Maybe you?re driving along, minding your own business, when suddenly you notice that the car is starting to pull a little to the right. You fight the steering wheel, hoping that it?s not as bad as it seems, but inside you know you?re fighting a losing battle. Slowly but surely, that right tire, the one that you knew was looking a little sad, is starting to get low on air.
Maybe you?d noticed it earlier but hadn?t had a chance to do anything about it. Maybe it snuck up on you in surprise. It doesn?t matter now - either way, it is now in urgent need of more air and preferably sooner rather than later. Another few minutes should be okay?. Shouldn?t it?
About now you may be thinking to yourself something along the lines of ? ?Hmmm? I wish I?d gotten around to getting that new tire inflator I have been meaning to get?.
The problem though is that with so many options available on the market, you didn?t want to make the wrong choice. After all, the time to discover that you made the wrong choice, is not when you suddenly need a tire inflator that actually works.
Well I?m here to help. This guide will make sure you are not left with a flat tire in one hand and an expensive piece of rubbish, pretending to be a tire inflator, in the other. Which reminds me about little Johnny. Little Johnny wanted his basketball inflated. Unfortunately, the tire inflator he used was a little too powerful.
Now if you thought the look on your neighbor?s face was priceless when Johnny?s basketball suddenly turned into pieces of rubber shrapnel you should see the look of pure terror on Johnny?s face as soon as he even looks at a basketball.
Enough said! So, what makes a good tire inflator? I?m glad you asked, well?
*?Notice?: On mobile devices, scroll right to see entire table.
Best Portable Tire Inflator
Best Tire Inflator With Gauge
Best Cordless Tire Inflator
Best Handheld Tire Inflator
Best Tire Inflator 120v
Features Of A Good Tire Inflator
These are some of the considerations you should take a look on when looking for a tire inflator.
Air Pressure Gauge
The needle based gauge or electronic display that tells the user how much air pressure the tire or ball contains. It is common for air pressure gauges to measure air pressure in pounds per square inch (PSI for short). The air pressure gauge can be used to know when enough is enough. Think little Johnny and the basketball.
Set the pressure, on the tire inflator, to the desired level and then when this pressure is reached the inflator will automatically turn itself off. If the tires need 32 PSI then no need to play back and forth games first over inflating the tire and then under inflating it. It really is as easy as set and forget.
Some portable tire inflators have a built-in light for use in the dark. Commonly this is an LED light providing an efficient bulb for night time use or when in poorly lit inside areas. After all, you never know when some extra light will help.
Long Power Cord
When running a tire inflator off the mains power, the length of the power cord may determine your frustration levels. Generally, this is not as big an issue as it seems since most people requiring a long power cord will usually have a separate extension cord.
A tire inflator that is AC/DC compatible will be capable of being powered from both mains power and also from a 12V vehicle battery. This provides greater levels of versatility, as the tire inflator will be able to be used in a greater number of circumstances.
Many tire inflators will be provided with more than one type of nozzle. This is particularly important if one wants to inflate different vehicle tires, as well as, sports equipment. I know ? I keep thinking of little Johnny and the basketball.
The speed at which different tire inflators are able to inflate a tire from fully flat to the required pressure will determine how long you are going to have to wait.
Durable Air Hose
When air is forced, at high pressure, through the air hose, the quality of the hose will determine how long the air hose lasts before it starts to split and needs replacing. Air hoses made from cheap rubber may perish easily and need replacing often.
The air compressor is the actual mechanical device that takes electricity and uses it to mechanically squeeze the air, thus increasing its pressure. Unless an industrial compressor is being used, most compressors work using pistons and one-way valves.
When buying a tire inflator there can often be several different nozzles, the actual compressor, maybe a detachable air hose and a removeable power cord, as well as several other extra bits and pieces.
If the tire inflator does come with several different parts, then it can be a good idea to keep them all safely together in a carrying bag. This can make it easier to carry the tire inflator and also reduces the risk of losing parts.
The bigger the tire inflator unit, the more difficult it will be to easily use it in a range of different settings. If all you are looking for is a tire inflator that can be set up permanently attached to the work bench, then clearly portability isn?t going to be a problem.
If, on the other hand, you are planning on using the tire inflator in different locations, as the need arises, then portability will be a more important factor for you to consider.
When it comes to tire inflators, they are typically powered by one of three different power sources:
- AC mains power
- 12V vehicle battery
- Portable battery
The duty cycle of a tire inflator refers to the amount of time that it can be run before requiring time off for the pump to cool-down. This is necessary as most pumps are not designed to be run all the time. This cool down period helps to avoid mechanical problems with the pump.
