Choosing the right OBA System for you


What is an Onboard Air System?

Onboard Air (OBA) Systems are complete pneumatic systems intended to accomplish various tasks, depending on the kit selected. Each Onboard Air System comes complete with compressor(s), air tank, fittings, pressure switch, relay(s), electrical connectors and all applicable accessories.


As one of the only makers of full Onboard Air Systems, we frequently get asked: which kit is the right one for me? Since we offer an extensive list of Onboard Air Systems, making sure you purchase the right one is not only beneficial, but also saves you time!

Choosing the right Onboard Air System is fairly easy, and VIAIR has even made it easier by adding pictures of suggested uses next to each item on our website.

What application are you looking to do?

One helpful tip when choosing the right model is to know the uses you have in mind.

Load Levelers/Air Horns:

  • If you wanted an OBA for a load leveling system or for air horns, knowing what PSI your set up requires is crucial. Most load leveling and air horn setups require a specific PSI to operate at; you will need to make sure you get the right OBA based on that number to take full advantage of your desired application.

Air Tools:

  • Most air tools, like an impact gun, take 3-5 CFM. For this application we recommend going with our Dual OBA Systems (excluding the Dual 280C OBA). You can either go with a 150PSI system or one that has 200PSI (which will fill the tank with 33% more air to utilize).

Inflate Tires:

  • Many people want to have an Onboard Air System to fill their tires quicker than a stand-alone portable compressor will do, and having a tank certainly helps to speed up that process. Depending on your tire size, we offer 11 different OBA’s, giving you an option for any size tire you have!

Multiple Applications:

Being able to do more than one thing with your OBA is a request we most frequently come across. The good news is: our OBAs can cover more than one application!

  • For example, if you wanted to have an Onboard Air System capable of running your air horns and/or filling your helper bags, the Medium Duty OBA (P/N 10003) would be a great idea since it has the capability of going up to 150PSI and comes with a 2.5 gallon tank.
  • If you were looking fill your 35” tires, run an air horn, and do light tool use, the Heavy Duty OBA (P/N 10005) is perfect.
  • Let’s say you were looking to fill 40”+ tires, run an impact gun, and many other pneumatic type uses. We would recommend going with a higher CFM and/or a higher PSI Onboard Air kit is recommended. This will give you faster refresh times and meet the needs you have, which is why we highly suggest our Dual OBAs, either P/N 20014/15 or 20019/20).

See our diagram for a quick reference chart which would also help your decision out!

What about duty cycle ratings for OBAs?

We have two types of compressors in our Onboard Air Systems. One compressor has a 33% duty cycle rating, while the other offers a 100% duty cycle rating.

  • Duty cycle is the amount of time that a compressor can be run, in a full cycle, (typically one hour) that includes the compressor’s run time and rest time.
  • Essentially, compressors with a 33% duty cycle fill faster but cannot run as long as those with a 100% duty cycle. So while one puts out more power (33%) the other can run longer (100%).
  • However, should the compressor get too hot, it is equipped with a thermal overload switch that will shut it off until it cools back down.

This information should give you more than enough insight into choosing the right OBA! And remember, Onboard Air is here to help you should you need more assistance, give us a call!