Friday, June 2, 2023


Every RVer should have one of these portable air compressors

By Nanci Dixon
As full-timers, we gradually accumulate gear. After a rear dual tire lost its valve stem and the tire had to be replaced, we purchased a TireMinder® TPMS system. I diligently watch the tire pressure as we are driving and have come to dread the low-pressure alarm.

Airing up our tires on the motorhome has always, always been a hassle. Sometimes we have maneuvered into position at an air pump only to find that it is not powerful enough to fill the tires. Sometimes we find this out after it has eaten a massive number of our quarters. If we’re lucky enough to find a truck stop with a great air compressor, we’ll turn around to find a lineup of ten semis behind us.

We do have an onboard air compressor in our diesel pusher but have not had good luck filling the tires with it. I know how important proper inflation is for RV tires (I have read all Roger Marble’s tire safety articles), but will admit, sometimes it’s too much of a hassle and we don’t add air when we should.

So, no more hassle. We just bought, and tried for the first time today, a VIAIR 450P-RV portable compressor and it is amazing!

Here’s how we used it: We connected it to our tow car battery (but could have connected it to the motorhome chassis batteries as well). You can also connect the compressor to the house batteries, but only if the motorhome is connected to shore power.

Clamp to the positive and negative battery posts

We then put the alligator clamps on the positive and neutral posts, started the car and turned on the compressor. Mere minutes and the car was aired up. Next, onto the motorhome. The tires needed pressure up to 105 PSI. It was so quick that I got a little carried away and had to release air directly from the gauge. Since our slides were out, I was glad it had an extension so I could stand upright instead of having to crouch down. It was quick and easy! I am so happy!

It took a long time to decide to purchase the compressor – it is pricey – but the last time the dang low-pressure alarm went off we promised to get an air compressor as our next investment. My husband always says, “Buy the best and you only cry once.” I believe we bought one of the best!

We purchased ours from TechnoRV. I had contacted them before ordering and they answered all my questions, even in the midst of a hurricane! They sent the instruction manual and a set-up video electronically. What a help!

Amazon also carries VIAIR compressors. You can buy one for Class A motorhomes here, and Class C motorhomes and trailers here.


RV Tire Safety: Things to consider when purchasing an air compressor

RV Tire Safety: Tire load capacity is like your engine red line


Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon has been a full-time RVer living “The Dream” for the last six years and an avid RVer for decades more! She works and travels across the country in a 40’ motorhome with her husband. Having been a professional food photographer for many years, she enjoys snapping photos of food, landscapes and an occasional person. They winter in Arizona and love boondocking in the desert. They also enjoy work camping in a regional park. Most of all, she loves to travel.


5 1 vote
Article Rating
Subscribe to comments
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
M Lim
4 months ago

I just by pass the hot water tank and drain the low point valve. Close the low point valve and connect a hose to the pump and the other end to a jug of antifreeze. Turn the pump on and open each tap until red water flows out and repeat for each tap. No need to blow out water as the antifreeze will force the water out

Tommy Molnar
1 year ago

I have a DeWalt battery-operated air compressor and so far, it has performed flawlessly, even on our 80 psi truck and trailer tires. Small, light, and pressure settable so it shuts off when your set pressure is reached.

1 year ago

I use a Ryobi battery operated compressor that does a great job. No cords to worry about being long enough to reach.

1 year ago

The Porter Cable pancake compressor will do just as good of a job as the expensive Viair and it is cheaper and can be used around the garage and house when not traveling. Just plug it in.
This should be labeled a product review, not a you need this particular item article.

Last edited 1 year ago by Gary
1 year ago
Reply to  Gary

The Porter Cable pancake compressor would be fine, provided that you have 120v available. If traveling with a trailer, you might not have that luxury. I bought a smaller ViAir 88P to use on the road, for my trailer, it works well.

1 year ago
Reply to  Gary

I have a Porter Cable pancake compressor and love it. My brother in law has one of the Viairs and wish he would have gotten the Porter Cable pancake compressor,

1 year ago

BE AWARE! Viar compressors do not work like typical pancake compressors. These have no storage tank. As a result, these compressors have no automatic shutoff when they reach a set pressure. They just continue to run until you flip the off switch at the compressor. And their Shrader valve end on the hose does not work on dually tires. To air up dually tires, you need to spend another $35-40 in accessories to adapt the hose end to accommodate dualies. You have to order a special “free flowing extended, double end chuck, a quick connect adapter, & a Shrader tank valve. You then remove the valve stem from the tank valve to make it free flowing. This arrangement allows you to reach dually tires. You need the “free flowing” function in the Shrader valve & chuck to prevent pressure buildup in the hose, which will cause the hose to burst, if left running, when you remove the chuck from a tire. This problem applies to all but their most expensive models.

Randy Worley
1 year ago
Reply to  Fred

Some of the Viair compressors are automatic including the 450 described in the article. I have a 400P-automatic that I have used for 10 years and wouldn’t travel without it. Great product the off road community have used them for years.

Cougar Jim
1 year ago

After waiting 2 1/2 days at a campground for road service on a flat trailer tire because the farmers equipment in the rural area came first. I ordered the Viair RV model and had it sent to our next destination. As a part time job I transport used big rigs and I KNOW that some on the pushers don’t have a air connection.

1 year ago

I’m sure this is a great little compressor – it certainly should be for the price. But if you have a diesel engine/air brakes Class A rig you don’t need it. Your engine compressor produces 110psi air in huge quantities. The trick is to be able to fill your tires on the “increasing pressure” side of the compressor control, since once it shuts off it won’t re-start until it’s dipped to about 90 psi, which won’t be enough. There is a simple filler setup which will do this, that I built for about $20 worth of parts from Home Depot. If you do a little research online you’ll find how to make one yourself.

