Most drivers have at least once looked down at their dashboard to be met by a warning light showing low vehicle tire pressure. Even worse, some -and you might be one- have experienced the utter nightmare of a flat tire on the road, with no gas station or tow truck service in reach. So what do you do? It's quite simple, in fact: Get the best portable tire inflator so that you can always handle such problems yourself and get back on the road quickly.
Portable tire inflators save you plenty of time and money. These lifesavers also come in handy to rescue you from chaotic and agonizing tire-related situations. But choosing one that best suits your specific needs can be overwhelming due to the hundreds of options on the market. On this account, we have mustered an extensive guide of the best portable air compressors to help you find the perfect one.
1. EPAuto 12V DC Digital Tire Inflator & Air Compressor Pump
- Convenience: Plug directly into Cigarette Lighter Socket of your...
- Multiple Uses: Inflate tires on cars, bikes, sedan and midsize...
- Capacity: Does NOT Support truck tires, for instance: light truck...
- Easy to Read: 4 Display Units: PSI, KPA, BAR, KG/CM; LED...
- Prevent Over Inflation: Auto shut off when reaching the desired...
The EPAuto 12V DC is regarded by most as the best portable tire inflator for car tires, thanks to its quick and efficient operations. Its usability is also a significant draw, ensuring you can fix a flat easily and in no time. For starters, it's pretty convenient since it plugs directly into a 12-Volt cigarette lighter socket, producing 10-15 amps/ 120-180W power.
This air compressor can also be used across multiple vehicles, capable of inflating tires on cars, sedans, midsize SUVs and bikes. It comes with a universal valve connector (Schrader valve) that's ready to use. Plus, it includes extra adapter, such as needle valves for sports balls and short- or long-cone adapters for swimming pool accessories. Unfortunately, the capacity doesn't support truck tires.
The EPAuto has several amazing features, starting with the auto shut-off feature to prevent the machine and tires from overheating and overinflating. It also features LED lights and a backlit LCD screen that shows all the figures and amounts you need to care about. Additionally, it also comes with various nozzle attachments, allowing you to use it on all car models and SUVs but not trucks.
2. Kensun AC/DC Tire Inflator Pump
- FAST INFLATION: Dual solid metal motors provide superb power,...
- AC/DC FOR CAR AND HOME: Kensun’s unique AC/DC switching with...
- AUTO SHUT-OFF DIGITAL GAUGE: Unit shuts off automatically when...
- MULTI-PURPOSE: Inflate tires of cars, bikes, sedan and midsize...
- BUILT TO LAST: When you buy a Kensun product you know that you...
This is an excellent air compressor perfectly suited to both home use and on the road, and arguably the best AC/DC tire inflator. The capability to switch power sources means you can be plugged in a 12V car cigarette lighter plug or a 110V home power outlet. This makes it remarkably versatile and a multi-purpose tool too.
It features dual motors, both sturdy and well-engineered, to deliver a massive power output to inflate tires quickly. It's definitely the fastest portable air compressor pump featured on this guide. Since it comes with several sets of nozzle accessories, you can also use it to inflate tires on SUVs, bikes and even balls.
The Kensun AC/DC is also equipped with an auto shut-off digital gauge. The bright backlit LCD screen is pretty easy to operate, particularly since it comes with unit conversion (PSI/kPa/Bar). Lastly, this air compressor is very compact and lightweight, making it fairly easy to carry around and use.
3. HAUSBELL Portable Air Compressor
- 【Fast inflation & Accurate tire pressure】The 12V DC portable...
- 【Multiple Uses】 The portable air compressor pump comes with a...
- 【Bright LED Flashlight】The 12V DC tire air compressor...
- 【Easy to Set Tire Pressure Gauge】 The tire inflator is...
- 【Customer service】We put a 3-year warranty on this Products,...
A durable and sturdy tire inflator does not get any better than the HAUSBELL portable air compressor. It's precisely designed to last and function efficiently over several years. For starters, it's a 12V DC inflator featuring a digital gauge display for real-time display of the current tire air pressure, with a 150 PSI maximum pressure capacity. This air compressor has a 120W high power engine that delivers one of the fastest inflation rates out there; at 35L/min, it can inflate a 195/55/R15 car tire from 0-to-35 PSI in just under 5 minutes.
It features an auto-shutoff feature that turns the machine off once the desired tire pressure is achieved. This HAUSBELL Portable Tire Inflator comes with a 9.8-ft DC power cord and 3 extra nozzles, meaning you can use it for numerous kinds of vehicles, bikes, balls, air mattresses and several other inflatables. However, this portable air compressor pump doesn't support large volume or high-pressure applications, such as truck tires.
It also comes with a sizeable air hose, long enough for you to access all four tires with relative ease. The built-in emergency LED flashlight is bright enough for convenient use in the dark, not to mention quite long-lasting. This is a multi-purpose portable tire inflator that will come in handy whenever you need it on the road.
4. WindGallop Air Pump
- 【EASY TO USE】: Just plug this auto tire inflator into the 12V...
- 【FAST INFLATION】: Our air compressor uses the original unique...
- 【VERY USEFUL】: Special grab handle with two cord storage,...
- 【11.8 FT LONG REACH and LED LIGHT】: This electric air pump...
- 【WARRANTY AND CUSTOMER SERVICE】: WindGallop assures you that...
If you've been looking for the best AC tire inflator, specifically designed for small cars and bicycles, the WindGallop Air Compressor might be the one for you. First, it's made from durable ABS plastic, meaning it'll definitely last for a pretty long time. It's quite easy to use; simply plug it into a 12V power outlet in your vehicle, then attach the air hose to the desired tire. It also sports a backlit digital tire pressure gauge LCD screen with 4 different measurements (kPa, PSI, Bar, Kg/cm2).
