Having access to a tire inflator is an absolute necessity for any car owner, be it a portable model or one you can leave in the garage. Having access to air for your car tires or any tires is essential. Sure, you can run to the nearest available air compressor pump and inflate your tires to the proper psi for, but those are often accompanied by a fee and a drive to the nearest gas station.
That’s an entirely unnecessary chore when you have a way of inflating tires right at home. Tire inflators are relatively inexpensive and come with a variety of options available, from the heavy air compressor pump to smaller models capable of plugging directly into your cigarette lighter.
Choosing the right model of tire inflator for your needs shouldn’t be a hassle. We’ve curated a list of our favorite, easy-to-use tire inflators and air compressors for day to day use with your car, or anything else you own that might have a flat tire.
The following list shows off some of our favorites, covering a wide variety of uses and models. Any item on the list would be a solid purchase and worth your time and money. However, some of the products lend themselves better to particular features, such as portability, or boasting a high pressure maximum. Each tire inflator will have a few benefits that make it unique and well-suited to a particular use. Think carefully about what you might need out of any given tire inflator when purchasing a new one.
View The Best Tire Inflator Below
1. EPAuto 12V DC
With four different colors to choose from and a handy LED flashlight attached, EPAuto’s 12v DC tire inflator is a fantastic option. It has a toggle for the display, which allows you to cycle through four possible display units, PSI, KPA, BAR, and KG/CM. Plus, it plugs directly into your cigarette lighter, so there’s no need for extension cords. That, or creative parking jobs to manage the air pressure in your tires.
The Digital display is also easy to read so you can get the exact psi required for your specific car. You can set the desired pressure, making it incredibly easy to use. The digital tire inflator display is also easy to read and adjust, making it highly accessible. With rubber feet, it’s a very stable portable air compressor that’s perfect for daily use.
+ Ability to set desired pressure removing the guesswork
+ 12v DC power cord plugs directly into the cigarette lighter for easy use
+ Highly portable air compressor perfect for inflating tires on the go
Why We Like It – This is a highly efficient and easy to use portable air compressor well-suited to a variety of needs. It’s the perfect option for maintaining tire pressure at an adequate psi. Generally, you can just leave it in your car so it’s always there when you need it.
2. Viair Tire Inflator 45043 450P Automatic
This is a heavy duty portable air compressor with an incredibly long air hose for its size. The Viair tire inflator works quickly. It has a locking mechanism plus an auto shut off feature, so you can set the pressure and leave tires that will require much more air than most. With a 35-foot long air hose and a wide flat base, you can use it almost anywhere.
You can use a car batter – or the like – as a power source. It comes with battery clamps instead of a plug or cigarette lighter hookup, which supplies it with more power. Even though there’s a couple of extra steps to power the device, it’s worth it for the extra speed at which this tire inflator operates. It’s a great option if you’re in the market for a heavy duty yet portable tire inflator.
+ Durable and simple portable air compressor pump
+ Quickly inflate tires to desired pressure thanks to the increased power on this tire inflator
+ A 35-foot long air hose provides you with plenty of freedom when using this tire inflator
Why We Like It – This is one of the best tire inflators for use with tires with high maximum pressure or just large tires, thanks to the extra power it draws by using a car battery as its fuel source. It has an incredible reach with its 35-foot long air hose. It remains a great portable air compressor pump while sacrificing little, thanks to it’s enhanced power use.
3. Kensun-EHRComp-A58B 12v
Capable of switching between AC/DC power, thanks to both the 12v cigarette lighter plug as well as the 110v wall plug, this versatile and portable air compressor pump gives you control. You can choose when and where to adjust the pressure in a given tire. You can use it inside the house, as well as out and about while in your car.
The Kensun tire inflator uses dual motors to adjust the air pressure quickly and easily. With multiple air hose attachments, it’s perfect for not just flat tires but a plethora of other inflatables that are common in any household. With an easy to use and read analog air pressure gauge, there is no guesswork involved when filling a flat tire or other inflatables.
+ AC/DC power switching provides options for how and where you use this tire inflator
+ Dual motors help this tire inflator adjust optimal pressure quickly and efficiently
+ Perfect for more than car tires as it works great for many inflatables
Why We Like It – A pump is as useful for a car tire as it is for a basketball or an innertube. It’s easily one of the best pumps for use with a wide range of inflatables, thanks to the ability to pick between AC/DC power and maximize the ways you can use it. Not to mention it’s quick and easy to use, thanks to multiple air hose attachments and dual motors inside this tire inflator.
4. Viair 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor Pump
Another durable product by Viair, this pump is capable of increased pressure up to 120 psi. It’s a highly portable car tire inflator able to be brought almost anywhere and remain stable, thanks to the rubber feet on its base. Powered similarly to the other Viair previously on this list, it uses battery clamps and a car battery to power it, meaning it’s highly reliable. It cuts the middle man out of the equation.
