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Revisiting the best choice in a compressor for the road

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  • Revisiting the best choice in a compressor for the road

    Back when we got our rig, the Viair 400 was the choice for portable air if you didn’t travel with a generator.

    It’s expensive, and to get the best service it needs to be connected to the truck with the engine running.

    Now, most cordless tool manufacturers offer a tire inflator at a fraction of what the Viair costs and it will reach all tires easily.

    Most are rated at 120PSI and cost less than $100.

    Does anybody have real world experience with these cordless inflators? How many tires will they fill on a standard battery and how long do they take to fill one? Is 110PSI reasonable?

    I’m asking because my son-in-law recently picked up nails in two trailer tires on the road and ended up paying an emergency call fee since he couldn’t limp to a tire shop because he didn’t have a compressor. Sounds like a Christmas idea to me.

    What do you all think?
    John & Kathy
    2014 Reflection 303RLS
    2014 F250 SC SB 6.2

  • #2
    Hi John,

    Most (all?) of the cordless tool style inflators are thinking "bicycle tire" when they advertise what they can inflate and yes . . . they can get a very small volume to 100 psi or more. I had a Black and Decker version (that I got as a gift) and tried to top up a few psi on an 80 psi trailer tire. The compressor ran until (about 5 minutes later) it got so hot that it melted the hose connection. I now have a Makita 18V (much better quality) but still has a rubber hose attached directly to the metal compressor. It is already getting warm after filling a couple of bicycle tires and I have never pushed it further. The Makita spec is 50% duty cycle quoted as 5 mins on and 5 minutes off. On the other hand . . . my 12V, truck mounted, Viair with its 100% duty cycle and braided steel extension to isolate compressor heat from the hose, will run all day or until an empty trailer tire reaches spec pressure.

    I would still go with the Viair for truck and trailer tires . . .

    Rob
    Cate & Rob
    (with Border Collies Molly & Angel and their kitty Gracie)
    2015 Reflection 303RLS
    2014 Ecoboost F150 with Heavy Duty Payload Package (retired)
    2022 F350 Diesel CC SB SRW Lariat
    Bayham, Ontario, Canada

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    • #3
      I will second that, I run the Viair Constant Duty system with the 450C compressor. Its 150 PSI, with a 2.5 gallon tank and works great for filling the truck, trailer, and whatever else I have around. I do sometimes wish the tank was a bit bigger, or that I had gone with a dual compressor setup, but then I just tell myself to be more patient lol.

      Before that I had a Porter Cable pancake compressor I ran off of the inverter and that was awesome, but required the inverter and took up a ton of space.

      My buddy has the Dewalt tire inflator and swears by it, but as Rob states you need to watch the duty cycle and temp.
      Neil Citro
      2018 Reflection 28bh
      2019 F350 6.7L Long Bed Crew Cab

      Comment


      • #4
        You two agree with what I suspected. I try to avoid NOT embracing things that are new and better because I strongly tend toward the tried and true, but I don’t want to be the sucker who jumps the gun.

        A local hardware store is one of the largest Makita dealers in the country. The store has Makita reps on site the weekend after Thanksgiving with tool sales and demos. I’ll grill them on the inflator and try to get them to let me try it on a tire. If it’s not up to snuff I’ll encourage them to consider a more robust version.
        John & Kathy
        2014 Reflection 303RLS
        2014 F250 SC SB 6.2

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        • #5
          I have the need at work to pump up patrol car tires. They have a Dewalt cordless, 20 volt compressor that works great for us.
          Jerry and Kelly Powell, with Halo, Nash, Reid, and the baby kitty Cleo.
          Pilot (Zebulon), NC
          2020 Solitude 390RK-R

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Jkwilson View Post
            Back when we got our rig, the Viair 400 was the choice for portable air if you didn’t travel with a generator.

            It’s expensive, and to get the best service it needs to be connected to the truck with the engine running.

            Now, most cordless tool manufacturers offer a tire inflator at a fraction of what the Viair costs and it will reach all tires easily.

            Most are rated at 120PSI and cost less than $100.

            Does anybody have real world experience with these cordless inflators? How many tires will they fill on a standard battery and how long do they take to fill one? Is 110PSI reasonable?

            I’m asking because my son-in-law recently picked up nails in two trailer tires on the road and ended up paying an emergency call fee since he couldn’t limp to a tire shop because he didn’t have a compressor. Sounds like a Christmas idea to me.

            What do you all think?
            I have real world experience with this inflator.

            https://www.harborfreight.com/20v-co...nly-64533.html

            It works very well for what I use it for, which is to top off all 4 of my trailer tires when I'm ready to pull it out of storage. I love it for that! It only has about a 10 minute duty cycle, but I can top off all 4 tires (and the spare) within that time frame. It seems like I usually add anywhere from 2-3 psi in each tire. I love the fact that I can set the pressure I want and it will shut off when that pressure is reached. Now... having said that, based on the 10 minute duty cycle, I DO NOT believe that it will take a trailer tire from 0 psi to 80 psi within any reasonable amount of time. In an emergency it may get you going, but once you reach the 10 minute max run time you have to let it cool for at least 10 minutes before resuming operation.

