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Viair RV Compressors: Why We Think They’re the Best For RVers

Viair RV Compressors: Why We Think They’re the Best For RVers

One of our favorite pieces of RV gear is our Viair air compressor. In fact, we actually have two of them. We carry one in our RV and keep a smaller, lighter model in the back of our Honda CR-V toad car, in case we need it when we’re away from the RV.

We’ve spent over 20 years traveling and living in a motorhome full-time, and we’ve tried several different compressor brands and types. But we needed a really capable RV air compressor for the huge tires on our 43′ diesel pusher and to winterize our RV plumbing system. But it still needed to be compact and portable. Our Viair RV compressors fit the bill and have never failed us.

A quality air compressor (also referred to as a portable tire inflator), is a piece of gear every RVer should carry. We think Viair RV compressors are the best we’ve ever used, and in today’s post, we’ll tell you why.

Why Viair Compressors Are Best for RV Use

When you travel in an RV, you, your family, and your possessions are riding on tires that need to be at optimal pressure to provide a smooth ride and carry you safely to your destination. Carrying a quality portable air compressor is important since RVers often need to be self-sufficient, and because underinflated tires are the #1 cause of blowouts.

Among the options on the market, Viair RV compressors have earned a reputation as the top choice for RVers, including us. We’re referring to them as “RV compressors” because Viair makes several that have RVers’ needs specifically in mind (long air hoses for long rigs, for example). The RV-specific models even have “RV” included in their names, so we’ll know which ones are made just for us. Here’s what we like about Viair compressors…

Portability

Viair compressors are known for their compact and portable design, making them ideal for keeping aboard an RV where storage space is at a premium. With sizes and specs ranging from extra-compact models to larger, more powerful units, Viair offers a compressor for every RV owner’s needs.

The smallest (75P) and largest (450P) Viair RV compressors

On the left is Viair’s smallest compressor, the 75P, which we carry in the back of our toad car. On the right is their largest RV compressor, the Viair 450P RV, which we carry on board our rig.

Versatility & Choice

RVs come in various sizes and weights, and so do their tires. Viair compressors are designed to handle a wide range of tire sizes and pressure requirements, making them a great choice for owners of any type of RV.

Maximum PSI

Tires on large RVs, like those on our 43′ diesel pusher, may require far higher PSI (pounds per square inch) than most people are used to adding. A typical car may only need around 30 PSI, but our motorhome tires require 85 PSI on the drive and tag axles and 110 PSI on the steer axle! Good luck with reaching those numbers using a cheap discount compressor… or even the compressors at most gas stations.

Even some travel trailer tires may require 80 PSI. There aren’t many small portable compressors capable of these kinds of pressures. Make sure you know your RV tire pressure requirements before buying an RV compressor.

But how do you know what your RV’s tire pressures should be set to? We’ve got you covered…

PRO TIP: We wrote a book all about this somewhat complicated topic: How To Inflate RV Tires Correctly! Our book is free for subscribers of this blog, TheRVgeeks.com. If you haven’t already signed up to receive our helpful daily RVing newsletters (chock full of great articles! 😄), be sure to subscribe here for FREE access to our eBook. If you’re already a subscriber, and can’t find your link to the book, simply re-subscribe using your same email address that our newsletters come into (you won’t be double subscribed).

We wrote a book on How To Inflate RV Tires Pressures Correctly!

To access our eBook, subscribe to our blog by clicking on the image above and completing the sign-up. (If you’re already a subscriber, don’t worry — you won’t be double-subscribed if you use the same email address where you already receive our newsletters).

Duty Cycle

“Duty cycle” relates to how long a compressor can run uninterrupted before it needs a cooling-off period. The higher the duty cycle, the longer it can run. Ideally, you’ll want your compressor to be able to run long enough to top up all of your tires when needed.

Because topping up tires a few PSI doesn’t take long, and provides built-in breaks between tires, a compressor’s duty cycle becomes more important if you need to inflate one or more very large tires from totally flat (which we’ve never had to do in over 20 years of full-time RVing). Keep in mind that Viair’s automatic models shut the compressor off as you move between tires, usually reducing the duty cycle consideration to a non-issue.