It’s a perfect companion for both truck tires and most any other vehicle. The power cord is 10 ft in length, and the hose is 16ft, giving you plenty of room to work with when adjusting tire pressure in your car or truck tires. As far as simple and efficient methods of adjusting tire pressure go that aren’t bogged down by extra features, this is a great buy among portable air compressors.
+ Draws power directly from the battery, meaning you will always have a source of power
available while in your car
+ Has a maximum pressure of 120 psi, higher than the average tire inflator
+ Highly portable tire inflator especially given the high maximum pressure
Why We Like It – This is one of the best options for both portability and high pressure car tires or truck tires. The battery clamps are nice despite the extra steps, thanks to the added reliability of powering directly off a battery. It’s great to bring along with you at all times in your car or truck.
5. PORTER-CABLE CMB15 150PSI
With a tank capacity of 150 psi maximum pressure, this large tank is capable of long run times with minimal waiting between uses. It’s a bit heavier than other portable tire inflators but still portable compared to the larger air compressor tanks. The Porter-Cable offers a nice medium between a large air compressor and a smaller, more portable tire inflator.
The air compressor tank is fantastic for use around the house, primarily due to exclusively being powered by a wall plug. It’s great to have around if you’re in the market for a powerful air compressor with high maximum pressure. It’s worth noting though, that this is not compatible with the common cigarette lighter power source found in many other portable tire inflator devices and air compressor devices.
+ 150 psi maximum pressure tank meaning less waiting between inflating the next tire or
+ Perfect for at-home use thanks to its large 150 psi tank and overall durability in its build
+ The next best thing compared to getting a massive air compressor. This model retains portability with many of the benefits of larger air compressors
Why We Like It – The high maximum pressure at 150 psi is plenty when you take into consideration the weight of the device and its intended function. It’s great to leave around the house and for use on any car. It’s also great for other inflatables if needed.
6. Helteko 150 PSI 12V
The sleek design and a choice of two colors make the Helteko is a very stylish option while not sacrificing functionality. It features an auto shut-off and auto filling for ease of use when fixing a flat tire or touching up on the pressure. You also have the option to set the desired tire air pressure and lock the air pump onto the tire valve stem.
Drawing power from a cigarette lighter means this is a tire inflator that lends itself well to being brought along on any car ride in case of an emergency. With an LCD screen that makes it easy to view and adjust tire pressure, this is a very simple and elegant tire inflator. It’s able to operate for about 10 minutes continuously and fill an average car tire in about three and a half minutes. You can easily top off each of your tires on one go, provided they aren’t empty.
+ Sleek design and an LCD screen means it looks good while being an efficient and powerful tire
+ Auto filling and auto shut off means you can let it do its thing with minimal work from yourself, simply lock the nozzle onto the tire valve stem and let it sit for a few minutes
+ High pressure lends itself to a long operating time at about 10 minutes
Why We Like It – Sleek and functional, Helteko makes a highly rated electric tire inflator that works directly off of your cigarette lighter. It inflates quickly and easily without input from you thanks to the auto filling and auto shut off features providing excellent inflation.
7. AAA 4024 LifeLine 12 Volt DC
This is a small and highly portable tire inflator perfect for emergencies. It features a 10-foot power cord and a plug for a car cigarette lighter, as well as a one and a half foot air hose. It works great in a pinch, especially for the low price point. It can fill a car tire in about 8 minutes, and for its small size, it’s hard to beat. One of the smallest tire inflators, the lifeline is incredibly portable and great to bring along in your vehicle at all times.
With a couple of nozzle attachments included, it works just fine for any inflatable device you need to fill with air or adjust the pressure on. It’s perfect for keeping in your car for emergencies or for bringing on a camping trip. You can use it with an air mattress, inner tube, or any other inflatable.
+ Small size lends itself well to portability and versatility. Overall, a fantastic portable tire inflator
+ Provides a steady supply of air for its size
+ Best in class for its size and price point
Why We Like It – Unbeatable for the small size, this is by far one of the most portable tire inflators for car use or anything else that needs pressure adjustments.
8. P.I. Auto 12V DC
This is another compact option with a couple of extra features such as a digital tire inflator pressure display and an led flashlight built-in. Utilizing an auto shut off, it’s easy to set the desired pressure and leave it for a few minutes. Leave it for three minutes if your tire is completely flat, before unhooking it from your tire valve stem and moving to the next. It’s another tire inflator that utilizes the 12v charger available in almost every car.
It’s very easy to adjust the psi in any tire or inflatable device precisely. Among smaller tire inflators, the P.I. Auto is a good premium quality inflator that also comes with the added benefit of small size and a slew of the added features available in larger models. The flashlight can also be set to flash an auto SOS signal if needed, meaning it has versatile functions in case of emergency.
