What Is a Cordless Compressor?

Amy Rodriguez

A cordless compressor is a portable, rechargeable machine that compresses air for inflation needs, such as a flat vehicle tire. This machine is also known as an inflator; many consumers keep this compressor in a vehicle for emergencies and to fill recreational items, like beach balls. Unlike typical air compressors, this machine does not have a large storage tank for high pressure air applications.

A cordless compressor may use a vehicle's cigarette lighter as a backup power source.
A cordless compressor may use a vehicle's cigarette lighter as a backup power source.

The basic compression mechanism within the cordless compressor is a small electrical motor. When activated, this motor will draw outside air into its assembly; the air will continue to be forced inward until it is densely compacted within the small machine. The consumer can connect the cordless compressor's air hose to a car tire, ball, or even a river raft for instant air inflation needs.

This machine is deemed "cordless" since it is built to be powered by rechargeable batteries. The consumer will need to charge the cordless compressor periodically, sometimes up to five hours, by plugging it into an electrical outlet. One main benefit of a fully charged cordless compressor is that it can usually fill four flat car tires on one charge; this inflation feature is especially helpful if the car's owner is driving in a remote area, far from a gas station or repair shop.

Alternatively, this cordless compressor does have a backup power source in the form of a car cigarette lighter adapter. If an unexpected inflation need arises without a fully charged compressor, the user can simply plug the machine into the vehicle's cigarette lighter socket for instant power. Users should keep in mind that cordless compressors do not usually charge from this power source — rather, they draw energy for immediate use only.

These cordless machines cannot power air tools like a standard air compressor; the internal motor is not strong enough to create high air pressure, especially since there is no air storage tank. One feature exclusive to a cordless compressor is a pressure selector switch or button. The user can choose a specific pressure rate, such as the optimum pounds per square inch (PSI) or kilograms per square centimeter (kg/cm2) for a car tire. As a result, the consumer does not need to worry about overfilling a tire, which might lead to bursting during subsequent driving.

A cordless compressor may come with many different adapter ends for various air supply applications. While shopping for a compressor, a consumer can verify the various adapters and accessories that come with the machine to ensure the correct purchase. For example, if a consumer wants to use the machine to fill recreational items, the machine should come with different air hose adapters to ensure proper connection points, preventing air leakage during use.

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