Let’s talk about a situation that more or less every vehicle owner may have had to face. You are driving on your way and suddenly noticed a warning light on the dashboard. It is indicating you get a low or flat tire.
The best tire inflator can be a rescuer in such situations. It will refill your flat tire. So you can quickly get back on the road instead of paying for air at the gas station. Why wait for emergency road assistance when you can solve the issue yourself!
Table of Contents
- 1 What is a Tire Inflator?
- 2 Should I Buy Tire Inflator?
- 3 List of 8 Best Tire Inflator
- 4 8 Best Tire Inflator Reviews
- 4.1 1. TEROMAS Tire Inflator Air Compressor with Pressure Gauge
- 4.2 2. AAA – 4024AAA Lifeline 300 PSI 12 Volt DC Air Compressor
- 4.3 3. VIAIR 85P Portable Air Compressor
- 4.4 4. Kensun AC/DC Power Supply Portable Air Compressor
- 4.5 5. Portable Air Compressor Mini Inflator
- 4.6 6. RYOBI P737 18-Volt ONE+ Portable Cordless Power Inflator
- 4.7 7. Makita MP100DZ 12V Max CXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Inflator
- 4.8 8. VIAIR 400P Portable Compressor
- 5 What to Know Before Buying the Best Tire Inflator?
- 6 How to Find the Best Tire Inflator?
- 7 Wrapping Up!
- 8 FAQ
- 8.1 1. What is the best tire inflator?
- 8.2 2. Does the car need to be running to use a tire inflator?
- 8.3 3. Do you need the engine running to use the TYRE inflator?
- 8.4 4. What PSI should my tire inflator be?
- 8.5 5. Can you use a tire inflator as an air compressor?
- 8.6 6. How does a portable tire inflator work?
What is a Tire Inflator?
A tire inflator is a particular type of air compressor used for pumping a vehicle’s tires. It works by converting electric energy to potential energy. This energy is then stored as pressurized air.
However, this pressurized air removes the need for the vigorous pumping of the manual tire. Tire inflators are available in all sizes and shapes. For emergency needs, small handheld ones can come in handy.
Small handheld inflators can fit in the boot of your car. The larger inflators, on the other hand, may not fit in the boot of your car. But, they can top up your tire at the highest speed.
Should I Buy Tire Inflator?
Properly inflated tires not only make driving safer but also extend the life of a vehicle’s suspension components. Also, steering with the proper tire inflation improves the vehicle’s operation.
Conversely, under-inflated tires are dangerous as they maximize the risk of skidding. Low or flat tires can cost you more in the long run as they cause uneven tire wear. Besides, it affects fuel efficiency.
Having the pressure inside the tire at the optimal level is essential for the tire’s extended life. You can either do this at the gas station or do it yourself with the best portable tire inflator.
The best cordless tire inflator also comes in handy for anything that needed a high volume of air. The best part is it can have an impact on your wallet. You can save money as you won’t be visiting your local gas station to check the pressure level.
However, not all gas stations have an air machine. So there is no guarantee that you can inflate your tire in an emergency. With these in mind, we must say, you should buy the best air compressor for tires.
List of 8 Best Tire Inflator
Portable tire inflators are designed to pump your tires with the correct pressure in just a few minutes. In addition, they are compact, easy-to-use, and mainly used for roadside emergencies.
To help you dealing emergency tire issues, here we’ve assembled a list of the best tire inflator. The list comprises tire inflators that are suitable for vehicles of all sizes.
We’ve assembled the list based on customer’s feedback, ratings on popular shopping sites, and especially, hands-on experience. Whatever your needs are, from heavy-duty models to affordable ones, there is something for you.
8 Best Tire Inflator Reviews
In the following section, we’ll give you our honest reviews on the above-listed tire inflators. Here we focused on the key features and functionalities of the best tire inflators available in the market.
These will make sure your tires are properly inflated with the proper pressure. Knowing what you are going to buy is essential. Without further ad, let’s get started with the reviews.
If you want something portable yet stylish, you should look at the TEROMAS tire inflator. It’s the finest-quality programmable air compressor. Not only it inflates flat tires, but the inflator can also meet indoor needs.