+ Good set of features for its small size, auto shut off as well as a flashlight with two modes
+ Quickly fills tires when put against comparative models
+ Auto shut off means you can leave it for a minute while it fills your tire
Why We Like It – For the size of this tire inflator, it’s hard to find something more feature-rich, and that works so well. Quickly and easily adjust the psi of any tire, be it a car, truck, or a bike tire. It’s incredibly handy for a variety of uses and has great features, least of which is its compact size.
9. ONTEL Air Hawk Pro Cordless Tire Inflator
This tire inflator is a bit different, resembling a cordless drill. It’s completely cordless when in use, as it runs on a battery within the device itself. It charges quickly with the included chargers, choose from either a 12v dc adapter or a wall plug, and then use it on whatever needs some added pressure.
The interesting design means you do have to hold it while in use, but the fact that you can have it at the ready without the need for nearby power sources makes it incredibly versatile as far as tire inflators go. It’s great for those situations where you just don’t have access to nearby power.
It also has an auto shut off and a digital tire inflator pressure gauge. This easily informs you what the psi is in a given tire or inflatable, and lets you set the intended pressure and inflate it easily.
+ A unique cordless battery-operated design means this tire inflator is very versatile and able to
be used where other tire inflators might be unusable
+ Digital tire inflator pressure display makes it easy to know the current psi and set a preferred psi to fill to
+ Auto shut off makes it precisely set the pressure exactly where you want it
Why We Like It – This is a sleek design that also fits into tight spaces. It’s a highly portable tire inflator, and the ONTEL air hawk is a good option for anyone who requires a cordless tire inflator for one reason or another. It also doesn’t sacrifice very many features for the lack of cords and is a sound purchase for any who need a cordless option.
10. Breezz 12V DC
A good all-rounder, the Breezz 12v tire inflator includes many of the standard features in a light package, weighing only about two and a half pounds. It inflates an average tire in about four minutes. The digital tire inflator display and also the handy auto shut off feature helps you get the perfect pressure every time.
Also included in its design is a handy and very bright flashlight, meaning you can use this tire inflator regardless of the light level. The digital display is backlit as well, making the Breezz very handy and easy to use. With a maximum pressure of 150 psi, it’s also quite powerful as well on top of everything else.
+ It’s a very good general use tire inflator with all the standard features at a good price point
+ Auto shut off means you never over or under inflate your tire
+ Very bright flashlight makes for easy use in all light levels
Why We Like It – Overall, this is a fantastic tire inflator that does everything you could ask for.
Tire Inflator Buyer’s Guide
There are multiple factors to consider when searching for the best tire inflator to suit your needs, including maximum tire pressure, and size, to name a few. Each factor can greatly affect where and how you use your tire inflator, as well as how easy it is to use. Here we’ll go over the different factors so you can feel confident and informed when purchasing your new inflator or air compressor.
One of the most important factors is the size of your inflator. This affects where you can use it and also the portability of your device. Plus, the size often affects how fast it can inflate a tire or similar inflatable, albeit indirectly in the case of inflators without a tank. Bigger inflators are faster in general thanks to larger air tanks and bigger motors for airflow.
Smaller inflators lend themselves well to being brought along in your car, where they can be stored easily in the cabin for easy access. The downside to small size inflators is that usually, they pump air at a slower rate than a larger inflator, but that’s a small price to pay when you’re in desperate need of a tire pressure adjustment.
Larger inflators are perfect for at-home use but can lend themselves to mobile use if your willing to sacrifice a little more space in your vehicle. A larger inflator is best for when you need a job done a little more quickly, as the tanks are usually larger, and they can improve tire pressure much more rapidly thanks to improved psi.
The larger inflators are generally a bit more feature-rich as well, providing nice digital displays and locks to attach onto your tire valve stem, among other features that make adjusting the pressure in your tires.
Analog or Digital?
A simple analog psi display is usually enough to gauge well enough what the pressure in a given tire is but can be difficult to read for the vision-impaired. The analog display is quite accurate, though, and usually helps reduce the price of the final product, so it’s worth considering. The digital display for gauging psi or tire pressure is a bit easier to read and still quite accurate. A lot of digital display screens offer a backlight, as well as increasing visibility in the dark. Choose the option that works best for you; both are widely available and have good benefits.
Analog displays work similarly to the standard tire pressure gauge most people are familiar with. They tend to be accurate so long as they are kept in good condition. An analog display offers high accuracy at the cost of readability in dark conditions or for those (like myself) with atrocious vision. This can be compensated for with the use of a flashlight or squinting real hard at the dial, both fantastic options, but either way, it can require a little assistance.
