It’s safe to say the best tire inflators should now be carried by each car. Since flat tires can occur in the most remote locations, replenishing air pressure is crucial when it comes to being able to drive at all. But there are a few types of tire inflators to consider, each with its own pros and cons.
From inflating speed to digital displays or overheating protectors, there are a few features which make up for the best tire inflators. A pressure gauge is mandatory in order to tell just how much air is inside the tire. Since each tire has its own recommended pressure (PSI), it is wise to abide by the manufacturer’s recommendations when using a tire inflator.
- Why the best tire inflators are a matter of safety
- Top 10 Best Tire Inflators for Cars 2023
- 1. EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump
- 2. Helteko Portable Air Compressor Pump
- 3. Kensun Portable Air Compressor
- 4. Ontel Air Hawk Pro Automatic Cordless Tire Inflator
- 5. Fortem Digital Tire Inflator for Car
- 6. Vondior Digital Tire Inflator with Gauge
- 7. Porter Cable CMB15 Hand Carry Compressor Kit
- 8. Avid Power Tire Inflator
- 9. DeWalt DCC020IB 20V Max Inflator
- 10. Audew Dual Cylinder Air Compressor Pump
- Guide to Buying the Best Tire Inflators for Cars
- Final words
Why the best tire inflators are a matter of safety
Tire pressure is not something which can be discussed. Each tire is engineered to perform within a certain range, with certain loads and on various surfaces. Optimum performance can only be had when the tires are run in these parameters. Inflating the tires too low or too high comes with a specific set of problems.
Low tire pressure
Lot tire pressure is not going to improve road safety or tire condition. Keeping the pressure too low can actually come with a long list of problems.
- Longer breaking distance
- Heavier wheel turning
- Faster and irregular tire wear
- Reduced responsiveness on wet roads
- Oversteering and understeering
- High tire pressure
But even using too much air can cause certain problems. Allowing the best tire inflators to add too much air can cause its own issues for the tires themselves, for the car and for its passengers.
- Reduced grip with a smaller road contact area
- Higher wear in the middle of the tire
- Increased pressure on the suspension systemr
- Higher bounce and reduced comfort
- Added tire noise
Keeping in mind these problems, drivers also need to know the best tire inflators help them stay safer on the road. Proper air pressure improves tire durability and it also decreases fuel consumption. The following best tire inflators can be used to keep an eye on the recommended air pressure range.
Top 10 Best Tire Inflators for Cars 2023
1. EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor Pump
Armed with a digital display, the tire inflator is equipped with everything it needs in order to inflate tires and other objects as well. Instead of the classic pressure gauge, users can see the digital display gauge which allows a more direct method of reading air pressure.
Right underneath the digital display, there are buttons for adding or removing air. In front of the tire inflator, the manufacturer added a flashlight, which will be a life-saver in those nighttime flat tires. But the accessories of the tire inflator are not bad at all. If its standard connector is suitable to inflate tires on cars, it also has needles which prove useful when inflating basketballs or inflating kayaks.
The maximum supported pressure sits at 70PSI. This covers the needs of most tires. Furthermore, protective systems are in place whenever users go beyond a certain limit with the tire inflator. For example, it comes with an auto shut off function which protects the device against overheating. At the same time, it has a back-up fuse for the same safety reasons.
The CE-certified tire inflator is one of the reliable designs since it is made to a high standard. But it is used just as any other tire inflator. It connects to the car’s 12V DC cigarette lighter. A convenient feature when inflating a tire from zero pressure is the programmable function. Users can set a certain pressure on the digital display and allow the tire inflator to work its way up and they stop once this pressure has been reached. However, all users need to know some air is lost when the valve connector is detached.
Ready for all cars, the tire inflator is equipped with some of the most popular features such as auto shut off and PSI programming.
- Made with a compact design
- Includes sports equipment accessories
- Suitable for up to 70PSI
- Included LED flashlight
- Reduced air flow at high PSI
2. Helteko Portable Air Compressor Pump
Not many would expect a portable tire inflator to actually look appealing. But this is what Helteko offer with their air compressor pump. It is one of the most intriguing designs of its class as many would not expect it to handle PSI levels of up to 150.
