The best tire inflator can save your weekend road trip. Imagine you’re ready for a weekend getaway with your family. You have everything loaded in the SUV, from surfboards, life vests, bags, and beach umbrellas.
Your vehicle is also newly washed. Your gas tank is also filled to the brim.You set out for the trip everybody in your family has long been preparing for.
But after an hour or so on the road, you hear a loud, thumping noise. You also notice that it is now difficult to control the vehicle.
So you pull over, get out, and walk around your SUV. And then you notice that you have a flat tire—what a bummer.
The truth is that flat tires can happen anytime, anywhere. That’s why you should always check your spare tire every time you go out. And that’s why you should invest in a tire inflator.
Tire inflators are also known as portable air compressors. They can inflate your tire back and get your vehicle going again.
Things To Consider
There are several factors that you need to consider in shopping for a tire inflator, such as:
There are three types of tire inflators– personal, professional, and industrial. If you intend to use it for your car tires, then you should opt for a personal tire inflator.
It can fit small cars and truck tires. This type is also used for filling sports balls for kids. This is relatively expensive, although it would take time to fill the tire with air due to the smaller pumps.
Professional tire inflators are more powerful than the personal type. Of course, it is also more expensive. Industrial tire inflators are those you find in car care centers.
Aside from the type, you should look for the features offered by the tire inflator. Don’t just buy the model that has the most features, however. You should decide which features are most important to you.
One feature that you should look for is the air pressure gauge. This will tell you the current air pressure inside the tires.
You should also buy a unit that has an auto shut off feature as it can prevent the possibility of over-inflating the tire.
C. Ease of use
Working on a flat tire while in the middle of the road can be dangerous, especially if you are in an isolated area. Thus you want the tire inflator to get the job done quickly so to speak.
You must buy a tire inflator with auto inflate, as it makes filling the tires with air a lot easier. With this feature, you simply hit a button and the tire automatically inflates
Having an auto inflator with along cord also helps, because you can reach any tire on your car that needs to be inflated. And a LED work light can let you work on the flat tire even in the middle of the night.
- Battery clips– some portable air compressors can run directly from the vehicle’s battery using battery clips. While it is portable, it is slow in current thus powering up will be a lot slower.
- Sand tray— this prevents the compressor from sinking into the sand
- Thermal safety cut-off—prevents the compressor from overheating.
1. Viair 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor
This is a highly portable air compressor that motorists should have at the back of their car. It weighs just one pound, so you would have no problem in handling it.
It is also very small with dimensions of 10 x 6 x 6 inches. Despite its size, it is pretty capable of inflating tires up to 33 inches in size.
It has dual battery terminal clamps, so you can be assured that the air filling process is fast. It can also inflate your tires without making a lot of noise, something that cannot be said of other air compressors.
It has a pressure gauge that can easily check the tire pressure. Simply switch off the air compressor and then read the pressure gauge located at the top of the unit. It has a rated usage of approximately 120 PS.
It also has a LED power indicator. Its power cord is also very long at nine feet, while its air hose is even longer at 12 feet.
You can be assured that this tire inflator will last for a long time as it has a high-performance piston ring and stainless steel valves protecting it against dust and moisture.
The only thing that can really turn off potential buyers is the price. This is one of the most expensive tire inflators out in the market.
But as they say, you get what you pay for. Investing in this tire inflator could prove to be one of the best decisions you’ll make as a motorist.
- 12 volt- 120PSI max working pressure
- 9 foot power cord
- 12 foot hose
- 3 piece inflation tip kit
- Can inflate up to 33 inch tires
2. Kensun YS-205 Portable Air Compressor Inflator
This is another air compressor that you would want to have at the back of your car. It has a robust design and it runs smoothly and quietly.
It also doesn’t hurt that it is aesthetically attractive. Despite its small size, it is also very powerful.
It has three nozzle adapters so it can inflate all types of vehicle tires. We’re talking here of bicycles, sedans, SUVs, and even a caravan.
It can operate through your car’s cigarette lighter, or plugged right into the wall outlet in your garage. There is a LED light that can guide you while you work on the deflated tire in the middle of the night.
It has a long cord that measures nearly 10 feet, so you can reach the tires at the back of your car. It can inflate tires up to 33 inches in size.
It is still lightweight at 4.7 pounds although it is heavier than the other tire inflator. Because of its compact size of 11.8 inches by 7 inches by 4.8 inches, this one can be stored easily.
If there’s anything to be wary about this tire inflator, then it would have to be the fact that it can overheat pretty easily. Also, there are complaints about the poor customer service of Kensun.
- Works with DC 12V or AC 110V
- 9 feet, 10 inches long cord for cigarette plug and 6 feet, 7 inches long cord for AC plug
- For tires up to 33 inches
3. Slime 40022 12-volt Digital Tire Inflator
Slime is a brand that you can trust, having been in the business since 1989. Its 40022 12-volt digital tire inflator is also highly recommended, as it is easy to use and highly portable.
