12 Volt On-Board Air Compressors What's Out There?

Robert Bills

Explorer
Been using our little mv50 for almost 5 years. . . .
You've been lucky. As I noted, build quality is inconsistent and there are as many bad reviews as good ones. I had an MV-50 for about a year before it sucked a reed valve - used only 4-5 times to air up 32" tires from 18 psi to 35 psi.
 

RubiconGeoff

Adventurer
I agree that the Puma provides great performance for the price. I would have one if I had room under the hood of my current truck. Alas, I don't even have room for the small ARB so this time I went with a portable kit for airing up tires.
If you don't need the pressure tank, you can remove the compressor and likely fit it under the hood. You could also remotely mount the tank at a frame rail or elsewhere; this is exactly what I did with my first Puma, stuffing both the compressor and the tank longitudinally inside the rear fender behind the interior panel of my 85 4Runner.
 

Robert Bills

Explorer
If you don't need the pressure tank, you can remove the compressor and likely fit it under the hood. . . .
Unfortunately not in my truck. I made a cardboard mock-up of the Puma 12v compressor (Model DE05 1/2HP and Model DE06 3/4HP each measure 13"L x 6"W x 9.5"H). The Puma wouldn't fit anywhere in my engine bay.

Hopefully OP has more space under his hood.
 

rayra

Expedition Leader
I've been running this for 15 years - great solution. Got my compressor from Harbor Freight (Chicago Electric brand). I know sometimes HF stuff isn't top quality, but I've had zero issues with this. Not used daily by any means, but I consider it reliable.
I'm liking the small portability of mine. And the pouch has enough room for me to add tire plug kit, valve stem tool etc in it too. I like that I can carry the kit to another vehicle, rather than needing to get within reach of my air hose with it.
Like any small pump they get pretty hot in use. And airing up 4 (or more) tires is going to take some time. I started with mine from a 'better than nothing' end of the spectrum, rather than 'buy once cry once'. I'm in my 50s, got a lot of claims on my wallet ahead of paying for premium branding.
 

JandDGreens

Adventurer
another option is a 110V compressor with an inverter. I like the slower speed that they run, gotta be an issue with lasting longer I think. Plus the inverter opens up other uses
110v compressors will require a huge amount of power, Batteries/invertor. (I was going to use one for airing up my tires) I would have to spend way more just to make that feasible and it's not worth it, I would rather buy a small ARB tucked away that has less things to go wrong. I would rather have a inverter separate for the few things you need that for.
 

vwhammer

Adventurer
Space is not too much of a concern as this will be going in a Vanagon.
I have all sorts of big nooks and crannies to stuff such things.
I will likely be mounting the tank/tanks separately from the compressor.

I think I have narrowed it down to the Puma DE07 or the Viair 450C-IG
Allow me to compare the two.
The Puma is powerful at 3/4hp but also draws 46 amp compared to the Viair at approximately 1/3hp and 23 amps
The Puma can pump out 1.36CFM @90psi. The Viair manages 0.97CFM @90psi
Puma working pressure is 135psi compared to the Viair at 150psi.

With the Puma's power comes big size and weight.
The Puma weighs 19lbs compared to the Viair at 10.4lbs
The dimensions in inches for the pair are as follows:
Puma L-W-H= 12.2 / 7.5 / 11
Viair 11.25 / 4 / 6.75

The Puma has a motor/cylinder cooling fan but as such, I assume, makes it not water or dust proof.
The Viair is rated IP67 for dust and water but has no cooling fan
It might be important to note that both are 100% duty cycle compressors.

The Puma is usually priced about $40-$60 cheaper than the Viair.

So with all that said I guess it boils down to what I really need this compressor to do.
Is it worth the extra size, weight and current draw to have a little more oomph if I may not necessarily need it?
The Viair can also fill my tanks and run continuously just like the Puma but has the advantage of a published IP rating.

