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Best Tire Inflator – Top 5 Picks for 2018

This is our official list in search of the best tire inflators on the market today. Scroll further down for full details on each product, as well as a brief guide to tire iflation.

Quick Look:

  1. Viair 00073 70P Heavy Duty Portable Compressor
  2. Slime 40022 12-Volt Digital Tire Inflator
  3. Viair 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor
  4.  P.I. Auto Store Premium Digital Tire Inflator
  5. JACO SmartPro Digital Tire Inflator Pump

We know time is of the essence, so the above is a cheat sheet of what’s ahead, just in case your’re in a hurry. Otherwise, keep scrolling down for more detailed and constructive info on each item.

5 Highest Reviewed Tire Inflators to Consider

Since there is no way to know when a tire will go flat, it’s better to anticipate the event and be prepared for it. With the best tire inflator, fixing a flat tire can be completed within minutes, and it has the potential to save the day. The reality is that flat tires are unavoidable, and at some point, it’s almost guaranteed that every driver will get one.

The people who’re prepared for it can quickly fix the problem and enjoy the rest of their day. Drivers who aren’t prepared might have to call a tow truck and pay hundreds of dollars for assistance. In many situations, tires go flat because of a screw or nail, but they might also be targeted by vandals.

A tire inflator is perfect for both situations because it can quickly refill the tire with air, and since these products are designed for portability, they can be stored inside of any vehicle.  Let’s take a look at the five highest rated ones below.

1.) Viair 00073 70P Heavy Duty Portable Compressor

Viair 00073 70P Heavy Duty Portable Compressor

The Viair 00073 70P is a heavy-duty air compressor, and it’s designed for maximum portability. To work correctly, this product must be connected to the 12-volt outlet inside of a vehicle, and once it’s powered on, it produces a maximum working pressure of 100 PSI.

However, to produce this pressure, the vehicle’s engine must be running while the compressor is used. The Viair 00073 70P offers 1.06CFM free flow and comes with a convenient carry bag. It has a brass twist-on tire chuck, and to properly fill a flat tire, the unit must be turned on while the vehicle is running.

With the help of an onboard gauge, drivers can use the Viair 00073 70P to check the air pressure within the tire. This product can help prolong the lifespan of all tires and improve gas mileage.

PROS

  • Perfect for emergencies
  • Small enough to fit into any trunk
  • Never pay for air again
  • Very fast compressor

CONS

  • Car adapter could be better quality

($) Check price on Amazon

2.) Slime 40022 12-Volt Digital Tire Inflator

Slime 40022 12-Volt Digital Tire Inflator

The Slime 40022 is a portable tire inflator, and like similar products, it’s designed to use the DC power outlet inside of a vehicle. With a strong compressor, this product can inflate a flat tire in six minutes, and it has built-in technology to detect when the correct tire pressure is reached.

The Slime 40022 features a bright LED light, which makes it easier to use at night. The power cord is made to plug directly into the vehicle’s cigarette lighter, and for greater stability, it’s equipped with rubber feet.

The Slime 40022 can be set for a specific tire pressure, and once it detects this amount of pressure within the tire, it will automatically shut off. Since this is a compact, portable unit, the maximum amount of air pressure that it can support is 35 PSI.

PROS

  • Automatically shuts off at certain pressure
  • Gauge is accurate
  • Quiet operation
  • Backlit display

CONS

  • Could be faster

($) Check price on Amazon

3.) Viair 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor

Viair 00088 88P Portable Air CompressorThe Viair 00088 88P features a portable design, and it’s made to be used anywhere a car can go. The compressor is powered by a 12V connection to the vehicle’s battery, and for convenience, it clamps directly onto the battery.

An important part of regular vehicle maintenance involves checking the air pressure in the tires every month, and the Viair 00088 88P makes this process quick and easy.

The compact size of this device allows it to be stored in a small trunk, and it serves as a great way for drivers to fight back against flat tires. This product supports a maximum working pressure of 120 PSI, and it must be used while the vehicle’s engine is running.

The Viair 00088 88P is commonly used for cars, SUVs, trucks and ATVs, and it comes with an air hose, power cord and inflation tip kit.

PROS

  • Strong enough to fill large tires
  • Perfect for SUVs and ATVs
  • Made with high-quality materials
  • Quickly Fills flat tires

CONS

  • Very heavy

($) Check price on Amazon

4.) P.I. Auto Store Premium Digital Tire Inflator

P I Auto Store Premium Digital Tire Inflator

The P.I. Auto Store Premium tire inflator features a new design, and since it plugs into the 12V cigarette lighter, it’s very simple to use.

