12V Compressor vs HP Air Tanks - Pros & Cons?

NMC_EXP

Explorer
I'd like some input on the pros and cons regarding portable 12V compressors vs pre-charged high pressure gas cylinders.

At this point my main concern is re-inflating 33" tires. Not using pneumatic power tools at this point.

On my short list are the Viair 400 series and the Advanced Air Systems Power Tank (undecided on the 10 lb or 15 lb).

Initial costs are comparable. Unknowns for me are: (1) relative efficiency of the two types and (2) ongoing costs with the HP tank, e.g. cost to refill and periodic tank safety certification.

Thanks in advance for your input.
 

v_man

Explorer
I carry a big 20lb. Co2 tank with me on trips .

Pros are : it fills up my 37's FAST , it's reliable , it's simple, cheap initial cost ( my tank, regulator, hose and fittings we're put together for $150)

Cons are: aluminum tank is still heavy , takes up space in rig , needs to be secured really well, and needs to be refilled about every 3 trips (average refill costs around here = $35)

My only other input is with the Powertank , you are paying a premium $$$ for a brand name , just put together you're own setup for way less. Also something to consider , when I get my tank 're-filled' , they actually just exchange me a new full tank for the old one .
You may not want you're shiny new power tank exchanged for a crummy looking old one , and a lot of places don't refill you're tank on the spot , they only do swaps .....
 

v_man

Explorer
Sorry , last thing to say : if you do go Co2 tank get the largest size you can carry = more capacity = less refilling hassle . I would not even consider a 10lb tank .
 

v_man

Explorer
Yea 3 trips assumes all four (37"s) tires going from about 15psi back up to 35psi. So that's 12 tire fill ups .

The thing is , there is still some Co2 left after say those 3 trips , but you want to be confident there's enough for the next full fill up , so I'm pretty conservative I guess and get the tank swapped.

Edit : I should say I can go from 15psi to 35psi in about 60 seconds.
 

jeepovich

Explorer
The advantage of a tank is that it will inflate the tires really fast.
The disadvantage is that you have to recharge them, valves may leak, large in size.
( I'm not counting that it doesn't need batt voltage to operate since if you don't have 12v source, you have bigger problems then topping off tire pressure).

The advantage of a good compressor is that it is always with you and ready to work. Small in size in comparison to a C02 tank. Most if not all do not require maintenance.
Disadvantage is that they take longer to inflate and make noise.

I have a cheep $60 compressor for last 3 years and it does the job. It does take about 5 min per 35" tire to bring pressure from 18 psi to 35 psi but then again it is cheep compressor. It is time for me to upgrade and I was considering CO2 tank but will be going with a compressor. ARB is very expensive but the twin motor unit will inflate a 35" tire from 0-35 psi in a minute. I am probably will be going with Puma unit and separating the tank from compressor assembly.
 

NMC_EXP

Explorer
v_man

Good info, thanks. The brand name bling factor is not an issue for me. Swapping tanks might be a good deal - there is an AirGas distributor nearby.

Did you buy a complete regulator/fittings package or put it together a piece at a time?

I have seen info that freezing up is a problem unless specialized regulators are used.
 

SoCal Tom

Explorer
I had the co2 tank. It was awesome for filling tires quick, but I usually ended up sharing, so I rarely got 3 trips. After the first trip, I still needed to bring the compressor, "just in case". I ended up getting rid of the co2 tank. I carry the compressor, just in case, but I look for a gas station or other air supply as my first option.
Tom
 

Ducky's Dad

Explorer
A portable compressor presents the same storage problems as a tank. Tank is fast, but a good compressor just keeps going and gives you the option to run air tools later if you plumb a tank or carry a portable tank. I have a Viair 400P in one truck and a Warn SPI OBA in the other truck. The Warn is bigger, better and faster, but the dopes at Warn discontinued it. Best solution for you depends on the vehicle and how you use it. I think OBA is the best solution, but setup takes some time and thought.
 

v_man

Explorer
I look for a gas station or other air supply as my first option.
Tom
This is a really good point Tom . If you use your tank conservatively , you can make it last . Last trip down to Anza , our last trail ended near a gas station so I filled up with their instead of my tank . I too often use gas station air rather than my tank ... but as we all know , sometimes the trails we run are far away from the nearest air ...

Here's my aluminum tank . You just need a simple regulator , no gauges here , a hose , and a fitting . Very simple. I've never had a problem with freezing regulators although they do frost up on the outside and become very cold .




And I weighed my aluminum tank , it's about 90% full here , the weight is 47 pounds .
 

NMC_EXP

Explorer
What I'm getting from this is the advantage of a CO2 tank is tire fill speed. The disadvantages are ongoing cost to refill and weight/size.

My main outfit is an FJ60. Obviously I'm not worried about getting things done quickly. Since the FJ60 barely has enough power to get out of its own way, I am concerned with weight.
 

FrenchieXJ

Expedition Leader
Things to think about.

My personal experience is I like the air compressor. Yes, I have both!

The reliance on the tank is you need to keep enough air in it for a complete fill for the trip or why carry it. That means that you may have enough to fill only 3 tires and not 4. The other option is take and fill the tank before it is empty, waisting money (time to go get it filled part way but paying for a full tank).

For going out and playing with friends for a day or weekend once a month, the tank may work for you. If you are going for extended trip and will air up many times at different locations; 1) You may need to go out of your way to locate a CO-2 filling location. 2) The air compressor is generally lighter then a tank (yes their are exceptions) and takes less space. 3) If the original cost is the same why the extra cost to keep filling it.

If you have a CO-2 tank and your buddies do not; 1) You fill yours and have to wait for your buddies to fill-up (you did not save time), (you leave them behind when yours are filled and make new friends with CO-2 bottles). 2) Your a nice guy and fill their tires at your expense. After 2 or 3 trips they come to expect you to fill their tires.

Weight and space - For a longer trip either camping, longer vacation or overlanding the space and weight become more important component. Maybe for you having both will work. I still have my "Power Tank" sitting in my man-cave collecting dust.

You have had some good points with everyones thoughts. You know what your needs are and what you want out of this discussion. Good luck making your decision!
 

NMC_EXP

Explorer
FrenchieXJ

Good points to ponder.

I've finally learned perfect solutions are rare. Most decisions are a compromise.
 
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