Ensuring that your tires are set to the correct PSI is crucial for both safety and performance reasons. Owning a tire inflator that is easy to use and inflates quickly will encourage you to regularly check and inflate the tires when required.
The best tire inflator is the AUDEW Portable Digital Inflator, which has a max pressure of 150 PSI, quiet operation, automatic shut off, LED light and much more.
Portable tire inflators have improved massively over the last few years. The majority include digital gauges, automatic shut off and lighting. Spending slightly more for a quality unit is highly recommended and will make inflating your tires far easier.
Table of Contents
- Best Tire Inflator
- Portable Tire Inflator Buying Guide
Best Tire Inflator
|Tire Inflator||Type||Max PSI|
|Audew Digital||12V||150 PSI|
|Goodyear i8000 120V||120V||150 PSI|
|Kensun Performance||AC/DC||90 PSI|
|Audew Lithium Battery||Cordless||160 PSI|
Unlike an air compressor for a home garage that are used for air tools, a tire inflator is a smaller and more portable device. They are available as a cordless or AC/DC inflator that vary in their performance and noise output.
Tires can require inflating for numerous reasons and having a portable tire inflator available is essential. Below is a list of the best tire inflators that plug straight into a 12V socket in your car and inflate tires quickly.
AUDEW Portable 12V Tire Inflator
The new and improved Audew 12V tire inflator is a highly rated unit with a unique triangular design. The brand offer a wide variety of inflators but this is the best option. It simply plugs into a 12V socket and inflates to a specified PSI.
Compared with the older version, the upgrades include a high rate metal motor with an air flow of 38 liters per minute and 2 lighting modes.
Other features of the Audew 12V Tire Inflator include:
- Max pressure of 150 PSI
- LED lighting with 2 modes
- Clear digital display
- Automatic shut off
- Multiple attachments
- 10 foot long power cord
- Includes a 1 year warranty
Overall, it is an excellent all-round tire inflator that offers great value for money and will not disappoint. Unlike other cheap units, Audew offer a 1 year warranty, 180 days replacement and even a 90 day full refund for peace of mind.Check it Out
Goodyear i8000 Tire Inflator 120V
Goodyear are one of the biggest tire brands in the world and they have developed a portable tire inflator that is powerful yet quiet. The 120V tire inflator is able to inflate a basic tire from 0 to 28 PSI in just 2 and a half minutes.
The Goodyear i8000 is very popular but the brand offer other cheaper options with less performance if you are on a budget.
Features of the Goodyear i8000 Portable Tire Inflator include:
- Max pressure of 150 PSI
- 17 feet PVC air hose
- 6 feet power cord
- 120 volt direct drive inflator
- Zero vibration
- Whisper soft technology
- 60 dB of noise
Overall, if you require a highly rated 120V tire inflator from a reputable brand, the i8000 is the best option. Included are all the adapters and attachments you will need for inflating other items other than tires.Check it Out
Kensun AC/DC Tire Inflator
For those that are on a budget, we recommend that you avoid this tire inflator as it is fairly specialized. It is both AC and DC adaptable for car and home use, which is very convenient and fairly advanced compared to the alternatives.
The design of this portable tire inflator makes it one of the easiest to carry around and it can even be hung on a hook when not in use.
Features of the Kensun AC/DC Tire Inflator include:
- LCD digital gauge
- Maximum pressure of 90 PSI
- Unit conversion
- LED work light
- Additional attachments
- Automatic shut off
Overall it is the best AC/DC tire inflator you can buy with an excellent portable design and the performance to match. Kensun state that inflate up to 30 liters per minute, which is fairly impressive for this type of inflator.Check it Out
Audew Cordless Tire Inflator
One thing that can be fairly irritating whilst inflating each tire is the cord. From not being able to reach the tire or slipping out of the cigarette lighter socket. However, with the use of a cordless tire inflator that uses a lithium ion battery pack, you can avoid all these issues and easily inflate your tires.
Features of the Audew Cordless Tire Inflator include:
- 2200 mAh large capacity
- Rechargeable lithium battery
- Option to use a 12V adapter
- Automatic shut off
- 120 watts of power
- Flashlight and digital gauge
- 60 dB of noise
As with the other portable tire inflator by Audew, it features many of the same functionalities. Unlike alternative cordless tire inflators, this also has the option of using a 12V power source, which is useful for when the battery is running low.
Overall, it is the best cordless tire inflator you can buy that is dual powered and comes packed full of features.Check it Out
EPAuto Digital Tire Inflator
For those that are looking for a cheap tire inflator to use for emergency situations, the EPAuto is the best option. At a fraction of the cost compared with the alternatives above, this inflator offers excellent value for money.
In terms of the features of the EPAuto, they include:
- Digital gauge
- LED torch
- Automatic shut off
- 4 units of pressure
- 10 amp power
- 70 dB
Overall, it is an affordable option that packs a fair amount of performance for the money. It won’t be as good as the more expensive alternative but if you will only be using it as a backup or storing it in your car, you cannot go wrong with the EPAuto.Check it Out
Portable Tire Inflator Buying Guide
Ensuring that you have the correct PSI in your tires is crucial in terms of safety and the handling of the car. Failing to inflate them properly will increase the chances of a blow, reduce fuel efficiency, cause bad wear of the tire and much more.