With the built-in backlit display, a specific pressure level can be set, and a microprocessor within the compressor monitors the tire pressure. Once it detects the correct pressure, it will automatically stop filling the tire.

This product is fast, and it can fill a standard tire with 30 PSI of pressure within four minutes. The P.I. Auto Store Premium tire inflator can handle up to 150 PSI, and it’s versatile enough for trucks, cars, ATVs, RVs and motorcycles.

PROS

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Nozzle is easy to screw on
  • Quickly fills flat tires
  • Doesn’t get too hot

CONS

  • Produces a lot of noise

($) Check price on Amazon

5.) JACO SmartPro Digital Tire Inflator Pump

JACO SmartPro Digital Tire Inflator Pump

TThe JACO SmartPro digital inflator has built-in technology to monitor tire pressure, and it allows the user to set it for a specific pressure level. Since the devices monitors the pressure, it will automatically turn off when it reaches the target setting.

The JACO SmartPro can inflate tires up to a maximum pressure of 45 PSI, and it can fill bike tires to 100 PSI. A bright backlit LCD screen makes the settings easy to adjust, and it’s especially useful when inflating tires at night.

A heavy-duty air hose quickly delivers air into flat tires at a rate of 25L/min, and a long power cord makes this unit easier to use in any situation.

PROS

  • Easy to use and powerful
  • Long power cord
  • Perfect for flat tires and emergencies
  • Made in the USA

CONS

  • Buttons could be made better

($) Check price on Amazon

Brief Guide to Tire Inflators

Every year, thousands of families hit the open road and travel to another state. At the same time, millions of people get ready to start their commute to the workplace. An unexpected problem can ruin the day for these individuals, and it all comes down to a flat tire.

What Are They?

Tire inflators are designed to refill tires with air, and to accomplish this task, they use a pump. Most people are familiar with canned tire inflators, but the canned products don’t work like compressors. A canned inflator contains a special formula, and it’s used to seal a leaking tire. Tire inflators are different because they use a pump to compress air and push it into the tire.

These products work like the typical air station that you’d find at a gas station, but they don’t need quarters to work. Modern tire inflators are designed to plug into the 12-volt outlet in a vehicle, and the stream of electricity from the outlet powers a strong compressor, which compresses air and fills the tire.

Many of the newest inflators come with a digital gauge and make it easy to check the air pressure within the tire. The major advantage of owning an inflator is the peace of mind.

Drivers who own an inflator can’t avoid getting a flat tire, but when it happens, they’ll be prepared for it. The best tire inflators feature a compact design, and they can be stored away inside of a trunk or similar space.

How They Help?

Portable air compressors are very convenient because they’re effective and easy to use. A large, stationary compressor is perfect for the garage, but it’s not a good choice for traveling, and due to its large, bulky size, it won’t fit comfortably into most trunks.

Portable tire inflators are perfect for emergency tire repairs because they can deliver the compressed air needed to refill a flat tire.

Since these products can be plugged into a vehicle’s DC power, they don’t require a conventional electrical outlet, and with a specialized valve system, they connect easily to a flat tire. The problem that most people face is knowing when they’re going to get a flat tire, which is impossible.

Portable tire deflators allow drivers to take a defensive position against flat tires, and although there is no way to know when a tire will go flat, a high-quality deflator serves as the best way to be prepared.

Once the product is plugged into the vehicle’s electrical outlet, the compressor will start compressing air. After it has built up enough air pressure, it can be used to fill the flat tire.

How to Use Them?

Tire inflators are easy to use, and most modern designs connect to the 12-volt plug in a vehicle. Depending on the product, the pump might automatically shut off when it detects the proper air pressure within the tire, or it might need to be turned off manually.

A standard tire inflator features a compact size, and once it has been plugged into the vehicle’s DC power outlet, it will begin compressing air inside of its chamber.

Since most of these products are equipped with a convenient valve, they can be quickly connected to a flat tire, and as the pump compresses air, it pushes the air into the flat tire and raises the pressure. Some products come with a digital pressure gauge and additional accessories.

The major difference between products is the speed, and in most cases, a larger compressor will be able to compress and push air into a flat tire faster than a smaller compressor. When shopping for these products, this is something to think about.

It’s worth the extra money to purchase an inflator that comes with a built-in pressure gauge because most drivers don’t carry a gauge with them. It’s extremely important to know the exact air pressure within each tire because improperly inflated tires are unsafe, and they can have a significant impact on the vehicle’s driving stability.

