No one likes to have a flat tire while traveling. Not only is it too much of a hassle, but it is also a huge waste of time. Temperature fluctuations may also affect the quality of your tire. Thus, you could get stranded in the middle of nowhere if you don’t have the right tools to fix your tire.
This comprehensive review aims to give you an overview of the three best tire inflators on the market to date. They are categorized according to what provides the best value and the best performance. The overall best tire inflator is the model that is not too expensive yet beats the rest in functionality. When it comes to tire inflators, EPAuto is one that most people would mention. It may be smaller compared to other inflators, but its performance surpasses those of big and expensive air compressors.
EPAuto 12V can be plugged directly into the car cigarette lighter socket. This inflator is definitely portable and easy to use. However, the port where you are connecting the inflator to should support 15A. This could create a problem especially that most ports could only accommodate 10 amps for inflators. But the best thing about EPAuto 12V is its automatic shut off feature, which means you don’t have to constantly check the inflator. Once it has reached the set PSI, it will shut itself off, thus saving you time and energy.
There is also a screen on the inflator where you can see how much air is being pumped. You can also read the digital screen even at night time because it comes with a LED flashlight. However, the flashlight cannot be switched off; the screen automatically lights up whenever you use the inflator. Another feature that users like about EPAuto 12V is its ability to accurately set the inflation pressure. Hence, over-inflation is not possible with it. Moreover, its small size enables it to fit perfectly in the trunk of your car. As a bonus, the inflator comes with an extra fuse, head, and a storage bag. The unit is likewise protected from overheating – it automatically shuts off once its temperature exceeds 167 degrees Fahrenheit.
Nevertheless, you cannot expect this product to work perfectly. It still has its cons, however minimal. For instance, it may not work as fast as other do. Its inflating speed is only 1.06 CFM. EPAuto 12V is also not recommended for large vehicles. It can only inflate cards, sedan, bikes, and middle sized SUVs. It does not support truck tires. If noisy tire inflators annoy you, you won’t have any problem with EPAuto. It’s efficient and a great investment for car owners. Others have used this product to inflate boat trailers, and it worked out fine.
Even car owners who aren’t used to inflating their tires will find it easy to use EPAuto. You just have to screw the hose cap onto the wheels and key in the PSI. Plug it to the cigarette lighter and turn on the ignition. All you have to do is to wait for the inflator to finish working. You might find the air hose short, but that is but a minor flaw in this equipment. Since it isn’t heavy duty, its life span solely depends on how many times you use it and whether or not it is properly used. Heavy duty tire inflators definitely last longer than this one. Still, it’s worth every penny.
Goodyear i8000 120V Direct Drive
If you’re looking for an inflator that works faster than the usual equipment, try Bon-Aire i8000 from Goodyear. Since this is a direct drive motor, it is expected to work more efficiently. Moreover, a direct drive inflator can be used not just for tires but also for air mattresses. Goodyear pumps a maximum of 150 PSI. The inflator must be plugged into a 120 V outlet. For your convenience, the equipment comes with a 6-feet power cord and air hose.
As per the product description, Goodyear i8000 can inflate tires in less than 3 minutes. That is true but only to a certain extent. Keep in mind that the inflator’s performance and speed also depends on the size of the tire it is inflating. It can also inflate a 14” tire up to 28 PSI. If you plan to use the inflator continuously for hours, it is best to let it cool down every now and then to prevent overheating.
Another thing to be happy about with Goodyear is the accessories that come with it: a connect coupler, a rubber air hose, a PVC air hose, screw-on valve, presta valve, ball needle, and mattress nozzle. The inflator also has an analog pressure gauge that allows you to check the status of your tire. The gauge helps you prevent over and under inflation.
While Goodyear has a lot of features to boast about, users have had conflicting feelings about its efficiency. Though it is advertised to pump up tires of larger vehicles, the inflator still works better with car and bike tires. Always using it for truck tires might affect its performance. It is also not as quiet as EPAuto 12V. You will still hear noise – it’s not “extremely quiet” as advertised — though the noise is tolerable. The power cord and hose could also be longer.
Its compact design makes it a good companion for traveling, as it won’t take up so much space in the trunk. The unit is also lightweight. You can carry it with one hand. You can also put it on the floor without it jittering. However, the design could have been better if the screw is easier to remove. It is quite annoying to unscrew the inflator every time you use it – by the time you removed it, your tire has already lost a lot of air. The plastic air hose could also create a lot of mess. You might want to use a clip or anything to bind the hose.
Lifeline AAA 300 PSI 12V DC Air Compressor
The last tire inflator in the list is nonetheless a good choice when it comes to price and portability. Lifeline Air Compressor weighs only at 2.19 pounds – it is light and easy to carry. Don’t let its size fool you though. This equipment can work to a maximum of 300 PSI.
It doesn’t require much to make Lifeline work. Simply plug it in the cigarette lighter outlet of your car and attach the 18-inch hose to your tire. It also has a power cable about 10 feet long.
On the upside, you can read out the pressure on the digital screen. This pressure gauge will help you monitor whether the inflator has reached your desired PSI. The drawback, however, is the absence of an auto-shut off feature. This means you have to check the screen every time to prevent overinflation.
The three inflation nozzles that come with the inflator add to its maximum utility — you can also inflate sports equipment with it. However, it cannot inflate larger items such as truck tires, air mattress, and inflatable pools. Lifeline measures 8”x 5.88” x 3.5”, thus making it perfect for small spaces. On the other hand, you cannot be sure about its durability since it’s only made of plastic.
Unlike the first two in this list, Lifeline creates a lot of noise and vibration when you use it. It also does not work as fast as Goodyear i8000. It takes about 3 to 4 minutes to inflate an average tires (or about 14 inches). It might also be wise to use a separate air pressure gauge. While the built-in gauge provides you the PSI, there are times when the reading is not accurate. The compressor also heats up easily, so there is a need to let it cool down from time to time. It may be a good emergency tool, but prepare to buy another one once you drop it. Lifeline is not known to last for years, unless you are too careful whenever you use it.
What compensates for the cheap material used is obviously its economic price. It is the most affordable tire inflator in this list. If you’re going to use this occasionally, the product could last for a year. You’re lucky if it lasts for two. In this context, it may be apt to describe Lifeline as “disposable”. Lifeline is also good for home use. You can bring this during your travels, although you’d have to keep spare accessories just in case the compressor does not work.