The tire inflator features a unique grab handle with two cord storage. It also comes with 4 additional valve adaptors to suit a wider range of vehicles, as well as sports equipment like balls, swimming rings and pool toys. It has the auto shut-off feature and a new and improved digital LED display for easy operation and better visibility in the dark.
This portable air compressor uses a unique turbocharged mechanism, giving it more power and stability while also making it less noisy. It can inflate a 195/65R15 tire from 0-to-35 PSI in a quick 5 minutes. This means it's also ideal for filling other inflatables such as an air mattress, floats and kids' toys. More so, the tire inflator comes backed by a 1-year warranty.
5. Glamore Portable Air Compressor & Digital Tire Inflator
- 【Fast Inflation & Accurate Tire Pressure】The 12V DC portable...
- 【Multiple Uses Air Pump】The portable compressor pump comes...
- 【Easy to Set Tire Pressure Gauge】 The tire inflator is...
- 【Bright LED Light】The 12V DC portable air pump for car tires...
- 【Satisfaction Assured】Package includes 1 * Portable Tire...
Glamore is certainly a reputable brand in the power tool industry, and the same goes for their portable air compressor. Fast inflation and precise tire pressure are every car owner's aim, a standard feature Glamore Digital Tire Inflator. It plugs directly into a 12V DC cigarette lighter socket, while the motor produces 120W of power for snappy inflation rates.
The portable air compressor pump features a 9.18-ft long power cord, making it easy to reach your front and rear wheels. It also comes with 3 extra nozzles to suit several applications, from cars and bicycles to balls and balloons. It can inflate a car tire from 0-28 PSI in less than 120 seconds! However, the pump doesn't support large volume and high pressure inflating, like pools and truck tires.
This tire inflator also comes with a bright and precise digital pressure gauge display screen for easy operations. It also allows you to switch between units. However, it's worth noting the compressor can only inflate car tires for 10 continuous minutes; it has to cool down before further use.
Factors to Consider in the Best Portable Tire Inflator
1. Power Source
Tire inflators use electric motors and pumps to fill up tires, which means they need a power source to run. The best portable tire inflators come in two kinds:
- Corded tire inflators (12-Volt) are plugged into the vehicle's 12V jack to operate off the car's battery. Others can clip directly to the battery, similar to jumper cables. They are super convenient since you don't need to have an extra charged battery. More so, you can also find flexible models that run on both 12V DC power and 110V AC power, meaning they plug into a power outlet.
- Cordless tire inflators use a rechargeable battery (and charger) to power the motor and pump. Some models have removable batteries, while others are built-in to charge via 110V power or USB. These are very flexible since they don't require an additional power source to run, meaning they are just as nifty for inflating bike tires or filling up sports equipment as they are on car tires.
Pressure equals speed as far as tire inflators are concerned. Therefore, the higher the air pressure produced, the quicker the tire inflator can fill a tire. If you want a reasonably speedy fill-up, you can consider an air compressor with at least 100 PSI. A 150 PSI maximum pressure will certainly have it up and running sooner and faster. That said, most air compressors can fill your tires to the 30-40 PSI, which is the desired tire pressure according to several manufacturers.
3. Gauge Readability
Just as we've mentioned above, 35 PSI is around the recommended tire pressure. As such, you need a portable air compressor that's easy to read so that you can fill up the desired pressure. Digital gauges are definitely the easiest to read, especially those with a backlit for better visibility in the dark. Analog gauges with faces that have large numerals are equally handy, although visibility might be compromised in low-light conditions.
4. Automatic Shut-Off
Portable air compressors are definitely tough, stout machines, but they tend to overheat when they run too long. For this reason, most are equipped with a built-in auto shut-off feature. This feature can be enabled for three different measurements; air pressure, temperature and time.
This means you can set the desired air pressure and the pump stops once it reaches it. It could also be a specific temperature (usually around 200 200°F), after which the machine shuts down to cool off. Additionally, it could also run for the specified amount of time, then start cooling down after.
5. Hose Length
A short air hose isn't practical, while a long hose isn't any better due to tangling and possibly tripping over. The ideal length is typically a 16 to 20-inch hose because it's long enough to access most tires easily, but it's still manageable. You can consider a long coiled air hose since it can stretch considerably to reach all four tires without the need to move the air compressor - pretty nifty for larger vehicles and off-road enthusiasts.
6. Weight and Portability
A portable machine has to be lightweight enough to carry and lug around with relative ease. The same applies to portable tire inflators, often weighing less than a pound for convenient portability. Furthermore, a portable compressor is compact enough to fit in the trunk nicely without taking up too much room.
7. Ease of Use
More often than not, you want to get done with inflating tires as quickly as possible. The more straightforward and fast the process is, the easier the portable air pump is to use. Generally, tire inflators are usually simple by design, although a few extra features can make their use even easier.
For instance, a programmable pressure regulator ensures that you never run the risk of overinflated tires. A built-in tire pressure gauge means you don't require a separate tool to check how much pressure is going into the tire.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Portable Tire Inflators
1. How often should I inflate my tires?
It depends on your vehicle's tire pressure requirements. The best practice is checking your tire pressure regularly to determine when refilling is necessary.
2. Does tire pressure affect gas mileage?
Yes. Tire pressure has a direct influence on your vehicle's gas intake. Underinflated tires or ones that haven't reached the optimum pressure limit require more fuel to move. This means they use up more gas and also have less mileage.
Always ensure you have properly inflated tires before driving for a smooth, hassle-free ride.
3. Can I use an air compressor to fill other vehicles' tires?
Certainly. All the portable air compressors features on this list can inflate tires on cars, trucks, motorcycles and bicycles.