Last Modified on Jan 2, 2023

Top 6 Best On Board Air Compressor - Review & Buying Guide

In simple words, an air compressor is an electrically operated device that allows atmospheric air to be put into a tank to be used for different devices. This compressed air is used in many places such as for casting in the foundry shop, for applying brakes to rails and vehicles, for spray painting, to fill the air in the wheels of motorcycles, truck buses, etc. It is also used to cool gas turbines and aeroplanes.

best on board air compressor

In this blog, we're going to talk about what you should look while buying an air compressor and suggest some of the best on board air compressors for you.

1. ARB CKMTA12 '12V' On-Board Twin High Performance Air Compressor


ARB is making the compressors for a long time. This is one of the best quality on board air compressors which comes from ARB. If you ever see a list of on board air compressors, you will always find this product on the list. It is an excellent little device, which fits very nicely and efficiently, and air up the tires very quickly. It weighs about 11 pounds, but it's incredibly robust and provides very high output.

It was designed for a government contract, but that has since been satisfied and has been released for civilian use. It has many features like It has got a fan, so it's 100% duty cycle and always cool itself. All the features you find in the mid-sizer in this thermal cutout, which is big roller bearings on the crank, it has centered bronze filters. The compressor itself is probably the most popular unit of ARB because it's output, which is second and on in the industry.

If you are a newbie and do not know much about air compressors, this product will be best for you because, in this set, you get all the equipment which are necessary for an air compressor. And instructions have also been given in this, which will help you a lot while installing it.

Key Features

  • Water sealed motors
  • Compact twin motors and dual cylinder design
  • Thermal protected motors against temperature damage
  • No bushings ( 100% ball bearing equipped)
  • Pre-load linear brush system for extra long life
  • Over-pressure safety valve equipped


  • Thoroughly tested and assembled device
  • 100% duty cycle
  • Five sealed brushless DC cooling fan
  • Hard-anodized cylinder bores
  • Full wiring loom included for simplified installation


  • Alligator clips are too small
  • The price is a bit high

2. VIAIR - 40045 400P-Automatic Function Portable Compressor


If you want to buy an air compressor for truck and trailer tires, you should take this air compressor as a perfect option for both these vehicles. After taking this product from the brand VIAIR, you will not need to go to any pressure filling station as you will have your own power station with you. It does not have the problem of making noise like most compressors.

And the best feature about this compressor is that it automatically shuts off if the trigger on the gun is released for a few seconds and starts again when the trigger is pressed again. By the time you switch tires, it gives it time to cool down. This compressor is very fast and quiet.

This compressor comes with a filter assembly. The company also provides a bag with the compress, which is exceptionally nice, rugged, and well balanced. The compressor seems very secure in the bag and feels like it will last long with the product. Even the extra 30-foot air hose has its own well-made storage bag. After using it, you need to keep it very carefully because it gets slightly hot. Otherwise, you might harm your hands.

Key Features

  • Includes good quality carry bag
  • Diamond plated sand tray
  • Great for off-road and agricultural vehicles
  • 12V - 150 PSI max working pressure
  • 1-year warranty


  • Vibration resistant
  • Quick and easy to use
  • Perfect for truck and trailer tires
  • Coiled air hose with reliable connections
  • Worth the money


  • Becomes slightly hot after use
  • Pressure guage quality is not upto the mark

3. ARB CKMA12 Air Compressor High Output On-Board 12V Air Compressor


This is the another best on board air compressor that comes from the brand ARB. This model of the Arb is quite popular in the field of air compressors. It is made from lightweight and quality material, which does not let anyone doubt its strength. You can keep this compressor like a portable compressor or even use it for your car. All the configurations are given, which are necessary for both portable and car use purposes.

It is equipped with a full wiring loom with Air Locker solenoid plug-in contacts. It has mounting hardware with a reinforcing bracket for easy installation and a quality compressor isolating switch. The company has also given a highly durable case that contains a 6-meter air hose, battery clamps, and an inflation kit. In this, hard-anodized cylinders are also provided to make friction work.

Although this compressor can be used in many places, but it is mostly used to activate the air locker and do tire inflation. If I tell you about its dimensions, length is 12.73 inches, breadth is 9.16 inches, height is 5.88 inches, and its weight is about 11 pounds. This is a powerful compressor and is so small that it can fit easily in tight places and is so quiet that it can be used in a cab too.

Key Features

  • Made form lightweight and high strength material
  • Internal thermal protection for temperature damage
  • In-line circuit protection
  • Can be used to activate air lockers
  • Dust and moisture resistant


  • Fast to fill tires
  • Best for jeeps, trucks, and trailers
  • Small enough to fit into remote areas
  • Works silently
  • Airs up a tire in just over two minutes


  • A bit pricy
  • Hose quality is average

4. VIAIR Constant Duty Onboard Air System - 10007


It is a custom duty on board air system that comes from the brand VIAIR in a very decent price segment. As the company advises that it is capable of filling the air in the tires of 37 inches, it can do this, and it does this task very comfortably without any load on the system. If I talk about its dimensions, then the length of this air compressor is 26.5 inches, breadth 14.5 Inches, height 10 inches.

You will get an idea from these dimensions, whether you should buy it for your vehicle or not. This item has all the parts required to maintain any vehicle tire inflation, and small pneumatic tools mean that you will not have to buy any extra item after buying this kit.

