Most drivers have looked down at their dashboard and noticed a warning light indicating a tire with low pressure. If you drive for a minute or so and the light stays on, it’s time to take action and check your tires. You can either pay for air at the gas station pump, or grab your trusty tire inflator and handle the problem yourself.
Whether it’s battery-operated, 110-volt electric, or one that plugs into your car’s 12-volt system, the right tire inflator is just the ticket when you’re in a pinch. In no time at all, these noisy day-savers can boost a low tire to optimal pressure.
Choosing the best car tire inflator for your needs helps keep your vehicle running at its best. From poor gas mileage to terrible ride quality, tires low on pressure can make driving problematic. Instead, arm yourself with one of the best tire inflators from this guide.
Top 10 best car tire inflators
1.Helteko Portable Air Compressor Pump
It may just be a portable tire compressor, but if you want something that’s stylish and looks good, Helteko’s portable air compressor pump is an excellent option. Constructed from durable ABS plastic and stainless steel, this portable tire inflator is available in red or yellow and features an LCD digital display that shows tire pressure in PSI, BAR, KPA, and kg/cm.
This air compressor is rated at 35L/min can inflate a standard midsize car tire in 3 to 5 minutes. You can set the desired air pressure on this unit, which will automatically shut off once it reaches that value. It connects to any vehicle’s 12-volt cigarette lighter receptacle with an 11.5-foot long cable for extra reach. It comes with 3 additional nozzles so you can inflate household items such as basketballs and other sports equipment.
Helteko also provides an 18-month warranty with its portable tire inflator.
2.Ring RAC635 digital tyre inflator
The RAC 635 is one of a series of air compressors from Ring. It boasts a digital readout for choosing a preset air pressure, plus an automatic cut-off that stops when the desired pressure is reached. It connects to a 12v accessory socket and can inflate a flat tyre to 35psi in around three minutes.
The unit is small enough to keep inside the car and comes with the 12v connector, wiring and air hose neatly tucked away inside – then it all packs neatly into a storage case. The whole thing is very intuitive to use – simply hook the air hose up, plug into the 12v outlet in the car, select the correct pressure for your tyre and press the button.
Once the tyre has reached the pre-selected pressure the system switches itself off and can be disconnected. Easy. If you need to use the compressor at night then it’s fitted with a torch, plus there is a flashing red light for signalling in an emergency and a valve for letting air out of a tyre if needed.
here are a few extra attachments to allow the inflation of bicycle tyres, footballs or inflatables like dinghies or air beds. So if you’re outdoorsy then it’s a worthwhile thing to keep in the car even if you’re not too worried about your tyres. Build quality is sturdy – in our testing we dropped and bashed the unit and while it does have a few little scratches here and there it’s still in one very chunky piece.
3.P.I. Auto Store 12V Portable Tire Inflator
The power cord is long enough for you to be able to carry it around all times, but one would suggest buying an extension wire as well.
The unit has a digital display for adjusting and gauging the tire pressure in multiple units of measure, most importantly the PSI measure. It is powerful enough to inflate all types of tires, including the SUV ones.
A little issue could be that pressure escapes each time you would remove the inflator pipe from the tire. However, this could be avoided if you simply have to unscrew it without any delay.
In summary, if you are looking for a great tire inflator, at a reasonable price, then do not hesitate to buy this product.
4.EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump, Digital Tire Inflator
The EPAuto 12V air compressor is perfect for most applications. It weighs just 3.8 pounds and measures 13.5 by 8.1 by 5.6 inches. This portable air pump for your car tire is capable of providing a maximum pressure of 70 psi and an airflow of 1.06 cubic feet per minute. The power cord on the pump is 9 feet long and the air hose is 2.5 feet long, which should be enough to reach all four tires of most vehicles.