The tire inflator comes with dual AC/DC power cords, including a 12V car cigarette lighter plug and a 110/120V wall plug. You can use this multifunctional air compressor anywhere at indoors as well as on the road.
Also, there are three additional adaptors for both indoor and outdoor use. The tire inflator can inflate up to 150PSI. It takes just 4 minutes to inflate from 0 to 35PSI. Thus, it becomes easier to inflate in road emergencies.
The best part is it comes with an Auto-Off function. The machine will shut off automatically when it reaches your preset pressure value. Another great feature is its backlight digital pressure gauge.
You can change the pressure settings with ease, even at night. Last, of all, it is so compact that it takes very little space. You can easily store it in the driver’s cabin. There is a carry bag included that provides safe storage for cable and accessories.
The TEROMAS tire inflator got a lot of recommendations from the customers. Many have rated it as the best tire inflator with a gauge. Also, some have claimed it as a cost-effective alternative.
Overall, the TEROMAS tire inflator provides significant backing on road emergencies. You can also use it to inflate air mattresses, kid’s balls, and other inflatables at home.
The customers are delighted with this handy little air compressor. The rating it has got says how popular the inflator is.
However, there are some negative feedbacks as well. A few customers find the small analog gauge hard to read. Some have claimed it makes a loud noise while inflating.
The AAA air compressor from Lifeline is one of the affordable and portable options. It will make sure you can inflate your tire to the correct pressure. The cord and air hose are long enough to reach each tire in your vehicle.
VIAIR 85P air compressor has become one of the famous tire inflators, mainly because of its air suspension systems. It is rated as the best tire inflator with a gauge by the leading review websites.
Moreover, VIAIR 85P is one of those inflators which can be hooked directly to your vehicle’s battery. The company suggests keeping your vehicle engine running while you inflate the tires.
It will take just three minutes to fill a 225/60/R18 tire from 0 to 30 PSI. Besides, the inflator works with a maximum pressure of 60PSI. There is an easy-to-read analog gauge mounted on the compressor with a super bright LED.
Unlike others, it has 20 minutes duty cycle, so you need to cool down it after using it for 20 minutes. The inflator uses a classy permanent magnetic motor powered by your vehicle’s 12V outlet.
To deal with the noise and vibration issues, the motor comes with a particular vibration isolator. In addition, the air compressor comes with extra adapters for inflating other inflatables like balls, pools, etc. You will get a deluxe carry bag to store all the kits.
Inflating the flat tires is fun with the VIAIR 85P portable air compressor. Thousands of customers appreciated the compressor because of its low inflation time. It is indeed so powerful and quiet. But some of them expected a digital gauge in the inflator.
If you are looking for a more sophisticated and reliable option, you must consider buying the VIAIR 85P. It does everything smoothly a tire inflator is supposed to do.
Most of the customers have positive thoughts about the tire inflator. Meanwhile, some have reported that their Kensun tire inflator stopped working after a few weeks. Many of them were able to resolve the issue as they got enormous customer service.
Despite the potential issues, we’d recommend Kensun portable air compressor to you. It’s a perfect tool to have on hand in emergencies. Also, you can use it to inflate everything from air mattresses, bicycle tires to vehicle tires.
The CYCPLUS mini inflator is at the top of customer’s popularity due to its ergonomic, portable design. It is handy and easy to inflate. But, a few have claimed that it is not very practical for high pressure like they say it is.
The CYCPLUS mini inflator is designed for your comfort in mind. With an ultra-slim, ergonomic, and user-friendly design, it becomes a popular choice. It is best for travelling with you. You can also order it as a gift for your loved ones.
Many users recommend the RYOBI P737 for oversized tires. Thanks to its most giant lithium battery pack. Also, a lot of people loved its pistol-grip design. It makes the inflator easy to use. However, some RYOBI veteran is not impressed with the hose adapter. They expected a speed hose adapter as many inflatables these days include a wide hole for quick inflation.
RYOBI’s P737 is undoubtedly the best portable air compressor for car tires, sports equipment, air mattress, and other inflatables. The RYOBI’s popular ONE+ battery system makes it a winning tool that will last for years.
