Best Tire Inflator in 2020 (September Reviews)

To find the best tire inflator on the market, we researched critical factors including each unit’s pump power, integrated pressure gauge, included nozzles and adapters, and each unit’s overall portability. Depending on whether you are inflating vehicle tires, balloons, blow-up cushions, or sports equipment, finding a portable air compressor with the proper power is essential. Other factors such as pressure gauges and portability, help to determine how easy each air compressor will be able to function in a given task.

Our detailed research found Audew’s Portable Air Compressor to be the top pick for most individuals seeking out a great portable air compressor. Featuring a strong 150 PSI pump and an integrated pressure gauge with automatic shutoff once the specified pressure is reached, the Audew makes pumping up any object easy as pie. The Audew also includes a variety of different nozzles, allowing you to use it with everything from car tires to birthday balloons.

Top 6 Best Tire Inflators

 #1  Audew Tire Inflator – Top Pick

WHY WE LIKE IT: The Audew Portable Air Compressor delivers a powerful 150 PSI pump and an integrated automatic pressure gauge, all in a portable and very affordable form factor.

Pros
  • Strong 150 PSI pump power
  • Built-in auto-off pressure gauge
  • Multi-purpose nozzles included
Cons
  • No wall-outlet power option

Audew’s Portable Air Compressor easily wins our top pick spot thanks to its strong 150 PSI pump power that can fill high-pressure tires and other inflatables and a built-in automatic shutoff pressure gauge that switches off once you’ve reached your set PSI level. The Audew also features a collection of multi-purpose nozzles for filling different everything from vehicle tires to sports balls to balloons. Perfect for use on the road or in your driveway, this portable air compressor runs off any vehicle’s 12V accessory socket.

Measuring in at only 8.6”x7.6”x3.5,’ Audew sets a standard for portability while including a carry bag for easy travel. We also like the product’s built-in LED light for easy viewing of your tire or another device in dark situations. It would have been nice to see a wall-outlet option for this unit so it could be used away from a vehicle, but Audew only included the 12V car accessory plug on this model. It is still a highly rated air compressor though and just as handy as the best car battery charger when it is needed.

 #2  Ryobi P731 One+ Tire Inflator – Honorable Mention

WHY WE LIKE IT: Ryobi delivers a truly portable air compressor with the P731 thanks to its use of Ryobi 18V batteries, while still including a powerful 150 PSI pump.

Pros
  • Built-in rechargeable battery for ultra-portability
  • Strong 150 PSI pump power
  • Built-in auto-off pressure gauge
Cons
  • Requires battery, which is not included
  • No wired power option
  • Comparatively expensive

Ryobi offers an excellent portable air compressor with the P731 One+ thanks to the unit’s ability to utilize the company’s rechargeable 18V batteries. Forgoing the need for any power outlet makes the Ryobi one of the most portable options on our list. It’s not just great for moving about; the unit also features a pump power of 150 PSI for tackling high-pressure tires, as well as an auto-off pressure gauge that switches the unit off once your set PSI is reached. We also like the unit’s included multi-purpose nozzles and dedicated air mattress hose for inflating various products.

While the Ryobi is an excellent option for anyone who might already own other Ryobi One+ battery-powered products, anyone purchasing both this air compressor and a set of batteries for the first time will run into quite a high price-tag. Additionally, we wish that the company included a wired power option as once your battery dies, you’re out of luck. This is one reason that I own the best corded drill rather than a battery unit. The EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump and Digital Tire Inflator is another great option for a portable tire inflator. Just plug the inflator directly into the cigarette lighter socket in your vehicle, connect the air hose to the tire valve, then start giving your tire air. The device automatically shuts off once you hit the target pressure, and its maximum pressure is 70 PSI and inflating speed is 1.06 CFM. Pair this with the EPAuto Digital Gauge that has a lighted nozzle to make it easy to use at night, and you’re set for maintaining your tires’ pressure wherever you go.

 #3  AstroAI Tire Inflator – Best Budget

WHY WE LIKE IT: AstroAI delivers with a product that achieves 100 PSI of power and an auto-off pressure gauge, all at an excellent price.

Pros
  • Great for the car
  • Built-in auto-off pressure gauge
  • Multi-purpose nozzles included
Cons
  • No wall-outlet power option

AstroAI delivers all the features we want to find in a premium portable air compressor, but at a fantastic budget price. The AstroAI Air Compressor features a 100 PSI pump, excellent for filling up high-pressure tires, as well as an auto-off pressure gauge that automatically stops the pump once the set PSI is reached. The integrated handle and 12V accessory socket plug make it an excellent on-the-go option for throwing into the back of your vehicle.