Digital Displays are often backlit for readability and produce the tire pressure on an attached screen. The numbers are usually large and easy to see, thanks to the high contrast of the screen, but can be less accurate because a lot of these products round to the nearest half number.
For the average person, this is no problem because getting a tire to exactly 35 psi is just as good as getting it within a half unit of 35 psi. Some jobs require exact precision however, and the use of an external tire pressure gauge could be required when using a tire inflator that measures the psi for you.
Maximum Tire Pressure
Each inflator has a cap to the psi, and the size of the tanks determines this in air compressors or the power of the motors in an inflator. The max pressure is important, as it determines the highest psi you will be capable of achieving in your tire or other inflatables. Most tires require between 30 and 40 psi, which is completely manageable by the average inflator. Still, certain things require a higher or lower psi, and if you plan on using an inflator for something besides your tires, this factor will be a bit more important.
The maximum pressure often correlates to the power that a compressor or inflator can draw. The most efficient method is to run the power from a wall plug. Using other power sources is often viable for the intended purposes but sometimes won’t cut it for other uses. An inflator powered by a battery is going to be less powerful than something that can draw power from a cigarette lighter or wall plug, which leads us to our next point.
Many different models of inflators all use one of these sources of power: wall plugs, 12-volt dc plugs, battery clamps, or a battery. Each has some benefits and drawbacks, so let’s go over each of them quickly. Wall plugs offer the most power and the least versatility. They’re by far the best method for at-home use. They also boast a longer power cord in general, making them quite useful around the house or garage.
12 volt plugs are very useful for when you are on the go in your car or truck, as you will always have a way to power the inflator as long as their car or truck also has power. Often they have a long power cord and a short air hose, although there are exceptions to those rules. Battery clamps are an interesting solution to the issue of supplying power, usually supplying more steady power thanks to the fact that it cuts out the middleman in the form of the 12 volt plug.
The power cord is often of a medium length with a long hose. The build is usually more simple and straightforward than other inflators, prioritizing function over form. Battery operated tire inflators offer plenty of freedom when it comes to where you can use them, while also having the advantage of being cordless. Often with a digital display and smaller design, the battery operated models fill slowly but can be used in more places than any other inflator, thanks to the absence of a power cord.
Ease of Use
Potentially the most important factor in an inflator is the ease of use. When looking for the best tire inflator, you’ll need something that is easy to use for you. A couple of factors can contribute to this. Are you looking for an analog or digital display? Do you want something with auto fill and auto shut off features?
Do you want a bulky unit that is more efficient, or something small and portable? These are all factors to consider when looking for tire inflators. A digital display can be easier to read and quite handy. An analog display is usually very precise, albeit harder to read in the dark.
Having something with a lock and an auto shut off feature makes filling a tire incredibly easy with minimal work on your end. Simply attach it, set the pressure, and let it sit for a minute. The size of your unit is entirely up to preference and where you might be using it, so it’s also something to keep in mind when looking for the best tire inflator for you.
Choosing the right tire inflator need not be super difficult or painful. There are plenty of good options to choose from, and a lot of them are good picks. There’s nothing worse than receiving an inferior product, though, and so with a little bit of invested time and effort, you can feel confident that you made a solid pick. Keep in mind the important details above, and it’ll be difficult to stray too far from a good product.
I should, of course, mention some other factors that didn’t quite warrant an entire section. Keep in mind the length of the hose when looking for the best tire inflators, as this will determine exactly how far away you can place the pump from the tire, or whatever you may be inflating. On the other side of that same coin is the length of the power cord, which determines how far from the power source the tire inflator can be placed.
This is advantageous for the at-home models if you don’t have a plug handy nearby. Also, an important feature is the size of the tank and whether or not it’s an actual air compressor or one of the models with an attached motor. The air compressor models are usually able to inflate tires to a higher psi, which is better for heavy duty tires or inflatables but cannot be used continuously requiring a period to refill their tank every so often.
The models with an attached motor are good for the majority of tires or lightweight inflatables and come with the added benefit of not having to recoup lost air as it draws air directly from the surroundings. Both types are popular and offer benefits and drawbacks.
The process of inflating a tire should stay simple because, at its core, it’s a very simple process of just moving air from one place to another. Sometimes the added bells and whistles are not necessary if you don’t want them, and if that is the case, then go for something with a simple set of features.
Keep in mind that if something doesn’t have an auto shut off or a pressure gauge built-in, you will need a separate pressure gauge. These usually come cheap and are easy to use. Even a fancy digital tire pressure gauge will usually only cost you a small amount. The advantages of having a built-in pressure gauge are many, though, and the average user often prefers this.
With all that being said, you can feel confident that you have the knowledge required to purchase the perfect tire inflator or air compressor for your needs. Between common sense and the information provided, feel assured that you won’t make the wrong choice. Hopefully, you can easily find something that fits your needs while still being affordable.