How easy is this tire inflator to use? You simply set the desired pressure level and press the on button. Then the inflator will automatically shut off once the pressure level of the tire is reached. Yes, there’s no need for you to interfere at all.
Aside from being very easy to use, this tire inflator has a lot of things going for it. One is that it is very reasonably priced. Two is that it has a screw on valve attachment that is compatible with most tire rims. There’s also a digital pressure gauge that most owners use is sufficiently accurate.
It plugs right into the cigarette lighter type receptacle found inside your vehicle. It also has a long power cord that lets you reach all four tires. Once you are done, you can easily store this tire inflator in its housing which is very convenient feature.
Of course, this one has its share of flaws. One usual comment from owners is that it is very loud. That would be a concern when you inflate your tires at home but not much of an issue when you are out on the road.
- With Inflate Tire technology, shuts off when desired pressure in tire is reached
- Weight: 1.9 pounds
- 12V accessory power
Like Slime, Black & Decker is a brand that is familiar to most motorists and handyman. Its 12-volt cordless air station inflator is a good example why the brand has remained highly reputable through the years.
This cordless tire inflator has an internal battery that will take around five hours to recharge. You’ll know that the battery has been charged by looking at the LED indicator.
You can also plug this one into the standard 12 volt socket in your vehicle. It can inflate tires, inflatable pool toys, and air mattresses.
It has a maximum operating pressure of 160 PSI. It also has a digital pressure gauge that according to users gives accurate pressure readings.
It features two pressure settings—high and low. There are two hoses provided in this unit. One is for inflating car or bike tires, while the other is for high volume and llow-pressureitems.
You can set this unit to automatically stop when it reaches a certain pressure level. Thus it can protect your inflatable items from over inflating, thanks to this feature.
This one weighs around 5 pounds. It does have an attractive design, with built-in handles that make the unit very portable. It also has an on-board storage that lets you store its accessories. There is also a LED light that guides you while working in the dark.
The most common complaint about this tire inflator is that it is difficult to remove the nozzle from the tire.
- Maximum operating pressure of 160PSI
- Weight: 5 pounds
- Two pressure settings
5. Astro 3018 Digital Tire Inflator with Stainless Steel Braided Hose
A bit expensive when compared to the other tire inflators, the Astro 3018 is still a good bargain when you consider all the advanced features of this unit.
It has a tire pressure monitoring system that according to its owners is very accurate when it comes to reading tire pressure levels.
That alone is worth the price tag to most owners. However, others like that it has an easy change chuck system. Others say that the convenient, one-touch button operation with auto-shut off is a feature that they appreciate the most.
The large, backlit LCD digital display shows PSI or bar measurement. It is covered with rubber sleeve so that you can comfortably carry it.
Speaking of carrying, you should have no troubles lugging this one around as it only weighs 1.8 pounds. It comes with an extra long 21-inch hose.
Again, the most common complaint about this unit is that it is very noisy while in operation.
- One-touch button operation
- With auto-shut off when desired tire pressure level is reached
- Weight: 1.8 pounds
6. EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump
This is also a very compact and lightweight tire inflator that will come in handy during those inopportune moments that you have a flat tire.
Like most of the units in this list, it is very easy to use. The unit automatically cuts off when the tire pressure level reaches your desired setting, so you don’t need to continuously check the pressure.
It has a maximum pressure of 150 psi with a 5.8 gallon per minute flow rate. It is capable of inflating a flat tire in less than four minutes.
There are also three nozzle adapters that make the unit capable to inflate all kinds of tires, from those of cars, SUV, motorcycles, scooters, and even beach balls and soccer balls.
It has a bright light that guides you in the dark. The light is so bright you can even use it as an SOS light signal. It has a super long swivel hose, capable of reaching all tires in your car. But the cord won’t be able to reach the rear tires of a trailer or a larger truck.
Another common beef that owners have with this tire inflator is that its tire gauge reading isn’t the most accurate.
- Maximum pressure of 150 psi
- 5.8 gallon per minute flow rate
- With three nozzle adapters
7. Premium Digital Tire Inflator – Portable Auto Air Compressor. Pump to 150 Psi. With Carry Case – By P.I. Auto Store
This one features a 12 volt outlet power adaptor, meaning you can plug it in the cigarette lighter receptacle of your vehicle and inflate your flat tire wherever you are.
It also has a digital display that shows the tire pressure level, which most owners say is pretty reliable. The built-in microprocessor monitors and stops the pump at your selected air pressure to avoid over inflation.
This is a powerful compressor that is capable of inflating a mid-sized tire in less than 4 minutes. It also has a long reach totaling 12 feet so you can reach all tires of your vehicle.