The elegant design of the tire inflator is what makes it a top choice for those who value aesthetics. If a car owner is into the way a car and its accessories look than the tire inflator is hard to match. Even its LCD display is unlike most other digital displays in this class. Since there is a backlight function, the digital display can also be read during the night. It shows current air pressure but it also serves as a tool to program a certain air pressure and allow the tire inflator to do the rest of the job.
With a flow rate of 35L per minute, it won’t be long until a car tire is fully inflated. However, this speed cannot really be improved further and it will take a few minutes to completely inflate a tire from zero. The good news is the long 3.5m power cable covers all wheels. The cable connects to the 12V DC outlet and it supports the tire inflator for the entire duration of the process.
One of the convenient features of the tire inflator is its noise level. At 50db, it is not the loudest in its class, which comes to complete its elegant design. Given that some drivers change all the tires at the same time, a tire inflator might work longer on these occasions. But when it comes to inflating multiple tires at a time, all users should know overheating can be an issue. Luckily, the Helteko tire inflator can work continuously up to 10 minutes before needing a cooldown.
This elegant tire inflator is made to handle impressive air pressure with various included nozzles.
- Made with an elegant design
- Shows information on an LCD display
- Includes 3 other air nozzles
- Handles pressures of 150 PSI
- Adds a bit more air on occasion
3. Kensun Portable Air Compressor
There are not too many tire inflators which allow power up from DC and AC current. This is why the Kensun air compressor is so valuable. Practically, it can be used in the garage or anywhere else around the home to inflate car tires, bike tires, and sporting inflatables. Unlike its alternatives which only connect to the car’s DC current, the air compressor works like any other electrical outlet. This also means that it is probably one of the best in its class for those who do not want to spend extra to purchase additional tire inflators to use on bikes or motorbikes.
The design of the tire inflator is very simple. There’s a built-in handlebar so that it can be moved easily around the house. Two buttons are allocated to DC and AC power with their corresponding power cables. A large classic pressure gauge completes the simple design of the tire inflator. Practically, it is a product which offers the basics.
With supported 120PSI pressure, the tire inflator can handle all types of tires for small cars and SUVs. It is not sufficient to power van tires or truck tires, but for small cars such as hatchbacks, sedans, and crossovers, it does its job well.
Of course, its biggest advantage remains its capacity to actually draw power from two types of current and convert it so that it can inflate tires. For this reason, the tire inflator can be valued higher even than alternatives which come with plenty of accessories. Simply put, it doesn’t need a car to inflate tires.
In terms of accessories, its pack also contains a number of needles. They are used in football inflation as well in any other inflatable sporting products. Offering only the basics but with good current versatility, the tire inflator is among the strong candidates for the best design when it comes to freedom of movement.
This versatile tire inflator is a top choice for families as it handles all types of current and all types of inflation needs.
- Supports AC and DC current
- Made with an included a pressure gauge
- Includes a carry handlebar
- Covered by warranty
- Pressure gauge cover scratches easily
4. Ontel Air Hawk Pro Automatic Cordless Tire Inflator
It’s somewhat unexpected to see a cordless tire inflator actually perform. However, the cordless profile of the tire inflator does not specifically recommend for tire inflation from zero. It is an alternative to add air whenever air is lost from tires and to inflating various inflatables around the house.
The battery-powered performance lasts about 15 minutes. Since there tire inflator is not made to handle high pressures, this means it is actually suited for various uses whenever air is lost from the car’s tires. However, its design is where its strength lies.
With an ergonomic design, the grip of the tire inflator offers plenty of stability. At the same time, the tire inflator also represents one of the designs with all accessories needed to inflate sporting goods. It is why it might end up as being a family-orientated product.
There’s a digital display on the back of the tire inflator. It can be used to program the desired pressure level of the tires and of the sporting inflatables. This function is met with the auto shut-off function which allows the tire inflator to save battery life as it powers off immediately as the desired pressure level is reached.
A built-in LED light can also prove handy. Those inflating tires in low light conditions will find it particularly appealing. However, all users should actually know that the tire inflator takes about 2 hours to charge. Those in an emergency can always rely on its DC power cable as an alternative instead of waiting a long time for its battery to charge.
Made with an ergonomic design, the tire inflator is among the mobile designs for cars, SUVs and inflatable sporting equipment.