            They are now making one of these battery powered versions with a small air tank. I don't know if it will inflate a tire from 0 psi in a reasonable amount of time either, but with the air tank it gives you the option to blow out water hoses, lines, etc.

            So... that is my real world experience and I hope this helps!


            Bob
            Last edited by RJAPCOK; 10-06-2021, 08:22 PM.
            Bob & Lynne

            2020 Imagine 2970RL
            2019 GMC Sierra 2500 Denali HD 4x4 Duramax

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            • #7
              I have the Rigid cordless inflator and it works very well. I have tested others, but what I like about the Rigid (I already have a bunch of power tools/batteries), is you can set it an forget it. Dial in the pressure you want, pull the trigger and walk away. I like the portability when I go to storage to pick up the trailer. The first thing I check when I get the trailer is tire pressure, so if a tire needs air, I set and forget it, and the continue on with my pre-trip inspection.

              https://www.homedepot.com/p/RIDGID-1...7044/313257505
              Curtis, Christine, Cole, and Charlotte
              2007 Chevrolet Silverado Duramax LBZ, CCLB
              2020 Momentum 351M
              2004 Essex Vortex

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              • #8
                I have a Milwaukee cordless inflator. Its the best and fastest tire inflator I've had, and its cordless. It has a couple of features I like: I can set the pressure and it automatically shuts off, it shuts itself off instead of overheating, and it matches up with the batteries and chargers I have for Milwaukee tools. Its not cheap, but it seems very well made.

                https://www.cpooutlets.com/milwaukee...2475-21cp.html

                Comment


                • #9
                  I researched many of the battery operated inflators and found the reviews for the Dewalt DCC020IB 20V MAX Corded/Cordless Air Inflator to be good. I also have other DeWalt tools so it seemed to be a good option for me since it was reasonably priced for tool only.

                  The biggest knock on inflators that I found was overheating and battery life. The DeWalt has only overheated on me once and the I'm drain has only been an issue once but I have spare batteries with me. The DeWalt can also be plugged in to a 12 volt source. It has also come in handy for inflating and deflating air mattresses with the high flow hose option. It also has a flashlight built in.

                  Overall I have been very pleased. I believe the max psi is 120 so be aware of that.
                  Mike & Lisa
                  Central Florida
                  2021 Imagine 2970RL
                  1996 Chevy K3500 Crew SRW 7.4L Gas

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by OurNewEra View Post
                    I researched many of the battery operated inflators and found the reviews for the Dewalt DCC020IB 20V MAX Corded/Cordless Air Inflator to be good. I also have other DeWalt tools so it seemed to be a good option for me since it was reasonably priced for tool only.

                    The biggest knock on inflators that I found was overheating and battery life. The DeWalt has only overheated on me once and the I'm drain has only been an issue once but I have spare batteries with me. The DeWalt can also be plugged in to a 12 volt source. It has also come in handy for inflating and deflating air mattresses with the high flow hose option. It also has a flashlight built in.

                    Overall I have been very pleased. I believe the max psi is 120 so be aware of that.
                    Same one I have. No complaints.
                    2018 Dodge 3500 6.7 Cummins w Aisin and 9 cup holders
                    2021 Reflection 303RLS, Haloview RD7, Strong-arms, Micro-Air364

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      This setup only takes a little space in the pass through.
                      my hose
                      https://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-3-...-50B/304924871
                      and it rolls up nicely in one of these
                      https://www.homedepot.com/p/HDX-150-...0PDQ/205038360
                      my compressor
                      https://www.homedepot.com/p/Makita-Q...100Q/312309202


                      PineconeNW
                      Reflection 297RSTS 2021
                      Chevrolet K2500 Duramax LBZ 2007
                      https://www.epgsoft.com/visited-stat...480&format=png

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                      • #12
                        I have the Kobalt 12v/120v inflator from Lowes and the Husky 12v/120v inflator from Home Depot. Both have served me very well, but I only have to inflate my tires to 80PSI.
                        Mike and Karen
                        2021 2600RB

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ncitro View Post
                          I will second that, I run the Viair Constant Duty system with the 450C compressor. Its 150 PSI, with a 2.5 gallon tank and works great for filling the truck, trailer, and whatever else I have around. I do sometimes wish the tank was a bit bigger, or that I had gone with a dual compressor setup, but then I just tell myself to be more patient lol.

                          Before that I had a Porter Cable pancake compressor I ran off of the inverter and that was awesome, but required the inverter and took up a ton of space.

                          My buddy has the Dewalt tire inflator and swears by it, but as Rob states you need to watch the duty cycle and temp.
                          I also have the Porter Cable pancake and it is excellent, but I have a 4K inverter to plug in the compressor if there is no AC.
                          2021 Solitude 310 GK-R. 2020 F-250LB, 7.3L, 4.30, Reese 27K, 26K GCWR, USAF (Ret.)

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