You can also work in the dark with this tire inflator as it has 8 LED lights with four settings. You can even use those LED lights for SOS light signal.
Once you are done inflating the tire, you can keep the inflator and its accessories in the convenient carriage case. It keeps your inflator protected and clean.
A bonus feature of this unit is a digital guide to tire care.
The usual beef that owners have with this tire inflator is that it is very noisy while in operation. Others say that the noise is something they can live with.
- 12V outlet power adaptor
- With 8 LED lights
- Weight: 2 pounds
8. JACO SmartPro Digital Tire Inflator – Portable Air Compressor – 100 PSI
At 5 pounds, this is not the most lightweight and portable tire inflator in this list. But you can be assured that you can get back on the road when you have this air compressor.
This tire inflator can inflate a flat tire within seconds. It has the ability to pump compressed air at a rate of 35 liters per minute.
If you have a truck or mini-van, this is the tire inflator that you would want to have for those long road trips. Its long, 25-foot hose lets you reach the rear tires easily.
Its air pressure gauge glows in the dark, so you can easily check whether you need to inflate your tires before going on a road trip in the evening. And the gauge is very accurate, according to most owners.
It has a sturdy metal body and comes with a nice carry case for storage. You can store the hose and power cord around the unit and store it in the carry case.
However, a glaring flaw of this tire inflator is that it lack an auto shut off function. Thus you will have to closely watch the tire pressure monitoring gauge to avoid over inflation.
- Weight: 5 pounds
- 25 foot long hose
- Glow in the dark air pressure gauge
9. Goodyear i8000 120-Volt Direct Drive Tire Inflator
Goodyear is yet a familiar brand to most motorists, so you can’t be blamed if you decide to try out this tire inflator. You likely won’t regret that decision as this is one of the more highly rated air compressors out there.
This 120 volt, direct drive inflator is equipped with Whisper Soft technology. Yes, unlike the other tire inflators in this list, Goodyear’s i8000 is extremely quiet when inflating a flat tire.
You won’t be disturbing your neighbors when you use this tire inflator to inflate your car tires.
It can also plug into a standard 120 volt wall outlet for power, so you can use this in the garage without having to plug the unit to the cigarette lighter of your car. It doesn’t plug into the cigarette lighter, so this one is more for home use than for emergencies.
Maximum tire pressure is 150 PSI which is pretty good for a tire inflator. With such power, it can inflate a tire in less than three minutes. You will also appreciate that it has a very good reach of 24 feet so you can reach the rear tires very easily.
This may be a product from a reputable brand but it doesn’t mean that it is perfect. It has its share of flaws. One common problem that owners complain about is that it is slow to inflate a tire once it gets past the 30 psi range.
Other motorists aren’t also impressed with screw-on valve that this unit has. They say that it tends to lose air from the tires when they unscrew it.
- With Whisper Soft technology, works quietly
- With standard 120 volt wall outlet
- Maximum tire pressure of 150 PSI
10. Slime 40026 2X Heavy Duty Direct Drive Tire Inflator
Slime returns to this list with this heavy duty tire inflator. According to Slime, this tire inflator is capable of inflating a standard car tire to 35 psi in just two minutes.
It can be used to inflate car , motorcycle, and ATV tires, among others.
This twin-cylinder air compressor connects directly to the battery. It has an eight-feet power cord and a 22-feet coiled air hose, giving it a total of 30 feet of reach. Thus you should have no problems reaching the rear tires with this tire inflator.
Its air hose has an in-line dial gauge that can measure up to 150 PSI. Inflating the tires is also easy. Simply attach the twist connect hose fitting and screw the opposite end connector into the valve stem of the tire.
Then attach the alligator clamps to your vehicle’s battery. You don’t even have to keep the car’s engine running for this tire inflator to work.
You don’t need to worry about overheating as this unit comes with a thermal protection system. Once you are done inflating the car, you can store the unit and other accessories in the integrated folding handle for easy storage and transport.
The LED light of this unit is also bright enough to let you work in the dark.The major beef that owners have with this tire inflator is its screw-on style, which can cause lost air when unscrewing the hose.
- Eight feet long power cord
- 22 feet long coiled air hose
- Maximum tire pressure of 150PSI
Having a tire inflator at home or at the trunk of your car can give you the peace of mind that no matter what happens in the road, you are prepared to inflate a flat tire.
The good news is that there are lots of compact and lightweight tire inflators that you can find on the market. There should be one unit that catches your fancy and addresses your needs.
In shopping for a tire inflator, you should not only focus on the price of the unit. You must also take into consideration other factors like its features, type, and ease of use.
If you’re not sure what is the best tire inflator today, then refer to the list that I have come up with. You will likely not regret buying any of the tire inflators listed above.