Unlike your everyday vehicle, RVs aren’t required to be built with any type of tire pressure management system (TPMS)—meaning there’s no dashboard alert or notification letting you know when tire pressure is low or out of range on your rig. This is why it’s crucial for RV owners to know their tire pressure before, during, and after every trip. It’s also why your rig or tow vehicle should always be equipped with an air compressor to ensure that your tires have the proper pressure for safe traveling.
Plus, an air compressor can also be used for inflating bike tires and paddle boards at the campground—and you can even use it to flush water out of your RV’s lines during winterization.
How to Choose the Right Tire Air Compressor for Your RV
For the most part, choosing an air compressor is based on personal preference; however, there are a few things to consider when shopping for a compressor that’s right for you.
PSI (Pounds per Square Square Inch): You’ll want to make sure you purchase a compressor that can meet the PSI needs of your RV’s tires. Check your manufacturer’s manual to determine what the PSI is for your tires. Compressors with PSI ratings lower than what’s recommended for your tires may not be able to meet the inflation needs of your RV, or do so in a timely manner.
Portable or Onboard System: You’ll also need to decide whether or not you want a portable compressor or a mounted system that stays in your RV or tow vehicle. While both types are suitable for RVs, some owners prefer having their compressor locked in one place, while others enjoy the versatility of a lightweight, portable machine. Mounted systems are most popular for overland campers and off-road vehicles, so it’s important to think about which type of air compressor best fits your camping and RVing style.
Hose Length: No matter which type of compressor you choose, you’ll want one with an adequate hose length so you can reach all of your tires. The larger your RV, the larger hosing you’ll need, especially if you’re plugging the air compressor into a stationary 12-volt outlet.
Top Tire Air Compressors for RVs
From static onboard systems to reliable solutions that won’t break the bank, here are five of the best air compressor options for RVing.
If you’re traveling in a smaller rig or simply trying to save space, the Greenworks 24V Portable Air Compressor is for you. This lightweight, compact compressor can be operated with the included 24-volt rechargeable battery or a 12-volt vehicle power outlet—making it easy to move this compressor around when needed. Plus, it can reach up to 160 PSI and comes with add-ons like a digital tire gauge and an integrated LED light for nighttime use.
If your RVing adventures include any form of off-roading or overlanding, then an onboard air system like this one might be for you. This heavy-duty compressor can be mounted on your rig or tow vehicle—supplying up to 150 PSI. Designed for continuous use without interruption, it can run up to 1 hour at a time to meet the inflation needs of your vehicle. This system also comes with a 35-foot nylon hose to help you easily reach your tires and other camping equipment.
Power and Durability
While this “pancake-styled” Porter-Cable compressor won’t save space inside your rig or tow vehicle, it’s worth it if you have extra storage space. Pancake-style tank air compressors are known for their longevity, durability, and efficient power. This gives you longer running times to inflate multiple tires in an efficient manner. And it’s a great option for RV owners who also use a compressor to operate air tools.
The VIAIR brand is a favorite among RVers, and for good reason. These air compressor kits are designed specifically for the RVing lifestyle. The system comes with a 60-foot coil hose, multiple tire inflation attachments, a gas station-style inflation gun, automatic shut-off functionality, and heavy-duty battery clamps to power this compressor right from your RV’s battery. Reaching up to 150 PSI, you can fill RV, truck, and SUV tires up to 42 inches.
Built to take on a variety of inflation needs, this dual cylinder 12-volt compressor gets the job done and is easy on your budget. Maxing out at 150 PSI, the kit includes an 11.5-foot coiled hose, LED lights, a tire pressure gauge, and a convenient carrying bag. While this isn’t designed to supply air for long periods of time on end, it’s great for quick tire inflation and other small jobs around the campsite.
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