

How long does it take to inflate a tyre?

We have to admit, most people want to get out of there as soon as possible. No one wants to spend more time on the dusty track of outback waiting for their tires to inflate.

There are 12v compressors with a fast flow rate that can inflate your tire in under 5 minutes. A compressor with a higher flow rate will cost you more. Air compressors are just like 4×4 gear in that you get what your pay for.

What is the Duty Cycle of the Compressor?

Before making any purchase, it is important to know how long your compressor can keep power. Many 12v compressors can cycle for up to 30 minutes, while others only allow for 10-15 minutes.

Most compressors can keep stable air pressure for between 25-30 minutes before they need to be refilled. These are just a few of the many things you should consider when purchasing one of these units.

12 Volt Hard Mounted Air Compressors

You will need to think about where your compressor will be installed when you mount it hard. You should also consider how the compressor will be wired.

Many owners of 4x4s have a set or drawers, a camping roof, and possibly a cargo barrier. Some compressors can be mounted in the quarter panel along the 4wd side. The nozzle is then connected to the drawer, where switches and USB ports are usually located.

After you have chosen a mounting spot, you can choose how the compressor will be wired. To the starter or second battery of a dual battery stem?

The starter battery is the most popular choice for 4WD owners. It has high power output and fast recovery rates. To ensure that the starter battery doesn’t go flat, it’s a good idea for your 4WD engine to be running.

Commonly, an Anderson Plug is used to connect your 4×4’s power supply wiring to the compressor’s power supply wire. An Anderson Plug is essential to ensure an electrical connection, especially if the wire is sufficiently long between the compressor’s battery and the compressor.

Size

It doesn’t matter if you need a compressor that is portable or mounted on a wall, the size of your compressor matters. Due to other 4×4 accessories (e.g. Camping fridges, draw systems, etc. Compact compressors are the best.

Weight

Many 4wders are conscious of their weight when it comes to the various accessories they have for their rigs. 12v compressors are no exception. When considering adding any accessory to your rig, it is best to weigh less.

Qualitative

Other quality concerns to be considered are the compressor’s quality and the components.

What is the Quality of The Compressor’s Housing

The quality of the housing unit is another thing to consider. Some compressors come with a plastic housing that can easily crack and be damaged. Some companies build their housings out of metal, which can lead to a higher quality unit.

What is the Quality of Compressor Hoses and Cords?

You should also consider the quality of the hoses and cords that are included with the kit. They can blow if they aren’t up to the mark. This is because there is high-pressure air flowing through them when you inflate your tyres.

Different types of 12volt air compressors

There are two types of 12v air compressors: single-stage or twin-stage. A single-stage compressor pumps the air one time, while a twin-stage compressor takes two times to reach full pressure.

These two types of compressors are different in what happens to compressed air after it has been produced.

Single-stage compressors are most popular because they are easy to maintain and cost-effective. Any moisture that gets into the cylinder during compression will condense to high-pressure.

The twin-stage compressors pressurise air twice in each stage. The first stage has a high compression, where moisture can condense and then be drained from it after it passes through a dry/wet filter. The second compressor compresses and presses dry air. This helps remove any moisture from the air so that you don’t need to drain your system or dry it out as often.

Twin-stage compressors can be more costly than single-stage compressors. They are more expensive than single-stage compressors, but they do a better job keeping their tanks clean and dry. This results in better air quality.

What are the advantages of using a twin stage compressor?

12v compressors are powered from a 12v fitting (cigarette lighter fit) in your car. They need to be small enough to be easily transported. For starting up, a 12v compressor powered by a lighter will accept amps between 10 and 15amps. A twin-stage compressor, on the other hand, will use only 5 to 7.5 amps.

Because they don’t allow condensation to build up in the tank, twin-stage compressors have a faster recovery time than single-stage ones. Your compressor will be able to recover high pressure much quicker than if it is used as a tire inflator.

What’s the difference between twin-stage and three-stage?

