It is no secret that airing down your tires when offroad allows for better traction, comfort and safety. On nearly every trip I find our group airs down our tires to around 18-20PSI at the beginning of the trail to mitigate driver fatigue and the jarring bumps on the forest roads as well as to aid in traction on the true 4WD trails.
But when the weekend ends and we need to return to the pavement we need a way to air the tires back up to operating pressures for on road use. The Q Industries MV50 comes into play here and is a serious asset for the budget conscious and in a small package at a competitive price.
The MV50 is a fantastic little unit. Lets talk about one of the best features, its price. At a mere $60 (linked at the bottom) this thing can get your 33’s back up to pressure without breaking the bank. Included in that package is a carry bag, compressor with gauge, 16 feet of coiled air hose, and a few other air fittings to inflate pool toys, rafts, etc.
For you technical gurus, the MV50 compressor is a 12 volt compressor that puts out 2.54 CFM of air and can handle up to 120 PSI. It is a robust unit with a 30 Amp inline fuse. The box claims that it can pump a standard 33 inch tire up in 2 1/2 minutes. The gauge works accurately on all three of the units we have tested. One quirk is that once the air compressor is turned on, the pressure gauge does not read accurately meaning that to check your tire pressure, the compressor needs to be turned off.
Enough about the specs! How does it perform? Reliable and moderately slow comes to mind when referring to the MV50. Using the compressor is very intuitive and each rig in our group has one equipped to quickly inflate tires after a trip. The MV50 connects to the positive and negative terminals on your battery and most trucks are more than capable of running the little compressor.
While we could run it off of the battery alone, we recommend you have your car running to charge the battery. I prefer to keep my MV50 clean and tucked away when not in use inside the truck, however I have seen the compressor mounted in the engine compartment and see no real issue with a permanent mounting system like this.
As mentioned earlier the claims on the box to inflate a tire in 2 1/2 minutes are a bit over zealous. From our use on tires ranging from 31-35 inches (most typically 285/70/17) the MV50 takes about 3 minutes to go from 20 PSI to 40 PSI. This is still respectable and certainly usable.
The compressors 16 feet of air hose is decently durable and reaches all the tires on the vehicle but we wouldn’t mind having a longer hose or an extension for some vehicles or trailers. The air fitting is also not a standard fitting which can be frustrating if you want to use your own air hose.
Some people have chosen to drill and tap a 1/4″ standard fitting but we haven’t seen the need.
We have noted that after doing 4 tires the compressor gets fairly hot. We recommend that you wait for it to cool down after maybe two or three tires and certainly if you are doing a second vehicle. That said, we typically buzz through 4 tires without stopping and then let it cool and have had 3 solid years of use (roughly once or twice a month) without failure.
Compared to ARB, Viair or other on-board tanks, the MV50 compressor certainly can hold its own in the inflating department and the price is very tough to beat. However, if you are looking to run air tools, lockers or need to fill 35+ inch tires, we wouldn’t recommend this guy. If you only need to inflate 35 inch and smaller tires, then look no further and save your money because this will more than get the job done!
It can be found at amazon, link here.