Portable Air Compressors are used in a whole range of different applications, from pumping tires (Called Tire Inflator) to pumping beach balls. Many of these units are not as powerful as commercial or fixed air compressors. However, they will still get the job done in a short amount of time, and modern compressors tend to be much more efficient than many people imagine.
In this review, we shall be taking a look at some of the most efficient and best tire inflators that you can buy. These units are a lot more powerful than meets the eye, even though most of them run off a standard 12V cigarette lighter.
- Top 5 Best Tire Inflators on the market 2016
- Product comparisons
- Bottom Line
Top 5 Best Tire Inflators on the market 2016
1. Kensun YS-205 Portable Air Compressor Tire Inflator
The YS-205 is a tiny tire inflator that can pump everything from car and motorcycle tires to sports equipment. It can be powered by either an 110V wall socket or the 12V DC outlet of your vehicle.
The YS-205 has a maximum operating pressure of 40 PSI, however, the pressure gauge on the unit goes up to 250 PSI. This may seem a little misleading, but it is a small issue that can be overlooked. It has a long 21.7 inch rubber air hose that will allow you to reach all the tires on your vehicle, whether you are driving a small city car or a large truck.
If the rubber hose is not long enough for you, the DC power chord adds an extra 9 feet to the reach of the compressor, while the AC chord adds 6 ft 7 inches, making it even easier for you to pump your rear tires. The pump is able to inflate tires that are as large as 33 inches, making it ideal for those that drive large trucks and SUVs.
The YS-205 has an impressive flow rate of 11 liters per minute, allowing you to get your tires up to proper operating pressure in no time. It comes complete with three nozzle adapters that are designed to help you pump rafts, air mattresses, footballs, basketballs, pool accessories and beach toys among others.
However, there are some consumers that have raised issues with this unit, and it is important that you know about these issues before you decide to purchase it. For a start, the unit can get pretty noisy, and its motor tends to work so hard that you have to hold it in place while you use it in case it vibrates out of position.
There have also been a number of complaints about the accuracy of the pressure gauge, as many consumers say that it is far from accurate. The gauge has been known to show errors of up to 11 PSI, which makes it hard to know if you have inflated your equipment to the right operating pressure.
There also seems to be a problem with the longevity of the product, as many customers have complained about the way it breaks down after a couple of uses. There have also been numerous complaints about the YS-205 overheating, and some customers have even reported smoke coming from their units after extended use.
These shortcomings should not be such a great concern though, as the Kensun customer service is excellent, and they promptly deal with any problems that you may have with their unit. The machine comes with a one-year warranty, and free replacements for any parts that you may find to be defective.
2. P.I Auto Store Digital 12V Portable Air Compressor
The P.I Auto Store Digital 12V Portable Air compressor Tire Inflator is capable of filling up a tire from completely flat to 30 PSI in just under 4 minutes, and has a maximum operating pressure of 150 PSI.
It is able to do this thanks to its powerful motor that is capable of pumping 22 liters per minute, which is impressive considering the fact that it runs off your vehicle’s 12V DC port. Built into the unit is a pressure sensor that will shut off the pump when whatever it is you are inflating reaches the target pressure.
If you own a large truck or SUV, you do not have to worry about reach when you purchase this unit, as it comes with a very long 12-foot air hose that is more than long enough to access all areas of your automobile. The pump also comes with two adapters to help you pump up things like soccer balls and air mattresses. Other accessories include 8 spare dust caps for your tire valves, and a digital guide to tire care to help you maintain your tires so that you can use them for longer.
The Unit comes with LED lights to help you see what you are doing in the dark, and to warn other motorists of your presence if you end up stuck on the highway in the middle of the night. Its small size enables you to fit it into your trunk with no problems, and its 2 lbs weight allows you to carry it with you virtually anywhere that you need to go.
Despite all the positive elements of this product, there are numerous pitfalls to owning this particular compressor that you should be aware of. For starters, some consumers have complained that the automatic shut off on this particular unit does not work as advertised. It will shut off your pump, sometimes, and when it does the tires are either over or under inflated. This could be attributed to the inaccurate pressure sensors, which have a habit of giving errors that are as large as 10%.
Overall, this is a nice little pump that is sure to surprise you with how powerful it is. The dust caps and guide to tire care are also a huge plus, as is the excellent customer service and the lifetime warranty.
3. VIAIR 85P Portable Air Compressor
The VIAIR 85P Portable Air Compressor comes with a 12V adapter that you can plug into your car and is capable of a maximum operating pressure of 60 PSI. The motor is surprisingly powerful, and is capable of filling a 195/70R14 tire from 0 to 30 PSI in two minutes. It can fill up tires that are as large as 31 inches, though it has been known to fill up tires that are much larger.
The Viair 85P comes with an LED work light to help you see what you are doing when you have to work in the dark. It also comes with three different adapters to help you pump everything from footballs to beach equipment and air mattresses.
Unlike some of the other compressors on this list, this unit is very quiet, and the motor is so smooth that you do not have to worry about the unit moving as it tries to pump air into your tires. It is also one of the easiest compressors to use, and comes with clear instructions on the box that ensure that even a child could confidently use the unit.
Despite all the positive feedback that you will get when you enquire about this product, there are a few negatives that need to be addressed.
One of the most pressing issues with this unit is that it makes it too easy to blow out your car fuse. The unit has an amp draw of 14.5 amps, therefore if your car is not equipped with a fuse that is at least 15 amps, it will blow when you try to connect the pump to your vehicle. Another drawback is that the engine has to be running when you use the compressor, mainly due to the fact that if it is not, you risk blowing your fuses.
