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We test Sherpa's Big Air compressor

By Matt Raudonikis, 25 Sep 2020 Electronics & Gadgets

Sherpa Big Air compressor

Sherpa’s Big Air should cover all your 4x4 air supply needs.

Tyre pressure should be something on the minds of every motorist, but as four-wheel drivers we’re more affected by them than most.

Traversing a variety of terrain and carrying different – often heavy – loads means maintaining the right air pressure in your tyres is never more important.

BUYER'S GUIDE: Air Compressors

Two essential pieces of kit for anyone who regularly drives their car off the blacktop include a quality tyre-pressure gauge and a 12-volt compressor for inflating tyres.

12-volt-powered air compressors come in a wide range of designs and prices and, as always, a good quality unit will serve you well over a long period. Cheap is not always cheerful, nor is the most expensive unit always better than a mid-range unit.

Sherpa Winches is best known for its recovery winches and we’ve had good experience with them in the past. So when Sherpa released its Big Air air compressor, advertising some impressive figures, we wanted to have a closer look.

The Big Air is big in more than just name. It’s a big unit measuring in at 383 x 140 x 275m (LxWxH) and it’s a hefty 13.5kg, so you’ll want to ensure you have somewhere secure to mount or carry it in your 4x4. Much of that size and weight come from the compressor motor, which looks for all money like it just came off a Sherpa winch. This is a big mother and the heavy-duty power cables and alligator clamps to feed it are indicative of its power draw.

The Big Air will deliver 8.9cfm at 40psi and keep going strong through to 80psi, where the cut-off air-pressure switch limits it on the included air tank. Couple this with a 100 per cent duty cycle (at 90psi) and you’ll find that this monster pumps strong and hard.

For a quick test we dropped a 265/75-16 all terrain down to 10psi and fired up the Big Air. After 30 seconds the tyre was up to 20psi and hit 30psi on the minute. That seemed fast to us so we dragged out the old compressor that has been in our kit for years and still serves us well. The same 10 to 30psi inflation took four minutes with this unit.

For both tests the unit was connected to the main battery in the LandCruiser with the engine idling. Drawing up to 100amps, you can see why the Big Air has those HD cables and is able to punch out the heavy work.

That’s the sort of performance that will save you around 15 minutes each and every time you come off the beach. The Big Air would work well in an onboard air-system with multiple outlets coming from a tank, a Clearview Tyre Spider or even the Maxtrax Indeflate that allows you to service two tyres at a time. The inbuilt pressure switch means the Big Air is ready to hook up to a bigger tank and on-board system.

The Big Air comes with the heavy-duty power cable, a Carling-type power switch, 6.5m of air line, tyre-inflation chuck and an air nozzle which will come in handy to blow off sand after a day on the beach. It also has a 12-month warranty, and is available in both 12- and 24-volt versions.

AVAILABLE FROM: www.sherpa4x4.com.au
RRP: $599
WE SAY: High-output heavy duty compressor for all your 4x4 needs.