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A portable tire inflator is a small device that can fit into any trunk or even under a seat, ready to pump up your flat enough for you to make it home or to the nearest service station. It’s a small investment now that you’ll be glad to have when you’re stranded on the roadside. Here’s what to consider when picking out the right one for you and your vehicle.
Portable Tire Inflator Buying Guide
From the power source to extra attachments, these are the most important features you’ll want to have.
Meters and Measurements: This is what’s going to tell you things like pressure and air flow. Having a digital LED screen can be enormously helpful and make the process more streamlined, especially if it’s backlit and you get a flat at night. PSI is pounds per square inch, and it’s one of the more common measurements you’ll find with these inflators.
Hose: In the best case scenario, you’ll be able to get right up next to your tire. But if not, having a few extra feet of slack should do the job with plenty to spare. An auto-stop function is also handy to make sure you don’t over-inflate the tire.
Power Source: Battery-operated inflators have a long life, but they might eventually get low and need a recharge. Alternatively, one that plugs into your car’s electrical system via the lighter port is battery-free, but if your car battery is dead too, it unfortunately isn’t of much use.
Extras: These also work well for inflating sports equipment, like basketballs and soccer balls, as well as other tires besides a car, like bicycles and motorcycles. It’s also recommended to not overlook ergonomics. Things like a comfortable handle make it easier to carry and position when you’re in a pinch, and a lighter weight ensures it’s easy for anyone to use, no matter who’s driving your car.
What Are the Best Portable Tire Inflators?
We found the best portable tire inflators from brands like Dewalt and other reliable brands. Here are our top picks.
1. Dewalt 20V MAX Cordless Tire Inflator
This beast of an inflator can pump out plenty of air quickly, and gives you three options for power sources: Lithium-Ion battery, your car’s 12V DC port and a regular AC plug. A simple dial lets you increase or decrease the pressure, while an LCD screen gives you a clear, accurate real-time readout. The design is rugged, durable and practical. Its power cord can be wrapped up and stored away in a side compartment, and a tough handle makes it easy to grip and carry in all weather conditions.
2. AstroAI Portable Air Compressor Pump
If you’re near a power source, you’ll want this inflator. It can crank out air up to 35 liters per minute, with a convenient LCD screen that’s easy to read. The integrated in-line fuse protects the air compressor from overload, and the readout is exceedingly accurate, usually within 1% of the tire’s pressure. This also has a bright LED flashlight to see what you’re doing in the dark.
3. Avid Power Tire Inflator Air Compressor
This small gadget can still keep up with the bigger inflators of the bunch. It also doesn’t take up much space, making it perfect for compact cars with limited room. It’s very accurate, landing within +1/-1 psi, and it uses either battery power or can plug into your car’s port. There’s a bright LED light, and a customizable auto-stop feature you can set to your preferred limits too.