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Do You Need A Portable Air Compressor For Your RV?

portable air compressor

Do You Need A Portable Air Compressor For Your RV?

If you are new to RVing you might be asking, “Do I need a portable air compressor for my RV?”  Unless you are traveling with others that have a portable air compressor or don’t mind waiting hours for emergency road service, the answer is a resounding YES!

The folks blogging at True Car say, “Portable tire inflators come in handy when you need air quick and can’t always use the air pump at the gas station. They are a better option than a stationary inflator because they’re lightweight and you can take them anywhere.”

Uses for a portable air compressor

  • Airing up low tires on your RV, toad or tow vehicle.
  • Airing up a flat tire after performing a temporary tire repair like using a plug to get back on the road.
  • Airing your tires back up to regular pressure after partially deflating them for additional traction in snow or sand.
  • Checking for fresh water plumbing leaks using a blowout plug.
  • Adding air to the kids’ sports balls like basketball, volleyball, football, etc.
  • Pumping up the tires on “riding toys” such as motorcycles, bicycles, golf carts, ATVs, etc.
  • Winterizing your RV when you encounter freezing weather on the road.
  • Inflating air mattresses.
  • Blowing up beach toys like beach balls and other floating toys (best for a high CFM portable air compressor).

What features should I look for in a portable air compressor?

The two main features you should look for in a portable air compressor are pressure and rate of inflation.  

  • Pressure: Look for a portable air compressor that can develop adequate pressure “or more” to inflate your tires to the maximum operating tire pressure. The rating on your tires will be expressed in PSI (Pounds per Square Inch).  The reason to consider a portable air compressor that goes beyond the maximum tire pressure is the rate of inflation slows down for all compressors as they approach their upper rating. Therefore, by purchasing a portable air compressor rated for a bit more pressure than needed will allow you to fill a tire in less time.
  • Rate of inflation: The volume of air a compressor can move in a given amount of time is often referred to as the “rate of inflation”. It is typically expressed as CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) at a given pressure. When shopping for a portable air compressor, you will see something like “3.0 CFM @ 50 PSI” As noted in the above section the rate of inflation slows down as the pressure increases, so a compressor rated to a maximum 110 PSI might state “3.0 CFM @ 50 PSI” but only deliver 0.2 CFM @ 100 PSI as it approaches its rated limit. Using this example means it could take a long time to inflate a large motorhome tire requiring 100 PSI.

This short video may help you zero in a bit more on the right portable air compressor:

Hopefully, the above tips will help you find the right portable air compressor for your RV lifestyle. Be sure to check out this article on the Best Portable Air Compressors to find the one that’s right for you.


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