Air CompressorsEmergency Roadside Gear

The Best Tire Inflators of 2021

best 12V DC portable air compressor with digital gauge

You no longer have to rely on random strangers with your own portable tire inflator. 

Emergencies happen, but you can be prepared for any situation with a little research and planning. Everyone has gotten a flat tire at least once and it rarely happens at a convenient moment. A flat tire during night time travel or while in unfamiliar territory can be more than a hassle, it can be downright dangerous. 

This is why we recommend keeping a portable tire inflator in your car or truck. They’re compact, easy-to-use and can save you a headache. Not only are the best portable tire inflators great to have for your own personal use, they can also help others. 

There are a ton of products on the market and it may be overwhelming trying to choose the best tire inflator for your vehicle. We have researched and reviewed the best of the best and compiled them into a list and explained the features so you can make an informed decision. 

Overall Best Tire Inflator

EPAuto 12V DC Portable Air Compressor and Emergency Tire Inflator

The EPAuto 12V DC Portable Tire Inflator is a great choice for most motorists. It plugs directly into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter socket and gives you immediate access to portable air. It measures 13.5 x 8.1 x 5.6 inches and only weighs 1 pound. Not only is it a compact tire inflator, but it is quite powerful and pushes up to 70 psi and will inflate your tire quickly. It also has a substantial power cord that measures 9 feet long and an air hose measuring 2.5 feet so you can reach all 4 tires with ease. 

You can set your desired tire pressure and attach the screw-on chuck to your valve stem and let it work. The 12V DC tire inflator will stop at the preset air pressure you have chosen. Don’t worry about the unit overheating, it has a feature that will shut itself off before it reaches that level. The EPAuto tire inflator comes equipped with a digital display that allows you to accurately measure your vehicle tire pressure in PSI, KPA, BAR, KG/CM so you have choices. The built-in LED light can illuminate your work space and allow you to see at night. Let’s face it, most flat tires happen at night and you don’t always have a flashlight handy. 

This top-of-the-line 12V DC tire inflator comes with everything you need including a carrying case, various adaptors and needles for inflatables such as swimming pool accessories, sports balls, inflatable kayaks and more. 

Best Dual Power Tire Inflator

Avid Power Tire Inflator 12V DC/ 110 AC 

The Avid Power tire inflator is dual power which means you can plug it into your car cigarette lighter while on the road or plug it into an outlet. It’s great as a car tire inflator or home use when you need to add air to inflatables such as bike tires, blow up mattresses or other items. The dual solid metal motors provides enough power to get you back on the road and are suitable for cars, bikes, midsize SUVs, but it isn’t recommended for heavy-duty work trucks as they require a larger tire inflator. 

The Avid Dual Power Tire Inflator makes the list due to having the option for vehicle or home use and it comes at a decent price tag. You can keep it in your vehicle just in case as it doesn’t take up much room. It will come in handy should you find yourself stranded on the side of the road or wake up to a flat tire on your way to work. 

Best Cordless 18V Portable Tire Inflator

Ryobi P737D 18-Volt Cordless Tire Inflator

The Ryobi Cordless Tire Inflator is perfect for those who prefer an 18-volt battery to pump up their deflated tires. It can power from 0 psi up to 150 psi and will get you back on the road. The digital pressure gauge is easy to read and is incredibly accurate. The cordless feature gives you much more mobility than other portable tire inflators and you can use the Ryobi basically anywhere without worrying about cords. The Ryobi cordless 18V is powered by the 18-Volt ONE+ 3.0 Ah Lithium battery that’s high capacity and powerful. It runs longer than other batteries and can be used in other Ryobi 18-Volt ONE+ tools. 

You may not always be able to find a gas station in a good part of town that offers free air. How many times have you been short a few quarters and had to try to make it home on a deflated tire? The Ryobi Cordless 18V Power Inflator alleviates that problem and keeps you safe by not having to ask strangers for help. This cordless 18V high pressure tire inflator comes with an 18-Volt charger, 3.0 Ah LITHIUM+ HP high capacity battery and a bag to keep you gear in one place in your trunk or behind your seat. 

Best Cordless 20V Portable Tire Inflator

Avid Power 20V Cordless Car Tire Pump

Avid Power made the list twice and there’s a good reason – they make one of the best 20V cordless portable tire inflators on the market. This is a multi-purpose tire pump that not only inflates car tires, but also motorcycle tires, bicycle tires and other inflatables that you use daily around the house. 