We also liked the included multi-purpose nozzles, allowing you to tackle a variety of jobs from filling car tires to inflate sports balls. An integrated light is also present on the front of the unit when you need to fill up a vehicle’s wheel on the side of the road in the dark. We do wish the manufacturer had opted to include a wall-outlet plug for easy use inside or when not near a vehicle. You can even use this compressor to clean up things like the best car floor mats and even for getting dust out of a computer, so it is very handy.

 #4  Kensun Digital Tire Inflator – Best Versatile

WHY WE LIKE IT: Kensun’s Digital Tire Inflator is excellent for the home garage thanks to its ability to run off either a car or home outlet, plus its variety of included nozzles.

Pros
  • Great for the garage
  • Powered by car and home outlets
  • Features multi-purpose nozzles
Cons
  • Comparatively expensive

The Kensun Digital Tire Inflator offers excellent versatility thanks to its ability to run off both a vehicle’s 12V accessory socket, as well as a standard 110V home outlet, meaning that you won’t need to be tied to your car or truck to use it. Include the Kensun’s set of multi-purpose nozzles for inflating car tires, bike tires, inflatables, and sports balls, and you have one competent solution.

For additional functionality, the Kensun includes an integrated LED light for working in the dark, as well as a digital pressure gauge with automatic shutoff. We found the Kensun to be a bit expensive when compared to the competition, but its overall versatile design still makes it an excellent choice among portable air compressors. It is one of the best tools to have around the shop for sure. Make sure to also check out the Arteck Portable 12V DC Tire Air Compressor Pump, which connects to the cigarette lighter and designated tire valve, then impressively inflates a flat to 30 PSI in under three minutes.

 #5  Kobalt Tire Inflator – Best For Bicycles

WHY WE LIKE IT: The Kobalt Portable Air Compressor is the best for bicycles due to its inclusion of a Presta bicycle adapter, and the ability to run without being tied to a vehicle.

Pros
  • Best for use with high-pressure tires
  • Includes Presta bicycle adapter
  • Powered by car and home outlets
Cons
  • Lack of on/off switch
  • Power cord is too short

The Kobalt Portable Air Compressor is our best choice for bicycles thanks to its inclusion of a Presta valve adapter. Also known as a french valve, a Presta valve is commonly found on high-pressure bicycle inner tubes and is a necessity to any bicycler with a flat – without the adapter, you’re out of luck. Additionally, the unit features the ability to be used with both car accessory sockets and home outlets, so one isn’t stuck next to a vehicle when inflating a bicycle tire.

The air compressor also features a motor with up to 120 PSI of power – plenty for bicyclists, as well as an integrated LED light for working in the dark. What we didn’t like is the unit’s lack of an on/off switch, meaning that the only way to cut power to the unit is to unplug it. Lastly, we found the power cord way too short at only about two-feet long, so be sure to bring an extension cord along. If you’re interested in a cordless tire pump, check out the Avid Power 20V Cordless Car Tire Pump, which can inflate car, motorcycle, and bike tires without the hassle of a cord attached. The air compressor is a versatile tool that can do many jobs, similar to how the best wire strippers are suited for many tasks.

 #6  VIAIR 400P Tire Inflator – Best Heavy-Duty

WHY WE LIKE IT: The VIAIR 400P is the best heavy-duty portable air compressor we tested thanks to its 150 PSI of pressure, 25-feet hose, and ability to hook up to any car battery.

Pros
  • Strong 150 PSI pump power
  • Excellent reachability due to long hose
  • Runs off any car battery
Cons
  • Heavy to carry
  • No automatic function

If you need to get the job done with a heavy-duty solution, then the VIAIR 400P is the best portable air compressor that we researched. Featuring a powerful 150 PSI pump, tires up to 35-inches can be filled from zero to 30 PSI in less than five minutes. What truly stood out to us was the VIAIR’s ability to hook up to a car battery using its heavy-duty dual battery clamps that feature a 40-amp inline fuse so that you don’t damage your new hardware. If an outlet is more your style, don’t fret, the compressor can still use a standard 110V outlet.

For jobs that require a robust compressor, the VIAIR 400P is the best option, but it isn’t without flaws. We found the unit to be heavier than other units, so you will need a bit of muscle to carry it around continually. Additionally, the unit features no automatic functions or digital displays, so you will need to carefully read the compressor’s analog gauge and shut off the compressor manually once you hit your desired PSI rating. Also, check out the JACO SmartPro Digital Tire Inflator Pump, which threads onto the valve stem and uses smart pressure technology to automatically shut off when the target PSI level is reached. It has a 10 ft. power cord to easily reach all four tires, and includes a quality power adaptor that plugs into any 12-volt DC accessory outlet in your vehicle. There’s also a 2.0 version of this product, which uses AC/DC power cords and also features an LED safety light with three settings (off, flashlight, and emergency SOS).