- Made with an ergonomic design
- Includes a rechargeable battery
- Ships with inflating accessories
- Suitable for sports equipment
- May take a long time to inflate tires from scratch
5. Fortem Digital Tire Inflator for Car
This elegant tire inflator is among the sole solutions to choose at 150PSI. At this pressure levels, there are not too many alternatives. The fact that its performance is backed by an appealing design can only prove its worth further.
The box-shaped design features spots for all cables. With better cable management, there are fewer reasons to worry when it comes to storage. Too many tire inflators come with cables dangling around and making a mess out of the trunk space.
The design of the tire inflator is completed with a simple digital display. It comes with plenty of adjustability options and it shows the immediate PSI readings. A power button is also placed in easy reach for the user.
With a continuous working time of 8 minutes, the tire inflator is not to be used for commercial purposes. It is only meant to inflate one tire at a time before taking a break to cool off. However, there’s an automated function for this objective as it stops on its own.
Along 9.84ft cord is attached to the tire inflator. It powers the device up and it only connects to the car’s DC current outlets. But the tire inflator is also a well-rounded product in terms of accessories. Spare safety fuses are included in the pack.
Users can also consider the tire inflator for sporting goods such as footballs as it comes with inflator needles and adapters. With a built-in LED light, the tire inflator can tackle these tasks with better visibility. Of course, the light is unidirectional and not the strongest, but it adds some illumination to low light working conditions.
At a weight of just 1.94lbs, the tire inflator remains easy to use, even at high air pressure.
- Made with a premium case
- Supports high air pressure
- Includes a long list of accessories
- Made with a long 3m power cord
- The LED light has no adjustability
6. Vondior Digital Tire Inflator with Gauge
The design of the tire inflator is what makes it so appealing. Being easy to hold and to use, it remains a solution which can be used as often as needed to check tire pressure. It is known that tire pressure changes with differences in temperature of 10 degrees and this is why tire might require extra air from time to time.
With an included digital reader, setting the correct tire pressure is not complicated. Users can do this with no extra help and it proves to be a precise solution to classic analog pressure gauges. But at the same time, the no-leak connectors of the tire inflators help maintain proper tire pressure when being removed, unlike most other connectors.
The accuracy of the tire inflator is what makes a tempting solution even for the most expensive tires. Its digital readout offers results in the range of +/- 1% accuracy which means it will be far more reliable than most other products.
Powered by two AAA batteries, the digital pressure gauge is also made to resist all types of weather conditions. It uses anti-shock rubber sealing to offer plenty of protection and long term use. Those who want to remove tires completely can also use the included bleeder valve. It allows quick pressure reduction in the tires and it is perfect for situations where the tire needs to be removed completely.
Another advantage of the tire inflator is its durability. Even its air hose is reinforced to ensure it will resist high air pressures. For those on a budget, it might be difficult to find a comparable design both in usability and in performance.
The compact tire inflator is perfect for quick results. Its unique design makes it easy to hold as well.
- Made with a digital pressure gauge
- Designed with rubber sealing
- Includes a straight lock on and twist connectors
- Ships with a ¼” NPT male connector
- Includes thin plastic parts
7. Porter Cable CMB15 Hand Carry Compressor Kit
Having a powerful tire inflator is mandatory in the world of large vehicles. Many car owners also drive vans, RVs or trucks. This is the reason they might need extra power and versatility. A 1,5 gal tank is included with the compressor which means more air is ready to be inflated when needed.
Tank pressure and tire pressure gauges are found at the top of the tire inflator. A regulator is also added to offer more freedom together with an on/off button. Since the tire inflator is quite large, it also benefits from an included carry handle. Most users will not find it too heavy to move around large or even around small vehicles.
Apart from the included air tank, the tire inflator does well in changing temperatures. This is why its motor starts even in cold weather, which can be a problem for other powerful motors. But the good news is its motor does not need any care or lubrication in time, making its use as easy as possible.
Suitable for longer runtimes such as with large vehicles or commercial use, the tire inflator is ready to deal with some of the most demanding conditions in terms of speed and tire pressure. At 79Db it is actually quiet given its design. It remains to be seen which users need extra strength.
With a robust design, the tire inflator will work on all range of vehicles, regardless of their size.
- Made with a 1,5-gallon air tank
- Includes a tire pressure gauge
- Made with an air tank gauge
- Handles 150 PSI
- Too strong for small car owners
8. Avid Power Tire Inflator
The ergonomic design of the tire inflator allows it to work to a high standard even while other designs struggle to offer decent performance, especially when battery-powered. With its 20V battery system, the cordless tire inflator works wonders on regular R16 tires. It can inflate such tires in minutes. Up to 3 tires can be inflated on a single battery charge.