What To Look For

If you want to have your tire inflator with you in the car to prevent being held up by a flat tire then you definitely need a 12V inflator as it will plug directly into your car’s charger outlet.

These also have the advantage that they’re usually lightweight and small, so they are easily packed into your trunk. And to top it all, they are inexpensive, so an easy addition to your mobile gear.

If you are wanting a tire inflator for general use rather than emergencies and want to inflate your tyres first, then you might want to look at a 120V inflator. These can be plugged into a mains socket at home and will inflate tyres faster than a 12V inflator.

Just bear in mind they’re not very portable as they will be heavier and not plug into your car’s outlet. They also have a limit to how much they can inflate – so generally can’t be used for an RV’s tires for example.

Maybe you want the best of both worlds, and would like a portable inflator for emergencies but also would like to be able to plug them in to the car or at home? There are some inflators available that are cordless and run off rechargeable batteries so these are ideal. They also have adaptors for 12V or 120V inputs so can be plugged in, in various outlets.

A key thing to look for is a pressure gauge, and ideally a pump that will turn itself off once it reaches a certain pressure so that you don’t run the danger of over-inflating. Some models even have preset settings for pressure so you won’t have to look up a specific value.

Different nozzles will help you maximise the use out of your inflator so that you can blow up air beds, save time on pumping up your bicycle tires, and inflate soccer balls.

Look to see how fast the inflators work, as you don’t want to be stuck by your car tires for 20 minutes while you wait. Ten minutes or under is generally a good time for a portable inflator to inflate a tyre.

If you’re bothered by a lot of noise, you might also want to look for one that is quiet – as they do vary quite a lot in how much noise they make.

Do you like bells and whistles on your inflator? You can find some that come with safety lights for if you find yourself with a flat tire at night. Some have built-in vacuums and jumper cables as part of it too, so if you need one of those anyway why not get it all in a package?

Who Can Benefit

Anyone who has a vehicle they drive in can benefit from one of these inflators. It’s a handy thing to have in the back of your car or motorcycle, so that you don’t have to call a friend to come and get you when you get a flat, and you don’t have to wait for roadside assistance.

Even if it’s a fast leak, often an inflator will pump up a tire enough to get to a garage or to your home if you’re close by.

Maintaining your tire pressure is key to road safety, and these tire inflators will help you stay safe if your pressure gets low either out and about or at home. It will also save you money as you won’t have to pay to use the air compressor at the local garage.

Inflators are also great for inflating tubing rings for a float down the river, or beach balls for a day at the beach. If you have an air bed they will come in handy to blow that up, and you can even use them for inflating footballs or basketballs.

What To Avoid?

Avoid getting too cheap of a tire inflator, as they can be hard to fold up after using them which makes them more difficult to store. It might be better to look for one that comes with a bag so it can be easily stored and stowed away in the back of your car.

Some units may overheat too, so you should be aware of that if you are inflating more than one tyre, or keeping it running for a longer time than usual.

You also want to be careful to either get one that shuts off once it gets to your required pressure, or always stay near it and keep an eye on the gauge so that the tire doesn’t over-inflate.

Also make sure you look at how long the cord is compared to where your charging outlet is on your vehicle. You don’t want to find that it doesn’t reach the tire that has a flat!

FAQs

Will a tire inflator run the car out of battery?

It might run it out of battery if you don’t have the engine running, so to be safe it would be best to keep the engine on when you are inflating tires.

How do I know how much air to put in the tires?

On a car the recommended pressure should be either on a sticker inside the driver’s door frame, or inside the glove compartment, or in the manual. There is also a maximum PSI or KPA number printed on the tires but it is generally not recommended to fill them to that pressure.

Should the car be running when I use a tire inflator?

Yes, generally you want to have the engine running so that you don’t drain the battery from the car – otherwise you will have nicely inflated tires and a car that won’t start. It shouldn’t fry the inflator because the same 12V should come out of the charging outlet whether the engine is running or not.

What happens if the air pressure in tires is too low?

If the pressure in the tires is too low then more of the tires’ surface area will be in contact with the ground. This means that your tires will wear out sooner than they should and may also overheat, and lead to an accident.

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Wrapping Up

The best tire inflator protects against unexpected flat tires, and it can prevent a fun vacation from getting ruined by a small nail or screw. These products are also useful for regular vehicle maintenance, and they’re useful for cars, trucks, SUVs, ATVs and bicycles.