The majority of users bought Makita MP100DZ primarily for convenience. But, some are not satisfied with the 12V battery as 99% of Makita tools use 18V batteries.
Indeed, there is an issue with the battery. But if a 12V Li-Ion battery is used with a 12V max CXT cordless inflator, you’ll get better performance. Overall, Makita MP100DZ is super easy and convenient to use.
The final one, VIAIR 400P, is a larger, powerful compressor kit suitable for up to 35-inch tires. It can quickly inflate them in just 5 minutes. All you have to do is to attach its provided heavy-duty battery clamp power leads to the battery.
This portable compressor can inflate up to 150PSI with its 12V permanent magnetic motor. It has a 33% of duty cycle, which means the inflator needs 30-minutes to cool sufficiently.
In addition, the unit comes with an open-ended tire inflation hose. The air hose is 25 feet which is the largest of all. However, you can monitor the air pressure in the included 100PSI pressure gauge.
The pressure gauge offers more functions like air up, air up intermittently, air down, and air down intermittently. Last of all, it comes with a deluxe carry bag to pack all the bits and accessories.
Most of the users of VIAIR 400P are jeep or truck owners. The inflator is efficient in inflating such large vehicles. They are using it for many years. A few have claimed that it didn’t fit in their vehicle wheels.
To sum up, the VIAIR 400P is the most powerful portable air compressor you can ever get. Its extended hose length allows reaching all your vehicle tires. The air compressor is equally adequate for cars, SUVs, trucks, and ATVs.
What to Know Before Buying the Best Tire Inflator?
Before you make a decision, it is wise to have little know-how about a tire inflator. There are a few things you need to take note of. First and foremost, you’ll need the proper tire inflator for your vehicle.
Not all inflator works on a large vehicle, for instance. Likewise, there is no need to invest in a large, heavy-duty inflator if you have a small vehicle. The rule of thumb is to get the right size for the vehicle.
The next important thing is to consider the amount you want to spend. However, this decision is somehow related to the amount of power you’ll get. Then, you can consider investing in an onboard inflator if you often go out.
So you can inflate your tires whenever needed. You’ll also find some inflators that can be installed with your vehicle’s battery or the 12V outlet inside. Last but not least, it is wise to check customer feedback before buying an inflator.
How to Find the Best Tire Inflator?
Choosing a suitable tire inflator is essential. Otherwise, you may end up stranded in the middle of nowhere. The model you bought may need a specific adapter to attach to your tires. Or there may be other specifications you may need.
However, here are some key considerations to keep in mind while looking for a tire inflator. Check out the following factors and make sure you don’t buy the wrong tire inflator for your vehicle.
- Power Source
A tire inflator certainly needs a power source to fill the tires. Usually, it utilizes electric motors and pumps to do so. There are two ways how a tire inflator can pump up the tires, such as; cordless and corded.
Primarily, high capacity corded inflator uses a 12V power plug to your vehicle’s 12V jack. Or else, it can be plugged into your vehicle’s accessory port or cigarette lighter socket. Some can be clipped directly to the vehicle’s battery.
In either case, there shouldn’t be an issue if you are using it to inflate the vehicle’s tires. Corded inflators are easy to use as they don’t require any additional battery to operate.
The tire inflator can inflate as long as the vehicle’s battery has power. However, some models run on both 12V and 110V power. Those inflators require a power outlet.
Cordless inflators, on the other hand, offer more flexibility than corded ones. The best cordless tire inflator doesn’t need an additional power source to fill the tires. You can use these for other applications like inflating bike tires, balls, firm equipment tires, sports equipment, etc.
The pressure a tire inflator can produce is directly connected to the speed. The higher the pressure, the quicker it can inflate the tire. It is advisable to look for inflators with high pressure of at least 100 PSI.
A tire inflator can have a maximum pressure of 150 PSI which runs even faster. However, manufacturers mostly design tire inflators with 30 to 40 PSI. The best portable air pump for car tires will have this pressure range.
- Inflation Time
The inflation time refers to the time it will take to inflate the tires. The majority of tire inflators have an average inflation time between 4 to 7 minutes. However, the high-end models can fill it in just 1 minute.
