Jeep owners who install onboard air systems find them to be invaluable.

On-board Air Systems and their Applications

Jeep owners who install onboard air systems find them to be invaluable. Compressed air is used for a wide range of applications, such as airing tires back up after leaving the trail, running any number of air tool accessories, or simply blowing off the dust after a day out. There are many types of compressed air systems, and each serves a different purpose. The three typical types of on-board air systems that are used are the stand-alone tanks, the on-board air compressor, and the portable compressor. Of the three, most Jeep owners prefer the on-board air compressor.

On-board Compressors for Jeeps

One of the key reasons Jeep owners prefer the on-board compressor is that it can be hard-mounted to the vehicle itself so that you don’t have to worry about forgetting it, or having to hook it up and the entire snake pit of wires each time you want to hit the trails. On-board compressors can easily fit into a small space, still leaving room for gear, and if you have room to include the tank, then you are really set for nearly all contingencies. Having the tank will greatly increase the usability of the compressor, and lessens the run time. 

Tanks for Your On-board Compressor

Stand-alone air tanks are the ultimate in portability and are able to run many air tools. The only downside is that you will have to have them professionally refilled when the time comes. A 10-pound air tank will run most air tools and the power is adjustable. There is zero installation time, unless you mount it with the on-board compressor. You don’t have to wait for the pressure to build, as the stand-alone tanks are primed to go.

How to Pick a Good On-Board Compressor for Your Jeep

Many Jeep owners who want to purchase an on-board compressor focus too much attention on the PSI ratings. While this is important, what is more important to look at is the CFM (cubic feet per minute). This relates to your wait time when waiting for anything to be inflated. The lower the CFM, the more you are going to wait. Aim for a CFM rating of between 2-4, such as the Vlair Series, or the ARB models. Most on-board air compressors come with the necessary components such as the fittings, electrical connectors, pressure switches, and relays. You should also consider the amount of space that you have, and purchase the on-board compressor that will utilize the least amount of space and still offer you the power that you need. Many units are small enough that they can fit under the hood, or in a small gear box (if you don’t want to hard mount it). It is easy to become confused when you are looking at on-board air compressors and to accidentally look at those that are made for trucks, which are heavier and more expensive. Most compressors that will service Jeep drivers who go off road, or longer-term overlanding, will be lightweight and will most often be used to inflate/deflate tires, complete light jobs, and power smaller air tools. Anything more powerful than that and your budget and your ride might not thank you.