If I was not running an air suspension I feel like I could just go with the Puma and not have any tanks.
But with the suspension I need the tank/tanks for quick suspension adjustments.
With that said it seems like I should spend a little more, save a little weight and spare room and go with the Viair.
The tanks and extra psi that the Viair is capable of will more than make up for the lower CFM rating and I like the idea of the compressor being water and dust proof.
Not to mention the lower current draw which may come into play with a the other 12v items I plan on running on the charging system.

Nothing is set in stone yet and I am glad to listen to anyone else's suggestions or concerns.
 

outback97

Adventurer
You've been lucky. As I noted, build quality is inconsistent and there are as many bad reviews as good ones. I had an MV-50 for about a year before it sucked a reed valve - used only 4-5 times to air up 32" tires from 18 psi to 35 psi.
I've been lucky with mine too, had it for 11 years now. I did recently put standard air fittings on it since the original hose was leaking too much air. It works so much better now, almost like getting a new one. I think I paid $30 or so for it at the time. I wish I had bought a few of them for that price!
 

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IdaSHO

IDACAMPER
Funny just how many folks have been running them for a long time without issues.

Isnt it ;)


There is always a naysayer or two to try to discredit the value of the MV-50


As I originally said, for the price it is tough to beat.



Oh, and I've been running mine for years as well, with zero problems. :)
 

vwhammer

Adventurer
Looks like there is an MV90 also.
While it is cheap...(ish) it hardly fits into the ultra budget category like the MV50.
Curious of quality of the MV90.
It does appear that it is approximately a 3/4hp unit as well.
 

bluejeep

just a guy
110v compressors will require a huge amount of power, Batteries/invertor. (I was going to use one for airing up my tires) I would have to spend way more just to make that feasible and it's not worth it, I would rather buy a small ARB tucked away that has less things to go wrong. I would rather have a inverter separate for the few things you need that for.
Actually it was a no brainer at the time. No additional batteries involved, just an inverter. And for less than the cost of a 12V (that were on the market at the time, remember this was many years ago) I have on board air with 100% duty cycle, and the ability to run a hand held grinder, electric drill, etc. Different strokes I guess
 

JamesW

Adventurer
I've the equivalent of the Mv90 compressor, does a right good job of inflating my 35s, can have the 4 of them aired up in no time at all, have used it on tractor tyres too without it complaining.

The hose on mine is starting to get a bit battered, but I think I'll get some standard air fittings for it and it will be compatible with a different inflator head.

Sent from my ONE A2003 using Tapatalk
 

plh

Explorer
MV-50 I've had it for nearly 7 years, works great. I'd buy another one in a second.
 

RubiconGeoff

Adventurer
There is always a naysayer or two to try to discredit the value of the MV-50


As I originally said, for the price it is tough to beat.



Oh, and I've been running mine for years as well, with zero problems. :)
I ran an MV50 for years, and I still have it in my garage. But after upgrading to the PUMA, man oh man does that MV50 seem slow. My buddy still has an MV50 on his rig, and after a day of 4wheeling when we stop to air back up before hitting the pavement, in the time it takes him to air up two of his 33's, I'll have finished with my four 35's and I can start airing up his remaining two tires. The ability to have a "head start" by beginning with a full pressure tank which also acts as a buffer to take advantage of the air that's pumped during the time spent moving from one tire to the next makes for a very effective setup. Plus, the blast of air that the tank provides allows you to reseat a blown bead much easier than you can with the MV50.
 

IdaSHO

IDACAMPER
For sure.

Although it is easy enough to set the MV50 with an air tank as well.

Also, if you want full performance out of them, they do need a wiring upgrade.

For at least the few that I have reworked over the years, and the one I run myself, the factory wiring is severely undersized.
Pretty much all of it.

So I rewire them top to bottom with 10 G wire, with an anderson plug for connection to the vehicle.
Vehicle then gets 10G leads to the battery, stubbed out under the bumper (or wherever) with an anderson connector.
 
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