A portable air compressor is something you rarely appreciate until you need it. Knowing which compressor is right for you and your needs can be tough, especially with the endless choices available for purchase. We love to take a deeper look at products here at ReviewRaft.com. Helping you make an informed purchase decision is our passion. When Audew offered to send us a free review sample of their 12V 150 PSI Digital Tire inflator we were happy to agree. Find out what we thought in our portable air compressor review.
Would we recommend this unit? Is it right for your and your vehicle? Let’s go straight to our portable air compressor review and find out!
Why a Portable Air Compressor?
A soft or deflated tire often happens slowly enough that you don’t notice it until your tire is very low. The realization you need to add air to your vehicle’s tire often comes at the most inconvenient time. It’s the same story with those of us who have vehicles with a collapsible spare tire that needs to be inflated before use. Typically you make the discovery miles from home or a service station. Sitting in a parking lot or side of the road waiting hours for help can be stressful. A portable 12V air compressor can save the day and save you hours of frustration and possibly hundreds of dollars too!
Of course a 12V air compressor isn’t limited to just inflating car, truck or van tires. They can also be used to pump bike tires, ATV or motorcycle tires, balls and pool toys and more!
What’s in the Box:
In the box we received:
- Air compressor with attached air hose and power cord
- Instruction manual
- Air inflation needle and 2 additional inflation fittings
- 3 Valve Stem Caps
- Spare fuse
We really like the overall look of this compressor. The bright red and black color scheme makes it easy to find and see without looking terrible. The compact size doesn’t require much storage space in your vehicle. This portable digital inflator measures approximately 7 1/2″ tall by 6 3/4″ wide by 3″ deep. It weighs in just under 2 pounds at around 1 pound and 15 ounces.
The large power and light buttons are easy to find and operate. The smaller set and +/- buttons are a little harder to see but once you use the compressor once you’ll find the controls intuitive and easy to remember.
- Compact size
- Metal motor
- Automatic shut off
- Powered via 12 Volt DC Power source Only
- Digital Display
- LED Lights with Emergency Function
- Use to inflate tires, balls, toys and more
How Does it Work?:
Using this air compressor is very simple. The power cord and air hose stow away in two compartments on the side of the inflator. Simply gently pull them from the compartments to access them. Next, plug the power adapter into a vehicle’s 12V cigarette lighter socket or power outlet. Then, you screw the air hose on to the valve stem of a tire. (If you’re not inflating a tire you’ll need to attach the appropriate inflation fitting for whatever you’re blowing up.)
When ready to inflate you’ll want to start your vehicle in order for the pump to work at full power. This also avoids the possibility of draining your vehicle’s battery dead while using the inflator.
This digital inflator allows you to read air pressure in one of three different units: PSI, KPA, or Bar. Change the display units by pressing the small middle button under the LCD Display. It is labeled, “set.”
Next, you’ll set your desired final air pressure. If you’re inflating your vehicle’s tires you’ll want to inflate to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended air pressure. For vehicles in North America these are commonly found on a decal inside the driver’s door jamb area. In the event you can’t locate this information you can obtain it from the owner’s manual, an internet search or by contacting the manufacturer or an authorized service technician directly. As a last resort, a tire should have a maximum pressure rating listed on the side wall. You’ll typically be fine inflating to 5 or 10 PSI below this listed value.
Set your desired pressure using the “+” and “-” button located on either side of the previously mentioned “set” button. Press the large power button to start the compressor. This is the large button on the left with a power symbol on it. The compressor will come on automatically and shut off by itself when it reaches the pressure you pre set.
If you’re inflating a ball, pool toy or similar items you’ll need to know the recommended inflation pressure. This is typically printed on balls but may not always be present. In these cases you’ll need to use common sense since you’ll need to stop inflation manually. Left unmonitored, the compressor might over inflate an item and cause it to burst if the proper pressure isn’t used.
Controlling the Lights:
The two remaining buttons on the compressor control the built in LED lights. The large middle triangle button turns on the emergency light feature. Press it and the lights will blink on and off similar to the hazard or emergency lights in your car. This is a great feature to keep you safe at the side of the road since it increases visibility. The light bulb button on the right side turns the LED light on or off to help you see your work area in the dark.
An easy to read digital pressure gauge is one feature we consider a must have in these units. Trying to read a tiny analog pressure gauge needle in the dark or on the side of the road is inconvenient and dangerous. The Digital LCD display on this compressor adequately displays pressures both night and day Reading the display is a bit more difficult in direct sunlight but is manageable. The digital gauge allows you to see pressures at a glance.