The most common need we’ve seen for higher duty cycle compressors is for off-road enthusiasts. If you’ve dropped the tire pressures on your Jeep to drive in deep sand and now want to air them all the way back up, you’ll almost certainly want to choose a 100% duty cycle model because of the running time involved in adding such a large volume of air.

Besides those situations, the duty cycle rating isn’t likely that important a factor for the most typical uses of RV compressors, which is topping tires up a few PSI or blowing out RV water lines for winterizing. We spent years doing those two exact tasks with a 33% duty cycle Viair 400P-RV with exactly zero issues.

Flow Rate

Viair’s compressors also offer a variety of flow rates. Flow rate is designated in CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute). If you choose a model with a rated output of 2.0 CFM, it will move two cubic feet of air per minute.

PRO TIP: The Viair 400P models may only have a 33% duty cycle compared to the 450P’s 100%, but the 400P has a higher flow rate (2.3 CFM vs 1.8 CFM for the 450P), so tires fill faster. This means that RVers who primarily use their compressor to top up tires and/or winterize their large rigs, the less-expensive 400P may do the job just fine, saving both time and money. And both are automatic models, come with 60′ air hoses, and can fill tires to 150 PSI.

Again, we used a 400P-RV for years on our 43′ Big Rig and it worked like a charm. We never had a duty cycle issue, and the higher CFM meant less time waiting for each tire to reach the desired PSI. On more than one occassion, that was much appreciated after sudden overnight temperature drops required adding air.

That’s right… because tire PSI drops with ambient temperature, it’s the coldest mornings that are most likely to require pulling out the Viair and standing outside in the cold to add air. Might as well get it done quickly!

Fast, Efficient Inflation

Speaking of flow rate, Viair compressors are known for their quick inflation capabilities and are available in various models. So, whether you need to inflate RV, trailer, or tow vehicle tires, air mattresses, inflatable kayaks & paddleboards, or if it’s time to winterize your RV’s plumbing system, there’s a Viair compressor for the job.

Durable Construction

We’ve always been most impressed with the rugged build of our Viair RV compressors. They’re made with high-quality materials and obviously designed with durability and the specific needs of RVers in mind. Their rugged construction ensures longevity, providing RVers with a solution that can withstand bumps, vibrations, heavy use, and varying weather conditions during many years of travel.

Ability to Reach All Tires

The ability to easily reach all of your tires makes tire maintenance so much easier and less frustrating. Viair RV compressors have long air hoses, making it easy to move comfortably from tire to tire. When our RV TPMS tells us we need to top up our RV tire pressures, we love knowing we’ll have an easy time of it.

Alligator Clips

All but the smallest model of Viair compressors we’re including here (the 75P) use alligator clips to connect directly to your vehicle’s battery for power. This direct connection to the battery is a better way to provide power to a compressor than the old “cigarette lighter” outlet.

That’s especially true for Viair’s more powerful units. Note that Viair recommends idling the vehicle’s engine when running the compressor to maintain maximum battery power. Yes, these compressors are powerful!

The video below shows Peter using our original Viair 400P RV to inflate our RV’s tires. Note that the older, stiffer, yellow plastic hoses have since been updated to more flexible black hoses on newer units. This is a big improvement that makes handling the new compressors even easier.

Which Is the Best Viair Compressor for RV Use?

The best Viair compressor for RV use largely depends on the type of tires you have. As we’ve noted, Viair has many portable tire inflators, with a variety of features and abilities, many of which are specifically designed for RV use.

We think that some of the details/specs on various models can make it a bit confusing when deciding on the right compressor for your needs. To simplify things, Viair has categorized some compressors by RV type (Class A, B, C, towable, etc) or tire size (“max. tire size: 245/70R19.5″). We appreciate both their wide range of choices and their trying to help simplify them.

But the most important things to keep in mind are what a compressor is capable of, and what your needs are. We suggest that means considering the following questions:

  1. How much pressure do my tires require, and is a particular air compressor capable of reaching that number? (PSI).
  2. What is the duty cycle? (If you generally use it to top tires up a few PSI and winterize your rig, a high duty cycle rating may be less important to you).
  3. How quickly would you like your tires to fill? (That’s where the flow rate, or CFM, comes in). This may be a bigger factor for large tires, which hold a large volume of air. This is a bit of a balancing act since low CFM means longer fill times, which may warrant a higher duty cycle.
  4. How long is your RV? (Does a particular model come with long enough hoses to reach all of my rig’s tires, including my toad?) All Viair models with the “RV” designation in their model number have longer rigs in mind and include appropriate hose lengths for longer vehicles.