As one of the best tire inflators, it also comes with a digital pressure gauge. Users simply set their desired pressure level and allow the device to do the rest. There are 4 pressure units which are measured by the inflator. They include PSI, KPA, BAR and Kg/cm2.
Battery level indicators are also added on the tire inflator. Together with USB outputs, it creates a modern design which can be used on a large number of tires from cars to SUVs.
Battery charging is simple. It charges while inside the tire inflator and connected to DC current. It is ideal to keep the battery charged as often as possible. Practically, after each use, it should be charged back to full batteries. It is when the batteries are full that the tire inflator works best. Its impressive accuracy within the 1% error range makes it one of the leading solutions in its class.
But the biggest advantage of the tire inflator remains its compact size. Simply put, it stores easily in the trunk, along with other vehicle essentials. At the same time, its portability allows its use on various sporting goods. Even inflating a pool mattress can be easier with such a tire inflator. Family members will be happy to use it on various sporting goods inflatables.
The handheld tire inflator comes with high accuracy and portability suitable for various uses.
- Made with rechargeable 20V batteries
- Includes USB ports
- High accuracy within 1% error readings
- Measures PSA and BAR
- Batteries take hours to charge
9. DeWalt DCC020IB 20V Max Inflator
With a robust design, the Max Inflator looks like a hybrid and a combination of a home and commercial use product. Its rubber-reinforced body makes it a suitable design for all types of uses, especially for those who need to check air pressure more often.
An included carry handle makes it easier to maneuver. However, its main appeal lies in the 3 power sources adapted in a unique product. The first option is to use any 20V DeWalt battery. There is no included battery with the tire inflator but those who already use a cordless DeWalt design can simply swap batteries with no issues.
Then there’s the DC power compatibility. It works like any other tire inflator, being connected to the car’s battery via the cigarette lighter. In time, this can become easier to handle for those who do not want to deal with battery charging. But there is on more alternative. The tire inflator also connects to 110V AC power which means it will work plugged-in as any other household electrical device.
The accessories are smartly laid-out. Unlike most other products where inflator needles are stored separately, the Max Inflator stores these accessories in a special compartment. Together with its easy access design, the compartment can be used to inflate other products such as beach balls.
A digital display gauge is also implemented by DeWalt. In this day and age, it is already a must. But the best part is the tire inflator has a certain versatility and freedom which allows its use in conditions where others would not work. It is also known that the DeWalt Li-Ion 20V batteries are among the best on the market.
Made with quality materials, the tire inflator combines power sources for the ultimate freedom of movement.
- Supports 3 power sources
- Supports cordless performance
- Includes a digital pressure gauge
- Made with a threaded chuck
- Li-Ion battery not included
10. Audew Dual Cylinder Air Compressor Pump
The design of the air compressor pump has been upgraded and its parts have been improved. There’s a dual cylinder design in place which doubles its PSI support from 70 to 150. This means that the tire inflator can easily deal with all types of tires, ensuring all cars are ready to go.
Airflow has been improved as well to 2.12CFM. This means drivers have to wait less time for the tires to be within their recommended pressure range. It is one of the signs that the tire inflator can be used with tire inflation from zero.
Other convenient upgrades include all-metal adapters and inflation needles. From their plastic alternatives, they are now made from metal and more durable as a result. At the same time, it is important to understand that there’s a wider application to the device.
From tires to sporting goods, the high-pressure results of the tire inflator recommend it in any scenario. While it is only powered by a car’s DC current, it might be enough for those looking for that extra attention to detail when it comes to accessories and durability.
Suitable for fast results, the tire inflator is now considerably better than its previous version, with a strong emphasis on durability.
- Supports 150 PSI
- Includes all-metal accessories
- Designed with an analog pressure gauge
- Made with a light switch
- No secluded cable storage
Where do I store a tire inflator?
A tire inflator is mostly stored in the trunk. Some cars have a special compartment while others might require a bit more creativity in terms of storage.
What PSI does my tire support?
Maximum PSI is always written on the tire itself. The side of the tire is where this information can be found.
Is there a difference in pressure for winter and summer tires?