How We Decided

There are collections of different portable air compressors available, and you might be forgiven for thinking that they are all the same – don’t they just pump air in the end? However, we took the time to sort through the best options available, ensuring they met minimum requirements when it came to overall pump power, integrated pressure gauges, included nozzle sets, and portability.

All of the portable air compressors we tested are electrically powered and feature a rating of at least 100 PSI, meaning that they can fill up everything from your bicycle tires to your truck tires with ease. We also made sure that each option featured a built-in pressure gauge, eliminating the need to purchase one separately, with many of our selections also offering an auto-shutoff system for ease of use.

For a portable air compressor, we double-checked and made sure that even the heaviest of our selections don’t exceed over 10 pounds – all of them featuring integrated handles or carrying bags for transport. Lastly, we ensured that each compressor included a set of nozzles so that everything from car tires to sports equipment could be filled without the need to shop around for additional adapters.

Tire Inflator Buyer’s Guide

 

Top Features

  1. Pump Power: When selecting a portable air compressor, you’ll want to ensure that it will be able to fill the product you are inflating, whether it be a birthday balloon or a truck tire. For vehicles, ensure that your selected pump is rated at a high enough PSI rating for your tires. Low-pressure items such as balloons, inflatable beds, and sports equipment are less of a concern for power and should be okay with nearly any selection.
  2. Pressure Gauge: The compressor’s pressure gauge tells you the current PSI, or Pounds Per Square Inch, of an item that you are inflating. Searching for a compressor with a built-in pressure gauge is essential, so you don’t find yourself needing to unhook the compressor and always take pressure readings with a separate tool. Some gauges even feature an electric auto-shutoff feature that turns off the compressor when it has hit a set PSI.
  3. Included Nozzles: While most vehicles use the same type of valve, you’ll want to keep an eye out when purchasing a compressor for specialty items such as bicycles with Presta valves, air-mattresses, and sporting equipment. Check the compressor you are eyeing to see what nozzles are included with your purchase; otherwise, you will need to buy additional after-market adapters.
  4. Portability: Portable air compressors need to be portable; it’s that simple. If you know that you need to move an air compressor around or need it stowed in the back of a vehicle for emergencies, select one that is relatively lightweight at under 10-pounds. Additionally, check the power source of your compressor so that you know what will be required – options include compressors that run off rechargeable batteries, car accessory outlets, standard home outlets, and even more industrial car batteries.

FAQs

  • What is the best portable air compressor?
    After our research, we found the best portable air compressor to be the Audew Portable Air Compressor due to its powerful 150 PSI pump for filling large tires, built-in automatic shutoff pressure gauge that will stop at a specified PSI, multi-purpose nozzles for cars, bicycle, sports requirements and more, and its space-saving, lightweight design.
  • What size air compressor do I need to fill car tires?
    Any air compressor containing a pump with around 100 PSI of power should allow you to fill most commercial car and truck tires capably. For extra-large industrial vehicles, you will need to check with your tire manufacturer, in most cases requiring a more substantial, less portable air compressor.
  • Can I use an air compressor to fill my tires?
    Yes, an air compressor will help to fill your tires if they have become deflated. Ensure that you utilize a compressor with a built-in gauge so that you can keep an eye on your tire pressure and shut off the compressor once the appropriate PSI value has been reached.
  • How do I put air in my tires without the gauge?
    It is highly recommended that you use an air gauge when putting air in your tires. Foregoing a gauge could cause you to underfill your tires, or worse, overfill them, potentially causing the tire to blowout while driving or explode while it is being filled.
  • Can I drive with low tire pressure?
    It is not recommended to drive with low tire pressure. Not only can a low tire pressure reduce your vehicle’s overall gas mileage, but it can be dangerous when used on the road. Due to inadequate pressure, the tire can begin to overheat, possibly causing a blowout.

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Michael Archambault

Michael Archambault is a technology writer and digital marketer located in Long Island, New York. For the past decade, Michael has covered the consumer technology space, reporting on the latest industry offerings while crafting comprehensive how-to guides, hands-on-reviews, and opinion-editorials. Michael has worked for Amazon.com's DPReview, Mobile Nations' Windows Central, onMSFT, PetaPixel, Dotdash’s Lifewire, and Digital Trends.

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