A three-stage 12v compressor is better than a twin stage because it produces cleaner and more efficient air. The three-stage compressor draws the same amount as a twin-stage compressor from its lighter socket.

The standard piston cylinder is used for the first stage of the three-stage 12v compressor. It works in the same way as a single-stage compressor, by cycling the air through a cylinder.

The second stage is where the compressed air reaches a piston diaphragm with an oil cavity. This chamber has vents that allow compressed air to rise. Oil droplets are added to the compressed air and dissolved in it.

This oil is ideal for inflating tires and charges compressed air with lubrication. To pressurize the compressed water once again, the third stage of the 12-volt air compressor’s three-stage design uses a rotary screw compressor. This additional step will ensure that your tire is properly inflated using clean oil-charged compressed air.

Is a 3-stage compressor more efficient than a single-stage or twin stage compressor?

Because they can recover air to its original pressure in a single cycle, 3-stage compressors are more effective than single-stage compressors. Single-stage compressors take two cycles to reach full pressure. This extra step will ensure that your tyre is properly inflated with clean oil-charged, compressed air.

Air compressor terminology explained

Descriptions of 12v compressors will include numbers and acronyms like PSI and CFM. There are also duty cycles and other terms that can be confusing.

Let’s look at the meaning of it all. This will help you make an informed decision on which 12-volt compressor is best for your needs.

PSI

The 12v compressor’s “PSI” stands for “pounds-per-square inch.” It indicates the pressure being created by the compressor.

The higher the PSI, generally speaking, the better. A compressor with a higher PSI will inflate tires more quickly. A 4×4 tire requires 35-40 PSI depending on its load. Towing a caravan.

*Note: Check with your tyre supplier or manufacturer to ensure the highest PSI possible for your tyres

The tyre’s capacity to inflate at 12 volts per minute is the indicator of its size. It’s a good idea, if you plan to use a 12v compressor, to determine the maximum tire size and PSI of your compressor.

The most common compressors can inflate tyres up to 165/70R13. A higher PSI is required for tyres with higher profile or to inflate cars tyres.

Note! To prevent injury or damage to your car and your tyres, always use a pressure regulator that includes a 12 volt compressor.

Pressure regulator

The pressure regulator is designed to prevent excess air from entering your tyres. It can be used with all 12v compressors.

You should look out for a pressure release valve built into the compressor. This allows you to let some air go if necessary. This safety feature is important! This gauge should indicate the pressure required for your tyre.

CFM

The 12v compressor’s “CFM” stands for “cubic feet/minute,” and it indicates how much air the compressor is moving.

The CFM is generally larger. PSI directly affects tools. You can use higher PSI powertools with a higher PSI 12v compressor.

CFM can be a little different. A powerful 12v compressor will still produce around 20-30 CFM depending on the size of the tank. This could be a sign that you won’t notice any difference between two 12v compressors rated 20 or 30CFM. It will all depend on which 12v compressor you’re using.

Duty Cycle

A 12v compressor’s “duty cycle” is how long it can run before it has to stop for extended periods of time.

The exact time will depend on which 12v compressor you have, but generally speaking, the lower duty cycles mean that the compressor will be used less frequently before it needs rest.

A 30-minute duty cycle would mean that the compressor can be used for only half an hour before it needs to shut down for 10 minutes. This can be problematic if you’re on a dusty, hot road in the middle.

What does all this mean? You will need to be familiar with CFM, PSI, and duty cycle when sizing 12v air compressors. The compressor’s size will depend on the purpose of your use, but in general, more is better.

Conclusion

We have covered the most popular 12v Air Compressors available in Australia. Our guide will help you find the right air compressor for your 4×4 regardless of whether you are serious off-roader or just a weekend getaway. 

Our top pick: Viair 480C Air Compressor

We hope you found this guide helpful in making a decision on which 12v Air Compressor to purchase that best suits your lifestyle and needs.

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