Winter and summer tires have specific designs to suit various objectives. It is still required to inflate them to the recommended specifics.
How long does it take to fully inflate a tire?
Fully inflating a tire does not take more than a few minutes under normal circumstances. It should be done within a single cycle before the auto shut-off function protects the tire inflator and shuts it down for cooling.
Do I have a flat tire?
If a tire is constantly losing air, it could be a sign of a flat tire. Not all air losses are equal to flat tires. If after replenishing air pressure the tire is still losing air, then it’s a sign of a flat tire.
Guide to Buying the Best Tire Inflators for Cars
At the moment, the best tire inflators are really impressive. They are capable of being used on other inflatables and they represent one of the sustainable products when it comes to long term use. Since they are packed with features, there’s no real reason to even consider an upgrade anytime soon. A tire inflator should last as long as the car. However, there are features which still make the difference between good and the best tire inflators.
The power source is no longer the same with tire inflators. Most of them are still powered at the car’s cigarette lighter. However, there are many tire inflators which are now powered by rechargeable batteries. Even more, many of them have the capacity of showing great results for the situations where they need to connect in-house, with normal
As seen above, there are a few tire inflators which can use any type of current. They can even work with no wires, based on rechargeable batteries. A short assessment of where the tire inflators are about to be used should answer all the questions drivers might have. Those with large families and who are often going on holidays and weekends away can even consider cordless designs in order to inflate various sporting equipment as well.
DC current refers to the one available from the car’s battery. It is the simplest choice for a power source as it is, most likely, the closest to the tire itself.
AC current requires longer power cables. Even extensions can be used with AC current and it is normally a power source which helps inflate large objects such as air mattresses.
Cordless power is based on rechargeable battery performance. It takes time to charge these batteries and they normally only last for up to 15 minutes. However, they have the main advantage of the freedom of movement.
PSI and power
PSI refers to the maximum pressure level supported by a tire inflator. It does not mean that it is accurate as well. Many brands offer misleading claims and the higher the PSI and the lower the price of the tire inflator, the more likely the device is not as powerful as claimed. High air pressure is normally needed in large vehicle tires such as on vans or on trucks. However, some tire inflators even struggle to fully inflate car tires in a matter of minutes.
Accessories and applicability
It can be said that the number of accessories of a tire inflator is on the rise. For many users, it is a sign that there are plenty of options to consider when it comes to inflating sporting products such as footballs. Needles and various inflating nozzles are often included with tire inflators for this reason.
However, not all accessories are the same. In some cases, they are cheap and they can break even at the first use. This is why these accessories should be valued highly especially when entirely made from metal. It is metal that will last longer and that will prove to be more efficient against air loss.
Digital vs analog readings
Pressure gauges have different designs as well. From the analog gauge to the digital precise pressure gauge, there’s no doubt they play their role in user experience. In many cases, an analog gauge can suffer in low light as users can’t really see the real pressure of the tire. A digital pressure gauge with a backlit display proves to be a better option, especially in the conditions in which a flat happens during the night.
However, all digital displays place extra power pressure on cordless designs. It is why these displays can shorten battery life. In the case of a low PSI tire inflator, this can even mean a tire cannot be fully inflated on a single battery charge. It is why its best these displays are only used when the PSI level of the tire inflator is as high as needed for a regular car tire.
Without an emphasis on quality, there is no way to differentiate the best tire inflators. There are so many designs to consider that it can even take some time for experienced users to decide on which works best.
Most of the products above are ready to be used on cars and SUVs. Some of them may even tackle larger vehicles’ wheels. However, they do not all come with the same fast results and it might take more time to inflate the tires with a few devices.
On the other hand, the time spent on each tire is not the only real measurement of a tire inflator’s success. In fact, users should have the capacity to choose their own tire inflator according to the extras they need.
This is why a few extra nozzles can go a long way. They can eliminate the need to purchase a bike pump or an air pump for that guest mattress in storage. Furthermore, tire inflators also need to look good as they are stored permanently in the trunk. This is the reason many of them conceal the cables in special compartments which makes everything look more organized.
The materials of a tire inflator also play a role in their success. Most of them have no type of certification. The only true method of really judging the expected durability of the materials is to actually have a look at the product’s warranty policy. Most serious manufacturers offer at least 2 years of warranty for each tire inflator and if kept away from risks such as moist, they can last even longer.