There are three great ways to buy a Viair RV compressor: from Mobile Must Have or TechnoRV (both offer a 5% discount on ALL products using the RVGEEKS discount code at checkout – see below for links and details), or Amazon. But prices do vary, so check them all out.

Let’s take a look at Viair’s RV-specific models, from the smallest with the fewest features to the largest with the most bells and whistles. We’re also including one non-RV-specific model, the 75P, which we have in our Honda. It’s the perfect size and specs for toad cars, bikes, beach toys, etc. You can also check out Viair’s website to see additional models.

We’ll include the maximum pressure, maximum flow rate, duty cycle rating, total air hose length, and power cord length for each compressor. This should help you figure out what makes the most sense for you and your RV.

Viair 75P

  • MAX PRESSURE: 50 PSI
  • FLOW RATE: 1.43 CFM
  • DUTY CYCLE: 100% @ 50 PSI
  • AIR HOSE: 2 feet
  • POWER CORD: 10 feet

As the lack of “RV” in its model number implies, the 75P isn’t specifically designed as an RV air compressor. We’re including it here because it’s the one we carry in our toad. It’s super compact, less expensive, and perfect for our Honda and RAD bike tires.

Viair 89P-RVS

  • MAX PRESSURE: 120 PSI
  • FLOW RATE: 1.47 CFM
  • DUTY CYCLE: 25 min. @ 30 PSI
  • AIR HOSE: 20 feet
  • POWER CORD: 10 feet

Viair’s 89P introduces features that are important for many smaller RVers. That includes a high 120 PSI rating and a 20′ air hose. If you own a Class B van, or a smaller Class C or travel trailer, the pressure and hose/cord length may be just the right combination of capability and price.

Viair 300P-RVS

  • MAX PRESSURE: 150 PSI
  • FLOW RATE: 2.3 CFM
  • DUTY CYCLE: 33% @ 100 PSI
  • AIR HOSE: 30 feet
  • POWER CORD: 8 feet

This is where many medium-size RV owners may land. The very high 150 PSI capability and a total of 38′ of reach (30′ air hose + 8′ power cord) may combine with the lower price point compared to the 400P and 450P models to make this a perfect sweet spot for many RVers.

Viair 400P-RV / 400P-RVS

  • MAX PRESSURE: 150 PSI
  • FLOW RATE: 2.3 CFM
  • DUTY CYCLE: 33% @ 100 PSI
  • AIR HOSE: 60 feet (two 30′ hoses)
  • POWER CORD: 8 feet

Stepping up to the 400P adds an additional 30′ length of air hose, which makes it great for longer rigs. It also adds another great feature: automatic shutoff. When you flip the power switch on, the compressor runs just long enough to build pressure in the hose, then goes into standby mode.

That means it shuts off while you’re moving between tires. This makes it far less likely you’ll run the compressor continuously for very long unless you have very low tire pressures, requiring a lot of air. So you’re not likely to run into a duty cycle issue, even with the 33% rating.

It also adds an excellent pistol grip air gun-style handle. The RVS model also adds a long 40″ air hose to reach from the pistol grip handle to the tire, avoiding the need to kneel down or stay bent over while you’re waiting for your tires to finish airing up. Being “experienced” (old) RVers, we really appreciate that knee-saving feature!

Viair 450P-RV /450P-RVS

  • MAX PRESSURE: 150 PSI
  • FLOW RATE: 1.80 CFM
  • DUTY CYCLE: 100% @ 100 PSI
  • AIR HOSE: 60 feet (two 30′ hoses)
  • POWER CORD: 8 feet

The 450P models are very similar to the 400P models, with the additional 30′ length of air hose, automatic shutoff feature, pistol grip air gun, and inclusion of the 40″ hose from the handle to the tire on the RVS model (we like to think that the “S” means we can Stand while filling tires).