How did this inflator perform in real world testing? Read the performance section of our Audew 12V 150 PSI portable air compressor review to find out!
Inflation Performance and Speed:
Performance of this unit was essentially the same as the other 12V unit we reviewed from Audew last year. It inflates a tire from nearly empty to around 30 psi in a few minutes. .The manufacturer claims air flow of both units we’ve reviewed to be approximately 35 L/min. That’s around 1.24 Cubic Feet Per Minute.
This particular compressor does not have any rubber feet or other features that might help grip or dampen vibration. The flat, hard, plastic bottom allows the compressor to slide or bounce around when in use. We typically hold ours in our hand when in use so this isn’t an issue for us. It can be an issue if you decide to set the inflator down on the road, driveway or other hard surface.
Noise levels are similar to most other units we’ve used and reviewed. This guy isn’t extremely noisy but it is noisy enough to turn heads of people passing by within 10 to 20 feet.
These smaller units do generate some heat when used for extended periods of time but it is seldom an issue. They’re designed to run long enough to inflate 4 average size tires without overheating. Essentially anytime you’d need to run this compressor for longer than 10 or 15 minutes you’d need to shut it off to cool down. For most car, truck and mid size SUV owners this pump will work well with little concern of overheating. If you’re attempting to inflate multiple huge tires such as those on large SUVs, trucks, RVs or equipment you may run into issues with heat and slow speed. This product isn’t designed or intended for those uses so no surprises there.
The air hose and power cord stow away in two hollow cavities in the side of the compressor. We love the idea since cord and hose storage is lacking on many similar priced products. The concept is great but the real world execution is a bit lacking. The storage compartments have sharp edges that need to be rounded a bit. This would make them more gentle on fingers and the cord and hose. The air hose fits well enough but the compartment for the power cord could be a bit deeper. You end up needing to expertly wrap it, cram it in or leave it sticking out a bit. The power cord also comes with a velcro/hook and loop cord wrap that helps keep things contained.
We’ve had this compressor for a couple months. During this period we’ve used it on 3 different occasions without issue. We’ll update this review with any long term durability issues we encounter during testing.
We have not experienced any issues with this unit yet. We do have some concerns about the durability of the finish. In particular, we are concerned with the black plastic around the controls. This area is gloss black plastic. Our test unit had some scuffs and scratches in this area right out of the box. Since this item doesn’t come with any sort of protective carrying case, scratches during storage are likely.
Portable Air Compressor Review Conclusion:
What are our thoughts after completing our portable air compressor review? Overall this is a decent quality portable tire inflator and air compressor at a good price. There isn’t much wow factor here but we don’t expect it at this price point. There are no huge benefits or glaring deficiencies that make this product drastically stand out from the other choices in the price range. We found this unit to be very comparable to the other digital 12V compressor we reviewed from Audew last spring. That unit has performed very well with no issues over our extended testing period. We anticipate similar results with this product.
We would recommend this particular inflator to anyone seeking an affordable and compact portable air compressor for their car, van or to midsize SUV. Those needing to inflate hug tires or more than 4 tires in a single use may want to consider a more expensive heavy duty unit.
Overall this product has all the key features we consider essential for a compressor in this ($20-$35) price range.
- Compact Size
- Digital Display
- Easy to use
- Inflates quickly enough for everyday needs
- Display reads in PSI, KPA, and Bar
- Adequate power cord and air hose length.
- Scratches on the gloss black plastic lead to questions about finish durability.
- The storage compartments for the power cord and air hose have sharp edges.
- No rubber feet or similar solution on the bottom of the compressor
- The product photos show a high quality all metal air hose end. The actual product we received featured a lower quality plastic fitting nut around a metal sleeve. Not a huge difference but we’d prefer all metal construction on the business end of this fitting.
- The storage compartment for the power cord could be a little deeper.
Where to Purchase:
Looking to buy the product seen here in our portable air compressor review? You can purchase this product at one of the sources below:
Audew 12V 150PSI Portable Air Compressor
Ease of Use9.9/10
Air Hose Length8.3/10
- Easy to Use
- Compact and Lightweight
- Inflates quickly
- Multiple units for pressure display
- Decent cord and hose length
- Power Cord and Air Hose store in compressor
- Gloss black plastic was scratched during manufacturing
- The storage areas for the cord and air hose have sharp edges
- No storage bag or box
- No rubber feet or bottom to prevent sliding