What Does 12V Air Compressor Mean?

Car tyre inflators are growing in popularity with incredible pace. If you’re not sure what they are, they’re like mini versions of the air machines you find in garages, used to pump up your tyres when the pressure is low.

Just like the forecourt versions, they’ll tell you the current pressure of your tyres, giving you a clue if you suspect you have a puncture as to whether you’re really losing air.

A 12V air compressor is simply referring to the fact that you can plug it into the power outlet in your car – that socket that use to be referred to as the cigarette lighter, but these days is more likely to be used to charge phones, tablets and sat nav devices on the move.

12V is the voltage provided by that socket – 12 volts. Most car tyre compressors are supplied with a plug that fits directly into the car power outlet meaning that you can use the air compressor function wherever you air in the car (unless you have a flat battery and flat tyre at the same time, but sure no-one’s that unlucky are they?).

If you had to plug your tyre inflator into a normal plug socket to use it, it would be virtually useless away from home, so they use the car’s own power instead to do their thing. It’s usually advisable to have your engine running while you use it too – just in case the battery is running low. To be sure, check the instruction manual that came with your inflator, but that’s the case for the vast majority that we’ve seen.

What Is The Best 12V Portable Air Compressor?

If you’re currently researching which one to buy, check our our recommendations in our best buy car tyre inflators.