Duty cycle is usually expressed as a percentage of ten minutes. A pump with a 55% duty cycle could be run continuously for five and a half minutes but would then require a four-and-a-half-minute cool down period before being reused.
Choosing The Right Tire Inflator
When it comes to choosing the right tire inflator, you may be overwhelmed with all the options available. Ask yourself the following questions, and once you know the answers, it should make it easier for you to choose the right option for you.
What types of locations are you thinking that you will need to use the tire inflator for? Are you planning on using it in remote places, where the only source of power is sunlight or will you be using it around the home where it can be plugged into the wall socket whenever it is needed?
How portable does the tire inflator need to be? Will you want to fit it into your back pack while riding a bicycle or will it be kept under the work bench in the garage? Perhaps you are looking for a tire inflator that can be kept in the car for emergencies?
What kind of power supply are you planning on using? Will it have to be plugged in to the wall socket, the car cigarette lighter or able to be used when no external power supply is readily available? The advantage of no external power supply is the ability to use it in remote places however eventually batteries will go flat.
If you want a portable inflator for emergencies, then maybe a built-in rechargeable battery is the choice for you. If, however you may want to use it to pump all the vehicle tires up before going on a road trip, as well as various pieces of sports equipment then a tire inflator powered from a wall socket may be a better choice.
So now that we have looked at some of the lingo that you?ll find when shopping for tire inflators and you have a good idea what features you are looking for in a tire inflator, here are our winners.
Best Portable Tire Inflator - Kensun Portable Tire Inflator
We like the Kensun tire inflators easy to use functionality. It can be easily used with both AC and DC power making this a very handy unit for most common, every day, situations that you are likely to come across. The ability for this unit to plug into the cigarette lighter socket in the car makes this very convenient to use when out and about.
This tire inflator comes with a digital display allowing the ideal tire pressure to be set. The auto-stop function makes this a great feature for little Johnny and his basketball.
We especially like the ability to change the units for the pressure reading; very useful for knowing the ideal inflation pressure when a manufacturer hasn?t expressed it in PSI and one of the advantages that comes with this LCD pressure display.
The LED white light built into this Tire Inflator allows for a handy light in those dark and poorly lit areas that you sometimes find yourself in. This feature saves you needing to hold your cellphone in one hand, fiddling with the light on the screen, and juggling the tire Inflator in the other.
The inclusion of two attachment nozzles makes this tire inflator useful for a range of different uses including vehicle tires and sports equipment.
The two-foot durable black woven hose for the air outlet provides extra comfort in knowing that this tire inflator is a good investment and also is able to provide the flexibility that can be required when inflating tires or sports equipment. The five-pound weight of the Kensun Tire Inflator makes this a compact, yet sturdy tire inflator.
We like the fact that the Kensun Portable Tire Inflator is easy to use and quickly inflates tires. It can be tempting to buy a cheap tire inflator online sometimes but at the end of the day we want something that is going to work, that is easy to use and is reliable.
The Kensun Tire Inflator ticks all the boxes for us when it comes to a portable tire inflator. We think that the Kensun Portable Tire Inflator is remarkably good value for money.
Best Tire Inflator With Gauge - P.I. Autostore Tire Inflator With Gauge
We like this two for one deal. Not only do you get a tire inflator but you also get a separate digital gauge that can easily be carried anywhere.
The P.I. Autostore tire inflator is powered by the standard 12V DC of your motor vehicle battery allowing it to be used anywhere your vehicle is. This top selling tire inflator comes with the autos top feature, we really like, allowing the required pressure to be set on the built-in LCD display.
The very pragmatic eight bonus dust caps and the Presta valve included with this unit make this a handy tire inflator for those moments when you need them. After all, I don?t know about you but I?ve definitely lost dust caps before, so a few spares work for me.
Given the number of little bits and prices that this unit comes with, I especially like the small, professional looking carry case that this unit comes with minimizing the loss of items.
The separate pressure gauge allows you to easily check the tire pressure with its hand grip molded handle. The back-lit LCD display allows for easy use in dark or poorly lit areas. Best of all the portable gauge?s small size allows it to be easily kept in the glove box of your vehicle.
The addition of a digital guide for Tire Care is one of the bonus items that shows that extra level of thought from the P.I. Autostore. It can be too easy to take our tires for granted but given their importance to us from both a safety perspective as well as a fuel efficiency perspective, it?s too easy to under-rate the importance of tire care.