A screw-on tire chuck means you can set this 12V DC tire inflator and forget it and the EPAuto inflator will stop at a preset air pressure. It will also shut itself off before overheating. The digital display can measure tire pressure in KPA, PSI, BAR, KG/CM. It also comes with a built-in LED work light, its own carrying case and various adaptors to air up sporting equipment. It’s also a hit with owners scoring 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon based on more than 14,000 reviews.
A few caveats: The portable compressor can draw up to 15 amps, so be sure your 12-volt cigarette lighter outlet can handle the power. Otherwise you might be going through a few fuses. Also, you should keep your car running while using the 12-volt air compressor to avoid draining the battery.
5.Sakura 12v Digital Air Compressor SS5332
Runner up to Ring in Auto Express, Which? and Carbuyer tests, this Sakura digital air compressor bears a clear similarity to its main rival.
Featuring auto stop, this plugs into a 12V car socket and makes quick work of inflating your tyres. The light improves visibility in the dark and the digital display is easy-to-read.
The hose is a little short, if you have a saloon or estate car, but that’s a small sacrifice to make if you’re on a budget – it might mean more fuel money.
6.TOOLTRONIX Digital Tyre Inflator
This superb budget tyre inflator packs all the features of more expensive models at a slimmer price.
It’s a rugged, hardy tyre inflator that is suitable for almost any inflatable item including car, motorbike and bike tyres as well as sports balls and inflatables.
It’s fully cordless and will charge from either any mains socket or 12v car sockets. This adds flexibility if you’re using the inflator at home as well as inside your car.
The TOOLTRONIX Digital Tyre Inflator has an LCD display to show PSI, battery charge, etc. It’s built from rugged plastic and has handy clips for the hose and valve adapters.
It has an automatic charging function – simply set the desired PSI and let the pump run. It will automatically cut off once it achieves the specified PSI.
It’s no slouch either and will charge an average car tyre in some 5 minutes or so.
A max achievable PSI of 150PSI is easily enough to pump the vast majority of inflatables, including high-pressure road bike tyres.
It also has an LED torch built-in, which is awesome.
7.Ring Automotive RTC1000
You can find a whole lot of tyre inflators on the market, but if you are looking to invest in a high-quality thing, the Ring RTC1000 will pique your interest.
First and foremost, it’s one of few tyre inflators that include a safe-guard feature. This is a great advantage that can swing many drivers towards this model, as it will give you nice peace of mind by automatically turning the machine off once the pressure in its tyres reaches the preset level.
Secondly, the Ring RTC1000 is very fast and accurate. Using this tyre inflator, you will be able to inflate a 13-inch tyre from 0 PSI up to the desired target of 35 PSI in just 2 minutes, which is half the time most other tyre inflators usually take. It is also pretty accurate and doesn’t drop down too much as most inflators do, which means there will be minimum deviation in the readings.
To add to all that, the unit comes supplied in a neat small bag that also contains 3 adapters and a pair of gloves. This is a handy addition that will protect your hands from getting dirty when you touch valves and the wheel. The inflator itself is pretty neat too. Measuring just 22.99 x 21.58 x 19.7 cm and with a weight of just 1.36 kg, it won’t take up a lot of space in the boot of your car or car boot organiser. Despite that, the size of its screen has not been compromised. In fact, it is quite large and backlit so you should be able to see the current reading at a glance without squinting.
When it comes to negatives, some users complain about the light indicator being placed on the wrong side, which makes it a little inconvenient for right-handed users to screw on the inflation tube. That, however, is just a minor quibble and doesn’t detract from the advantages of the tyre inflator. So, if you’re in the market for one of the best models with some added perks, the Ring RTC1000 with the auto-stop function will hit the mark.
8.VonHaus Cordless Tyre Inflator
Another popular cordless tyre inflator is by the VonHaus brand. It uses a rechargeable 12V 1,500 mAh Lithium ion battery that is easy to attach and remove for charging.
The LED light of this unit is a standout feature due to its large output of 450 Lumens. This allows you to light up the tyres but also use it as a standard mechanics torch.