Tire inflators have improved massively over the last few years, which makes using them far easier. They are cheap, compact, portable and are fairly quick these days. Not owning one can be a real issue when you have a flat tire.
To help you make an informed buying decision, we have produced the comprehensive guide regarding tire inflators.
Over inflation is a common mistake made by car owners when inflating their car tires. The main reason for this is misjudging the gauge and this can cause uneven tire pressures on each.
This is where an auto shutoff feature becomes very beneficial. It works by the user manually inputting the desired PSI and once the pressure in the tire reaches the specified PSI, it will automatically shutdown.
The analogue gauge is mostly found on the old inflators and they work perfectly fine. However, reading from a digital gauge is much easier. The text is larger and easier to read with many provide the option to change the pressure metric.
The introduction of an LED lamp on some of the best tire inflators is a much needed feature. Inflating your tires in the dark is fairly difficult and made worse when you cannot see the dust cap or gauge if its not digital.
You can use a tire inflator for many other products other than your cars tires. From beach balls to bike tires, virtually any inflatable can be inflated using one of the above tire inflators. However, you will need to have all the additional attachments, adapters and other connectors. All of the recommendations include these and they can be highly useful when required.
AC/DC & Cordless Tire Inflators
Tire inflators are all fairly similar in terms of their functionality but their power source does vary. The most common tire inflator will use a 12V AC power source such as the cigarette lighter. This is because virtually every car has a cigarette lighter and its the center point of the car. This means you are able to reach all four tires without needing a huge power cord.
Opting for a AC 120V wall outlet is just as portable and it has several other uses without going into the car. For example, you may want to inflate other products other than your cars tires. It is also more reliable as not all cigarette lighters will work in all cars but you will always be able to find a wall outlet. On top of this, your car may have a flat car battery, which means there will be no power going to the 12V power source.
There are some tire inflators that can use both AC and DC power such as the Kensun tire inflator above. This gives the best of both worlds but you will have to pay a premium for the dual power source option.
Finally, you can have a cordless tire inflator that is powered by a lithium ion battery and is usually a handheld device. These are normally the most expensive type of inflator but its the easiest to use, most portable and offers excellent power.
However, be sure to charge the battery otherwise you will be resorting to using a 12V alternative for powering up the inflator.
Air Compressor Noise
Older tire inflators are known for being noisy and vibrating everywhere on the floor thus producing more noise. The noise that it makes can be highly annoying to neighbors and people nearby and its important that you look out for a quiet inflator.
Anything that is above 80 dB is considered as loud and if your modern air compressor is making this type of noise, there is more than likely something wrong with it.
Tire PSI Rating
To avoid the pain and stresses of a flat or over inflated car tire, be sure to check the correct tire pressure for your vehicle. They are often found in the fuel filler cap or door sills but if not, they can be found from within the cars manual and other documentation.
Many modern cars make use of a tire pressure monitoring system to monitor the PSI of the tires. This is a great feature but can become problematic if you do not have access to a TPMS tool. They often require resetting to relearn the tire and the pressure that it requires.
The amount of air you put into a cars tire can depend on a range of factors from the temperature, number of passengers or different tires/wheel combination. If you are struggling to find the PSI, you can use the PSI stated on the tire for temporary use until you can find the correct pressure.
If you are driving with incorrect tire pressures, you may find the below symptoms.
Flat Tire Symptoms
Driving with a flat tire is considered far worse than an over inflated tire. Below are some symptoms that you will find when driving with a flat tire:
- Reduced fuel economy
- Car handling reduced
- Uneven tire wear
- TPMS light
- Pulling to one side
- Visibly flat tire
If you notice that you have a puncture, you may be able to repair it by using a tire repair kit. Once you have stopped air from leaving the tire, you can then inflate it to the correct pressure and monitor any fluctuations.
Over Inflation Symptoms
Over inflation is usually caused by not knowing the required manufacturers PSI rating or by mistake. Drawback of an over inflated tire include:
- Uneven tire wear
- Harder ride
- Less contact on the road
- Stress marks on the tire
The only real sign of an over inflated tire is the very harsh ride when driving. You will be able to feel every stone or stick in the road and if this is the case, double check your tire pressures. If you have switched between cars, do not be fooled by sport suspension and other factors.
Portability and Ease of Use
Unless you own a garage, you are more than likely going to purchase a portable tire inflator. All of the recommendations are portable but they do operate differently.
Some inflate via predefined PSI whereas others are manually operated by the user until the PSI is reached. The last thing you want when you are trying to inflate a tire is a hard to use tire inflator. Limited buttons and an intuitive digital display really do help when trying to use the device.
In terms of portability, a compact design that is easy to carry and stores well are important. On top of this, for corded AC/DC tire inflators, you will want to be able to wrap the cord easily and the Audew recommendation is the best at doing this.
Checking your tire pressures on a regular basis is highly recommended. The slightest of changes can make all the differences to the way your car handles. Even the temperature will require you to change the PSI of your tires.
All of our recommendations are popular across the US and will inflate your tires effectively. If you use all terrain truck tires or larger tires, opting for the more powerful tire inflator is highly recommended otherwise you may spend long periods rating for the tire to inflate.