The 450P models also include an upgrade that may be especially important for some RVers: 100@ duty cycle. They swap out a bit of flow rate (down to 1.8 CFM from the 400P’s 2.3 CFM). But if the ability to run your air compressor non-stop for extended periods of time is a priority, this may be the right compressor for you. This would almost certainly be the right choice for a Big Rig owner who tows a Jeep for off-roading.

Where Can I Buy A Viair RV Air Compressor?

All of the top-of-the-line “RVS” models are available through TechnoRV and MobileMustHave. Again, use our links and coupon code to save on any of these Viair RV compressors. The two “RV” models are available through Amazon.

MobileMustHave

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TechnoRV

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VIAIR 400P-RV - 40047 Tire Inflator Portable Air Compressor with RV Inflation Gun, 90 Degree Chuck | 12V Tire Pump Air Compressor Portable Heavy Duty 150 PSI, up to Class C Tires, Alligator Clips
  • PORTABLE *AUTOMATIC* COMPRESSOR for RVs & TRAILERS (Model: 40047, 150 PSI, Class C Tires) - Hit the open road with a reliable 12V air compressor,...
  • POWER YOUR JOURNEY: Versatile Air Compressor for RVs & More. The 400P-RV Portable RV Air Compressor is your go-to solution for inflating tires on RVs,...
VIAIR 450P-RV - 45053 Tire Inflator Portable Air Compressor with RV Inflation Gun, 90 Degree Chuck | 12V Tire Pump Air Compressor Portable Heavy Duty 150 PSI, Any Tire Size, Alligator Clips
  • PORTABLE *AUTOMATIC* COMPRESSOR for RVs & TRAILERS (Model: 40047, 150 PSI, Any Tire Size) - Hit the open road with an ultra reliable 12V air...
  • POWER YOUR JOURNEY: Versatile Air Compressor for RVs & More. The 450P-RV Portable RV Air Compressor is your go-to solution for inflating tires on RVs,...

If you want to winterize your RV with an air compressor, you’ll want to also grab the Viair RV Winterization Kit:

VIAIR RV Winterization Kit PN 90145
  • RV Winterization Kit
  • Protects your RV’s water system from freezing during the long winter months

Our YouTube video shows you exactly how to use it!

Regardless of the type and size of RV you have, Viair makes a compressor that can inflate your tires reliably. Yes, they cost more than many cheaper off-brand options. But we think they’re worth it because of their quality and features, especially for RVers. We’re thoughtful shoppers, but this is one of those instances where we think you really do get what you pay for.

Once you’ve decided which air compressor you’ll choose to carry on your RV, be sure to see our RV safety tips as well as our post on cold RV tire pressure readings for additional important information.

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Jimmie Starns

Tuesday 2nd of January 2024

I use the Viair 450 model as an onboard air compressor for the air-ride on my 35 ft. motorhome

TheRVgeeks

Saturday 6th of January 2024

Love it! 😄

David Fradkin

Monday 1st of January 2024

I have a Dually pickup with a truck camper on it. My tire pressures are 65psi. Because it's a dually it's hard to reach the inner wheels, especially with the "clip" type hose connector. Can a quick connect air chuck be used with the models you reviewed?

TheRVgeeks

Monday 1st of January 2024

Hi David, and Happy New Year! Those inner duals sure can be a challenge, and we’ve found the best way to make them accessible is with an extension permanently attached to the inner valve to bring the connection point out to where it’s easy to reach. Barring that, both the 400P and 450P models come with an extended dual-foot chuck as part of the kit. Not sure if this will work for your situation, but it is designed to reach through the outer wheel, so that type of chuck may work for you.

AK Fish

Monday 1st of January 2024

I have bought the cheaper (lesser) inflators and finally purchased the VIAR 300P-RVS P/N 30034, 150 PSI/2.30 CFM for my 27' travel trailer tires. Quality is not cheap-buy once, cry once and don't look back. Having a 33% duty cycle is fine and not being able to winterize with it is okay since I still use RV antifreeze to winterize.

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PLEASE NOTE: We're handy RVers, not professional technicians. We're happy with the techniques and products we use, but be sure to confirm that all methods and materials you use are compatible with your equipment and abilities. Regardless of what we recommend, consult a professional if you're unsure about working on your RV. Any task you perform or product you purchase based on any information we provide is strictly at your own risk.

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