Owning a portable air compressor has never been easier, with plenty of options on the market currently priced under $50. While it’s not a tool that you’ll use on a daily or even weekly basis, there are plenty of reasons to keep one around the garage—we’ll detail those later in this article. But given there are so many portable air compressors on the market, you may have a tough time choosing the right one for you.

That’s why we decided to get our hands on one of Audew’s newest portable air compressors, a 12V digital tire inflator that is extremely affordable. In this review, we’ll detail the product’s features, how it works, and hopefully answer whether or not this is the portable air compressor you should spend your money on.

Product Overview

audew portable tire inflator

This particular portable air compressor pump from Audew is a 12V digital tire inflator that can inflate up to 150 PSI. It’s a fairly compact unit, measuring 7.4″ by 6.8″ by 2.8″, which means you could keep it stored in the trunk of your car or anywhere in your garage without taking up too much space. On the front of the air compressor are three main buttons: a power button for the unit itself, a hazard button that makes the LED lights blink, and a button that turns the LED light on and off.

Above the three main buttons are three smaller black buttons that allow you to preset your desired tire pressure. You’re also able to cycle through 4 units of tire pressure display: PSI, KPA, BAR, and kg/cm2. At the top of the front face is an LCD digital display that shows your current tire pressure.

The two LED lights are located at the very top of the unit, which may seem strange at first glance, but we’ll explain more on that later.

audew portable air compressor

On each side of the portable air compressor are convenient storage grooves for the attached air hose and power cord. The 2-foot air hose is on the left, while the 10-foot power cord is located on the right. Since the power cord is longer, it includes a convenient velcro strap so you can keep it nice and tidy when the inflator isn’t in use.

audew portable air compressor

There isn’t much going on with the back of the Audew portable air compressor. There’s a label that outlines the unit’s specifications and some instructions that you can refer to when using the inflator.

Since you can preset your desired tire pressure with this unit, it’ll automatically shut off once it reaches that value. It’s advertised to work fairly quickly, with Audew claiming air delivery speed up to 35 L per minute—more on this in our hands-on testing—allowing you to inflate a flat tire to 25 to 35 psi in around 2 minutes or less. This tire inflator also comes with three nozzle adapters so you can inflate other household items such as mattresses, airboat, toys, sports balls, and other inflatables. Also included are 3 tire valve caps, a spare fuse, and a small instruction manual.

Read More Best Portable Tire Inflators/Air Compressors

Hands-on Testing

audew portable tire inflator review

The first thing we noticed when taking the Audew portable air compressor out of its box is how lightweight the inflator is. Given its price, we knew it wasn’t going to be a premium product and its plastic body reinforces that thought. Although the design of the product is modern and stylish with its red and black theme, it does feel like you need to use it with care since it doesn’t feel extremely durable.

After plugging the unit into our cigarette lighter receptacle for power, we were able to quickly and easily set our desired tire pressure inside the cabin of the vehicle. This is important to mention, as the LCD display isn’t terribly visible in broad daylight. If you’re using this particular tire inflator with a bright sun beaming down on you, you’ll likely have to find some shade to clearly see the numbers being displayed. This is a minor gripe however, because once you set your desired tire pressure, you don’t have to worry about it ever again. You won’t run into this issue if you’re using the air compressor in a garage or at night time.

audew portable air compressor review

Once we had the preset tire pressure dialed in, we simply hooked up the air hose to the car’s valve stem and let the unit do its work. Like most portable air compressors, the Audew unit is a bit on the louder side when it’s inflating your tires. This is a bit expected, but it’s something to keep in mind depending on when or how you need to use the compressor. For most car owners however, noise isn’t a selling point and something you can look past.

When it comes to inflating time, it took approximately 60 seconds to inflate our tires from 35 PSI to 45 PSI. Audew advertises a 35 L / min flow rate, which should inflate a flat tire to 25 to 35 psi in under 2 minutes. Based on our testing, those advertised rates are fairly accurate and in line with most other portable air compressors with a comparable price.

While in use, the unit will noticeably vibrate to the point that you can’t have it sitting upright—like we do in some of our photos. The reason why the LED lights are at the top of the unit is because this inflator is intended to be used while laying on its back. Otherwise, the unit will move all over the place while it’s inflating. This may or may not matter to you, but it’s worth noting.

For the price, this portable air compressor is great. It’s extremely easy to use—simply preset your desired tire pressure and hook up the air hose and let it inflate your tires. Since it automatically shuts off, you don’t have to babysit the unit and keep an eye on the gauge. The noise from this unit isn’t much of a deal breaker since most digital air compressors are just as loud, if not louder. And while there are more convenient options, you can always use this portable air compressor as a tire pressure gauge to check your tire pressure. Our biggest gripe with the unit is its plastic body, so we’ll have to see how durable it is over a long period of time.

Our final verdict? If you’re looking for an affordable tire compressor to maintain your tire pressure, the Audew unit is a great recommendation. It’s competitively priced, easy to use, and extremely compact. We just wish it came with a durable carrying bag, so we felt safe leaving it in our trunk.

Why Do I Need a Portable Air Compressor?

audew portable air compressor review

As we mentioned before, there are a few reasons you want to own your own portable air compressor. For starters, driving on overinflated or underinflated tires can affect your car’s fuel economy. Properly inflated tires have a positive impact on your car’s tire comfort, durability, and performance.

If you’re driving on underinflated tires, that means they’ll have a harder time maintaining their shape, and they become flatter when they’re in contact with the road. This also reduces the tread life of your tires and could reduce your fuel economy since it increases rolling resistance. In addition, loss of steering precision and cornering stability are all side effects of underinflated tires.

Overinflated tires meanwhile, are stiff and the tires could be damaged more easily when coming in contact with potholes or other debris in the road. They also result in a harsher ride on your vehicle. There are some advantages however, as overinflated tires do provide an improvement to steering response and cornering stability—to a certain extent. If you often participate in any form of motorsports, such as track events or autocross, you may want to overinflate your tires for better performance. Just another reason to own your own portable air compressor, so you can easily adjust your tire pressure at all times.

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Photo credit: Jason Siu / AutoGuide.com

Detailed Specs

Dimensions / 7.4" by 2.8" by 6.8"
Weight / 2.25 lbs
Power Cord Length / 10 feet
Air Hose Length / 2 feet
Max Inflatable Pressure / 150 PSI
Features / Auto shutoff, 2-in-1 LED light, LCD display, preset pressure, fast inflating, includes multiple nozzles, 4 tire pressure units (PSI, KPA, BAR, kg/cm2)