Additionally, there have been a number of people claiming that this pump is only good for car tires, and is actually dangerous to use it to pump things such as bicycle tires as these fill up extremely quickly when this pump is used. It has also been stated that using this close to its maximum operating pressure of 60 PSI is a bad idea, and should be avoided unless it is completely necessary.
In the end, this is a fantastic little compressor, and other than the fuse issue, this is a machine that you should seriously consider buying for your vehicle.
4. VIAIR 88P Portable Air Compressor Tire Inflator
The Viair 88P Portable Air Compressor is unique when you compare it to the other air compressors on this list, as it connects directly to your car battery using alligator clips, rather than connecting to your 12V outlet.
This connection helps reduce the risk of blowing a fuse, though it can make it harder to reach the rear tires on larger vehicles. If you are worried about short-circuiting your new compressor, you have no reason to fear that scenario, as the unit comes with a built in fuse just in case the battery supplies it with too much power.
Fortunately, the Viair 88P comes with a long reach of about 20 feet, meaning that you should be able to reach all the tires on your car, even if you place the compressor next to the hood of your vehicle.
The Viair 88P comes with an LED light that helps you see what you are doing at night, and at just 1 lb, this unit is truly a portable compressor. The unit also comes with a three-piece inflation tips kit that gives you the power to inflate almost anything, as long as it has a valve.
When it comes time to fill tires, you can rest assured that the 88P can handle the job. It has a maximum operating pressure of 120 PSI, and it can handle tires that are as large as 33 inches. It has a 45% duty cycle, which is one of the highest duty cycles you can get right now. This gives you more time to work, as you will be able to pump your tires for longer and give the pump a rest for a shorter amount of time.
There are usually a number of negative things that you can say about a particular item, however, in this case, it is hard to find something wrong with the unit. You should know a few of the negatives that we managed to dig up though.
For instance, the alligator clamps are too small to fit on many battery posts and therefore when you are connecting it to your battery you need to figure out how you are going to do so safely.
Another problem is that you will have to keep your engine running if you would like this unit to function properly. This is because leaving your car off while you use the pump will drain your battery completely in a very short amount of time.
5. EPAuto 12V DC Auto Digital Tire Inflator Car Air Compressor Pump
The EPAuto 12V DC Digital Tire Inflator is one of the most powerful air compressors on this list. It is capable of a maximum working pressure of 100 PSI, and it can fill up a tire from completely flat to 30 PSI in an average of just under 5 minutes. The hoses and cables on this unit are quite long, and together help to give you a reach of over 11 ft, which should be more than enough to reach all four tires.
Power to the unit is supplied by the 12V cigarette lighter plug in your vehicle, and the unit has a maximum draw of 10 amps, meaning you do not need to worry about blowing your fuses. It comes with an automatic shut off, which allows you to rest easy knowing that you do not have to worry about overinflating your tires.
The 12V DC Digital Tire inflator also comes with LED lights that are meant to help you should you find yourself having to work in the dark. The torch will help you see what you are doing, while the emergency flashing lights and red warning light will help other motorists to see you should you find yourself stranded on the road at night. The unit also comes with a number of different adapters to help you pump inflatables such as balls and beach equipment.
Despite all the positives, there are a few negatives. For instance, the air hose is very short, which makes it tricky to get to all four tires on larger cars and trucks. The overall reach may be just over 11 feet, but the hose itself comes in at a paltry 20 inches, leaving you to rely solely on the 10-foot power cord to give you the extra length that you need.
Another drawback to owning this unit is that to avoid draining your battery you are going to have to keep the engine running while you use it.
The tire inflators in this review are some of the best you can buy right now, and if you were to choose any one of them on their own you would probably buy the first one that you saw. However, when they are placed together and scrutinized a little more, you start to see the differences that separate the best products from the good ones. This becomes especially true when you start to consider how you would like to use the inflators.
For instance, if you are looking to inflate car tires only, or a very limited number of accessories, then the best pump for you would probably be the P.I Auto Store Digital 12V Air Compressor. This unit is fast, reliable, and with the highest maximum operating pressure, you are sure that you will be able to pump any tires from your standard automobile tire to the tires on your motor home or RV.
If you would like to pump accessories more than you would car tires, then you should seriously consider purchasing the Kensun YS-205. This unit is perfect for pumping up things such as soccer balls and Air mattresses for two reasons. The first one is the low maximum pressure rating of just 40 PSI, and the second is the fact that you can plug it in anywhere without having to worry about buying new adapters to help you plug it into the wall.
If you would like a good all round pump that will work fast and is reasonably priced, then you have to go with the EPAuto 12V Auto Digital Tire Inflator. The short hose may be a drawback, but the long power chord compensates for it and there is really very little else to complain about when it comes to this product.
Choosing a best tire inflator is crucial, especially if you make regular long distance journeys or frequently drive alone. Despite what your needs may be, it is always good to have an all round air compressor, as you never know when you may need to pump something different.
Of all the products on this list, the best all round product has to be the Viair 88P. With this unit, you barely have to worry about fuses, reach, durability, performance, and other details because it checks all the boxes that you want it to. It is fast, lasts long, and best of all it is quiet.
It may also be the most expensive item on the list, but spending an extra $10- $15 seems like a bargain when you think of the benefits of owning the machine.