The good thing about this compressor is that this compressor is so quiet that you can also talk on the phone while standing near it when it is running. The 2.5-gallon air tank measures about 23 inches long, 7. 5 inches tall, and 6 inches wide. It is a perfect item for anyone who owns a travel trailer. Overall, this is a decent kit in this price segment.

Key Features

  • Maximum Working pressure of 150 PSI
  • 12-guage wire with inline fuse holder
  • Ingress Protection Rating - IP67
  • Includes all parts needed for onboard air solution
  • 1-Year Warranty


  • Perfect for inflation of tires up to 37 inches
  • Permanent Magnetic Motor
  • 100% duty cycle at 100PSI
  • Perfect for travel trailer
  • Air tank fills quickly


  • Hose quality is average
  • Challenging to install for a newbie

5. AIR LIFT 25592 Load Controller || On Board Air Compressor System


Air lift is a well-known brand which is quite famous in the field of air compressor. This brand has been providing its service since 1949 and has gained the trust of its customers. This on board is much smaller in size, lighter in weight, and cheaper according to its competitor, making it very different from the rest of the compressor. The quality of all the items in this kit is excellent according to the price.

It seems that the company has reduced its money but not the quality. Air Lift has done a great job on this product. This air compressor's weight is only 4 pounds. If you are a newbie and think of buying and installing it yourself, let me tell you that it has instructions in it, but they have not been explained well, and I do not think any newbie can install it by only reading them without any problem.

Like the other compressors, it also has all the necessary parts for an on board compressor. This device makes noise while running, but it is not that much that can irritate you. I think in this price segment, you will not get a better compressor than this. I highly recommend this device.

Key Features

  • Compact and easy to carry with 4.46 pounds of weight
  • Fast and easy installation
  • Also includes new wiring harness
  • Low pressure sensor of about 5 PSI
  • Perfect for Trucks, RVs, SUVs, CUVs and Vans


  • Good quality guage
  • Affordable set
  • Well built and highly durable
  • Lightweight


  • Instructions do not have enough details
  • The compressor has a heating issue

6. VIAIR Medium Duty Onboard Air System - 10003


This air compressor also comes from VIAIR, but it is a medium-duty board air compressor which is highly reliable and durable. The length of this compressor is 26.5 inches, breadth 14.25 inches, and height 10.25 inches, due to which it remains a little challenging for the user to fix it in the vehicle. As its name indicates, it is a medium-duty compressor that you will not be able to use in many places, because of which it is at the last place on our list but if you need a compressor only for your car tire inflation or train horns.

So you can go with it. This compressor fills the tires of 33 inches as the company advertises, but takes a little time. The set does not include a hose with this compressor, so you have to spend a bit more money and buy it separately.

If I tell you about its complete items list, then it consists a 2.5 gallon air tank with six ports, a 325c 150 PSI compressor, a Dash panel gages with an on-off switch, a Reducer, a pressure switch, a 175 PSI safety valve, accessory airline, electrical connectors and of course an owner's manual. If you do not know how to fit the compressor, you may need to hire a professional, but the instructions of this compressor are so easy and well explained that you can install it yourself.

Key Features

  • Perfect for inflation of tires up to 33 inches
  • Duty cycle of 33%
  • Max working pressure of 150 PSI
  • Comes with VIAIR 325C air compressor
  • Also Include a 110 to 145PSI pressure switch
  • 1 year manufacturing defect warranty


  • Easy to install
  • Highly durable
  • Good for tires upto 33 inches
  • Permanent Magnetic Motor


  • No hose included
  • Little bulky

Factors To Be Consider While choosing A Best On Board Air Compressor


SCFM is one of the important factors that you should consider while buying an air compressor. SCFM means standard cubic feet per minute. So basically it's a volume you're taking cubic feet of air from the atmosphere, and you're compressing that with the pump and storing that in a tank and then utilizing that later for tools or whatever you're using the compressed air for. So it's a volume component of how much flow is the compressor putting into that system.

When you go to buy your first air compressor you're going to say okay is there a number that you want to buy for us CFM's. The number of SCFM depends on a variety of things. So when you're buying a compressor first you need to look at your tools should be rated for the different SCFMs and the different pressure ratings on them to figure out exactly what you want to use.

So ideally when you're out looking for an air compressor look for something with good SCFM numbers.

Tank Size

The bigger that tank is the further you can go. Fundamentally the bigger the tank is, the longer you can use the compressed air before the pump has to kick back on and fill that tank back up again.


In most home garage, you have 120-volt outlets throughout that's no problem those are the things powering the light bulbs in your garage. Very few of them have 230 or 240-volt outlets. Those are the kind of things that power your clothes washer, got a washroom your garage you can unplug it and plug in a larger compressor.

You can also have a certified electrician come to your house and rewire outlets in your garage to add more power. Again more power, bigger compressor, better tools you can run


Noise is a factor that people tend to ignore a lot when buying an air compressor. Nobody likes a noisy device because first, they irritate a lot while doing some work and secondly due to that noise, a lot of power of the device also get wasted. So you should always take a compressor that makes very less noise, and if it does not make noise then it will be even better.


Price is a factor that people pays attention while buying not only the compressor but to buying any device or any product also. As you know the more money you spend, the better you will get. It is better to buy a product of good quality by paying a little more money. But what if you have a limited budget? Then for that, you will have to do some deep research that which compressor has all specifications that you need and is cheap also.

That is why we have included all the Air Compressors for every budget in our best on board air compressor list.