1 year ago

I have this same model and it works great on my 40′ DP. I’ve never used the VIAR when my coach wasn’t plugged in, but I have to run the engine to use it. For me, a 110v model would be more convenient.

Greg S
1 year ago

I had dual Viair in my F-450 for my Kellerman air suspension for 8 years without a single failure.
When I wanted a compressor for the diesel pusher, I got a Viair 450P. Smaller than pancake compressor and it came with enough hose that I can reach all tires, including the toad. I hook it to the chassis battery and let the converter do its thing without having to start engine or generator.
I also have the Tireminder TPMS system. The biggest pain is getting the right pressure in the tires. I’ve got an Alphaworks Preset Tire Inflation Guage so I can set a pressure and not have to check, deflate, check, inflate . . ..
My coach compressor shuts off at 120 psi, so it takes forever to squeeze out those last few pounds. The 450P goes to 150 psi, so there’s extra capacity to get the job done quicker.
Expensive – yes. Convenient – yes. At my age, convenient is good.

Bob p
1 year ago

From the lead pic it looks like you have a diesel pusher which means you have air brakes and if not all ready equipped with remote air outlets it would be easy to install them. Meaning once again you have engaged your typing fingers before researching your info about your article. Try to become a good journalist research, research, research!

1 year ago
Reply to  Bob p

Once again Bob, you’ve insulted the writer because she says something you disagree with. This article reflects her experiences with the difficulty associated with filling tires on her rig and the experience of using a new tool. Her way isn’t the only way and neither is yours. You could have left out the insult and still made your point. Please stop insulting her intelligence…maybe you could write an article on something you’re an expert on and impress all of us.

1 year ago

I own a Tiffin Breeze and is equipped with a air compressor for the air brakes and leveling system. The system has a air port to attach a hose for air supply for tires and other items. I purchased fittings, valves and a air pressure gauge. Works great and cost less the $25.

Gary Stone
2 years ago

We carry a small portable compressor. We also carry a standard bicycle tire pump. When adding 3-5 psi the bicycle pump does the job with less hassle…with the added benefit of some aerobic exercise. However, if we were adding 15 psi or more we’d break out the compressor. So far, the compressor is still in its original packaging.

Dietrich R
2 years ago

IMO there are better units available at less than 1/2 the cost. 1.8 CFM at 0 PSI is way too low for pumping capability. Competing units offer dual cylinders with 2.5 CFM. And a one year warranty is useless. At that price they should have at lest a three year warranty (if not 5 yr.) They are all made in China. Read the negative reviews before you buy.

Gene Bjerke
2 years ago

I have gone through several inexpensive air compressors. Currently I have a Kobalt from Lowe’s. So far I am happy with this one; it works on both 120VAC and 12VDC. I don’t remember the price but it was in my range.

R. Schulz
2 years ago

I’ve had a VIAIR compressor since 2009. Just so easy to use and works great. On my fiver the pressure requirement was 65#. This compressor would easily and quickly pump those tires right up. It’s good to be able to check air pressure often and it’s so easy having this pump along. Highly recommended…

2 years ago

Ok so I looked up unit and about had heart failure wow pricey. So with that said and having a generator why not buy a good pancake compressor for about half the price from say Lowes etc and plug it into your 110 outlet?

Daniel VanBoxtel
2 years ago
Reply to  Gordy

I bought a Porter Cable pancake compressor from HD. I can run it on shore power or my gen. Perfect!!

Bill Hall
2 years ago

I switched from the Porter Cable pancake compressor to the VIAIR because it takes up less space and space is at a premium in my coach.

1 year ago
Reply to  Gordy

I bought the Harbor Freight pancake compressor 5 years ago for $40 on sale. I used it a ton to power my air nailer for major home improvement and it’s still going strong. I’ve used it to blow out my RV water lines for winterization although my big Porter Cable is better for that.

2 years ago

Best money we ever spent. Picked up a roofing nail on our fiver way out in the New Mexico desert. Pulled the nail, plugged the hole, hooked up the VIAir, filled the tire to 100 psi in no time. Back on our way. It also makes it easy to pre-flight the rig. Instead of thinking about whether or not to look for a place for air, we hit the road at full pressure.

Bob P
2 years ago

If you have a diesel pusher it has an air compressor built in so why would you need an auxiliary unit? Air hose is much cheaper than one of the Viairs.

Ron L.
2 years ago
Reply to  Bob P

Because you have to run the engine for the compressor to work….in addition, the compressor will cut off when it reaches a certain air pressure that may be below the air pressure required for your tires and you will need at least 50′ of air hose. It can be done, but it’s a pain in the butt. Better to have a portable that you can move from tire to tire.

2 years ago
Reply to  Ron L.

When you are hooked up to a car (or RV) battery the vehicle should be running also. They will run it down in a hurry. (Ask how I know)

2 years ago

I bought the next step up in ViAir. I have the twin compressor with tank also, and I’ve permanently mounted it in a unused space behind the right rear tire. I had to make the compartment for it as well. We have an 04 Newmar Mountain Aire DP. I carry 50 feet of 3/8″ air hose. I can reach all the tires on my motorhome and my toad, but I also carry a portable 12v air compressor in my toad; a Jeep Wrangler Sahara Unlimited. Really a requirement when going on offroad trail adventures.

Don Peterson
2 years ago

we have one of those. it has been a life saver. You can air up while the tires are cold as you should. This is a must for all RVers

Sign up for the

RVtravel Newsletter

Sign up and receive 3 FREE RV Checklists: Set-Up, Take-Down and Packing List.