The 8 Best Portable Tire Inflators to Buy in 2018

Make sure your bike and car wheels have enough air before heading out on a trip

For vehicle drivers the world over, nothing can be more frustrating (and scary) than a punctured tire in the middle of nowhere, far from help. Fortunately, it's easy to avoid being stranded for hours on end if you have a tire inflator handy. Whether you’re putting on a likely underinflated spare tire or patching up a tire enough to reach help, a portable tire inflator is a real life-saver in an emergency. It's also just a useful tool to have in your garage, so you can quickly pump up bicycle tires, basketballs, soccer balls and more. With so many different options, it can be hard to zero in on the right one for you and your needs. To help, we put together a list of the best portable tire inflators to buy today.

Best Overall: Audew Portable Air Compressor Pump

Hitting the right balance between price and features, the 2.65-pound Audew portable air compressor plugs directly into a vehicle’s 12V adapter. Designed to be user-friendly, a highlight of the Audew is the auto shut off functionality and one-touch activation that enables users to set the appropriate PSI for a tire, so the compressor will run until the selected level is reached. Helping to control over-inflation, this unit works for car tires, as well as other inflatables, including bike tires and more (the Audew includes an additional three connectors with different sized tips to help get the right fit). With a maximum PSI of 150 and an operating current of only 10 amps, the Audew runs at a noise level of just over 60 dBs, so it won't disturb the whole neighborhood. A nine-foot cord means there is enough line length to support both front and rear tires on cars and SUVS.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Kensun AC/DC Rapid Performance Portable Air Pump

If you’re looking for a handheld tire inflator that’s versatile enough to work with home AC and car DC sockets, the Kensun AC/DC rapid performance portable air compressor is a great option. The five-pound Kensun includes an auto shut off, which should alleviate concerns of over-inflating (the LCD screen allows you to determine a preselected PSI level). The included LED lamp can point and illuminate a small area and provide better visibility during evening conditions where eyesight is decreased. When it comes to portability, the Kensun’s grab handle makes it among the easiest to carry and transport. Rated a maximum of 90 PSI, the Kensun will handle nearly every car or SUV on the road, RV and other inflatables because it comes with three different connector types.

Best Budget: EPAuto 12V DC Auto Portable Air Compressor

A budget option that provides plenty of features, the EPAuto portable air compressor is the inexpensive choice to beat. It plugs directly into a car’s 12V-DC cigarette lighter and the easy-to-read display includes PSI information. Navigation buttons allow for auto-selecting the appropriate PSI for tires, so the device shuts off when the desired tire pressure is reached. A maximum PSI of 100 is ideal for compact and mid-sized sedans and SUVs. Additional adapters are available for balls, inflatables and other sports equipment and a one-touch LED Torchlight can help brighten up the darkness for nights when visibility could be compromised. Weighing 2.17 pounds, the EPAuto is highly portable with a nine-foot cable for reaching all four tires from a single 12V charging point.

Best Handheld: Ryobi P737 One Plus Power Inflator

The small Ryobi One Plus is efficient enough to add 5 PSI to a car tire in around 40 seconds. It's optimal for tires and other small inflatables and has a PSI range of 0 to 150, thanks to an 18-volt compact lithium-plus battery that’s interchangeable with a wide range of other Ryobi cordless power tools. The pistol grip design allows for added comfort during air pumping and the easy-to-read dial gauge is easy to read and accurate for knowing when to shut off pressure. Measuring 12.8 x 7.5 x 3.7 inches in size and weighing 2.8 pounds, the Ryobi conveniently fits in a trunk or compartment for storage when not in use.

Best Multifunction: Noox Tire Inflator & Portable Air Compressor

The Noox tire inflator and portable air compressor has a digital gauge that helps monitor current and suggested air pressure accuracy within one PSI. The nine-foot cord wraps around the Noox frame for easy storage, but also makes it convenient to reach any four wheels on a small or mid-sized car or motorcycle. But with up to 150 PSI available and an auto shutoff to prevent overinflation, the Noox can be used on a full-sized limousine all the way down to a volleyball, thanks to the included adapters. The triangular design is reinforced with high-quality materials that will last for years and includes an LED torch light on the exterior to help with nighttime tire repairs or replacements.

Best for Trucks: Viair 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor

The Viair 00088 880 portable air compressor is a suitable for all types of vehicles, but can even inflate commercial and 33-inch tires. Equipped with a 10-foot power cord and a 16-foot air hose, the Viair connects directly to a car or truck battery for power with its attached alligator clamps. The lengthy cords ensure that it can reach almost anywhere on a regular-sized truck or SUV and fill tires up to a maximum 120 PSI. Measuring PSI is handled courtesy of an analog tire gauge that accurately measures pressure within one PSI. Weighing 4.5 pounds and measuring 6.25 x 6.25 x 10.75 inches in size, the Viair is a highly portable option that’s easily stored in the back of a car, truck or SUV.

Best Compact: Oasser Portable Air Compressor

Traditionally, portable tire inflators have run off a 12V power supply from inside a car. Taking things in a new direction, the Oasser portable air compressor introduces a new type of portability by supplying its own power source via a built-in lithium-ion battery. Running under its own power, the Oasser performs well with a maximum PSI of 150 all while remaining cordless. The Oasser’s portability at one pound makes it a great choice for inflating tires anywhere without worrying about maneuvering or adjusting lengthy cords. An LCD digital pressure gauge helps identify the right pressure and an auto shutoff feature aims to prevent overinflation. Charging the lithium-ion battery takes around 90 minutes from empty and, when full, can completely inflate an average-sized empty tire. At 1.8 x 7.8 x 2.2 inches, the cylindrical shape of the Oasser effortlessly tucks away in a large pocket or emergency bag.

Best Value: Jaco SmartPro Digital Tire Inflator Pump

Incorporating its own smart pressure technology, the Jaco SmartPro portable tire inflator adds auto shutoff for setting a target PSI level and then pumping the tire exactly to that level. A 10-foot long power cord and 24-inch air hose make all four tires of a car, SUV or small truck accessible as power is drawn from a connection to any 12V outlet. Measuring the accuracy of inflation up to one PSI is a built-in digital air gauge that’s backlit for nighttime use and can measure up to a maximum of 100 PSI for bike tires and up to 45 PSI for auto tires. Two adapters are also included for use with sports balls, airbeds and other inflatables. A bright LED light that can double as a flashlight can also flash red and notify other drivers on the road of an emergency. 

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