The automatic stop function allows you to preset the desired amount of air and the air compressor will shut itself off when it hits that number. You don’t have to do anything – it does the job for you. We like the fact that this portable tire inflator has a dual power supply which means it runs on a 1.5Ah rechargeable Lithium-ion  battery pack and has a 12V car power adapter. You never know what conditions you will need to use your portable tire pump, so it’s good to have one as versatile as the Avid Power 20V Cordless Tire Inflator. 

This is a compact and cordless 20V portable tire inflator that fits nicely in the included bag and can be stored anywhere in your vehicle, RV, camp, etc. The package includes the Avid Power 20V cordless inflator, 12V car power adapter, 20V Lithium-ion battery pack, inflating needles, tool bag, air tap and charger. This is one of the most complete tire inflator packages that will keep you on the road and your inflatable fully inflated with ease. 

Best Tire Inflator for the Price

HausBell Portable Car Air Compressor

The HausBell is a dependable tire inflator that’s accurate and fast working. This 12V DC portable air compressor plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter socket and pumps up your car tires, bicycle tires or other inflatables in a matter of minutes. In fact, it can fully inflate a 195/55/R15 car tire in under 5 minutes from complete zero. The digital tire pressure gives you accurate readouts and prevents you from overinflating your tires. The auto shutoff function won’t let you go over your intended psi and is a great fail-safe. 

The power cord is 9.8 feet long and you get 3 extra nozzles so you can pump up multiple inflatables and tires. You can use this tire inflator as a flashlight with powerful LED lights on the front of the device. It has the ability to change pressure units including PSI, kPa, KG/CM and BAR to give you options. 

The HausBell received high ratings from users all over the world and is one of the cheaper car tire inflators you will find.  

Best Off-Road Tire Inflator

Viair 45043 Automatic Function Portable Compressor 

This is a great portable tire compressor for off-roading and other wheeling activities. It’s rugged and is a great little air compressor to have on board. Viair’s heavy-duty line of portable tire inflators are used by off-roaders and Jeep enthusiasts all over. It can be used on a 12V battery and can pump tires from 33” to 42” in diameter. 

While the Viair heavy-duty tire inflator is perfect for off-road applications, it can be used by on-road users as well. It only operates while the trigger on the inflation gun is being pulled. You don’t have to worry about turning it off between tires and it saves a ton of time when you’re in a hurry to get your tires inflated and back on the trail or road. 

If you off-road often, you know you need to air your tires down for optimal traction for certain terrain. When you need to air up, simply attach the tire compressor to your battery and pump air. It doesn’t get any easier. Not only does proper tire inflation keep you safe, but it also makes your tires last longer and gives your vehicle better gas mileage. 

Viair 88P Portable Air Compressor

If you’ve done any amount of research on the best portable tire inflators, there’s a good chance you’ve come across the Viair 88P. It’s highly rated and reviewed because it’s one of the top selling 12V portable car air compressors you will find. This 12V tire inflator can pump up to 120 psi with your car engine running. It draws 20 amps so be sure your vehicle can handle it and it has alligator clamps that connect to your car’s battery. You don’t plug this tire inflator into a cigarette lighter socket, but directly to the battery. It’s perfect for cars, trucks, SUVs, 4-wheelers, ATVs and other off-road vehicles to keep their tires fully inflated.

It has a power indicator and a 10 ft. power cord to ensure it can reach and a 16 ft. air hose so you can access all 4 tires. You get 3 different inflation tips for different items. The Viair 88P is one of the best values on the market and has high ratings by users. 

How to Operate a Portable Car Tire Inflator

  1. Turn the 12V DC tire inflator power switch off
  2. Leave vehicle engine running for power
  3. Plug the portable tire inflator’s power cord into the 12V cigarette lighter socket in your vehicle
  4. Choose desired pressure on your tire inflator – some models allow you to choose between PSI, KPA, BAR, KG/CM
  5. Turn portable air pump’s power switch to ON
  6. The air pump will stop inflating once it has reached the pressure chosen
  7. Turn power to OFF position once your tire is inflated. 

Keep in mind that once you remove the valve connector from your tire, it’s normal for the tire valve to continue releasing air until the connector is completely detached. For example, if you set the air pump for 34 psi, it will continue pumping until it has reached that amount.

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