Air Venturi RovAir Compressor Review
The Air Venturi RovAir Compressor is an example of the rapidly-improving price/performance – or should that be “bang for the buck?” – that is being delivered by small HPA compressors.
Well, actually, the correct full name for the product is the Air Venturi RovAir 4500 Portable Compressor. It was first shown at the 2023 SHOT Show, just a few months ago, and is already in stock and being sold by Pyramyd Air, Airgun Depot and other Air Venturi retailers.
The RovAir is typical of the latest trends in HPA airgun compressors. At a Street Price of $499.99, it’s both signifcantly cheaper and faster than the model it replaces (the Nomad).
It can accept power either from a domestic 110/22 Volt AC supply, or from a 12 DC vehicle battery with no separate voltage converter. Simple to operate, it has no scheduled maintenance requirements. It’s designed to fill PCP air rifles, not separate tanks.
This “no scheduled maintenance requirements” need is – in particular – a HUGE feature for many owners. It shows how far compact HPA compressors have advanced over the past few years!
Not only has the price steadily fallen, but gone are the days when owning an HPA compressor was practically a second hobby! The need for frequent maintenance and adjustments, together with a shoe box of spare parts “just in case” is now history, as was the need – in some cases – for a separate bucket of cooling water…
The Air Venturi RovAir Compressor tested by HAM just plugs-in and works! It’s small, light and simple. Isn’t that how we all want to fill our PCPs?
Yes, there’s lots to say about the Air Venturi RovAir Compressor, but first let’s cover the part that most interests most of us. How well does it work?
The short answer is “very well”!
For this test, we filled a number of PCP air rifles that just happened to be in the HAM offices at this time. As most owners will, we took a gun that was part-filled with air and filled it full. First we see the results, then some explanation…
|Air Rifle||Start Pressure||End Pressure||Time Taken|
|Barra 1100z||200 PSI||3,000 PSI||3 Minutes|
|Barra 1100z||2,000 PSI||3,000 PSI||1 Minute 20 Seconds|
|Benjamin Bulldog||1,300 PSI||3,000 PSI||5 Minutes|
|Umarex Gauntlet 1||200 PSI||3,000 PSI||3 Minutes|
|Umarex Gauntlet 1||2,500 PSI||3,000 PSI||1 Minute 15 Seconds|
|Benjamin Gunnar||1,800 PSI||3,000 PSI||4 Minutes|
|Umarex Notos||2,500 PSI||3,625 PSI||1 Minute|
|Umarex Gauntlet 30||2,800 PSI||4,500 PSI||5 Minutes 15 Seconds|
It’s normal for compressor manufacturers to give fill times from “empty” to “full”. But for this HAM review, we did not do this, as most people actually use their compressors to “top off” their gun when the pressure drops. It’s rare for it to be filled from empty, except when the gun is new.
However, this replication of actual use adds its own difficulties. In fact, the “Start Pressure” numbers you see in the above table of results are pressures that were read from the gauge on the gun – as most people will do this too!
But these on-gun gauges are not always very accurate. In fact, Umarex is the only manufacturer – so far as I know – to have the honesty to admit this in their user guides. Credit to Umarex for this!
In fact, Umarex says that the gauges on their guns are accurate to +/- 10%. That’s probably a typical figure for other companies as well. But think about that…
What Umarex is saying is that – for example at a true 3,000 PSI – the pressure gauge on a gun can read anywhere from -10% (2,700 PSI) to + 10% (3,300 PSI). That’s a 600 PSI difference and it would be larger at higher pressures.
So we need to bear this in mind when reading the table above. That’s why I have not recorded the fill times to the nearest second!
The, of course, the pressure gauge on the Air Venturi RovAir Compressor will have a tolerance of it’s own. And then you need to set the maximum fill pressure “by eye” while rotating a tiny knurled knob.
So how well can this really work in practice? Surprisingly, perhaps, it can actually work very well!
To test this, I set the RovAir to fill to a maximum of 3,000 PSI – as best I could. Then I connected the compressor to a Benjamin Bulldog with a “standard gauge” between them. This “standard gauge” is one that I’ve previously calibrated and know to read accurately.
