I recently bought a DeWalt compressor at Home Depot. It's "portable" in the sense that it weighs about 40 lbs. and can be moved. It's a 110v unit and can not only pump up tires but can also power spray guns, nail guns, and other pneumatic equipment.
So far it has given good service and I'd recommend it.
You really can't go wrong here...it's price, noise and needed volume... pick up an AC battery charger too...I find these two items are needed monthly at the farm.
Figure on spending about $100-250 for a decent reliable unit..something that will still be working in 3 years. Consider the use: really small, less than 1 gallon air
compressors may not be able to fill your truck tires.
I have a small one I picked up at, I think, home depot. Husky "easy Air" Not big, not expensive - and it does the job just fine. Tires, the blow up pool, ....... anything else. I have an assortment of "ends" so I can blow a stream of air - not just the tire attachment. This is it - but this looks like an ad for a used one; maybe it isn't made any longer. http://www.vendio.com/stores/HUDSONV...5-/lid=1964072
About any little air compressor will do the trick- the pancake models are lightweight and inexpensive(~$50). We've blown up many truck and trailer tires with ours. It won't blow up big tractor tires, but you don't need to, correct? For big tires we have one of the not-very-portable vertical compressors set up in the garage.
I have several sizes. The small ones will inflate just about any size tire but on bigger ones like tractors and such it will take a while. They work well with nail guns, and small air sprayers and are easy to carry to a job site on the farm or house. They also will work off of small generators so I can put both on a trailer and take around to fix and or build nailed fencing and or paint stuff where power is not available. They either will not or have trouble blowing up a tubeless tire when the bead has separated from the rim. Not enough high pressure air.
My shop compressor is a 25 gallon horizontal on wheels, 6 peak hp. Have had it for over 12 years and only just starting having issues. A lot more money. For all around use I think you would get a better bang for the buck going to a 8-10 gallon or for a few more dollars the HF 21 gallon. If you have the money get an upright 60+- gallon with plenty of HP and a name brand. Harbor Freight stuff is not the best made but is very good value for those who do not use it on a daily bases. Another good thing to have on the farm is an “air pig”
They are just a little l 5-10+ gallon air tanks with a hose that you fill with your compressor or fill at a gas station. Light weight and cheap. I put it in my trailer and or truck on trips with some tire leak sealer in case of a flat or low tire with no air source handy. Beats having to change a tire in bad weather or in the dark. Or if a tire goes flat somewhere on the farm I can fill it so as to get it back to my shop for repair.
I have used those 12volt portable but the ones I have used take a very long time to fill up a tire and really struggle but better then nothing.
When you have a good size compressor you will find it has a lot more uses then just filling tires. Having a lot of air available you can get cheap attachments, an air blower to clean out dirt, leaves mud on cars, trailers, equipment etc. along with many other things.
As always to each their own.
OP, don't be scared off by the mechanical stuff! You can totally learn it, once you squelch that voice that says you're incapable just because you don't know all the vocabulary, or haven't tried it yet.
Take advantage of the knowledgeable staff in a smaller hardware/tool shop (I don't bother at the big box stores, staff competence is hit or miss, and usually miss). Just say, hey, I've never used one of these-- can you walk me through how this works?
I'm not very engine-savvy either but I take my time and remind myself that I'm not likely to *completely* ruin anything if I make a mistake. For me, it helps a lot if I take a few minutes to really look at the various parts of a new tool, just to see what's connected to what, which part makes the other part move (mechanical things tend to have similar basic principles, that start to make sense).
Pretty soon you'll start accumulating little victories and it's really, really fun to step back and say "Lookie what I just did!!" I was pretty proud this summer: the field mower wouldn't start--turned the key and just nothing-- silence. I've learned from experience that normally you'd hear the starter motor click a little bit when you turn the key. So since it wasn't doing that, I guessed the starter mower wasn't getting any power from the battery-- wire loose somewhere. So, I went through and looked at all wire connections and tightened any that seemed loose. Didn't work. Then I stared at battery area for a looong time, looking at where the various wires went in and out of the battery, figured out which ones created the circuit for the starter motor. Laid a screw driver (with wood handle!!) across those 2 terminals. Sparked like hell but the darn thing started and I smiled the whole time I mowed that field. Anyway, years ago I would never have been able to do that. Just have to start learning, asking, trying things. It helps to have lots of older stuff that breaks down. Opportunities to practice. LOL
I just saw at Home Depot a $125 Husky horizontal, smaller electric air compressor on wheels you can take any place and will fill tires and blow your pickup and tractor dust off and such.
That one would be just right for regular pickup and trailer tires.
We have a red one a bit bigger than that one in the garage and a blue one even a bit bigger in the shop, both of ours also on wheels but the tank stands up and the compressor sits on top.
While you are there, pick up a floor or bottle jack, whichever you prefer.