Brad Rates the Best Air Compressors to Use at Home

Hey, guys


Brad here. Today from the Seattle Dudes Club, the wonderful world of air compressors. I was first introduced to these machines when I was visiting my uncle’s farm and watching him work on his old tractors. He used this massive old air compressor in the corner of his shop to do just about everything from spray-dusting old equipment to using air wrenches to knock big bolts loose. I always wanted one, but I’ve never really had a big need for one.

Anyway, the more I’ve been getting into tools and DIY stuff with  the Dudes, I’ve been wanting to revisit the old air compressor dream. A few months back, I was driving back from work and I broke down on the highway a ways out of town. I had a flat, somehow, and I had to wait about 2 hours for AAA to finally show up. While I was sitting there swearing, I thought I’d finally had enough of waiting around for a man with a toolbox to come fix something I should be able to fix myself.


So, I went online in search of the best 12v air compressors to use on the car the next time I needed to get a spare tire up and running. I saw lots of crappy little ones from AAA that were pretty cheap, but I like to go full-bore with any tool and get the ultimate one. Anyway, even the nicest 12V models were under $100.


The first one I got was a little tire compressor from Viair that I keep in the back of the car now for when something goes wrong. I also finally started to pay attention to what my mechanic’s been telling me for years about tire pressure being something I should keep track of. Now I’m kinda obsessive about keeping them even and pumping things up when roads are good in the summer. I’ve definitely seen some better mileage, and I notice the difference in handling too. Anyway, I got the biggest, most tricked-out compressor they made for 12V power, and it gets everything done in a few seconds.


I’ve gotta say, I know you can’t use a 12V one for tools or anything like that, but it’s been surprisingly useful around the house and in the car. It’s great for my air mattress when people come over, since I can just blow it up in the garage and carry it back in with me. I use it to pump up soccer balls when I’m coaching my nephew’s soccer team, and it’s really handy to have at the beach when we take a trip with beach balls or inflatable rafts. Everyone else is pumping away with a bike pump and I’m just sitting back and getting my beach vibe on.


If you don’t have a 12V compressor in the car, I definitely recommend the Viair 88P, which is the one I went with. It’s kind of expensive compared to other ones, but it’s the most powerful one I’ve found, and it doesn’t feel like it’ll fall apart anytime soon.  


The love affair continues:

I just got a little Rolair to use in my workshop now when I’m at home, and it works like a dream. Honestly one of the best tools I’ve bought. I’m still kind of in the acquiring stage with air tools, but I use this one for a little finish sander and for my nailguns. It does any nailing job pretty easily, but that said I only really do smaller framing stuff and I’m not putting a house together or anything. The Dudes might laugh, but I also think this is like the cutest machine I’ve ever seen, and that’s important. I mean, you don’t get to love R2D2 because of what it does, right, it’s about the personality. It’s a cute machine. That’s perfectly fine in my book.


Check out and look at the Rolair to see the one I’m running. It’s pretty cheap and very capable, so I’d definitely suggest it if you’re getting your first one. I probably will get a bigger one at some point in the future, but I have to say that between the quietness of this one and the cute factor, I’ll definitely keep it as my main tool for smaller jobs.