As we can see from the photograph below, the three gauges actually gave very similar results. Excellent!
Now let’s take a careful look the packaging. Yes, really! After all, you’re most likely to buy the Air Venturi RovAir Compressor online and have it shipped to you.
So, if it’s not packaged well, you could be in for a pile of trouble before you start.
The professional opinion of Jordan, our trusty UPS delivery driver, is that this is one of the best-packaged products he’s ever seen. And he’s seen a lot…
The RovAir is supplied in an extremely stout double-walled card box. Inside, there’s custom-fitted foam packaging to keep everything tight and safe. The exterior is strapped and has hand grips, even though the complete package weighs a very reasonable 22 Lbs.
So Jordan scores the RovAir packaging at 100%!
The Air Venturi RovAir Compressor includes the appropriate cables for connecting to a domestic As power supply (left), or 12 Volt vehicle battery (right).
It also includes a fill hose with an inline filter assembly.
The filter assembly is easily opened and two “cigarette butt-type” filters are installed at one time. Air Venturi says that these should be changed every 2 -to 3 hours of use for best results.
In fact, these filters are to catch both small particles and moisture and prevent them from entering your air rifle, where they would be unwelcome.
I asked Tyler Patner, Pyramyd Air’s Product Manager about the effectiveness of these filters. Here’s what he had to say…
“You might be surprised at how much moisture the cigarette style filters can catch. While certainly not as good as desiccant is, it’s better than running these units with no filters at all. We have done air quality testing on our units in the past, with various additional filters and without them. There is a measurable difference on the quality (breathing air suitability) as you add more/better filtration, no doubt about that.”
“Of course”, Tyler continued: “You could add an additional, dedicated desiccant unit. BUT, it’s important to understand that the addition of a larger filter will increase your fill times due to the added volume of the additional filter on any compressor.”
“That’s probably not a big deal for those users that are filling smaller cylinder guns or just topping off guns. But for those with larger volume guns to fill, this could be the difference between getting the entire fill done in one shot, versus having to stop the unit, let it cool and finish it off on a second fill due to the length of run time.”
Thanks Tyler! So it’s clear that the filters do bring benefits and should be used if you value the internal health of your PCP. In fact, the RovAir includes two filters in the inline filter assembly, plus four more. That should take care of any issues for well over 6 hours of run time (which would be a TON of top-up fills).
As can be seen from the photograph above, the Air Venturi RovAir Compressor is also supplied with a “dead head”, an adapter for threaded connectors and a variety of other small parts.
The user guide included with the compressor is good, with clear explanations and color photographs.
But it’s in English only and – while it explains how to change a burst, burst disk, there’s no indication of what the various seals, O rings and springs do, or how to replace them.
Of course, the Air Venturi RovAir Compressor is a brand-new product and is covered by a 12 month warranty. However, we can expect that Air Venturi will follow the precedent set with the Nomad and provide spare parts availability and full schematics for users in due course.
Operation of the Air Venturi RovAir Compressor is quite intuitive. The “bleed valve” is easy to use, although, strangely, it’s called a “release valve” on the compressor itself. Additionally, the “burst disk” assembly is called the “valve safety”.
All compressors generate heat, of course. So it’s sensible that a cooling fan immediately operates when the RovAir is plugged in to the AC power supply.
Selecting “AC” using the red rocker switch on top engages stronger cooling fans that are prominently seen at the end of the unit.
Once everything is connected-up and the green “run” switch pressed, the RovAir chugs away happily filling your PCP. The noise is not loud or obtrusive, but you can tell that it’s running.
Although the instructions do not give any specific guidance, HAM’s opinion is that it would be good practice to leave the fans running for some minutes after the fill is completed and the compressor has automatically ceased charging. I checked the air flow temperature with the back of my hand. Not very sophisticated, but it worked.
Clearly the cool-down time for the RovAir will depend on the amount of time it has been running (longer means hotter), together with the ambient temperature (cooling will be quicker in a cool basement than outside on a hot summer day).