P.I. Store has shown real initiative here, providing this guide along with its tire inflator and portable gauge to ensure that our safety and fuel efficiency are optimized.
Best Cordless Tire Inflator - Campbell Hausfeld CC2300
There will be times when you are going to want a tire inflator that does not rely on an external source of power. It may be when the power is out from some freak storm. Perhaps you are at a picnic spot in the middle of nowhere and the beach-ball has suddenly gone flat from too much abuse.
Maybe you parked the RV up for the night, accidently leaving the lights on, only to discover in the morning that not only had the battery gone flat but so had the rear tire. Whatever the reason - it will be at times like this that the need for a cordless tire inflator will be screamingly obvious.
When it comes to a cordless tire inflator we think that you can?t go passed the Campbell Hausfeld CC2300 Tire Inflator. This inflator comes with a built-in power supply that makes it useable no matter where you are.
A bonus feature that we really like is the ability to use the built-in power supply that can be used to charge up and keep going the plethora of electronic devices that we use and crave these days.
The two inflator nozzles and the sports ball nozzle makes it easy to use this tire inflator for any of the multitude of different needs that are likely to arise. This rugged tire inflator comes with a useful handle, making the need for a separate carry bag redundant.
Campbell Hausfeld are renowned for their durable air hose and long life. We like this tire inflator because when you need a cordless power inflator, reliability is what is going to matter most. We think that the Campbell Hausfeld has got to be the best value for money, cordless tire inflator on the market.
Best Handheld Tire Inflator - Engrepo Handheld Air Compressor
There may be times when you will have a need for an easy to carry, light weight tire inflator. It may be something as simple as being out on your bicycle, away from the comforts of the tire inflator sitting in the garage. Maybe you?re watching little Johnny play his first game of basketball and suddenly the basketball seems a bit flat.
It will be times like this that a decent handheld tire inflator, that will easily fit into a back pack, is going to be useful. The best handheld tire inflator that we have found is the Engrepo Handheld Air Compressor.
This handheld inflator comes with a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery, allowing it to be used when away from a suitable power supply. The ability to recharge this tidy little hand-held unit by way of an AC DC adapter or the cigarette lighter socket in the car provides this tire inflator with a lot of options in how you use it.
Like all good tire inflators, the fact that this unit comes with an auto-stop means that the unit will shut itself off when the desired preset pressure is reached. The backlit LCD display allows for easy reading of the display in most situations, including when dark or in poorly lit areas.
This tire inflator comes with the range of different nozzles and power adaptors that one would expect from a good tire inflator. Weighing in at only one pound and able to be kept in the carry case provided, this little handheld unit is a winner for us when it comes to portability and versatility.
Best Tire Inflator 120v - Goodyear i8000 Tire Inflator
When you are not looking for a portable, go anywhere type of inflator and just want something for the home, you cannot beat the Goodyear i8000 Tire Inflator in our opinion. This 120V direct drive tire inflator comes with a handy eighteen feet of air hose and quick connect valves for ease of use.
Eighteen feet of air hose and six feet of power cord will allow you to easily access all tires on most vehicles, though you might need an extension cord if you drive a monster truck.
Whether you want to check the vehicle tires before leaving the house or make sure that the rubber raft is fully inflated before leaving for that camping holiday, the Goodyear i8000 tire inflator is our winner for the best 120V tire inflator.
Designed to be extraordinarily quiet, with minimal vibration, this is an ideal unit for having around the home, especially if you want to keep yourself in the good books with the neighbors.
We liked the benefit this unit has of being a very sturdy unit, as we like quality items built to last. At the same time being reasonably light-weight, allows it to be easily and simply stored away when not being used.
This tire inflator comes with an easy to read needle gauge and is very easy to use. Most importantly it will quickly inflate tires and other items in no time flat (pun intended).
When deciding to buy a tire inflator there are so many options available, it can be easy to be paralyzed into inactivity. The decision as to which one to buy will be largely determined by what you need from a tire inflator.
Before buying a tire inflator, give some thought to the questions, mentioned above, in the Choosing a Tire Inflator section. Once you have a clear idea of the answer to these questions, you will have a good idea of what features are most important for you and your needs.
Once you know what features you require, choosing the right tire inflator will be easy. When it comes to buying a tire inflator that meets your needs and is also great value for money, we believe that the five winners above are worth every cent.