- Pressure Gauge
A tire inflator comes with a pressure gauge that shows the amount of air the tire has. The best tire inflator with a gauge should be easy to read. However, a tire inflator can have a digital or analog pressure gauge.
Digital gauges are easiest to read, specifically if they include a backlight. Equally, analog gauges with large numerals are popular. But, these can be challenging to read as most analog gauges don’t come with background light.
- Power Cord
The power cord is one of the negligible factors but essential to consider. Make sure you buy a tire inflator with a power cord that is long enough to reach the tires.
- Hose Length
Filling a tire with short length inflator is not fun, but also, a long, tangled inflator is annoying. So, it would be best if you had a tire inflator with a suitable hose length for convenience. A tire inflator with a 16-20 inch hose length would be the best choice.
This length is sufficiently long to reach any tires but also manageable. Most corded tire inflator comes with a coiled hose. Those units are convenient as you can stretch them easily. You can consider buying them for large vehicles like SUVs and trucks.
- Tire Compatibility
This factor is one of the most critical factors to consider. You buy a tire inflator that doesn’t have enough power to inflate the tires. Those inflators are of no use. Hence, it is essential to check the tire inflator’s capability before choosing one.
You’ll find the maximum size of tires a tire inflator can inflate. Thankfully, most manufacturers mention this with the product. However, you need to make sure your tire is equal to or less than the mentioned size.
- Automatic Shut-off
The best portable air compressor for a car is stout and robust. But, it can overheat if it runs for longer. So, the tire inflator comes with a built-in automatic shut-off feature to protect it from overheating.
This function shut off the inflator automatically. However, the inflator decides this considering three measurements, temperature, pressure, and time. A hazardous temperature is typically around 200oF.
When the device starts reaching this temperature, it’ll blackout until it cools off. Then, you can set the pressure as you want. The inflator will shut off when the tire reaches this pressure.
After it runs for a prescribed amount of time, the cool-down process starts. This cool-down process can take around 15 minutes.
- Weight and Portability
Tire inflators are popular because they are lightweight and portable than typical air compressors. But, there are also some heavyweight models which are difficult to handle in emergencies. The best tire inflator can be less than a pound. So, you can use those while heading out on a long road trip. It’ll fit nicely in the trunk.
As a potential buyer, you may have doubts about the quality of the portable tire inflator. A quality product comes with an extended warranty period. So, you can opt for those models with an extended warranty.
Most tire inflator comes with a 1-year warranty, while some brands like Milwaukee comes with two or more. Some expensive, high-end models come with a lifetime warranty.
1. What is the best tire inflator?
The best tire inflator is the one that can easily and quickly inflate a flat tire. It should have enough power and capacity to handle the flat tires of your vehicles. Above, we’ve discussed a lot of models which can do so.
2. Does the car need to be running to use a tire inflator?
Manufacturers usually suggest shutting off the car engine while using the tire inflator. It’s a safety precaution from the manufacturers to prevent accidents. But, there is no specific instruction about whether to turn the key to “accessory.”
Some vehicles require the ignition to be in the “accessory” or “on” position to power the 12V plug. The tire inflator will be running from this 12V. At this time, the car engine should be off.
3. Do you need the engine running to use the TYRE inflator?
No, there is no need to keep the engine running to use a tire inflator. But, this may flatten the battery for some vehicles. It takes 3-4 minutes to pump up the tire. There is no chance of the battery getting flat.
4. What PSI should my tire inflator be?
You’ll get this information from the manufacturer’s recommendation. Most passenger cars will require 30PSI – 35PSI in the tires. So, your tire inflator PSI should be between these ranges.
5. Can you use a tire inflator as an air compressor?
A tire inflator and an air compressor are the same things. There is not much difference between them except the size. An air compressor is larger and versatile but heavier. So, they can be used for home and garage needs.
On the other hand, a tire inflator is compact and specially designed to inflate flat tires. It is much portable than an air compressor as well as easy to use. You can easily use a tire inflator as an air compressor. These are often used interchangeably.
6. How does a portable tire inflator work?
A portable tire inflator works either on rechargeable batteries or through 12V power. It efficiently inflates air into the tire through a hose. There is an easy-to-read analog or digital screen which shows the pressure reading.